Tel Aviv named world’s best gay travel destination

The Jaffa section of Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is a great gay travel destination and earlier this month, American Airlines and GayCities.com agreed voting it the world’s best gay travel destination.

The Israeli city received 43 percent of the vote. New York City came in second with 14 percent, Toronto 7 percent, Sao Paulo 6 percent, Madrid and London 5 percent each and New Orleans and Mexico City 4 per cent each.

No one voted for San Francisco, Amsterdam or Berlin?

Well, Tel Aviv is a very gay-friendly place. The city is backing their win with a big push to promote LGBT tourism called Tel Aviv Gay Vibe. And, according to the newspaper HaAretz, the Tel Aviv Pride Parade receives city funding, as does the city’s LGBT center.

While the country doesn’t have same-sex marriage, they don’t have Reform marriage or secular marriage either. So if you aren’t Orthodox, you leave the country to get married and Israel recognizes your wedding. That’s been going on since a gay member of the Knesset married his husband in Canada and came back and sued and won.

And “don’t ask, don’t tell?” Israel thought it was as dumb as we did but they did away with deferments while we were first implementing the policy. The result? Some of the hottest gay men and women in the world … and they know how to use an Uzi.

—  David Taffet

Your voice counts in the 2012 Readers Voice Awards — just get it in before Jan. 28

Can you tell we’re pushing for your votes? And so are lots of local businesses, venues and people. We all want to know what you see as the best gay Dallas has to offer and that only happens when you chime in. If you don’t vote, a kitten dies. See what you did?

Seriously folks, we’re getting down to the wire as the deadline is fast approaching for this year’s RVA’s. You know that one restaurant you go to every all the time? Give it some love by voting for it in our Dine category. Who do you see as your local LGBT role model? Put that name in under Metro. And where are all the fine silver foxes hanging out? Well, give us the details under Nightlife. And don’t forget to give us your choice on the top image for the My Gay Texas photo contest, either.

And with each category, you get entered into our drawing for two American Airlines tix which we told you about earlier this week. You got till Saturday so don’t forget to vote or you know what.

—  Rich Lopez

Your vote in the 2012 Readers Voice Awards could win you a trip for two

The deadline to vote in our 2012 Readers Voice Awards is coming up fast. As in Jan. 28. Yes, that’s this coming Saturday. And doing so could get you up in the air.

Voters can enter to win a drawing for two American Airlines tickets good for travel in the US 48, Caribbean, Bahamas, Canada and Mexico. And that’s per each category. So you’re totally bumping up your chances and making your voice heard on what’s tops in the DFW gayborhoods (and beyond). And don’t forget to vote in the “My Gay Texas” photo contest for that image that best highlights the LGBT community.

Ready to vote? Then just click on DFWReadersVoice.com and get started. Good luck!

 

—  Rich Lopez

Our gay Texas

Readers Voice Awards’ ‘Gay Texas’ photo contest entries show great talent

RUNNERS-UP |  Among the contenders for Dallas Voice’s My Gay Texas photo contest that did not make the top nine are, clockwise from above: Eric Dickson (cowboy), Lauren Farris (‘Drag Queens’), Stephanie Kern (Rainbow Lounge rally flag), Don Klausmeyer (man in leaves), Farris again (drag queen) and Shannon Kern (Milk Day rainbow flag).

RUNNERS-UP | Among the contenders for Dallas Voice’s My Gay Texas photo contest that did not make the top nine are, clockwise from above: Eric Dickson (cowboy), Lauren Farris (‘Drag Queens’), Stephanie Kern (Rainbow Lounge rally flag), Stephen Masker (man in leaves), Farris again (drag queen) and Shannon Kern (Milk Day rainbow flag).

The Dallas Voice’s Readers Voice Awards are underway (you can vote online right now, at DFWReadersVoice.com), where you can vote on your favorite whatevers — criminal attorney, chef, boutique, dog walker or get-laid travel vacation. (Trust us, we’ve tried to think of everything.)

But what you also get to vote for — and stand a chance of winning — is the My Gay Texas photo contest. We had scores of submissions during the month of December, asking photographers professional and amateur to submit the pictures that defined, for them, what’s great or interesting or special or unique or beautiful or sexy or hilarious about queer Texas. The top nine are on the site, and you can vote for your favorite and be entered to win two round-trip tickets on American Airlines to the lower 48, Mexico, Caribbean and Canada. And by voting, you also get to benefit the photographer’s charity of choice to the tune of a thousand simoleons.

But the nine photos that made the cut only tell part of the story. Tons of photos were in serious contention but just didn’t hit the top tier. Here are some that really speak to the diversity and fascination of our gay community … and the talent of our readers. With these the runners-up, you know the competition was fierce.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

2011 Year in Review: Concerts

Minaj-89

Nicki Minaj

The ladies ran the world this year — or at least the concert stage, whether dives or arenas.

1. Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae (Verizon Theatre). These two crashed the venue with the year’s most amazing live performances. Monae, in all her spastic glory, ran across the stage and into the audience, proving why she is the next Prince. And with her futuristic-themed album Archandroid, her band was loud and live minus any apparent electronic help. Mars did the same but recalled old-school showmanship, channeling Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Smokey Robinson as he and his own band filled the place with raucous horns, slamming percussion and Mars’ charisma.

2. Nicki Minaj (American Airlines, pictured). Britney sputtered before her concert hit its stride halfway through, but Minaj brought it from the get-go. With military precision, she and her troupe marched and danced while the audience roared, spanking the American Airlines Center as if she were the headliner, making everyone in the crowd her bitch. And all were on board. Her ovation with Spears was proof that Minaj’s star has arrived.

3. Jackie Hall (Lakewood Bar & Grill). A surprise at the May edition of Twist LGBT, stepped in with local band One Night Stand to end the night with a bang. Even as the crowd dwindled, Hall went full bore, working up those left into a frenzy with powerful covers. This lady sings the blues and rock and pop, but turns them out like no other.

4. Scissor Sisters (American Airlines Center). There is no way to steal a show from Lady Gaga, but the Sisters didn’t need to, giving a workout of a show. Ridiculously pumped Jake Shears burned a million calories with his high-energy antics (and that ass-reveal, a great bonus). Ana Matronic held her own as Shears’ equal with funk and sass. True fans were breathless.

5. Brandi Carlile (Granada Theatre). Without much fanfare, Carlile and her legions of fans in the mid-sized Granada were like one entity fused together. Her fans gave her space to sing softly, to go unplugged and to simply love her. She gave it right back with both grit and tenderness that were triggering all the ladies’ pheromones.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

— R.L.               

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 11.25.11

Blanket collection drive set

As part of the weekly Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope — called BACH — program that provides a meal for homeless people, Denise Shoemaker is spearheading a drive, in honor of the late Windy Churitch, to collect blankets to be distributed to the homeless as colder weather approaches.

Shoemaker said this week that blanket donations will be collected during the December Chick Happy Hour on Thursday, Dec. 1, beginning at 6 p.m. at Kinki Lounge, 3606 Greenville Ave.

Blankets can also be delivered to The Brick/Joe’s, 2525 Wycliff Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Shoemaker explained that BACH volunteers last year began a program to provide “something extra, besides the breakfast” for homeless people during the holiday season. She said the blanket drive is being held in honor of Churitch, a longtime Dallas-area resident who died unexpectedly in October.

“Windy was a really good person and a good friend, and we thought that this would be a great way to honor her memory,” Shoemaker said.
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O&E elects officers

Jeffrey Gorczynski with Citi was chosen as affiliate chair of the Out and Equal DFW Regional Affiliate on Saturday, Nov. 19, when the organization elected its officers for 2012.

Other officers are Chair Emeritus Paul von Wupperfield with Texas Instruments, Community Outreach Chair Ted Vantrabert, Secretary Samantha Seelbach with American Airlines and Treasurer Brandon Aldrich with KPMG.

Gorczynski is a vice president at Citi and has been an active leader and officer of the Out & Equal DFW Regional Affiliate for several years. He played a major role in planning for the Out & Equal Workplace Summit, held in Dallas in October.

Gorczynski said the organization plans to “leverage the success of the summit to start some new initiatives right here in Dallas/Fort Worth. Our ultimate goal is to make the workplace a better place for everyone.”

Von Wupperfeld, who was the first chair of the Out & Equal DFW Regional Affiliate when it was formed five years ago, said he was “particularly pleased we were able to engage so much of our community in those events [during the summit] and show the summit attendees what an exciting place Dallas can be to live and work.”

Out & Equal is a national, non-profit organization headquartered in San Francisco that champions safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people. In addition to holding its annual workplace summit, the organization has a “Building Bridges” program offering LGBT diversity training for all workplace settings.

For more information, go online to OutAndEqual.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

OUT & EQUAL: Welcome to Dallas

American Airlines sponsored Out & Equal registration

More than 2,500 people have already registered for the Out & Equal Workplace Summit taking place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel this week. As many as 3,000 people may participate, according to Out & Equal’s April Hawkins. In the opening plenary, a number of executives from companies around the country talked about workplace equality.

A welcome video shown at the opening plenary session included executives from companies around the country welcoming participants with messages such as, “So much energy is wasted if you’re not out at work,” and “We all win when we bring our best selves to work everyday.”

Accenture Group Chief Executive Sander van ’t Noordende said he has been out at work since joining the company 24 years ago. Soon after joining the company, he attended a reception with his partner.

“Timing and tone are extremely important,” he said.

He said that a big difference today is that after someone is hired, they go to the website, click on the LGBT group and they’re hooked in with the network of LGBT employees.

He said that gaining equality is a process and his company is working on transgender benefits. At Accenture, 600 employees self-identify as transgender, he said.

And to lighten up the opening session, Candis Cayne, the first transgender actress to to have a recurring role on a primetime network series (Dirty, Sexy Money), spoke and entertained.

Out & Equal Workplace summit continues through Friday.

—  David Taffet

Local briefs • 10.14.11

RCD hosts ‘The 5 Factor’

Resource Center Dallas, in partnership with Dallas Modern Luxury, presents the third annual “The 5 Factor” event on Thursday, Oct. 20, at eM the venue by Marc, 1500 Dragon St. in Dallas.

“The 5 Factor” event recognizes five of Dallas’ finest in areas such as cuisine, fashion, media and literature.

This year’s “5 Factor” honorees are journalist and award-winning author Jenny Block; Emmy Award-winning journalist Ron Corning, who recently joined WFAA Channel 8 as the host of News 8 Daybreak; Dallas restaurant owner Monica Greene of Monica’s Aca Y Alla in Deep Ellum and BEE in Oak Cliff, who recently began providing commentary on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for WFAA; award-winning fashion designer Prashi Shah who created her own label, Prashe, and recently opened a showroom in Dallas’ Design District; and Bronwen Weber, executive chef and general manager of Frosted Art Bakery and Studio in Dallas who is perhaps best known to many for her appearances on television’s Food Network Challenge programs.

The evening will be hosted by Angela Betasso, with state Rep. Eric L. Johnson and his wife as co-chairs and last year’s honorees serving as the honorary host committee.

General admission is $50 per person, available online at The5Factor.org. Proceeds benefit the programs and services of Resource Center Dallas.

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GLAAD holds ‘Get Amped’ 5K

The local chapter of GLAAD presents Get Amped, a 5K run/walk on the Katy Trail on Thursday, Oct. 20, in conjunction with similar chapter events around the country.
Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center.

The starting gun goes off at 7 p.m. The celebration takes place at the finish line, also at the arena, at 9 p.m.

An after-party takes place at 9:30 p.m. at the Round-Up Saloon.

Each runner has a goal of raising $250. The money raised will benefit the national organization.

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VNA holds Service of Remembrance

The Visiting Nurse Association will host a Service of Remembrance on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Preston Hollow United Methodist Church, 6315 Walnut Hill Lane in Dallas.

The event is open to the public and will feature special music, readings and the opportunity to light a memorial candle.

Attendees of all faiths are welcome to attend the service.

For more information call Sue Rafferty, bereavement coordinator with the Visiting Nurse Association, at 214-689-2922

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

New routes means higher visibility for 2011 LSRFA

Even though Event Manager Jerry Calumn was told routing riders through Dallas and Fort Worth wasn’t possible, he refused to take ‘can’t’ for an answer

Calumn.Jerry
Jerry Calumn

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

When he took over as the new event manager of Lone Star RideFighting AIDS, Jerry Calumn started hearing about a number of things he “couldn’t do.”

For instance, LSRFA cyclists said they wanted people to come out and cheer them on. But the route the last few years has been mostly rural, and getting groups out was something Calumn “couldn’t do,” he was told.

Riders told him they wanted to ride where people would see them.

“Riders felt disconnected from the cities we serve,” Rider Retention

Co-Chair Michael Wilkesen said.

But changing the route was something Calumn was told he “couldn’t do,” because permits and other obstacles would make it too expensive and logistics would make it too hard.

But Calumn wasn’t willing to settle for “couldn’t do.” So through the summer, he worked quietly with Wilkesen, mapping out a new route and making plans to get people out to cheer on the riders.

The ride begins and ends again this year at the American Airlines

Training and Conference Center in North Arlington, as it has for the past few years. The difference this year is that instead of making loops northwest of the center on Saturday and southeast on Sunday through suburban and rural terrain, this year’s routes move through Fort Worth on Saturday and Dallas on Sunday.

“And you know what it cost us?” Calumn said. “Nothing. Not one damn penny.”

Calumn encouraged the community to come and cheer for riders and suggested some of the best times and places to do that.

The routes

Pit stops and lunch stops for the riders are great places for supporters to gather and cheer them on.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Pit Stop 2 will be at the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth. Riders are expected through there between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Pit 3 is the lunch stop. That takes place at the Pour House on 7th Street between downtown Fort Worth and the Cultural District. Riders attempting the 100-mile “century” route to Eagle Mountain Lake must leave lunch by 11:30 a.m. Other riders may linger here until 2:30 p.m.

One of the highlights of the Fort Worth route will be 22 miles along the Trinity Trail. That scenic system of trails follows the Trinity River as it winds through the city. Riders will pick up the trail near Texas Christian University after the Rainbow Lounge pit stop, detour off the trail for about a mile for the lunch stop and then pick it back up for the ride around the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Wilkesen said that unfortunately the ride cannot go through the Stockyards because of the bike-unfriendly cobblestones in the area.

Day 2 takes riders through Irving to Dallas, then back to the American Airlines training center for closing ceremonies.

The first stop is the new Irving Convention Center.

“It’s an architectural gem sitting in the middle of Las Colinas,” Calumn said.

He said that Irving was excited about the ride coming through the city and was very helpful. Riders travel through Irving both in the morning and afternoon.

A highlight of the Sunday route will be riding through Oak Lawn. This will be the first time the ride has traveled down Cedar Springs Road.

Pit Stop 2 will be at Station 4. Most bike riders will pass Cathedral of Hope between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The church promised a cheering section as riders pass.

From there the route turns north on Turtle Creek Boulevard and crosses Highland Park before heading north to Webb Chapel Park.

The ride through Irving will be on the Campion Trail. “Irving invested well in its park system and it shows,” Calumn said.

He called the highlight of the afternoon the stop in North Lake Ranch Park, located on one of the highest points in north Dallas County and with a panoramic view of the area. Of course, for riders, that’s a mixed blessing: To get to the highest point means riding up hill. And the uphill ride comes in the afternoon after they have already pedalled more than 40 miles.

But once there, the ride back to base camp for closing ceremonies is mostly down hill.

Both Calumn and Wilkeson said they believe that the higher visibility of the routes this year will help with organizers’ ongoing efforts to grow the ride.

“With more visibility, we’ll get more riders,” Wilkesen said.

In a battle of Dallas vs. Fort Worth, Wilkesen suggested Irving wins as the city most aggressively interested in bringing the ride through town. He said the city even mapped a safe and scenic route for him, saving him a lot of time.

Calumn said Fort Worth has the most sophisticated plan to host groups like this. In Dallas he met with police, parks and events separately. He complimented each department for its cooperation.

But, he said, Fort Worth held one meeting with him that also included the health department.

“That way, police can talk to streets,” he said. “It’s very helpful.”

Closing ceremonies take place at the AATCC at 5 p.m. The Riderless Bike leads the procession as riders return and complete a year of fundraising that is expected to bring the total raised in event history to more than $2 million.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS closing ceremonies, American Airlines Training and Conference Center, 4501 Highway 360 South, Fort Worth (just south of DFW Airport). 5 p.m. Everyone welcome.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

LSRFA announces new route

Poz Pedalers will lead the LSR parade entry and wheel the riderless bike down Cedar Springs Road

Calumn.Jerry
Jerry Calumn

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Just a week before the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, Event Manager Jerry Calumn has revealed the new route for the ride.

Rather than travel though country roads making a loop to the north and west of the American Airlines Training and Conference Center on Saturday, and a loop to the south and east on Sunday, this year’s ride will travel through the Metroplex’s largest cities.

Riders on Saturday will make a loop through Fort Worth, including a pit stop at the Rainbow Lounge and one downtown at The Pour House on 7th Street.

The Sunday route will include a pass by Cathedral of Hope and then travel down Cedar Springs Road for the first time in the ride’s history.

Cathedral of Hope is planning a cheering section. A pit stop is scheduled along the route at Station 4.

The fastest riders should make it to Cedar Springs Road by 9 a.m. while slower pedallers will follow until about 11 a.m.

Calumn said that while last year’s route was scenic, riders wanted to interact with people along the way. With the mostly rural routes followed in recent years, that hasn’t happened.

At first, Calumn said, he thought the ride might stop by the Mustangs in Las Colinas. But another event was scheduled for the square that houses the statue. Instead, the city of Irving arranged for a stop at the new Irving Convention Center.

“Irving really wanted us,” Calumn said. “We’re thrilled to be stopping at the newest, greatest architecture in Irving.”

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Lone Star Ride held a pre-ride event at S4 to recognize those who had excelled in their fundraising.

In bicycling races, yellow is the color traditionally worn by the race leader. To recognize the top fundraisers, 45 yellow polos were awarded for those who had raised more than $1,000, and 27 yellow jerseys given to those who had collected more than $2,000.

This week, the ride topped the $2 million mark in collective fundraising over its 11 years. The money will be distributed to beneficiaries AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas.

Chance Browning is the participant fundraising chair of the LSRFA Council and has been working to find ways to help riders meet their fundraising goals.

He said he has been spending the past few weeks calling riders to give them fundraising suggestions, often recommending “a multi-pronged approach.”

Browning suggested riders send emails to friends, family and business associates, with links to the LSRFA website. The website provides a fundraising badge for riders to post on Facebook that links back to the rider’s page where donations can be made.

Also, Browning suggested, “Check your company to see if they offer matching funds.”

He said holding fundraising parties works for some people. But he said riders need to keep talking to people and asking for the money.

Browning said he rode for two years, but helping other people raise their money was his way of contributing this year.

In 2010, Dean Wilson was the development director for LSR and now is development associate for Resource Center Dallas. He said he’d be at the ride representing RCD, one of the beneficiaries. He’ll also be cheering on his partner.

“Last year was my partner’s first ride,” Wilson said. “We both had such an amazing time, we can’t wait til this year.”

To begin the final countdown to the 2011 LSRFA, a number of  ride participants will walk down Cedar Springs in the Pride parade on Sunday, Sept. 18. The Poz Pedalers — the team of HIV-positive riders and their supporters — will lead the group, walking the riderless bike, which memorializes those lost to AIDS, down the parade route.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place on Sept. 24 and 25. Riders will stay at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center in Arlington on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday late afternoon closing ceremonies, which will include a performance by the Turtle Creek Chorale, will take place there at the training and conference center.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas