DMN’s Eats Blog reports old Jack’s Backyard spot to become restaurant complex

Over on DMN’s Eats Blog, Kim Pierce reported that the guys behind Bolsa, Smoke and Bar Belmont in Oak Cliff have their sights set on the old Jack’s Backyard spot. The nightspot, which was owned by Kathy Jack, abruptly closed earlier this year amid controversy to the dismay of may gay patrons who partook in drink and live music. Now, according to Pierce, Christopher Jeffers and Smoke exec chef Tim Byres look to turn the venue’s spot — heck, the whole block — into a bar/restaurant complex. From DMN’s Eats Blog.

Christopher Jeffers‘ baby is the Chicken Scratch-Foundry complex that’s going to be another amazing addition to North Oak Cliff. It’s not just a bar (factory-themed Foundry) tied into a restaurant (family-friendly Chicken Scratch), it’s a whole city block, whose shambling structures date to the 1920s. He took me on a tour to show me the vision.

One of the main buildings, where Jack’s Backyard was cloistered on Pittman at Commerce, will house The Foundry, which will be the first of the complex to open January-ish.

Like Pierce said in her piece, ambitious plans. Indeed.

—  Rich Lopez

Owner Kathy Jack issues statement saying she’s ‘truly sorry’ for closure of Jack’s Backyard

This morning we received a statement from Kathy Jack, owner of Jack’s Backyard, regarding the recent closure of the lesbian-oriented Oak Cliff bar and grill. The statement, sent over by Kris Martin of Kris Martin Public Relations & Marketing, was apparently issued in response to our post detailing creditor Marla Custard’s side of the story earlier this week. As we said in the post, we tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with Jack.

In Jack’s statement, which we’ve posted in its entirety after the jump, she says she is “truly sorry that this happened” but adds, “There is so much misinformation and so many rumors.” Jack goes on to say that she never paid herself a salary during the 2½ years the venue was open, and that she believes she could have repaid her debts if she had been given the opportunity.

Here’s the full statement:

—  Rich Lopez

Financial troubles led to closure of Jack’s

Jack’s Backyard owner Kathy Jack has not returned calls from Dallas Voice about the venue’s abrupt closing 10 days ago. But Marla Custard, one of the property owners, alerted us to some of the details behind the closure.

According to court records, Jack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 16, 2010, for the business, Jack Out of the Box LLC. Documents show the business owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to investors including Custard, as well as the IRS, the state comptroller’s office and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Considering that business seemed to be good at Jack’s Backyard, Custard said she’s still unclear about why the bills weren’t being paid.

Days before the club’s final Sunday on June 26, a judge dismissed the bankruptcy filing, saying the numbers didn’t add up in Jack’s plan to get out of the debt.

“That’s when it became clear Jack’s Backyard would have to close,” Custard said. Custard is one of about 15 people listed as creditors who invested in the venue, including recognizable names in the LGBT community such as Howard Okon, Laura McFerrin and Matt Miller.

Custard said she’s personally out more than $600,000, between her investment in the bar and loss of rent payments.

“We love this place,” Custard said. “I’m so mad at her [Jack] for this. It’s heartbreaking, but at the end of the day, it all rests in Kathy’s lap.”

The landowners are now looking for a new tenant.

In an email to the Dallas Voice, Custard forwarded documents from the case and gave us her breakdown of the events that transpired before the closing. Read a portion of her email after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Jack’s Backyard kinda finds a home at Woody’s

Although it’s hardly a backyard, Jack’s is setting up shop in Woody’s. The JB peeps posted on their Facebook that their first day as Jack’s Back Patio is this Saturday and that the originally scheduled band, Ciao Bella, will perform. Not bad for a quick turnaround. By the sounds of it, even former JB employees will be helping out with the drinks.

We have calls to both JB owner Kathy Jack and investor/property owner Marla Custard about what exactly transpired before the club’s closing on Sunday. But it looks like Jack’s fans can still get a little bit of the backyard action for now.

—  Rich Lopez

Not a great week for lesbian bars, as Best Friends Club in Fort Worth has apparently closed too

First we get news that Jack’s Backyard shut its doors Sunday and then we find out Best Friends Club has too. At least according to the recent smattering of these Facebook postings.

Melissa posted

I want to say “Thank You” to Scott Jones for all the years of community service and all the ways you helped the organizations and individuals who needed it. I know that because of all you have done, the Universe will be kind to you in the next phase of your life.

Carla posted:

This really sucks! I know that there was every effort made to keep this from happening….I wish that this was not true. You all will be missed. This was a”Cheers” like bar for quite a few of us…….SAD, SAD, SAD!!!!

I put a call in to owner Scott Jones for details about the club’s closing and what the future (if any) may be for Best Friends. I have yet to connect with him to discuss.

Interestingly enough, Slate just posted a six-part series today titled The Gay Bar: Its Riotous Past and Uncertain Future by June Thomas. Here is a small excerpt of today’s post asking whether gay bars are going by the wayside.

In 2007, Entrepreneur magazine put gay bars on its list of businesses facing extinction, along with record stores and pay phones. And it’s not just that gays are hanging out in straight bars; some are eschewing bars altogether and finding partners online or via location-based smartphone apps like Grindr, Qrushr, and Scruff. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of gay and lesbian bars and clubs in gay-travel-guide publisher Damron’s database decreased by 12.5 percent, from 1,605 to 1,405. Could the double whammy of mainstreaming and technology mean that gay bars are doomed?

—  Rich Lopez

What’s Brewing: Jack’s Backyard closes abruptly

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Some unfortunate gay Pride news: Someone slashed tires on dozens of floats headed for Chicago’s parade in a possible hate crime;  organizers cancelled the Pride parade in Anchorage after a vehicle carrying the grand marshal struck and killed a marcher; and police arrested 14 activists during an unauthorized Pride demonstration in St. Petersburg, Russia. On the bright side, an estimated 2 million celebrated Friday’s same-sex marriage vote at Pride in New York City on Sunday, and the star of the show was Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Watch video below.

2. Jack’s Backyard, the predominantly lesbian Oak Cliff bar owned by Kathy Jack, closed abruptly on Sunday, according to multiple reports. Word is the landlord wanted the property back and Jack is searching for a new location. From the bar’s employees on Facebook: “Heartbreaking as it is I am confirming the rumors that Sunday is the last day Jacks will be open. But we will be back and for you loyal friends and customers thank you for your support. The odds have always been stacked against Kathy Jack ever making this place last. On behalf of the loyal employees of Jacks, rest assured that we will be there when Kathy Jack finds a new location.”

3. Don’t miss our photos and video from Saturday’s Stonewall march in Dallas. And stay tuned for reports from this weekend’s Pride celebrations in Houston and Mexico City.

—  John Wright

FEEDBACK: Incident at fundraiser a stark reminder of how far we have to go

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Tuesday, June 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dallas Voice and a host of HIV/AIDS service organizations in Dallas-Fort Worth will sponsor a public forum at Cathedral of Hope’s Interfaith Peace Chapel, AIDS @ 30: A Community Forum. Then on Friday, July 1, Dallas Voice will publish a special issue marking the 30th anniversary of AIDS, also exploring where we stand today in terms of prevention efforts, treatments and development of a vaccine, and where those efforts are headed.

This week, Dallas Voice received the following letter from Donnie Pangburn that makes it clear, no matter how far we’ve come in the battle against HIV/AIDS, we still have a very long way to go, even when it comes to educating our own community.

Officials at LOGO were contacted and given an opportunity to respond to the following letter. By press deadline on Wednesday, June 15, they had not responded.

The June 11 Weenies and Martinis event at Jack’s Backyard was produced by Team Dallas Voice to benefit Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Team Dallas Voice accepted the offer by the producers of LOGO’s A-List Dallas to participate and film the event.

Appalled by lack of HIV knowledge

I went to Jack’s Backyard to a going-away party for a friend on Saturday, June 11, and soon realized there was a fundraiser raffle going on to support HIV/AIDS services through the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS. Of course, it made the evening more enjoyable to me as not only have I been a volunteer at Resource Center Dallas for years and have donated a lot of time and money to the cause — not only with our community, but with organizations in Africa as well — I am also HIV-positive myself and therefore know first hand the daily struggles that anyone with HIV faces.

It is my understanding that cast members of LOGO’s A-List Dallas were there at the event to sell raffle tickets.

One of the A-Listers, Phillip Willis, approached me and my friends and asked us to donate $20 for some raffle tickets. I instantly reached into my pocket and gave him $20. I asked Phillip what they were raffling off, and he stated, “It doesn’t matter; it’s for a good cause. It’s for all those poor, sad, old people.”

I asked whom he was referring to, and he just winked and said, “You know — them.” I replied, “No, I don’t. Who are you referring to?” He said, “You know, those ones who have AIDS.” My response to him was, “I am HIV-positive, and I’m not poor or sad.”

His mouth just dropped open, and he just walked away without saying another word.

I chose then to approach the Lone Star Ride table and, in tears and anger, asked who was in charge. I explained to him exactly what happened. I was immediately dismissed and told, “Well, if you want to go talk to the cast member, Phillip, he’s around.”

That’s all he had to say.

I took his advice and approached Phillip and said, “I’d like to introduce you to my friends.” I then proceeded to educate him on his lack of tact and knowledge. He instantly replied, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I never said that.”

He attempted to leave, but I told him I wasn’t finished speaking. I once again tried to educate him, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with it. So he chose to walk away, without saying another word — no apology, nothing.

I am hurt, and I am furious that Phillip Willis was so incredibly uneducated and full of disregard — and he was there to represent an organization in our GLBT community and to represent himself as an upstanding citizen of the GLBT community of Dallas.

I am also extremely upset at LOGO, who obviously did not do their homework in choosing the cast members for their show.

Please know that regardless of how this hurts me personally or how angry I am, this is not about me. This is about the increasing number of men between the ages of 18 and 25 who are contracting HIV in our community. According to my doctor, it is spreading like wildfire. Something needs to be done.

If my letters, conversations and emails prevent just one person from contracting HIV, then I’ve done my job.

Donnie Pangburn, Dallas

A response from LSR

As president of the board of Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, I would like to thank Donnie Pangburn.

There are specific, definable moments in our lives when an event, a trigger, compels us to no longer be silent and instead, speak out. The comment made to Donnie about people with HIV/AIDS at our Weenies & Martinis event on June 11, was just such a definable moment.

Those words changed everything for him. Instead of simply getting angry, he got busy.

This experience for Donnie and for all of us at Lone Star Ride is a painful reminder that this kind of ignorance and discrimination still exists, as unbelievable as we wish it were 30 years into the fight against HIV/AIDS.

We are outraged by Donnie’s experience, as everyone should be. The fact that these statements were made, not just by a member of our community, but by a person who was attending an LSR event to help raise money for HIV/AIDS, is unfathomable to us.

As a gay female, who has lost many friends and been involved with HIV/AIDS causes, I thought everyone in the gay community knew and cared about HIV/AIDS. I thought our own community would be the place that people living with HIV/AIDS would be safe from the discrimination and stigma. Boy, was I wrong.

According to the prevention program at Resource Center Dallas, it believed that a quarter-million Americans have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and are not aware of it. More than 40,000 Americans are infected with HIV every year.

Gay men, bisexual men and heterosexual men who have sex with men account for more than half of new HIV infections. In Dallas County, we continue to see an increased infection rate in people between the ages of 13 and 25, as well as those over the age of 45.

Although we have made a great many strides in education about and treatment of HIV/AIDS, it is apparent that there is more to be done. There is still a segment of society, even in our own community, that clings to the myth that, “It can’t happen to me.” It is not until we have experiences like this or encounter personal tragedy, that we are willing to change our attitudes and behaviors.

If you, too, are incensed by what Donnie experienced, join him. Do something. Donate time or money — anything. Just please, get educated.

Know your risk, know your status, and above all, make smart choices. If you need help or information, contact one of the local AIDS services organizations.

I would like to personally express my gratitude to Donnie and others like him that continue to speak out against this type of discrimination and strive to erase the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

Laura Kerr, president, Board of Directors,
Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS

—  John Wright

WATCH: Lisa Loeb performs at Jack’s

Lisa Loeb

Lisa Loeb was in town to promote her new eyewear line and Camp Lisa, her foundation to send underprivileged kids to summer camp.

She performed at Jack’s Backyard on Thursday evening to a crowd of several hundred. A raffle held raised more than a thousand dollars for her foundation.

She charmed the audience and took requests and even relied on fans to help her with the words to one of her older songs. She said how much she liked performing at Jack’s, which reminded her of performing in Austin but “then we can go to our own homes.”

Loeb grew up in North Dallas and her parents still live there.

Friday she appeared at Image Eye wear on Oak Lawn Avenue promoting her eyeglass line.

More information about her eyewear line and Camp Lisa on her website.

—  David Taffet

Local photographer Debra Gloria gives some NOH8 action of her own

NoH8DG

If you missed your chance to snag a NOH8photo shoot with Adam Bouska when he was here, this upcoming event should make up for it. Out photographer Debra Gloria, who we featured here, is hosting a photo shoot of her own to support the campaign. Her photos will be submitted to the campaign and given to you for all your Facebooking needs. We know that’s what you really want.

The photo shoot is free  but $10 is the suggested cash donation to help offset any costs from the shoot and to donate to the campaign directly. Seriously, who can get a hip pic of themselves for that cheap? All you have to do is show up in your white t-shirt and have your hair and makeup all ready to go. She’ll provide the duct tape and tattoo.

The event will be at Jack’s Backyard, Dec. 5 from 1–4 p.m.

UPDATE: Debra Gloria contacted me and is excited about the event. “Yes, I will be working my butt off!” She wanted to mention that Tiffany Brown is “the brains behind all of this. She got this NOH8 project together, so I can’t take the credit for it all. She is a great girl!” So be sure to give both these ladies a hand when you make it out.

—  Rich Lopez