City unveils planned Cedar Springs improvements

Hunt, Medrano present plan to Merchants Association; will include new crosswalk lights, red lights

CedarSprings

GETTING THE SIGNAL | A pedestrian runs to avoid traffic as he crosses Cedar Springs Road at Knight Street on Thursday, Jan. 12. The intersection will get a traffic signal under a pedestrian safety plan unveiled by the city this week. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL CEDAR SPRINGS PEDESTRIAN SAFETY PLAN

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

In the wake of two pedestrian fatalities on the Cedar Springs strip in November, Dallas officials have unveiled a host of planned safety improvements ranging from crosswalk lights to a new traffic signal to, eventually, the possibility of narrowing the street to two lanes.

Dallas City Council members Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano, along with city staff, unveiled the changes during a closed-door meeting at the Round-Up Saloon on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 12, with representatives from the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, the Dallas Tavern Guild and other community groups.

The city’s Cedar Springs pedestrian safety plan calls for new flashing lights at crosswalks on Cedar Springs by the end of this month. A new traffic signal at Knight Street — where one of the pedestrians was killed — is scheduled to be installed by June.

“They did come with concrete solutions and things that they’re starting immediately, which is pretty exciting,” Merchants Association Executive Director Scott Whittall said after the meeting. “This is a big deal, and we’re excited about it. It’s a situation where we’re taking something unfortunate and we’re going to get as much out of it as we can to improve the street.”

Hunt said prior to Thursday’s meeting that the improvements have already begun with the recent addition of three streetlights on Cedar Springs.

“I think it’s pretty aggressive,” Hunt said of the plan, “which it needs to be, given the fatalities and accidents we’ve had there.”

In addition to the two fatalities in November, two pedestrians were seriously injured when they were struck on Cedar Springs in December.

Michael Doughman, executive director of the Dallas Tavern Guild, said the pedestrian safety plan represents “some great work from the city and those in attendance were most impressed with the ideas.”

“We had a great turn-out,” Doughman said. “Some ideas may need some tweaking but generally speaking, it was very well received. We will be doing an education campaign soon that we will ask the Dallas Voice to participate in. This will include pedestrian safety rules as well as driver safety issues.”

whittall.scott

Scott Whittall

According to a copy of the plan provided by Doughman, yellow warning flashers will be installed in both directions at four crosswalks on Cedar Springs, near Knight Street and Reagan Street. The two Reagan street crosswalks will remain in their current locations. The existing crosswalk at Knight Street will be moved to the south in front of Bank of America, while a crosswalk will be added between ilume and the city library.

Whittall said the flashing crosswalk lights will be at motorists’ eye level — and will be similar to the ones in place where Knox Street crosses the Katy Trail a few miles away. For the first 30 days, the crosswalk lights will flash around the clock, but after that pedestrians will have to activate them.

The city will also install a traffic signal at Cedar Springs and Knight Street by June, and begin an engineering study Feb. 1 to determine whether a traffic signal is warranted at Reagan Street. Also by June, the city will remove the right turn lane and island on the southeast corner of Cedar Springs and Douglas Avenue.

Other possible additions to the plan include banning left turns onto Cedar Springs from Reagan Street eastbound.

According to the plan, police have already increased traffic enforcement in the area, and Whittall said the Merchants Association has signed off on issuing jaywalking citations once the crosswalk improvements are in place.

“If we’re going to provide you with multiple safe crosswalk areas, they need to be utilized,” Whittall said. “You put your life at risk in an entertainment district if you try to cross somewhere that is not marked.”

Long term, the pedestrian safety plan calls for a “complete street” assessment of Cedar Springs, which could include revising the width of the street and reconfiguring lanes over the next three to five years.

“We’ve been harping and harping and harping on going to two lanes for a long time,” Whittall said. “Anything that would increase foot traffic on Cedar Springs and decrease traffic speed on Cedar Springs, we’re all for.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Top 10: Celebrations saw major changes

RazzleDazzle

PARADES AND PARTIES | Razzle Dazzle Dallas returned as a five-day event with crowds filling the street for the big Saturday night extravaganza. (Chuck Dube/Dallas Voice)

No. 7

Change was the name of the game when it came to the traditional LGBT celebrations this year, from Easter in the Park in April to the 30th anniversary Tarrant County Gay Pride Week celebrations in October.

In mid-March news broke that the Turtle Creek Association, which had for years been the sponsoring organization for the annual Easter in Lee Park celebration, had decided to move the Pooch Parade to the weekend before Easter, billing it as a “family-friendly” event called Creek Craze. That left the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s traditional Easter Sunday concert in the park without a sponsor, and many in the LGBT community angry over what they saw as a way to exclude the community.

But after the irate reaction from the LGBT community, the Turtle Creek Association teamed up with Lee Park Conservancy to hire gay event planner Dave Berryman, who quickly put together a plan to fund the usual Easter Sunday celebration by bringing in Cedar Springs Merchants Association member Kroger, along with Park Place Volvo and Metro PCS as title sponsors, allowing TCA to continue with its Creek Craze event and for the traditional Easter in Lee Park party to take place as well, complete with the Kroger Pooch Parade and the DSO concert.

In the fall of 2010 plans began percolating to bring back what had long been Dallas’ annual Gay Pride Month celebration, Razzle Dazzle Dallas. And while some questioned whether organizers would be able to coordinate their planned five-day revival of the event in time, Razzle Dazzle Dallas came back with a bang.

Many in the community reacted in anger again last summer when the Dallas Tavern Guild announced new rules for the annual Festival in Lee Park, following the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade in September. Under the new rules, the park was fenced in and a $5 admission fee was charged at the gate. The Tavern Guild also banned partiers from bringing their own coolers and beverages into the park for the festival.

DTG Executive Director Michael Doughman explained that the Tavern Guild was fencing the park for the festival to get ahead of new city regulations set to go into effect in 2012, and that the admission fee was intended to add to the proceeds to be distributed to parade beneficiaries. Outside liquor was banned, he said, because incidences with highly-inebriated partiers in the park had gotten out of control in recent years.

Despite complaints and some glitches, Doughman said after the event that organizers were pleased with the turnout — some 5,300 people paid the $5 admission — and in December, the Tavern Guild distributed checks totaling $18,700 to five beneficiary organizations.

Tarrant County’s annual Pride Week celebration also saw big changes in 2012. Organizers consolidated the annual picnic and parade, which previously had taken place on separate weekends, into one weekend, added several events and moved the parade downtown. Despite dire predictions from some quarters that the changes would lead to failure, the community turned out in big numbers to line Main Street in downtown Fort Worth to cheer a parade that included, for the first time ever, a Fort Worth mayor — newly-elected Betsy Price — as a participant. And the following day, the crowds returned to Trinity Park for the annual picnic.

—Tammye Nash

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

CSMA planning to hire security

Merchants association would like to cut down on panhandling and vagrants along the retail side of Cedar Springs

SAFETY AND SECURITY  |  OutLines owner David Lester believes that a security guard will help make shopping on Cedar Springs a safer and more pleasant experience. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

SAFETY AND SECURITY | OutLines manager David Lester believes that a security guard will help make shopping on Cedar Springs a safer and more pleasant experience. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Cedar Springs Merchants Association decided to hire a guard to patrol the east side of Cedar Springs Road. Store owners and landlords will fund the additional security.

Caven Enterprises, owner of four bars on the west side Cedar Springs, has had guards patrol that side of the street for years.

CSMA President Scott Whittall said several incidents prompted hiring the guard.

“We deal with panhandlers and vagrants daily,” Whittall said.

A burglary at OutLines several weeks ago was among the incidents that prompted the move.

OutLines manager David Lester said, “A gentleman of dubious character was in the store.”

He said the salesman kept an eye on him. The man said he was going to purchase six pairs of jeans, selected a variety of sizes and styles and took them to the counter. The salesman followed the man to the cash register but as he walked behind the counter, the man grabbed the slacks and ran out the door.

Lester said the presence of security on the street would help.

“The security person will have a phone,” he said.

A salesman in a store could call the guard to come down to that store. Lester said it might not have prevented the theft, but the man would have been less likely to grab and run if a guard was standing outside the front door.

“The presence tends to tell people we’re watching,” he said.

He said at night during the week the parking in back can be dark and lonely. A security guard could watch people as they go to their cars.

However, the guard will not be full time. The days and hours will vary from week to week.

Lester said that it would be nice to have someone full-time but this is what they can afford. He said the fluctuating schedule would make it harder to announce which hours would be best for shoplifting. Some days the guard will patrol during the afternoon. Other days security will continue into the evening.

Caven Enterprises has employed security guards around its clubs and parking lots for years.

“We’ve had security as long as I’ve worked for this company,” said Caven president Gregg Kilhoffer, who has been with the company for 27 years.

On any one night Caven has three to seven guards — one at each club entrance, one in the parking lot, one in paid parking and one or two roaming the perimeter.

“Security is very important,” Kilhoffer said, “And I’m very proud of that.”

Kilhoffer, who is on the board of the merchant’s association, said he would like to see security during the day for the stores and restaurants.

“That would help us deal with people who harass customers,” he said.

Whittall said that CSMA is still interviewing companies to provide the protection required. He said he thought they had a deal with one company but that company wasn’t willing to patrol on a varying schedule.
“Vagrants know when security is there,” Whittall said.

Police advised the group to vary hours and days to keep panhandlers and vagrants off-guard.

Whittall said that in his eight years as a Cedar Springs merchant, he hadn’t encountered any violent crime along the street. And a security guard would not patrol the residential streets where many people park on weekends where muggings have occurred.

Lester said that unfortunately a guard wouldn’t have prevented the recent hit-and-run accidents involving pedestrians either.

But Whittall said panhandling is a major problem that merchants hoped to get under control.

“Not a day went by that I didn’t have to deal with it,” Whittall said.

Whittall sold Buli and the transfer to new owners happened last week. He said the new owners had to deal with a panhandler in the store the first hour they were running the business.

To fund the guard, CSMA planned to hold a holiday dinner and cabaret on Friday, Dec. 2 at The Rose Room. Whittall said that several other events that evening conflicted including a Human Rights Campaign holiday party. Only half the seats sold so CSMA decided to postpone it.

Whittall said the event will be moved to early spring. Singer Linda Petty who was slated to appear, told him that she would be available for the group whenever they rescheduled it. She said she’d rather sing for a full house to help them raise more money.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Buli now under new ownership

New owners say they plan to update the interior but keep the Buli name and format.

Buli

MOVING ON | After selling Bull Cafe, Scott Whittall plans to concentrate on the cattle business he owns with his partner. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Scott Whittall sold his Cedar Springs Road coffee shop, Buli, to new owners this week and will resign as president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.

New owners Robert Clawson and Rob Auman are partners and plan to retain Buli’s format.

“These were two long-time, loyal customers who wanted to purchase Buli,” said Whittall. “They want to see it remain Buli.”

Last week, Clawson and Auman signed a lease with the property owner and Whittall got a release from his obligation for the store from the landlord. Sale of store assets should take place this week.

“In the beginning, we’re going to run it the same way,” Clawson said.

Over the next three to six months, Clawson said they would redesign and update some of the interior. He said that they plan to replace the bar top to give the shop a new look.

“But we’re going to continue to be Buli,” he said.

Whittall said they had talked about extending hours and some additions to the menu, but those changes would also not be immediate.

Dec. 1 is the planned takeover date, but Whittall will continue working at the café for several weeks after to help with the transition and to finish some planned events and catering jobs.

Earlier this year, Whittall tried to expand his business into a neighboring space formerly occupied by a hair salon. He applied for a liquor license but the city requires more parking for restaurants and bars than for retail and service businesses.

By doubling the space, Whittall would have had to provide four times as many parking spaces.

When he couldn’t secure the necessary extra parking, Whittall was released from his option for the additional space and withdrew his Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission application. He said he thought about reapplying for a TABC license and turning his original space into a piano bar.

During this time, Clawson and Auman told Whittall that they’d be interested in purchasing the café. Whittall told them at the time that it wasn’t for sale.

But Whittall and his partner also own a successful cattle business that has been growing rapidly lately. For eight years in a row their cows won the Houston Livestock Show.

But Whittall explained that they don’t ship meat or animals.

“It’s a genetics business,” he said. “We ship embryos and semen. We help them create their herds out of championship stock.”

Whittall is also president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association. He said he wants to see planned events through until the end of the year.

But Whittall said he would talk to the board at the CSMA meeting in December about who will lead the organization after he leaves.

On Dec. 2, the merchants group is hosting a fundraising event at The Rose Room. The evening includes a buffet dinner catered by Jim Lee Events and entertainment by Linda Petty, Victoria Weston and Rusty Johnson. Tickets are $75.

Money raised will be used to hire a security guard on the east side of Cedar Springs Road. Caven Enterprises currently pays for a security on the west side of the street where that company’s bars are located.

Even though he’s leaving, Whittall said he is passionate about the continued success and safety of business in the area and encouraged people to come to the event to support the neighborhood.

“The event will be an elegant, white-linen dinner,” he said. “The Rose Room will be decorated as you’ve never seen it before.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Fatal hit-and-run raises safety concerns

Pedestrian struck, killed near unlighted crosswalk on Cedar Springs strip

Oak-Lawn-MapJOHN WRIGHT  |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

A fatal hit-and-run accident on the Cedar Springs strip last week has led to renewed debate about what can be done to make the street safer for pedestrians.

Wayne Priest, 55, passed away Friday, Nov. 4, at Parkland hospital from injuries he sustained the night before when he was struck near an unlighted crosswalk at 3850 Cedar Springs Road, at the intersection of Reagan Street eastbound.

Priest, who lived in the 2800 block of Reagan Street, reportedly was on his way to pick up a prescription at Walgreens shortly after 9 p.m. He was crossing Cedar Springs a few feet outside the painted crosswalk, according to witnesses, when he was struck by a maroon four-door vehicle traveling southbound toward Oak Lawn Avenue. The driver of the vehicle didn’t stop and hasn’t been located by police.

“I think any time we have a tragedy like this, we have to investigate whether there are things the city can do to make the area safer for pedestrians,” Dallas City Councilwoman Angela Hunt said this week. “What I’ve asked the city to do is look into exactly what happened and to make recommendations about how we can move forward in making the area safer. I think the challenge we’ve had in the past is the city has been focused on moving cars, not people, and we’re trying to refocus that.”

Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, said in the wake of the incident, pedestrian safety was the main topic of discussion at the group’s monthly board meeting this week. The Merchants Association plans to invite both Hunt and Councilwoman Pauline Medrano to its next meeting to a take a firsthand look at crosswalks on the strip.

Whittall said the Merchants Association feels the city needs to either remove the crosswalk near which Priest was hit or add more signage. The crosswalk is marked with a sign on the side of the street in one direction but not the other. Whittall said the Merchants Association would like to see free-standing crosswalk signs in the middle of the street, like the ones where Knox Street crosses the Katy Trail a few miles away.

“It’s an entertainment district, and there are going to be a lot of people on the street,” Whittall said. “There needs to be proper signage on this crosswalk. Unfortunately, something like this has to happen before people pay attention again.”

Another crosswalk half a block away on Cedar Springs has flashing lights in the roadway and on both sides of the street which can be activated by pedestrians. However, it has been a maintenance headache for the city, which only recently repaired it after the flashing lights failed for at least the third time in the last few years.

“It’s very unfortunate that this is happening right when we finally got the other crosswalk fixed,” Whittall said, adding that the Merchants Association would also like to see the city follow through with plans to add surveillance cameras on Cedar Springs. “We probably would have been able to catch the driver if we’d had those cameras.”

If caught, the driver would now face third-degree felony charges for leaving the scene of an accident causing injury or death, according to Detective D.T. Marchetti of the Dallas Police Department’s Vehicle Crimes Unit.

“The investigation is open and we are actively seeking the individual that struck him,” Marchetti said Tuesday. “I’m surprised there weren’t more witnesses to it. I’m surprised we didn’t get a tag number or a partial tag or a better description of the vehicle.”

According to a police report, the impact of the collision was so severe that it caused one of Priest’s shoes to fly off. Marchetti said a second vehicle struck Priest after he was lying in the roadway. The driver of the that vehicle remained at the scene.

Assuming the driver of the first vehicle that struck Priest wasn’t intoxicated, they wouldn’t have faced charges if they’d stopped, Marchetti said. That’s because there’s no indication the driver was speeding and Priest was outside the crosswalk, albeit by only a few feet. But Marchetti added that the No. 1 reason people leave accident scenes at night is because they’re intoxicated.

One of Priest’s roommates, Carrie Moon, said this week she’s hoping the driver will be found.

“It is one thing to make a horrible mistake and try to do what you can to help,” Moon said. “It is another thing to make a horrible mistake and just leave a person to die in the street. How this person can live with themselves is beyond me.”

Moon said she’d known Priest for about a year after they met at the Oak Lawn library. She and her boyfriend were looking for a room to rent, and Priest needed help with expenses.

Priest was from Louisiana but was estranged from family there and had moved to Dallas a few years ago. Moon said he’d been married twice and had a daughter.

Moon said Priest had struggled with his sexual orientation for most of his life but recently came out as gay after moving to Oak Lawn. He was a member of the Cathedral of Hope.

“He was in his mid-50s and it took moving to this area to for once in his life feel like he could be himself and not be judged, not even by the church, which was very important to him,” Moon said. “It was like he was starting over, and he had a lot of hope of finding a partner and a new life, and then this happened, which is just so sad.”

Moon said she was trying to coordinate funeral arrangements with Priest’s family in Louisiana. She said his wishes were to be cremated and buried near his son who committed suicide. The service likely will be held in New Orleans.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call the Vehicle Crimes Unit at 214-670-5817.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Utility work on Cedar Springs not expected to hurt business

CSMA announces schedule of fall events, including annual Christmas tree lighting in December

IMG_4486
STRONG SALES | Matthew Evans, the newest employee at Union Jack on Cedar Springs Road, saw his busiest day at the store during Pride weekend. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Utility work is scheduled to begin on Cedar Springs Road on Monday, Sept. 26, but should create minimal interruption to business on the street, business owners said this week.

When Atmos Energy first announced the work, all parking on the street was going to be affected for about two weeks. The original start date would have had the street torn up during the Pride parade.

After City Councilwoman Angela Hunt intervened, the work was postponed until after Pride, and the company agreed to do one section at a time.

Cedar Springs Merchants Association President Scott Whittall said this week that he doesn’t expect the work to interfere with business. Only a few parking spaces at a time should be disrupted, he said.

“They’re checking connections, not doing repairs,” he said, adding that it will be a “dig, check, fill back in” situation.

Work will begin on the Oak Lawn Avenue end of the street and proceed toward Douglas Avenue. All construction should be completed in time for fall events planned for the street.

Merchants this week reported strong business during Pride weekend, and they said they are looking for fall events to continue boosting sales.

Whittall.Scott
CSMA President Scott Whittall

“We really had a good weekend,” said Macho Nacho Assistant General Manager Brandi Knutzen. “We had fun and saw a lot of new faces.”

She said it was their biggest weekend since the restaurant opened in April, and she hopes many of the people who came in for the first time during Pride will return.

OutLines Manager David Lester said that business in his shop is up over last year. He said that in addition to events the Cedar Springs Merchants Association has planned, his store will decorate for Texas-OU weekend and will do a tent sale once a month.

“Overall, business is good,” he said.

Union Jack Manager Kim Johnson reported a similar boost in business over the Pride weekend. “It was one of the best we’ve had in a long time.”

Matthew Evans, the store’s newest employee, said it was the busiest weekend he’s seen.

Johnson said that rather than special promotions, he’s relying on new lines of jackets, shoes, accessories and “the works” that are scheduled to arrive for the fall.

One that hit the store recently is a line of Pan Am logo wallets, bags and related merchandise. The items are tied to the premiere of a new TV show about the airline set in the 1960s, and Johnson said sales of those items are especially strong.

Johnson also suggested that new stores opening on the street will help keep shoppers on Cedar Springs.

A hair care supply store is set to open in the old Shades of Gray space behind Hunky’s. And across from there, construction is close to complete on the new Thai-rrific restaurant that should open in October.

However, a coffee shop that had begun construction in the space between Thai-rrific and Macho Nacho abandoned its lease because of permit issues related to parking.

Events drive traffic to the gay strip, and CSMA announced a fall schedule of events through Christmas.

On Oct. 29, Cedar Springs Road will be closed to traffic for the annual Halloween street party, which, Whittall said, is traditionally one of the biggest times for sales along the street.

He said the best time to shop is after the street closes around 4 p.m.

The next sidewalk sale and mini art show is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, with artists  showing their work along the strip in conjunction with sales by many of the merchants. A lineup of local vendors in booths is planned as well.

DFW Rescue will be there looking for new homes for pets. Music on the street will add to the day’s festivities.

“That event kicks off the Christmas season on Cedar Springs,” Whittall said.

Two events are scheduled for the first week in December.

On Dec. 2, a holiday dinner theater at the Rose Room will benefit the Cedar Springs Beautification Project. Whittall said the lineup should be announced soon.

On Dec. 7, the DFW Sisters will light the Christmas tree on the patio of TMC: The Mining Company at 7 p.m. Whittall said they plan to have a bigger tree this year. And he hoped to have an announcement soon about additional lighting.

The Oak Lawn Band is slated to perform. The lighting will be followed by a cider and wine stroll. Sexy Santa will be on the street handing out gifts and carolers will perform.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Razzle Dazzle Dallas returns to Cedar Springs

 

Revived event will span 5 days with a variety of new features

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

When organizers decided to revive Razzle Dazzle Dallas, they made the event bigger than it had ever been. And Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association said that the five-day event just keeps growing.

For example, after rain forced the postponement last weekend of a sidewalk sale and antique car show scheduled for Cedar Springs, the events were added to the Razzle Dazzle schedule.

Razzle Dazzle begins on Wednesday, June 1, with the Cedar Springs Wine Walk and Dog Walk. Participating merchants will serve free wine to anyone who has purchased a $5 wine glass. The Humane Society will set up pet stations along the street to make the event dog friendly.

Thursday, June 2, is the Jagermeister Oak Lawn Pub Crawl. A party bus will shuttle partygoers to participating nightclubs off of Cedar Springs. Participants can travel from club to club in their own cars or park in one place and ride the party bus.

Four Oak Lawn bars will offer a variety of entertainment, contests, dancers and more. The party runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and participating clubs include BJ’s NXS, Zippers, the Brick/Joe’s and Kaliente.

Metro Ball begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 3, and is the weekend’s major AIDS fundraiser.

The party will be held at Station 4 until midnight and includes dancing, raffles, a silent auction and entertainment by Deborah Cox. Tickets are $25 in advance and available at GDMAF.org or at Skivvies or $30 at the door.

The event benefits the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, which provides financial assistance to people with HIV and AIDS for critical needs when resources are exhausted through other local organizations.

Two additional events have been scheduled for VIP ticket holders. The Melrose Hotel will host a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. featuring Pinnacle flavored vodkas.

The original founders of Razzle Dazzle Dallas will be honored at that reception.

The Round-Up Saloon will hold a late-night private party with hors d’ouevres on the upstairs deck for VIP ticket holders.

VIP tickets are $100 and include five days of free reserved parking at ilume, a $100 merchant coupon book for the Wednesday Wine Walk and more.

Each VIP ticket holder will be entered into a drawing to win dinner, a one-night stay at the Worthington Hotel in Fort Worth and tickets to the musical Chicago at Bass Hall.

Whittall said producers of the show contacted CSMA to offer the giveaway as a promotion for the tour coming because one of the songs in the musical is called Razzle Dazzle.

About 50 autos from Classic Chassis Car Club will be parked along Cedar Springs Road on Saturday until 4 p.m. for an antique and classic car show. Many of the street’s merchants will be offering discounts during the day at a sidewalk sale.

The street closes to vehicular traffic at 4 p.m. for the main event that begins at 7 p.m.

Cazwell will appear on the main stage with Cheer Dallas, Billy Halliday, The Bright, Uptown Players, Chaz Marie, the Gary Floyd Trio, Anton Shaw and the drag-based performance group Something Fabulous!!!

A female impersonator stage will be set up on the deck at Woody’s Sports and Video Bar beginning at 10 p.m.

DJ/VJ Mickey Briggs of Dallas and the dance sounds of DJ Tim Pfleuger from OZ in New Orleans will alternate on a dance stage at Cedar Springs Road at Knight Street.

About 40 community groups will have booths with information and activities. A late addition to the Razzle Dazzle line up is a Midway with carnival games, dunking booths, a mechanical bull and an obstacle course.

Admission to the street is free but Whittall said that this is a fundraiser. Beer sales from booths will go toward the donation to charities. Midway sales and collections from participating vendors and organizations will benefit agencies.

A closing party and tea dance will be held at TMC: The Mining Company on Sunday, June 5. Miss and Mr. Razzle Dazzle Dallas will be crowned at the Brick on Sunday, with the contest beginning at 10 p.m.

Whittall said they are hoping to attract 20,000 to 30,000 people for the street party. He said the last time Razzle Dazzle was staged in 2003, an estimated 35,000 people attended.

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau has been promoting the week nationally.

Veronica Torres of the DCVB said, “We’re marketing Razzle Dazzle Dallas as a destination event.”

She said that they’ve been promoting weekend stays in Dallas through Facebook and Twitter and on their GLBT Dallas site. The DCVB featured the event at trade shows nationally including at a recent International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association convention.

Whittall said the event has been entirely underwritten so all proceeds will go to the beneficiaries — Youth First Texas, Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network, Cedar Springs Merchants Association Beautification Fund, AIDS Arms, Legacy Counseling/Founders Cottage, Lone Star Ride and Legal Hospice

—  John Wright

Cedar Springs strip changing, growing

At JR.’s, crews broke through the front wall on the first floor this week. That club is opening the front with patio space across its Cedar Springs frontage that they hope will be as popular as the second floor patio space.

New store openings, renovations and a calendar of events bring excitement to Cedar Springs

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

This weekend, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association sponsors Art Fest on Saturday, April 23 as well as Easter in the Park on Sunday, April 24. But they have a lot more to celebrate than spring festivals — and that is the opening of a number of businesses along the street, as well as improvements to others.

Tan Bar at 3818 Cedar Springs Road opened on March 8 and co-owner Terry Ehrle said he is delighted with the response his business has gotten, adding that Tan bar specializes in “custom brush tanning.”

Tan Bar uses organic or natural products that Ehrle said the body does not absorb. Instead, the products stay on the surface of the skin.

Macho Nacho opened on Thursday, April 21, in the space that was home to Hunky’s for 25 years.

Ehrle said the tan last seven to 10 days and does not contain SPF ingredients that protect the skin from the sun. But, he said, they work with customers to make sure they continue to protect their skin.

Ehrle said that UVA rays tanning beds and sunbathing outdoors are dangerous and that studies show that as many as one in four people who overdo exposure to the sun under the age of 35 will develop skin cancer.

At the other end of the strip, Onyx Nail Bar is open and operating in ilume and will hold a grand opening celebration over the next few weeks, according to spokesman Scott Baretto.

Although several nail salons have opened in the area over the past year, this one calls itself the king of all nail salons.

With 4,000 square feet of space, the shop is multi-level, with 18 experienced nail technicians, Barretto said, adding that there is no piped-in elevator music. Instead, the salon has a DJ booth and a sound system that he said rivals any of the clubs down the street.

Macho Nacho opened on Thursday, April 21, in the space that was home to Hunky’s for 25 years. The location has been stripped and polished and completely redesigned. The remodeled patio features new furniture and railings that reflect the upscale look of the new restaurant.

Owner Scott Jones said that after months of work, “It finally came together.”

The restaurant will be open for Sunday brunch as well as having late night hours.

Scott Jones

“We’ve got a fun crew, a big-ass fan and a great patio,” Jones said.

The ceiling fan Jones mentioned is a 10-blade metal piece with fins similar to airplane wings.

Jones recommends the mojitos and margaritas and Macho Nacho tortas as well as items from the taqueria.

Next door, construction continues on Coffee Lab. Co-owner Darin Danford said he’s shooting for a June 1 opening.

Providing enough parking has stopped a number of restaurants from opening on Cedar Springs Road. Danford said that they’ve chosen seating options that don’t require more parking. Seating will be bar style and on comfortable couches as well as at tables.

Danford’s partner, Neal Delaney said that the number 1 complaint at coffee shops is a shortage of electrical outlets. They’ve made sure that’s not a problem by wiring the space to provide plenty of plugs, he said.

The menu will feature coffee, pastry and paninis.

Construction continues at several other locations as well, including Thairiffic, a Thai restaurant that is moving to Cedar Springs from North Dallas, and JR.’s Bar and Grill.

At JR.’s, crews broke through the front wall on the first floor this week. That club is opening the front with patio space across its Cedar Springs frontage that they hope will be as popular as the second floor patio space.

On Saturday, Cedar Springs Road will be closed from Reagan to Knight streets for Art Fest. CSMA president Scott Whittall said that they already have more artists exhibiting than last year.

“We always have an influx at the end,” he said, adding that he expects more than the 70 artists already signed to exhibit.

A number of Cedar Springs retailers will have booths, including OutLines and Skivvies. Food and beer vendors and info booths will also be out on the street for the festival.
Whittall said that after Easter in the Park, the CSMA has plans for two more large events that will close the street. The May sidewalk sale will take place on May 21 and include a large antique car exhibit on the street with cars from Classic Chassis and other individuals who may register on the merchants association website.

In June, CSMA presents the return of Razzle Dazzle Dallas.

“We’re working diligently to create an atmosphere where there are things for everyone to do,” Whittall said.

Stoli vodka announced on Wednesday that they would sponsor the VIP pavilion.

Whittall said VIP tickets include reserved parking at ilume throughout the five-day event.

“We knew the first year was going to be a challenge,” Whittall said. “But we’ve been blown away by how it’s come together.

—  John Wright

Plans finalized for Easter in Lee Park

IN YOUR EASTER BONNET | Outrageous bonnets are as much a part of Easter in Lee Park as the annual Pooch Parade. And bonnets and pooches both will likely be in abundance this Sunday for the annual celebration.

Funding comes through for annual event featuring Pooch Parade, DSO performance

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

The Kroger Pooch Parade on Turtle Creek Boulevard and a performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Lee Park will mark a routine Easter in the Park.

Until last week, however, no one was guaranteeing that things would be routine.

After the Turtle Creek Association, the original organizer of Easter in the Park, moved some events to an earlier Sunday, the DSO was left to perform without an event organizer. The Cedar Springs Merchants Association stepped in.

In addition, TCA’s billing of the Creek Craze as a “family-friendly” event angered many in the LGBT community who saw that as a catchphrase for “gays not welcome.”

Together with the Lee Park Conservancy, they hired event planner Dave Berryman.

Berryman quickly put together a funding package. Kroger, Park Place Volvo and MetroPCS became the title sponsors. Mayor Dwaine Caraway’s office became involved to ensure the event took place.

Lee Park Conservancy President John Williams said that on Tuesday, April 19, he met with Berryman and DSO Director of Community Engagement Cynthia Hinojosa and that everything is in place for this weekend.

“Without Dave Berryman’s experience, it would not have come together,” Williams said.

CSMA President Scott Whittall said he was excited that Kroger has become the event’s title sponsor. He said the store has been a member of the association for years and has actively participated in the retailers’ organization for years. But this was the first time he remembered them making such a substantial commitment to become the title sponsor of a Cedar Springs event.

Petropolitan made the arrangements for the Pooch Parade. Paul Williams will emcee and judges include City Council members Pauline Medrano and Angela Hunt.

The entry fee is $10 per pet. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the judging at noon.

Vendors will begin serving in the park at noon.

The DSO had budgeted $60,000 for their annual Lee Park performance. The cost involves transporting and setting up the stage as well as paying the 100-member orchestra. But they relied on Easter in the Park organizers for event permits, to bring in food and beverage vendors and to help ensure a large audience.

Whittall said that in addition to the scheduled events, there will be an Easter bonnet preview in the park.

Once afternoon activities in the park end, five clubs on Cedar Springs Road will host Easter bonnet contests. The competitions are hourly beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Round-Up Saloon and ending at 10:30 p.m. at Woody’s Sports and Video Bar.

Whittall said that CSMA intends to continue to be the organizational sponsor of Easter in the Park.

Other than a number of families that participated in the Easter Egg roll early in the afternoon, the event that Turtle Creek Association moved to Palm Sunday — dubbed Creek Craze — went largely unattended. But they plan to hold it again next year. With more planning and publicity, they expect more families with children to attend.

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Easter in the Park events

11 a.m.: Pooch Parade registration opens  ($10 per pet)
noon: Food & beverage vendors open
1 p.m.: Pooch Parade begins
3 p.m.: Dallas Symphony performs
5 p.m.: Food & beverage vendors close

Easter Bonnet contests begin at Cedar Springs clubs:

6:30 p.m.: Round-Up Saloon
7:30 p.m.: TMC: The Mining Company
8:30 p.m.: JR’s Bar and Grill
9:30 p.m.: Sue Ellen’s
10:30 p.m.: Woody’s Sports and Video Bar

—  John Wright

Funding set for Easter in the Park

Pooch Parade, Dallas Symphony to highlight annual event in Lee Park

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Event coordinator David Berryman, working with the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, this week announced that he has put together funding from several sources to ensure the annual Easter in the Park will take place on April 24.

Kroger, Park Place Volvo and MetroPCS will sponsor the event, with Berryman’s company Bravo Event Group of Texas coordinating it.

Edna Jean Robinson and friend

“We’re all set to go,” Lee Park Conservancy President John Williams said.

There was a question whether the annual event would proceed as usual when the Turtle Creek Association that sponsored the event in the past split the Pooch Parade from the concert. That group decided to stage a “family friendly” event a week earlier.

The Dallas Symphony, however, was still scheduled to perform on Easter Sunday and had committed $60,000 for the performance to take place.

The Lee Park Conservancy, which operates Lee Park, was concerned about the DSO not having an audience despite having committed the funds to perform. And many in the LGBT community were angry over what they saw as an attempt to weed out participation by the LGBT community from Easter in the Park, which has always had a large LGBT contingent of participants.

Many saw TCA’s “family-friendly” tag line as code for “no gays allowed.”

After much discussion, though, the conservancy teamed with Berryman’s company and the Cedar Springs merchants to ensure the traditional Easter Sunday event would take place.

Still, funding was needed to hire the required police and a rescue squad and to pay for trash removal that has to be contracted with a professional company.

The city waived permit fees to help the organizations stage the event.

Registration for the Pooch Parade will open at 11 a.m. The cost is $10 per pet entered. Paul J. Williams will be the emcee and council members Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano will be among the judges. A special guest grand marshal will be announced next week.

Food and beverage vendors begin serving at noon and will be open though 5 p.m. The Dallas Symphony will perform in Lee Park at 5 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., an Easter bonnet contest begins at select clubs on Cedar Springs Road. The list of participating bars will be released next week.

The April 17 event, renamed Creek Craze, will include a dog costume contest, and rescue groups will be at the park for adoptions. Food and beverage vendors will also be at the park.

Activities include an Easter egg roll. Children’s entertainer Eddie Coker and a DJ will entertain through the afternoon and a live band will perform at 4 p.m.

And all groups involved assure that “family friendly” means all families.

Williams said he was glad to see two weekends of activities in the park.

“I hope people come out and enjoy both,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright