The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Defining Homes • STAGE fright

Robert Jory offers relief in the daunting task of getting your home ready to sell

The staged living room, left, is both minimal and cozy, while the cluttered home, right, will lack appeal for potential buyers.

By Jonanna Widner

Selling your house isn’t just an ordeal, it’s a competition. As potential buyers head to sites like or for research, those sites offer peeks inside to give an idea how the house can be used.  Does yours look like a livable space or is it a click away from missing out?

Dallas Realtor and stager Robert Jory offers tips on both preparing your home to sell and when it’s time to call in an expert. Staging can sometimes be just a deep cleaning and clever furniture rearranging, but Jory points out that every so often he needs to point people in the right direction. And with so many, getting started it can be overwhelming.

“We provide basic staging services free, like arranging furniture and giving color advice,” he says. “We point out to the homeowner what needs to be packed away and which furniture needs to be removed.  A lot of staging is removing and arranging furniture in an appealing way. “

It’s all a trick of the eye. Less furniture makes a room look larger. This is good, but staging should convey something about the house’s character and still resonate with a buyer. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial investments anyone will make and a lot of emotion goes with that.

“If you can create a good emotional feeling then you are 80 percent of the way to selling that home,” Jory says. “Balance is key. You don’t want potential buyers spending all their time admiring items. People feel good about homes where there is no clutter and a minimal amount of decorative items.”

Robert Jory

Clutter is a big issue and Jory stresses that point the most. If but one thing is to be done before anything else, he advises to edit down. Even if there isn’t time to set up or stage everything else.

“De-clutter!” he exclaims. “It is very difficult for people to remove the items they have lived with for years.  They don’t realize how much stuff they have.”

While you create the ideal image of both a house and home, ironically you don’t want it to be too personal. Family pictures, odd souvenirs, religious and political items might steer potential buyers away.

“You don’t want the buyers to be thinking of you,” he says “you just want them thinking of your great home.”
Of course, Jory could just do the work for you. Depending on your budget, his job can be to do the quick stuff of arranging the house, or it can extend to repainting a room and even new furniture of the temporary kind.

“After we provide a free home preparation report which outlines repairs and improvements room by room, then the homeowner can choose what they want to do depending on their budget,” he says. “After improvements are made, we come out and stage the home with either the homeowner’s furniture or sometimes we’ll use rental furniture or provide our own if available.”

For this market, such lengths are worthwhile. The goal is to sell and a nicely wrapped package can do just that.

“Ultimately, if [a buyer] falls in love with the home, it’s sold,” he says. DH

For more information, visit

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas