A Brit abroad in Dallas

Doug Mayo may like Dallas more than a native Texan.

The Australian-born travel writer, now living in Great Britain, has visited as part of the Tavern Guild’s international journalists’ tour on several occasions; the last time, in April, he ended up staying a week longer than anyone else.

And the entire time he was here, Mayo had a look on his face like a kid in a candy shop. And he knows it.

“I love Dallas,” he gushes on a rare break from sightseeing. “Dallas is all about the people — I’ve met the nicest people in the world here. I could actually live here quite easily.”

Even during the Texas summer? Well, for Mayo, it’s less about the weather than what it has to offer.

“It’s probably not as much of a culture shock as moving somewhere else,” he says. “[People] don’t equate Dallas with culture, but you appreciate wine, cabaret, the arts. The performing arts district is out of this world —the Wyly and the Winspear are amazing. And for me, it does seem to be a Democratic state, considering that there are some Republican presidents from here.”
So what does an Aussie by way of England find so appealing about Dallas? Just give him a second to count the ways.

“The Round-Up is just surreal because it’s such a Dallas thing — there’s something about it that is distinctively ‘Texas,’” Mayo says. “You don’t realize it, but you won’t find something like that in London.”

The Book Depository is a draw as well, as is some of our architecture: “My last tour, we toured the construction of Cowboys Stadium. It’s a phenomenal building.” He even enjoyed going a bit west to Cowtown to see the cattle drive and inspect Bass Hall before trips to Billy Bob’s and the Rainbow Lounge, all of which he loved.

And what about the food? Well, that might be the easiest sell of all.

“Central 214’s my favorite,” he says. “[Chef] Blythe Beck can work out a way of chicken-frying anything.”

That’s Texas all right.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Dallas’ gay Latino godfather returns

After we put up an old photo earlier showing Chairez with long hair, he asked us to replace it with this. “I have a new look: lost weight and cut my hair,” he said. 

Jesus Chairez, known as the “godfather” of Dallas’ LGBT Latino movement, says he’s moving back to Big D from Mexico City, where he’s lived for the last two-and-a-half years. From an e-mail this morning:

I should be in Dallas on September 17th after Mexico’s big party on September 15, which this year celebrates Mexico’s 200 years of Independence from Spain and commemorates 100 years of the Mexican revolution of 1910.

For your information September 16th is Mexico Independence day, but the party always starts on Sept 15th with the GRITO of the current President of Mexico in the Zocalo. I will be in the middle of the Zocalo with thousands of people. This is how I will close my book too, by being here for Mexico’s 200-year anniversary.

About my book that I will be writing:  from DFW to DF and back. (DF is how Mexico City is known by Mexicans, it is the Federal District, much like our D.C., it is not a state). It will be a book about my life as a gay Latino, a gay Latino activist that started DFW’s first Latino GLBT group and that started USA’s first Latino GLBT radio show, Sin Fronteras. One that went to the motherland, the land that was my grandparents, and returned.

I would have left on Sept 16th but I don’t want to fly with a hangover. I will be in Dallas for the Pride Parade, too — YEA.

We’ve posted Chairez’s goodbye letter to Mexico City below. He says he plans to stay in Dallas until he gets the book written, but may then travel elsewhere, perhaps to Buenos Aires. Welcome back for now, Santo Gay.

—  John Wright