Rainbow-colored ‘B-G’ letters arrive at the ilume on Cedar Springs

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Just in time for the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality rulings, the rainbow-colored “B-G” letters have arrived, as promised, at the ilume on Cedar Springs. Above is Dallas Voice’s Chance Browning striking a pose this afternoon, fittingly, in his “Marriage is so gay” tee. A few more pics after the jump.

—  John Wright

Rainbow-colored version of ‘B-G’ letters coming to Oak Lawn

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A mock-up of the rainbow-colored ‘B-G’ sculpture.

Dallas’ “B-G” letters are coming to Oak Lawn repainted in rainbow colors, according to Scott Barretto.

Barretto’s Social House Media agency and ilume developer Luke Crossland are paying for the colorful paint job and the sculpture will be placed outside Crossland’s building at Knight Street and Cedar Springs Road in front of the old Monica’s.

Barretto said painting should take about six days but the letters in rainbow colors should be ready in time for some June Pride Month photography.

The letters are part of a marketing campaign conducted by the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote tourism to the city. The idea is for people to be photographed standing between the “B” and “G” to make the “I.” The letters have been placed in various places around the city, but not in Oak Lawn.

—  David Taffet

Kroger adds security to parking lot to prevent late night noise, partying

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The Kroger on Cedar Springs Road has added more security to its parking lot on weekends to try to curb noise and illegal activity after the bars close.

Kroger spokesman Gary Huddleston said two weeks ago that the store wanted to work with Dallas police and ilume management to create a permanent solution to ilume’s concerns about late night partying continuing in the unmonitored pay lot.

He said he’s now met with all the stakeholders and more security has been added to maintain control of the parking lot.

Joshuah Welch, director of operations at ilume, said the store is working to maintain security until 4 a.m. when the last of the bars close, which has been helping.

“This is helping clear out the loitering and parking lot parties that were occurring after hours,” he said.

Welch previously told Dallas Voice that the parking lot has become a nuisance with noise and partying after the parking lot attendant took money and left it unsupervised. Ilume has offered to operate the parking lot for Kroger in the past, which Huddleston said was one of the ideas to solve the issues that have increased over the past few months.

Welch said the increased security will continue on a trial run for a month before management meets with Kroger again about the issue, but he is “hopeful that this is a permanent solution to the noise and chaos that was occurring in the parking lot after hours.”

—  Dallasvoice

UPDATE: Erica Andrews memorial set

Screen shot 2013-03-12 at 3.16.52 PMThe memorial service for former Dallas resident and famed drag diva Erica Andrews has been set.

The service will take place Thursday at ilume on Cedar Springs Road. Although scheduled to take place inside the facility’s Great Room, the candlelight ceremony may expand to the pool area, depending upon attendance. It will begin promptly at 7 p.m.

Andrews died suddenly on Monday night, following a lung infection. Born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, she long called Texas her home, and frequently performed at the Rose Room. She also appeared in the film Ticked Off Trannies with Knives, pictured right.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kroger plans to find solution to parking lot noise, crime within 2 weeks

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On Friday, we told you about the complaints from ilume management about noise and illegal activity going on in the Cedar Springs Road Kroger parking lot on weekends.

Management said they’ve tried to work with Kroger representatives over the past year to resolve the issues, but nothing has fixed the problems.

Kroger spokesman Gary Huddleston said the store is aware of the complaints over the last year and has worked to resolve the issues, including increased security patrols of the parking lot. He said the noise has escalated over the last month.

“Obviously it hasn’t been successful,” he said. “So we’re looking at other options to control the noise and other crimes.”

Over the next two weeks, Kroger will work with Dallas police, ilume and business owners to come up with a permanent solution to end the rowdy late night activity. A few options would be to hire a valet to stay all night to monitor the lot, as well as have ilume take over the valet.

“We’re trying our best,” Huddleston said.

—  Dallasvoice

Monica’s no longer Monica’s

Restaurateur Monica Greene confirmed on Facebook today a rumor I first heard last night: That she is no longer affiliated with the Oak Lawn eatery that bears her name.

We extensively covered the opening of Monica’s Nueva Cocina and Mi Lounge earlier this year, and the food is worth checking out.

Here’s what Greene said on her Facebook page:

Dear Friends:
Whether change is by choice or imposed, negative or positive, personal or professional, it’s always a challenging fact of life. With any major changes there are actions we can take to ease the process. And I have. The rumors were true. I haven’t been a part of Monica’s Nueva Cocina for about a month now.
For the moment the restaurant still carries my name, I hope that changes soon. I believe that the owners of this restaurant still committed to serve great Mexican Food. I wish them the best.
Monica’s have been a dream that I hoped to bring top reality. For me, it was so much more – a chance to return to the Oak Lawn area, and a chance to take an exciting concept to fruition. Since I had to help earn the reality of this dream, I treasured it every day in a unique way. I always gave it “my all.” Even after a tough year as this past one, I look back with the wisdom of hindsight and I have to recognized that I enjoyed help create a good restaurant. To each of you who supported the restaurant and me. Thank you. Monica.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

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

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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