Holiday Cheer

Teddy-BearsSPREADING JOY  |  Party hosts Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs are joined by party sponsors and friends on Saturday, Dec. 17, to deliver the more than 250 teddy bears donated during Hanna’s annual Toys for Tots holiday party to Medical City Children’s Hospital. The party, held Dec. 10, also brought cash donations that went to the Theodore Roosevelt Association. Hanna started holding a holiday party at his home in 2009. But in 2010, after both his parents were diagnosed with cancer, Hanna decided to turn the party into an effort to collect toy donations for children with cancer. This year, thanks to much larger expected attendance, Hanna and new co-host Joe Riggs and added sponsors, local attorneys Steve Rahhl and Mike Richardson, to help cover the costs and effort of moving the party to The Davis Building in downtown Dallas. Use of the building was donated by its owner, The Bascom Building.

—  Kevin Thomas

Diablos raise $12K putting men on the market

We all expect to pay for a hooker, but the hooker at Woody’s on Sunday — and that’s a position in rugby, folks — took several hundred bucks, making him, officially, a high-priced hooker. Then again, the wings (including Nick Hughes, pictured with co-host Susy Solis), center, fullback, prop and flankers netted beaucoup bucks, too, making the Dallas Diablos Rugby Football Club’s annual bachelor auction a success. All in all, with bids and merchandise sales, the team went home $12,300 richer.

Below are some other photos of the auction, provided by Hank Henley Photography.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Game time!

RCD puts a twist on  themes for its 10th season of Gay Bingo

David Taffet  | Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

The 10th anniversary season of Resource Center Dallas’ monthly Gay Bingo fundraiser begins Jan. 15 with a celebration of the Super Bowl and gets more fabulous with each coming month.

Gay Bingo Football XLV is just the first of the monthly themed games, which in 2011 — Dallas’ 10th season of the event — plays like a list of greatest hits from previous years.

“For our 10th anniversary, we decided to revisit some of the best themes over the past decade, and put a new spin on them for 2011,” said Henry Ramirez III, center programs manager for Resource Center Dallas and coordinator of Gay Bingo, which has released a new logo.

Jenna Skyy and Patti Le Plae Safe will continue to co-host Gay Bingo in Station 4’s Rose Room, along with celebrity guests and M.C.s. Asia O’Hara has officially joined the cast as well.

Proceeds from the campy game support RCD programs and initiatives, but partnerships with more organizations in the new year will also help with fundraising for Black Tie Dinner, Home for the Holidays and other charitable events.

“I think what’s important is that people understand Gay Bingo is a part of RCD and know more where their money is going to,” he says.

For 2011, the themes are:

Feb. 19: Gay Bingo Carnival will celebrate Mardi Gras madness.

Mar. 19: It’s Spectacular! Spectacular Gay Bingo at the Moulin Rouge.

Apr. 16: DIVA of Gay Bingo wants you to bring out that inner diva.

May 21: Tribes of Gay Bingo will test players’ survival skills.

June 8: Gay Bingo Studio 70 will bring back the bellbottoms and flared collars.

July 16: Gay Bingo Live! will be the official 10th anniversary celebration.

Aug. 20: Gay Bingo Cinema will ask what your favorite black and white film is.

Sept. 17: Hope your hair wins at Wigstock Gay Bingo.

Oct. 15: The Gay Bingo Daily Planet will pit superheroes against villains.

Nov. 19: Do ask, do tell at Gay Bingo Platoon.

For more information and to pre-order tickets, visit RCDallas.org.

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

—  Michael Stephens

NFL analyst Dan Hampton to apologize on the air to the gays — but probably not the Cowboys

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reports that “Pro Football Weekly” co-host Dan Hampton is set to apologize on the air this week for a homophobic comment he made last week, when he said the Dallas Cowboys are more “Brokeback” than “Eastwood.” Hampton apologized Monday night for another offensive comment, in which he suggested that the Minnesota Vikings need to “hit that town like Katrina” when they play the New Orleans Saints on Thursday. From GLAAD’s blog:

Hampton publicly apologized for the Katrina gaffe, but has not yet addressed the Brokeback comment. Pro Football Weekly publisher Hub Arkush told GLAAD that Hampton will be leading this weekend’s show with an on-air apology for both statements. Arkush said “it shouldn’t have happened” and assured GLAAD that similar incidents will not happen again.

No word on whether Hampton plans to apologize to the Cowboys, who undoubtedly will perpetuate the homophobia by using his comment as bulletin-board material.

—  John Wright

Surge in homophobic comments on the air can only mean one thing — it’s football season!

Dan Hampton, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman who now apparently works as an analyst for the MSG Network, used a homophobic metaphor to disparage the Dallas Cowboys on the air over the weekend.

“The Cowboys think they’re Clint Eastwood,” Hampton says in the above video clip. “They’re more of the Brokeback variety if you know what I’m talking about.”

Hampton’s co-host responds by saying, “No I don’t, please explain.”

Instead of explaining the Brokeback comment, Hampton goes on to make an even more offensive one. Referring to an upcoming game in which the New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings, Hampton says, “The Vikings need to go down there and hit that town like Katrina.” (Video is below.)

What an idiot. Let’s hope MSG cans Hampton by the close of business Tuesday. If they do, we’re sure it will be mostly because of the Katrina comment. After all, homophobia is probably encouraged on these stupid shows to boost ratings.

UPDATE: Hampton has apologized for the Katrina comment on Pro Football Weekly, but not for the homophobic remark about the Cowboys.

—  John Wright

Lone Star Ride in (on) the news!

Cynthia Izaguirre of Dallas’ News 8 Daybreak interviews Lone Star Ride co-chair Laura Kerr on the Katy Trail Tuesday morning.

Around 15 cyclists participating in the 10th annual Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS got up bright and early this morning to hit the Katy Trail to meet with Cynthia Izaguirre, co-host of WFAA-Channel 8′s News 8 Daybreak program. Izaguirre interviewed LSR co-chair Laura Kerr, event manager David Minehart and Pos Pedaler Jim Frederick, and the rest of us were there with our bikes and bright jerseys to ride down the trail together for the “B-roll” extra footage.

Ms. Izaguirre told us the segment should air on Tuesday, Aug. 17, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. (unless it gets bumped by some big breaking news story. If that happens, watch for it on Thursday, Aug. 19 at the same time).

She also asked for as many LSRiders as possible — at least 50, she said — to gather in the Plaza at Victory Park about 6 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 — the day before Lone Star Ride — for the filming of News 8 Daybreak. So if you are a LSRider, put it on your calendar and head on day that morning in your jerseys, with your bike and all your gear. (I know, I know. That means getting up at the ass-crack of dawn, which I hate. But I can do it this one time for such a great cause, and so can you!)

Even if you’re not a rider but you are LSR supporter, come on down that morning. The more the merrier.

News 8 Daybreak’s Cynthia Izaguirre interviews LSR event manager David Mineheart, above, and Pos Pedaler Jim Frederick, below.

—  admin

Midway Hills begins capital campaign

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Roger Wedell
Roger Wedell

Midway Hills Christian Church has kicked off a capital campaign to raise $400,000 to renovate and update the facility. Spokesman Tom Peck called it an “express campaign” to raise the money in August.

Campaign co-chair Roger Wedell said the total goal was $900,000 and the improvements would help the church better serve the community.
The church has a long history of welcoming the LGBT community. In the 1970s, Midway Hills was one of only four Dallas congregations to co-host a program on churches and homosexuality.

Midway Hills was one of the original rehearsal spaces for the Turtle Creek Chorale, and fFor more than 15 years, the church hosted P-FLAG.

Early in the AIDS crisis, Midway Hills met the challenge when other churches shunned people with AIDS or ignored the problem. It was one of the first churches to form an AIDS Interfaith Network care team.

Wedell said the renovations to the building would create more flexible spaces.

“We hope to accommodate a wider variety of groups in the community,” he said. “And a wider variety of worship and contemporary expressions.”
Rather than fixed pews, the main sanctuary would have modular seating and the chancel would be moveable

“We have a long tradition of incorporating music,” said Wedell. The new configuration would make it easier to incorporate those elements, he said.

“The current entrance to the sanctuary will converted into a new chapel,” he said.

Also in the plans is reconfiguring the entrance.

“Right now, it’s difficult to know what door you should use,” Wedell said.

He said the new main entrance would be handicap accessible. The current front entrance does not meet federal standards.
That entrance will open to a large gathering space for displays, small group use and fellowship.

Wedell said the building is already booked four nights a week. He said the church hosts English as a second language classes, 12-step programs and a square dance group, among others. He said he couldn’t think of a group affiliated with the church that didn’t include LGBT members.

The church had its start in the 1950s and has always been located at its current Midway Road location just north of Royal Lane. At the time, there was lots of open space in the area and large tracts of land were just being developed for housing.

The church is a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination. Wedell explained that congregations in the denomination have a national affiliation but strong local control. He called it the oldest indigenous U.S. Protestant denomination, formed in the 1800s from a merger of several smaller movements.
“As a small denomination, we’ve been involved far beyond our numbers in ecumenical work,” he said.

The congregation has about 200 active members.

“It all goes back to the vision our original members had for the church,” Peck said, “to make an impact far beyond the walls of the church.”

When Dallas first desegregated its school, members of Midway Hills voted to bus their own children. During the Vietnam War, the church became a Shalom or “peace” Congregation, and it was involved with resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Midway helped settle Afghan refugees.

“We helped them with housing and getting stabilized in the community,” Peck said.

In addition to its own congregation, a Peace Mennonite church hold services in the building early on Sunday morning and a new Latino congregation is also using the facility.

To raise the initial $400,000 and eventual $900,000 for additional renovations including resurfacing the parking lot, redesign of the peace garden, remodeling the restrooms and retrofitting the fire protection system, church leaders hope to reach out to the broader community.

“We’re contacting people and organizations we consider to be friends,” Wedell said. And over the years, the church has developed lots of friends.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Crafty fellow: ‘Top Chef’ co-host hits Dallas

Craft chef and reality star Tom Colicchio makes a rare Dallas visit — and toys with his bear fans

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

‘Top Chef’ judge Tom Colicchio
BEAR BAIT | Just the presence of ‘Top Chef’ judge Tom Colicchio in town sent local reservations at Craft soaring, but he says Dallas’ kitchen is the best at staying true to his vision of simple but exceptional food. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Lots of great chefs get their first culinary experience in inauspicious settings. Stephan Pyles trained at his family’s West Texas truck stop. Rick Bayless learned in an Oklahoma barbecue joint.

For Tom Colicchio, it a snack bar in Elizabeth, N.J.

“My parents belonged to a swim club,” he says from the cushiony bar in the lobby of the W Victory Hotel Downtown. “I got to go to work in shorts, no shoes, no shirt. It was the best job I ever had.” He eventually moved up to Burger King.

And then finally, he became Tom Colicchio. Which makes him possibly America’s most famous chef.

He knows why, of course: Television. Colicchio is the co-host and senior judge on Top Chef, the hit Bravo reality competition series that puts lesser-known cooks through the paces to discover the best young chef in the country. He’s also the creator of Top Chef Masters, which pits Colicchio’s friends and colleagues against each other for charity … and bragging rights.

“I was very hesitant to do TV. I said no three times before I said yes. But I think we are making quality television.”

Still, while TV has brought him (more) fame and (more) money, it’s not something he’d necessarily want on his gravestone.

“I spend maybe 20 days a season working on the show,” he says, slightly flustered. “And I don’t do the Top Chef tours. No one ever prints that.”
But neither can he ignore that the recognition associated with celebrity has brought him sincere if unusual attention. Short, shaved-headed and stockily built, Colicchio has been a sex object to gay men, especially in the bear community, almost since the show first aired. It’s a role the straight chef accepts with humor and grace.

“I was on Andy Cohen’s show on Bravo [Watch What Happens, which films in Los Angeles] and said I was mad at the bear community:  The gay Pride parade was going on, and no one had asked me to be on a float,” he says. The show was soon flooded with calls, including the editor of Bear’s Life magazine. The end result? Colicchio is already booked to ride on a bear float in next year’s L.A. Pride parade.

It was just over seven years ago that Colicchio sold Gramercy Tavern, his acclaimed New York bistro, and started a new concept — Craft, which uses as much local, sustainable and organic small-production food as possible in simple yet flavorful preparations. Its success — there are now eight in the chain — brought him his second wave of fame; TV just added to it.

Colicchio was in Dallas (coincidentally) on the third anniversary of the opening of Craft Dallas inside the W, cooking alongside his on-site exec chef, Jeff Harris. It’s a rare experience for him, but one he relishes.

“All my chefs know that 50 percent of their job is quality control — getting best ingredients,” he says. And the Dallas branch is as good as any in his fleet at staying true to the concept.

“The biggest challenge is getting the chefs to keep it simple — they always want to push it. And I’m always saying, ‘Pull it back! Pull it back!’ Jeff is good at that.”

It’s not always easy keeping things in check. Colicchio is dedicated to sourcing his food from smaller, family-owned farms, though he balks at insisting on the term “local.” “If you’re truly local, you wouldn’t have any lemons or tea,” he says. “How far do you take it?” But it’s his resistance to go for corporate farming is what keeps prices high at his restaurant.

“The food we use is expensive — I’m not charging to rip people off. That’s the real price of food,” he says, when it’s not subsidized.

Organic, farm fresh food is a passion for him. And that’s a long way from flipping burgers poolside.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 9, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens