2011 Dallas Voice Yellow Pages hits the streets

DV promotions manager Terry Thompson sent this over:

Who loves ya, baby? Here’s the list of DFW businesses that want your business. The 2011 edition of Dallas Voice Yellow Pages is fresh off the presses and at our newsstands now. Pick up a copy to see who wants to do business with you. Not only does it list GLBT-friendly businesses, it also features a Visitor’s Guide (great for when you have out-of-town guests), a Relocation Guide, Community Resources and a Calendar. It’s a great reference for everything from Plumbers to Gayborhood Guides to seating charts to show you where your seats are for venues throughout the Metroplex. It’s a great reference to have at home. Pick up your copy with this week’s Dallas Voice, at our newsstands. We’re in 50 different zip codes in 11 cities.

New this year: There’s an App for that! Load us up on your iPhone at http://itunes.apple.com/app/gayyellow/id366273341?mt=8

—  John Wright

Another World AIDS Day event: DFW Sisters to tour Metroplex with Veil of Remembrance

From the DFW Sisters:

Join us as we tour the Metroplex with our Veil of Remembrance. We will start in Fort Worth at the Tarrant County Public Health Carnival and Fair. We will arrive in Dallas around Happy Hour and tour the strip with a few other stops along the way. If you have trouble finding us, please check with us on FB or send us a message.

One of the Sisters will be wearing the Veil of Remembrance. We welcome you to write the names and any memories you have of loved ones who have passed. We will take the veil and make it a part of our House archives where we will guard and protect the memories you have entrusted to us.

For a list of other World AIDS Day events in North Texas, go here.

—  John Wright

See the new Harry Potter movie early, support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

OK, how many Harry Potter fans do we have out there? And how many of you are chomping at the bit to see the new movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1″?

It comes out at midnight on Thursday, Nov. 18, but here in the Metroplex, you have a chance to see the movie four hours early and at the same time contribute to a good cause: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

I think it is a fitting fundraiser, considering the commitment that the film’s star, Daniel Radcliffe, has made to The Trevor Project and the many times Radcliffe has spoken out for LGBT rights.

The screening will be held at the Rave Theatre in Northeast Mall in Hurst. Tickets are $16 each and are available online at MugglesForLife.webs.com.

—  admin

Ask the experts • Defining Homes

Ask the experts

In March 2009, President Obama released the Home Affordable Modification Plan (HAMP). This would help alleviate the pressures of potential foreclosure, lowering monthly payments and still maintaining good standing in credit. But according to RealtyTrac.com’s list of foreclosure hotspots, Dallas/Fort Worth ranked 96 out of 203 with (at the time) more than 10,000 properties listed as foreclosures — a relatively small number considering the populations of both Dallas and Fort Worth. But it does make us ask the experts, “What does Obama’s mortgage aid plan mean for homeowners here and can it help those in search of buying their first home?”

Randy Hodges
Randy Hodges

Randy Hodges,
Dave Perry-Miller InTown
First of all, the federal government’s making homes affordable plan really has helped countless numbers of American families keep their homes. It’s important to note, however, that the programs being offered by the federal government should not be mistaken for a “hand-out.” Rather, these programs offer Americans, who are struggling to avoid foreclosure, the opportunity to restructure their debt by guaranteeing certain aspects of the lending process. The positive in this is that will all be to the benefit of both the homeowner and the lender.

Tomi Kuczynski,
Prudential Texas Properties’ Homes On Call
One of the first glitches I find in the plan for most Dallas/Fort Worth homeowners is the requirement of a loss of at least 15 percent in their home’s value. Most areas throughout the Metroplex have not suffered such losses in value. There are areas such as Preston Hollow, McKinney and Oak Cliff where the numbers neared 20 percent, but these areas have already begun recovery in the market. Furthermore, analysts predict the actual number these lenders will be seeking is closer to 40 percent. If this prediction is true, areas throughout California and Florida will be the benefactors of this relief plan, not the Metroplex.

Each plan has been implemented primarily to prevent foreclosures, which is my second concern. Both plans require homeowners to be up-to-date on their mortgages to qualify. I consider this to be one of the main failures within the first attempt of this plan, and will continue to be a deterrent in providing relief to those who are truly in need for Obama’s second attempt. While they struggle to find an answer, they will not be able to look to this new plan for help without being completely current.

Jeff Updike
Jeff Updike

Steve Shatsky,
Prudential Texas Properties
I think that the greatest impact of the latest mortgage aid plan is that it will keep some percentage of homeowners in their homes rather than displacing them and putting more distressed inventory on the market. In some parts of the country there is excessive inventory and a large percentage of that is distressed sales, so anything that helps keep people in their homes, which helps to lower inventory levels, will also likely aid in stabilizing property values and help them to begin to climb again. Here in Dallas we have a good amount of inventory and that, combined with excellent mortgage rates, already makes it a great time to buy a home regardless of any impact from the latest mortgage aid plan.

Jeff Updike,
Re/Max Urban
We are extremely fortunate because the mortgage delinquency rate in Texas is less than half of the national average. The HAMP and the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) programs will help a small percentage of delinquent borrowers refinance to a permanent mortgage that will help them stay in their home.  For most others, if they cannot make the payments because of unemployment or underemployment, they will probably be forced to sell their home through a “short sale;” otherwise, it may be lost in foreclosure.

Barbara Stone

Barbara Stone

Barbara Stone,
Allie Beth Allman & Associates
If the plan is successful, it will reduce homeowners’ mortgage payments (those homeowners who have been affected by the economic crisis through no fault of their own), and help them stay in their homes instead of being foreclosed; thus reducing the number of foreclosures nationwide.  Another benefit homeowners would realize is a better credit rating, rather than having a foreclosure reflected on their credit report.
And if homes are not foreclosed on, there will be a better chance for these homes to be kept in better condition, rather than being vacated and left untended. If these homes are put on the market, then homebuyers will benefit with a better quality home to purchase.
The Obama mortgage aid plan could also help boost the value of homes and neighborhoods by keeping lower-priced foreclosed homes out of the market. If values stay stronger, then discouraged potential sellers will consider putting their homes up for sale, instead of waiting for the market to rebound. Homebuyers will then have a larger selection of homes to choose.

For more information on the  HAMP  and HAFA programs, visit 2010mortgagerecoveryplan.org or MakingHomeAffordable.gov.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of Defining Homes Magazine October 8, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gay retailer competes with the mall chains

Service, style and a little bit of avant-garde translate into success for this Oak Lawn eyeglass retailer

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

FASHION FORWARD  |  Morgan Metcalf transformed a failing discounter into the No. 1 fashion eyewear store in the Metroplex. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
FASHION FORWARD  | Morgan Metcalf transformed a failing discounter into the No. 1 fashion eyewear store in the Metroplex. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Over the past few years, Fashion Optical has gone from discount store to high fashion boutique, becoming the highest-volume optical shop in Dallas/Fort Worth.

When Morgan Metcalf bought Fashion Optical, located on Oak Lawn Avenue at Lemmon, several years ago, he thought he could increase the store’s volume. But, he said, sales have increased beyond his wildest dreams.

Within his first year as owner, business tripled. Today, he’s more than doubled that total again and plans to open a second store.

And all that success happened while the country was in the throes of a deep recession.

A high-profile location is important, Metcalf said. But the location didn’t sustain the previous owner, who had sold discount eyewear there for 15 years.

“There’s no one silver bullet,” Metcalf said.

Metcalf’s background was in employment placement, so he said when he came into the optical business he looked at it with a fresh eye.

He upgraded lines and dropped the word “discount” from the name. He remodeled. He upgraded the service and did runway fashion shows.

“We serve champagne on Saturdays,” he said.

Looking for a way to compete with the mall stores, Metcalf recently added $55,000 in equipment that trumps all of his competitors.

“I’m spoiling all of my customers with a 24-hour turnaround time,” he said.

He can actually produce lenses faster in an emergency when customers lose or break their glasses and are relying on him for a quick replacement.

“We’re the only store within a 300-mile radius that can produce progressive lenses with all the coatings in as little as two hours,” he said.

Mall stores usually promise them in a week. That’s because stores that used to do the work on-premises now send the work out to central locations.

Metcalf has even increased his sales volume by servicing other small optical stores, offering them the same quick turnaround time.

When Metcalf first bought Fashion Optical, he said the store was in need of remodeling. He planned to do stained concrete floors. But when they stripped the floor, they uncovered 75-year-old terrazzo tile. Although the facade of the strip center is new, the building dates from the 1930s.

HI TECH  |  Fashion Optical is the only store within 300 miles with this equipment to produce progressive lenses themselves. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)
HI TECH | Fashion Optical is the only store within 300 miles with this equipment to produce progressive lenses themselves. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Metcalf said his taste runs to the avant-garde. But when he was choosing new lines for his Oak Lawn store, he didn’t want to be too way-out for Texas. The lines he picked up included Gucci, Versace, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani.

While some vendors were hesitant to place their upscale products in a store that had only recently removed “discount” from its name, Metcalf has become the No. 1 retailer in the state for those and other fashion lines. Currently, he’s working on his own line of glasses that he hopes to debut later this year.

The store has become a destination and has attracted a celebrity clientele. He counts Jeff Bridges and Troy Aikman among his clientele. Many customers drive from outside the immediate area and even from out of state to shop with him regularly.

Metcalf has been active in the community and his lenses will be included in the Black Tie Dinner auction. Among others, he’s supported the Turtle Creek Chorale and Resource Center Dallas at their fundraisers.

While this store keeps Metcalf busy six days a week, he plans to get busier as he launches his new line and opens a second location.

…………………………………..

BRIEFS

After 10 years on Cedar Springs, Zen Salon moved to the Centrum where owner Paul Kraft had his first business. Mark Reavis, Isabel Munguia, and Kraft offer cuts, color, highlights, facial and body waxing, award-winning sunless airbrush tanning, and Pearlbrite teeth whitening in their new facility. … Lula B’s moved from its Lower Greenville Avenue location to 2639 Main St. in Deep Ellum. Their second store is on Riverfront (Industrial) Boulevard and features 80 vendors selling funky, kitschy and collectible, vintage and pimpadelic items.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Tony Giles wins at Europa

Tony Giles
Tony Giles

If you’re gonna compete in a bodybuilding contest, here’s a good pieces of advice: Talk to me first.

Earlier this year, I profiled porn star Mark Dalton prior to his competing in the Ronnie Coleman Classic, a well-known muscle show here in the Metroplex, and Dalton won first place in the novice heavyweights category and best overall novice.

Then a few weeks ago, I profiled Tony Giles, who models as Tony DaVinci, as he prepared for the Europa Supershow event, which took place last weekend in Dallas. And how did he do? Best novice middleweight, best novice overall and best open middleweight — the most medals of anyone there. Not bad for first-timer. (Dalton also competed at Europa, in the light-heavyweight category, but failed to place.)

Great results for Giles, though it was, he admits, different that what he expected would happen.

Giles had planned to compete as a light-heavyweight (Dalton’s class), but the day of the weigh-in — following a water fast and taking diuretics — he had dropped too many pounds to qualify.

“On Thursday I weighted 182 and by weigh-in on Friday I was 176,” he says. That was too low for light-heavyweight and the lightest he could be and still qualify as a middleweight. It may have been a blessing, though. “It was actually a good thing because those guys were huge.”

Tony Giles
Tony Giles

Even Giles admits the loss of fat — and water — made him look gaunt if not actually unrecognizable, so the first thing he did was eat: A cheeseburger, french fries and carrot cake, followed that evening with pizza. No food ever tasted so good. The proof? In less than a week, Giles has bulked up again by 29 lbs., clocking in at 205.

Despite all the torment, he plans to compete again. He’s on vacation this week and will skip the next season, but plans to be back for the Junior USA contest after that. He’ll need to change the regimen for that one, though: He needs to gain 15 pounds of muscle.

Piece of cake. Carrot cake. And only when he’s done.

— Arnold Wayne Jones


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Dr. Laura’s demise began in Dallas

Dr. Laura

Maybe Dr. Laura Schlessinger should have stuck to bashing gays and lesbians.

The right-wing radio talk show host announced Tuesday night that she won’t renew her contract, ending her radio talk show at the end of this year.

In the 90s, Schlessinger became one of the top radio talk show hosts by becoming increasingly homophobic in her rants against callers who were seeking advice.

When she was offered a TV contract, she finally ran into trouble when activists from Dallas reacted. The Metroplex was her No. 1 market nationally.

KTVT, the CBS affiliate in Dallas, signed on to air her show. Dallas activists staged the first protest against it. Protests spread to cities around the country. John Seelig of Dallas began going after her advertisers, calling corporate executives and convincing many to pull their advertising from her program.

The show debuted with little advertising, and it sunk after one season due to Schlessinger’s terrible TV personality. After three or four format revamps, it was canceled.

Over the past decade, she continued to broadcast on radio, but on fewer and fewer stations.

In her latest high-profile rant, Schlessinger was criticized for using the N-word repeatedly while giving advice to a woman who called with a question about her interracial marriage, upset by her husband’s friends’ racial slurs. Schlessinger attacked the woman, saying that if she was so sensitive about racial issues, she shouldn’t have married outside her race.

Schlessinger apologized for using the N-word, but not for her stupid advice. In her statement about quitting the show, Schlessinger said that she’s not retiring and told Larry King that she’s looking forward to regaining her First Amendment rights.

Presumably, she sees those rights as attacking, insulting and encouraging hate. While the Supreme Court has upheld free speech for hate groups such as the Fred Phelps clan, it has not upheld the right to incite violence against a target group using public airwaves.

Although Schlessinger’s program is an advice show and she uses the title “Dr.,” she does not hold a doctorate in counseling, psychology or any related field.

—  David Taffet

I ride because ‘You’re only as old as you feel’

Tammye Nash – Team Dallas Voice

Tammye Nash
Tammye Nash

Last year in October, I turned 49. It wasn’t any big deal, really, and at first, I didn’t think much about it. It was another birthday; considering the alternative, I was glad to be turning 49.

And then a few days later, it hit me: Reaching my 49th birthday meant that I would be 50 in a year. A year! That’s not very long at all in this my-how-time-flies world we live in.

And I was surprised to realize that the idea bothered me. I have never been distressed by any of those so-called milestone birthdays that can send others into a tizzy of depression. But the idea of turning 50 — it was really getting under my skin.

Oh, not because of the number, the Big 5-0. That, after all, is just a number. One more than 49; one less than 51. So what? It wasn’t being “50,” that bothered me; it was the idea of being “old.”

I have always believed that old cliché about age just being a state of mind (“If you don’t mind, it don’t matter”). The problem was, I was afraid that I was going to “feel old” when I turned 50. And I don’t want to feel old. Ever.

But what to do to avoid that? I pondered for a bit and then it hit me: Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS.

See, last year in September, I volunteered as an event photographer for the ninth annual Lone Star Ride. Other folks were out there pedaling across North Texas, but my co-worker and co-volunteer photographer, Terry, and I had the hard job. We had to spend two days driving around North Texas in a convertible sports car, taking photos of the cyclists.

And I loved it — every minute of it. Even though I had covered Lone Star Rides in the past for Dallas Voice, last year was the first time I had participated. And I was amazed and awed by the spirit of the people, those who worked to organize the ride and those who rode and those who volunteered as crew.

All those people, strung out across the Metroplex on bicycles and in support vehicles, were all working together for a common goal — the goal of helping someone else. It was such a soul-shaking feeling to know that I was part of that, that I was in my own small way helping to make life better for people with HIV.

I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a part of Lone Star Ride again in 2010, and Terry and I had already talked about volunteering again as photographers.

But a month later, as I contemplated reaching that half-century mark, I changed my mind. I decided I wasn’t going to volunteer. Instead, I was going to register as a rider.

That way, when mid-October rolled around and I turned 50, I could look back and say with confidence, “Hell no! I am not old! Look what I just did; I just rode my bike for, lo, these many miles to raise money and help someone else. Could an old person have done that?!”

There were other reasons, too, of course. I wanted to participate this year for the same reasons I volunteered last year. I want to help people living with HIV/AIDS today in memory of and in honor of the many friends I have already lost to the epidemic.

I am participating in Lone Star Ride for Dennis Vercher, who I worked with for more than 15 years, and for all the other Dallas Voice staffers we have lost through the years; I do it for people like Bill Hunt and John Thomas, who showed me by example what true activism looks like; I do it for Jessie Waggoner, my “little brother” who made me laugh with his crazy-legged “Fred Flintstone” dance. I do it for all the others, the list of names far too long to fit here in this space.

Yes, I know I could have honored my friends this year the same way I did last year, by volunteering for the crew. I know that without the crew, there would be no Lone Star Ride. And it’s possible that next year, I will set aside the bike and once again be a crew volunteer.

But this year is different. This year, I’m riding. I’m riding to prove — mainly to myself — that I can do it. I’m riding to prove I am not old, no matter what that calendar says. I’m riding to remember. I’m riding because others can’t.

Come join me if you can. And I won’t even ask how old you are.

Tammye Nash is a member of Team Dallas Voice. Donate to her or to another Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS participant at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Christian’ group plans to attend Fort Worth council meeting tonight to protest city’s ‘homosexual/transgender agenda’

Earlier today, I got an e-mail from Pastor Curtis Smith with Trinity Metropolitan Community Church in Arlington, saying that a group calling itself “Believers Stand United” had been circulating an e-mail urging all the God-fearing Christians in the Metroplex to head over to Cowtown tonight for the Fort Worth City Council meeting to speak out against an impending “major move by the city to promote and implement a homosexual/transgender agenda in the city.”

The e-mail talked about the 20 recommendations made by the City Manager’s Diversity Task Force in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid last June, and warned that the city manager “has started implementation of these without public discussion.”

(Just for the record, most of the items on the list required no action by the City Council. The only one that did that has been implemented was the amendment of the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections for transgender people, and that happened after a marathon council session last year during which PLENTY of people had the chance to speak against it.)

The-email said: “All of these recommendations would be funded by your dollars as a taxpayer in Fort Worth and would give this group of citizens’ special status and privileges.” Hmm. We haven’t heard that “special privileges” argument before, have we?

The e-mail continued:

“Several churches and ministries are planning to attend the Fort Worth City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 13. The purpose of this meeting is two fold. First, to have the Christian community’s voice heard with regards to the cities plans to promote the homosexual lifestyle with taxpayer dollars. Second, to show support for our Police Department and to those officers who serve the city.

“We would like your involvement and participation in this meeting. Invite and bring as many people as you can to the city council meeting. Several pastors and ministers form the community as well from our ministry will be addressing the city council. The city council meeting starts at 7pm, but I would encourage you to get there early to ensure a seat. Click Here for directions to City Hall.

“There is a move in this country to redefine marriage. We as believers need to stand up in love and have our voices heard on this issue. Numbers matter; even if you do not live in Fort Worth your presence at this meeting will have a profound affect. Again, the meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July13 at 7pm in City Hall – 1000 Throckmorton St, Fort Worth 76102. Thank you for taking action. God loves everyone, and so do we.”

(Don’t you just love that last part: “God loves everyone, and so do we”? Oh yeah, these folks are just oozing love for the homosexuals and transgenders, aren’t they?)

Well, Pastor Smith was encouraging the LGBT community and our supporters to turn out for the meeting, too, to try and counteract all that love. And the folks over at Fairness Fort Worth — who said the group planning to attend the meeting are an offshoot of the Kenneth Copeland Ministries, led by Kenneth’s son John — are also stepping up to the plate to make sure the anti-gay agenda doesn’t get a free pass.

Here’s the statement from Fairness Fort Worth:

“To our GLBT Community and Supporters,

“Over the last 48 hours you may have heard that an off-shoot of Kenneth Copeland Ministries plans to attend tonight’s Fort Worth City Council meeting to protest issues important to us. Many have asked if we should create a large turnout as we did this time last year. Fairness Fort Worth recommends that we save that for a more productive day.

“Here’s why. Citizen presentations occur at the tail-end of the meeting. While last year the mayor moved these up due to an urgent issue — this time around there isn’t anything so pressing. In fact, this promises to be one of the longest Council meetings of the year. You’re certainly welcome to attend, but know this meeting may easily go until 1 a.m. Nothing on the agenda tonight specifically addresses GLBT issues. However, we have contingency plans in place to address adversarial remarks should it be necessary on any agenda item.

“Fairness Fort Worth continues to work through and be a significant stakeholder in our city process. Council members have come to respect our participation. This evening they will see the faces of our GLBT and supportive straight leadership in the gallery reinforcing the amazing initiatives they have taken over the last year.

“Tonight, watch the news; tomorrow, check your paper. Have water-cooler discussions with your colleagues and heart-to-heart conversations with your family and friends. Others may manufacture problems. We’re creating solutions.”

I also talked to Jason Lamers in Mayor Mike Moncrief’s office. He told me that there was nothing on the agenda specifically related to the LGBT community, and that he had not heard anything about the “Believers Stand United” group coming to the council meeting tonight. And, like Fairness Fort Worth, he warned that the meeting is likely to last late into the evening — at least till midnight — and that the public comment part of the meeting won’t happen until the end. He also pointed out that you can watch the council meeting live online at the Fort Worth city website.

So there you have it. The so-called Christians are planning to take their hate to the Fort Worth City Council again tonight. Fairness Fort Worth has pledged to have people there ready to answer the hatefulness if and when the need arises. But it couldn’t hurt to have a few more friendly LGBT faces in the crowd to back them up.

Watch for coverage of the meeting here on the blog tomorrow and in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

—  admin