And the (Miss Gay Dallas State) winners are ….

Victoria

Victoria Weston

On Saturday night, I was honored to be one of the judges at the 2015 Miss Gay Dallas State and Miss Gay Dallas State At Large pageants, held at The Brick as a preliminary in the Miss Gay Texas State Pageant System.

The very talented Victoria Weston won the title of Miss Gay State, and Basha Nicole, another very talented performer, won the Miss Gay Dallas  State At Large title. First runners-up were Natasha Alexander Parson for Miss Gay Dallas State, and Kenya Rider for Miss Gay Dallas State At Large. Vanity Rains, second alternate to Miss Gay Dallas State, did an excellent job as well.

I have to mention the other judges, Sabrina Starr and KamRun Hunter, who were great to work with, all the special entertainers and especially the 2015 Miss Gay Texas State and Miss Gay Texas State At Large titleholders, Sapphire Ray Brooks and Onyx Anderson, who both did a great job performing and especially in emceeing the show. They kept me laughing all night.

Basha

Basha Nicole

Michael “Sable Alexander” Champion owns the Miss Gay Dallas Texas State prelims, and he and his husband, Bill “Linze Serrell” Lindsey, own the Miss Gay Texas State pageant system. I have known Michael and Bill for about 24 years or so — since way back in the Glitz-n-Glitter days — and I have known few people ever who are as committed and dedicated to their community.

So again, thanks to Michael and Bill for asking me to be a judge, thanks to the performers for entertaining me, and congratulations to the winners. And oh yeah, big thanks to Brick bartender Netta who served up my bottled water with a smile!

—  Tammye Nash

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