Pride 2011 • First-timers gearing up for Pride parade

Some 15 of the 2011 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade entries are participating for the first time, and organizers expect the annual event to go smoothly once again

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

When the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade steps off at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18, a number of the participants will be marching for the first time.
According to Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman, about 15 percent of the entries are new participants this year.

Abandoned Vehicle Enforcement
Among  the new entries is Abandoned Vehicle Enforcement.

The Fort Worth towing company has taken over much of the private property non-consent towing business in Oak Lawn over the last year. Owner Scott Gorby said that a towing company that had much of the business in Oak Lawn, but was damaging cars and acting illegally, is out of business.

He added that one property after another has been recommending his company, in part because he’s part of the community and he services more than 2,000 accounts.
Of the company’s 30 employees, Gorby said nine are gay and more than 20 want to ride the company float that will feature a truck on top of their flatbed with beach balls, frisbees, T-shirts, beads, candy and music.

The banner on the side of the truck will read, “It only gets better when companies support their employees of the LGBT community. WE DO.”

“I never thought when I was 40 I’d be running a towing company,” Gorby said, but that’s just part of the diversity in the LGBT community.

Once in A Blue Moon
Once In A Blue Moon Dances has been staging women’s dances for a dozen years but this is their first time participating in the parade.

“It’s an awesome marketing tool,” said Gloria McDonald, also known at the dances as DJ4Peace. “We’ll get our name out and the best view is from inside the parade.”

The group will have a float featuring a silhouette of ladies dancing against a moon.

Once in a Blue Moon holds women’s dances the second Saturday of each month as well as theme dances on Halloween, New Years and Valentine’s Day. They meet at DanceMasters, 10675 E. Northwest Highway.

Teddy Bears for Troopers

Teddy Bears for Troopers was created in 2005 by Jesse Boudria when she was just 9 years old. Her stepdad is a state trooper who mentioned to her that they often kept teddy bears in their patrol cars to give to children who are frightened of police during an arrest of a parent or when they were involved in a serious accident.

During her first year, Boudria collected about 100 bears but now has given Texas troopers more than 4,000. Dallas, Irving and Grand Prairie police have also received bears from her organization.

The group has started a new program called Komfort a Kid, designed to help children get through the first 24 hours after being removed from their home by Child Protective Services.
Boudria’s mother, Tricia Adams, said that her daughter wanted to participate in the parade because she is very supportive of gay rights.

“Her 20-year-old brother is gay, as well as several other members of her extended family,” Adams said. “By participating in the parade this year, she hopes to increase awareness about Teddy Bears for Troopers and hopes that people who are involved in various organizations will contact TBFT to schedule a teddy bear drive.”
Boudria’s already attended Pride three times.
“We have a close friend who was a Strangerette Officer — David Cheek,” Adams said.

Tyler Area Gays
Members of Tyler Area Gays have marched before with the East Texas P-FLAG entry. But this year, the group held spaghetti dinners and garage sales to raise the money to build a float.

Tyler Area Gays is a three-year-old group that has gained quite a bit of visibility in East Texas. On World AIDS Day last year, members dedicated a monument in Bergfield Park to remember hate crime victim Nicholas West.

Responding to Mayor Barbara Bass’ call to plant trees in the city, TAG collected $500 and planted 20 trees. And their name is posted along Highway 69 as part of the Adopt-A-Highway project.

Why that particular road?

“Someone in the highway department has a good sense of humor,” a TAG spokesman said.

The group expects about 25 members to come to Dallas from East Texas to ride the float and others to just enjoy the parade from the sidelines.

Dallas Derby Devils
The Dallas Derby Devils, DFW’s all-female flat track roller derby league, will be rolling down Cedar Springs on skates, tossing beads as they go.

Organizer Julie Zais said her sister is bisexual but she got the group involved.

“I’ve been to the parade every year,” she said, “And I’m a huge supporter.”

Zais said she hopes at least half the league’s 120 skaters will be there.

“We have tryouts soon,” she said, and the league’s playoffs in North Richland Hills are coming up on Sept. 24.

Pride on parade
According to Doughman, this year’s parade includes 105 to 110 entries, a few more than last year.

“We’re somewhat constrained by the city,” he said, explaining that the city doesn’t want main intersections closed more than two hours and the parade crosses several busy roads including Oak Lawn Avenue at Cedar Springs Road.

“If it got bigger, we’d need a broader location,” he said. And that means taking the parade out of Oak Lawn. “If we take it out of Oak Lawn, we’ll kill it,” he said.
Costs for producing the parade have almost tripled in the past decade. He said that Homeland Security and the Patriot Act have imposed restrictions that have added expense.

In the 1990s, the parade cost about $50,000 to produce. This year, the Dallas Tavern Guild expects expenses to top $140,000. Before recent regulations, 30 police were enough to cover the afternoon event. Now 85 must be hired. Fencing an area for festivals is the latest regulation adding to costs.

Still, Doughman expects this year’s parade to appear as seamless as ever.

He advised people to arrive early to find parking, which is always a problem. DART’s Green Line runs to Market Center Station and is a short walk to the end of the parade staging area on Wycliff  Avenue, but about a mile from the main viewing area. No shuttle buses run from the station to the Cedar Springs area.

Gorby reminded people to watch for towing signs and not to park in private lots that do not share their parking with neighboring businesses and the community.

Although a record crowd may attend, Doughman expects little trouble. He said that last year there were no arrests and few incidents that required police.

The Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade steps off Sunday, Sept. 18, at 2 p.m. The parade begins on Cedar
Springs Road, at the Wycliff Avenue intersection, then moves down Cedar Springs, across Oak Lawn Avenue, to Turtle Creek Boulevard, where the route turns left to end at Lee Park.

The Festival in Lee Park immediately follows, and this year, for the first time, the park will be fenced in, with a $5 entry fee charged at the gate. For more information on the festival changes, see the story on Page 10 in this issue. For more information on the parade and festival, go online to DallasTavernGuild.org.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Defining Homes: Ask the Experts

As Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a number of other social networking sites are more and more prevalent in everyday life — professional and personal — we wondered whether the trend is effective as a marketing tool in the real estate industry as a marketing tool. Area agents put in their two cents worth on how the trend works, or doesn’t work, for them in their work.

Vice president of real estate services for Prudential, Steve Shatsky has presided over classes on the use of social networks in business. He discusses, at length, how the trend has worked for him and the strategies behind using the networks.

Now we’re just waiting for all of them to accept our friend requests.


Steve Habgood

Steve Habgood

Hewitt & Habgood Realty Group

Social networking is an important component of an overall marketing effort. It helps keep us connected with our friends, family and clients on a personal, individual level. We d

on’t use it to push all our new listings or open houses. It’s more of a pull marketing rather than push marketing effort. Brian Bleeker on our team is especially effective in using it to keep connected and informed about what’s going on in his circle of friends and clients.

Mike Grossman

Re/Max Urban

Social networking is not a tool to sell real estate in my opinion. It is an effective way to stay in “personal touch” with customers, clients, friends and acquaintances and to inform them of emerging trends, market conditions and updated information regarding real estate.

Jack Evans

Ellen Terry, a division of Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Just today, I received an invitation to join a new group: “Realtors on Facebook.” The purpose of the realtor group so far has been to let member Realtors know about new listings and buyer needs (looking for something that is not active on the market).

Bob McCranie

Texas Pride Realty

I have different fan pages for the 20 or so towns I work in. I advertise those pages and invite other people to put content on those pages. I get people who aren’t even friends to participate and solicit buyers and sellers.

Jere Becker

Jere Becker

Pinnacle Experts Group

For investment houses I am looking to sell or rent, I use it to market the property, especially now where there are so many buyers looking for seller financing and don’t use the services of a Realtor. Video is going to be the preferred medium for viewing properties and the link is easy to put into social media.

To find clients who want to sell, I use it to market my services. Also, real estate is evolving into a consulting business where my clients pay only for the services they want.

Steve Shatsky

Steve Shatsky

Prudential Texas Properties

Social networking is not a “new” tool. Agents on the cutting edge in building business and effectively marketing their clients’ properties have been using it for several years now. In fact, any agent today who does not have a social networking strategy as part of both his/her business and marketing plans is missing a critical component.

I have been successfully using Facebook to create visibility for listings and draw attention to open houses. I have also used Facebook to connect with and strengthen my relationships with clients. Real estate is a business of relationships and Facebook allows me to communicate and get to know my clients even better, while it allows them to get to know me better, as well.

My Dallasism.com blog has served multiple purposes. It has provided a search engine optimized platform to promote my listings to prospective buyers searching for homes on the Internet. It also allows me to provide monthly market reports for all the Turtle Creek highrises to prospective buyers and sellers searching for information on the Internet.

Dallasism.com has introduced new clients to me and my market expertise in the Turtle Creek area.

Lastly, I have blogged and been an ambassador for ActiveRain (an international real estate networking and blogging website) for more than three years. My blogging as a member of the ActiveRain community has allowed me to develop relationships and a nationwide network of real estate agents who refer business to me and with whom I network to share marketing and business ideas. This has been invaluable, allowing me to gain insight into new trends and innovative technologies, giving me a competitive advantage over agents whose networking is confined to only a local level.

Shatsky is vice president of real estate services, Dallas office manager for Prudential Texas Properties. He has recently taught classes on the use of blogging and Facebook in real estate at several locations across the DFW area for the MetroTex Association of Realtors. He was a panelist on the topic of real estate blogging for ActiveRain at their RainCamp-Charlotte event last fall, and will be speaking on a panel covering the topic of short sales at the Prudential Real Estate sales convention in San Diego in March.

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

—  John Wright