Local theater company sponsors gay playwrighting competition

Uptown Players moved its Pride Play Fest from September to June this year, so it seems TeCo Theatrical Productions is stepping in to the fall spot. The Oak Cliff-based company, which is celebrating its 20th season this year, has sent out a call for scripts for its inaugural PlayPride LGBT Festival, which will run Sept. 4–14. Playwrights will compete to benefit their favorite local LGBT group with a $1,000 donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

TeCo is soliciting short (15–20 minutes) unpublished/unproduced scripts of any style, as long as they contain LGBT themes, have a maximum of four cast members (though more characters would, presumably, be OK) and not come with scene changes or blackouts. The author must be a resident of Texas.

The deadline for submission is July 1, and must be submitted in PDF format to info@tecotheater.org (no hard copies accepted). Get crackin’!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Councilwoman Vonciel Hill again refuses to sign gay Pride letter

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Councilman Philip Kingston

Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston collected the signatures of the mayor and the rest of the council to congratulate the Dallas Tavern Guild on the 30th anniversary of the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, which will be held on Sept. 15.

“I worked very hard to get the right wording to get the maximum participation and am proud of the success it had,” Kingston said.

“This annual event celebrates our shared commitment to equality in Dallas and all of Texas,” the letter reads in part. “Our city is honored to have the Dallas Tavern Guild and its commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and the rights of all people.”

The lone, missing council member is Vonciel Hill, whose district now includes one of the largest LGBT neighborhoods in the city.

Hill is also the lone council member who has refused to ride in the parade, once telling us “there are some acts God doesn’t bless.” Earlier this year, Hill objected to an HIV prevention billboard featuring two gay men, prompting one of the largest LGBT rallies in the history of South Dallas.

After redistricting in 2011, Hill was moved into District 3, which includes Kiestwood and other LGBT Oak Cliff neighborhoods. She was elected in May to her final two-year term.

In addition to Kingston, who collected the signatures, other new council members who signed the letter were Jennifer Staubach Gates, Lee Kleinman, Rick Callahan and Adam Medrano.

The letter will appear in the Official Guide to Dallas Pride 2013, distributed inside copies of Dallas Voice on Aug. 30 and Sept. 13. Read the full letter below.

—  David Taffet

Kessler Park UMC backs Boy Scouts’ proposal to allow gay youth

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Kessler Park United Methodist Church has made its stance on inclusion in the Boy Scouts clear to its members today.

The church posted on its Facebook that it hoped the National Council votes this week to “adopt the resolution eliminating heterosexuality as a requirement for a youth’s participation in scouting.”

Troop 5 is charted by the church and is one of the oldest troops in Dallas. Methodist churches are the second-largest sponsors of troops nationwide.

“Our church, we would assert, has long experience attempting to reconcile diversity, security, and godliness,” the post reads. “We believe that Christ’s teachings, as well as the Scout Oath and Law which flow from Christ’s words, call us to welcome all persons of good will in the training of children to become wholesome adults.”

The BSA National Council will vote on the resolution to only admit gay youth at its meeting later this week.

Read Kessler Park UMC’s full statement below.

—  Dallasvoice

A Cinco de Mayo taco adventure

Los Torres Taqueria al carbon y barbacoa

Los Torres Taqueria al carbon y barbacoa tacos

As every schoolboy knows, “Cinco de Mayo” is Spanish for “Let’s go into a food coma by eating tacos.” Which is exactly how I spent my weekend.

Technically, I didn’t undertake this voyage gastronomique on Sunday, the actual 5th of May, but on Saturday, so-called Star Wars Day (“May the 4th be with you”), but that was necessary in order to allow my body time to recover before the work week.

I embarked on my personal Cinco de Mayo food festival with my friend, taco blogger José Ralat-Maldonado, founder of the recent North Texas Taco Festival and author of The Taco Trail. This is a usual enterprise for José, who organizes such tweetups every so often to showcase the best taquerias in Dallas. And his judgment is stellar.

We started the adventure by pounding a shot of anejo to “prime the pump.” Then it was off to indulge in what numbered six tacos plus a Mexican Coke, setting me back at the end of the afternoon by a mere $12.50.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS: Oak Cliff’s gay-friendly Earth Day draws 5,000-plus

DFW Human Rights Campaign booth promotes equality

DFW Human Rights Campaign booth promotes equality

More than 5,000 people attended Oak Cliff’s gay-and-family-friendly Earth Day in Lake Cliff Park.

Many of the booths offered gardening tips and samples for the garden including the Rainbow Garden Club. LifeWalk was busy recruiting walkers for AIDS Arms’ fall fundraiser while Human Rights Campaign promoted equality from its booth.

About the only non-Earth Day-related merchandise — including bumper stickers, hats and T-shirts — was from Get Gay Stuff.

Oak Cliff neighborhood groups were well represented. A number of organizations did presentations on water management, composting, environmentally friendly landscaping and other earth-friendly topics, but the stars of the afternoon were the animals.

They included dogs staffing the kissing booth, dogs in costume for the best-dressed contest, goats and sheep in a petting zoo, raptors from the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center near Lake Lavon, a lemur and parrot. A porcupine was unhappy in his cage but his handler said all he wanted was to get out and play with all of the dogs in the park.

More photos below.

—  David Taffet

Dallas to celebrate Earth Day with Fair Park, Oak Cliff events this weekend

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Oak Cliff Earth Day 2012

Two Earth Day celebrations take place this weekend — a two-day event in Fair Park and a Sunday afternoon bash in Oak Cliff.

Earth Day Dallas is an annual, outdoor festival in Fair Park promoting environmental awareness to influence the way North Texans think, live and work. A number of the exhibitors include companies promoting alternate energy sources for the home and ways to conserve.

The cast of Wicked will be at Earth Day Dallas for photo ops. Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico performs. A&M has a full schedule of master gardeners and naturalists slated to speak.

Earth Day at Fair Park takes place April 20–21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free but parking is $10. Earth Day organizers encourage people to be green and take the Green Line to Fair Park.

The seventh annual Oak Cliff Earth Day is April 21 from noon to 5 p.m. in Lake Cliff Park in the Demonstration Rose Garden near Zang and Colorado Boulevards and is free. Free parking is available at Methodist Hospital Lot 10 with a shuttle bus running to the park. (It is Earth Day, though, so you could actually walk the two blocks.)

Live entertainment and lectures begin at 12:30 p.m. Mutt Strutt begins at 2 p.m. with prizes for best dogs in costume.

Learn about protecting against West Nile Virus, composting, protecting the environment, proper tree care and hosting a beehive in your backyard at demonstrations and lectures through the afternoon.

The event is pet friendly. Lots of animals will be on hand with a petting zoo, native reptiles and live raptors. The kissing booth is staffed by dogs.

Fair Park may be hosting the bigger event, but you’ll only find Get Gay Stuff, AIDS Arms LifeWalk, DFW Human Rights Campaign and Hunky’s at Oak Cliff’s celebration.

 

—  David Taffet

Gay Oak Cliff preservationist appointed to Dallas Landmark Commission

Recently appointed Landmark Commissioner Michael Amonett is shown sitting in the rubble of an Oak Cliff church he tried to preserve as president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League.

Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs appointed former Old Oak Cliff Conservation League President Michael Amonett to the Dallas Landmark Commission. While Amonett’s appointment, approved Aug. 1, may be viewed by some as some as controversial, Griggs doesn’t see it that way.

“He’s a strong advocate for preservation and conservation,” Griggs said. “I can’t think of anyone better for Oak Cliff and for Dallas.”

Amonett said he’s just learning what the job entails and knows he can’t just declare buildings historic against a property owner’s will.

“But I’m passionate about old buildings,” he said.

As president of OOCCL, Amonett fought with Oak Cliff developers and the city about tearing down historic landmarks.

One of his biggest battles concerned tearing down an Oak Cliff church to build the new Adamson High School. The building was architecturally significant and the property played into the history of the JFK assassination. In addition, Adamson alumni wanted their school renovated, not destroyed.

DISD agreed to give Amonett six months to find a buyer for the church property. OOCCL was unable to find a buyer and the building has been torn down to build tennis courts for the replacement high school.

As a member of the Landmark Commission, Amonett would have been able to recommend landmark status for the church. Other members of the commission generally abide by the recommendation of the commissioner for that district.

Griggs said the first big case for Amonett will come before the commission in September and relates to preservation of the oldest building in North Texas thats still in its original location. The site includes a cabin built at about the same time as the John Neely Bryan cabin in downtown Dallas, as well as a barn, cistern and other structures. The building stands on city park property in far southwest Dallas near Mountain Creek Lake.

Griggs said the chimney was built with interlocking stone and no mortar and still stands. He said he’s confident about preservation of the site with the case in Amonett’s hands.

—  David Taffet

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The big this this weekend, of course, is the release of The Dark Knight Rises, which is an improvement on The Dark Knight but not quite as elegantly composed as Batman Begins. Still, it’s worth seeing if only for Tom Hardy’s man-meat. As a comic book movie, though, it’s about on par with The Amazing Spider-Man and not as good as The Avengers.

For much bigger laughs than all of those put together, though, The Divine Sister is your best bet, with Coy Covington again tackling a Charles Busch drag role in this astute and surprisingly clever riff on nun movies. The entire cast is in rare comic form. Meanwhile, two other shows — Avenue Q and Joseph — announced this week they will be extending their runs.

Friday night is also a great time to be at the ilume … though you’ll have to choice between some competing events. The Red Party hosts a kick-off event for its fall fundraiser with a men’s fashion show (read: bathing suits and briefs) out by the pool, while around the corner at ilume gallerie, The Art of the Bow Tie, pictured, with a reception for artist Jeremy Calhoun and a share of proceeds going to AIN.

That’s not the only art to see, though.

You could have your own art crawl this Saturday. Readers Voice Award winner Daniel Padilla and his brother Manuel open Beyond Infinity at the Padilla Gallery. The works are partly inspired by the current Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum. Down the street, be sure to catch Cathey Miller’s charming Texas Lady Singers at The Kessler. And jaunt over to East Dallas to see the Sacred David Bowie Art Show open at Wine Therapist.

Finally, if you need to lose some weight, you can get The Biggest Loser to pay for it by auditioning on Saturday for the next edition of the show. You can register here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Oak Cliff Film Fest runs throughout the weekend

Texas tales

The inaugural Oak Cliff Film Festival gets underway tonight showcasing the local and statewide films with a few national and international screenings to boot. But perhaps the real gem is watching movies in all the cool venues the OCFF is home to. The historic Texas Theatre, the Kessler Theater, Bishop Arts Theater, the Belmont Hotel and even the Dallas Zoo all screen films throughout the festival and make for a different feel. You know, the way Oak Cliff likes to do it.

DEETS: Various venues. $10 per film. The festival runs through Sunday. OakCliffFilmFestival.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Fears for Queers film fest scramble to complete lineup of LGBT-horror films for June event

With its humble grassroots origins, the Fears for Queers film festival has pulled off some impressive events the past couple of years. But this year is looking tough for organizers Shawn Ewert and Andrew Rose as content for this year’s FFQ is looking rather scarce. And they only have 17 days before the festival is scheduled to go on — or not. Rose posted this today on Facebook.

—  Rich Lopez