Outrageous Oral returns to Sue Ellen’s

Jack Evans, left, and George Harris

The Dallas Way, the LGBT history project, presents its second Outrageous Oral program in the Vixin Lounge at Sue Ellen’s on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. The event is free.

Six storytellers for this week’s program are Pat Stone, Jack Evans and George Harris, the Rev. Carol West, Jesús Chairez and Linda Mitchell.

Stone is one of the founders of Dallas’ PFLAG chapter and served both regionally and nationally as a board member. Her personal journey includes coming out late in life after 35 years of marriage.

Harris and Evans are the co-founders of The Dallas Way and will relate stories of coming out in the 1960s in a very conservative Dallas, how they met, and how they have made their 50-plus year relationship work.

West has been a minister in the LGBT community for the last 22 years. Prior to ministry, she taught high school English. She currently pastors at Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth, where she is beginning her 15th year. During the AIDS crisis, West ministered at Cathedral of Hope, serving during that time as an AIDS chaplain.

Jesús Chairez was the producer and host of USA’s first LGBT bilingual Latino radio show, Sin Fronteras. Linda Mitchell is an original “Friend of Bill.”  She will relate personal stories of Dallas icon Bill Nelson and his partner, Terry Tebedo.

The first Outrageous Oral event was recorded. Watch Monica Greene’s story after the jump. More videos can be found on The Dallas Way YouTube channel.

—  David Taffet

LGBT history project comes into focus

The Dallas Way elects board and officers, unveils model 1-page entry

history

HISTORY BUFFS | The newly appointed board and officers of The Dallas Way are, from left, back row, Jay Forte, Mike Grossman, Stan Aten, Robert Emery, Ann Faye, Mike Anglin, Evilu Pridgeon, Bruce Monroe and Buddy Mullino; and from left, front row, Rebecca Covell, Carl Parker, George Harris and Jack Evans. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

For almost a year, members of Dallas’ LGBT community have been meeting informally to begin a project to collect and archive the community’s history.

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, The Dallas Way formalized itself by electing a board of directors and officers and filing for nonprofit status.

A year ago Jack Evans, now president of The Dallas Way, and his partner George Harris celebrated their 50th anniversary. The couple told their story in the Dallas Voice and on the radio, and Evans concluded that the interest people showed was really an interest in the broader topic of Dallas LGBT history.

The Dallas Way board member Robert Emery said, “We need to focus and clarify and collect our history to strengthen our community and to be a source of inspiration for the young.”

Bruce Monroe, who served as president of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance in the early 1990s, created a Facebook page to promote the group and begin collecting stories.

Emery said the final account of the events, groups and people that make up Dallas LGBT history will be scholarly studies compiled and approved by a committee.

Emery’s vision for the group is that The Dallas Way will accurately tell the story of the community and be a reliable source for researchers in the future.

“If you see our stamp in an archive, we hope that will be the definitive story on that subject,” he said.

Writing the history of the community may seem like a daunting task, but Emery said each entry will be just one page.

“I’m not asking you to write a book,” Emery said. But he added that keeping some entries to one page might prove just as difficult as writing a comprehensive history.

Attorney Rebecca Covell, who was also elected to The Dallas Way’s board on Tuesday, called each entry “a gay wiki page.”

One of DGLA’s founders, Mike Anglin, produced the group’s first entry — the story of Bill Nelson. Anglin’s one-page document summarizes the contributions of the man for whom the health clinic on Cedar Springs

Road is named. But Anglin said that links in the article will refer readers to additional one-page stories — Nelson as the first openly gay man to run for Dallas city council, his Cedar Springs store Crossroads Market, how the food pantry began as a shelf in Crossroads Market and many other contributions he made to the community.

To research the story, Anglin called Nelson’s mother, Jean, who is now in her 80s and lives in Houston. She told Anglin she was relieved that he contacted her because she wanted her son’s memory preserved. She sent him boxes of photos and other memorabilia of his activist work — from a laminated copy of a Dallas Times Herald magazine cover to a mock-up of the quilt panel she designed for her son and his partner, Terry Tebedo.

Board member Stan Aten contacted the University of North Texas, which agreed to work with The Dallas Way to help archive and digitize the material.

Two high school students attended Tuesday’s meeting who are members of the Booker T. Washington and Greenhill School Gay Straight Alliances.

Booker T. senior Truett Davis said he became interested in learning about the Dallas LGBT community beyond his GSA when DGLA President Patti Fink and Resource Center Dallas Executive Director and CEO Cece Cox spoke at his school.

“This will give perspective to young people about what has taken place,” Davis said. “This will tell us what has taken place and help us solve problems in the future. What’s already been done is important.”
The Dallas Way meets the first Tuesday of the month in the Park Room, Park Tower Condominiums, 3310 Fairmount Street at 7 p.m. Interested community members are welcome to attend a meeting or contact the group through its Facebook page.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

“The Temperamentals” explores founding of Mattachine Society

Steve Bullitt as Hay and Mitchell Greco as Gernreich

The off-Broadway hit The Temperamentals makes its Houston premiere at the Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex (2201 Preston) January 19 and runs through February 11. The play, by Jon Marans, explores the events surrounding the founding of the Mattachine Society, one of the first “gay rights” groups in America (although the Society for Human Rights has it beat by a quarter of a century).

The story centers on Harry Hay (Steve Bullitt), a communist and Progressive Party activist and his lover Rudi Gerneich (Mitchell Greco), a Viennese refuge and costume designer. Set in the early 1950′s in Los Angeles, the play is an intimate portrayal of two men who created history and the epic struggle they overcame.

The term “temperamental” is one of those code words from 1950′s gay sub-cultures that has fallen by the wayside, but in its heyday describing one’s bachelor uncle as “temperamental” had a clear meaning. Hay and Gerneich are joined by other luminaries of the day, played by a cast of four actors in multiple parts (Rob Flebbe, John Dunn, and Jeff Dorman).

The  January 19 opening night performance benefits the Houston GLBT Community Center. Tickets are $30 and may be purchased online.

—  admin

Houston ARCH seeks public submissions for new logo

Houston ARCH proposed logos

History relies on historians, whether the formal history of the academic or the informal history of grandpa’s stories, someone must tell the tale for the story to live on. The straight world has many formal institutions designed to maintain its story, from museums to archives to oral history projects the stories of straight people are well documented and preserved.

Queer history, on the other hand, is far more fragile. As a community we have a habit of separating ourselves by generations and the documents of our recent past, the fliers, t-shirts and pamphlets, are often seen as ephemeral trash, rather than important historical documents.

Several institutions have been created to try to preserve that history, including the Botts Archive, the Gulf Coast Archive, and archives at the University of Houston, Rice University and the Transgender Foundation of America. These desperate efforts have joined together to form the Houston Area Rainbow Collective History (Houston ARCH), a coordinated effort to preserve and document LGBT History in Houston.

Of course, any great organization needs a great logo, and that’s where Houston ARCH is reaching out to the public for help. Through January 5 you can submit your design via e-mail to billyhoya@billyhoya.info. Designs must contain the name “Houston ARCH,” and may spell out the acronym, also designs should be be scalable, work both in color and black and white, and be suitable for print and online reproduction. Designers should take care that their submissions are not confusable with logo’s of similarly named organizations.

So far only two proposals have been submitted and loaded to the Houston ARCH website for comment. Final voting for the design will take place January 25 at the regular Houston ARCH meeting.

—  admin

Group meets to document Dallas LGBT history

Jack Evans, left, and George Harris

A new group will gather at Resource Center Dallas on Thursday, Aug. 25 to begin a project to document the LGBT history of Dallas.

George Harris and Jack Evans met almost a decade before the Stonewall Rebellion and want people to know they weren’t the first gay couple in Dallas. After celebrating their 50th anniversary earlier this year, they decided it was time to document the history of the LGBT community before it’s lost.

About 10 years ago, KERA produced a documentary called Finding Our Voice: The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Community. Evans raved about the program but said the one-hour special only scratches the surface and there’s been no follow-up.

He said he thinks the new project will include written histories as well as video testimony. Photos of events and places of importance in the LGBT community will also be collected. But the first meeting is just to discuss what form the project will take.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Resource Center. Anyone interested in participating in the project is welcome to attend.

—  David Taffet

The Nooner: Leppert unlikely to run; 1st gay museum opens; R.I. marriage fight heats up

Mayor Tom Leppert appears in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in 2007.

Your lunchtime quickie from Instant Tea:

• It’s “all but certain” that Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert won’t seek re-election, according to The Dallas Morning News, and Councilwoman Angela Hunt says she’s considering a run.

• Westboro Baptist Church says it has decided not to picket 9-year-old Tucson shooting victim’s funeral after all, but it will picket that of federal judge killed in attack.

• First LGBT history museum opens in San Francisco.

• Marriage fight heats up in Rhode Island.

• Jewish groups condemn Sarah Palin‘s use of “blood libel.”

—  John Wright

Looking for info on drag queen Kelly King

Anybody out there in Instant Tea Land know what became of a drag queen called Kelly King from Louisville, Ky.?

I got an e-mail today from David Williams of the Williams-Nichols Institute Inc., which is the corporate sponsor of the Williams-Nichols Archive and Library for LGBT Studies at the University of Louisville. They are trying to gather information on Kelly King, a drag queen who was profiled in the Louisville Times’ Scene Magazine on April 8. 1978. Apparently, the article set off what Williams calls “a firestorm of angry letters” from readers, an incident that has become, he said, “one of the earliest landmarks in Louisville LGBT history.”

From what Williams has heard, King has since died and is buried somewhere in the Louisville area. But they haven’t been able to verify that, and if she is buried there, they don’t know where. Here’s what they have heard:

1. Kelly King’s birth name was supposedly Rex Altman. He graduated from Doss High School in the Okolona area of Louisville in 1971 or 1972. Kelly King performed drag for several years at the old Odyssey club in Louisville and some other clubs. She apparently performed with Cissy Blake (Darrell Robinson), and Cissy Blake may have been the one who got Kelly King into the drag business.

2. By the late 1980s, Kelly King had moved to Pensacola, Fla., and continued to perform there. They have video of her performing at a 1988 AIDS benefit in Pensacola for the group EASE.

3. From Pensacola, Kelly King reportedly moved to San Francisco where she was murdered sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Her body was returned to Louisville and she was buried there “in her favorite black dress.”

And here’s what they want to know:

1. Where is Kelly King’s grave?

2. Did anyone attend her funeral and/or burial?

3. What is her date of death?

4. Does she have any family still living in the Louisville area?

I know there isn’t an obvious North Texas link to this story, but hey, drag queens travel all over to perform, and I know back in the early 1980s, performers from all over used to come to Dallas to perform at Joe Elliott’s bar, The Landing. Maybe Kelly King had fans here? Or maybe somebody who lives here now used to live in Louisville, or Pensacola, or San Francisco, and knew her and has information on what became of Kelly King. Plus, we do have readers all over the country who might see this post, too, and be able to help out with some info.

Anybody who knows anything is asked to contact the archives by e-mail at KyArchives@aol.com or WillnlCH@aol.com.

And here’s the video of Kelly King performing to raise money for EASE at Snoopy’s (which later became Fantasy, which burned down).

—  admin