It’s official: JR’s is getting a ground-level patio

We’ve heard rumors for months about an upcoming remodel of the 31-year-old JR’s Bar & Grill Dallas, billed as “Texas’ most successful gay nightclub.” This morning, those rumors were finally confirmed.

Rick Espaillat, a spokesman for JR’s owner Caven Enterprises, reports that work began today on a month-long project which, among other things, will give the club a ground-level patio along Cedar Springs Road. When we asked how much of the interior of the club will be eliminated for the patio, Espaillat replied, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”

The last time JR’s underwent significant renovations was 1998, when the second floor and balcony were added, Espaillat said. The club will remain open during the project. Here’s his full statement:

Work began this morning on the new series of improvements to JR’s Bar & Grill Dallas.

The project will bring better, more pedestrian-friendly sidewalks with new trees; better views from the existing upstairs patio, and a new downstairs patio that will give JR’s guests a front-row seat to the gay Crossroads. Work is expected to take a month to complete.

“We’re always looking for ways to grow and improve.  These changes will add to the variety of JR’s, enhance the character of our neighborhood and add to the beautification of Cedar Springs as well” said Gregg Kilhoffer, President of Caven Enterprises.

JR’s Bar & Grill Dallas was created in 1980.  Though still in its original location, the iconic club has grown through three renovations to become Texas’ most successful gay nightclub.  It is owned and managed by Caven Enterprises, an employee-owned company with over 100 staff members.

—  John Wright

Santa’s helpers

HOLIDAY CHEER  | Donald Solomon, Gregg Kilhoffer, Ben Polachek, Marcus Wuntch and Chris Bengston divide presents for each class at Sam Houston Elementary School in Oak Lawn coordinated by Caven Enterprises as part of an annual holiday gift drive for students at the Oak Lawn area school. Staff members and patrons from Dallas Tavern Guild member bars participate now in the effort. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Parade proceeds donation

FOR THE YOUTH  | Officials with Dallas Tavern Guild presents Youth First Texas Development Director Sam Wilkes and Board Chair T.J. Wilson a check for $7,500 representing proceeds from the 2010 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade during a recent DTG meeting. Pictured are, front from left, Culley Johnson, Dallas Eagle; Howard Okun, The Brick; Allen Pierce, The Round-Up Saloon; G. Maywald, BJ’s; Wilkes and Wilson, Youth First Texas; Andy Krumm, BJ’s; Jack Adams, Club Wet; Jesse Avalos, BJ’s and Keith Lackie, Klub Wet; back, from left, Matt Louzau, Barbara’s Pavillion; Dan Faust, Kaliente; Mark Frazier, Dallas Eagle; Greg Kilhoffer, Caven Enterprises; Frank Holland, Pekrs; Gary Miller, Round-Up Saloon; Chris Weinfurter, Woody’s.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Gay Dallas’ connection to the Emmy Awards: ‘Temple Grandin’ and Caven’s Rick Espaillat

Rick Espaillat of Dallas, right, appeared in the Emmy-winning HBO movie “Temple Grandin,” in which Claire Danes, center, portrayed autistic animal scientist Temple Grandin, left.

The HBO movie “Temple Grandin” — about the autistic woman noted not just for her advocacy on behalf of those with autism, but also for her work as an animal scientist — hit it big Sunday night at The Emmy Awards, taking home five awards.

Claire Danes won the trophy for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.” The movie won for “Outstanding Made For TV Movie.” Mick Jackson won for “Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special.” Alex Wurman won for “Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special: Original Dramatic Score.” And Leo Trombetta won for “Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or Movie.”

But why should we care? I mean, what was so “gay” about “Temple Grandin” that an LGBT newspaper should take notice (aside from the fabulous black-and-red “rancher outfit” that Grandin herself wore to the Emmys)?

The answer is simple: Rick Espaillat.

Espaillat, the media/public relations manager for Caven Enterprises, has also made a name for himself on stages around Dallas, especially in productions with Uptown Players. He has performed in Uptown productions of “The History Boys,” “Southern Baptist Sissies,” “The Life” and “Equus.” And he has been in commercials for AT&T and Hasbro.

Check out his listing on IMDB, and you’ll find that he has also had roles in “A Thousand Cocktails Later,” “Karma Police,” “Midlothia” and “Love Machine.”

But “Temple Grandin” is the big news right now, and Rick played “the French lecturer” in that one. And even though he didn’t get to stand up on the Emmy stage and get a trophy, I think he deserves recognition for contributing to what was obviously one of the best movies on television this past year. So cheers Rick: Here’s to you.

—  admin

Pink Party raises $6K to fight breast cancer

Rick Espaillat, media director for Caven Enterprises, reports that with the help of the Sue Ellen’s Walking Team (pictured), last Friday’s 3rd annual Pink Party raised $6,000 that will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We’ve posted a full slideshow from the event here.

—  John Wright

Westboro Baptist Church Memorial Ice Maker arrives at Resource Center Dallas

The Westboro Baptist Church Memorial Ice Maker

Resource Center Dallas’ new ice maker arrived on Tuesday afternoon. The machine was purchased with the funds raised from the “Hell Freezes Over” fundraising counterprotest of the Westboro Baptist Church’s appearance at RCD on July 9.

“Once again, a big thanks to everybody who donated and showed support! Resource Center Dallas would also like to thank Caven Enterprises, Cathedral of Hope, Buffalo Wild Wings on Lemmon Ave. and Kroger on Cedar Springs Rd. for allowing us to get ice after our old machine broke,” said RCD spokesman Rafael McDonnell. “Also, special thanks to Congregation Beth El Binah for their long-standing support of the Center. We will hold a formal dedication of the machine either late next week or the week of August 9.”

The fundraising total from “Hell Freezes Over” has neared $11,000. McDonnell joked that he would welcome a return visit from the Phelps cult, but asked them to time it for the next fiscal year.

—  David Taffet

Comedian Shann Carr plans to perform tonight at Sue Ellen's — whether they know it or not

Thanks to Hardy Haberman, I hear that Shann Carr is heading to Dallas tonight to perform stand-up. According to the tour dates on her site, she’s set to play Dallas May 15, but according to Haberman’s Twitter feed, she’s showing up tonight at Sue Ellen’s in her pink RV. The thing is, she doesn’t seem to have an official gig lined up here.

Let’s play it out.

I read this Haberman tweet first – “Shann Carr is going to show up at Sue Ellens tonight as a SURPRISE! Be there, I predict fun & fireworks!In response, I asked Haberman and Caven’s Rick Espaillat what the deal was. Espaillat told me this was news to him unless she’s just going to partake in tonight’s karaoke at Sue Ellen’s. Haberman was kind enough to send me the note Carr had sent him. The e-mail mentioned, “I thought we had a gig at Sue Ellen’s but they bagged on us. So we’re taking our pink and blue rhinestone RV down there tonight to show ‘em what they’re missing. We’ll be there around 8. Anybody wanna meet us there? ”

And that’s all I got for now, folks. I put in a call to Carr this afternoon but have yet to hear back. However, her tour poster and postcards mention it as the filming of a comedy/reality series. See after the jump.

If anything, I’d stick close to Sue Ellen’s tonight for perhaps some guerrilla comedy going on. Just look for the big pink RV.

—  Rich Lopez