Construction begins on ilume park

The Crosland Group broke ground earlier this month on ilume park on Cedar Springs Road at Douglas Avenue. Site excavation began this week.

Ilume park will be a four-story 240-unit apartment complex built in a style similar to the original ilume.

Developer Luke Crosland said he expected leasing to begin in about 13 months. He said the property will not have the retail that ilume has across the street, but will have more amenities than the original property.

The new property continues the “green built” philosophy of the first and Crosland said he has met with the city to ensure better sidewalks and lighting.

More on the project in next week’s Dallas Voice.

—  David Taffet

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The big this this weekend, of course, is the release of The Dark Knight Rises, which is an improvement on The Dark Knight but not quite as elegantly composed as Batman Begins. Still, it’s worth seeing if only for Tom Hardy’s man-meat. As a comic book movie, though, it’s about on par with The Amazing Spider-Man and not as good as The Avengers.

For much bigger laughs than all of those put together, though, The Divine Sister is your best bet, with Coy Covington again tackling a Charles Busch drag role in this astute and surprisingly clever riff on nun movies. The entire cast is in rare comic form. Meanwhile, two other shows — Avenue Q and Joseph — announced this week they will be extending their runs.

Friday night is also a great time to be at the ilume … though you’ll have to choice between some competing events. The Red Party hosts a kick-off event for its fall fundraiser with a men’s fashion show (read: bathing suits and briefs) out by the pool, while around the corner at ilume gallerie, The Art of the Bow Tie, pictured, with a reception for artist Jeremy Calhoun and a share of proceeds going to AIN.

That’s not the only art to see, though.

You could have your own art crawl this Saturday. Readers Voice Award winner Daniel Padilla and his brother Manuel open Beyond Infinity at the Padilla Gallery. The works are partly inspired by the current Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum. Down the street, be sure to catch Cathey Miller’s charming Texas Lady Singers at The Kessler. And jaunt over to East Dallas to see the Sacred David Bowie Art Show open at Wine Therapist.

Finally, if you need to lose some weight, you can get The Biggest Loser to pay for it by auditioning on Saturday for the next edition of the show. You can register here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Axiom closes Monday, Monica Greene’s upcoming Tajin to take over space

Axiom Sushi Lounge at the ilume on Cedar Springs never fully caught on, even after the name change from Fin and despite pretty good sushi. But  it will officially close for good April 30. Monica Greene, who has been planning to open her newest restaurant, Tajin, next door to Axiom since last summer, will delay Tajin’s the opening so that she can take over the Axiom space, according to sources.

Tajin, with which Greene will reinterpret Mexican food in Dallas once again, was supposed to open in March. Opening was delayed to “late May or June” earlier this year. The renovation will like delay the opening even further, to July at the earliest.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Taken for a ride?

Oak Lawn man says cab drivers were taking advantage of people looking for rides home after Halloween block party

Taxi

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

An Oak Lawn man this week said that taxi drivers at the Halloween Block Party on Cedar Springs Saturday, Oct 29, tried to take him for a ride — but not to where he wanted to go.

Michael Truan and his partner live near the intersection of Maple and Inwood avenues. When the two decided to go to the Halloween Block Party on Cedar Springs on Saturday night, they knew they would be drinking, Truan said, so they decided to do the responsible thing and take a cab to and from the party.

“I usually do take a cab when I go out. I don’t want to drink and drive and get in trouble with the cops, or worse, end up hurting myself or somebody else,” Truan said. “Plus, taking a cab means you don’t have to bother with trying to find a parking place.”

That, and the fact that Truan is a flight attendant, means that he is familiar with taxi cabs.

The fare was $12, and he tipped the driver another $2 for a $14 total. Truan said the driver was friendly and courteous and the trip quick and hassle free — the kind of service he has come to expect from Yellow Cab, the company he always uses.

But when it came time to go home, it was another story altogether.

Truan said about 1:30 a.m., he and his partner decided to leave and walked down the block to the area between ilume and Kroger where cabs were lined up, waiting for fares. He approached the first cab in line, and when he told the driver where he wanted to go, the driver quoted him a flate rate fee of $30.

Angry that the driver was trying to charge him more than twice what the trip to the party had cost, Truan approached the second driver in line, who said it would cost $25, again more than twice the original fare.

The third driver wanted even more — $40 — and the fourth driver in line said he wasn’t allowed to let fares “jump the line.”

Truan said he and his partner finally ended up just walking the nearly two miles home, through a neighborhood not considered to be all that safe for a 2 a.m. stroll.

“I was wearing high-heeled boots, and let me tell you, those boots were not made for walking!” Truan said.

The next day, Truan said, he called Yellow Cab and spoke with a supervisor, who was “sincerely apologetic” and said drivers were supposed to only work “on the meter.” He said he also intended to contact Dallas City Councilwoman Pauline Medrano, in whose district he lives.

When Dallas Voice contacted Yellow Cab for comments, however, the supervisor who answered said that drivers are allowed to “go off the meter,” but wouldn’t comment further.

“If you’re a newspaper, we don’t speak to you guys unless you want to hire a cab,” the female supervisor said. “We don’t deal with you guys.”

But Gary Titlow with the city of Dallas’ public works and transportation department was willing to talk, and his version of what is allowed was a but different.

“They aren’t allowed to do that,” he said of the taxi drivers’ Saturday night fee offers. “The only flat rates allowed are the ones outlined in the city code, and even then, the drivers are supposed to have the meters running.”

The only times drivers are allowed to offer a flat rate fare, according to the city code, are when they are taking passengers from the Dallas Central Business District or the Market Center area to either Dallas Love Field Airport or DFW International Airport, or from one of the airports to the Central Business District or the Market Center area.

The flat rate from the business district or Market Center area to Love Field is $18; the flat rate from Love Field to either of those areas is $15. The flat rate to or from the Central Business District for DFW International trips is $40, and the rate to or from the Market Center area is $32.

City code also allows drivers to offer a discounted rate or charge as long as the driver and the passenger agree in advance and as long as the discounted rate is less than the regular fee.

Titlow also said he would be contacting Yellow Cab officials, and that he was “really surprised” to hear such a complaint about Yellow Cab drivers.
Truan said he was also surprised at what happened.

“I use Yellow Cab all the time, and I have never had a problem with them, but if this happens often, then this crap really needs to stop,” Truan said. “We put a lot of money into this area, and to have those cab drivers try to take us for a ride like that — no pun intended — it’s just not right. I think it’s really B.S. I hope no one else fell for it, but I am sure some people did.”

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

—  Kevin Thomas

TCBY to fill in Red Mango spot at ilume

Outside of the location on Abrams and Mockingbird, I really hadn’t thought TCBY was still much in the froyo game, but today’s drive-by proved me wrong. I was slightly stunned when Red Mango quietly closed about three months ago, but it doesn’t look to be an empty space much longer — or even stop selling yogurt. TCBY moves in soon.

The sign has actually been up since the Pride parade, Eric Pederson told me.

“We’re very excited to have them here,.” Pederson of the Crosland Group said. “We’re hoping that the shop will be up and running by Dec. 1.”

Pederson handles the retail leasing for the ilume. There is still some paperwork and permits to complete, but Pederson foresees the location to be a great addition to the gayborhood. Unlike the Lakewood location, this TCBY may go with the self-serve format like many of the newer froyo shops. Perhaps TCBY is finding its competitive spirit again.

—  Rich Lopez

COVER STORY: Brunch meets nightclub

MIMOSAS AND DRAG | In gay culture, brunch is a major social and culinary event, where fancy eggs benedict (like that at Dish, above left) and bottomless mimosas are standard issue. But they are becoming more fun, with drag queens part of the morning’s entertainment at Dish and Axiom Sushi Lounge in the ilume, and ZaZa’s Sunday School brunch (above right) serving up sparklers, DJs and girls dancing on tables. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE BRUNCH PHOTOS

Sunday brunch in Dallas’ LGBT community has evolved into much more than just a meal; it’s a way to keep the weekend party going

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

Mad Men portrays the 1960s white businessman’s three-martini lunch. The Golden Girls ate cheesecake late night around a kitchen table. Carrie always sipped cosmos with the girls during cocktail hour while gossiping at the local club.

But in gay culture, the ritual of a Sunday brunch has long served as a social nexus, a place where all the major deals are made — and the arbiters of local society convene to hold court in the sobering light of day.

Putting together the right crew is part of the finesse that comes with planning the ideal brunch experience. “Not all my friends get along so I have to juggle it,” says one brunch regular.

“I usually have a herd of about five [regular brunch buddies],” says Joshuah Welch, who manages the ilume property where two tenants — the restaurants Dish and Axiom Sushi Lounge — have recently initiated theme brunches. Today, though, it’s just Welch and one other friend: “I was in a coma until 15 minutes ago,” Welch said.

Nursing a hangover is definitely another purpose of the brunch trek: Where else can you have food and alcohol on a Sunday morning to satisfy the twin desires to ease your headache and fill your belly? But the hangover element can affect where you choose to meet your friends. A place with loud music isn’t necessarily all that welcome when you’re sound sensitive, one diner — wearing sunglasses inside — ruefully admits as the music strikes up.

And there’s definitely music, highlighting the latest local trend in brunching: Turning the traditionally staid eggs-benedict-and-mimosa chatfest into something more like a nightclub bathed in sunshine.

The glam world of the party brunch is upon us.

Gays, of course, have always made brunch more a social function than a dining one — at least in urban areas. (Out-of-towners visiting Dallas say the gay community in Northwest Arkansas does not gather routinely for brunch.)

While a hearty meal accompanied by some hair o’ the dog is a reason for brunch, it is by no means the only one. Sunday in the gay community can be akin to a war room strategy session.

“You meet to plan your week — decide what you’re going to do for Sunday Funday,” says regular bruncher Eli Duarte.

“Where else can you find our community gathered in the daylight?” asks Tim O’Connor, another diner, with a hint of sarcasm. “There are not a
lot of places to do that outside the Strip, though it can be a kind of continuation of the bar scene.”

That social aspect has caught on in the broader community, and has even been raised a notch of late in Dallas.

At Dish one recent Sunday, 200 to 250 diners are expected to enjoy the morning’s entertainment. It doesn’t come from a pianist playing songs from “Your Hit Parade,” but rather a dance-mix DJ spinning tunes louder than Grandma would probably enjoy. And that’s not the half of it: Midway through the day’s two brunch seatings (one at 11 a.m. another at 1 p.m.), Dallas drag divas Krystal Summers and Erica Andrews rend the control booth from the DJ to put on a full show for the Taste of Drag Brunch.

Taste of Drag doesn’t take place every Sunday — on special occasions like Mother’s Day a more traditional service is offered — but owner Tim McEnery says they try to do it once or twice a month. And it’s not just for the gay community.

“It really is for everyone,” McEnery says.

CHAMPAGNE | ZaZa’s Sunday School brunch serves up camp with their frittatas. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Anecdotal evidence tends to bear that out. When I mention to a middle-aged straight woman that I am headed to a drag brunch, she excitedly asks where. “I need to know where I can see a good drag show,” she declares enthusiastically. At Dish, there certainly is a mix of gay and straight folks, though queerer heads prevail.

McEnery doesn’t claim to have invented the drag brunch, but he thinks it’s high time Dallas has one. It’s been a staple in cities like San Francisco and New York for years, but has only recently gained currency outside the coasts.

On this particular Sunday, the first seating already has a nine-top (including two women — one, a former New Yorker who notes that brunch has burgeoned as a social event since she moved to Dallas); across from it, five diners, including four well-appointed women in sundresses and espadrilles, their makeup and hair obviously fussed over, have taken a prime location to watch the shows.

A decent-sized crowd fills in the 11 a.m., which is generally less well attended than the later — not surprising in the gay community, several brunch regulars quickly note.

“Part of the point of brunch is to see and be seen,” acknowledges Welch, who is not at all surprised by the girls who turned up at 11 in full, flawless makeup. “People dress up to come here.”

Of course, gays and straights can mingle together or separately anywhere in town during brunch, though there is certainly a concerted effort at Dish — which is located along Cedar Springs — to make Sunday morning feel like an extension of Saturday night.

STEAK AND EGGS | Brunch is a social function, with friends attending in crews where they enjoy a little alcohol along with steak and eggs to keep the Saturday night party going like this group at Dish. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

“Who went to church today?” asks Andrews of the Dish crowd. “I did, but I still smell like last night at the Rose Room.”

Doing the Taste of Drag Brunch, she says, makes performing on the weekend almost run together.

“It’s a different group than I see at the Rose Room,” says Summers. “And we tend to do different music on Sundays — more classic drag. But it’s a perfect time to catch up with friends, to talk about how your week went.”

Over at the Hotel ZaZa ballroom, the third Sunday of every month morphs into Sunday School Brunch, where staff dress as nerdy bookworms and sexy Catholic school girls for a prix fixe menu that comes with a bottle of champagne per couple.

But it’s not just the costumes and food that attract the crowd; indeed, many attendees pay the $10 SRO cover just for the entertainment: Around 2 p.m., the lights dim, the curtain pulls back and the brunch room turns into a naughty discotheque, replete with sparklers, women dancing on the bar, mood lighting and a pounding dance beat.

Today’s a mixed crowd — “about 50-50 [gay-straight] observes one regular, “though it’s often ’mo central.”

The crowd is up and dancing before long, with muscular men in surplus among the attendees as the music gets louder and the lights dimmer. The sunglasses stay on. Gossip can wait; for now, there’s still some partying left to do.

—  John Wright

Arts notes … and some things to do this weekend

5 Women extends run at CTD

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, a catty Southern-fried (and queerish) comedy about bridesmaids that’s in a fun production at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, has extended its run. Rather than closing this Sunday, you get an extra weekend to see the show (which I reviewed here). The additional performances will be Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16 at 8 p.m. and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 17.

Ease on Down the Road to Wyly tonight

The Dallas Theater Center holds a pay-what-you-can performance of the new show, The Wiz, tonight at 8, but before that you can come to a street party in the Arts District, starting at 5 p.m.

Tiff’s Treats opens this weekend in Plano

I don’t mind admitting that I am addicted to Tiff’s Treats, the local company that delivers warm, delicious, fat-, calorie- and cholesterol-free (OK, I make up those last ones) cookies. They come in a metal lined box — how can you not love these? There are now three Tiff’s Treats stores in the Metroplex, and the fourth opens this weekend. You can come the pre-opening event on Saturday, where sales will benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation, with the grand opening on Sunday. The locale is 5750 State Highway 121.

Dish holds Drag Brunch Sunday

Dish Restaurant in the ilume continues its monthly drag brunch on Sunday, with hosts Krystal Summers and Erica Andrews. There are two seatings, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a flat $25 including bottomless mimosas.

Page One opens July 15

In today’s print edition, we reviewed the documentary Page One, but the movie is not opening today but rather next Friday, July 15, at the Angeilka Fil Centers in Plano and Mokingbird Station.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

There’s still time to get your face on

Last fall, local photographer Jorge Rivas started a project to get celebs (including supermodel Jan Strimple, above) and activists to loan their faces to a campaign to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS. Since then, it has caught on, and hundreds of photoshoots later, Rivas’ Faces of Life series has become as distinctive as Adam Bouska’s NOH8 campaign. You don’t need to be HIV-positive, or even gay, to do your part — just willing to have your photo taken by a professional with a keen eye.

This Saturday, June 4, during Razzle Dazzle, you can participate in what will likely be the last local opportunity to be part of Faces of Life. Just stop by the ilume Gallerie at the ilume on Cedar Springs at any time between noon and 6 p.m. (no appointment required), and bring your checkbook: $50 for singles, or a steal at $75 for couples, families and groups, and Rivas will help to make you part of history … and part of art.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

UT Southwestern marks HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

UT Southwestern’s Dr. Mamta Jain will be at ilume on May 18 to give a presentation on the necessity for an HIV vaccine.

Jain is heading a clinical trial of a vaccine that may help researchers understand how the immune system may prevent HIV. They are trying to understand why some people who are HIV-positive develop AIDS while others do not.

The study began last September but participants for the trial are still needed.

Jain said that participants cannot contract HIV from the vaccine.

“The vaccine is composed of man-made proteins that are found in HIV, not the HIV virus itself,” Jain said. “The vaccine cannot cause infection.”

Participants will receive three shots of either the vaccine or a placebo plus a booster shot in the first six months. Then they will return every three months for an HIV test, interview and risk-reduction counseling.

The study runs for three years.

Investigators are looking for gay men or transgender women who have sex with men who are between the ages of 18 and 5o and are HIV-negative. Testing to qualify would be done at UT Southwestern.

Jain will speak in the Great Room and Champagne Lounge at ilume, 4123 Cedar Springs Road on May 18 at 5-7 p.m. Free.

—  John Wright

Pink Noise: The Dallas Voice Podcast

 

In this week’s episode we talked about continuing changes on the Cedar Springs strip, including the Melrose Hotel’s plans for The Bronx Cafe property; the sale of the ilume building; the remodeling project at JR’s; the apparent snags in the plan for Buli Cafe to become Shakers piano bar; the controversy over Maple & Motor Burgers & Beer; and much more.

—  John Wright