In a series on the changing face of Oak Lawn, we followed the story of a 1924 apartment building on Knight Street that was sold and longtime tenants evicted. On Wednesday morning, the building was torn down.
It’s easy to do in the gayboorhood. The Cedar Springs store of the grocery chain has become as much a fixture in the gay community as the bars down the street. Earlier this summer, Kroger opened a new Fresh Fare store on Maple in the old Elliott’s Hardware spot.
And just in time for the holidays, another one opens on the other side of North Central.
The new Cityplace shop officially opened this morning in the space once occupied by the Loew’s cinema, but has been barren for a long time. Not anymore.
“There’s a nice apartment complex next door, and a Lifetime Fitness [around the corner],” notes Gary Huddleston, the director of consumer affairs for Kroger. The “Uptown East” area is coming along.
Certainly the Kroger story might actually help usher that. Maybe I’m strange, but I always love visiting new grocery stores — they are oddly beautiful, and this one is no exception. The 60,000 square foot store (which employs about 260 folks) is another of their Fresh Fare concepts, focusing on organic, natural and (as often as possible) locally-sourced perishables — produce, deli and meats, baked goods, sushi. The Cityplace Kroger is indicative of another step in the continuing evolution of the grocery world.
A straight friend of mine asked me what the actual geographic boundaries of what we call “the gayborhood” are. It’s easy to say, “near the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton,” but that’s a locus, not a boundary. It can extend in all directions for large portions, and even spike down residential streets and cross highways, depending on how you define it.
So how do you define it? Is it a two-block radius around The Crossroads? The better part of Dallas County? Your bedroom on a Saturday night?
We’d like to hear you weigh in with what you consider Dallas’ gayborhood (or gayborhoods) in the comments. There is no winner, it’s just for fun … ah, hell, let’s pick a winner or two. We have some swag to hand out to some who contribute to the conversation — we’re looking right now through our stuff to see what we have (hmmm…Adam Lambert CDs, an American Translation DVD, some books, OK, we’re good). Why not — it’s almost the weekend.
Dallas is awash in places for fitness-conscious gay men to build muscles … and show off a little
There’s not a loss for gyms around the Oak Lawn neighborhood. Several fitness centers dot the healthy landscape from Uptown to Downtown and several in between. This is a list of health clubs that are among the favorites for the LGBT community.
— Rich Lopez
Exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years, this institution actually has one of the largest gyms in the city, and is open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
2616 Swiss Ave
Located on the third floor of the Centrum, it’s right in the heart of the gayborhood.
3102 Oak Lawn #300
Energy Fitness joins an already bustling roster of gyms in the Uptown area. Located in the West Village, this gym has garnered praise for its no-nonsense approach and competitive membership fees.
This recent gym has gained a reputation for affordable memberships and solid service right in the West Village.
2901 Cityplace West Blvd.
Located in the old Park Place Motorcars location, it offers a full range of fitness services
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.
Locations are throughout the city, but the one in Uptown serves a fit, very gay customer base.
2425 McKinney Avenue
The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)
Has multiple locations, but the one at Lemmon and Mockingbird by Love Field is popular with gay clientele.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane
Trophy Fitness Club
With four total locations, one can be found in the downtown Mosaic (formerly Pulse) and in one Uptown.
2812 Vine St. Suite 300
24 Hour Fitness
Popular locations include the one Downtown and one at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue.
700 North Harwood St.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.
As a proud beer drinker, I was quite glad to see that TMC: The Mining Company announced a whole new selection of beers that is somewhat inspired. Hell, they even gave the selection its own page. My mouth began to water as I scanned the beverage offerings that read like a list of old friends.
Red Stripe and I have had a very intimate relationship that is marked by slurred words and heightened laughter. Woodchuck Cider has lulled me to sleep just like mom used to do while reading me bedtime stories. LaBlatt Blue isn’t the kind that I would add to my social networks, but I’d happily subscribe to it. And while I don’t normally go for blonds, Fireman’s #4 is a worthwhile crush with its tender and sweet deliciousness and hard-bodied Texas roots. But sometimes he gets jealous of my standby girlfriend, Stella. It’s a thing.
We don’t seem to have a strong beer-focused bar (much less a pub) in the gayborhood a la The Amsterdam or The Ginger Man, but TMC comes damn close. Pilsners beware, because I am about to destroy you.
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)
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. CULTUREThe 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.
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 $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates. The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTSThe Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$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.
We’re used to seeing the bold and colorful Pop art of Robb Conover depicting comic book icons of late. Whether he’s giving his take on Wonder Woman or exploring a queer element to Batman and Robin as they kiss, Conover adds a definite punch to the local arts scene. His work has been seen in the gayborhood at Buli, Drama Room and Lucky’s.
He goes in a different direction, above, in Ro2 Art’s exhibit Synclines. Conover joins local artists Cabe Booth and Kevin Obregon, to present, what the gallery calls, new and unexpected works. The show closes tonight with a reception.
DEETS: Ro2 Art Downtown, 110 N. Akard St. 6 p.m. Ro2Art.com.
A Cedar Springs Road hot dog vendor suffered a broken leg early Saturday when he was struck by a drunken driver whose vehicle jumped a curb near Reagan Street, according to Dallas police.
The driver, 27-year-old Thomas David Morgan, was arrested and charged with intoxication assault, a third-degree felony.
Morgan, driving a silver 2004 Pontiac Grand Am, was eastbound on Reagan Street approaching Cedar Springs at about 12:30 a.m., according to a police report. He turned when it was unsafe, veered to the left and jumped the curb. His vehicle collided with a metal post, the hot dog stand and the vendor.
Morgan told police he fell asleep at the light before turning left into the hot dog vendor, but the report notes that there are no signal lights at the intersection. An officer at the scene determined that Morgan was under the influence of alcohol.
One witness heard the vehicle coming and jumped out of the way, while two others saw Morgan approaching and ran, the police report states.
The hot dog vendor was taken to Parkland to be treated for a broken left fibula.
When someone had the brilliant idea of opening a Hooters-like breastaurant in the gayborhood, they probably never imagined their cute sign would end up here. Ladies in short shorts and body hugging tops with sports on TV is a fine concept, but way too straight for the area. Needless to say, the Honey Shack didn’t make a lasting impression on the ‘hood. Nor myself. Or so I thought.
The restaurant is having the last laugh. On my commute from the south of Dallas, I pass this unnamed building on Wintergreen Road that is apparently a graveyard for restaurant signs. The Razzoo’s one has been there a while (did those all close?), but I noticed an additional sign a few days ago. Maybe longer, who knows? Life out in the stix (yes, with an “x”) is a blur sometimes.
I went to Honey Shack with colleague John Wright on a whim once. At lunch hour, the place was pretty dead. The nachos I ordered were akin to a salt lick and I never got a tea refill, so I never went back. OK, so I’m kicking a horse while it’s down, but since I never did an official review of the place, I had to get it out of me.
Every year, when they bring in travel journalists from all over the world to promote Dallas as a gay destination, the Tavern Guild shows them everything the city has to offer a visitor. (See sidebar.) Just this week, all eyes were on Victory Park as the Mavericks won their first NBA championship title. In other words, lots of people from outside have had Uptown Dallas on the brain.
So let me ask: Where, exactly, is Uptown?
There’s a lot even Dallas natives don’t know about the Oak Lawn-adjacent neighborhood. And that’s something the local association is trying to change.
Uptown, officially, is just a single square mile, bordered roughly to the south by Woodall Rodgers Freeway, to the west by the Katy Trail, to the east by North Central Expressway and to the north by Haskell Street. But they’ve packed a ton of stuff in that district: Five hotels, all pretty high end (the Stoneleigh, the Ritz-Carlton, the Crescent Court, Zaza and the Hotel St. Germain); 90 bars and restaurants; three live theaters … and tons of gay folks, of course.
Uptown didn’t used to be “up;” it used to be “low.” When the plans were drafted in the 1980s for construction on the Crescent, the area was described as “Lower Oak Lawn,” which is how many in the gayborhood still see it. But Uptown has some attractions unique to it.
Not the least of these is the McKinney Avenue Trolley system, which circles Uptown before crossing over the Woodall canyon and dead-ending on St. Paul Street between the Dallas Museum of Art and the Fairmont Hotel. That’ll change soon; plans are underway to extend the end of the line and make it a true loop. That should add to the 390,000 riders who hopped one of the three trolleys in 2010. And best of all, they rode them for free.
If you haven’t ridden the trolley yet, it merits your time. Because they are antiques, these are not cookie-cutter light rail trains but variously sized, one-of-a-kind streetcars loaded with history. One of the cars is 101 years old; one has distinctly European styling; they come from as far away as Australia, and run on tracks that won’t need to be repaired for decades.
One trolley trip can take you from right next to Stephan Pyles Restaurant back up McKinney Avenue, where you can grab a cocktail at Sambuca and an appetizer from Fearing’s across the street; up toward State-Thomas, which hides some hip bars like The Nodding Donkey; and past the West Village where Cork has a variety of wines. And you’re just a few paces from the Cityplace DART stop, so you don’t have to drive home after indulging.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.