Local Briefs • 02.17.12

Toast to Life set for Feb. 25

The 14th annual Toast to Life Gala — fundraiser for Resource Center Dallas’ programs and services that make life better for people living with HIV/AIDS — is set for Feb. 25

The event, “Lights, Camera, ACTION!,” begins at 8 p.m. at FIG–Fashion Industry Gallery, at 1807 Ross Ave. Toast to Life has an annual attendance of more than 800, has raised more than $2.4 million since it began in 1999, and is one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year.
The centerpiece of Toast To Life has always been the culinary fare presented by a collection of Dallas’ most popular restaurants, along with wines and spirits. Guests participate throughout the evening by bidding on exclusive silent and luxury auction items and enjoying stellar entertainment.
This year’s auction items include:
• VIP passes to a taping of Fashion Police with Joan Rivers in L.A.;
• A limited-edition, autographed Katy Perry tour jacket;
• Week rental of a four-bedroom private condo in Park City, Utah;
• Furnishings from Herman Miller Inc., Knoll and Neiman Marcus–Willow Bend;
• Assorted travel packages and gift certificates from casual favorites to Dallas’ most prominent restaurants; and,
• One-of-a-kind art from well-known local artists.
Toast To Life Gala is presented by Christopher A. Salerno and sponsored in part by: Nordstrom, Eric V. Culbertson & David W. Carlson, American Airlines, Christopher J. Vesy, M.D. & Alan E. Roller, Charles MarLett & Jim Vasilas, Steven M. Pounders, M.D. & Jimmy O’Reilly, United Court of the Lone Star Empire, David Hardt & Steven Hartsell, and Bud Light/Ben E. Keith.
Tickets are $100. VIP tickets, which includes private reception prior to gala, are $150. For tickets and sponsor information for the 2012 Toast To Life Gala, visit www.toasttolife.org.

BTD beneficiary applications online

Black Tie Dinner has opened its 31st season by making applications for 2012 beneficiaries available online. The deadline is March 2. Beneficiaries must submit a new application each year. Up to 20 organizations are chosen to receive half the proceeds from the annual dinner. The other half benefits the Human Rights Campaign.

The Dallas Black Tie Dinner has been the largest LGBT fundraising dinner since it began in 1982.
Black Tie Dinner has raised more than $15 million since it began in 1982. In 2011, the organization distributed $1.142 million to 17 North Texas groups. This year’s dinner will be held at the Sheraton in Downtown Dallas on Nov. 3. Mitzi Lemons and Chris Kouvelis are the chairs.
For more info or to submit an application, go to BlackTie.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: Cazwell at Razzle Dazzle on Saturday

Cazwell had room to spread out on the Bud Light Mainstage on Saturday night during the Razzle Dazzle Street Festival. He busted out a nice set closing with the help of some hunky dancers on the hit “Ice Cream Truck.” He took the stage after a long night of acts prior to his performance. The Bright, Gary Floyd Trio and Chaz Marie were among the roster of names that performed Saturday, but the crowd was buzzing for Cazwell.

This video is pretty much his whole gig from the night.

—  Rich Lopez

Razzle Dazzle Dallas now has a website

Razzle Dazzle Dallas, the LGBT event held annually for 26 years through 2003, is returning after an eight-year absence the first week of June.

This week organizers launched a website, RazzleDazzleDallas.org, and announced sponsors and beneficiaries.

The presenting sponsor for the event is Bud Light. Other sponsors include ilume, the Warwick Melrose Hotel and Dallas Voice.

Razzle Dazzle was always a fundraising event, and organizers have named eight beneficiaries this year — Youth First Texas, Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association Beautification Fund, Legacy Counseling/Founders Cottage, Lone Star Ride and Legal Hospice of Texas.

Rather than just a one-night party, Razzle Dazzle will be a five-day event beginning June 1 with a wine and dog walk sponsored by the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.

On Thursday, June 2, a “Pub Crawl” will travel by shuttle buses to participating Dallas-area nightclubs.

MetroBall at Station 4 on Friday, June 3 will be an evening of dancing, raffles and fundraising, as well as entertainment.

During the day of Saturday, June 4 the Cedar Springs Merchants Association will host a street fair and sale.  The main event, the Razzle Dazzle Dallas street party, will fill Cedar Springs that night.

Razzle Dazzle wraps up on Sunday, June 5 with closing parties at participating Oak Lawn nightclubs.

For updates, follow Razzle Dazzle Dallas on Facebook and Twitter.

—  David Taffet

CSMA announces new event schedule for 2011

First Wednesday events are ending, but Whittall says quarterly Wine Walks, other regular events will make up the difference

JEFFERSON JOHNSON  |  Staff Writer
intern@dallasvoice.com

Although Cedar Springs Merchant Association is ending its monthly First Wednesday parties, CSMA President Scott Whittall, co-owner of Buli, said this week a calendar of quarterly Wine Walks and monthly events have taken effect.

“We changed our First Wednesday event to a quarterly event for 2011,” Whittall said about one of the first obvious changes taking effect this year.

First Wednesday now will be replaced with a quarterly Wine Walk, he explained. “The wine walks are always a really good turnout and people like the concept.”

Every wine walk will feature a new $5 commemorative glass for guests to take into participating stores to mingle, browse and shop, with the wine offered compliments of the individual stores.

Whittall says it’s also a great way for customers to meet and greet the owners.

By selling commemorative glasses, CSMA hopes to make some money back, which accounts for the cost of the glasses. Proceeds will also help fund future events, plus the glasses will give wine walks a sense of occasion, he said.

Whittall said that even though the Cedar Springs Arts Festivals in both 2009 and 2010 failed to reach their fundraising goals, the spring festival will return this year.

This time, Whittall said, organizers know what pitfalls to watch for, what to do and what not to do.

“We hope to have more than 100 artists and vendors,” Whittall said, compared to last year’s 70 or so.
Whittall said CSMA is known for its interesting fundraising events, like underwear auctions, and for throwing a great street party.

“We’re always racking our brains to come up with some new and exciting fundraisers,” like the Super Street Party the association is holding on Cedar Springs during Super Bowl weekend next month.

The Super Party, sponsored by Bud Light, is one of the larger events CSMA has planed, Whittall said. He said it will be similar to the annual Pride parade, but with a football twist.

Whittall also stressed that the event is not affiliated with the National Football League in any way, but that he hopes it will draw out-of-towners to the area and help spotlight Cedar Springs.

The purpose of all the CSMA events, Whittall said, is to have fun while raising funds to benefit and help beautify the gayborhood.

The bars and merchants along the Cedar Springs strip are faring well, Whittall said. But, he added, “Cedar Springs is not immune to the economic climate.

Whittall said that times have changed over the last 30 years and that Cedar Springs needs the support of the community to survive and thrive. The more support they get, the more money will be available for events and projects.

“Unfortunately, money is everything,” said Whittall.  “It’s hard to go out and raise funds.”

He said CSMA’s solution is to give donors something — like a wine walk or an arts festival — in return, as opposed to simply asking for a donation. More importantly, he added, donations to CSMA come back to the community in several forms.

CSMA uses funds collected to build streetlights for more safety, to improve signage and sidewalks, among other planned improvements, he said.

“The big message here is support,” said Whittall. “It’s the heart of the gay community of Dallas, and we are dedicated to keeping it just that.

“Everybody here is committed to seeing Cedar Springs be here another 30 years,” Whittall concluded. “But we need help. We need everybody’s support to make sure that does happen.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2001.

—  John Wright

Watch the Texas-OU game and help out a worthy cause: Equality Watch at The Brick on Saturday

Any football fans out there? Any Texas Longhorn fans? What about some Boomer Sooners? If so, then here’s something you may want to check out:

Equality Texas and The Equality Network out of Oklahoma are coming together on Saturday, Oct. 2, to host “Equality Watch,” featuring the annual Texas/OU game on TV, to raise money for the two LGBT equality organizations. It is sponsored by Bud Light and Belvedere Vodka.

The party is being held at The Brick/Joe’s. Admission is $25 at the door, and that gets you access to a complimentary buffet and drink specials. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m., but the party runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. So be prepared to get there early and stay late.

—  admin