Drawing Dallas 12.30.11

As the New Year begins, some things remain the same — like the reliable Mario Sulit, a fixture at Hunky’s for 15 years

MarioSFNL_3

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Mario Sulit, 52

Occupation: Manager at Hunky’s Old Fashioned
Hamburgers on the Strip

Spotted at: Hunky’s.

Will you have fries with that? This handsome and vivacious gentleman was born in El Salvador to a Filipino father and an Italian mother. He came to the U.S. at age 14 and has made Dallas his home for the past 30 years. Many people may know Mario from his 15 years behind the counter at Hunky’s at the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs — a job he loves. Most of his customers feel like family, and he’s very grateful for them.

You might spot Mario riding around on his Honda Metropolitan Scooter, his signature vehicle. On rainy days he drives a black Jeep Wrangler, what he calls “the gayest car in the car universe.”

Namaste: Mario is obsessed with yoga, sometimes practicing up to 10 times a week. He is also a self-taught chef/home cook. His favorite cuisines are Italian and French.  He loves to travel and spend time with his friends and family. His immediate family is spread all over the place, so his vacations consist mainly of family visits.

Next stop: Peru!

—  Kevin Thomas

Clay Aiken performs tonight at Verizon Theatre

Clay Aiken went from ‘American Idol’ to gay icon — and more

It should come as no surprise that singer Clay Aiken would be a gentleman. With his Southern twang and clean-cut persona, he’s both personable and professional in an interview. But the kid is also pretty slick.

“Not many people can deal with the scrutiny of bullshit.”

Whoa — did Clay Aiken just drop the “S” word? The remark comes on the heels of a question about his much blogged-about new relationship with Jeff Walters, a local actor with recent parts in such shows as Uptown Players’ Closer to Heaven and Ohlook’s The Rocky Horror Show. Perez Hilton and many others (our own Instant Tea blog even got in on the action) were quick to highlight the guys’ night out on the town, complete with pics at Theatre Three and the Gaylord. What soon followed were pics of Walters from Grindr and his work as an underwear model.

“I’ll save you the trouble of asking and not answer,” Aiken laughs with that underlying tone that he’s tight-lipped about his personal life.

Read the entire article here.

—  Rich Lopez

FEEDBACK: Mexico safe if you use sense; Supporting James Nowlin for City Council

Mexico is safe if you use sense

Allan Turnipseed

Having just returned to Dallas in September 2010, after living almost three years in México City, I read with strong interest David Webb’s column, “A cautionary tale for LGBT travelers” (Dallas Voice, Feb. 4, 2011).

At first I took the commentary as cautionary; one needs to be vigilant whereever we live. Well, I took it that way until I got to the ending: “But hopefully it will be a strong reminder to all Americans that caution is more critical than ever when undertaking travel south of the border.”

With all the negative treatment México is getting in the U.S. press because of the drug wars, my only thought was, “Here is another negative murder story, one that doesn’t relate to the current problem.”

The whole time I lived in the largest city of the Americas, México City, I never felt danger when walking home late at night. I would often stroll along México City’s Paseo de la Refoma Avenue alone without ever any hesitation.

But I was always cautious. One has to be in any large mega city.

When returning to Dallas, I moved to Oak Lawn, three blocks behind where the old Tom Thumb used to be. Even before signing my lease I couldn’t help but remember when a young man was robbed and killed after having used an ATM machine on the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs in 2007.

I also remembered I was moving close to the area where not too long ago a gentleman was shot and almost killed as he walked to his neighborhood bar.

So when I read, “that caution is more critical that ever when undertaking travel south of the border,” I just had to write and say not only “south of the border” but in Dallas, too. We have to be vigilant everywhere.

When I was living in México City, a city with 25 million people, I felt safe. But now that I am in Dallas, living in Oak Lawn, I don’t dare walk the three blocks to Kroger after dark.

I have deep sympathy for Allan Turnipseed, the former Dallas resident killed last month in Lake Chapala, and for his partner.

But from my perspective, Mr. Turnipseed didn’t just get too comfortable living in Lake Chapala, as columnist David Webb described it. Mr. Turnipseed also let his guard down.

He let two homeless teenagers into his surroundings — something I would never do in Dallas or in México.

Homeless and teenage males sound like a dangerous combination anywhere — especially in México, where poverty is so widespread.

But is México safe? Yes, if one uses caution and common sense.

Jesus Chairez, Dallas

Supporting James Nowlin for City Council

James Nowlin

I was so pleased to see your online article saying that James Nowlin is “in it to win it” in the Dallas City Council District 14 race (Instant Tea, Wednesday, Feb. 9).

Having a member of the LGBT community on our City Council who is qualified to serve is critical, and I’m excited that we have a candidate we can all get behind. As a community, the opportunity has come (once again) for us to support someone who knows our particular issues as well as the common concerns that all of the residents of District 14 have, regardless of sexual orientation.

These opportunities do not come frequently, and we don’t always win at the ballot box when they do. That is why it is crucial to make sure we do what we can to have a place at the table.

During her time on the council, Angela Hunt shifted her focus from representing District 14 to running a city-wide campaign. She made a name for herself (and polarized the district and the city) by taking controversial positions on the Trinity River toll road and the convention center hotel. Then, she cast the swing vote to raise property taxes.

Now, due to an obvious lack of preparation, she has decided not to run for mayor and to settle for holding on to the District 14 seat. I think the residents of District 14 deserve better than that.

I may be biased, but I believe Dallas has the most vital, diverse and strong LGBT community in the country, as evidenced by all that I have witnessed and participated in over more than 30 years living here.

It is very exciting news that James is following through on his commitment to service in District 14.

Craig McCartney, Dallas

Thank you so much for your article regarding James Nowlin and his intention to continue his ongoing efforts to win the Dallas City Council District 14 seat in May — despite the recent announcement by Councilwoman Angela Hunt that she will run for re-election to that seat.

I believe that James Nowlin will be an excellent representative for District 14 on the City Council. His commitment to the community has already been demonstrated by his considerable volunteer work with various organizations. James also demonstrated his leadership when he announced his intention to run for the City Council seat while Councilwoman Hunt vacillated between running to retain the District 14 seat, running for mayor or (ostensibly) pursuing some other career choice.

As a resident of District 14, I want my city councilperson to be someone who truly possesses a desire to serve the district — not an individual who looks at the seat as a “consolation prize” when her desire to be mayor was thwarted by individuals better prepared to run for the mayor’s seat than she.

I wholeheartedly support James Nowlin in his bid for this seat, and I encourage every reader of this newspaper to find out more about James and his hopes for District 14 and for the city of Dallas.

Eric D. Johnson, Dallas

—  John Wright

PHOTOS: The frozen tundra of Cedar Springs


Given how well the Kia was performing atop the glacier that’s enveloped Dallas, I decided to do some totally unnecessary travel and take a detour over to the strip on my way to the office. What I found was Cedar Springs, like most roadways in Dallas, iced over and abandoned — except for the gentleman below. He was standing on the corner of Throckmorton in shorts, periodically beating his cane against the sign post and yelling something incoherent, although I imagined it was along the lines of, “Is this all you got, Boreas?”

—  John Wright

WATCH: Biden says Obama is preparing the ground for the inevitable: Gay marriage

While President Barack Obama says his views on same-sex marriage are “evolving,” Vice President Joe Biden is a little more to the point. In an interview on Good Morning America on Christmas Eve, Biden said he believes same-sex marriage is “inevitable.” He also drew a comparison between marriage equality and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Here’s Biden’s full response, which you can watch in the above video at about the 5:45 mark:

“I think the country’s evolving, and I think there’s an inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage. That is my view. But this is the president’s policy. But it is evolving. I think the country’s evolving. I remember the first time he met with the joint chiefs, I was with him. He said, ‘Gentleman, I want you to prepare you now.’ I want to end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ So he prepared the ground so that it was so widely accepted as it is today by the military, and I think the same thing is happening across the country with regard to the issue of marriage.”

—  John Wright