Cassie Nova • 10-14-16

Cassie scares up costume ideas



Hey, y’all, and thank God for fall. There is no better feeling than having cool days after a long hot summer. It’s time for pumpkin spiced crap and putting up Halloween decorations. I am feeling stressed trying to come up with a great Halloween costume. Every day is Halloween to a drag queen, but the month of October allows us to get away with even more. This year I am drawing a blank on a costume. Last year, my husband and I went as Herman and Lily Munster. It was fun. Hopefully I will get a spark of inspiration soon. Time is running out.

The month of October and cooler weather also puts me in the mood to watch horror movies. I freakin’ love scary movies, especially the old-school kind. When I was little, my dad would take me to see scary movies way before I was old enough to see them. I remember being 5 or 6 years old and him taking me to the original Hills Have Eyes. It nearly frightened me to death, but my dad just laughed. I think he liked it when I would hide my face behind his arm. It was a strange bonding experience.

My fascination for horror films goes way, way back. My mother loves to tell the story of my grandfather on my dad’s side back in the 1970s in Pleasant Grove. He apparently was a cheap-ass. My grandma would hound him to take her to the movies all the time. Finally, he got fed up with her nagging and told her to get in the pickup, they were going to the movies. I was 2 years old, almost 3, and Grandma was babysitting, so I got to go, too. Cheap-ass Pawpaw drove us exactly four blocks to the drive-in theater that you could literally see from my grandparents’ back yard. She called him an asshole, but was she happy I guess to just get out of the house. The movie started. It was The Exorcist — my first movie! Mom says that I wouldn’t stop talking about the girl throwing up green stuff. These young-uns now days have Dora and Spongebob, I had Linda Blair.

Times have changed since I was a kid. People freak out if someone takes a kid to an R-rated movie. Not when I was little! Scary movies were a family event. I remember Mom and Dad taking me and my Aunt Zina to see Jaws. Zina was spending the summer with us babysitting me and my sister. I sat in her lap and clawed her to shreds with my kiddie razor talons. Sharks still freak me out to this day. Even if I am in a damn swimming pool and think of the theme to Jaws, a small part of me panics. Stupid I know, but I saw Jaws in the theater when I was 5 and it along with all the other horrible, bloody, not-kid-friendly movies might have scarred me a little.

I was 11 or 12 when A Nightmare on Elm Street came out and my little sister and I begged our dad to take us to see it. Of course, on our next trip to Dad’s (the parents were divorced by now), he took us to see Freddy kill a bunch of teenagers. It was awesome. That was the movie that started my love of special effects — trying to figure out how they did all those horrifying, bloody and gross scenes fascinated me. I think dissecting a scene in a movie to figure out how it was done made it less scary to me, but made me into an instant weirdo. I was obsessed with blood, gore and monsters.

Halloween became my Christmas; I would go all out with my costumes. My freshman year of high school, I went as Freddy Krueger, complete with bald cap and a homemade glove with plastic finger-knives. I even spray painted stripes on a red sweater. This was way before there were Spirit Halloween stores everywhere. I got second place in our costume contest. I honestly don’t remember who beat me, but I know I felt robbed.

The next year was more subdued,: I made a Spuds MacKenzie mask out of papier-mache. Spuds was the party dog used in the very popular ads for Bud Light. I think I won that year. Junior year I made an awesome set of fangs in dental tech class. (I went to the High School for the Health Professions so that was an option for us, and truthfully the only reason I took that class was so I could learn to make molds and casts for special effects.) My vampire costume was kind of lazy, but I didn’t want to go gory because I was trying to still look cute for a boy I liked. Massive fail — when he finally talked to me, I spit all over him trying to talk with those big ass vampire fangs in. Plus the teeth gave me a lisp so everything I said sounded even gayer than normal. By the way, I just looked that guy up on Facebook and thank God for unanswered prayers.

My senior year I killed it. I was in charge of a senior fundraiser so we put together a haunted house inside Room 205, our multipurpose room that was rumored to be haunted because the lights would always flicker. It was cheesy and a little corny, but had a couple of genuine scares, too. I was very proud of it. I was the tour guide and made my entire costume. I was Pinhead. (Hellraiser was huge that year.) I made the entire mask out of latex on a wig head. The pins were made from the prongs from a hair brush that I melted, painted and glued down very meticulously. It came out better than I could have hoped.

I had so much fun leading my fellow students though our haunted house. Some wouldn’t come near me and some screamed and ran away, which to me was the absolute best feeling. We raised a lot of money and had a blast doing it but it was a lot of work. That was I think the first time I used my weirdness for good. Being weird and fitting in are not easy but it is awesome when it happens.

Speaking of Halloween, who could forget the original Halloween movie. Michael Myers goes after his sister Laurie Strode to kill her and kills any and everybody that got in his way. A true classic. Laurie Strode was played by Miss Big Titties herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, and boy do I have a story about her — actually, one my mother told us years ago.

When Mom was a little girl, they lived in California. My grandpa was a ranchhand on Tony Curtis’ ranch. One day, he took my mom, who was 11 or 12 at the time, with him to work the horses. There she met a young Jamie Lee, who was also about 12. She was as my mother put it, “a little bitch!” She had a stick that she kept hitting her horse with. My mother told her, “If you hit that horse again I’m gonna whoop your ass.” She hit the horse again and so my mom whooped Jamie Lee’s ass. Needless to say, Grandpa didn’t work for Mr. Curtis long after that.
My mother told us that story a few times over the years. Most anytime we saw Jamie Lee Curtis in a movie, she’d say “I whooped her ass!” We always kinda rolled our eyes like, “Whatever, woman:” … until I brought it up to my grandpa a few years before he passed. I asked him if the story was true, he said “Hell, yes, it was true! I have never been more proud of your Momma.” I love that story, and even now every time I see that Activia pushing bitch, I think…my momma kicked her ass!
Happy fall, everyone! Remember to love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.

If you have a question of comment, email it to

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice




Late Bloomers.  Earlier this year, the USA Film Festival held an anniversary screening of Late Bloomers, an indie movie that boasted a kind of mini-legendary status on the Dallas film community. It was at the forefront of a spate of the New Gay Cinema in the mid-1990s, which saw serious stories about queer issues going, sort of, mainstream. (I actually moderated the festival’s post-screening Q&A, with the film’s director, Julia Dyer, and several cast members present — many of whom North Texas theater audiences would recognize.) Now Wolfe Video is releasing (on Oct. 18) the 20th anniversary high-definition edition of this charming comic romance, about a high school P.E. coach (Connie Nelson) who begins a relationship with the married school secretary (Dee Hennigan), and scandalizes the conservative Texas town.

Despite its low-budget roots during a different era of gay acceptance, Late Bloomers holds up remarkably well two decades later — it’s funny, charming and the make-shift “wedding” reminds us how far we have come.



Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four.  Believe it or not, 25 years ago, DC Comics was the shit and Marvel was the red-headed stepchild of comic-book-to-movie franchises. DC had big-screen adaptations of Superman with Marlon Brando and Batman with Jack Nicholson; Marvel had cheesy B-movies of The Punisher with Dolph Lundgren and TV series like The Incredible Hulk. It wasn’t until X-Men in 2000 and Spider-Man in 2002 that Marvel came into its own as a playa in Hollywood; now we have the MCU interlacing Iron Mans with Avengers with Thors with big-name stars and boffo box office; DC, meanwhile, churns out disappointing productions of marginal properties like Suicide Squad.

Proof that Marvel wasn’t a big deal in the 1990s was a version The Fantastic Four, made by schlock-meister Roger Corman on a million-dollar budget without any name stars, cast and shot in under two months. The creative team — director, actors, crew — all thought this could be their Big Break, a legit, marketable property they could promote at comicons and that could score some fairly major coin among comic nerds. What none of them knew, though, was that the higher-ups had no intention of releasing the film; they just needed to get it made in order to preserve their option, so that, a decade later, they could turn out a “serious” FX version with Jessica Alba and Chris Evans.

The failure of Corman’s F4 is fanboy legend, and this documentary (now on VOD) tries to parse what really happened. But mostly it’s just the creative team “what-iffing” — we don’t get the real behind the scenes story. What we do get is a light-hearted cautionary tale about the Hollywood machine, and how campy superhero films can go wrong even with the best of intentions.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Shock therapy

Chevy’s redesigned Volt sacrifices some specialness for more prosaic luxury



CASEY WILLIAMS  | Auto Reviewer

volt-reviewDriving the redesigned 2017 Chevy Volt is like listening to Gaga and Tony Bennett. It’s a beautiful thing — a pleasure to behold — but you somehow miss the edgier Gaga that was carried about Hollywood in her egg-shaped womb-vessel. Gaga is a little more normal. Like the Volt.
While it’s a little less “special,” the new Volt looks much more dynamic. It’s still clearly a Volt, but with a more wedgy shape sporting silver grille inserts, signature LED driving lights, deep body sculpting, chiseled wrap-around taillamps and sporty 17-in. alloy wheels. Handsome as it is, you’ll have to blink twice to make sure it isn’t the redesigned Cruze.

2016-chevrolet-volt-039An updated interior trades concept car magic for everyday convenience. Gone are the touch panels, replaced by actual buttons for the automatic climate control and audio. There’s also a touchscreen to access navigation, audio and vehicle computer. A large LCD screen behind the steering wheel shows battery charging/discharging and driving range on the left side and gasoline engine performance and fuel level on the right.

And there are plenty of luxuries. Heated leather seats front and rear, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and Bose audio came with our car — as did Apple CarPlay compatibility, wireless phone charging, 4G LTE Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Safety is enhanced by rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, blind zone alert, forward collision alert with automatic braking and adaptive cruise control. The car can even semi-autonomously parallel park itself.

But how to explain the powertrain?

Imagine a continuum from pure electric Teslas hard left to a gasoline-evaporating HEMI-powered Challenger Hellcat far right. If the Toyota Prius is dead center, then the Volt is left of hybrid. Chevrolet calls it an extended range electric. It’s electric because it is (almost) always driven by electricity from its lithium-ion batteries. It’s range-extended because it initially runs purely on batteries, but when they’re depleted, a 101 horsepower 1.5-liter gasoline engine fires up to continue the fun. It’s an electric commuter car that can drive cross-country on gasoline.

So, for the digits. The first generation Volt traveled about 40 miles all-electric, but the new one extends that to 53 miles — a 33 percent improvement. By EPA figures, the Volt achieves 106-MPGe on electricity, 42-MPG running gasoline, and can travel 420 miles from plug to vapors. Charging takes 13 hours on household 120v or 4.5 hours on 240v.

Driving in electric mode is as elating as sweeping the dancefloor with Gaga or Bennett. Stomp the throttle and you hear nothing as instant torque whooshes the car smoothly up to speed. GM claims the Volt will run 0-60 mph in 8.4s — not bad for a heavy compact car. Top speed is limited to 98 mph.

Additional features help owners. A drive mode selector configures the powertrain for Sport (more sensitive throttle, quicker battery depletion), Winter (less sensitive) and normal driving. There’s also a “hold” feature that preserves the battery level for future use. Owners can also set location-based charging preferences via GPS locator to take advantage of optimum charging rates.

Teaming with Tony Bennett showed Lady Gaga’s substantial range, insuring her superstardom for decades to come. I still have affection for the first-generation Volt, but the new one shows it can dance, sing, run on electricity, burn minimal fossils, and stretch is styling. It’s a better Volt for those who love Volts while drawing in drivers who never before liked its music.

A base price of $33,220 ($39,930 as tested) makes it a bright deal against the Nissan Leaf, Prius Plug-In and the Tesla Model 3.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.


—  Dallasvoice

STAGE REVIEW: ‘Breadcrumbs’



A series of random, seemingly unconnected words are furiously scribbled on Post-It Notes and immediately discarded — dropped on the floor, left as clues (breadcrumbs?) that may lead us to understand more about the workings of the human mind of Alida (Stephanie Dunnam), a reclusive writer befriended by Beth *Catherine D. DuBord), a flighty millennial who offers to be Boswell to Alida’s Johnson. Alida, it turns out, is slowly losing her short-term memory, which makes it difficult to write what will clearly be her final book, one she’s not even sure she will ever publish: a fractured fairytale culled from the deep recesses of her own childhood with her well-meaning but troubled mother and the experience that made Alida feel like Cinderella, like Gretl, like Little Red Red Riding Hood, but without the happy ending.

Alida goes in and out of the past and present, piecing together a mosaic of  memories into a current story by which she can understand how she got to this point in life. But her dementia make it nearly impossible to deal with her. She doesn’t trust Beth (should she?) and wonders whether she’s being exploited. The audience wonders, too.

Breadcrumbs, now at the Bath House, is and investigation into the human psyche, and as we’ve come to expect from WingSpan (the 19-year-old theater company that tackles plays by, about and for women), it does so with a scrappy defiance. Jennifer Haley’s play isn’t exactly commercial candy, but a serious portrait of ageing and self-examination. What it lacks in box office appeal, though, it more than makes up for with Dunnam’s defiant curmudgeonliness, softened in poignant moments by her obvious frailty and vulnerability. Ultimately, though, it’s a hopeful and satisfying 70 minutes of theater, reminding us that we are the sum of our experiences, and deserving of a shared humanity.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive.
Through Oct 29.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Best Bets • 10-14-16

Friday 10.14 — Sunday 11.06


Linda Leonard portrays legendary Texas governor Ann Richards in Stage West’s ‘Ann’

Recently out Emmy-winning and Tony-nominated actress Holland Taylor created the play Ann, about Texas firebrand Ann Richards, as a one-woman show, and she exclusively has performed it in every incarnation. Until now. Local luminary Linda Kay Leonard is tackling the coveted role in the acclaimed play — the first actress to be so entrusted… and she’s doing it here in Texas. Stage West presents the area premiere of Ann now until the Sunday before Election Day. Ohhh, what Ann would have had to say about this year ….

Stage West, 821 Vickery Blvd. Fort Worth.


Saturday 10.15


How’s Trix? Mattel  comes to Gaybingo

Ann Richards ain’t the only gal in Texas with big hair. Former Drag Racer Trixie Mattel brings her flamboyant style to the stage of the Rose Room this weekend — she’s the special guest for this month’s Gaybingo, the penultimate fundraising bingo party of 2016, with the appropriately spirited theme of “Bewitched.”

The Rose Room inside S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road.
5 p.m. doors, 6 p.m. curtain. $25–$40.


Friday 10.14 — Saturday 10.29
Halloween night 10.31


Gay-owned Dark Hour Haunted House ratchets up the terror

You might think you’re beyond being chilled the bone. But if you haven’t already seen the video at that went inside the terrors of the Dark Hour Haunted House in Plano, you know there are depths to fear you haven’t fathomed yet. Still, nothing beats seeing the real thing in person, with this high-quality fright fest. Only three years old, Dark Hour features 30,000 square feet of spine-tingles as a coven swarms from Ancient Egypt to present-day North Texas. You have been warned.

Dark Hour Haunted House, 701 Taylor Drive, Plano.
Fridays–Saturdays, 7 p.m.–midnight; Halloween night, 7–10 p.m. $28–$75.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.


—  Dallasvoice

CD review: Britney Spears: ‘Glory’



We love a good comeback or five, don’t we? And since burning out in the mid-aughts and then blazing back with 2007’s Blackout, the indestructible institution known as Britney Spears has made a career out of comebacks, releasing a rollercoaster of peaking- and plummeting-career albums throughout her two-decade reign. Perhaps her biggest music slump came just a few years ago, in 2013, when Britney Jean tanked fast and hard on the charts. No wonder: Who thought the world needed a “personal” album (WTF with the shlocky EDM and chipmunk-level vocal manipulation and religious innuendo?) from someone so aloof that we all breathe a sigh of relief when she actually appears to be having a good time? The reception to “deep” Spears was ill-received, and that’s something her ninth studio album, Glory, recognizes and thankfully forgoes, opening with an ethereal lead-in that piggybacks off Selena Gomez’s hypnotic latest.

As it eases into its own urban flavor, Glory delivers almost purely on the basis that Britney is best when she’s merely hawking her brand of elusiveness, writhing over suggestive come-hithers. And oh, is there writhing. From slow and sustained (“Invitation” and “Just Luv Me”) to the floor-dropping kind (“Do You Want to Come Over?” and “Clumsy”), Spears has a one-track mind. This girl just wants to have fun, y’all. That giggle at the end of the swinging classic Britney romp “Private Show?” There’s actual joy present. And personality! And she’s singing! Work, bitch? This time, you bet she is. When all’s said and done, when “Liar” storms in and she’s taking that chorus to the sky, you realize the Holy Spearit has risen once again.

Three and half stars

— Chris Azzopardi

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Honoring a Dallas legend

Family, friends plan a weekend-long birthday celebration for activist, businesswoman Lory Masters



Want to see more photos of Lory through the years? Check here.


Tammye Nash  |  Managing Editor

“I’m 70 years old! Can you believe it?!” Lory Masters exclaims, a beaming smile on her face as she throws her arms wide, as if to embrace her age.

It is, she admits, a different reaction than she had five years ago as she approached her 65th birthday: “I thought, 65?! I can’t be 65! I still have a whole closet full of stilettos to wear!”

But 70, it seems, fills her with glee — as does the thought of the weekend-long birthday party her friends are throwing for her to celebrate her birthday and her 50-plus years of activism in and for the LGBT community in Dallas and nationwide.

A group of longtime friends, led by Clarissa Carter, have been working for months to play the three days of celebration that kick off tonight (Friday, Oct. 14) with a roast at Station 4. On Saturday, Lory’s actual birthday, the friends will head back to the Cedar Springs Strip for bar crawl and dancing, including stops at Sue Ellen’s and The Round-Up.

The weekend winds up Sunday morning with worship services — at 9 and 11 a.m. — at Cathedral of Hope, during which a new Nic Noblique sculpture will be unveiled, honoring her years of service to the church.

Lory isn’t the only one excited about the party.

“When I first spoke to Lory about throwing her a 70th birthday, she was enthused about the idea and envisioned a small group getting together and sharing stories,” explains Carter. “Well, that small group has grown, as well-wishers are flying in from all over the country, including New York and D.C. We have a video tribute from several, including Kate Kendell with National Center for Lesbian Rights and a hysterical from our own Rev. Carol West who is unable to be here in person.

“The response had been just as enthusiastic from local admirers from polished politicians to the politically incorrect, from law makers to law breakers, and preachers to paupers,” Carter adds. “Lory treats them all equally.”
That’s because, for Lory, they’re all family, all part of what she calls “my tribe.”

In the beginning
Lory Masters started life as Lorrena Moore, born in Fort Worth into a family of “gentlemen cowboys,” one of whom was a Texas Ranger. She said her family’s “old home place” was right on the edge of the Stockyards, close enough that, according to family legend, her grandmother regularly had to go out with her broom to chase away the cowboys and keep their livestock out of her garden as they headed into the Stockyards at the end of their cattle drives.


But Lory grew up in Dallas, in the area where NorthPark Mall now sits. “Of course,”” she notes, “there was no NorthPark Mall then. Back then, that was the country!” She was an only child, and her cousins were all much older, so there was never much “family” around.

“My mother was the youngest of eight children in her family, and I wasn’t born until she was 40 years old. She was born in, I think, 1906. Her oldest brother was born in the 1800s. I had cousins but they were all much older than me. They were all in college or at least high school when I was born.”

But she found plenty of family when she found the lesbian and gay community.

Lory came out young — very young. She came out as a lesbian, she says, when she was “14, maybe 13? No, 14,” after a series of events led her to meet “a woman named Rose Carroll. I had a thing for Rose right away, as soon as I met her.

“But really, I knew before then. I had a girl friend and she and I would play ‘dress up,’” Lory continues. “She would dress up like a boy and I would dress up all girly, and I knew — even though I didn’t really understand.”

But when her mother found out her only daughter was lesbian, “she was pretty disgusted,” Lory recalls, adding that it was most likely pressure from her mother that led to her getting married — that’s when her last name changed from Moore to Huitt — and pregnant by the time she was 17.

The marriage didn’t last long though. In fact, by the time her daughter, Cindy Huitt, was born in 1964, Lory was already divorced from her husband and living with her girlfriend, Glenda.

“I was already living with Glenda when I found out I was pregnant,” she says. “Hell, I was four or five months pregnant by then.”

Lory was still pregnant when she and Glenda discovered a lesbian bar on Monticello Avenue — supposedly the first lesbian bar in Texas and, according to Lory, the third gay bar in Dallas — owned by a woman named Donna Foster. It became their second home, a family gathering place where lesbians were safe to be themselves.

Lory recalls one time when she was “very pregnant,” sitting on a stool at the end of the bar at Trader Vic’s, waiting for Glenda. As she waited, she says, two gay men came in together and sat down not far from her. Both were already at least a little drunk, and the one nearest her saw her pregnant belly and leaned over to declare, “Girl, you are in the wrooooonngg place!”

“I burst into tears right then and there,” Lory says, horrified at the suggestion that she didn’t belong there at Trader Vic’s. But Donna put that idea to rest right away, not-so-gently escorting the man out of the bar.

It was her tribe that was there for Lory when Cindy was born, there to help her raise her daughter. They were the ones who were there to keep her going through those years as she grew up and grew into her own.

The birth of an activist
Lory worked her way through school to get a degree in accounting, working at JCPenney’s before moving on to a job with an accounting firm before going to work as comptroller for a large, Dallas-based construction company. That last, she said, was a job that gave her a chance to travel across the country, often in the company’s two private jets.

The accounting jobs also provided her access to the Business and Professional Women’s Association. She joined the organization and it was there that she learned the skills that would serve her so well later on — things like how to filing paperwork to incorporate a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and parliamentary procedures — and it was also there that her passion for activism was born.

“My first activism was in the women’s rights movement,” Lory says, adding that she fought for the Equal Rights Amendment alongside such notable women as Judge Sarah T. Hughes, the first woman to become a federal district judge in Texas and the judge who famously administered the oath of office to Lyndon Johnson aboard Air Force One after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and Hermine Tobolowsky, the attorney known as “the mother of the Texas E.R.A.”

In fact, Lory attended the first National Women’s Convention with Judge Hughes and Tobolowsky in 1977. It was that same year that singer Anita Bryant started her anti-gay “Save Our Children” campaign. Getting involved in the letter-writing effort to stop Bryant was Lory’s first foray into the gay rights activism, and she says to this day she gleefully remembers watching the press conference where gay rights activists put a pie in Bryant’s face.

In 1975, Lory says, she put her knowledge of nonprofits and parliamentary procedure to work in helping found the Flying W Motorcycle Club.

It started, she says, as a group of women who liked to get together on weekends and ride their motorcycles. She came up with the idea of incorporating as a nonprofit so that they could collect dues to pay for a newsletter that would include a calendar of planned rides. “That way, we wouldn’t have to call one person, who would call two more, and they’d call three more,” she explains. “It was just easier to plan.”

In the years following, Lory held every office in the Flying W, even after her years of riding were over. She often helped coordinate shows and other events to help raise money, either for the club, or a member in need or some other worthy cause. Her “Tina Turner sings ‘Proud Mary’” performances became legendary.

It was also during the mid-1970s that one of the more colorful chapters of the Lory Masters legend was written — Lory Masters, pro football player.

The National Women’s Football League was formed in 1974, and one of the charter teams was the Dallas Bluebonnets. One of the Dallas Bluebonnets was Lory Huitt (she didn’t change her name until 1980).

“I really only joined the team to be around all those cute women,” Lory laughs. She agreed to go to the tryouts to support a friend, and then “I looked around and saw all those cuties, and I said, ‘Where do I sign up?’”

She was famous for playing in white, elbow-length evening gloves. But she didn’t do it just for show. “When you get down on point,” she explains, demonstrating in her living room, “your fingers were down on the ground, and I’d get dirt under my fingernails. I hate it! So I wore the gloves, and those [evening gloves] were the only ones I could find.”

Real estate and more activism
While working for the construction company, Lory earned her license as a realtor, and as the 1980s dawned, so did her new career, her new name and a renewed dedication to her tribe. She decided to name her real estate company Master Realtors and asked a friend to design the logo for her. It was that friend, she says, who suggested she legally change her name to Masters (“Although some of the legal documents still have Huitt Masters or just Huitt”).

In 1983, Lory made a huge change that likely changed the path of her life: She got sober. “There were a lot of us that were alcoholics back then,” she says. “The bars were the only place we had to go to be ourselves, and when you were in the bar, you drank. You know, people tell a lot of stories about me, and maybe the stories are true, and maybe they aren’t. But I can’t say they aren’t because I was so drunk back then, I don’t remember.”

It was her own experience with alcohol and her concern for the effects of addiction on her tribe that prompted Lory to push the Oak Lawn Counseling Center — which later became Oak Lawn Community Services, with more of an emphasis on HIV/AIDS services — to create the Oasis drug and alcohol treatment program in 1989. She also founded an annual golf tournament to raise money for Oasis; that tournament has outlasted both Oasis and OLCC/OLCS, and is held early each summer now to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.

Lory also went through OLCS Buddy Program training, which equipped volunteers to help AIDS patients with household tasks and needs. But, she says, “I only went one time” to a patient’s home. “I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. Still, today, I will talk about anything you want me to talk about — except AIDS. I just can’t talk about AIDS. I told them [at OLCS] then that I would raise all the money they needed, but I couldn’t do the Buddy thing. And you know, some people never let you forget what you say!”

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Lory played a key role in founding or promoting just about every organization in Dallas’ LGBT community, “except for the political stuff, like DGLA and LGPC. I told them, you do the political stuff, I’ll do the other stuff.”

She was involved with Black Tie Dinner from the late 1980s through the 1990s, and won BTD’s Humanitarian Award in 1992. She volunteered with or served on boards for the Human Rights Campaign (she was on the national organization’s first board of governors), the National Center for Lesbian Rights; the National Victory Fund; AIDS Interfaith Network; the Daire Center; the AIDS Food Pantry; the Nelson/Tebedo Clinic’s Women’s Health Project; Bryan’s House; the Women Softball Association; the Women’s Chorus of Dallas (formed by Tim Seelig after Lory told him he needed to create it; and Seelig agreed only after Lory agreed to serve as the organization’s first board chair, and she agreed only if they would call her the Chair-Babe); the Elder/Young Women’s Health Clinic — and more.

Lory also helped create and stage innumerable benefit events over the years, including benefits for individuals like Alisia Lowder, Billie Spence and Glenda Cannon, and benefits for organizations, like the Fruit Bowl, a talent show and the Bachelorette Auction for OLCS.

But she is, perhaps, proudest of the work she has done for the church that began as Dallas Metropolitan Community Church and is now known as Cathedral of Hope, and the Extra Mile Awards, an organization she founded to recognize the work of women in the Dallas LGBT community.

Lory founded the Extra Mile Awards in 1986 and remained on the board through 1999, and on the advisory board til the organization folded in 2004.

“If there’s anything I regret at all,” Lory says, “it’s one, the trouble that my daughter had, especially in high school, growing up with a lesbian mother, and that we didn’t keep the Extra Mile Awards going. That organization was special.”

Lory says her work with Cathedral of Hope really began in 1987 when she first heard the new pastor — a man named Michael Piazza — preach.

“Here was a man that could make me rethink all my ‘isms,’” she says. “I’ve never heard another person who could preach the way he can.”

In December 1992, Cathedral of Hope held its first services in its new sanctuary at 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Three years later, church leaders hired architect Phillip Johnson to design a new “cathedral of the 21st century,” and by 1997, church leaders had talked Lory and her dear friend, AIDS activist John Thomas, into co-chairing the capital campaign to raise the money they needed to build the cathedral they had envisioned.

“They went to John Thomas, and he said he would do it, but only if I would do it, too,” Lory says.

John Thomas died of AIDS in 1999, but Lory remains national co-chair of the ongoing capital campaign, in part in tribute to her friend. “When John died, they told me I could have anything from his apartment that I wanted. The only thing I wanted was his shoes, those beat-up old [boat] shoes he always wore. I took them, and I had them framed, and I have kept working every day since then to fill those shoes.”
This weekend, Lory’s friends — her tribe — will gather to honor the woman who has been “leading the way” for more than 50 years, inspiring others to step up and “fill the shoes” of leading this community.

For the friends who have spent these last months planning this weekend of celebrations, it has been a labor of love. As Clarissa Carter says,

“Trying to say no to Lory is an adventure in itself, but do not think she can be as easily swayed.  When she is on a mission, just stand back and watch the magic unfold.”

She continues, “Lory collects friends and keeps them like treasured things over the years. You can go years without speaking to her and in five minutes, feel like it was yesterday. Lory has always been as comfortable in the boardroom as the bar room and has drawn battle lines in both.

“To know her is to love her and even her enemies can’t stay mad long with her brand of charm and art of persuasion,” she adds. “My favorite article about her was one that said she could run a small country. Indeed she could, and I know a lot of people who would enjoy living there.”

—  Tammye Nash

Green candidate challenges Sessions

Gary Stuard worries about the environment, economic justice and the power of multinational corporations



DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions once said he didn’t have any gay people in his district. Gary Stuard, who is challenging Sessions in the election in November on the Green Party ticket, disagrees.

“The last time I checked with my husband, we were gay,” he said, noting that he supports full equality legislation that includes the transgender community. Without such legislation, Stuard knows he and other LGBT people can lose their jobs because of who they love.

Stuard works for a mental health mental retardation agency in Corsicana — he commutes from his East Dallas home daily — where he mostly works with kids with autism. “These are kids affected by the policies of Pete Sessions,” as well as by the policies of the current and previous governors who refuse to expand Medicaid coverage, he said. “Kids are suffering.”

And each year funding gets tighter and tighter, he said, adding that “Healthcare is a human right.”

Stuard said he decided to enter the race because there was no Democrat or progressive running against Sessions. “I’ve been sympathetic to the Green Party for a number of years,” he said.

That support goes back to the 1980s and his support of environmental issues. Today, Stuard’s main concerns are ending use of fossil fuels, economic justice and ending the influence of large, multinational corporations.

He said fracking is destroying the environment and noted that when Denton decided to end the practice within the city, the state stepped in and overturned its local ordinance. He said this is important to people in his district because “Pete Sessions in the pocket of oil companies.”

But the issue is much larger than just fracking.

“We’re rapidly running out of time to do anything about climate change,” Stuard warned. “When Pete Sessions was asked at a town hall meeting about his failure to address climate change, his answer was that the planet is cooling.”

Stuard said he’d like to see new funding put to use finding new and more efficient energy sources. “Stop funding the fossil fuel industry,” he demanded, calling the oil companies “criminal entities.”

He’d also like some of the funding that would expand healthcare to everyone and energy research to come out of the defense budget, which he said could be cut by as much as 50 percent.

While he suggested that oil companies could be part of the solution, Stuard doubts those companies have any interest in developing new power sources. “And we don’t want them to have a monopoly on technology,” he said. “People in the oil industry should be prosecuted for what they’ve done.”

Banking is another of Stuard’s targets. He points out that it was big banks that were responsible for the 2008 recession.

Responding to recent allegations against Wells Fargo, where executives had employees create fake accounts to generate revenue and then fired employees for following that policy while taking huge bonuses for themselves, Stuard said banks and Wall Street need “far more regulation.”

He believes corruption in the banking industry is widespread and CEOs are simply hiding behind the idea of their companies being so large they can’t possibly know everything that’s going on.

“When things become so big and aloof from their communities, that results in abuse and corruption,” Stuard said. “Bust them up,” he said, adding that the country worked much better when local banks financed local businesses.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Stuard warned, would be an environmental and economic disaster, because international courts would overrule local laws.

“Arbitration courts would have full reign,” he said.

So even if one country had good environmental policies in place, that country could be heavily fined for enforcing its own laws.

While acknowledging that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has come out against the TPP, he noted she was once for it and worried she would support it again once in office.

Campaign finance is another issue on Stuard’s agenda.

Stuard said the system is rigged to help the top 1 percent. One way to change that, he suggested, was public financing of elections, more public forums and true debates. In office, he would like to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, something that would take a new case or a constitutional amendment to accomplish. “We need to get money out of politics or there’s no hope,” he said.

To finance his campaign, Stuard is relying on small donations. He’s attended events in and around his district such, as Pride, and is using social media, canvassing, block walking and speaking at meetings.

“The Green Party is not accepting PAC money,” he said.

Stuard participated in a debate at UT Dallas on Oct. 12. Libertarian candidate Ed Rankin was there, but Sessions was a no-show. Stuard also reminded Democrats in his district that there’s no Democratic candidate in this race. Even if voting a straight party ticket, they can go back and vote off-party in this race without affecting their vote in other races.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  David Taffet

Up for grabs?

Democrats have a chance to take control of the U.S. Senate, and here are some of the races that could make that happen


Tammy Duckworth, left and Russ Feingold


Lisa Keen | Keen News Service


The better candidate on LGBT issues is fairly apparent in most U.S. Senate races this year. But in one race, the community seems split. And more important to LGBT people may be which party emerges with a majority of Senate seats once the dust clears on Nov. 8.

If Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the White House, Democrats will need to have retained their existing 46 votes and add four more Democrats. That would drop the Republican current seat count of 54 to 50, and with a 50-50 tie in the Senate, Democratic Vice President Tim Kaine would be the tie-breaker. Thus Democrats would hold the “majority.”

By having the majority, Democrats would take control of all Senate committees, thus making it more likely that pro-LGBT bills, such as the Equality Act, could be advanced, that openly LGBT nominees could be approved, and that pro-LGBT Supreme Court justices could be confirmed.

If Republican Donald Trump wins the White House, Democrats would need to have retained their existing 46 seats and pick up five new ones from the Republicans to secure the majority.

Nate Silver, the nationally-known, openly-gay election data guru, predicted last week that Democrats have a 57 percent chance of winning the majority in the U.S. Senate November 8.

A survey of the latest polls suggest the best bets for Democrats to pick up four to five seats are in: Illinois, where the Democratic challenger leads by 12 points in the polls; Wisconsin, where the Democratic challenger leads by 9.7 points; Indiana, where the Democratic candidate leads by 4 to 5 points; Pennsylvania, where the Democratic challenger leads by 0.6 points, and North Carolina, where the Democratic challenger is up by 0.2 points.

In other words, it’s a very tight race as to who will control the Senate next year.

Here’s a survey of how LGBT issues are playing into these important races:

Illinois: The LGBT community is surprisingly split between the two candidates for U.S. Senate from Illinois. The Lesbian Political Action Committee (LPAC) has endorsed and contributed to Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, while the Human Rights Campaign has endorsed and contributed to incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.

HRC based its endorsement largely on the fact that Kirk is the first — and so far only  — Republican to co-sponsor the Equality Act. He also supported marriage equality and co-sponsored a bill to help stop anti-LGBT bullying.

LPAC endorsed Duckworth, praising her “long record of legislative activity in support of LGBTQ Americans,” but added that its support was also aimed at establishing a “progressive majority” in the Senate.

HRC’s Congressional scorecard has given Kirk only a 78 percent record of voting in favor of LGBT positions, while it’s given Duckworth a perfect 100. Interestingly, the pro-gay American Unity PAC has broadcast ads against Duckworth.

Wisconsin: Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson for his old seat. Feingold was a strong supporter of LGBT equal rights while in the Senate; he earned scores of 96, 90, 89, and 88 from HRC.

Johnson’s HRC scores have been the lowest — zero and 15. He has voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), against inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in the Violence Against Women Act, and against LGBT appointees. But he did say he wouldn’t oppose marriage equality if Wisconsin voters “decide that they want gay marriage.”

Both HRC and LPAC have endorsed and given contributions to Feingold.

Indiana: This is an open seat being vacated by Republican Dan Coats, whose HRC voting scores have been consistently among the lowest.

Democrat Evan Bayh earned HRC scores of 89, 75, 100, 90 and 84 during his previous sessions in the U.S. Senate. He voted for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to hate crimes laws, voted to repeal Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell, against a proposed constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples, and for ENDA.

Rep. Todd Young, the Republican candidate for the seat, earned a zero and a 30 for his voting record in the House so far, voting with HRC only to provide funding for housing for people with AIDS.

Democrats have drawn attention in Indiana to Young’s vote against repealing DADT.

Pennsylvania: Democrat Katie McGinty puts her support for LGBT equality upfront on her campaign website, promising support for anti-discrimination protections in employment, housing and healthcare, and to fight for the right of transgender Americans to serve in the military and to receive the health care services they need. She has actively sought LGBT support for her election, staging a tour of LGBT nightclubs in Philadelphia. She’s earned the endorsement of Equality Pennsylvania and LPAC, and HRC has kicked in $2,000 to her campaign.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey has earned low grades from HRC for his voting record on LGBT issues during the past three sessions: 16, 40 and zero. Among other things, he opposed equal Social Security and veteran benefits for same-sex couples and he voted against inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in VAWA.

North Carolina: This is where LGBT issues have the greatest possibility of influencing voters. A recent poll found that voters identified HB2 as the third “most important issue facing North Carolina right now,” and 52 percent said the law should be repealed.

North Carolina’s incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr has been trying to walk a fine line, saying the law should be repealed but saying the problem was that Charlotte provoked the legislature into passing HB2 when it passed a non-discrimination law. Burr’s voting record has warranted the lowest possible scores — zero and 15 — on LGBT issues, according to HRC. He’s voted against ENDA, against repeal of DADT, and against President Obama’s LGBT nominees to various positions.

His Democratic challenger, former ACLU/NC Director Deborah Ross, has been pushing for repeal of HB2. She has the endorsement of LPAC, plus a $5,000 contribution.

Other Senate races of interest to the LGBT community next month include:

California: Long-time LGBT supporter Barbara Boxer is retiring from her seat and two Democrats are going after it: California Attorney General Kamala Harris and U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Both are also long-time supporters of LGBT equality. Sanchez’s voting record in Congress earned her the top score — 100 — from HRC the past two sessions, and scores of 85, 88 and 75 prior to that. As attorney general, Harris was prominent in the fight against Proposition 8 and for the state law banning conversion therapy.

Equality California and LPAC have endorsed Harris. Neither LPAC nor HRC has contributed to the campaigns.

Nevada: The Democratic nominee, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, has not been a consistent friend to the LGBT community. As attorney general, she filed a brief to defend the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. A month later, she withdrew the brief, citing a 9th Circuit decision that made the ban “no longer defensible.” The pro-gay American Unity PAC has broadcast an ad against Masto over her support for a deal with Iran, noting that “it’s illegal to be gay” in Iran. But LPAC has endorsed her bid.

Masto’s opponent for the seat being vacated by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is Rep. Joe Heck. Heck opposed marriage for same-sex couples but voted against an amendment that sought to eliminate sexual orientation and gender identity from the VAWA. And in committee, he voted against a measure attempting to undermine President Obama’s executive order against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination by federal contractors. On the HRC’s scorecard for Congressional voting record on LGBT issues, Heck earned the worst possible score — zero — during his first session and a 30 during his second session.

HRC has contributed to Masto.


Kentucky: Lexington’s openly gay mayor, Jim Gray, has taken on Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Rand Paul.

Gray, a Democrat, told the Washington Post that his being gay has not been an issue in the campaign, but he’s also trailing 12 points behind Paul, according to the most recent poll. And the Kentucky Herald-Leader notes that a significant number of “Business Leaders for Jim Gray” have failed to contribute to his campaign coffers. His campaign has raised $2.8 million, compared to Paul’s $3.1 million.

Utah: A transgender candidate, Misty Snow, won the Democratic primary in Utah to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee. That makes her the nation’s first transgender candidate for the U.S. Senate from a major party. A poll found Lee with a 37-point lead over Snow in mid-September. Snow has raised only $11,000 for her campaign, compared to Lee’s $3.2 million. Snow has used her campaign to criticize Lee for co-sponsoring the anti-LGBT First Amendment Defense Act.

© 2016 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Helluva Troye

For out singer-songwriter Troye Sivan, music and gay activism go hand in glove


SCOTT HUFFMAN  | Contributing Writer

It is immediately apparent that Troye Sivan the 21-year-old out singer/songwriter and social media star — possesses youthful good looks, a blended Australian/South African accent and colorful fingernails. Only upon speaking with him, however, does the pop star’s most striking characteristic emerge so clearly: His unassuming nature. In fact, Sivan makes his recent fame seem rather unanticipated.

“I hoped I would get to this level, but I wasn’t sure,” Sivan says about his swelling music career. “Now, I’m very secure and happy with how things are going. I think the moment it hit me that things had really taken on a life of their own was at the [2016] Billboard Music Awards. [I felt] the gravity of that moment. That was when I was like, ‘OK, I can relax a little bit.’”

On Oct. 26, Sivan returns to Dallas, bringing his Suburbia Tour to the South Side Ball Room. While he is reluctant to give away too many secrets about what audiences can expect, he teases that his setlist will include a couple of songs that he has not previously performed live. It is also a safe bet that he will perform crowd favorites like “Wild” and “Youth,” popular tracks from his debut studio album, Blue Neighbourhood.

“I am so excited for this tour,” Sivan gushes. “I think it’s going to be such a huge step up from the last show and the last time I played. It feels like a real show now. We’ve stepped up production. There are new songs. The band is better than ever. I feel more confident than ever. I hope to have a really amazing night with everyone.”


Out pop sensation Troye Sivan will perform this month at South Side Ball Room in support of his debut solo LP ‘Blue Neighbourhood.’

The changes don’t stop there, either. On this tour, Sivan has teamed with The Ally Coalition, an advocacy group supporting LGBTQ causes and fighting against discrimination through education and awareness. The fit is a natural one, and together the two plan to spotlight issues relevant to each community along the tour.

“In every city, we are going to try to work with them [The Ally Coalition] on something cool and exciting,” Sivan says. “We are going to try our best, in venues that will let us, to have gender neutral bathrooms. We may ask audiences to bring items of clothing or blankets or pillows for LGBT homeless youth in that city. We are going to be working with them in a huge variety of ways in order to make this tour a way to kind of give back.”

Comfortable now in his sexuality and his outness, Sivan cannot imagine being closeted. But it was only about five years ago that he anticipated his sexuality might need to remain a carefully guarded secret. Then a casual conversation with a close friend sparked Sivan’s coming out. The moment was unexpected, stunning both Sivan and the friend in whom he confided.

“I think I surprised myself when I was like 15 and told one of my best friends way before I was ever ready,” Sivan recalls about his coming out.

“We were just talking about deep dark secrets that we had. I was like, ‘There is this one thing that I kind of thought about.’ After a lot of coaxing, I ended up telling her that day even though I wasn’t ready. I ended up crying a lot, and we didn’t speak about it again for like six months.”

Today, Sivan reaches a broad and young audience. The fresh-faced popstar has inadvertently become an ambassador of sorts for the gay community. Sivan does not take the charge lightly, nor does he consider it burdensome.

“[It’s] absolutely a blessing,” he says. “I’m just so lucky to have been born when I was born and to be doing this in 2016. I think these kinds of opportunities for out artists just didn’t exist before. I’m very thankful, and I take that responsibility very seriously, actually.”

With an album, two concert tours, and a strong social media following, Sivan has become celebrated in fairly short order. Yet not everyone immediately recognizes the lanky crooner. An Uber driver, for example, recently had no clue about her young passenger’s identity.

“‘Youth’ was on the radio,” Sivan says, “and I told the driver that this was my song. She was like, ‘OK,’ but she didn’t really know what I meant. Then she listened and looked at me and listened more and was like, ‘Oh! This is your song!’ She turned it up and we jammed together.”

A few of Sivan’s public interactions, however, have been scarier. He recalls one instance in which a fan made his way past security and walked backstage into the dressing room after a show. It was a sobering moment.

“I just thought he was a friend of the drummer,” Sivan recounts. “I asked him, ‘Who is that guy? Is that your friend?’ And he was like, ‘No, I thought that he was your friend.’ We kind of all looked around at each other and we got the message at the same time that this person wasn’t just was not supposed to be there at all.”

In any event, Sivan is grateful for his devoted fans, a group he says is comprised mostly of young adult females and gay men of all ages. He attributes a great deal of his success to his LGBT fan base. Indeed, Sivan is honored by his gay following.

“I really appreciate their support because I think it’s a fine line to walk” he says. “I don’t want anyone ever to think that I feel like I am the voice for any community or anything like that. I don’t think that at all. I want to try my very best to be honest and totally open about who I am. For the LGBT community to say we like what you are doing, it feels good. It feels like I’m on the right track.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice