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.

—  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

Oscar watching parties

And the Oscar goes to…

From area venues:

*Barbara’s is having an Oscar party!! Watch the Academy Awards on the big screen. Fill out a nominee list with the ones that you think are going to win. The person with the most correct winners wins a great prize. We have the list for you to fill out, and all entries must be in before start time. And of course, you can wear your evening dress or tux if you would like to.

DEETS: Barbara’s Pavilion, 325 Centre St. 7:30 p.m.

*Movie Awards Viewing Party brought to you by the 5013c Oak Cliff Foundation and the  Oak Cliff Film Festival! Come watch the spectacle unfold before your eyes on the big screen. Of course this is a fine opportunity to dress to the nines and party like a star! Enter the Pick the Winners poll for $3. Winner will be announced at the end of the night and will get 2 free badges to the 2012 Oak Cliff Film Festival.

DEETS: The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd. 6 p.m.


—  Rich Lopez

Gain the edge on the Oscar pool with shorts

In this week’s issue, I’ll be giving my predictions for the Oscars, which are on Sunday. The secret to winning the office pool? Seeing all the obscure films that no one known how to vote on.

Well, it’s not a secret how to do it — just track down the shorts programs.

For the past several years, the Magnolia Theatre has hosted screenings of the live action shorts and animated shorts — usually just for one week. This year, though, they’ve extended it — you can catch the films all weekend, up to and including Oscar night. The slate of films — the five nominated for best live action, the five nominated for best animated, and two additional animated shorts — are a hodgepodge of comic and sentimental.

But there’s an even rarer opportunity tonight only: You can see four of the five documentary shorts at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. The docs have never been part of the Magnolia’s lineup, but the Texas Theatre has run them a few nights this week; tonight is the final chance to see them, at 7 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Mardi Gras Oak Cliff parade today

Bead dazzling

Don’t let yesterday’s rain get you down. The sun is out for today’s Mardi Gras Oak Cliff celebration with its fourth annual parade. But it starts off with a crawfish boil and street party in the Bishop Arts District. Live music, food and beer will get you revved up for the parade. From Davis and Montclair to the Bishop Arts District, the parade rolls on through featuring floats, live bands, bicycle rides and more. And kinda makes us jealous of Oak Cliff.

DEETS: N. Bishop Ave at Davis St., 2 p.m., parade at 4 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

Drawing Dallas • 02.10.12

JaQuanFNL_2Lanky dreamboat LaQuan Brown is the ideal Valentine

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator

Name and age: LaQuan Brown, 18

Occupation: Student

Spotted at: Target Cityplace

At 6-feet-5, slender, romantic dreamboat LaQuan catches eyes everywhere he goes. A creamy blend of two cultures — his mother is of Dutch descent, his father is African-American — LaQuan certainly stands out in any crowd. His exotic and handsome look recently captured the attention of a modeling scout for Krave magazine, a fashion, lifestyle and entertainment publication for men of color; he was recently selected to model for an upcoming issue.

This intelligent and contemplative Scorpio was born in Oak Cliff and raised throughout Dallas. He enjoys outdoor sports of all kinds, including (predictably) basketball, but also running and taking contemplative walks. He’s also talented at freestyling, and can rap about any subject on the spur of the moment.

LaQuan’s career goal is to obtain a doctorate in psychology, and eventually become a therapist/counselor for at-risk teens.

—  Kevin Thomas