Best Bets • 01.13.12

Saturday 01.14Lorrie-Morgan

Know when to hold ‘em
Poker tourney host Pocket Rockets celebrates one year with its Gala Event and Awards honoring the year’s top players. But don’t think this means no playing time. Right after the awards, they turn around to start a $500 tournament sponsored by AIDS Interfaith Network. Rumor has it that some of the A-List cast will be there.

DEETS:
The Brick
2525 Wycliff Ave.,Ste. 120.

3 p.m.
PocketRockets.com.

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Saturday 01.14

Country divas live
We’re trying to figure out  if we even deserve a night of such fabulosity. Lorrie Morgan comes to town with her sass and glam country that paved the way for the likes of Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Pam Tillis was a pioneer in country music as one of the first female producers of her own work. They bring us the Grits and Glamour tour and we’re thanking the country music gods.

DEETS:
Eisemann Center
2351 Performance Drive, Richardson.
8 p.m. $44–$62.
EisemannCenter.com.

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Sunday 01.15

Loving on Gervais’ Globes
Everyone was in a tizzy last year when Ricky Gervais ripped so many new ones into Hollywood at the Golden Globes. Surprise! He’s back. And with good reason — he’s the best part.

DEETS:
Watch party at Texas Theatre

231 W. Jefferson Blvd. 7 p.m. Free.
TheTexasTheatre.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

Pride proceeds


CHECK DISTRIBUTION  | 
Representatives of the five organizations named as beneficiaries of the 2011 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade gather at the Round-Up Saloon to pick up checks representing their share of proceeds from the Pride parade. Dallas Tavern Guild, which puts on the parade each year, distributed checks totaling $18,700 during the guild’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Dec. 1, with each beneficiary’s share determined by the number of shifts each group’s volunteers worked during the parade and Festival in Lee Park in September. AIDS Interfaith Network received $4,300; AIDS Arms received $3,400; AIDS Services Dallas received $2,400; Legacy Counseling Center received $1,100 and Youth First Texas received $7,500. Beneficiaries are in the front row. Tavern Guild members are behind them. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Spirit of Giving: MCCGD’s coat drive for the homeless

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the LGBT community of North Texas once again is responding in a variety of ways to help out those who are less fortunate.

This week Dallas Voice profiles five events intended to raise funds or other donations for a number of different causes. But the community’s good will doesn’t end with these events.

If you know of an individual, business or organization that is holding or participating in a charitable holiday event or effort, email the information to editor@dallasvoice.com.

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Colleen-Darraugh

Colleen Darraugh

This year for the sixth year, Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas is collecting coats for the homeless.

The first delivery will go to clients of AIDS Interfaith Network, said the Rev. Colleen Darraugh, MCCGD pastor. Of people with AIDS in Dallas, that organization’s clients are among the most at-risk and most likely to be homeless, she said.

Darraugh said that the annual coat drive has expanded this year to include sweats, hoodies and socks.
“A dry pair of socks can make all the difference,” she said.

The church kicked off its holiday season of giving by participating in Saturday Night Live at AIN, in which a group prepared a weekend supper for clients and provided  entertainment. After dinner, the 27 volunteers sent AIN’s clients home with bags of granola bars, apples and oranges in addition to leftovers.

Darraugh said the need is so great, members of the church by themselves can’t provide everything AIN’s clients need.

“So we’re asking people to ask neighbors and co-workers to contribute,” she said.

They are collecting items every Sunday at the church at 1840 Hutton Drive #100 in Carrollton.

Anyone who would like to help with delivery is welcome to join. Darraugh said they have a borrowed horse trailer that they expect to be filled with items. After stopping at AIN near downtown Dallas, they will distribute items to people living on the street.

But Darraugh said the need doesn’t end at Christmas, and the church will continue collecting items to make a January delivery as well.

She said that especially those not staying in a shelter often lose what little they have when they leave their items unattended.

To arrange to make a donation during the week, to participate in the delivery of items to the homeless or for more information, call the church at 972-243-0761.

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Give thanks, give help

AIN is a small agency with a small budget — and they need all the volunteers they can get

With just over two weeks left before Thanksgiving, each of us has plenty of time to decide what we are going to give thanks for. And where. And how.
I decided I would give thanks for my health, happiness and longevity by making a modest monthly donation to AIDS Interfaith Network in honor of two very good friends who died in the early days of the AIDS epidemic.

One, Barnaby, used to coax me out to one of two or three New York LGBT bars whenever I started feeling sorry for myself for working long hours. After he got a law degree in his 30s, and I got a job here in Dallas, he took me out for pricey lunches and dinners on my trips back to New York. And he called me just to talk the week before he died.

Guest.Phyllis

Phyllis Guest -Taking Notes

The other, Steven, was my boss at one job, my associate at another, and a quiet joy to be around. When we made a corporate move from New York to Dallas, and I could not make up my mind on a condo, he let me sleep in his spare bedroom for most of a month. And when he got sick, we were close until he could no longer speak.

But why did I choose AIN rather than one of the other nonprofits dealing with HIV/AIDS? Three reasons:

First, AIN was one of four organizations that lost money in September 2009, when the city of Dallas cut $325,000 from funding for HIV/AIDS outreach, prevention and education programs. Shortly after, the city received a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, but that went to a new city program, none to AIN.

AIN lost an entire program aimed at preventing infection among young, high-risk males. As you know, infections among this group are still soaring.

Second, on a 9/11 Day of Service, I joined other Stonewall Democrats of Dallas in working at AIN. We did nothing daunting — some cooked; others served the food; still others washed dishes. I just picked up used plates, wiped tables and poured water.

But what an eye-opener! These clients are the poorest of the poor, many of them homeless. AIN serves breakfast and lunch five days a week — a total of 26,000 meals a year. Without AIN, most would have no food, no transportation (bus passes), no water when it’s hot, no bedding when it’s cold.
Third, AIN is smaller and somewhat less well-known than other nonprofits serving the many individuals living with HIV/AIDS or in danger of becoming infected. When it was more fully funded by the city, state and federal governments, it had a staff of more than 30; now a baker’s dozen of staff and variable numbers of volunteers try to pick up the slack. All volunteers get a choice of chores.

Right now, a prime need is for an Internet guru — a person who knows the ins and outs of and enjoys emailing, posting on Facebook, Tweeting the latest news, etc. Some staffers are rather Internet savvy, but they lack the time and the fine-tuned skills to turn social media into a recruiting and fundraising tool.

Another need is for a community activist who can set up a monthly “Saturday Night Live @ Daire Center” for 2012. Each SNL evening involves providing an early dinner for 30 or so clients, plus light entertainment such as music or board games. Church, mosque and synagogue social action groups know how to do this, as do many political, professional and community clubs.

A third need is for a different kind of community activist, one who can represent AIN at city events, shows, fundraisers and the like. This is perfect for someone who has a varied wardrobe and a love of nightlife. Anytime there is a chance to mention good works, the AIN rep should be on hand to reach out and speak up.

A host of other volunteer jobs are available. Because I lack the above special talents and am neither a cook nor a carpenter, I will probably end up turning handwritten notes into computer files or sorting donated items into manageable piles. That will be my way of giving thanks for the two dear friends who died and the many who remain.

To outdo me — you know you can — call Travis Gasper at 214-943-4444 or email him at tgasper@aidsinterfaithnetwork.org.
Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and is a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

With AIDS funding at risk, Boehner triples budget to defend DOMA

Today I got an “action alert” email from AIDS United and AIDS Interfaith Network, urging me to call my senators and representatives today and urge them to vote against any legislation that would create drastic cuts in federal funds for “essential programs” for people with HIV/AIDS.

House Speaker John Boehner

The email noted that a special congressional committee is working right now on a plan to reduce the deficit, and that cuts to programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Ryan White CARE Act, food stamp programs and unemployment benefits could be on the chopping block. “Cutting these programs will make things worse, not better. People will be hurt and access to life-saving HIV care will be lost,” the email said.

I found the email in the inbox about the same time I found an email from the National Minority AIDS Council pointing out that less than a week after the House Appropriations Committee proposed slashing funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention by $32.7 million, and cutting the Prevention and Public Health Fund by an amazing $1 billion, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has tripled the House’s budget for defending the Defense of Marriage Act, legislation that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, even though performed in jurisdictions that do legally recognize them.

Back in March, Boehner decided that the House of Representatives, under Republican control, would hire a law firm to defend DOMA in court, originally budgeting President Obama had announced in February that he was instructing the Justice Department to no longer defend the law in court, because at least part of DOMA — the part which denies legal federal recognition and benefits to same-sex couples who have been married in jurisdictions with gay marriage is legally recognized — is unconstitutional under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

That decision came after federal district judges had declared DOMA unconstitutional in two separate lawsuits.

It’s bad enough that Boehner and the Republicans in the House feel the need to spend up to $750,000, as per the initial agreement, to hire someone to defend such an unjust law in the first place. Doing so while at the same time threatening to force the country to default on its debts instead raising the debt ceiling was unconscionable. And now, as thebudget crunch continues and Tea Party Republicans continue to complain about the country’s debt and refuse to consider revenue increases, Boehner and his merry band have decided to up the limit they will pay Kircher to defend DOMA to $1.5 million.

Daniel C. Montoya, deputy executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council, said: “I urge Speaker Boehner to reconsider his decision. 56,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year. More than half of those were among gay and bisexual men. Spending taxpayer money to delegitimize relationships that have been shown to promote healthier lifestyles is antithetical to American values, contrary to the conservative belief in limited government and detrimental to public health. In this time of fiscal and economic strife, certainly the Speaker and his colleagues can find better ways to spend this money.”

Montoya also suggested that Boehner’s decision raises “serious questions about his purported commitment to fiscal responsibility.” Yeah, ya think? If you agree and want to express your opinion to your representatives in Congress, you can call, toll free, 1-888-907- 1485.

—  admin

Pride 2011 • Tavern Guild names 5 parade beneficiaries

Organizations provide a variety of services for those in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities

Draconis von Trapp  |  Intern
intern@dallasvoice.com

Beneficiaries

In recent years, increasing costs have forced the Dallas Tavern Guild to cut back on the number of organizations chosen as beneficiaries of the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, choosing only one each year.

This year, however, the Tavern Guild has been able to expand its list of beneficiaries once again. In addition to Youth First Texas, the sole beneficiary for the last several years, beneficiaries this year also include AIDS Arms Inc., AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas and Legacy Counseling Center.
Each of the agencies is profiled below:

……………..

Nobles.Raeline

Raeline Nobles

AIDS Arms Inc.
AIDS Arms is the largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS organization in North Texas, serving more than 7,000 individuals every year. The agency’s executive director is Raeline Nobles, and John Loza is chairman of the board of directors.

The AIDS Arms offices are located at 351 West Jefferson Blvd., Suite 300. The phone number is 214-521-5191, and the website is AIDSArms.org.

AIDS Arms’s case management programs offer numerous services to assist individuals in learning to live longer and healthier lives with HIV by providing access to medical care and support services specific to them. The agency’s goals are to create and maintain long-term access and adherence to medical care and stabilization so clients can successfully manage the side effects of HIV and AIDS.

Professional case managers are trained to respond to clients’ unique needs by providing a comprehensive assessment of needs and barriers to accessing medical care and support, as well as assessing clients for eligibility for programs such as HIV medication and health insurance assistance, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other benefit programs that may help with the financial issues of HIV treatment. Case managers also develop a long-term care plan with the client.

The Case Management Resource Directory helps clients locate services such as food, housing, counseling, support groups, job training and more.

AIDS Arms offers multiple minority-specific programs for women, youth, substance abusers and those with mental health needs. The agency offers linguistic services with case managers versed in more than 10 foreign languages and dialects, and with a variety of diverse cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences.

The intake program helps newly diagnosed clients navigate the services available to them in Dallas.

AIDS Arms’ Peabody Health Center is an outpatient medical clinic that offers comprehensive medical care in coordination with other services needed to increase access to care and maintain adherence to treatment. The clinic employs physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and others professionals who are experts in the medical field and specify in HIV treatment.

AIDS Arms is currently in the process of opening a second clinic.

One specific support group, WILLOW (Women Involved in Life Learning from Other Women), is a program that brings together HIV-positive women to learn from each other and develop new skills. Activities and group discussion lend to the positive environment where women learn how to live healthier lives and form good relationships.

……………..

Pace.Steven
Steven Pace

AIDS Interfaith Network
AIDS Interfaith Network was founded in 1986. Steven Pace is executive director. The agency’s offices are located on 501 N. Stemmons, Suite 200,
and the phone number is 214-941-7696. The AIN website is AIDSInterfaithNetwork.org.

Among its programs, AIN offers Outreach, a program to guide individuals and gives them access to prevention and care services, make referrals and ensure that those affected by HIV/AIDS have access to proper care. The program specifically targets African-Americans (African American Health Coalition) and Latinos (Manos Unidas).

AIN offers a variety of programs, including linguistic services with interpretation and translation of written materials for Spanish-speaking clients, caregivers and other service providers.

Educational services, including prevention education and risk reduction sessions, are available for at-risk individuals, groups and communities, as well as collaborative HIV testing and prevention programs.

Another program offers HIV education for minority women at high risk of infections. The program specifically targets African-American and Hispanic women, but it is open to all.

AIN’s client advocacy program receives referred clients and enrolls them into the appropriate programs. It also provides direct assistance by making referrals, providing follow up and collaborating with case management. This program collects client data, creates and updates files and provides documentation.

Transportation services are offered to clients living in both metropolitan and rural areas through van rides, bus passes for the DART and train system and taxi rides to ensure access to treatment facilities and support services throughout the prevention system.

AIN also operates the Daire Center, an adult daycare center that provides stabilization services and respite care to relieve caregivers. The center also includes monitoring, individualized support, activities, socialization and nutrition assistance. The meals program provides prepared breakfast and lunch daily in the Daire Center for clients who need assistance to meet or enhance their nutritional needs.

For those interested in taking part in helping affected clients, AIN’s volunteer program recruits, trains and manages volunteers, offering different curricula of buddy and companion services for those affected. The program also provides on-site assignments at AIN to give program, administrative and project support and to participate in fundraising events.

For clients requiring spiritual support, AIN offers pastoral services for care, counseling, education and support. The program refers clients and accepts referrals, collaborates with Outreach, offers prevention education and recruits volunteers.

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Maison.Don1-
Don Maison

AIDS Services of Dallas

AIDS Services of Dallas was founded in 1985. Don Maison is president and CEO. ASD offices and apartment buildings are located in North Oak Cliff, near Methodist Medical Center. The phone number is 214-941-0523 and the website is AIDSDallas.org.

ASD’s housing program provides furnished, service-enriched housing and assisted living in private apartments for people with HIV/AIDS. ASD never turns away clients due to an inability to pay rent and it is the largest licensed provider of medically supportive housing for infected individuals in Texas, with four facilities: Ewing Center, Revlon Apartments, Hillcrest House and Spencer Gardens.

Ewing Center consists of 22 units — five one-bedroom apartments, 15 efficiencies and two special need beds/rooms. Revlon Apartments are designed to accommodate individuals and families, with 20 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom apartments.
Hillcrest House, which provides service to individuals who are formerly homeless and living with HIV/AIDS, has 64 single-unit efficiencies. And Spencer Gardens, named in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, provides housing for 12 low-income families.

ASD provides morning and lunchtime meals five days a week and coordinates dinner meals through the Supper Club volunteer program. For immobile clients, the program also provides carryout meal services.

For transportation services, ASD provides a 15-person van to provide regularly scheduled trips to a local food pantry, supermarket and second-hand clothing stores. It also carries residents to and from medical appointments and social service appointments and is used to transport residents to recreational activities planned and implemented by the Resident Councils.

ASD’s case management program provides professional social work staff to determine the psychosocial services needed for each individual resident and assist them in accessing community-based service providers. In addition, the social workers provide on-site case management, substance abuse counseling, individual and group counseling and grief support as needed.

The Social Work Department provides recreational activities for the children of ASD and helps their adjustment to the community and public schooling. With funding from the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program, ASD has hired a children’s activity coordinator to provide recreation during the summer months for the children residing at ASD.

ASD provides 24-hour care and support for its residents. Nurses provide both care and support to residents as well as implement the health maintenance programs. Personal care aides monitor every individual’s needs and habits and provide full-time assistance with routine tasks of daily living for HIV-positive residents.

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Grove,-Melissa11
Melissa Grove

Legacy Counseling Center and Legacy Founders Cottage
Established more than 20 years ago, Legacy Counseling Center provides mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment and housing services for individuals affected by HIV and AIDS. Melissa Grove is executive director. Legacy’s offices are located at 4054 McKinney Ave., Suite 102. The phone number is 214-520-6308 and the website is LegacyCounseling.org.

Legacy Counseling Center provides both individual and group therapy. In individual therapy, individuals receive one-on-one private therapy sessions with licensed professional counselors specially trained in mental health issues of persons affected by HIV and AIDS.

They assist with coping, anxiety, depression and survivor guilt as well as medication compliance.

Group therapy is offered both during the day and the evening and helps HIV-infected individuals contend with many unique issues, and include female-only groups, Spanish-speaking groups and other targeted groups.

Legacy’s Substance Abuse Program provides intensive outpatient substance abuse treatments along with ongoing relapse prevention services for HIV-positive individuals. The program also educates clients about drug abuse and how it ties in with HIV and AIDS in both group and individual therapy. The outpatient therapy schedule can be tailored to the individual’s needs.

To take part in these programs, the individual must be HIV-positive with a letter of diagnosis, at least 18 years old and must remain alcohol and drug-free during the program.

Legacy also operates the Legacy Founders Cottage, a licensed, seven-room special-care facility for people living with AIDS in critical stages of their illness who require 24-hour supervised care.

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Youth First Texas

Wilkes.Sam
Sam Wilkes

Youth First Texas is staffed by Director of Development and Administration Sam Wilkes. The YFT offices are located at 3918 Harry Hines Blvd. The phone number is 214-879-0400 or, toll-free, 866-547-5972. The center is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

YFT offers free counseling to LGBTQ youth ages 22 and younger through volunteer counselors. All counselors are licensed professionals or student interns working under the supervision of a licensed counselor. All legal and ethical guidelines are followed including confidentiality and keeping files. Youth under the age of 18 must have written consent from a parent or guardian before receiving individual counseling services.

Counselors address issues such as coming out, family and school issues, bullying, self-mutilation, depression, isolation, relationships and dating, gender identity and expression, and drug and alcohol abuse.

YFT offers three main groups, but these may be supplemented with other support groups as the need arises. The three support groups are Survivors, Gender Identity and Coming Out.

Survivors’ Group is a peer support group for youth who have suffered isolation, abuse or other trauma, offering them the opportunity to discuss things that are troubling them and receive feedback from peers in a safe space. This group is held on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Gender Identity Group is specific to youth dealing with issues related to gender identity and expression. The group is also open to youth who are curious about their gender-variant peers and gender issues in general. It is held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 7:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Coming Out Group deals with thoughts and feelings about sexuality. YFT periodically offers a four-week support group, providing an opportunity to share with a small group of peers about sexuality and coming out.

YFT also offers multiple educational programs throughout the year. Among these are book club, café cinema, GED tutoring, “Our Roots Are Showing,” Youth Defenders and GSA Network. The center also offers many recreational activities, such as Dallas PUMP!, Friday Night Kula Feast, Movie Camp, Open Mic Night, and the YFT Dance Group.

Throughout the year YFT participates in softball through the Pegasus SlowPitch Softball Association, volleyball through Dallas Independent Volleyball Association, concerts by the

Turtle Creek Chorale, theater performances by Uptown Players and other functions. YFT participants are also kept privy to queer-related opportunities such as performing at their annual fashion show Give E’m Heel and the Gayla Prom by Resource Center Dallas.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Uncertainty remains over future funding for ASOs

Clerical error rectified by Dallas County, but some agencies worry that more cuts are coming

Steven Pace

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Although initial reports of cuts in federal funding for meals programs for people with HIV/AIDS turned out to be a clerical error,  at least one Dallas County AIDS service agency still worries that cuts are coming.

Resource Center Dallas Strategic Communications and Programs Manager Rafael McDonnell said, “We’re still trying to assess the numbers and trying to see where we are.”

McDonnell said that the food pantry and meals program are not fully funded through government programs.

The agency also relies on a number of other grants from organizations like Mazon and on canned food drives run by community groups and businesses.

“We go into this budget year with a certain amount of uncertainty,” McDonnell said. “We are hopeful there are no cuts. It’s hard to determine if there will be.”

He added that the center will need all those who have supported its programs in the past to continue to do so into the future.

With federal and state governments slashing their budgets, McDonnell said that money could be cut at any time from the programs.

“Until we see the check in our hands,” they don’t count on the money, he said. “We’re doing the best we can, planning in an uncertain future.”

But the grant that comes through Dallas County has been restored for the immediate future for the Resource Center and AIDS Interfaith Network.

AIN relies on the grant money for a third of its meals program budget.

“The county did respond and did rectify the mistake,” AIN Executive Director Steven Pace said.

AIN has a weekday breakfast and lunch program and provides some weekend meals for persons with HIV. Resource Center Dallas runs a hot lunch program during the week.

Pace said that with grants of this type, there is always a degree of uncertainty. Even though the money has been restored for seven months, Congress can decide to cut funding to any program at any time.

He said it is just something nonprofit organizations that rely on government funding live with.

Because of a clerical mistake, funding for meals programs was moved to food pantry programs for the new fiscal year.

When AIN and RCD received emails confirming state grants that are funneled through Dallas County, the money for meals programs was omitted from the budget.

However, the money did not show up in the RCD grant budget even though that agency runs both meals and food pantry programs.

The state fiscal year begins Sept. 1 and final documentation needed to be back to the county by Aug. 12.

When Dallas County found the error, a new email was sent to the agencies. Pace worried at the time that he was missing the deadline to submit his budgets and documentation, but he has been assured the agency would not be penalized.

He said he promptly adjusted his figures and submitted the necessary paperwork to assure no interruption in funding.

RCD also readjusted its figures and resubmitted the paperwork.

Some years, grants are renewed from previous years. Other years, agencies must rebid to receive their funding. This year, money was renewed for seven months and agencies will have to rebid for the final five months.

Although the state funding year begins Sept. 1, the Ryan White fiscal year begins April 1.

“We appreciate that Dallas County corrected the error so quickly,” Pace said.

Even with lag time in receiving the additional funds, Pace said the meals program will continue uninterrupted, thanks to a recent $25,000 grant from the MAC Cosmetics AIDS fund.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

LOCAL BRIEFS: AIN receives donations, Women’s Chorus auditions, food programs

AIN receives donations

AIDS Interfaith Network received a number of donations over the past two weeks, totaling about $65,000, to support North Texans with HIV and AIDS living in poverty.
MAC AIDS Fund made a $25,000 donation to AIN’s meals program, which serves more than 26,000 meals to 500 people. Almost half of these clients are homeless or marginally housed.

The James and Gayle Halperin Foundation and The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation each made $10,000 gifts. DIFFA made a $9,500 grant to the meals program.

The 24th Annual Leo Party and Miss Leo Contest at the Hidden Door raised almost $10,000. Organizer Andy Scanlon called the event and show “the longest running, independently operated, volunteer-led fundraiser for an AIDS organization in Dallas.”

In its 24 years, the Leo Party has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the clients of AIN, Scanlon said.

Women’s Chorus auditions

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas will hold open rehearsals for women interested in joining the Chorus on Monday, Aug. 15, Saturday, Aug. 20, and Monday, Aug. 22. Interested singers are invited to sit in on a full rehearsal, meet with members of TWD, and learn more about becoming a member. All singers must attend an open rehearsal prior to auditioning to join the chorus.

Regular season rehearsals are held every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Sammons Center for the Arts, 3630 Harry Hines Blvd.

TWD performs three season concerts annually, and this year will perform an additional concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The chorus performs many outreach performances each season, and the 2011-2012 season already includes scheduled performances for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and AIDS Lifewalk.

To sign up for a rehearsal, visit TheWomensChorusofDallas.com. For questions regarding the chorus, the audition process or rehearsals, contact the office at 214-520-7828 or via email at twcdoffice@twcd.org.

Food programs

Congress is debating cutting programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (better known as WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program) and funding for food banks. The North Texas Food Bank asks people who are concerned about these cuts to contact members of Congress to ask them not to slash these programs.

—  John Wright

Queer documentary screening to benefit AIN

Rainbows End, a Texas-set documentary about three Texans on a quest to cross the country for the promised land of Los Angeles, got its local debut at the Dallas International Film Festival last March. Among the quirky stars of the show was Audrey Dean Leighton, a rainbow-wearing Nocogdochan with the mission to take lessons on the Internet at the Gay and Lesbian Center.

If you missed it then, you get a chance to correct that later this month. On July 23 and 24, the newly restored (and gay-friendly) Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff will host screenings of the film. The showings, at 5 p.m. every day, will include live music from Country Willie, and proceeds will benefit the AIDS Interfaith Network.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Axiom Sushi Lounge and AIDS Interfaith Network team up for one-day dining event

On Wednesdsay, Axiom Sushi Lounge will host Making One Meal Matter with AIDS Interfaith Network. From 7–10 p.m., 20 percent of guests’ food bills will go toward AIN’s 10 client-serving programs.

Travis Gasper, director of development at AIN, says, “Our clients are homeless or very low income and living with HIV/AIDS. Each meal matters to them.”

Additional donations will also be accepted throughout the night. So load up on your California Rolls and sashimi.

Axiom Sushi Lounge (formerly Fin Sushi Lounge), 4123 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. For reservations, call 214.443.3840 and mention “AIN fundraiser.”

—  Rich Lopez