Spirit of Giving: Linze Serrell’s Toys for Tots Show

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the LGBT community of North Texas once again is responding in a variety of ways to help out those who are less fortunate.

This week Dallas Voice profiles five events intended to raise funds or other donations for a number of different causes. But the community’s good will doesn’t end with these events.

If you know of an individual, business or organization that is holding or participating in a charitable holiday event or effort, email the information to editor@dallasvoice.com.

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Linze-Serrell

Linze Serrell

Saturday night, Dec. 10, Garlow’s in Gun Barrel City will play host to Linze Serrell’s annual Toys for Tots fundraising show, to gather donations of cash and toys for the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program.

Brian Paris, show director at Garlow’s, said that this is the second holiday season since the bar opened, and the second year that the club has hosted the event.

Paris explained that the annual Toys for Tots benefit show was started more than 25 years ago by Bill Lindsey, known across the Metroplex as Linze Serrell, a female impersonator who sings live and focuses his efforts on charitable events.

“This is Linze’s baby, her pet project, on top of everything else that [Lindsey and his partner Michael Champion, aka Sable Alexander] do,” Paris said.

For Lindsey, the annual show is a way to give back and say thanks for the blessings in his own life.

“My mom was a single mom who worked three jobs. There were times growing up that we wouldn’t have had Christmas without the support of the church and organizations like Toys for Tots,” he said. “I know what it feels like to be without, and I want to do something to make sure other kids don’t have to go without.”

Despite a recent stroke, Lindsey said he would definitely attend the event at Garlow’s. “I’d have to be six feet under not to be at this show! And even then, they’d dig me up and put me in the corner! I even plan on singing a song in the show.”

Paris said the show will be “really just a regular drag show,” except that all the performers are donating their time and all the tips go to help buy toys for Toys for Tots.

“Last year, we had a stage full of people participating, and we raised about $2,000. And we had a lot of fun doing it. And all the people participating do it on their own dime. No one receives a penny of compensation.

“These entertainers, we all travel thousands of miles each year, whether it’s to participate in a pageant system for the Home for the Holidays [a program that raises funds to send people with HIV/AIDS home]. But there is nothing in this show that has any personal benefit for the performers, in terms of winning a title or anything. They just do it for the fun of it and for the chance to make Christmas a little bit better for some children who might not have had Christmas otherwise.”

He said that this show is also the only time that Garlow’s ever charges a cover charge, and that the suggested donation of $5 or a new, unwrapped toy at the door will also go into the Toys for Tots total.

But Paris said he knows that a trip to Gun Barrel to attend the show may be out of the question for some. “If someone wants to help but can’t make it down here to Gun Barrel City, then they should find someone where they are who needs help,” he said. “It doesn’t even have to be doing something for kids.

There are lots of people in nursing homes who need a hug. Just go and sit and spend some time with someone who needs your company.”

Linze Serrell’s annual Toys for Tots benefit show begins at 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Garlow’s, 308 E. Main St. in Gun Barrel City.

— Tammye Nash

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

GOProud’s LaSalvia slams ‘gay left’

Homocon leader, set to speak Saturday at Metroplex Republicans’ Grand Ol’ Party, downplays competition with Log Cabin

LaSalvia.Barron

Jimmy LaSalvia, left, and Chris Barron

JOHN WRIGHT |  Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

When Taylor Garrett, a gay Republican cast member from The A-List: Dallas, recently claimed his apartment had been vandalized by a “liberal,” Jimmy LaSalvia wasn’t surprised.

As executive director of the national gay conservative (or “homocon”) group GOProud, LaSalvia said he’s grown accustomed to attacks from what he calls “the gay left.”

“The gay left is the most hateful, intolerant, disgusting group of people I’ve ever come across in my lifetime, and everything we do is criticized by them,” LaSalvia told Dallas Voice. “They hate gay conservatives more than anything in the world, and I don’t know why. It’s just a matter of time before violence like that happens.”

Coincidentally — or not, depending on who you believe — LaSalvia had lunch with Garrett in Los Angeles just prior to the rock-throwing incident being reported.

They were joined by conservative pundit Ann Coulter — who serves as honorary chair of GOProud’s Advisory Council — and Logo filmed the rendezvous for an upcoming episode of The A-List.

The timing led some in the gay blogosphere to suggest that LaSalvia put Garrett up to falsifying his report about the rock, which allegedly shattered a window at his apartment in the Dallas Design District — perhaps to generate hype prior to the premiere of the show.

Again, though, LaSalvia said he wasn’t surprised. After all, when he reported that he’d been the victim of a hate crime in Washington, D.C. in July — and used it as an opportunity to craft an op-ed in support of gun rights — he, too, was called a liar.

“I think that is absolutely appalling that someone would question that, and until you’ve been through what I’ve been through, shut the fuck up, because I know what happened to me,” LaSalvia said. “It was very traumatic for me, and that is why I wrote about it, as a way to help me deal with what happened to me.

“And I would say the same for Taylor. He told people about it as a way for him to deal with what had happened to him. And it’s just appalling to me that anyone would question that, and then to speculate that it was a coordinated effort — that I would tell Taylor, ‘Oh yeah, fake a hate crime, you know, get lots of attention,’ — that’s just absurd. And I would just tell all of those people, until it happens to you, shut the fuck up.”

LaSalvia and GOProud board chairman Chris Barron, who co-founded the organization together in 2009, will be in Dallas this weekend for the Grand Ol’ Party — the annual fundraising dinner held by Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, formerly Log Cabin Republicans Dallas.

Also attending the dinner will be Garrett, according to Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein.

In a wide-ranging interview with Dallas Voice last week, LaSalvia criticized Log Cabin Republicans National — where he once served as director of programs and policy — for its recent decision to de-charter the Dallas Log Cabin chapter.

The decision was based in part on Schlein’s decision to invite LaSalvia and Barron to speak at the Grand Ol’ Party. LaSalvia said he believes Log Cabin leaders mistakenly view GOProud as a threat, even though the groups have different missions and donor bases.

“While there are dozens and dozens of gay organizations on the left, the fact that one other right-of-center gay organization exists is not acceptable to Log Cabin,” LaSalvia said. “They have a very specific mission, and they work within the gay establishment organizations in Washington to do their thing.

“We’re working in the conservative coalition with tea party groups and conservative organizations advancing a conservative agenda, and that’s very different from what they do in the Gay Inc. world of Washington.”

Grand Ol’ Party
Saturday, Nov. 5, 6:30 p.m.
MetroplexRepublicans.com

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

—  Kevin Thomas

National LCR board ousts Schlein

National organization decharters LCR-Dallas, creates new local chapter; Schlein announces formation of ‘Metroplex Republicans’

Rob Schlein

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Saying that the leadership of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, especially longtime chapter president Rob Schlein, have “engaged in a consistent pattern of behavior that detracts from the mission of our organization,” national Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper announced this week that the previous Dallas chapter has been de-chartered, and a new chapter created.

“After all due consideration and efforts at reconciliation, the [LCR national] board of directors have decided to begin anew, ensuring that our mission of fighting for freedom can be at its strongest in Dallas and across the country,” Cooper said in a statement released late Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Clarke said that a new Dallas chapter has already been chartered and will be led by Thomas Purdy as president and a new board.

Schlein said Thursday, Oct. 13, that he “didn’t see it coming at all. I knew yesterday that something was cooking, and I got the official word this morning.”

Schlein said he believes “the Dallas chapter was kicked out after inviting [GOProud co-founders] Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia to speak at our [upcoming] Grand Old Party.

“We will continue to work on behalf of gay conservatives in Dallas, and the Grand Old Party dinner will go on,” Schlein added. “We are looking forward to putting on a great event with Chris Barron and Jimmy LaSalvia as our guest speakers.”

Barron and LaSalvia, former Log Cabin staffers, started GOProud in early 2009 after leaving Log Cabin because they considered it too centrist.

By last Thursday, Schlein had announced the creation of Metroplex Republicans in an email, saying that he and others in the original Log Cabin Dallas had already been considering disaffiliating with the national organization because of its more centrist views.

He said those members had been prepared to ask the national board for a hearing to “air our grievances” when the national board “pre-empted us” by dechartering the chapter. “A clear majority of our local board wanted a resolution that would keep us under the LCR umbrella. That said, it takes two to tango,” Schlein said.

He criticized the national board for “hand-selecting” Purdy as president of the new chapter rather than waiting “two months for  elections.” And he noted that the local group had started some 30 years ago as “Metroplex Republicans” before affiliating with Log Cabin in 1995.

“This should be seen as an opportunity to grow as we can reach more Republicans in Dallas,” Schlein said. “Our club will continue to welcome those Republicans of all varieties, including gay, straight, black, Hispanic, Asian.”

Purdy, who was on the board of the now-dechartered Log Cabin Dallas chapter, on Wednesday said that the national LCR board felt Schlein had been “leading the Dallas chapter in a direction not congruent with the direction of Log Cabin Republicans as a whole and the national Log Cabin board felt there were no more options in terms of rectifying that  incongruency.”

He said the national board felt that Schlein had refused to adhere to the national organization’s bylaws and follow its direction: “Essentially, the national board of directors has decided to switch out the leadership of the Dallas chapter, and the only means they had of doing that was to decharter the chapter.”

Purdy said “a handful of members” from the previous chapter “chose to pursue a new charter.”

Purdy said his first order of business as president of the newly chartered Dallas LCR chapter will be to “regroup with a new board” and then “draw up some strategic imperatives. … Our main objective for existing is to really foster a more inclusive environment within the Republican Party. That’s where we will focus our efforts.”

While Cooper pointed to “a consistent pattern of behavior” that led to Schlein’s ouster, Schlein said Thursday he believes “the catalyst for dechartering us” was his decision to invite Barron and LaSalvia to speak at the Grand Old Party.

He said “personal rivalries” between the national leaders of Log Cabin and GOProud led the national LCR board to move against him.

Schlein said, “I think it is sad, a real shame, that the two groups that represent gay conservatives can’t work together just because they attack the issues from different perspectives.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Death • 09.30.11

Wendy Churitch, 55, died suddenly at her home in Irving early Thursday morning, Sept. 29.

Churitch was born July 26, 1956, and grew up in Chicago. She moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 1980.

She was known and much loved for her eccentric and ever-present sense of humor, her love of pranks and practical jokes and for her devotion and loyalty to her family and to her large number of friends that she thought of — and that thought of her — as family.

After seven-and-a-half years as a couple, Churitch and the love of her life, Kay Mathews Churitch, were legally married in Iowa on Aug. 17, 2009.

Churitch was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Pete Churitch Sr., and by her brother, Michael.

She is survived by her wife, Kay Mathews Churitch of Irving; by her brother, Pete Churitch Jr., and one sister, Robin Littrell, both of Indiana; by her wife’s sister, Erin Urquhart of Coppell, and brother, Robert Mathews of Buda; by her wife’s two daughters, Courtney Mathews of Lubbock and Amber Mathews of Three Rivers, Mich., and three grandchildren, Michael and Jourdan of Mesquite and Makenzie of Lubbock; by her beloved dogs, Bailey and Pala; and by a host of loving friends.

Churitch’s remains will be cremated. A memorial service is pending and details will be announced when they become available.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Bike vs. Bike

09.23.11-Cover-B

Jed Billings in Fort Worth, left, David Smith on Cedar Springs, right

Which is the best city for cyclists: Big D or Cowtown? Both cities have plans in place now to create safer, more convenient options for riders

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

This weekend, Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS riders can decide for themselves which city is more bike-friendly — Dallas or Fort Worth — as the fundraising cyclists ride through Cowtown on Saturday, and Big D on Sunday (see separate story, New Routes, LSRFA).

Both cities have bike plans in place to increase bicycling for fun and fitness and to encourage two-wheel transportation as a viable means of commuting. But which city’s plan is the best?

The Dallas advantage in bike commuting is DART. Both cities have buses equipped with bike racks, and the Trinity River Express, the train running between the two, also welcomes bikes on board.

But the new center section on each DART train car eliminates the stairs and has hooks for hanging bikes.

Plus, the bike trails in Dallas are accessible from DART stations.

The Katy Trail begins across the parking lot from Victory Station. Fair Park Station is blocks from the new Sante Fe Trail. White Rock Station is adjacent to the White Rock Trail, and Forest Lane Station is right next to the Cottonwood Trail.

But on the other side of the Metroplex, Fort Worth has the extensive and interconnected Trinity Trails in its favor. The trails are named, of course, for the river and its forks, along which much of the 40-mile trail system runs.

Lone Star Ride will use 22 miles of the trail system on Saturday, the first day of the event.

Both cities have developed bike plans to make cycling a transportation alternative. The plans include a variety of ways to make the streets more bike-friendly.

Dallas

In Dallas, the plan includes creating bike lanes, cycletracks, shared lane markings, climbing lanes and paved shoulders that crisscross the city.

Some bike lanes will share a lane with a bus. Cycletracks are dedicated lanes separated from traffic with curbs or other barriers.

Dallas plans 840 miles of on-street bike lanes, with another 255 miles of off-street trails.

“That doesn’t include the trail network,” said Max Kalhammer, project manager of the Dallas plan.

Plans are to connect the Katy Trail and Sante Fe Trail through downtown Dallas with a lane over the Jefferson Street Viaduct to link the Bishop Arts District. That plan should be implemented by 2014.

The next phase involves a network of lanes within a three-mile radius of light rail stations. The full plan should take 10 years to implement, according to Kalhammer.

Fort Worth

The Fort Worth bike plan is simpler, with just two types of bike lanes — shared and dedicated — but no less aggressive.

City of Fort Worth Senior Planner Julia McCleeary said the Fort Worth plan extends more than 1,000 miles, but that includes expected future development and will take 30 to 40 years to fully implement. Currently, the city has 14.1 dedicated bike lanes and 30 miles of shared bike routes.

Over the next six months, another eight miles will be added.

Residents seem to be responding to the new lanes.

“I left work Friday and within five minutes saw three cyclists,” McCleeary said. “Wow. You wouldn’t have seen that before.”

She said that Fort Worth is the first city in Texas to pass a safe passing ordinance: Cars need to leave three feet between themselves and anyone vulnerable, including bike riders, horseback riders or the handicapped. Commercial vehicles must clear by six feet.

“We also passed a bike parking zoning ordinance,” she said. “Developers must install racks according to specs.”

Striping downtown streets was done with a Department of Energy grant. McCleeary said that when a street is repaved and must be restriped anyway, the cost of adding the bike lane is minimal.

Coming soon

“[In Dallas] none of the on-street lanes have been implemented yet,” Kalhammer said, but he added that the first lane should be opened soon. He said that will be on Mary Cliff Road in Oak Cliff, in conjunction with some road reconstruction.

The next project will be Bishop Street, which will have dedicated bike lanes.

The Dallas bike project includes destination signs that point in a direction with a distance to the destination. Those replace the current bike route signs that point down a street but usually go nowhere.

McCleeary said she would like to see standardized bike lane marking between cities to minimize driver confusion and promote safety. Kalhammer said he thought the markings will be similar enough to not confuse riders.

Dallas would like to see many more people using bikes as part of their intermodal commute to work.

Fort Worth’s goal is to triple the number of bike commuters, decrease bicycle-related crashes by 10 percent and earn the Bicycle Friendly Community designation given by the League of American Bicyclists.

Where do we rank?

Currently, the “bike friendly” designation hasonly been awarded to smaller cities — Steamboat Springs, Col., Burlington, Vt., and Santa Fe, N.M. are typical examples.

In Boulder, Colo, more than 95 percent of city streets have bike lanes. One Texas city was recognized by the group this year for the first time — The Woodlands — and another — College Station — received an honorable mention.

According to the census, of the top 50 cities, Portland is the No. 1 biking city in the United States with as much as 9 percent of commuters using bikes in some neighborhoods and 3.5 percent citywide.

San Francisco, which ranks fifth, has one of the densest populations in the United States and counts about 40,000 people commuting regularly by bike.

Even more — possibly 75,000 people — get around in New York City by bike.

With .02 percent of commuters using bikes, Dallas ranked 41st and Fort Worth 42nd. But those census figures were released in 2007, before either city instituted their current bike plans. DART added its bike-friendly trains and buses with bike racks just last year and the census undercounts intermodal bike riders by listing them as public-transit users.

Of course, even the bike-friendliest cities in the United States rank far behind many European cities.

In Amsterdam, the world’s top biking city, 40 percent of traffic moves by bicycle. Centraal Station, the Dutch city’s main train station, has parking for 7,000 bikes.

Trondheim, Norway became one of Europe’s top bike riding cities by tackling its hilly topography with bike lifts along some of the city’s steepest streets. That sounds like a great idea for the hills that climb into Oak Cliff.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

LSRFA announces new route

Poz Pedalers will lead the LSR parade entry and wheel the riderless bike down Cedar Springs Road

Calumn.Jerry
Jerry Calumn

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Just a week before the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, Event Manager Jerry Calumn has revealed the new route for the ride.

Rather than travel though country roads making a loop to the north and west of the American Airlines Training and Conference Center on Saturday, and a loop to the south and east on Sunday, this year’s ride will travel through the Metroplex’s largest cities.

Riders on Saturday will make a loop through Fort Worth, including a pit stop at the Rainbow Lounge and one downtown at The Pour House on 7th Street.

The Sunday route will include a pass by Cathedral of Hope and then travel down Cedar Springs Road for the first time in the ride’s history.

Cathedral of Hope is planning a cheering section. A pit stop is scheduled along the route at Station 4.

The fastest riders should make it to Cedar Springs Road by 9 a.m. while slower pedallers will follow until about 11 a.m.

Calumn said that while last year’s route was scenic, riders wanted to interact with people along the way. With the mostly rural routes followed in recent years, that hasn’t happened.

At first, Calumn said, he thought the ride might stop by the Mustangs in Las Colinas. But another event was scheduled for the square that houses the statue. Instead, the city of Irving arranged for a stop at the new Irving Convention Center.

“Irving really wanted us,” Calumn said. “We’re thrilled to be stopping at the newest, greatest architecture in Irving.”

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Lone Star Ride held a pre-ride event at S4 to recognize those who had excelled in their fundraising.

In bicycling races, yellow is the color traditionally worn by the race leader. To recognize the top fundraisers, 45 yellow polos were awarded for those who had raised more than $1,000, and 27 yellow jerseys given to those who had collected more than $2,000.

This week, the ride topped the $2 million mark in collective fundraising over its 11 years. The money will be distributed to beneficiaries AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Services Dallas and Resource Center Dallas.

Chance Browning is the participant fundraising chair of the LSRFA Council and has been working to find ways to help riders meet their fundraising goals.

He said he has been spending the past few weeks calling riders to give them fundraising suggestions, often recommending “a multi-pronged approach.”

Browning suggested riders send emails to friends, family and business associates, with links to the LSRFA website. The website provides a fundraising badge for riders to post on Facebook that links back to the rider’s page where donations can be made.

Also, Browning suggested, “Check your company to see if they offer matching funds.”

He said holding fundraising parties works for some people. But he said riders need to keep talking to people and asking for the money.

Browning said he rode for two years, but helping other people raise their money was his way of contributing this year.

In 2010, Dean Wilson was the development director for LSR and now is development associate for Resource Center Dallas. He said he’d be at the ride representing RCD, one of the beneficiaries. He’ll also be cheering on his partner.

“Last year was my partner’s first ride,” Wilson said. “We both had such an amazing time, we can’t wait til this year.”

To begin the final countdown to the 2011 LSRFA, a number of  ride participants will walk down Cedar Springs in the Pride parade on Sunday, Sept. 18. The Poz Pedalers — the team of HIV-positive riders and their supporters — will lead the group, walking the riderless bike, which memorializes those lost to AIDS, down the parade route.

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS takes place on Sept. 24 and 25. Riders will stay at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center in Arlington on Friday and Saturday nights. Sunday late afternoon closing ceremonies, which will include a performance by the Turtle Creek Chorale, will take place there at the training and conference center.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Feminist mystique

Lovers’ Carolyn Berk finds zero limits as an out musician — but gets a little nervous coming back to Texas

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

THREE WAY | Carolyn Berk, center, and Lovers return to the masculine state of Texas with feminist pop.

LOVERS
With Sextape and One Red Martian. Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust Road, Denton. May 13. 9 p.m. $6–$8.
LoversAreLovers.com.

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Smilla might have had a sense of snow, but Carolyn Berk — frontwoman for the Portland-based trio Lovers — has a sense of sex. And it makes her a bit nervous to be coming to the Metroplex.

“Portland is a very feminine city, but when I’m in Texas, I feel it’s a very masculine place,” she says. “There is an energy that I don’t quite get. I can experience masculinity in myself but when it’s used in a certain way, I start feeling uncomfortable. I’ve never been to Dallas because, honestly, I’m intimidated by it. I don’t feel particularly safe in Texas.”

Berk doesn’t mean to sound like she’s railing against the state, but she wants to be upfront how her feminist roots may feel challenged next Friday, when Lovers plays at Andy’s Bar in Denton. It’s no surprise that she loves Austin, but she doesn’t say whether the band intentionally sidestepped Dallas in favor of Denton. But we choose not to see it that way — anyway, fringe bands thrive in college towns.

“One of the interesting things about going back to the same towns again is seeing the people you met last time,” she says of touring. “Hopefully we’ll see that some of the seeds are growing and more people come out. I always hope that each tour is better than the last.”

Lovers has five albums under its belt, and through rotating members, the touchstone has always been Berk. But this current incarnation of the band seems to find Lovers at its best self. Berk, Kerby Ferris and Emily Kingan have produced a confident album with Dark Light, and after a decade of doing this, Berk feels this is the band at its strongest.

“When we came together, it felt very egalitarian and feminist and comfortable,” she says. “I hadn’t experienced that level of confidence and there are a lot of benefits to having our kind of connection. I felt like this was a really great place to be creatively.”

This confidence has taken Berk to new levels, as an artist and a person. All three members identify as queer, and for Berk, that offers a comfort in writing her music. Although she starts the song on her acoustic guitar, the others chime in for a group dynamic.

At 32, her personal growth over these 10 years has manifested differently in Dark Light than it has on any of the previous releases. She’s out of the closet, but this album shows Berk coming out of her shell.

“I feel like I sort of went from being an artist who was working mostly to exorcise personal demons to someone who, with time, is able to looking more outward,” she says. “This is the most extroverted album Lovers has ever had.”

Those demons stemmed from losing her mother at 15, as well as growing up surrounded by death. Seeing it up close at an early age was just a “weird way to start life.” But it shaped her knack for some pretty epic lyrics. In Light’s “Shepherd of the Stray Hearts,” she says volumes in the line Just like a shepherd of the stray hear /  leaving you whale bones in your front yard and a basket of spearmint on the gate behind your swing / and a white scarf around the cello cart you’re always pushing.

“The song is about having a secret romance and those images come from a some very romantic places in my life,” Berk says.

And while the object of affection may be to a woman by a woman, Berk and company have faith that their music will transcend labels.

“At this point in my career, I just feel limitless,” she says. “I feel very visible through the music and at the same time anybody else can insert their experiences into a song.  I’m very open in my music, but I don’t think that means its closed for everyone else. “

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

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

—  John Wright

Gay teens get their own Valentine’s Day dance; now they just need a photographer and a florist

LGBTQ youth in North Texas are getting their very own Valentine’s Day dance this year.

Chapters of the Gay Straight Alliance from five high schools in Dallas and Collin counties are coming together for the first-ever “Love Conquers All Ball,” hosted by LULAC #4871 and Youth First Texas.

The event will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 at Youth First Texas, and a $2 requested donation at the door will benefit the Trevor Project.

Jesse Garcia, president of LULAC #4871, said all teens ages 14-18 are invited regardless of whether they’re members of GSAs — and regardless of whether they have dates.

Garcia also said organizers are looking for a photographer to take digital images of the couples, as well as a florist who can donate 50 to 60 flowers. Those interested in providing photography or flowers should e-mail jessegarciadallas@gmail.com.

A full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

Rockin’ bowl

Super Bowl weekend brings more than athletes to town — like, gay musicians

concert-2-1For those music fans who aren’t quite sports fans, the Super Bowl may not seem like such a big deal (unless you want to find a parking space in Arlington that weekend). But don’t worry — the biggest football weekend of the year has just as much for you.

A slew of big-name artists will be in town performing throughout the Metroplex that week; here’s a quick breakdown of some of the bigger shows on the calendar.

concert-2-2
SPORT TUNES | Cazwell, above, and The Village People, top left, bring gay flair to Super Bowl concerts while Prince adds royalty to the weekend.

The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl spans three days and hits all the marks — even the gay ones. The lineup on Thursday, Feb. 3, is especially targeted to gay sports fans, with the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell. Indie popsters Passion Pit perform a DJ set Friday, Feb. 4, and rockers Sublime headline the final party on Super Bowl Sunday. Visit XLVParty.com for more information.

DirectTV hosts its Celebrity Beach Bowl V on Feb. 6, turning Victory Park into a sandy oasis. After the celeb-game, pop rockers Maroon 5 perform a free post-game show. Visit DirectTV.com for more information.

The Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam hosts a random lineup at Verizon Theatre on Feb. 3. Duran Duran, Kid Rock and Jason Derulo offer a schizophrenic roster of music. Visit Ticketmaster .com to purchase tickets.

Headlining the benefit show theEvent, Prince brings his purple reign back to the old Reunion Arena site where he performed in 1984 — only this time, it’s in a big-ass tent complex. For $1,500, you can see him live and support the Goss-Michael Foundation, which provides scholarships for students pursuing the arts. Visit Twitter.com/theEventDallas for more information.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas