It’s New Year’s Eve: Party on and party safely

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Are you still trying to decide where to go for New Year’s Eve? Here are a few options on where to go to bring 2015 in with a bang — and a couple of reminders to play it safe and keep the weather in mind and the drinking under control. This is a “no refusal” weekend for most area law enforcement agencies, and you don’t wanna start the year off with a trip to the pokey.

Wanna know where to go and what to do for New Year’s Eve? Here are just a few ideas:

The Round-Up Saloon’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. Includes a catered buffet, breakfast after midnight, a cash balloon drop, a champagne toast and party favors. Tickets are $20 at the door. 3912 Cedar Springs Road.

Alexandre’s New Year’s Eve Party with Andrea Dawson and Band. Free champagne toast at midnight. No cover. Party hats and favors provided. 9 p.m–close. 4026 Cedar Springs Road.

Full Circle Tavern’s “Mad as Hatter” New Year’s Eve Party. Dress your head in its most interesting attire to ring in 2015. All-inclusive dinner, cocktails, live DJ, party favors and complementary champagne at midnight. RSVP at 214-208-3435. 1319 S. Lamar St.

The Grapevine’s New Year’s Eve Party. Features DJ Christopher J (of super ’80s band Berlin with Terri Nunn) spinning from 7 p.m. Cover is $1 at the door. 3902 Maple Ave.

Club Dallas New Years Eve Party. Event begins at 11p.m. with a champagne toast at midnight. 2616 Swiss Ave.

Considering the weather forecasts for tonight and tomorrow, you might want to make sure that you get somewhere fun and stay there! Here’s the forecast from Jeff Ray at CBS Channel 11:

It was already snowing in Jack and Denton counties — north and west of DFW — overnight Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Today’s (Wednesday, Dec. 31′s) high is only going to get to about 37 degrees, and winter storm warnings have been issued, mostly for the western regions of the The Metroplex. Tarrant County is expected to get “a trace of wintry mix” and areas a bit further west may see up to half an inch of ice on the ground.

And yeah, the forecasts say everything will be west. But you don’t want to take a chance that some of that mess won’t make its way into Dallas and on east.

And now, here’s a word of warning from the Dallas Police Department on drinking and driving:

“The Dallas Police Department will conduct a No-Refusal DWI Initiative during the New Year’s Day Weekend. This initiative will begin at 6:00 P.M., Wednesday, December 31, 2014 and will end at 6:00 A.M., Monday, January 5, 2015.

“During this initiative, officers will secure a search warrant for a blood sample from all persons arrested for DWI who refuse to voluntarily give a breath and/or blood sample.

“The Dallas Police Department would like to remind everyone to not drink and drive.”

—  Tammye Nash

Alexandre’s seeking wreaths for annual Christmas Wreath Auction

wreathAlexandre’s, 4026 Cedar Springs Road, is looking for original wreath donations no larger than 48 inches for the upcoming Annual Wreath Auction from 8–10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14. The wreath auctions benefits No Tie Dinner/Purple Party.

Organizers request all wreaths be submitted with an entry form providing a brief description of the wreath, its estimated value and the name of the donating individual or organization. The entry forms can be picked up anytime at Alexandre’s.

Wreaths may be dropped off at any time and up until the day of the event.

The fundraiser, hosted this year by Wayne Smith, is now in its seventh year. The Christmas Wreath Auction was created in 2006, by bar owner Lee Daugherty as an original and fun way to raise funds for local charities.  The auction has raised more than $25,000 for a variety of Dallas charities since its inception.

The pre-party begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, with catered food, drink specials and the opportunity for silent bidding before the auction.

Wreaths will be on display for viewing and silent bidding inside Alexandre’s before and on Dec. 14.

—  James Russell

Alexandre’s donates to Red Party Foundation and Needle Prick Project


Alexandre’s recently donated $1,400 to the Needle Prick Project and Red Party Foundation. From left, Tyler Curry, Needle Prick Project; Lee Daugherty, owner of Alexandre’s; Jared Pearce, co-founder of Red Party Foundation.

Alexandre’s donated 100 percent of its proceeds of sales on March 7 from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. to Red Party Foundation and the Needle Prick Project. This is the eighth time the Cedar Springs bar has done this fundraiser for the HIV awareness nonprofits. Red Party supports the work of Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage. The Needle Prick Project is a national multimedia campaign that focuses on promoting HIV awareness, fighting HIV stigma and preventing the spread of HIV.

Alexandre’s will host another HIV Awareness Mixer on May 9 with proceeds going to Legacy and Camp Starlight, a summer camp for kids affected by HIV.

—  David Taffet

Gay Carnival Triumph passengers finally arrive back in Dallas


Robert Miles, Craig Quinonez and Matt Spire

Four gay men from Dallas were among the 4,000 people stranded on the Carnival Triumph. Three arrived back in Dallas on Friday.

The fourth man in their group, Earl Rodriguez, traveled from Mobile to New Orleans by bus, flew to Hobby Airport in Houston and a then by bus to Galveston to pick up his car.

Craig Quinonez, a bartender at Alexandre’s, said he was awakened at about 4:45 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10 and told to evacuate his cabin, which had filled with smoke. He went to an upper deck. The ship drifted 90 miles before the Coast Guard reached them on Monday.

He said the captain didn’t acknowledge there was a fire, only calling it a “situation” until after the fire was out.

The group blamed the fire on poor maintenance and said the ship had a problem with one of its engines two weeks earlier. They said they heard that the ship was running without one of its engines, which caused the remaining engines to overheat.

—  David Taffet

LISTEN: MicahB and Kyan Loredo team for “Never Fail” (and will perform it Friday)

As a producer, songwriter and DJ, MicahB carved himself a healthy niche of gigs within the community. From major fundraisers like Black Tie Dinner to his weekly ’80s themed happy hour Cocktails. Then he bounced on out of here to relocate to West Hollywood to further his musical endeavors. And now we have proof of that.

He teamed up with singer Kyan Loredo for this latest track “Never Fail.” And as MicahB returns to Dallas this weekend, he brings Loredo with him to perform the song at Friday’s special edition of Cocktails.

“He will be performing our song which has been going off at the clubs here in West Hollywood and we’re excited to showcase it in our old stomping grounds,” he posted on his Facebook event notice for Friday.

In the meantime, here’s the recorded version of “Never Fail.”

—  Rich Lopez

Concert notice: Josh Zuckerman at Alexandre’s

OK, honestly, I didn’t know who Josh Zuckerman was until his publicist peeps gave me a call notifying me about this show. But a national touring artist coming to Alexandre’s was news enough. I never know what’s going on over there. Please guys, put up a calendar!

If you don’t know Zuckerman, here’s some background on the pop-rocker. He has three CDs to his name, he was an OutMusic Award nominee, his music has appeared on “My Life on the D-List” and the song “Out from Under” was No. 1 on Sirius Out Q for four weeks. The guy’s got cred.

I’m kinda diggin’ his newest video for “Got Love?” the title track of his latest release. Check it after the jump. He performs at Alexandre’s, 4026 Cedar Springs Road on July 24 at 10:30 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

Background sounds

Gay musicians Gary Floyd and Bill Shafer serve up ambiance at Dallas hotels and restaurants

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer

Gary Floyd and Bill Shafer

GUY TUNES | Regular gigs at hotels and restaurants keep musicians like Gary Floyd, left, and Bill Shafer in the game. (Arnold Wayne Jones and Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

Maybe you don’t think too much about the musicians tickling the ivories in a hotel lobby or working the saxophone as a backdrop to a nice steak dinner. But many local gay musicians have found a niche gig doing just that. Les Farrington entertains at Del Frisco’s and Buddy Shanahan, Paul Allen and others have been spotted playing piano at Nordstrom.

And then there’s Gary Floyd and Bill Shafer.

Shafer can be seen playing sax and piano and singing at the new cigar lounge of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House in Addison. The spot is a far cry from his stints at the gay piano bars across the gayborhood.

“I was ready for something different,” Shafer says. “Chamberlain’s is a fun gig and I get to eat some great food.”

Shafer moved to North Texas from Hawaii 15 years ago. A former band teacher, he came to Dallas with his partner at the time, but opted to break from music. After playing professionally since age 12, the moratorium seemed warranted. But the music bug eventually itched, and he scratched it.

“Music is such a core part of me, but after being a music teacher for 14 years, I thought about not being in the music biz,” he says. “I was going to Cathedral of Hope and got hired to run sound for them.”

The part-time job led to singing at church — his first experiencing playing for the gay community. It soon snowballed. Shafer worked with local gay music staples including Shanahan, Floyd and Denise Lee, picking up gigs at Bill’s Hideaway before scoring a solo gig at Alexandre’s.

“I wanted to do stuff on my own,” he says. “I went to Alexandre’s for Tuesday and Sunday nights. After four years at the piano bar, Shafer noticed a shift in the audience requests.

“The crowd started getting younger, though, and requesting stuff like Lady Gaga. I did contemporary stuff as I could, but it didn’t seem enough.”

That’s about the time Chamberlain’s was looking for entertainment for New Year’s Eve. Shafer and his partner, who also plays, stood in for Larry Barnett to welcome in 2009. When they expanded, they called Shafer and ultimately booked his current gig.

“Chamberlain’s was putting in the cigar lounge and I helped set up the sound system,” he says. “When it opened last summer, I played a couple of nights a week, but now, I rotate with five other musicians.”

The upscale spot has introduced Shafer to some high rollers: He’s played in front of pro athletes (who are great tippers, he says) and other high profile types, but he’s kept some of his gay fans from the Hideaway days.

“On one hand, I don’t mind doing clubs,” he says. “But there is a gay presence up north and it’s nice to see that, even if they don’t know my story. The best part though is living so close. I get off at 11:30 and I’m in bed by midnight —for a 51 year-old man, that’s good!”

For Floyd, technology threatens to get the better of him at times. Other musicians with similar gigs (Farrington and Shafer for instance) bring backing tracks mixed at home or in studio. But Floyd relies on his fingers and voice to navigate the booking maze of this town.

“I’m not a tech guy and that may have hurt some opportunities,” he says. “One restaurant I pitched to required backing tracks and so I lost out on that one.”

But after doing this for more than 30 years, Floyd isn’t worried. He’s been able to make a living as a working musician and plans to continue for a while to come. Unless he gets to that moment where he doesn’t realize he’s past his prime.

“I may already be at that point,” he laughs.

Nah. Floyd has a solid reputation as a reliable and professional musician. At least once a week, he’s listed on a live music calendar somewhere. Until recently, he was at Hotel Zaza piano playing and singing by the pool or in their Dragonfly restaurant.

Zaza was a new environment for Floyd. This wasn’t the small piano bar with a regular gay crowd. Zaza is for trendsetters and millionaires. The bottom line was Floyd would be playing for a whole new group of people.

“I got that gig from someone hearing me play,” he says. “The thing was, I knew people at the Hideaway related to me, but I didn’t know if the cool people would. The music took over and they did.”

Serendipitously, he got the job days after the Hideaway closed.

“Denise [Lee] and I had thought about the club needing to close for us to move on,” he says. “When you get a steady gig you want to keep it, but sometimes we just get complacent.”

The stint lasted a year, but like Shafer, playing music is core to Floyd and whether he had the full-on attention of the crowd or filled the lobby with this piano and vocals, it was all good.

“I’m not beyond background music,” he says. “Even if you get just one person to stop and listen, I guess that’s what makes it worth it.”

He isn’t’ fretting over the lack of a regular booking right now — he’s too busy working on a new CD which comes out later this month. And that’s music to his ears.

For more information on the artists, visit and

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.

—  Dallasvoice