Austin Splash Days returns Labor Day weekend; tickets on sale June 1

Splash-5Maybe it’s because our third annual Swimsuit Edition comes out Friday, but we’re in the mood to think about summer swim parties. And not all of them are in North Texas. For a number of years, Splash Days — the Austin event benefiting the LGBT community (AIDS Services of Austin and Care Communities) — didn’t have as much water to splash around in. But while the drought isn’t over, lake-goers have even more H2O to play in with the annual music, dance, Pride and unity celebration,  which takes place over Labor Day weekend.

splash-2013-ASThis year welcomes men and women for the festivities … and more parties that before. Friday night is Swim Meet at The Belmont with DJ Benson Wilder the official welcome party. Saturday is the main event Splash Dance with DJ Roland Belmares. Sunday daytime is the Get Wet lake party at Hippie Hollow (where Lake Travis is at high water mark). That night is the High Tide recovery party with DJ Grind, followed by daytime Monday’s Adult Swim (pool party T-dance) at Hotel Van Zandt pool.

You can buy a weekend pass, a VIP pass or individual tickets. Visit here for more information and tickets, starting June 1.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GALLERY: Photos from Monica Loera vigil in Austin

The Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism held a rally and vigil honoring murdered trans woman Monica Loera last night, Feb. 12, at Alamo Park, 2100 Alamo St. in Austin.

Loera was shot to death Jan. 22 outside her North Austin home by a man she had been arguing with, according to police reports. JonCasey William Rowell, 29, was arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with her death.

Loera is the first transgender person murdered since the start of 2016.

News of Loera’s murder was not publicized in the LGBT community for several days because police and Austin media initially misgendered Loera, referring to her by her pre-transition name, and circulating a driver’s license photo of her also taken before she transitioned.

Drew Stanley of Austin was on the scene for the Dallas Voice. Stanley’s photos are below.

—  James Russell

1st trans murder of 2016 reported in Austin

Monica Loera

Monica Loera

JonCasey William Rowell, 29, has been charged with first degree murder and is being held in Travis County Jail on a $250,000 bond, in connection with the Jan. 22 shooting death of Monica Loera, a 43-year-old Austin trans woman, according to reports posted yesterday (Friday, Jan. 29) by Monica Roberts on her TransGriot blog.

This is the first reported murder of a transgender person in 2016, Roberts said. She also noted that the most in the LGBT community were unaware of Loera’s murder for about a week because Austin-area media misgendered her in their reports.

Pink News, a LGBT news outlet in the United Kingdom, reported that several Austin-area media outlets “reported a police plea for information which identified the victim as ‘David Loera’ and circulated an old pre-transition driver’s license photo.”

In an article in the Austin Chronicle, writer Nina Hernandez took other media to task for their callous treatment of Loera’s murder, noting that “the wild curls and wide grins from her Facebook page — and above all else, her chosen name — have been omitted to a staggering degree. Instead Loera has been described using her birth name and masculine pronouns.”

There has been, Hernandez continued, “no public acknowledgement of her death or the [transgender] community that has been further traumatized in its wake. And that’s wrong.”

Witnesses told police Loera was “engaged in conversation” with a man in front of her home in north Austin when the man shot her. Witnesses’ description of the shooter and messages he allegedly left on Loera’s phone led police to Rowell.

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JonCasey William Rowell

At least 21 transgender women, nearly all of them trans women of color, were murdered in 2015, including two in Texas: Ty Underwood, killed in January 2015 in Tyler, and Ms. Shade, found dead in a field in Dallas in July. Activists agree that the number of victims is likely much higher since many transgender victims are misgendered by police and the media, as was initially the case with Loera.

Roberts pledged that she will be “watching this case until our sister receives justice” and to update her readers as she gets new information.

“Rest in power and peace, Monica,” Roberts wrote on her blog. “Your trans family and all who loved you will not rest until justice is served.”

—  Tammye Nash

Road trip! Gay bear rapper Big Dipper to perform in Austin

Vibin_Still_003Sometimes, you just wanna escape the North Texas heat and take a road trip to green, hilly Austin (it’s still hot, but it’s somewhere else’s version of hot). If that’s you, this weekend might be the ideal time. Big Dipper — a gay bear rapper, whom we’ve profiled here — will be performing off his new EP Extra Good, at Highland Nightclub on July 24. The first single off the EP (available now) is Vibin’, which puts the hirsute hip-hopper in a mermaid costume … though, I guess he’s technically a merman, without the Ethel.

You can check out the video here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Operation Jade Helm begins and the crazies … I mean our governor … is on alert

WalMart-250x169Happy first day of Operation Jade Helm, the military operation in which Texas will be taken over by the United States. According to sources, maps in the White House already show Texas as part of the United States.

The crazies are out all over the country this week. But who can blame them? I mean, gay marriage.

In South Carolina, April Lee Yates, 51, started a disturbance in a restaurant and was asked to pay her bill and leave. She said Jesus would pay the bill for her. Jesus never showed up. The woman went to jail.

A Tennessee woman was arrested at a gas station for printing her own money, because she read on the Internet Obama made it legal. Pamela Downs, 45, printed the $5 bill on her home printer and glued the top and bottom together. Police found a $100 bill in her purse and another $30,000 in her apartment.

Donald Trump had to remove a tweet from his Twitter feed because it showed him with soldiers. Upon closer inspection, those soldiers were in Nazi SS uniforms.

In Bastrop, “citizen volunteers” are on patrol, wary of Operation Jade Helm 15. Bastrop County is the county east of Travis County. Obviously, Bastrop is a good staging area to take over Texas, because from Bastrop, U.S. troops can easily overtake Austin.

Oh, wait, no they can’t. None of Austin’s highways are complete and the city is in a constant state of gridlock.

So far, no reports yet of Texans being placed in Walmarts that have been converted to FEMA camps, but Texas Gov. Greg Abbott promised daily briefings on Jade Helm through the summer.

—  David Taffet

Austin police release mug shot of alleged attacker


Mug shot of Tony Fera (courtesy Austin Police Department)

Austin police have released the mug shot of the man arrested in the attack of Andy Smith, a Texas Instruments executive from Dallas.

The man is Tony Fera, 51. Austin Business Journal identifies him president of MidStar Energy, a Houston oil company. His bail was set at $5,000.

—  David Taffet

Gaymers turn out for HavenCon

Dallas Voice Publisher Leo Cusimano and his family headed south to Austin over the Easter weekend, to attend HavenCon, “the first LGBTQIA Geek and Gaming Convention.” Here are some of the photos from their trip.

—  Tammye Nash

Austin shooter apparently hated immigrants, gays

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Larry Steve McQuilliams

Larry Steve McQuilliams, the 49-year-old man who opened fire on a number of buildings in downtown Austin — including the Mexican Consulate — early on Friday, Nov. 28, was part of an ultra-conservative Christian group that hated homosexuality and bi-racial families, according to Austin police.

McQuilliams was unable to find work and believed immigrants were offered more community services than he was, police indicated.

According to a report by International Business Times, McQuilliams’ shooting spree began around 2:20 a.m. He fired more than 100 rounds of ammunition at several buildings close to Sixth Street and the Austin Police Department headquarters, and tried to set fire to the Mexican Consulate.

No one except McQuilliams was hurt in the incident. A report on Austin TV station KXAN noted that McQuilliams was killed by a single shot from 312 feet away by mounted patrol Sgt. Adam Johnson who was also holding the reigns of two horses.

Austin Police Chief said that McQuilliams was heavily armed with two long guns — a .22-caliber rifle and an “AK-47-style weapon.” He said that McQuilliams used a rented van in the attack and after he was killed police found in the van a book titled Vigilantes of Christendom, numerous propane cans turned into explosive devices and a map with 34 targets including two downtown churches.

Acevedo said that during the attack, McQuilliams was wearing a tactical vest and a backpack hydration unit, indicating he intended to continue the assault. He had written “let me die” on his chest and later at his apartments, police found clothes laid out on his bed that he wanted to be buried in.

The KXAN report also notes that Austin police had arrested McQuilliams in 1992 in connection with an armed robbery of an armored car at First State Bank, and that he was later convicted on federal armed robbery charges. He was in federal prison on that conviction until June 2000.

McQuilliams lived in Wichita, Kansas until he moved to Austin in 2013. He told neighbors he left Wichita because his employer there did not appreciate him, according to reports by the Statesman.

The newspaper also reported that McQuilliams also told neighbors he was a Renaissance Fair enthusiast and martial artist who liked drum circles. He took care of neighbors’ pets when they were away and would help clean up the hike-and-bike trail at Barton Springs when heavy rains washed through it.

—  Tammye Nash

Drag queens wanted for open casting call in Austin

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Mike White

Calling all drag queens: Are you looking to become a star on the small screen? Then you just might want to head to Austin on Saturday.

Vicky Boone Casting is conducting a regional search for drag queens to play lead roles in an upcoming HBO pilot, called Mama Dallas and created by writer/filmmaker Mike White of Enlightened, Chuck & Buck and School of Rock fame.

There will be an open casting call Saturday, Nov. 15, from 2-6 p.m. at Bout Time II, 6607 I-35 in Austin, to cast the lead part of “Liberty Bell.”

According to the press release from Vicky Boone Casting, Liberty Bell “appears to be an attractive, sexy woman with a flirty side — but she’s not, really. Born Albert De Lorio, Liberty is a drag queen with an ebullient, chatty, upbeat personality, but she leads an unpleasantly seedy life … a life that she plans to turn around with a little re-invention and identity theft.”

The filmmaker is looking for a 30-something male of open ethnicity to play the role.

You don’t need an appointment for the open casting call, and people will be seen on a first-come, first-seen basis. Anyone who is cast will be compensated “on the scale of professional actors.”

Those interested in auditioning may email a picture in advance to with the subject title “Mamma Dallas” and include their name, resume, best contact info and current city of residence.

Interested parties are also encouraged to create free account on

Shooting for Mamma Dallas begins March 2015.

(And given recent news about a scammer working Oak Lawn and posing as a “modeling agent,” let me include this info to establish Vicuy Boone Casting’s bona fides: The agent has done regional casting for such films as The Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints starring Rooney Mara, Parkland starring Paul Giamatti, Men, Women, and Children starring Adam Sandler and Richard Linklater’s upcoming That’s What I’m Talking About.)

—  Tammye Nash

Classic Chassis Car Club of Dallas brings home awards from Golden Girls show

Classic Chassis Car Club of Dallas members recently returned with several awards from Golden Girls 2014, the annual car show organized by Classic Chassis Car Clubs of Texas hosted this year by CCCC Houston in Galveston. Classic Chassis Car Clubs of Texas is a division of Lambda Car Club International.

The show was held on Galveston’s Pier 21, with the backdrop of water and ship, and those attending said even the sudden cloudburst couldn’t spoil the day. The show was followed by an evening of entertainment, food, prizes and awards hosted at the Lone Star Flight Museum.

Golden Girl winners from Dallas this year are:

• Russ Johnson, “Best Truck” for his 2013 Ford F150 Lariat.

• Michael Smith, first place in the 1990s Open Division with his 1991 Figaro.

• David and Tom, second place in the 1980s Closed Division with their Pontiac Fiero.

• Robert Gamble, first place in the 1970s Open Division with his 1971 Olds Cutlass.

• James Gudat, first place in the 1970s Closed Division with his 1974 AMC Matador.

• Bill Allen, first place in the 1960s Open Division with his 1961 Olds Starfire. Allen also received the award for “Longest Distance Travelled.”

• Steve Slaughter, “Best in Show” and first place in the Pre-1949 Division with his 1938 Packard Six.

Next year’s Golden Girls show will be hosted by the Austin CCCC Chapter and will be on the Grand National Circuit of events for Lambda Car Club International. It will be only the second time in GG history a Texas club has hosted a Grand National; Dallas was the first to do so in 2004.

—  Tammye Nash