We’re the Best! Vote for Oak Lawn as Best Gayborhood

Best gayborhoods

So, here’s your chance to show your Texas Pride. OutTraveler.com, the online travel site that caters to the LGBT community, is in the midst of its annual Out Traveler Awards. The category up for votes right now is “Best Gayborhood,” and Dallas’ Oak Lawn is one of 10 contenders for the title.

OutTraveler.com calls the “Best Gayborhood” content “the most contentious” and “the most controversial” category in the Out Traveler Awards:

“We have ownership in the neighborhoods we consider our own; those places we can let our hair down and be ourselves. But what really makes the best LGBT neighborhood? Is it restaurants, bars, walkability, clean streets, public transit, or safety? Think long and hard before you vote, because the top queer area may not be the one down the street, but the enclave we discovered while on vacation or during a work trip.”

The site explains that Out Traveler editors chose the 10 nominees on the list, but “we’re amenable to write in candidates in the comments section.” Other nominees are Boystown in Chicago, Boystown in West Hollywood/Los Angeles, Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan/NYC, Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., the Castro in San Francisco, Wilton Manors in Ft. Lauderdale, Washington Square West in Philadelphia, Midtown in Atlanta and Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Dallas Tavern Guild, the association of LGBT nightclubs that puts on Dallas’ LGBT Pride events each year, is rooting for Oak Lawn to win the award, and Executive Director Michael Doughman urged everyone to go to the site to vote.

“We have some good competition but I know if we make an effort we can win this award,” Doughman said. We may not have won much in the midterm elections, but we have a chance for national recognition for our community. Let’s do this!”

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is also urging everyone to vote for Oak Lawn.

But do it quickly. The polls close two weeks from yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 11), and winners will be announced the first week in December.

—  Tammye Nash

Rainbow-themed entry among finalists for best photo taken in B-G letters

BIG

Nickalaus Swan in front of ilume.

Visit Dallas is running a contest for best photo taken with its B-G letters. And while we’d never try to influence the outcome of an election, we think it’s noteworthy that the week-eight winner — which is now one of the finalists — was taken between the rainbow-colored letters at ilume.

Although our cover shot of the glamorous Jenna Skyy in a flowing red Balanciaga gown didn’t make it into the finals, the above photo with Nickalaus Swan holding a rainbow fan did. This was after publicist Scott Barretto and ilume developer Luke Crosland had the letters repainted in rainbow colors and placed in front of the Cedar Springs complex. They will remain there until September.

The tally in Visit Dallas’ contest finals, at the time of this writing, had Swan tied for fourth place. But he was only 20 votes behind the leader.

To vote, go to Visit Dallas on Facebook and “like” the page. Then click on the People’s Choice tab. Swan’s picture, marked “Week Eight Winner” is at the very top. Click “vote” and share.

—  David Taffet

Rainbow-colored version of ‘B-G’ letters coming to Oak Lawn

BIG_Oaklawn

A mock-up of the rainbow-colored ‘B-G’ sculpture.

Dallas’ “B-G” letters are coming to Oak Lawn repainted in rainbow colors, according to Scott Barretto.

Barretto’s Social House Media agency and ilume developer Luke Crossland are paying for the colorful paint job and the sculpture will be placed outside Crossland’s building at Knight Street and Cedar Springs Road in front of the old Monica’s.

Barretto said painting should take about six days but the letters in rainbow colors should be ready in time for some June Pride Month photography.

The letters are part of a marketing campaign conducted by the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote tourism to the city. The idea is for people to be photographed standing between the “B” and “G” to make the “I.” The letters have been placed in various places around the city, but not in Oak Lawn.

—  David Taffet

Dallas among best cities for travelers

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When the gay travel writers’ group left Dallas last week, chances are some of them had a pretty satisfying experience. That would be borne out by a recent survey by CardHub.com about the best (and worst) cities for summer travel.

Based on analysis of information from Kayak.com about 30 major U.S. cities, the survey came up with a list of departure cities that were “best” in terms of average time and money spent, and ranked Dallas No. 2, behind winner Denver for domestic travel; for international travel, Washington, D.C., was tops. When you combine domestic and international information, Dallas came in fourth overall, behind Chicago, Washington and New York.

Among the worst wasn’t far away, though. San Antonio was exceeded only by Riverside, Calif., in terms of bad domestic departures.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Journalists arrive for 10th annual Dallas International LGBT Travel Writers tour

GLBT Press tour

The 10th annual GLBT press tour comes to North Texas May 8-12, and the seven writers participating begin arriving today. This year’s group includes three writers from the U.S. and one each from Canada, France, Germany and the U.K.

This year’s tour includes Fort Worth and a night at the Wildcatter Ranch in Graham. Dallas sites on the tour include the Arts District, the Perot Museum and an art tour. The cuisine includes Hunky’s, Original Market Diner and a fine steak house.

Wednesday night is a welcome at the Rose Room at 6 p.m., and Sunday includes optional worship at Cathedral of Hope.

Check out this Friday’s Voice for more information about the press tour and the marketing of North Texas as an LGBT travel destination.

—  David Taffet

Dallas CVB launches Razzle Dazzle sweepstakes

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau gets in on the action with their Razzle Dazzle Sweepstakes celebrating National Gay Pride Month here in Big D. As Razzle Dazzle Dallas makes its return after eight years, one person can win a package to make it, like, super special. VIP access and three nights at the Melrose is the best anyone could ask for.

Here’s the official word:

The Razzle Dazzle Sweepstakes provides one lucky winner and their guest with accommodations for three nights (June 2-4) at the historic Warwick Melrose Hotel, VIP access to all Razzle Dazzle Dallas events, exclusive gift bags and more.

“June is an exciting month to visit Dallas,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas CVB. “We welcome the return of Razzle Dazzle Dallas, as both visitors and residents have an opportunity to participate in five days of events and entertainment created by the city’s vibrant LGBT population—the nation’s sixth largest. While they’re here, our VIP guests will also see Dallas’ world class arts, shopping, dining and entertainment.”

Entries for the Razzle Dazzle Sweepstakes will be accepted online through noon on May 13, 2011, and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter. The sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the U.S. at least 21 years of age or older at the time of entry. For official rules and to enter, head here.


—  Rich Lopez

Dallas CVB raffling off Super Bowl tickets

Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Despite the common stereotype that gay men don’t like football, I am willing to bet there are some out there who would be thrilled to get to go to Super Bowl XLV, not to mention the lesbians who are football fans.

And with the NFL’s championship game coming to Cowboy Stadium in Arlington next February, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is giving even those of us who couldn’t normally afford a Super Bowl ticket a chance to see the big game firsthand by raffling off two Super Bowl XLV tickets,valued at $2,500.

The raffle tickets are $50 each and will be available through midnight on Oct. 31. The random drawing will be held Nov. 1, and the winner will get two tickets to the championship game on Feb. 6, with “premium seats,” according to CVB President and CEO Phillip Jones.

You have to be 18 years or older and reside in the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia to be participate in the raffle. But if you meet those requirements, you can buy as many of the $50 raffle tickets as you want to. Credit cards are accepted, and the raffle prize doesn’t include airfare, lodging or other potential expenses of attending the game.

A portion of the proceeds from the raffle will go to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, which operates The Bridge homeless shelter.

For more information or to purchase a raffle ticket, go here.

—  admin

Out & Equal convention coming to Dallas in 2011

Largest LGBT national convention should have an $8 million economic impact on city, officials estimate


DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

George Carrancho
George Carrancho

The 2011 Out & Equal convention will be held in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, officials with the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We’re excited to host the 2011 Out & Equal Conference in Dallas,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the CVB. “With its more than $8 million economic impact to the city, it will be the largest LGBT convention held in Dallas to date.”

Jones said that convention and leisure travel to Dallas has increased in the past five years.

“We were selected to host this convention in part because of our strong, cohesive LGBT community,” he said. “This community support is essential as we continue to promote Dallas as a top LGBT destination.”

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates is a national organization based in San Francisco advocating from within companies for workplace equality for LGBT employees. They provide a variety of services to companies and employee resource groups and offer diversity training specific to LGBT workplace issues.

There are 18 regional affiliates, including ones in Dallas and Houston.

Tony Vedda, executive director of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, said his group partnered with the Dallas CVB to bring the convention to the city.

“They were looking at several cities,” he said. “We’re thrilled they chose us.”

Earlier this year, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force held its annual Creating Change conference in Dallas for the second time.Officials estimated the impact of that conference at about $4 million for the city.

Vedda said that successfully hosting one LGBT event helps bring the next one.

“It shows the rest of the world that Dallas is a welcoming city,” he said.

Vedda said that the GLBT Chamber works well with the city. When the area was bidding on this season’s Super Bowl, the GLBT Chamber was asked to send a letter supporting the bid.

Vedda said that these events are very important to the city’s economy and has a positive effect on LGBT-owned businesses, especially in Oak Lawn.

“When we bring in conferences, those people leave lots of tax money for us,” he said. “That’s money that local residents don’t have to spend for services themselves.”

Veronica L. Torres, director of diversity and community relations with the CVB called the convention a big win for Dallas. She said this was the largest LGBT convention the city has booked.

Each year different groups partner with the CVB to stage events, like the Dallas Bears who host the annual Texas Bear Round Up and Dallas Southern Pride which holds its annual black gay Pride each fall, Torres said.

In addition to Out & Equal, the CVB helped book Reaching Out MBA for Oct. 2011 at the Fairmont Hotel. Torres said that 500 to 1,000 people are expected for that convention. In Sept. 2012, the Gay and Lesbian Band Association will meet at the Melrose Hotel.

Torres said she is hoping a small meeting of GALA choruses managers in Dallas next month translates into the convention of LGBT choral association booking the city. They would take over the all of the performing arts venues in the Arts District.

“Dallas is our hometown,” said George Carrancho of American Airlines Rainbow Team. “We’ve been a partner of Out & Equal for at least eight years.”

Carrancho worked with the CVB and GLBT Chamber to bring Out & Equal to Dallas.

He said Out & Equal recognizes the work of the airline. American’s chief commercial officer, Virasb Vahidi, will be the opening speaker of this year’s convention in Los Angeles, and Denise Lynn, vice president of diversity and leadership strategies, is up for the Out & Equal’s Champion Award, given annually to an ally.

To help Dallas win the convention, Carancho said he offered the convention an aggressive discount program.

“This is a big win for American and a big win for Dallas,” he said.

Vedda said that a number of things work in favor of the city of Dallas including the annual press tour for travel writers.

“We get beaucoups of great coverage,” he said. “We’ve done a good job of showcasing Dallas and Fort Worth as welcoming cities.”

Vedda said groups are impressed by the corporate support the local LGBT community gets.

“And not every city can call the mayor, ask him to come to help us sell the city and he does,” Vedda said.

Vedda said the GLBT Chamber continues to work with the Dallas CVB and they have their sites set on several additional conferences, conventions and LGBT sports groups.

“We’re always working on bringing new stuff to Dallas,” he said.

Officials with Out & Equal declined to discuss the 2011 convention, saying they do not announce the coming year’s convention until the end of the convention for the current year.

The 2010 Out & Equal Workplace Summit is scheduled for Oct. 5-8 in Los Angeles.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Win a trip to Dallas' 2010 gay Pride celebration! (Assuming you don't already live here)

PRIDE13

National Pride Month is officially under way, and already the city of Dallas is gearing up for Dallas Pride in September. As they have done in past years, the GLBT arm of the Dallas Conventions and Visitors Bureau is giving away a vacation package to some lucky out-of-towner and a companion. The winner can spend Sept. 17–20 being hosted by the W Hotel, being fed at Craft, spend Gay Day at Six Flags and fly in on American Airlines, plus some more swag.

The online contest goes through July 29. To enter — or get your cheap-ass out-of-town friends to enter — go to GLBTDallas.com. and follow the prompts. You can learn more about Pride Weekend at DallasPrideParade.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones