PHOTOS: Parigi at 30 years

Provost, left, and Falls, right.

It’s been an Oak Lawn institution almost as long as Dallas Voice: Parigi, the French-themed, Italian-influenced bistro. There have been only three owners throughout its three decades, and two — founder Andree Falls and current chef-owner Janice Provost, who’s helmed it for 13 years —were present at the event, which was packed with long-time patrons and well-wishers enjoying Provost’s mini grilled-cheese-and-tomato-basil-soup, lobster sandwiches and deviled eggs. Congrats, Parigi!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

My post-Pride lunch with Mike Rawlings

1186736_10201881308536307_1584127030_nI was at a luncheon today, celebrating the 95th anniversary of the original El Fenix restaurant, a staple of Tex-Mex here in Dallas. Also at the luncheon was Mayor Mike Rawlings, who sat at my table during lunch. One of my colleagues noted that the mayor appeared to have lost weight. A while later, the mayor and I got to chatting.

“How was the gay Pride parade yesterday?” he asked me with a smile. “I was out of town so I missed it.”

It was a lot of fun, I told him.

“When I came back, I saw there was some kind of controversy?”

“Yes, about a dress code; people didn’t react well to it.”

“Well, how were people dressed?” he asked. “Did anyone show up naked?”

“Not naked,” I said. “Though some were … well ….” I reached into my pocket, pulled out my iPhone and showed him one of the photos I took (pictured here). “That’s about as racy as it got.”

“Well, that’s nothing unusual,” Mayor Rawlings said. “And that’s just what I look like with my clothes off.”

He was joking. I think. But he has lost weight. Despite his failure to stand up for marriage equality, it’s always nice when a politician looks at pictures of men in Speedos and doesn’t recoil in horror.

Oh, and El Fenix — 95 frickin’ years. Pretty awesome.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lula B’s throws anniversary party tonight

Lula B’s, a staple in the Readers Voice Awards for its antiques and vintage items, has been at its second locale in Deep Ellum for two years now and they wanna celebrate it. Tonight from 5:30 to 9:30, you can enjoy free food, wine and beer, plus live music from Michael Donner and the Southern Renaissance. Some of the dealers will also be offering discounts, and of course you can always just browse all the kitschy collectibles.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BACH for the holidays …. and beyond

Volunteer Wanda Brown helps get ready for the Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope on Chirstmas Eve

I have been out of the office, on vacation, since Dec. 22, and when I got back to work today and started wading through the thousands of emails in my inbox, I found one from Hank Henley, asking if we could include some information in Dallas Voice about BACH, the weekly Breakfast At Cathedral of Hope program in which church volunteers prepare and serve breakfast to the homeless.

So I am including Hank’s write-up about BACH’s Christmas Eve event here on Instant Tea, just as he sent it to me:

Use the words “Bach” and “cathedral” in a sentence this time of year, and most people will picture the “Christmas Cantata” or “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” But at a certain church in Dallas, BACH stands for “Breakfast at the Cathedral of Hope,” a program that just celebrated its four-year anniversary in November. On Christmas Eve morning, while most of Dallas was nestled all snug in their beds, a small army of volunteers was in the kitchen at the Cathedral of Hope whipping up a hot and hearty breakfast for the homeless and needy that would be coming through their doors by 7:30 a.m. Under the direction of Rev. William Baldridge, Associate Pastor for Community Outreach, this weekly breakfast has grown from serving just 11 guests at the first meal to an average of 200 guests each Saturday morning.

And guests they are: receiving a hot meal served on china plates and with silverware and glasses. The guests may also receive a haircut after they eat, if they so chose.

This week, in addition to the usual food and drink, each guest received a bag with a blanket, hat, gloves, toiletries, water and food coupons. The gift bags were the result of the generous work of Jan Okerlund and Leslie Frye.

Leslie Frye, one of the volunteer coordinators, when asked how the volunteers feel about the work they do, said, “The real blessing is in the cooking for and serving those less fortunate, not only during this Season, but all year long.”

This Saturday’s volunteers included members of the church community of the Cathedral of Hope, members of the Turtle Creek Chorale and a group of 14 students from “I-CERV,” the “Ismaili Community Engaged in Responsible Volunteering.” They are here once a month, all year long. Kenneth Campbell, the Interfaith Services Director Volunteer Coordinator of the Memnosyne Foundation, brought these energetic and focused youth.

The Memnosyne Foundation is a wonderful organization whose mission is “to help a diverse people of the world consciously encourage an evolution of themselves and for future generations by providing the means to encourage positive, peaceful global collaboration.” The diverse crowd of leaders, volunteers and guests were certainly doing that on this morning.

And one guest, who guest shared his story quietly and privately with tears streaming down his face, personifies the spirit of sharing and giving. This time last year, he was on the street, living under a bridge and depending on the generosity of others to survive. He told me he could always count on a hot meal and being treated with respect when he came to BACH. This year, he is able to draw social security and is donating $25 a month to BACH. “They always fed me and helped me get through. Now I want to give back whatever I can. God blessed me and it’s what I want to do.”

Across the room, his hands deep in a bucket of soapy water, volunteer Jamie Rawson, spent the morning scraping plates and glasses, getting them ready for the dishwashers.

“There a few things a person can do which so clearly put Christmastime in perspective as doing something to help others. It is has been said so often as to become a cliché — but it is no less true for being a cliché. It is heart-warming to see so many people gathered to help provide for those in need. It is especially affirming to see so many young people from such a diversity of backgrounds. This has been the most fitting and rewarding way to truly start my Christmas.”

When the guests were finished with breakfast, finished visiting with friends and volunteers, finished with their haircut, and picked up their bag of supplies for warmth and comfort, they left the cathedral and headed back into the rain and the street.

As they left, Richard Boule greeted each of them and wished them a Merry Christmas.

“As I watched those people leaving the Cathedral after breakfast this morning, I could not help wondering where they were going and what each one of them had to look forward to this Christmas time. But I had the feeling that they were grateful for the humanity they were shown, so many left with a smile. May they be blessed.”

If you would like to help with BACH, please call Rev. Baldridge at the Cathedral of Hope at 214-351-1901.

You can see more photos from the Christmas Eve Breakfast at Cathedral of Hope after the jump.

—  admin

ANNIVERSARY • CUEVAS-CUSIMANO

Leo-and-Tony-30-yearsCUEVAS-CUSIMANO |  Tony Cuevas and Leo Cusimano celebrated their 30th anniversary on Monday, Sept. 12. Cuevas works for Southern Methodist University. Cusimano is advertising director for Dallas Voice. The couple live in Oak Cliff with their two sons, Elijah and JJ.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gaybingo 10th anniversary on July 16

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—  John Wright

Applause: Broadgay at Winspear

Lexus series adds queer event to upcoming season of musicals

What’s gay about ‘Jersey Boys’? The GLBT Broadway subscriber series at the Winspear will tell you.

The Lexus Broadway Series offers a muscular lineup of shows that feature classic stories and contemporary rock ‘n’ roll. But they go one step further in the 2011-12 season with the stage equivalent of special edition DVDs, featuring enhanced performances and pre-show engagements for subscribers — including its gay patrons.

Dallas Voice Life+Style Editor Arnold Wayne Jones will host a conversation every second-week Tuesday about 45 minutes before each show. The series, called GLBT Broadway, will highlight the appeal for queer audiences for the shows in the series. The discussion will touch on issues of gender identity and sexuality in regards to the show and the teams behind them. Some — such as the season lead-off, Hair — might be easier to analyze from a gay perspective than, say, Jersey Boys, but that’s part of the fun of the series.

The season starts with Hair, which won the Tony in 2009 for best musical revival. Youth in 1960s America are all about peace, love and understanding — including nudity and homosexuality — in this iconic musical. Sept. 20–Oct. 2.

The epic Les Miserables follows with a new 25th anniversary production. Dec. 20–Jan. 1.

Best musical Tony winner In the Heights details the immigrant experience as characters find a new life in their new country. March 13–25.

Alt-rockers Green Day went Broadway with American Idiot, touted as a mashup of a rock concert and staged musical. May 8–20.

The season concludes with Jersey Boys and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Classic hits like “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” tell the tale of this well-accomplished music group from the ‘50s. June 12–July 15.

Other subscriber series include Broadway University, hosted by SMU theater professor Kevin Hofeditz which will explore themes of the show and its place in theater history (every second Saturday matinee) and Broadway Uncorked (every second-week Wednesday), where an expert sommelier will host a wine tasting based on the show. We wonder what American Idiot’s wine will be.

— Rich Lopez

For more information on the Lexus Broadway Series and its enhanced performances, visit ATTPAC.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Tony Award wrap-up: Totally gay (again)

It was an untenable situation for the gay Dallasite: Watch the Tony Awards or game 6 of the Mavs? Thank god I had two DVRs. Best of both worlds.

Of course, the Tony Awards are always the gayest of award shows, and they did nothing to disguise that Sunday night starting with the opening number by the telecast’s gay host, Neil Patrick Harris, “‘[Theater] is not Just for Gays Anymore.” He then did a medley duet with Hugh Jackman that was damn funny. (It got even gayer when Martha Wash performed “It’s Raining Men” with cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.)

Then the first award of the evening went to Ellen Barkin for her Broadway debut in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, giving a shout out to the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic. She was immediately followed by gay actor and Plano native John Benjamin Hickey for his role in The Normal Heart. (He even chastised his family: “You’d better not be watching the Mavericks game.” Sorry, John, I for one kept flipping between them.) The play also won the award for best revival — a controversial choice, since The Normal Heart never opened on Broadway until this year, usually a requirement for a revival nominations (some thought it should be eligible for best play). Kramer accepted the award. “To gay people everywhere whom I love so, The Normal Heart is our history. I could not have written it had not so many of us so needlessly died. Learn from it and carry on the fight.”

The very gay-friendly Book of Mormon from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone won several off-camera awards, including score of a musical (the composers thanking gay producer Scott Rudin), orchestrations, scenic design, lighting design and sound design, before taking their first onscreen trophy for best direction of a musical to Parker and gay director Casey Nicholaw (The Drowsy Chaperone), on its way to winning nine total awards, including best musical, best featured actress (newcomer Nikki M. James, defeating prior winners Laura Benanti, Patti LuPone and Victoria Clark and prior nominee Tammy Blanchard) and book of a musical.

“This is such a waste of time — it’s like taking a hooker to dinner,” said best musical presenter Chris Rock before announcing The Book of Mormon for the night’s last prize, best musical.

Other winners in the musical category include John Larroquette for best featured actor (How to Succeed…, apparently the only straight nominee in his category), choreographer Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes, which also beat How to Succeed for best revival of a musical and won best actress for Sutton Foster. Norbert Leo Butz was the surprise winner for best actor in a musical for Catch Me If You Can. One more really gay winner: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert took best costumes, natch.

The big winner in the play category (other than The Normal Heart) was the brilliant War Horse, which won 5: best play, direction, lighting design, sound design, scenic design, as well as a special Tony for the puppet designs of the horses.

Other play winners include The Importance of Being Earnest (costumes), Good People (best actress Frances McDormand) and Jerusalem, a surprise winner for best actor Mark Rylance.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

ANNIVERSARIES: Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong, George Amerson and Mike Grossman

ARMSTRONG-YOUNG  | Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong celebrated their 40th anniversary Monday, April 18. The couple met on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1971 through the Gay Liberation Front organization there. They had a civil union in Vermont in 2000 and were legally married in California in August 2008.

 

GROSSMAN-AMERSON  | George Amerson and Mike Grossman marked their 40th anniversary Wednesday, April 20, after celebrating the event with a gathering of family and friends the previous weekend. Grossman is a Minneapolis native who had lived in Dallas a year when he met Amerson, a native of west Texas who had already lived in Dallas several years when they met. The couple say they are most proud of their children, Laura and Devon Cloud and Barney and Stephanie Grossman, and their grandchildren, Miles and Rachel. The two work in residential real estate, Grossman for 50 years and Amerson for more than 35 years.

—  John Wright

A Renewed Hope For the 22nd Anniversary of World AIDS Day

Today we observe the 22nd anniversary of World AIDS day, a day which serves to increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education around HIV/AIDS issues.

Nearly 30 years after the emergence of HIV/AIDS, the statistics on infection remain alarming. HIV/AIDS continues to wreak havoc on populations around the globe, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM), individuals living in poverty, and those living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Approximately 33.4 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide, including 1.1 million here in the U.S.  A recent CDC study showed that of those infected here in the U.S., a terrifying 44% of MSM are unaware of their status. HIV/AIDS continues to tear through our communities, but there is hope.

Earlier this year, the administration released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the first comprehensive national strategy on HIV/AIDS, which included a federal implementation plan to direct the goals addressed in the strategy. The strategy aims at three primary goals: reducing the number of those infected, increased access to care for those already infected and reducing HIV-related health disparities. These goals are the end state of the strategy’s clear and simple vision:

 

The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.

Toward that end, just last week, after years of investments in research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced results of an international study to determine whether drugs used to treat HIV can also help prevent the infection.  The trial demonstrated for the first time that a pill taken daily to treat HIV is partially effective for preventing HIV among gay and bisexual men at high risk for infection, when combined with other prevention strategies.  News of this new tool is very exciting and on this day, very welcomed.

While we are proud of the progress that has been made, both here and globally we still have a long fight ahead of us in this struggle. This is particularly true when it comes to devoting the kinds of resources necessary to battle the disease domestically as well as internationally.  We remain committed to doing everything we can to continue the progress toward reducing and eventually eliminating HIV/AIDS, but we need your help. There are plenty of ways to make a difference on this World AIDS Day; attend a World AIDS Day event, or consider donating to or participating with organizations that address HIV/AIDS issues. Even the simple act of wearing a red ribbon can help by bringing visibility to this struggle, and starting a conversation about the issue. Here at HRC, we are assembling a mosaic of people who support the fight against HIV/AIDS. You can add your image to this mosaic of people, and then ask your friends to do the same, to sound off and show your support during World AIDS Day.

On this World AIDS Day, let us stand together as we continue to bring education and awareness to the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, do our part to reduce new infections and continue to pressure law makers to do everything they can to pass laws and policies that reduce or eliminate the impact of HIV/AIDS.  It may be a long road, but the news of this recent research has given us  renewed hope that together we can make life better for those infected, while working to make HIV/AIDS a thing of the past.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin