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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Chisom-Spillman

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

BEST in show

IT’S SHOW TIME | Breeders Linda Moore, left, and Laurie Foley, along with champion bitch Miranda, are all the proud parents of Beckham, a cocker and favorite headed into the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show later this month. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Partners Linda Moore and Laurie Foley love their dogs like kids — really gifted kids who are national champions

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

If you think that breeders of show dogs would be akin to the high-maintenance stage parents seen on Toddlers & Tiaras, well, that’s just not Linda Moore and Laurie Foley. It all begins with a love of animals.

Moore’s first dog as a child was a Dachshund; Foley’s, a cocker mix — both, coincidentally, were named Princess. They both love pets, though 22 years ago, Moore went in a more serious direction, becoming a breeder of cocker spaniels and other purebred pooches.

She achieved some success on the dog show circuit. But nothing like what’s happened in the last year with Beckham, her solid black American cocker spaniel.

“There are two ways you get into the Westminster Kennel Club Show: If you are a ranked dog, you are invited; otherwise, you have to apply. Last year, Beckham was so young he hadn’t qualified so we made the entry,” Moore explains.

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM | The top cocker in competition, Beckham trots to victory with his handler at a recent dog show.

Oh, the difference a year can make. In 2010, Beckham was the No. 1 cocker spaniel, the No. 2 sporting dog and the No. 5 overall dog. In the world. In 2011, Westminster asked him to show up for the most prestigious dog show on the planet. And on Valentine’s Day, that’s just what he’ll do.

“Westminster is so unique because of its long tradition,” says Moore. (It’s second only to the Kentucky Derby in history of its continuous operation; the show later this month will be its 135th.) “It’s the only show where only champions are shown, so it’s the one show where virtually every top dog will be there.” Think of the Academy Awards with flea collars. Or the Nobel Prize for shiny coats.

Because it comes so early in the year, it can also catapult a relative unknown into the stratosphere. That’s basically what happened with Beckham last year.

“Theoretically, a dog of any age can win,” says Moore, a lawyer by day. “Generally, though, you need to be over a year old — some judges think you don’t have the maturity before that. There is one judge in particular that at the first of last year would not put us as high in the sporting group because she didn’t think Beckham had the maturity.”

Now just over two-and-a-half, Beckham is still at the start of his career, and with 23 best in show finishes last year, the sky seems to be the limit.

Moore admits, however, that she didn’t always see the championship potential in the striking solid black American cocker spaniel that is probably the favorite this year for the winner’s circle.

“Even as a puppy, there was a little bit of seriousness to him,” Moore says, but she was betting on his sister to become the star of the litter.

“We knew her whole litter, just in looking at it, that it was very, very good.” Moore says. “They just kinda had a look, even as babies, of being balanced: The front and the rear go together, they don’t have the angle on their shoulders. This whole litter was very nice. But I thought the sister was standout.”

Then at 10 weeks, a friend with show dog experience saw Beckham and declared, “He might really be great,” Moore says. There was a lot of discussion about him being a bit different.

“He just took to it,” says Foley. “It’s like he was born to do this.”

Not everybody agreed, though. “There is a good friend of ours who is a judge who saw him when he was four months old and didn’t like him; she has since given him a best in show,” Moore beams.

Beckham lives most of the time with his trainer-handlers in Tennessee. But the household for the rest of their brood is much like any other pet-friendly place.

“We have 14 dogs,” Moore says without batting an eyelash. “We have kennels, of course, but there aren’t too many rules.”

“Well, there is some furniture they can’t get on,” chimes in Foley, who, until she met Moore 10 years ago, was more of the mutt-loving, dog-rescuing variety pet owner.

While Moore breeds and shows cockers (American and English) and pugs, she also has a standard poodle as part of the household — and, of course, Beckham’s mom, Miranda. And they have a sense of humor about their four-legged children: All the pups in that championship litter were named after sex symbols: Harrison (Ford), Patrick (Swayze) and of course Beckham, who ended up astonishing everyone.

“The goal is to breed the perfect dog — which of course is not possible,” Moore concedes. “Each breed club develops written standards for what the perfect dog would be, everything from the coat texture to their head to their eyes, teeth, shoulders, movement. Miranda was reserve winner’s bitch and she was second-best black bitch in more than 100,” so Beckham had the genes to be a champion.

Even if he hadn’t been the best, he’d still be their sweet cocker. But on Feb. 15, they hope he might be something else, too: Best in show at Westminster. That would be something to bark about.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Best bets • 12.10.10

Friday 12.10

Dog days in Big D
Gays and their dogs are a breed unto themselves and we imagine some will be competing in this weekend’s Lone Star State Classic dog show. For sure, we know local Laurie Foley will be there with her cocker spaniel to compete for top dog honors. Forget watching Best in Show again, see it for real.

DEETS: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Through Dec. 12. LoneStarStateClassic.com

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Saturday 12.11

Some cracked nuts for Christmas?
Mark-Brian Sonna brings back his snarky wit with The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-less-Q Nutcracker!  When food poisoning wipes out an entire ballet company, it’s up to stranded burlesque troupe The Velvet Kittens to save Christmas in Beulaville. Nutcrackin’ funny stuff.

DEETS: Stone Cottage Theater, 15650 Addison Road. Through Dec. 26. $18–$22. MBSProductions.net.

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Sunday 12.12

Holidays the Wright way
Fort Worth pianist Danny Wright performs a benefit concert for Chelsea’s Fund which promotes pet hospice in Dallas and Fort Worth. Rebecca Miller hosts the evening that includes Wright’s concert, a silent auction and champagne reception.

DEETS: Casa Manana Theater, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. 7 p.m. $50. CasaManana.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

News you can use: Mark Foley eyes West Palm Beach mayoral run

May the jokes begin. I thought we didn’t have this page-chasing clown to deal with anymore. The lede of The Advocate piece says it all.

Former Florida congressman Mark Foley, who was forced to step down after sending multiple lurid instant messages to male staffers, looks to be eyeing a run for mayor of West Palm Beach.

…”I do have the luxury that I can be the last man to file if I choose to, and still have the name ID,” Foley told the [Palm Beach] Post. “It’s a time commitment, and it’s a major endeavor for anyone who becomes mayor. It rules out travels to far-off destinations, because you have to be on duty. Those are the things I’m wavering – both the re-entrance into public life and time commitment. If I decided to do it, I will give it the time.”

I Tweeted this article and AmericablogGay responded:

Isn’t W Palm Beach a little old for Foley?

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Local briefs • 11.12.10

GAIN holds meeting on Medicare D

Medicare D specialist Deborah E. Marshall will be the guest speaker at the Thursday, Nov. 18 meeting of GAIN, Resource Center Dallas’ group for older LGBT people.

The meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St. The meeting will include a question-and-answer session, and hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Toast to Life Happy Hour set

Co-chairs Laurie Foley and Chad West will host the November Pride Pharmacy Toast to Life Happy Hour Wednesday, Nov. 17, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Go Fish, 5301 Alpha Road, just north of The Galleria.

There will be drink specials and free appetizers provided by Go Fish with Top Chef contestant Tiffany Derry, and interested individuals will be able to discuss sponsorship opportunities for the 13th annual Toast to Life Gala set for Feb. 26.

For information and Toast to Life tickets, go online to ToasttoLife.org.

Book sale to benefit library

A book sale featuring books, movies and music CDs will be held Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St. Proceeds will benefit the Phil Johnson Historical Archives and Library. Donations of gently used items are needed.

For information, e-mail library@rcdallas.org or call 214-540-4451.

Leather Knights hosting ‘Angel Tree’

Leather Knights host its annual “Angel Tree” project with 75 holiday “angels” to adopt on the Angel Tree that will be set up at Dallas Eagle, beginning Saturday, Nov. 27.

Donations to the Angel Tree program benefit residents of AIDS Services of Dallas and Hillcrest House.

To participate, choose an angel, purchase a gift, wrap it and return it to Dallas Eagle and put it under the tree. All gifts must be turned in no later than Dec. 18 to ensure every resident receives their gift. For more information, go online to LeatherKnights.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 12, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Bigots are so unreliable!

Despite news reports indicating otherwise, no one spoke Tuesday night at the Fort Worth City Council meeting to air disapproval of Councilman Joel Burns “It Gets Better” speech last month. Tuesday’s meeting lasted into the wee hours, as the council dealt with several controversial issues. The only person who referenced Burns’ speech during “Citizen Presentations,” which came after midnight, spoke in support of it. Linda Sandoval Foley said she’s been a special education teacher since 1964.

“Bullying and harassment, whatever the reason, is not only injurious to the person who is bullied, but to the bully themselves,” she said. “Parents and community often offer a model to kids as to what is acceptable and give both tacit and implicit approval to bullying behaviors. But equally present is a capacity for acceptance and understanding, and expectations for appropriate behavior toward people who are different from you in any way, whether it’s the color of your eyes, or whether you’re tall and skinny, awkward and clumsy, whatever. Yes, it does get better. But we need, our kids need, the support and involvement of their parents, their teachers and all the other adults who are in their lives. And I thank Councilman Burns for his statement, and I do appreciate his life experience, and I do look forward to it being better for all our kids.”

Earlier, during councilmembers’ reports, Burns also referenced his “It Gets Better” speech, saying he had a lot of announcements but none of them were likely to make YouTube. “But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important,” he said.

Among other things, Burns went on to congratulate the TCU football team for its victory last weekend over Utah, saying it was the only time he’s ever wished he was in Salt Lake City. Burns also congratulated those from Fort Worth who received awards during Saturday’s Black Tie Dinner: the Rev. Carol West (Kuchling Humanitarian Award) and American Airlines (Elizabeth Birch Equality Award).

—  John Wright