Queer locals of 2011

As we crown our local LGBT Person of the Year on the front page, over here in Life+Style we’ve been thinking about the locals who we will forever relate to helping define 2011 from the standpoint of entertainment and culture. Here are the ones who made the year memorable.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

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Anthony Chisom
activist, left

Derrick Spillman,
activist, right
In a short time, these two have made waves across the local LGBT African-American community. Chisom erased lines of gay and straight to focus on Dallasites with his foundation’s inaugural South Dallas AIDS Walk, which raised more than $10,000 in March. Spillman’s work with the DFW Pride Movement  stepped up Dallas Black Pride. With marquee speakers and a schedule of both educational and got entertaining sessions, The Movement the rep it’s been working for.

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Joel Ferrell
theater queen
Whether producing Arsenic and Old Lace or directing two of the best shows of the year, Ferrell has been a force in Dallas theater since joining the DTC as an associate artist, and the community is richer for his vision and tireless work as a director, choreographer and all-around talent.

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Linda Moore &
Laurie Foley
dog lovers
Moore and her partner Foley are devoted dog breeders, and in 2011 their cocker Beckham stormed Westminster, and ended the year as the top dog of any breed, anywhere, in America. Wow.

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Charles Santos
task master
As executive director of TITAS, Santos is used to bringing talent to Texas, but it was his inspired idea of celebrating AIDS at 30 with A Gathering that reminded locals of his devotion to AIDS fundraising.

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Mark Trimble
bear-ish fundraiser
Trimble and the guys of BearDance came into their own this year with their dance party nights. The highlight was the TBRU party, and with three events during 2011, BearDance raised an impressive $22,000-plus for area charities.

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Leslie Ezelle
cancer survivor/TV star
Just weeks after completing chemotherapy, Ezelle landed on TV’s Next Design Star. She didn’t win, but her celebrity, paired with the experience of beating breast cancer, has made her a devoted fundraiser for the
Susan G. Komen Foundation.

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David Berryman
gayborhood cheerleader
For years, Berryman has been the largely quiet behind-the- scenes guy for events like the Pride parade, but in 2011, after talks of the possible cancelation of Easter in the Park, Berryman stepped in, offering to coordinate it and obtaining the funding, literally saving Easter in the gayborhood.

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Craig Lynch & Jeff Rane
theatrical impresarios
Ten years after founding Uptown Players as an upstart theater troupe doing gay-themed work, Lynch and Rane launched the first-ever gay theater festival to coincide with Pride Week at the historic Kalita Humphreys Theater, their impressive new home. Way to go in a decade!

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Chris Heinbaugh
re-committed arts lover
After years as Mayor Leppert’s right-hand man, the former actor and TV reporter left politics to return to his first love — the arts — by working with the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

A year’s worth of giving

LEATHER KNIGHTS DONATE | Leather Knights President Jason Kloss, front left, and Charitable Events Chair Derrick Dawson present a check to Steven Pace and Larry Finch of AIDS Interfaith Network for $1,001 raised during the Dragon Lady of the Realm pageant in February. AIN was one of four organizations who received donations from the Leather Knights during a reception at Youth First Texas on Monday, Dec. 13. Youth First Texas received $1,404 raised during the Buy Daddy’s Box auction in November. The dental clinic at the Nelson-Tebedo Health Center received $1,200 raised during Military Manuevers in November. And AIDS Services of Dallas received $2,000 raised during AWOL 2 in May.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Off-duty Dallas police officer accused of choking gay man at W Hotel after Lady Gaga concert

We’re getting preliminary reports about a possible anti-gay incident that occurred last night at the W Hotel in Dallas following the Lady Gaga concert at the American Airlines Center. Malcolm Gage, a prominent local gay businessman, alleges that an off-duty Dallas police officer working security denied his group access to the hotel when they tried to visit a friend who was staying there. Gage said he believes the officer had an issue with the hotel’s LGBT clients. Gage also said that this same officer choked Derrick Brown, chairman of the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce. Both Gage and Brown are black. Here’s Gage’s full description:

“To give you all the cliff notes of this, basically the W Hotel had security last night from the Dallas PD and one particular officer, F. Phelps (Badge #19018) apparently must have had an issue with the LGBT clients of the hotel. We were threatened with criminal trespass for simply trying to go into the hotel to visit friends staying there, in addition, another guy was CHOKED for no apparent reason. Then the hotel solidified it by having the night manager deny entry to us and several others trying to get in. There is obviously more to this story, but telling patrons you need a key just to walk into the hotel is absurd. This is going to be a major PR issue for the W Hotel and the Dallas PD because the gentleman who was choked is even more livid than I am. As a community, we cannot let these things go unnoticed and by not supporting this hotel is the first way we can do that. They will NEVER see my money ever again, nor will I support ANY of their efforts.”

We have messages in to W Hotel General Manager Thomas Caramucci and a Dallas police spokesman about this incident. We’ll update as soon as we hear back.

UPDATE: Here is the response I received late Saturday morning from DPD Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the department:

“I do not show any calls for police out at the W Hotel last night other than officer Phelps documenting a minor disturbance in an elevator but no arrests made and all parties left. So, there is nothing to report on or comment on from this office unless the alleged victim(s) has filed an official complaint with internal affairs. Had he been choked I would hope he would have asked for a supervisor or called 911 but neither of those happened. Perhaps the W has documentation of what took place.”

Via Facebook, here is Brown’s description of the choking incident, which reportedly was separate from the encounter between the officer and Gage’s group:

“A group of us were walking to Ghostbar after the concert. The off duty officer claimed that I grabbed him (which I did not). When trying to tell him so, he grabbed my neck, pushed and pinned me against the wall by my neck telling me to shut up. Needless to say, I am outraged and will ensure action is taken to prevent it happening to someone else in our community.”

And this from Laura Martin, DPD’s LGBT liaison officer:

“I was notified of this complaint this morning from our public information office. I want all of you to know every excessive force complaint is taken seriously. My supervisors are aware of the complaint and are gathering the facts. I am already in contact with Mr Gage and Mr Brown. When the formal complaint is made with internal affairs, every witness will be interviewed. If anyone who witnessed the incident would like to contact me, please send an email to laura.martin@dpd.ci.dallas.tx.us.”

—  John Wright