2011 Turn Up the Holiday DIFFA Wreath Collection tonight

Wreaths on the runway
DIFFA knows how to turn the volume up on the mundane. We know what they can do for denim jackets. Now holiday wreaths go designer at Turn Up the Cheer!, the 2011 Wreath Collection party. Trust, these aren’t your grandma’s wreaths. In addition to bidding, the night is spread across three parties in three different venues with a different theme. How’s that for fabulous?

DEETS: Design Within Reach, 4524 McKinney Ave.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 4519 McKinney Ave.; Nest, 4524 McKinney Ave. 7 p.m. $60. DIFFADallas.org/events.


—  Rich Lopez

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 • Barks & Wags



>>Barks & Wags


When it’s time to go to sleep, dogs can luxuriate in these comfortable and durable beds. Coming in an array of fabric choices, they let Fido be just as in style as his owners, if not more so. The beds come in a variety of sizes and start at $375.

Mitchell Gold Bob Williams,
4519 McKinney Ave.
214-753-8700. MGBWDallas.com.



Now every dog can be like Toto — or rather, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz with this emerald red Swarovski dog collar. For the glam canine, the collar is red velvet with rhinestones on a sterling silver base and a Swarovski crystal bow centerpiece. The other dogs will be so jealous. The collar is priced at $75.

Available through


Platinum Pets continues to rework the dog feeder into something snazzy. These new Olympic dining bowls are made of stainless steel in a food safe powder coat and the stands are wrought iron and thus durable for both indoor and outdoor use. The bowls come in 16-, 32- and 64-ounce sizes and are priced from $23.99
to $26.99.

Available through  Amazon.com. Platinum Petsoffers a 20 percent coupon for Dallas Voice readers when ordering through Amazon.
Enter code HRPZZ06B during checkout for their products.



Fashionista dogs likely have their own set of clothes, but do they have a wardrobe closet? Complete with hangers, this wardrobe is ideal for Spot to put away those sweaters for winter and hang up the raincoat after those not-so-sunny walks outside. The wardrobe is priced at $89.97; the raincoat starts at $55.

Available through

—  Kevin Thomas

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat, on why she’s going to the Log Cabin Republicans Convention

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

The Log Cabin Republicans will hold their National Convention in Dallas this coming weekend, and we’ll have a full story in Friday’s print edition. But because the convention actually begins Thursday, we figured we’d go ahead and post the full program sent out by the group earlier this week.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the program is a scheduled appearance by gay Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who is of course a Democrat.

Valdez, who’ll be one of the featured speakers at a Saturday luncheon, contacted us this week to explain her decision to accept the invitation from Log Cabin (not that we necessarily felt it warranted an explanation). Here’s what she said: 

“We have more things in common than we have differences, but it seems like in politics we constantly dwell on our differences,” Valdez said. “If we continue to dwell on our differences, all we’re going to do is fight. If we try to work on our common issues, we’ll be able to accomplish some things.”

On that note, below is the full program. For more information or to register, go here.

—  John Wright

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Dallas Voice Holiday Gift Guide • 2010

>> home & hearth


Sometimes you just have to opt for cool in living rooms and Cantoni’s Fly Chaise Lounge delivers just that. The futuristic piece comes in black or red leather. The sleek lines make it versatile for both traditional and modern decors. Just prepare for those clamoring around it trying to hog all the cool comfort. The lounge is priced at $5,889.

Cantoni, 4800 Alpha Road
972-934-9191. Cantoni.com.


Perhaps the best gift is that which does away with housework. The looks of relief and happiness when you give the Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner will make the holiday season worthwhile. The robotic floor cleaner will rid the linoleum and tile and wood of dirt and grime — and all on its own. By using Swifter and similar products, it will dust and wet mop those floors too and the built-in GPS unit keeps it on the go, never missing a spot. The item is priced at $199.

Available at Bed Bath and Beyond locations.


Serving trays are often an afterthought, but this one will steal the show. In turquoise leather, Global Views makes these trays in large, shown, and small sizes. Think big for accenting items on display. Think small for doling out the fancy drinks. Well, perhaps there’s nothing wrong with loading up the cocktails on the larger one. Just don’t spill. The large tray is priced at $375, the smaller is priced at $225.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 4519 McKinney Ave.
214-753-8700. MGBWDallas.com.


Whoever started the idea of ornament exchanges must have had one too many aluminum balls hanging from the tree. If the exchange comes up this year, the people of Jonathan Adler have it covered. Their line of handcrafted holiday ornaments in delightful animal shapes will trump any decoupaged tree decoration, but they are so cute that it might be hard to give it up. Prices range from $27.50 to $55.

NUVO, 3900 Cedar Springs Road.
214-522-6886. NUVODallas.com.


These hand-crafted free trade Christmas ornaments will not only make a spectacular addition to the tree, but 100% of the proceeds from the purchase supports the Cathedral of Hope’s Child of Hope program.  Hundreds of poor children near Reynosa, Mexico are able to attend school in one of the 11 school buildings built by Child of Hope, and receive at least one nutritious meal a day because of this program.  Everything about this is feel-good for both you and your gift recipient. The ornaments are $5.

Sources of Hope Books and Gifts.  5910 Cedar Springs Road
214-351-1901.  CathedralofHope.com.


Watching movies on DVD is so… so…. 2007. Ugh. Who does that anymore, what with Netflix, streaming and IMAX? No, DVDs today are all about watching full TV shows in one popcorn-stuffed weekend. No commercials. No waiting for “The Man” to decide when you’re ready to watch.

Three great, gay-popular series are now available, and perfect for your on-the-move pals. Current hits Modern Family and Glee have their first seasons on DVD, but the one that thrills us is the massive 6-season collection of the entire series Nip/Tuck. Loaded with gazillions of extras, it’s some kind of Holy Grail of guilty-pleasure fabulosity — and there’s enough footage to keep you occupied all through the holidays with your partner’s family. Trust us: We’ve been there, and elective unnecessary surgery is a salve to making small-talk with them.

Available at Borders Uptown, 3600 McKinney Ave. (in West Village)
214.219.0512 or online at Borders.com.


These Bholu pillows will add significant flair to any spot. The rich heritage they come with isn’t too easy to miss either. Each pillow is traditionally handmade and embroidered by skilled artisans in India. The super soft cushions are made from lush and plush Australian wool felt. The pillows are priced at $159.

Iota Gallery, 3107 Knox St.
214-522-2999. IotaDallas.com.


Bedside clocks can be charming gifts, but when the alarm blares a jarring buzz, then you might want to rethink. Step it up with the Duo-i Plus from Boston Acoustics. This machine comes loaded with an am/fm radio, a docking station for an iPod or iPhone, an easy-to-read display and BassTrac, which provides undistorted bass. But the clincher here is the 360-degree snooze bar which means touch it anywhere and its back to dreamland. Available in black and white and priced at $250.

Available at Best Buy locations.

>> barks & wags


Spot’s love for you may be unconditional, but he’s gonna give you extra licks for this. The Elevated Double Bowl Diner Stand and Bowls by Platinum Pets USA will first relieve his aching back, it will also add some fancy décor to his eating experience. The bowls come in seven colors and in 24 ounce and 32 ounce sizes. The diner stands come in large and small sizes to fit the bowls. Prices start at $42.95.

Sold online at Amazon.com.


Dog owners will rejoice when you give them this stylish but practical present. The PoopPac remedies that problem of what to do when people have to, um, follow through on their dog’s actions on the grass. The Pac lets them put it out of site by providing a handy place to store those plastic bags until coming to a proper trash stop. The PoopPac comes in a variety of colors with an ultra-cute paw print. Plus, it can be clipped onto a belt or used as a backpack. Prices start at $29.95.

Sold online at PoopPac.com.


Sometimes those big, bland plastic containers make dog and cat treats less of a treat. But these vibrant stainless steel canisters, also by Platinum Pets USA, will brighten any dog’s day. The clear lid lets you see just what type of treat Fido and Fluffy deserve — which is most likely all of them. Prices start at $14.25.

Sold online at Amazon.com.

>> body & soul


That inner child in everyone screams for an old-school lunch box. Give the gift of retro with these metal lunchboxes that recall elementary school cafeterias and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. The quirky gift can appeal to many types, with old TV shows, comic book heroes and even the king of rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe even throw in a can of soup for that Thermos inside. Prices start at $6.95.

Antiques Gallery, 3330 N. Galloway Road, Suite. 225, Mesquite.
972-270-7700. AntiqueGalleryMesquite.com.


Billy Jealousy makes skin care products for bad boys — and good ones too. This Men’s Skin and Shave Gift Set will not only battle the effects of daily skin damage from edgy living, but also gets that skin nice and smooth for the holiday season. Better yet, Billy Jealousy donates a portion of sales to nonprofits supporting the arts environment and social needs. This gift gives both ways. The set is priced at $200.

M Image Center, 3303 Lee Parkway, Suite 100.
214-443-5197. MImageCenter.com.


What guy doesn’t like a new electric gadget? Braun’s Series 7 760CC shaver looks less like a grooming tool than a laser gun. Loaded with high-tech options like an automatic cleaner and charger, OptiFoil ergonomic design, flexing head for facial conformity and Pulsonic technology to zap that hair right out, the only thing it doesn’t do is open the garage door or turn on the TV.  Series 7 shaver prices start at $229.

Available at Sears locations and Sears.com.


The classic diva Diana Ross is heading to Dallas, so why not consider giving seats to a once-in-a-lifetime concert? OK, she might be back again, but rarely has Big D seen Ross come this way. She brings her legendary R&B to the Majestic Theatre on March 2 as part of her Greatest Hits tour. Tickets are priced at $75–$135.

Tickets on sale Dec. 3 at Ticketmaster.com.


Dude Sweet delivers chocolate like no other. Working with only dark chocolate, they mix it with any and all flavors for that perfect taste. In this artisans box of chocolates, they go savory, mixing with yellow curry and pineapple, and then sweet with coconut milk, lime and basil.They even get local, mixing it with roasted beets and Texas olive oil. Yeah, definitely chocolate out of a different box. Priced at $20.

Dude Sweet Chocolate, 408 W. 8th St.
214-943-5943. DudeSweetChocolate.com.


Astor and Black have become the premiere custom clothiers for men and offer suit packages with opulent quality. The clothiers will head to either home or office to work with clients on sizing him up and creating a suit perfect to fit. Their packages vary from bronze to platinum and come with custom made suits, shirts and silk ties. Prices begin at $2,200.

Visit AstorandBlack.com for more information.


Leave it to the people at Diaper Dude, who make trendy diaper bags for parents, to hit up the electronics market. Their Digi Dude offshoot has come out with a new eco-friendly laptop bag that looks less like Neoprene luggage and more like a sturdy, rugged case with loads of pockets and inserts for handling business on the go. Their iPad case has easy access and closure with a microfleece interior for added protection. Perfect for that go-go gadget guy — or gal. The laptop bag is priced at $148; the iPad case is priced at $25.

Available at TheDigiDude.com.


Purses aren’t just for drag queens. These bags by Bo’s Art will make any event special. From the Opera Collection, the purses are made with stainless steel wire mesh but give the appearance and feel of silk. Add to that the 24K gold plating, 23K gold leafs, copper or brass mesh color accents and this becomes on clutch no one will let go of. Prices range from $200 to $325.

NUVO, 3900 Cedar Springs Road
214-522-6886. NUVODallas.com.


Alta Mere says it’s time to step away from the cigarette lighter output. For the person who has all that great music on their iPhone or iPod, but no way to play it in the car, consider this nifty gift. The USA Spec interface can be installed to turn that manufacturer’s stereo into a mp3 jukebox. The interface will also charge up the i-gadget and lets the driver control the songs via the original stereo. Prices start at $289 including installation for most vehicles.

Alta Mere, 4302 Lemmon Ave.
214-521-7477. AltaMereDallas.com.


Bike riders might appreciate the style these Chrome cycling shoes will add to their adventures. They come in a variety of colors and could easily dress up any daily wear as well. Now that’s versatile. Prices start at $70.

Blitz Mopeds, 2924 Main St., Suite 102
214-749-0095. Driveblitz.com.


Wallets don’t get their proper attention and that’s because they are designed without much thought. Brighton doesn’t make that mistake with their Bull Wallet. Made of leather, it is available in five styles and colors with inlays. This checkbook wallet is durable enough to withstand pocket action and stylish enough to grab all the attention. Prices start at $46.

Union Jack, 3920 Cedar Springs Road.
214-528-9600. UnionJackDallas.com.


What’s Christmas without a little bit of leather? Santa has that big belt and those boots, right? Indulge the leather man in your life with Leather Masters’ new uniform short sleeve shirt. Made of leather (of course), the shirt comes in a variety of piping for dramatic impacts. Available in red, blue, yellow and gray, the shirt is a must for any leather wardrobe and think how those beefy arms will look coming out of those sleeves. The shirt is priced at $185.95.

Leather Masters, 3000 Main St.
214-528-3865. LeatherMasters.com.


Express your feelings with these leather bracelets and cuffs by local artist Rebecca Ramos. Her per•so•na accessories come in different widths each with silver badges featuring different phrases, words or symbols. She will even create an original work for that one of a kind gift. Prices start at $38.

Available at ChickeeBoom.com.


Forgive us for presuming, but underwear makes, simply, the best-ever Christmas gift. Here’s why: You give it to your boyfriend — maybe a jock strap, maybe a package-defining bikini cut, maybe a silky, clingy pair of boxer briefs — and when he wears them for you, you get hot and can’t wait to pull them off. But you can also give them to yourself and it’s still a gift for him: Seeing you look hot and sexy is the ultimate turn-on. And with the selection of brands, styles, fits and sizes at Skivvies, it’s a gift that, literally, can keep on giving.
Skivvies, 4001 Cedar Springs Road

214-559-4955. SkivviesDallas.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Great furniture for sitting on naked’

Business partners (and ex couple) Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams open their first Dallas boutique, where gay rights are as important as creature comforts

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

Mitchell Gold and business partner Bob Williams
HAVE A SEAT | Mitchell Gold, left, and business partner Bob Williams, just opened their 16th signature showroom on McKinney Avenue, facing page, featuring their S&M (soft and modern) styling. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

As Mitchell Gold was checking out of his hotel suite, the front desk asked him how his stay was. Great he, said — except for the sofa. “Who designed that?” he asked. “You should force them to sit on it.”

Coming from someone else, the remark may sound like quibbling. But Gold, with his business partner Bob Williams, has made a career out of designing furniture that doesn’t just look good, it feels good.

“Ours is great furniture for sitting on naked,” he offers.

Williams might put it another way, but they both agree that the watchwords underpinning the Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams Home collection (which just opened its 16th signature showroom on McKinney Avenue) are warmth and comfort. And that’s been the case for decades.

Both men like to say their style is not revolutionary, but evolutionary. “We still do slip covers, but they have become more tailored,” Williams notes. Their aesthetic is casually elegant and — to some, a curse word in interior design — livable. Some people won’t allow their pets anywhere near high-end items like these; in the McKinney Avenue store, French bulldog Baker has the run of the place.

“It’s clean and stylish, not frumpy,” Williams says. “It’s relaxed design. We call it S&M — soft and modern.”

“We spend an enormous amount of time seeing to it no product gets passed” without meeting comfort standards. Consider it quality control through tush testing. “Our philosophy is about not being intimidating.”

“We all grow up around furniture but people are so intimidated by it,” echoes Williams.

The two are very much in synch about their goals. Williams and Gold became a creative team almost as soon as they began dating 22 years ago. Gold was working a lot with JC Penney at the time, and they considered opening up a business in Dallas. Then Gold was transferred, eventually ending up in Hickory, N.C. They began designing household goods 20 years ago, and have remained there ever since.

The personal relationship faltered almost a decade ago — Gold married his partner Tim in Iowa earlier this summer — but the professional pairing has blossomed.
“I do all the heaving lifting,” Williams jokes; he’s actually deeply involved in the design aspects of the business. “It wasn’t what I went to school for” — he majored in graphic design — “but I used many of the skills.”

Williams describes the union as a Ying and Yang symbiosis: “He’s more disciplined than I am. But if someone goes off target, then the other’s there to pull him in. If you’re both on the same page, you’ve really got something.”

They are equally united when it comes to politics. Like Kenneth Cole, whose advertising patently supports progressive issues, they don’t shy away from injecting their pro-gay opinions into the marketplace. Gold especially is fervent about grassroots activism, especially his Faith in America program, which seeks to educate people about discrimination rooted in religion.

“The Prop 8 people were trying to create an environment that said straight people were superior to gay,” Gold continues, his irritation rising. “Their ‘expert’ was saying straights made better parents. That’s based on religion-based bigotry.”

Gold knows not everyone will agree with his politics, but he comfortable in his outspokenness.

“It’s something people avoided, “Gold says. “Even major advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign wouldn’t talk about it because they were afraid of a backlash. I’m not stupid. But the time is right now.”

That sounds like someone you’d wanna buy a chair from.

Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams Home, 4519 McKinney Ave.  Mondays–Saturdays, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Sundays, noon–5 pm. 214-753-8700. MGBWDallas.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Baldwin named as BTD keynote speaker

First open lesbian member of Congress will appear at the Nov. 6 fundraising event for HRC

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor  nash@dallasvoice.com

Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Tammy Baldwin

Choosing speakers and award recipients for Black Tie Dinner each year requires a delicate balancing act between big names with the drawing power of celebrity and deserving individuals who can “speak to the issues of the LGBT community,” Black Tie co-chairs Ron Guillard and Nan Arnold explained.

In 2009, the dinner committee brought in a slate of LGBT allies who hit that mark well: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as keynote speaker, Judy Shepard, mother of anti-gay-hate-murder victim Matthew Shepard as the Elizabeth Birch Award winner and singer/songwriter/activist Cyndi Lauper as the Media Award winner.

Each of them, the co-chairs said, not only had the star power to draw attention, they also could — and did — speak eloquently on the community’s issues.

But while 2009 was “all about the allies,” this year it’s “all about the community,” Guillard said this week when he and Arnold announced the last two names in Black Tie’s list of award winners and speakers.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Wisconsin Democrat who is the only out lesbian in Congress, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s annual fundraising gala, set for Nov. 6 at the Sheraton Dallas hotel.

And this year’s Media Award goes to country/western star and newly-out lesbian Chely Wright.

“It’s been mine and Nan’s mantra this year to ‘fill the room’ for Black Tie Dinner,” Guillard said. “We think that Rep. Baldwin and Chely Wright will certainly help us do that.”

Activist and businessman Mitchell Gold will also attend to present the Media Award to Wright.

Baldwin and Wright join a line-up of award winners and entertainers that already included the Rev. Carol West, pastor of Celebration Community Church, as the Kuchling Memorial Award winner, American Airlines as the Elizabeth Birch Award winner and Broadway star Gavin Creel and Dallas’ own Turtle Creek Chorale to provide entertainment.

Guillard said organizers chose Baldwin as keynote speaker in recognition of her years of service in Congress and her status and the first openly LGBT person elected to office at the national level. (Although there were openly gay men in Congress before Baldwin was elected, they were not out when they were first elected, while Baldwin was.)

“Plus, we felt that, especially with the dinner happening the first weekend after the midterm elections on Nov.  2 and the fact that we could very possibly be facing a drastically changed political landscape, Tammy will be able to provide us with some very clear leadership and vision going forward,” Guillard said.

Arnold added, “She can do that for us regardless of the outcome of the elections. Last year, Gavin Newsome very clearly spoke to our community. But he is not gay. Tammy Baldwin can not only speak to the LGBT community, she is the LGBT community.”

Baldwin, who is out of the country, sent a statement via her office. She said:

“I’m simply delighted to have been invited to deliver the keynote at this year’s Black Tie Dinner. After a tough election season, it will be a pleasure to relax among DFW friends and celebrate how far we’ve come in our quest for LGBT equality. It’s also a night to show our support for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the many local organizations that serve the north Texas LGBT community. On top of all that, the musical entertainment sounds great, so I’m really looking forward to the evening.”

Voters in Wisconsin’s Second District first elected Baldwin to Congress in 1999, after she had spent several years in the state’s legislature. Since then, Baldwin has co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, and in 2009 she helped lead the successful effort to enact the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act.

Baldwin has also worked for passage of a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes protections for transgender people and full repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

She is the author of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act and the first comprehensive approach to improving all areas of the health-care system where LGBT Americans face inequality and discrimination.

Although Wright is “clearly in a very commercial business,” Guillard said, he and Arnold said they were impressed by the singer’s consistent efforts, since she came out, to help LGBT youth “who are being taught they are damaged goods.”

“She makes the point, time and again, that country music is right in the heart of Middle America, a more blue collar audience, and those [LGBT] children, those families, really need someone to identify with,” Guillard said.

“She goes out of her way to say that it’s important to her to not only be her whole self but to also reach out and be a role model to young people who are struggling to come out,” he said. “She hasn’t been out very long, true, but it was the consistency of that message and her obvious passion for it that made us choose her.”

Arnold said that Wright’s decision to come out is “creating an opportunity for the voices of acceptance and equality to be heard.”
(For more about Wright, read Rich Lopez’s interview with her on Page 1.)

Gold is the founder of the nonprofit organization Faith in America, which is dedicated to educating people about how religious-based bigotry is used to justify anti-LGBT discrimination, will present the Media Award to Wright, who recently joined the board of Faith in America.

Gold, chairman and founder of the furniture manufacturer Mitchell Gold Company, has also authored “Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay in America” and books on home furnishings.

Arnold said Black Tie organizers are “ahead of where we were at this time last year” in terms of ticket sales for the fundraiser.

“We are focused on filling the room, and it definitely looks like we are headed in that direction,” she said.

Guillard said, “We are doing a lot of innovative things this year to fill the room — happy hours, using Facebook a lot more to attract new people.

“There was a time when our whole community was galvanized by AIDS and by the oppression we faced. But with Black Tie ending its third decade now, we realize that reaching a new, younger audience requires using new tools. And we are doing that,” he said.

Arnold said organizers have also focused this year on making sure that the dinner’s beneficiaries remember that “this dinner is for them. They are why we do this.”

Guillard noted, “We want to fill the room, because when you get down to the basics, filling the room means maximizing the dollars for our beneficiaries.”

The announcement of Baldwin as keynote speaker and Wright as Media Award winner came Thursday night, Aug. 5 during an announcement party held at Park Place Motorcars on Lemmon in Dallas.

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

—  Michael Stephens