Arnold “Arna Lee” Smith, who owned a series of gay bars in Oklahoma City dating back to the 1960s, died Oct. 31 at 83, according to the Metro Star:
During the early 1960s America and Oklahoma were quite different, where being gay was officially still a mental illness, sodomy laws were still in the books, and gay rights (let alone marriage) weren’t even discussed. Police raids on gay bars were common, albeit on dubious pretexts and very selective law enforcement, much facilitated when most people victimized by these tactics were either afraid and/or ashamed to fight back. But even in this dark scenario Arnold’s first club, Lee’s Lounge which opened in the mid 1960s in the Paseo District, was a bright spot for the GLBT community that refused to back down. Although the club endured relentless police harassment, the club proudly kept going. On many occasions when he was arrested along with his customers, he would bail himself and his customers out and re-open the bar the same night. His drag persona, Arna Lee, became famous during this time, accompanied by his outrageously fun costumes and tap dancing with a campy wit to match. During this time he became a Drag Mother to many budding female impersonators, a passion that spanned over 40 years.
Hope you caught the Jònsi piece in the paper this week prior to his show at Verizon Theatre last night. I’m sorry to say I didn’t make the show to give you a full-fledged report how the out frontman of Sigur Ros performed, but I did find this video clip from the show last night.
The YouTube poster split it in two, but the first part (below) of Jònsi’s song “Go Do,” has a better quality than the second and gives you some idea of the show. However, by the looks of this slideshow on the Observer’s site, he clearly had more interesting costumes at other times in the concert.
Dallas Southern Pride is bringing back its Masquerade Ball which looks to be the centerpiece party of the weekend.With special performances by Andre Misrahe, Back Rayne, Kage Khan, pictured, and JuJubee from RuPaul’s Drag U, the night doesn’t stop there. Prepare yourself for the ultimate sex siren battle on the dance floor and of course, the fab and fierce costumes and masks sure to be on hand. You’ll have to see for yourself just what to expect. Just note the time of the event. It’s late, but that means more disco nap.
DEETS: The Warehouse, 1837 Corinth St. Doors at midnight. Ball begins at 3 a.m. $20–$25. DallasSouthernPride.com.
Last January I started running, and I really enjoyed it. So for my 40th birthday, I decided to challenge myself and train for a half marathon. Within a few months of training with the Dallas Running Club, I ran the Heels and Hills and Him Half Marathon.
But since I wasn’t finished challenging myself, I decided to set myself the new goal of running a marathon. In December 2009, I completed the White Rock Marathon. It was an amazing experience.
But after completing my first marathon, I was looking for a way to change up my work out and do something different. So, I bought a bike and completed a duathlon.
Even though it was difficult, I fell in love with the bike. I decided right then and there to challenge myself to do even more. A few months later, a group of friends talked me into riding the MS150.
Riding for a cause gave me so much motivation.
A few months after that, I completed my first Sprint Distance Triathlon. Recently I joined Go3Sports Triathlon Team and have four more races coming up this year.
Normally, I ride three days per week, run several times a week, and swim daily. As you can see, I am a very active person who loves to challenge herself.
What you should also know about me is that I not only love participating in these sports and races, I love coming up with costumes for my races. It is all about having fun.
For years, I have played volleyball with DIVA, the Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, and participated in DIVA’s fundraising efforts for AIDS organizations. And it was friend I play volleyball with that told me about the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.
He told me that when he rode in 2009, he had such a great experience and met lots of new friends. When I heard this, I got really excited because I love to meet new people and make friends.
So, I was like, “Sign me up!”
I joined Team Dallas Voice and started telling everyone about the ride. I actually convinced a few friends to join me. We just started training, but I have loved every moment of it so far.
What I’ve learned over this past year is that you can push your body to the limit as long as you stay focused and positive. I have a great support system with my husband, daughter and many, many friends, and they are the ones helping me stay focused and positive.
I am very passionate about riding with Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS this year. Several of my friends are HIV-positive, and if I can raise money to help them just by riding 150 miles on my bike, then I am so happy to do it!
I am so excited to be a part of the ride this year and can’t wait to make tons of new friends and make a difference for people with HIV/AIDS.
You can make new friends and make a difference at the same time, too. Sign up to ride or crew, or make a donation to someone who is riding or crewing. It will take all of us working together to meet this challenge.
Stacy McKinney is a member of Team Dallas Voice. You can contribute to her or to any other Lone Star Ride participant online at LoneStarRide.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 30, 2010.