Oak Lawn library’s Angie Bartula named Librarian of the Year

BigDReads.113821Oak Lawn Library’s branch manager Angie Bartula was named Dallas Librarian of the Year.

“She won talent, swimsuit AND personality,” North Oak Cliff branch manager Ray Sablack said.

To celebrate, D Magazine is staging a festival at the deck park downtown.

“On the 26th, we are having a huge festival at Klyde Warren Park celebrating storytelling of all forms,” said D Magazine’s Community Engagement Manager Krista Nightengale. “It’s a free event that’s open to the public.”

Bartula encouraged people to bring a book to the park and spend the afternoon reading.

However, in the event she’s unable to fulfill her reign as Dallas Librarian of the Year …

“Hey,” Bartula objected. “Why wouldn’t I be able to fulfill my term?”

Absolutely no reason at all.

Since becoming Oak Lawn’s librarian, she’s expanded the LGBT section at her branch and encouraged other branches to begin LGBT sections as well, which Sablack has done in North Oak Cliff. She recently partnered with Dish, at ilume across the street from her branch, to host author lesbian Leslea Newman for a reading.

She’s active throughout the community, welcoming senior citizens, a crime watch and a North Dallas High School group. She’s encouraged a knitting group that meets at the library, a homeowners group and loves to help people with their job searches.

Well deserved, Angie, and we’re looking forward to the D Magazine centerfold in May.

—  David Taffet

The Oak Lawn Library has last-minute gifts for the film lovers in your life

Oak Lawn Library volunteer Phyllis Guest says the branch has set up a gifts table just beyond checkout. The table is loaded with VHS tapes of classic movies — Fred & Ginger, Audrey Hepburn, Judy Garland and many more — all just $2.

“So if you know anyone who’s really into film, let them know,” Guest says.

An elderly friend of the library just gave up his home and sent the library these treasures.

Guest says other friends have given the library many cassette tapes — music and readings — and quite a few CDs as well.

The library’s open until 6 today and 10–6 Saturday to buy gifts and stocking stuffers in time for Christmas. Next week, the library’s open Wed.–Thu. Noon–8 and Fri.–Sat. 10–6. The gifts table will remain up until Jan. 2 and then they’ll put out all our remaining magazines plus tons of paperbacks, anything and everything for just 25 cents.

Money raised benefits the library with extra funds for new acquisitions and programming.

—  David Taffet

Oak Lawn Library holds a huge sale

This week we commemorate our first-ever Literary Issue, so it’s fortuitous that, at the same time, the Oak Lawn Library is hosting a week-long spring sale on hardcovers and paperbacks, CDs and DVDs (half off the usual $1-$2 prices) and magazines (all 10 cents). And as they point out, you night as well ”check out the city’s only LGBT collection and get in line for Paul Russell’s The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov and John Irving’s In One Person. Both are popular; expect longish waits.”

In fact, John Irving will be at the Majestic Theater tonight, so read quick!

The library is located at 4100 Cedar Springs Road; it’s open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Democrats seeking District 1 Commmissioners Court seat to debate Saturday at Oak Lawn Library

Theresa Daniel and Daniel Clayton

Park Cities/Central Dallas Democrats hosts a forum for candidates for Dallas County Commissioners Court, District 1, on Saturday, March 3 at the Oak Lawn Library from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Three candidates will square off in the Democratic Primary to fill the seat currently held by Republican Commissioner Maureen Dickey.

The candidates are Gloria Levario, Theresa Daniel and Daniel Clayton.

Clayton works for State Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas. Daniel, a UTA professor, has served on the State Democratic Executive Committee since 1996 and as chair of the Dallas County Democratic Party Advisory Committee for four years. Levario works for Baylor’s physician network to manage their medical practices.

The district lines have been redrawn, making the seat more likely to be won by a Democrat. The new district covers a north central portion of the county and includes parts of Oak Lawn. Cedar Springs Road is the boundary line.

Read more about the race here.

—  David Taffet

Flashing lights won’t fix Cedar Springs’ No. 1 problem: Shabbiness

Community must work together to spiff up our strip, which wasn’t even included in Dallas’ ‘Complete Streets’ program until recently

Phyllis Guest
Taking Notes

Afriend and I went to a Jan. 12 meeting at the Round-Up Saloon, hosted by Dallas City Councilwomen Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano. The meeting was called to address the epidemic of pedestrian traffic accidents on Cedar Springs Road.

We listened to a city engineer, other city staff, a police officer and local businesspeople. The engineer showed us slides of Cedar Springs as it is and as the city proposed to change it in three stages.

If you read David Taffet’s article on Page 6 of the Jan. 27 issue of Dallas Voice, you know what’s proposed. And if you’ve been on Cedar Springs, you can’t have missed the most obvious change: yellow warning flashers, first at Knight Street, then at Reagan.

They are supposed to flash 24/7 for a month, then only when a pedestrian pushes the button to cross the street. However, when I left the Oak Lawn Library on Tuesday, Jan. 31, the flasher at Knight — just in front of the library and the corner of Ilume — was not flashing. Hmmm.

I also went to the Cedar Springs Merchant Association meeting Jan. 25. There, Paula Blackmon, chief of staff for Mayor Mike Rawlings, took questions and listened to comments during the first half of the meeting. I thought the most important point was made by Luke Crosland, ilume’s developer: The area generates $30 million a year in alcohol sales.

That’s a huge amount of revenue. With the next phase of ilume scheduled for development, and with more and more apartments replacing the area’s older homes, no doubt that revenue stream will grow.

In the second part of the meeting, CSMA Executive Director Scott Whittall spoke of the traffic study the city will conduct throughout February to help officials make more decisions about traffic problems and solutions. Whittall also announced a new campaign, online and presumably in print, to market “The Strip on Cedar Springs.” (Go to TinyUrl.com/8yb7uj8 to enter the logo design contest.)

Finally, after asking CSMA attendees to sign up for one of two committees, “traffic problems” or “taxi solutions,” Whittall announced a whole calendar of events for the remainder of 2012. All are geared to attract locals and visitors to The Strip.

Sounds good.

And if more crosswalk lights, pedestrian signs and police patrols will keep people from being run down, that certainly is good.

But changing the behavior of pedestrians and drivers is not the main problem.

The main problem is shabbiness.

Drive slowly up and down Cedar Springs as I did on Tuesday at midday.

Look at the very different storefronts, the very disparate signage.

Look at the street, cracked and torn and unevenly marked.

Look at the sidewalks, also cracked and torn. In some places, curbs are high, in other places low, in still others slanted to accommodate the disabled. Holes as big as a boot are everywhere. Round metal whatevers are inserted along portions of the sidewalk holding what look like tall twigs. Even if the twigs spring to life next month, they will still look weird.

This is a major “entertainment district” in a major American city? This is our answer to Manhattan’s Great White Way or Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade?

Our area was not even included in Dallas’ Complete Streets planning. In fact, I had never heard of “Complete Streets” until it appeared on the city’s handout of short-term, medium-term, and long-term Cedar Springs Pedestrian Safety Improvements. On the handout, as you might guess, it was No. 12, a long-term option to “Review area for Complete Street design.”

Check out www.dallascompletestreets.com. You’ll see that nine areas have already been selected for attention and investment, apparently by city staff or consultants. You’ll also see a list of workshops held this past November and December, none in our area and none advertised in the Dallas Voice.

How do we get from shabby to spiffy? We talk to the Dallas City Council, we talk to the Cedar Springs Merchant Association, we talk to the Dallas Complete Streets planners, and we talk to one another. Perhaps we organize the equivalent of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League, which works on conserving what’s best and reworking what’s not.

Today. We can start today. Each of us can make one phone call or write one email, and make one post on Facebook or Twitter.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and is a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. Send comments to editor@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Oak Lawn Library has cheap books, music and movies for sale just in time for the holidays


We heard from our friend Phyllis Guest that the Oak Lawn Library is really in the Christmas spirit and wants to share it with you.

Following an exceptionally large recent donation that includes hardcover and paperback fiction, non-fiction, business texts and computer books, as well as VHS movies and music (including LPs), the library is having a big sidewalk sale today and tomorrow … or until all the stuff is gone. Except for three especially large albums, everything is $1 or $2 (and even the big stuff is only $5). There will be someone manning the tables from now until closing time at 6 p.m., and again tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. If you know a collector, it’s a cool way to get something for them.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Public libraries: Bad news, good news

Guest.Phyllis

Phyllis Guest Taking Notes

The legislature slashed state funds, but city funding cuts weren’t as bad as they could have been. Best of all, there are ways you can help keep our libraries flush with LGBT content

Back in the winter, I wrote here about problems facing our libraries (“Losing our libraries,” Dallas Voice, April 1). The theme of that piece was the enormous losses the Dallas Public Library system was likely to face if the 82nd Texas Legislature took an axe to public systems statewide.

Well, they did wield an axe — and we lost a lot of state funding. This adds injury to insult, since the city of Dallas has cut library funds drastically over the last three budget cycles.

But the recently approved 2012 budget is less austere than it might have been. City Manager Mary Suhm proposed, and the mayor and city council agreed, to fund the new branch library now under construction on Ferguson Road, to maintain the current 40 hours at other libraries and to plump up the meager materials budget.

However, the approved budget also cut more than 90 salaried positions and eliminated others.

As of Oct. 1, the number of hourly workers known as pages dropped sharply. Remaining staff and volunteers are taking on much of the work once done by pages: sorting and shelving books and other media, maneuvering heavy carts and duck-walking between the low racks of the children’s sections.

And new books are in short supply.

But that’s enough whining. Let’s get to the good news.

First I want to tell you about some terrific mystery novels with gay angles that are now available at the Oak Lawn Library. Some are just slightly bent, while others are way over the edge, and two or more are probably available at this very moment on Oak Lawn Library’s LGBT shelves.

(Unless otherwise indicated, all are available within days through the Dallas Public Library’s online catalog at Catalog.DallasLibrary.org.)

My newest discovery is John Morgan Wilson, whose main series character is a California writer named Benjamin Justice, an edgy, flawed and therefore believable guy.

The series begins with Simple Justice and proceeds through Revision of Justice. By the time the series reaches the book I just finished, Justice at Risk, Ben is living like the Blanche DuBois of Hollywood. Best you read the books in order to learn where he began and why he fell so far.

My other new discovery is Matt Beynon Rees, a Welshman who worked as a journalist throughout the Middle East for several years and, in 2006, became a full-time fiction writer living in Jerusalem.

vook-cover

YOU CAN HELP | Want to be a Book Hero? Consider buying a copy of E. William Podojil’s ‘The Tenth Man.’

The detective of his series is a Palestinian schoolteacher who cannot walk down a street without being pulled toward the most appalling crimes. The book to read is the third in this series, The Samaritan’s Secret. The plot turns on a single gay character and the effects his sexual proclivities have on all those around him.

On the hunt for more LGBT mysteries, I did an Internet search and came up with a list of recommendations for five books that sounded good.

I ordered the two that were immediately available, whipped over, picked them up, devoured them in a single weekend and thus can recommend both: R.D. Zimmerman’s Closet and Mark Richard Zubro’s File Under Dead.

The Dallas system has other books by Zimmerman, all with one-word titles, and others by Zubro, including one that is new.

But here’s the thing: The system did not have three of the recommended books, including one by Michael Nava, whom I had read years ago and had liked a lot. So I went to DallasLibrary2.org with mouse in one hand and charge card in the other, then clicked on “Support Us” and chose to “Be A Book Hero.”

A recent system upgrade allows me, you and other booklovers to make purchases at the library discount. The library contacts the bookseller and the seller sends the book directly to the Central Library downtown. Central enters it into the system, then sends the book to the designated branch and contacts the “Hero” to pick the book up.

At the same time I bought Nava’s The Little Death, I bought a book that was favorably reviewed here in the Dallas Voice: Bronson Lemer’s The Last Deployment: How a Gay,Hammer-swinging Twentysomething Survived a Year in Iraq. I just received an email notice that the books await me. Purchase and processing had taken less than three weeks.

When I read and return them, they will likely stay at the Oak Lawn branch, which houses the system’s modest LGBT-specific collection.

I’m telling you all this because Dallas Public Library has zero copies of books by two other gay mystery writers who are highly recommended: E. William Podojil and Greg Lilly.

If you decide to “Be A Book Hero” to yourself and others, the recommended books are Podojil’s The Tenth Man, in which a guy’s past live-ins and other lovers are done away with one at a time, and Lilly’s Fingering the Family Jewels, in which the tale is more frightening but less suggestive than the title.

More good news: The Friends of the Oak Lawn Library just voted to spend $1,000 to freshen the LGBT collection. The $1,000 came from ongoing sales of library calendars and of gently used books or magazines.

So whether you buy the former, donate the latter or order a newbie through the system, you’re helping our whole community.

Meanwhile, there must be mysteries starring Ls, Bs, and Ts. Yes. More soon.

Phyllis Guest is a longtime activist on political and LGBT issues and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

—  Kevin Thomas

LOCAL BRIEFS: RCD receives Walmart grant; Dallas Bears present awards

RCD receives Walmart grant

Resource Center Dallas has received a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation in support of the Center’s nutrition program for people living with HIV/AIDS.

“This gift … will help provide high-protein foods that are important for the nutritional needs of individuals who use our food pantry and hot meals program.” said Cece Cox, executive director and CEO of Resource Center Dallas.

RCD’s nutrition program, established in 1985, serves people living with HIV who lack the financial resources to support their nutritional and medication requirements. The program includes a food pantry that distributes an average of seven tons of milk, meat, fresh vegetables and canned goods every week.

The Center serves more than 600 hot meals to clients each week.

Dallas Bears present awards

In addition to $46,000 distributed to organizations by Dallas Bears at their banquet on June 25, the group presented several awards.
Spanke Studer was named Bear of the Year.

Patrick Sweeney and Rob Meade received the President’s Outstanding Service Award. Partnership Awards were presented to Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dallas Eagle, Round-Up Saloon, Brick & Joe’s, Ben E. Keith Co. and Big D Bear Dance for their continued support and sponsorship.

The fifth annual “I Care” Randy Franklin Memorial Award for Community Service was presented to Jeffrey Payne of the Sharon St. Cyr Fund/International Mr. Leather, David Hearn of the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund and the DFW Sisters, a mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Oak Lawn Library art show set

The theme of the next Oak Lawn Library art show is Celebration of Animals. Submitted works should depict animals or our relationships with them. The library is also soliciting artists for month-long shows at the library.

This judged show will accept art in the following categories — painting, drawing, print, photography, watercolor and mixed media. Prize ribbons will be awarded for Best of Show and for first, second, and third places, as well as honorable mention in each category.

Artists may submit a maximum of three entries at $15 for the first entry and $10 for each additional work. Entries must be current, new to this event, and prepared by the artist for hanging or for display. Pictures may not exceed 40-by-40 inches.

Artists must be over 18. Intake day is Sept. 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 214-382-0202 or email scifi_chick@juno.com for more information.

—  John Wright

DADT rally planned Thursday on Cedar Springs

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and other groups are planning a rally — either a protest or a celebration — on Cedar Springs on Thursday night following a possible Senate vote on the Defense spending bill that includes a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” From the e-mail we just received:

The Senate will be voting on DADT 12/09/10. We are going to join other LGBT community organizations tomorrow for either a celebration or a protest according to how the vote goes tomorrow.

Here is what we need the membership to do:

1. Call Senator Hutchison (202) 224-5922 or (214) 361- 3500 and/or FAX (202) 224-0776

2. Call Senator Cornyn (202) 224-2934 or (972) 239-1310 and/or FAX (202) 228-2856

Just tell them your name and that you are a voting constituent. Then tell the staffer you URGE the Senator to vote to REPEAL DADT. While you’re at it you can also urge them to vote in favor of the DREAM ACT! Both legislations effect our LGBT brothers & sisters.

3. Show up at the rally at 7 p.m. on 12/09/10. We will meet at the Oak Lawn Library and then march down Cedar Springs to the Monument of Love and have our celebration or protest rally! Bring your PRIDE Flags, banners, signs, or just yourself! History will be made tomorrow. Be a part of it! Please forward this rally email to everyone you know. Please post in your Facebook and/or Twitter statuses! Thank you to Equality March Texas (EMT), LULAC 4871, HRC, and Out & Equal groups that are already on board for the rally!

—  John Wright

WATCH: ‘A Vigil for the Lost’ on Cedar Springs honors victims of anti-gay bullying, harassment

The names of gay suicide victims were read during a brief ceremony at the Legacy of Love Monument.

About 100 people gathered on the Cedar Springs strip Sunday night to pay tribute to the many young victims of anti-gay bullying and harassment who’ve taken their own lives in recent weeks.

Turnout was surprisingly strong given that the vigil had been publicized primarily on Facebook. However, the Dallas Voice appeared to be the only media outlet present.

“A Vigil for the Lost,” organized by the DFW Sisters, began in the parking lot of the Oak Lawn library, where the Sisters passed out programs, glowsticks and ribbons. The Subway store on Cedar Springs donated 200 sandwiches.

One of the Sisters was wearing a “Veil of Tears” that was laid over the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot. People were encouraged to use Sharpies to record on the veil anti-gay epithets that have been used against them. Attendees scrawled things like “Faggot,” “Fucking Queer” and “God made AIDS to kill faggots.” The Sisters said the Veil of Tears would be burned following the vigil.

From the library, the mourners walked silently down the north side of Cedar Springs Road, taking up more than a full block at times, to the Legacy of Love Monument at Oak Lawn Avenue. Revelers outside bars on the strip asked what the vigil was about as the marchers walked silently past.

At the monument, the names of youth who’ve committed suicide were read, between refrains of “Stop the Bullying” and “Never Again,” during a brief ceremony. Video and more photos from the vigil are below.

—  John Wright