SMU vote inspires Harvey Milk Day celebration on Cedar Springs

Harvey Milk DayDallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a proclamation to Hope 4 Peace and Justice, naming Thursday, May 22, 2014, as Harvey Milk Day.

Harvey Milk Day Dallas organizer Todd Whitley said H4PJ was inspired to create a celebration by LGBT students at Southern Methodist University who were recently denied representation in the Student Senate.

“We’re still having this fight today? Seriously?” Whitley said. “Harvey’s message is needed now more than ever.”

He said organizers thought of the SMU students and elderly LGBT folks who have fought homophobia their entire lives.

Sammi Partida was one of the SMU students who campaigned for LGBT representation in the Student Senate. He said Harvey Milk is a voice for those who have been suppressed.

“His approach was comprehensive,” he said, covering issues from child care to affordable housing to senior citizen.

He said Milk had a passion that’s hard to match.

“When coming in as city supervisor, he knew he was putting down his life for countless people,” Partida said. “He’s so inspiring.”

Whitley said coming out saved his life.

“I was dying, unable to be the authentic me,” he said, “and doing so completely changed my life.”

Whitley agreed and said Milk’s legacy spoke to him personally.

“Gone far too soon, Harvey Milk inspired a generation to ‘bust down those closet doors’ and ‘come out,’ a vital, life-saving action it would take me 38 years to finally do myself. … That’s what his legacy is to me,” Whitley said.

Milk’s call to come out is as relevant today as it was when he was killed in 1978.

Whitley challenged straight people to honor Harvey Milk Day by coming out for equality as well.

“If you’re straight — particularly a straight Christian — and believe that LGBTQ folks are equal to you, come out so people know where you stand and can use your example to eliminate their own bigotry,” he said.

Milk has a special connection to Dallas. In 1957, he briefly lived in Dallas, according to the San Francisco library, before returning to New York. He was transferred here in 1969 by Bache & Co. where he was a securities analyst and lived at 2525 Turtle Creek Blvd. before moving to San Francisco.

In honor of Milk, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a Harvey Milk stamp Thursday.

A community celebration of Harvey Milk Day takes place at the Legacy of Love Monument on Cedar Springs Road at Oak Lawn Avenue on May 22 at 8 p.m. The celebration features speakers which include SMU student Sammi Partida and Cathedral of Hope Interim Pastor Jim Mitulski, a musical performance by Chris Chism, an excerpt of the H4PJ production Dear Harvey and a spoken word performance by local activist Meg Hargis followed by a candlelight march down Cedar Springs Road and cake and ice cream at Sue Ellen’s.

—  David Taffet

Oak Lawn listed as 8th-best neighborhood in U.S. for millennials

3102-oak-lawn-avenue-dallas-tx-75219Niche Ink, a website dedicated to education analysis, reported Monday that Oak Lawn is the eighth-best neighborhood in the U.S. for young people to live in. The organization  put together a list of the best metro areas for millennials. They ranked the metro areas in the U.S. using a dozen factors, including data from the U.S. Census, FBI crime rates, and Niche Ink user opinions on the best places for life after graduation. They then calculated the best neighborhood for young people in each of those cities. (You can read the full methodology here.)

The report said “Oak Lawn is one of the wealthiest areas of Dallas with a lot of urban professionals, townhouses, condos, and apartments. There are a lot of good restaurants, bars, and clubs, particularly for the LGBT community. Fifteen percent of its population is aged 25 to 34, and it has a median rent of $874. The average income is $29,830.

Midtown in Houston came in at No. 21, and South River City in Austin ranked No. 2. We can live with Austin beating us out. Houston? That’s never going to happen. And the average income in Oak Lawn is $29,830? Well, I need a raise.

To see the listings, click here.

—  Steve Ramos

Which picture makes openly straight City Councilman Philip Kingston look more gay?

In which picture does openly straight Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston look more gay? In his Black Tie picture with City Council partner Adam Medrano or in his NOH8 picture with City Council partner Adam Medrano? Philip’s wife Melissa wants to know.

Philip sent me the first two pictures posing Melissa’s question. I’ve added two more, just to throw fuel on the fire: In his Cedar Springs picture at the opening of Out of the Closet with City Council partner Adam Medrano or in his Pooch Parade picture with city council partner Adam Medrano?

Philip & Adam Black Tie

Philip & Adam at Black Tie Dinner

Philip & Adam NOH8

Philip & Adam at NOH8

Philip & Adam Cedar Springs

Adam & Philip at Out of the Closet opening on Cedar Springs with an elegantly attired sister

Philip & Adam Pooch Parade

Adam & Philip judging the Pooch Parade in Lee Park

—  David Taffet

Failed transformer throws The Strip into darkness


A Dallas police officer directs traffic on the darkened corner of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street on Saturday. A failed transformer eliminated power along several blocks of The Strip.

A transformer on the corner of Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street burst into sparks at about 11 p.m. Saturday, causing the power to fail on several blocks on The Strip. Dozens of businesses, including several of the clubs, lost their power. On one side of the street, JR’s Bar and Grill was dark, but S4 still had power. Down the road, Woody’s, Italia Express, Havana, ilume and many other businesses were managing without electricity.

Dallas police officers directed traffic as the streets filled with club patrons. The officers had no information about how long it would take to restore power.

—  Steve Ramos

Carrollton man robbed at gunpoint on Hall Street

Screen shot 2014-01-18 at 10.31.39 AM

A 21-year-old Carrollton man told Dallas police three men robbed him Friday night at 3922 N. Hall St., taking $255 worth of property.

A 21-year-old Carrollton man told Dallas police three men robbed him at gunpoint Friday night at 3922 N. Hall St.

The police report states the victim parked his car to visit a friend in an apartment, and when he returned to the car at about 9:18 p.m., a man walked around a small partition wall, pointed an automatic black pistol at him and said, “Give me your money and anything in your pockets.”

The victim gave the man his wallet and cell phone, according to the report. Two other men then walked around the corner, and one of them, along with the first man who brandished the gun, searched the victim’s pockets while the third man acted as a look-out.

The gunman then fled south on foot, and the other two men fled west on foot.

The victim wasn’t injured during the robbery, the report states, but he said the property taken from him is worth $255.

Because the men used a gun in the robbery, the crime is listed as aggravated. The police report doesn’t provide a description of the suspects.

Other people in the Cedar Springs area also found themselves relieved of hundreds of dollars for hefty towing charges after United Towing moved their vehicles from restricted areas.

One particular spot behind the Round-Up Saloon has become a hot spot for towing. Despite a clear sign that says parking on the sidewalk is prohibited, people have continued to park in a spot that straddles the parking lot and the sidewalk.

photo 2

This area behind the Round-Up Saloon has proven to be a boon for United Towing. People continue to park in the spot beside this truck, half of it on the sidewalk, despite a warning sign.

“I was leaving the Round-Up to go home, but found that my car had been towed,” one man said. When he called United Towing, they told him it would cost $160 to get his car back.

“While I was making the call, four other people pulled into that same spot where I was towed, so I told each of them not to park there,” he said.

Each week, several cars have been towed from that spot, although United Towing declined to say how many.


—  Steve Ramos

Rainbow-colored ‘B-G’ letters arrive at the ilume on Cedar Springs


Just in time for the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality rulings, the rainbow-colored “B-G” letters have arrived, as promised, at the ilume on Cedar Springs. Above is Dallas Voice’s Chance Browning striking a pose this afternoon, fittingly, in his “Marriage is so gay” tee. A few more pics after the jump.

—  John Wright

Kroger adds security to parking lot to prevent late night noise, partying


The Kroger on Cedar Springs Road has added more security to its parking lot on weekends to try to curb noise and illegal activity after the bars close.

Kroger spokesman Gary Huddleston said two weeks ago that the store wanted to work with Dallas police and ilume management to create a permanent solution to ilume’s concerns about late night partying continuing in the unmonitored pay lot.

He said he’s now met with all the stakeholders and more security has been added to maintain control of the parking lot.

Joshuah Welch, director of operations at ilume, said the store is working to maintain security until 4 a.m. when the last of the bars close, which has been helping.

“This is helping clear out the loitering and parking lot parties that were occurring after hours,” he said.

Welch previously told Dallas Voice that the parking lot has become a nuisance with noise and partying after the parking lot attendant took money and left it unsupervised. Ilume has offered to operate the parking lot for Kroger in the past, which Huddleston said was one of the ideas to solve the issues that have increased over the past few months.

Welch said the increased security will continue on a trial run for a month before management meets with Kroger again about the issue, but he is “hopeful that this is a permanent solution to the noise and chaos that was occurring in the parking lot after hours.”

—  Dallasvoice

Woman arrested for DWI after striking 2 pedestrians on Cedar Springs

Valerie Wilson

Valerie Wilson

A woman was arrested for driving while intoxicated early Sunday after two pedestrians were hit on Cedar Strings Road.

Valerie Michelle Wilson, 26, struck two pedestrians who were walking near Italia Express at 2:30 a.m., Dallas police spokeswoman LaTonia Kelly said.

Kelly said witnesses alerted off-duty police officers working nearby. Police later discovered Wilson had been drinking and arrested her.

Both pedestrians were transported to Parkland for treatment. Kelly said their injuries weren’t listed in the initial report.

After two pedestrians were killed on Cedar Springs in 2011, the city installed flashing crosswalk lights and other improvements designed to make the area safer.

—  Dallasvoice

Dallas Voice staffer brings Station 4 pickpockets to justice


After he used an app to track down his stolen iPhone and called police, Chad snapped this photo of DPD officers taking the suspects into custody.

One of our sales reps here at Dallas Voice, Chad Mantooth, fell victim to pickpockets on the dancefloor of Station 4 on Friday night. As those of us who look through police reports regularly know, this is an all-too-common occurrence. (I would avoid taking your wallet to the club – but if you do, carry it in your front pocket.)

While what happened to Chad is common, what makes his story unusual is that he subsequently took the law into his own hands and tracked down the thieves — who are now facing charges. And thanks to him there are a few less pickpockets in the Cedar Springs gay bars. Below is the real-life, gay-on-gay crime story as Chad tells it:

—  John Wright

Aura Salon fills long-vacant space on Cedar Springs; open house Saturday


Aura Salon has filled one of the longest-vacant spaces on the Cedar Springs strip.

Owner Darel McCurdy said the salon is open with four operators and he has space for 10 more. Before moving to Oak Lawn, he said he worked at a salon in Frisco for 15 years.

“I’ve wanted to come back down to the community for a long time now,” he said.

He said he is looking forward to greeting people at his open house that will be held on Saturday at the salon.

The space has been vacant for two-and-a-half years. The previous tenant was Zen Clips.

Buli, the cafe next door, had plans to expand with an option to lease the space for more than a year. Those expansion plans to turn the coffeehouse into a piano bar were halted by the city because of lack of parking for a bar or restaurant, which require more parking than retail tenants. That deal fell through and Buli remains a coffee and sandwich shop.

Currently, the only vacancy in the heart of the strip is the space formerly occupied by Drama Room. Another long-vacant space that was formerly An Occasional Piece is now the S4L spin studio.

Open house: 3910 Cedar Springs Road, Feb. 16 at 6–9 p.m. Wine, cocktails and appetizers served.

—  David Taffet