Scenes from World AIDS Day Dallas at Main Street Garden

Seven panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt formed the centerpiece of the World AIDS Day commemoration on Saturday in Dallas’ Main Street Garden.

Members of the Knitting Circle, a group of HIV-positive women from Legacy Counseling Center’s Grace Project, wore red scarves they knitted for the first time. The project is designed to increase knowledge and decrease loneliness for those in communities where HIV remains a taboo subject.

Among the quilts displayed was one with a panel for Tom Davis, founder of the Round-Up Saloon; David Barton, founder of Hunky’s; and Alan Ross, the Pride parade organizer. On another quilt was a panel for Steve Burrus, a Dallas man who co-founded DIFFA.

Another is the most requested panel in the entire 50,000-panel quilt. It reads: “My name is Duane Kearns Puryear. I was born on December 20, 1964. I was diagnosed with AIDS on September 7, 1987 at 4:45 pm. I was 22 years old. Sometimes it makes me very sad. I made this panel myself. If you are reading it, I am dead.”

Puryear made that panel at a quilt-making workshop at Resource Center Dallas, where it hung until he took it to Washington, D.C. in 1989 for a quilt display on the National Mall. On his flight home, he left it in the overhead bin and the original was never seen again. When he died in 1990, his mother made this replica from a picture and it is her replica that is part of the quilt.

Among the speakers were Otis Harris who was featured on Saturday in an MTV special, I’m Positive, and Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

More photos below.

—  David Taffet

WATCH: Dallas’ Otis Harris Jr. talks about living with HIV on MTV

Otis_GTADallas_138For World AIDS Day, MTV is airing I’m Positive, which featuring Otis Harris Jr., a local 25-year-old who tested positive for HIV and is part of the Greater Than AIDS campaign. Dallas Voice featured Harris in a story several weeks ago.

Harris shares his story of contracting HIV and explains the importance of spreading awareness.

For a year, Harris was afraid to tell his father that he tested positive. But his father’s reaction was that he loves his son and now is participating in the Greater Than AIDS with his son. And his reaction to seeing himself on a billboard with his son?

“Now my fat face is up there,” Harris Sr. said.

On World AIDS Day, Harris will be at the Dallas event Saturday at Main Street Garden, from 3–6 p.m. Watch a video preview of Harris’ appearance on I’m Positive after the jump.

—  David Taffet

Rising HIV-positive advocate Otis Harris to be featured in MTV AIDS special

Otis Harris, whom we profiled in Dallas Voice recently for his involvement in the Greater Than AIDS campaign, will be featured in I’m Positive, a World AIDS Day special on MTV on Dec. 1

Harris has been featured on billboards and DART buses and in local print media ads as part of the Greater Than AIDS, which addresses the disproportionate number of new HIV cases in the black community.

In our story, Harris talked about how hard it was to tell his father but how his father stuck by him.

Here’s what MTV says about Harris:

As the oldest child in a large, close-knit family, Otis feels like he has to set an example for his younger siblings. That’s why it was hard for him to tell his family he is HIV positive, after having just come out as gay the year before. Currently, Otis is in a serious relationship with his boyfriend, Kanjhe, and they are both committed to making sure that he stays HIV negative.

“He’s one of three people selected nationally, and the only man,” said publicist Robbyn Kistler, who originally got us in touch with Harris. “There’s some incredible footage! He’s a rising figure among young positive spokespeople. A treasure!”

—  David Taffet

Getting hitched? You can be on MTV

MTV International is making a docu-series about young marrieds, and they want Dallas folk — even the gay ones.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 24 and are recently married, or getting married in June, July or August — whether through legal, church-approved hetero-bliss or just a commitment ceremony between same-sex couples — MTV wants to meet you. They will be holding casting session this weekend. From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday — during Razzle Dazzle — you can find them under the MTV banner along Cedar Springs. They will also be staked out at the Indigo Hotel Downtown from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday. To schedule an appointment in advance, email

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

RightOutTV announces nominees for its inaugural music video awards

The last time I wrote about RightOutTV, they were just getting started with their mission of providing an outlet for music videos by LGBT musicians. A year later, the site is about to give out its first awards. They posted the nominees for the first RightOutTV Music Video Awards. OK, it’s not MTV, but the channel, started by Sugarbeach duo Marlee Walchuk and Tully Callender, has remained committed to their mission and the list is a healthy representation of the past year’s offerings by queer musicians. They even have judges!

Texas didn’t fare too well in the nominees list. Actually, it didn’t fare at all. But several artists that we have reported on made the cut including Sonia & Disappear Fear with three noms, Nhojj with two and Melissa Ferrick with one. There are some impressive videos in the bunch but I’m kinda pulling for Yovanni’s “Hello.” The production on that is insanely good.

A list of the nominees is after the jump. Winners will be announced Nov. 27.

—  Rich Lopez

MTV and Goss-Michael Foundation raise more than $700K for HIV/AIDS awareness

For its first art exhibit, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation didn’t do too bad. The MTV RE:Define exhibit and auction held Saturday at the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas was a sold out event and raised more than 770,000 for MTV’s organization. The group works to empower youth in fighting the stigma of HIV/AIDS. On a less arty scale, they are also the people behind this.

As deep pockets bid for some 30 original works by the likes of Harland Miller, Adam Ball and Ben Eine, artist Damien Hirst scored big with his butterfly painting with cubic zirconia (talk about multimedia), which went for $240,000 to an unnamed phone bidder. And if that’s not exciting enough, Indie rockers The Boxer Rebellion capped off the night with a live show.

“We are absolutely thrilled with Saturday’s auction results and delighted that we have been able to raise such a significant amount for the Staying Alive Foundation,” said Georgia Arnold, executive director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. “Thanks to the enormous generosity of each and every artist and gallery, and of course the bidders, sponsors and silent auction donors, the money raised will enable young people to continue their amazing work in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in local communities around the world.”

Host Simon de Pury, chairman of art auctioneers Phillips de Pury & Company added, “On entering the Goss-Michael Foundation’s magnificent building I instantly felt a great vibe. The crowd was very handsome, the music pounding and the handpicked art looked fabulous on the walls. For an inaugural event, it was an outstanding result. I can only congratulate everyone involved in this project. It is my hope that this could become an annual event.”

We hope so too, and can we get on the guest list?

—  Rich Lopez

A&F wants no part of ‘Jersey Shore’

It’s hard not to smile with appreciation to read a story about product un-placement of the level we read here. Turns out Abercrombie & Fitch — that clothing brand that sells sex about as blatantly as one of the girls along Harry Hines — has standards … and they don’t include the cast of Jersey Shore. Lots of businesses pay TV shows and movies to feature their labels in the show (it’s not a coincidence that the judges on American Idol are always drinking Coke on the dais) but A&F so disapproves of the message sent by Snooki, The Situation and their cliche (not aspirational, A&F says), that they are willing to pay MTV not to let them wear their clothes.

This gives me an idea: Why not blackmail closeted gay celebs not to review their movies and CDs and run their interviews in the gay media? I’m not even talking about Dallas Voice — this is something that could keep Perez Hilton in faux fur and Twinkies until the next millennium. After all, if folks will willingly pay you off not to associate yourself with them, why not take advantage of it? (It might even extend to dating, though I haven’t worked that through.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Need a condom? There’s an app for that

In perhaps one of the most innovative efforts to spread the idea of safe-sex and HIV prevention, MTV and iCondom have teamed up to create a worldwide map for condom distribution. The channel’s global youth HIV awareness and prevention campaign and charity Staying Alive has teamed with iCondom to “join them in their fight to help prevent the transmission of HIV by downloading the free iCondom app and providing details of their local condom dispenser / retailer.”

Georgia Arnold of MTV said, “An estimated 5 million 15-to-24-year olds are living with HIV and 2,500 young people are infected with HIV each day. We have partnered with iCondom with the ambition to make it easier for more people around the world to source condoms and reduce the transmission of HIV and STIs. A percentage of money made from the app will go towards Staying Alive Foundation grants which are awarded to young people working to prevent HIV in their local communities.”

Basically, you download the app for free and check to see where the closest condom dispenser location is. I have a guess ours is the 7-11 across the street, but I’m waiting for the app to download to see. It’s sort of like Grindr for rubbers and how many feet away they are. But then you can add to the map by entering in locations that might not already be on there. Simple, huh?

Although don’t be a d-bag about it. After loading the app, I see someone entered in the “location” title “Homeless Guy His Name is…” on Greenville Ave. I rated it one star for fail and responsibly entered the 7-11 store on Travis St.

Hey, I’m that kinda guy.

iCondom from mtv staying alive on Vimeo.

—  Rich Lopez