We’re the Best! Vote for Oak Lawn as Best Gayborhood

Best gayborhoods

So, here’s your chance to show your Texas Pride. OutTraveler.com, the online travel site that caters to the LGBT community, is in the midst of its annual Out Traveler Awards. The category up for votes right now is “Best Gayborhood,” and Dallas’ Oak Lawn is one of 10 contenders for the title.

OutTraveler.com calls the “Best Gayborhood” content “the most contentious” and “the most controversial” category in the Out Traveler Awards:

“We have ownership in the neighborhoods we consider our own; those places we can let our hair down and be ourselves. But what really makes the best LGBT neighborhood? Is it restaurants, bars, walkability, clean streets, public transit, or safety? Think long and hard before you vote, because the top queer area may not be the one down the street, but the enclave we discovered while on vacation or during a work trip.”

The site explains that Out Traveler editors chose the 10 nominees on the list, but “we’re amenable to write in candidates in the comments section.” Other nominees are Boystown in Chicago, Boystown in West Hollywood/Los Angeles, Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan/NYC, Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., the Castro in San Francisco, Wilton Manors in Ft. Lauderdale, Washington Square West in Philadelphia, Midtown in Atlanta and Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Dallas Tavern Guild, the association of LGBT nightclubs that puts on Dallas’ LGBT Pride events each year, is rooting for Oak Lawn to win the award, and Executive Director Michael Doughman urged everyone to go to the site to vote.

“We have some good competition but I know if we make an effort we can win this award,” Doughman said. We may not have won much in the midterm elections, but we have a chance for national recognition for our community. Let’s do this!”

The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is also urging everyone to vote for Oak Lawn.

But do it quickly. The polls close two weeks from yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 11), and winners will be announced the first week in December.

—  Tammye Nash

Memorial set for man found in Turtle Creek

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Robert Letbetter

An obituary was posted and memorial service planned for the man found dead in Turtle Creek on Nov. 3.

While cause of death was not listed for Robert Letbetter, the obituary notes, “Although his struggles were long and difficult, his death came unexpectedly.” Dallas police only said they were waiting for toxicology test results before listing cause of death.

More than 50 pictures are posted along with the obituary.

The memorial service will be held on Nov. 14 in Conroe, where he was born.

 

—  David Taffet

Dallas Police ask for help in identifying suspect in Oak Lawn burglary

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Suspect in Oak Lawn-area burglary

 

Dallas Police have asked for the public’s help in identifying a suspect that may have been involved in a Nov. 1 burglary in the 4000 block of Bowser Ave., in Oak Lawn.

The suspect is a black male, about 20 years old, 5-11, 180 pounds. Police said he was seen at the location of the residential burglary on Bowser and was then seen fleeing the scene in a green, 1997-99 Buick LeSabre with damage to the front end and driver’s side. Within 45 minutes of the burglary, the suspect used a credit card stolen in the Oak Lawn-area burglary at a store in the 9700 block of Webb Chapel.

The video below shows the suspect using the stolen credit card.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Philip Strodtman at 214-670-6047.

—  Tammye Nash

No more Drama, just a Zoo

DramaRoom.web

Dallas Voice Associate Advertising  Director Chad Mantooth brought this news into the office today: The space on Cedar Springs formerly occupied by The Drama Room has been taken over by a new enterprise.

Liquid Zoo, now at 3851 Cedar Springs Road, will feature a stage with drag shows and live music, and is set to open in mid-November. Renovations are underway now.

Stay tuned to DallasVoice.com for more.

—  Tammye Nash

PHOTOS: Parigi at 30 years

Provost, left, and Falls, right.

It’s been an Oak Lawn institution almost as long as Dallas Voice: Parigi, the French-themed, Italian-influenced bistro. There have been only three owners throughout its three decades, and two — founder Andree Falls and current chef-owner Janice Provost, who’s helmed it for 13 years —were present at the event, which was packed with long-time patrons and well-wishers enjoying Provost’s mini grilled-cheese-and-tomato-basil-soup, lobster sandwiches and deviled eggs. Congrats, Parigi!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS FROM PRIDE: Scenes from the 31st annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade

Photos from the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sunday by Kat Haygood, Arnold Wayne Jones, Chad Mantooth and Stephen Mobley.

—  Tammye Nash

Sam’s Club temporarily blocked from building in Uptown

East Village

Proposed Sam’s Club would be north of Cityplace tower

Judge Emily Tobolowsky granted the East Village Neighborhood Association a temporary restraining order on Friday afternoon halting Walmart from moving ahead on its plans to build a Sam’s Club in the Cityplace area.

Tobolowsky was filling in for Judge Phyllis Lister Brown. She questioned attorneys for both sides as well as city attorneys defending its neighborhood notification of change of zoning. Some of her questions at the morning hearing indicated she was hedging on the side of not pushing ahead with a project that was not actually her case.

The restraining order stops the city from issuing a building permit for the 100,000-square-foot retail space.

Among the variances granted by the city is one involving parking. The city has granted a variance requiring fewer spaces than required by ordinance because customers may shop in the area using DART transportation. Cityplace station is a short walk from the planned location.

Demolition permits have already been granted. The restraining order does not cover those because even if the Sam’s Club project is halted, The Trammell Crow Company may move forward with other retail development. The neighborhood association was not challenging that.

The controversy revolves around what a mega-store does to a neighborhood by putting small retailers out of business and creating massive traffic jams on already-crowded streets with no plans to upgrade those streets.

The closest Sam’s Club to Uptown was on Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. That store remained open less than 10 years. Since the site was abandoned by the company, no new retailer has taken up the space. The acres of empty parking lots surrounding the empty megastore has added to urban blight in an area that leads the city in crime just blocks away from NorthPark.

In court, the neighborhood association argued that the rezoning request was for mixed-use development. Their attorney said they were expecting something similar to West Village, just blocks away on the opposite side of Central Expressway. They argued one megastore is not mixed-use development.

The neighborhood also argued that as Uptown has become more densely developed with mid-rise and high-rise structures, a megastore does not mesh with the area’s growth.

—  David Taffet

Beck’s Prime, Good Eats closing

logo2CORRECTION: Due to an error on my part, the Beck’s Prime closing this week is not the only on Oak Lawn, but the one on Greenville Avenue. LaDuni on Oak Lawn did announce last week, though, that it will be closing soon.

Friday is Dallas Voice’s annual Food Issue, so it makes sense to start off the week with a little food news … too bad it’s not good news, though.

Beck’s Prime, the high-end fast-casual burger joint on Greenville Avenue, will close at the end of service today, the company announced. Two other Dallas locations,  including one at the intersection of Oak Lawn and Wycliff, will remain open. Apparently, it wasn’t a good fit traffic-flow-wise, though the burgers were very nice.

GoodEatsThis comes on the heels of news this weekend that an Oak Lawn institution for 22 years, Good Eats, will shutter on July 17. This is sad but not unexpected news. The owners of the property have been driving away tenants for years (Ciudad was one of the first to go, as was Zeus Comics) and the landlord just didn’t want to deal on the lease renewal. That doesn’t mean you can’t get the food you came to love there in the gayborhood anymore, however. Some menu items will migrate to Lucky’s (owned by the same company), and the owners are looking to open another location in Oak Lawn … if they figure out where people will be able to park.

What are you memories of Good Eats? Tell us about your favorite dish, memory, server or experience in the comments.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

UPDATE: ’666′ graffiti widespread in neighborhood

Legacy graffiti

Dallas Police Det. Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison to the LGBT community, said Monday morning that a detective has been assigned to investigate all cases related to graffiti “tagging” done at a number of locations in Oak Lawn early on Saturday morning. The number “666″ — a number linked to Satan through the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible where it is called “the mark of the Beast” — was spray-painted onto the base of the Legacy of Love monument on Oak Lawn Avenue at Cedar Springs Road, onto the driveway at two different parking lot entrances at Cathedral of Hope UCC and at a building on Oak Lawn at Maple Avenue that houses, among other businesses, the Dallas Observer.

There have also been reports that the “mark of the Beast” was spray-painted onto the Cedar Springs Road bridge over the North Dallas Tollway, on buildings at a housing development on Lucas Street and onto at least two Dallas Voice magazine racks.

Martin said police are looking into the possibility the graffiti is part of a hate crime. Police are holding a media briefing at 2 p.m. today regarding the incidents, so stay tuned for more information.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Police investigating hate as possible motive for graffiti as more taggings found

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Det. Kevin Janse at Dallas Police headquarters

Dallas Police are looking into hate as a possible motive for graffiti found early Sunday around Oak Lawn on buildings housing print media offices.

The Legacy of Love Monument and Cathedral of Hope were targeted by taggers with “666” in red spray paint. The Cedar Springs bridge over the tollway was also tagged, as were at least two Dallas Voice distribution boxes.

Chris Kelley, spokesman for Cathedral of Hope, said the church was tagged in two places — on its sign along the street and in the parking lot. By Sunday afternoon, the paint at Cathedral and on the monument had been removed by volunteers.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer and D magazine buildings were also tagged. Ironically, the building housing Dallas Voice was not touched.

Det. Kevin Janse said police have no leads but hope as word spreads about the graffiti, someone will come forward and provide some clues. He said he hopes whoever did this will start bragging about it when he sees the coverage it’s getting and someone will contact police with a lead.

The spray painting occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Janse said police checked video from the Exxon station on Oak Lawn Avenue, but its video did not catch activity at the Observer building across the street.

Officer W.C. Humphrey, who attended the press conference, told Dallas Voice that graffiti is not uncommon, but the particular “666” message at the specific sites is unusual.

Janse said anyone with information about these or additional taggings should contact Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin at 214-490-0541.

Legacy graffiti

—  David Taffet