Work it!

Dallas is awash in places for fitness-conscious gay men to build muscles … and show off a little

There’s not a loss for gyms around the Oak Lawn neighborhood. Several fitness centers dot the healthy landscape from Uptown to Downtown and several in between. This is a list of health clubs that are among the favorites for the LGBT community.

— Rich Lopez

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Club Dallas
Exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years, this institution actually has one of the largest gyms in the city, and is open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
2616 Swiss Ave
214-821-1990
TheClubs.com

Diesel Fitness
Located on the third floor of the Centrum, it’s right in the heart of the gayborhood.
3102 Oak Lawn #300
214-219-6400
DieselFitness214.com

Energy Fitness joins an already bustling roster of gyms in the Uptown area. Located in the West Village, this gym has garnered praise for its no-nonsense approach and competitive membership fees.

Energy Fitness
This recent gym has gained a reputation for affordable memberships and solid service right in the West Village.
2901 Cityplace West Blvd.
214-219-1900
UptownEnergyFitness.com

Equinox
Located in the old Park Place Motorcars location, it offers a full range of fitness services
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-443-9009
Equinox.com

Gold’s Gym
Locations are throughout the city, but the one in Uptown serves a fit, very gay customer base.
2425 McKinney Avenue
214-306-9000
GoldsGym.com

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

LA Fitness
Has multiple locations, but the one at Lemmon and Mockingbird by Love Field is popular with gay clientele.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane
214-453-4899
LAFitness.com

Trophy Fitness Club
With four total locations, one can be found in the downtown Mosaic (formerly Pulse) and in one Uptown.
2812 Vine St. Suite 300
214-999-2826
TrophyFitnessClub.com

24 Hour Fitness
Popular locations include the one Downtown and one at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue.
700 North Harwood St.
214-220-2423
24HourFitness.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Far from Brokeback

With ‘Hold Your Peace,’ SMU grad Wade McDonald adds his name to a budding local community of queer filmmakers

SO HAPPY TOGETHER | Soon-to-be-marrieds Max (Tyler Brockington, above left) and Forrest (Blair Dickens) trigger mixed feelings from Max’s ex in the new film from local filmmaker Wade McDonald, on set right, opposite page.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

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HOLD YOUR PEACE
Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Free (passes at Buli or Skivvies). HoldYourPeaceMovie.com.

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When Southern Methodist University alum Wade McDonald set out to make his debut feature film, the one thing he didn’t want to do was make a “typical” gay film: No naked boys as the selling point, no ridiculous gay-angst drama, no coming-out story. McDonald loves romantic comedies and wanted to make his own — just with men.

His plan worked. The result, Hold Your Peace, seems to have resonated with audiences.

“We finished in April 2011 and started applying to film festivals right away,” McDonald says. “We premiered in Philadelphia and it snowballed form there to San Diego and even a non-gay film fest in Rhode Island. We got a distributor before the film even premiered! It was crazy.”

Dallas audiences get their first chance to screen Hold Your Peace at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station on Tuesday — just in time for Pride.

“It hadn’t shown here yet, but a friend of our audio editor, Terry Thompkins, was kind enough to pay for a screening,” he says. “I’m so excited it’ll show at the Angelika because I love it there.”

McDonald describes Peace as a meditation on relationships where shenanigans ensue after Aiden is asked to be the best man at his ex Max’s commitment ceremony. Only Aiden isn’t too keen on going alone, much less going at all.

What McDonald strived for was not a “gay movie” per se, but a film where characters happen to be gay. Anyone gay or straight can identify with the situation of unexpressed love and torch-bearing. At the same time, it was important to create a fun and easy watch that fairly portrayed queer men.

“It’s a very human and very honest film. This is a portrayal of normalcy,” he says. “I’ve had straight people tell me they didn’t think they would like this film. It plays a bit safer and I think more people can relate to it.”

McDonald funded Peace mostly on his own, making it on a $200,000 budget. By Hollywood standards, that’s nothing, but it’s high for indies. But he knew he had to make the production high quality. As a cinematographer by day, he had both the know-how and the equipment to shoot a film that looked polished. But he holds the entire cast and crew responsible for putting out a quality product. Don’t call him the film’s auteur — this was completely a team effort.

McDonald is intent on making his mark in queer cinema. Hollywood can take care of itself, he says, but he feels at home in Dallas. A burgeoning community of local gay filmmakers has left him with the sense there’s something special going on around here. He joins Israel Luna, Shawn Ewert, Robert Camina, Yen Tan and Mehul Shah as current or recent Dallasites forming a budding cinema community, turning Dallas into a Mecca of queer film. Hey, it could happen.

“I think it’s something that’s unique to Dallas,” he says. “We are starting something here and if we begin producing enough content here then we can create an industry. Something that can let people quit their day jobs to work on something they love.”

McDonald has no intention of moving to Los Angeles or New York for his movie career. He grew up here, went to SMU for school and he now lives with his partner in Plano. McDonald is the local boy done good, but who hasn’t moved away. He prefers to keep it that way.

“I’m proof positive you can do it in Dallas,” he says. “I could move to L.A., but my personality doesn’t mesh there and that’s fine. It’s inexpensive to shoot here, we have a great support system and I’d love to continue making films right here.”

For now, McDonald is gearing up for his initial Dallas screening. He showed it to cast and crew already, but now the general public gets to see his finished product. For any filmmaker, putting his work out there is nerve-racking, but McDonald and team already see the film taking on a life of its own.

“It’s your baby in a way and you don’t wanna be told you have an ugly baby,” he says. “I’m very proud of what we accomplished with Hold Your Peace and everyone worked their butt off. We’re not setting out to make great literature, just a film that’s fun to watch. You’re just supposed to enjoy it.”

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

—  Michael Stephens

Local Briefs

S. Dallas AIDS Walk orientation set

Volunteer orientation for the South Dallas AIDS Walk takes place on March 15 at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and on March 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Sanford Brown College, 1250 W. Mockingbird Lane.

The walk will be on March 19 and benefits the Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation and other South Dallas AIDS service providers. Auntjuan Wiley is the event chair. To volunteer, contact Ray Jordan at 214-491-8028.

LGBT Lobby Day set in Austin

The LGBT community will gather in Austin this weekend for several conferences that culminate in lobby day at the state capitol on Monday, March 7.

Registration for lobby day begins at 7:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 1300 Lavaca St. in downtown Austin.

At 9 a.m. Equality Texas will hold a press conference on the south steps of the Capitol. Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston and the parents of suicide victim Asher Brown will speak. Brown would have celebrated his 14th birthday on March 2. Joel Burns has been added to the speakers line up. After a training session, lobbying begins at 11 a.m. Lunch will be served at the church at noon with lobbying continuing another two hours on Monday afternoon.

DBA offering free LegalLine

The Dallas Bar Association will offer two LegalLine call-in programs in March, in which volunteer attorneys will answer legal questions free of charge. The programs will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, and Wednesday, March 16.
For LegalLine assistance, call 214-220-7476 between 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the designated days.

Words of Women celebration set

The 9th Annual Words of Women, a Dallas Celebration of International Womens Day, will be held at The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, 3800 Parry at Exposition in Fair Park, on Sunday, March 13, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event will feature the Words of Women Essay of the Year Presentation, speakers addressing issues of important to women, music and entertainment, an information table and food.

One of the main topics will be the women of Egypt.

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez will attend.

Suggested admission is $10. Parking is free. For more information, call Christine Jarosz 214-319-6696 or Linda Evans at 214-660-1820, or e-mail Teresa Nguyen at teresa@redidagency.com.

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

—  John Wright

Lesbian activist protests bank profits

Local activist Dawn Meifert said her group, Dallas Uncut, will protest outside Bank of America at 6300 Mockingbird Lane on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8:30 a.m.

U.S. Uncut, begun in Jackson, Miss., protests businesses that have paid no income taxes but have reaped large financial gains for executives and stockholders. Their slogan is, “You Caused This Crisis. Now YOU Pay.”

Meifert said she formed the Dallas chapter this week and will be participating in protests against the bank along with groups in more than 30 cities across the country, from Boston and New York to Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Meifert said she expects to be out at the protest location for about two hours, handing out information about how the bank received $45 billion in bailout money while funneling money through accounts in 115 offshore tax havens and offering below rate loans to politicians while refusing to use the bailout money for loans.

For more information, visit USUncut.org.

—  John Wright

Body & Fitness: Gym Roundup

Below is a list of some of the larger gyms in the area that are popular within the community. Along with their contact information, we’ve included observations made while gathering our information for you. You’re welcome.

Club Dallas
Has been exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years. They are open 24 hours.
2616 Swiss Ave.
214-821-1990
TheClubs.com

LA Fitness
Has locations around the Metroplex. Their Oak Lawn facility is near Love Field.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane
214-453-4899
LAFitness.com

Diesel Fitness
Located on the third floor of the Centrum in what was once the area’s most popular gym.
3102 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 300
214-219-6400
DieselFitness214.com

Gold’s Gym
Locations throughout the city with one location in Uptown. Not as popular as it once was since the chain’s owner made a major contribution to an anti-gay cause.
2425 McKinney Ave.
214-306-9000
GoldsGym.com

Trophy Fitness Club
Four locations in Dallas with one on Mockingbird Lane near Central Expressway and another in Uptown.
2812 Vine St., Ste. 300
214-999-2826
TrophyFitnessClub.com

Equinox
They’re located on Oak Lawn but call it their Highland Park location, so we’re not sure who they’re trying to attract or distract from membership.
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-443-9009
Equinox.com

24 Hour Fitness
When you Google the Downtown location, this quote pops up: “Beware there are lots of bisexuals and perverts that go there.” Might be a reason to try this location … or a reason to call their management to get it changed.
700 N. Harwood St.
214-220-2423
24HourFitness.com

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Deaths 12.31.10

Debie Denise Hackett, 40, died on Dec. 24. She was a therapist living in Dallas. She is survived by her parents, Ben and Ginger Hackett of Richardson; her brother and sister-in-law, Danny and Wendy Burks; and nephews Josh and Daniel of Whitewright, Texas. Friends and family will gather to remember her on Sunday, Jan. 2 at 3 p.m. at First United Lutheran Church, 6202 E. Mockingbird Lane in Dallas, in the back building separate from the main chapel.

Daniel Bennett Keenan of Dallas died peacefully at his home on Dec. 15. He was 55.
Dan was the son of William E. Keenan and the late Sue B. Keenan of Charlotte, N.C. He was born in Tulsa, Okla., and moved with his family to Houston in 1961. There he attended Bunker Hill Elementary, Memorial Junior High, and Memorial High School and was a member with his family of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church.  He was active in Boy Scout Troop 703m where he became an Eagle Scout and senior patrol leader of the troop and twice participated in Rocky Mountain adventure camping at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.

After graduation from the University of Texas, Austin, with a degree in marketing, he earned a Master of Business Administration from St. Edwards University, Austin.  He subsequently joined Southwest Bell Telephone Co. in its computer services department in Houston and after Southwest’s merger with AT&T transferred to Dallas.  He retired earlier in 2010.

Dan is survived by his sister, Kathleen Keys and husband Dennis Keys of Dallas; brother, James E. Keenan and wife Becky of Charlotte, N.C.; sister, Allison and partner Lee of Durham, N.C.; father William E. Keenan of Charlotte; partner Daniel B. Campos of Paris, France; and daughters, Elise and Laura.

The family will celebrate Dan’s life with a private gathering.  Those who wish to offer a memorial gift in his name are urged to consider A Sister’s Gift, 1515 N. Town East Blvd.#138-380, Mesquite, TX 75150  (www.asistersgift.org); Vitas Innovative Hospice Care, 8585 N. Stemmons Freeway, Suite 700, Dallas, TX 75247; or a church or charity of the giver’s choice.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 31, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Victoria, victor

Tony-winning Dallasite Victoria Clark comes home for concert with TWCD

MARK LOWRY  | marklowry@theaterjones.com

V-Clark-3
Victoria Clark

Wyly Theatre
2400 Flora St.
Dec. 19. 7 p.m. $20–$48. 214-520-7828.
TheWomensChorusofDallas.com

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Broadway was not what Victoria Clark had expected.

The Hockaday School graduate always knew she wanted to perform, studying opera in Austria and at Michigan’s prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy and matriculating Yale University before headed for New York’s Great White Way. She had a vision of what it would be like.

“I thought everyone was going to come to work with big moustaches and capes and be drinking and crazy,” she says, laughing. “But they would say things like ‘I couldn’t find a parking space’ or ‘my son is having trouble in English,’ talking about what normal people talk about. I think I wanted them to be more eccentric.”

Some 25 years after her first show (she was cast as an understudy in Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George), Clark has proven that the normalcy of working in New York theater is just fine — and that you can make a living at it (with insurance and benefits, even).

She had supporting roles in revivals of Guys and Dolls, How to Succeed… and  Cabaret, then won a best actress Tony Award in 2006 for the Adam Guettel-Craig Lucas musical The Light in the Piazza. She takes center stage again this weekend, as she returns home to perform with

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas in its annual holiday concert at the Wyly Theatre.

Clark grew up in the Greenway Park area near Inwood Road and Mockingbird Lane. Although her parents weren’t especially artistic, their children found outlets for creativity. Clark’s brothers dabbled in bands, and her sister, Dawn Prestwich, became a screenwriter with an impressive list of television writing credits.

For Clark, though, it was all about singing — something her grandmother encouraged. She also developed a love for it at Hockaday, where she attended all 12 years, and became involved in drama as well.

“I remember that we learned to do everything,” she says. “We made the blintzes for You Can’t Take It With You and then ate them [in the show].”

One of her instructors, Ed Long, who’s still at Hockaday, encouraged her to attend Interlochen. Her choral director at First Community

Church, Don Herman, and Ed DeLatte of the now-closed Dallas Repertory Theatre, were both influential in pushing her to keep training her voice.

So she did, always finding the not-so-strange world of New York theater a welcoming place. She admits there have been many missed opportunities along the way, such as when she didn’t take the offer to workshop one of the Stepsisters in Sondheim’s Into the Woods (“When you get in early in a job like that, unless you kick someone in the shin or something like that, and you do a reasonable job, they ask the same group back”).

But one big opp she wasn’t about to pass over was Margaret Johnson, the American mother on vacation in Italy whose daughter falls for a hunky Italian man (played by Glee’s Matthew Morrison), in The Light in the Piazza.

“We did it three times, in Seattle and Chicago and then New York, and the show kept getting better and better,” she says. “The part was not written for me, but by the end I felt that it was. Pretty quickly they liked what I was doing with it.”

But even after 20 years of working in New York at that point, she was still not always confident. “Like every project, every day I was afraid I would get the call and they would tell me I was going to be replaced. Luckily Adam is very picky about voices and he liked my singing. That’s the one thing I could bring: I have a distinctive sound.”

That sound might bring her to Broadway again this spring, in a project that she can’t talk about yet. And it’s one that will charm audiences on

Sunday night with the Women’s Chorus. She’ll sing “Fable,” her big number from Piazza, as well as songs from her 2008 debut record, Fifteen Seconds of Grace, along with carols with the chorus.

And it’s a good bet that there won’t be any eccentrics with moustaches and capes hanging backstage — unless you count Santa.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Cocktails for a Cure tonight benefits Resource Center

Those red ribbons should match that cosmo
Chef Blythe Beck serves up her designer nibblies while Micah B provides the tunes at Kimpton’s Cocktails for a Cure red ribbon party. With auction items, cocktails and food, the only thing that makes it all better is that it benefits the Resource Center Dallas.

DEETS: Central 214, 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane. 6:30 p.m. $20. HotelPalomar.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 11.26.10

Saturday 11.28

Everything is ‘Illumination’Christmas trees get all fancified
Artreach Dallas hosts the inaugural Bough Wow event to tie in with the lighting of Lee Park. Forget popcorn garland and plastic ornaments here. Artists and designers put their talents to the test using trees and wreaths as blank canvases. While you pine over the greenery, DJ Lucy Wrubel will spin the tunes while the wine and appetizers are served.

DEETS: Arlington Hall at Lee Park, 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd. 5 p.m. $65. ArtReachDallas.org.

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Tuesday 11.30

Everything is ‘Illumination’
While we are recovering from food overload, superhumans gear up for Cirque Dreams Illumination. In what sounds like Rent meets Pink Floyd, the show depicts workers and pedestrians (aka urban acrobats) balancing on wires, chairs and other daring stunts against illuminated effects and eclectic score from rock to jazz to street beats.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Through Dec. 5. 7:30 p.m. $22-$49. BassHall.com.

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Thursday 12.02

Red ribbons should match that cosmo
Chef Blythe Beck serves up her designer nibblies while Micah B provides the tunes at Kimpton’s Cocktails for a Cure red ribbon party. With auction items, cocktails and food, the only thing that makes it all better is that it benefits the Resource Center Dallas.

DEETS: Central 214, 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane. 6:30 p.m. $20. HotelPalomar.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Holiday Gift Guide 2010 Online Exclusives

GADGET REST STOP

There is that one person who is a little too attached to their smartphone or mp3 player. Perhaps this stocking stuffer can give both him and the gadget some much needed rest. As a throwback to 1970s basement parties, this Beanie Chair Holder is the perfect and colorful way to relax that iPad or Blackberry. The holder is priced at $10.

Lug, 2805 Allen St., # 117.
214-613-7648. LugLife.com.

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

Why not be a little bit naughty this holiday season? Tenga brings its automobile design background to the world of adult toys. Sleek and stylish, the Tenga Flip Hole is designed to give the best stimulation and sexual experience. Like, ever.  Plus, Tenga has designed this male self-pleasuring device with such elegance, that it’s OK if left out in the open. Priced at $129.

Alternatives New Fine Arts, 1720 W. Mockingbird Lane.
214-630-7071.

DRINK SMART

These LifeFactory Glass Bottles have a silicone sleeve and are suitable for milk and juice — they are also great for lunch boxes. Available in several colors and two sizes: 9 oz = $12.99 and 22 oz = $21.99.

Sundrops Vitamin & Nutrition, 3920 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-521-1606. Sundrops.com.

ROBOT ACTION

Yes, paper gifts might sound a little bit underwhelming, but you haven’t seen Piperoids. All you need is a pair of scissors. Just cut, fold and connect the pipes to build your own robot with movable joints in less than 30 minutes. Each character has a unique background story and after assemble it can be used as an accent for home or office. It’s like origami, but the cool kind. The items are priced at $16.50 each.

Iota Gallery, 3107 Knox Street
214-522-2999, IOTADallas.com.

SENSUAL SEDUCTION

Surprise every kiss with nature’s sweetest gift: natural honey. The silky-soft glow from these delicate powders offer delicious fragrance and an irresistible lure. Each beautifully decorated canister includes a powder-filled satin pouch and a handmade feather applicator to tickle more than the imagination. Better yet, the Honey Dust can also be used as a daily body powder or a fragrant touch to the bed sheets. Prices start at $23.99.

Condom Sense, 4038 Cedar Springs Road.
214-522-3141. CondomSenseUSA.com

BOOK SMART

E-books might never replace the real thing, but they sure are handy. Aluratek’s new Libre eBook Reader Pro joins the ranks for e-readers. They’ve partnered with Borders to offer a reader that won’t break the budget. With the latest monochrome reflective light LCD display technology, it eliminates those darn flickers during page turns. Battery life will hold up to 24 hours so when that book is just too hard to put down, you got some time. The Libre is priced at $99.

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

—  Rich Lopez