The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Defining Homes • Ask the EXPERTS

With the economy still in a wicked mess, reports are that the latest trend in homebuying is not buying. Renters are on the rise. But are they? Real estate source Inman reported in January that it is cheaper to buy in the majority of the country’s larger cities. Keith Jurow reported last year on World Property Channel that a Harris Interactive survey found renting a better option. So which is it? We asked locals in the industry how the trends are swaying the Dallas housing market and the frustrations behind them.

……………………

Michael Litzinger

Michael Litzinger
William Davis Realty Uptown

The trend has affected my business significantly. The firm I recently moved to seems to be more in tune with today’s market. Their streamlined, online process requires less paperwork which makes it better for the client, a much quicker turn around for me and better for the environment.

Leasing does move property these days, and I am just glad the industry moves in some fashion whether it’s leasing or selling.

I do think the trend has affected us locally somewhat, but not nearly as severely as in most other areas. I still feel good about the Dallas market.  I know Realtors in other areas that can’t say the same.

Buyers are decreasing to some degree. Even with low interest rates, I’ve had a lot of buyers come to me and then disappear.

 

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Derrick Dawson

Derrick Dawson
Texas Pride Realty

As an active and producing Realtor also working in property management, I’d say the rental trend has picked up significantly, but that doesn’t mean it’s been ideal for property renters/owners or for the multi-family industry. The rental market has been stable but faces some challenges based on broken leases due to financial hardship or unemployment. Many are playing it safe by downsizing or combining rental homes based on economic conditions, being fearful of keeping their jobs and saving for the future.
Today is a buyer’s market and an ideal time to get out of the rent race. The downfall to the buyer’s market that I have seen personally is buyers and investors taking advantage of desperate people in today’s markets, possibly causing detriment to individuals or families in their time of need but also bringing down values in those areas making it harder for others to sell.

 

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Dan Flynn

 

Dan Flynn
Dave Perry-Miller InTown

The trend of leasing over buying has changed the way I preview properties in my area. Leasing is so hot now, I’ve looked at rentals and try to know the different apartment communities close by. Now I am much faster to respond to leasing needs.

I process far more leases to build my future list of clients. I try to educate and prepare them for the buying process down the road. Using a Realtor to find the perfect place to lease makes a lot of sense for those wanting to buy in the future but also for those who don’t really want to do the legwork.

I recently represented a seller who could not sell his property for the amount he was hoping for. Finding qualified buyers in his market and price range wasn’t easy. Another Realtor’s client was interested in leasing the property so

I had to have that conversation with my seller. The seller decided to go with the lease. While sales are still going strong, leasing has increased. While this really is the time to buy, I think all the media attention scares buyers. Potential buyers need to know that the market is stable here and we are one of the cities leading the nation in sales right now.  Go buy a house now or pay more for it later both in price and interest rates.

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Keith M. Thomas

Keith M. Thomas
1111 Apartment Locators

Although the economy has definitely affected us here, it is worse in other areas of the country. Dallas continues to grow and so I feel the trend’s impact on Dallas has been positive.

My company is a fully licensed real estate brokerage company and we handle all residential and commercial real estate transactions yet, our primary business is apartment locating. We want to maintain focus on renters, but we’ve created strategic partnerships with other real estate companies and have a referral program with them. We work closely with our clients to help with all of their real estate needs.

For homes that have reasonable mortgages there is good news. In Dallas, the rental market has significantly gone up, especially from 2010 to present to a  94-97 percent occupancy rate.

Buyers become renters for two reasons: First, they are able to get a nicer home for a lower monthly payment. And second, it doesn’t make sense to buy unless you’re planning to stay. However, buyers are increasing, oddly enough. MetroTex Association of Realtors reported that last August 2010 there were 1,223 properties sold and this August 2011 there were 1,485.

It’s a landlords’ market. Rents are at a premium and good ones go fast. When I show my clients rentals, they want to think about it, I encourage them to act quickly, because the unit is gone within a day or two. Why should homeowners take a loss on waiting for a qualified buyer, when they can rent quickly and hold out for the market to improve?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Maggie grades prez hopefuls; Potential noms not so NOM-pleasing

Pawlenty: D

Thune: D+

Romney: D

Ryan: C-

Trump: D

Santorum: A

Gingrich: D

McConnell: D

Bachmann: D

Those D’s of course have nothing to do with party affiliation. Ryan’s C- aint for conservative. Rather this is the list of faliling “marriage” grades that the National Organization For Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher has given to the slate of Republican presidential hopefuls who’ve spoken thus far at the weekend CPAC convention. A report card unlikely to please any parents, be they opposite-sex, same-sex, or single.

And as for the one bona fide good grade, belonging to Rick Santorum: Maggie admits, in full disclosure, that the former PA senator ran his speech by her ahead of time. Oh, and it’s the “values issues”-deviled Rick Santorum. Maggie could’ve written that “A” three weeks ago.

So all in all: It looks like Maggie’s biggest fight might not be with the many loving gay couples who are sick of pausing their lives to “prove” that they are worthy of full and equal citizenship under the nation’s civil laws, but rather within the one party that she has no choice but to have in her pocket. Because let’s get real: When Michelle “I once hid behind some bushes to spy on a gay marriage rally” Bachmann gives a conservative speech that doesn’t drop even one “protect marriage” rally canard? Well, Tea Partying Toto: I don’t think we’re in the Bush years anymore.

*Maggie’s grades can all be found on NOM Blog




Good As You

—  David Taffet

Mubarak sets up potential bloodbath with speech; hands over limited power to VP

Is it me or is aging, out-of-touch, egomaniac dictator Hosni Mubarak asking for a bloodbath coup with a speech that basically says he’s still in charge?

In what looks like a bone-headed, stubborn and potentially deadly political move, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, who apparently hasn’t been looking at the teeming crowds of people in the streets calling for him to get lost, today digged in his heels. The speech clearly caught everyone — including the White House — off guard, as most figured the guy was going to resign and jet off to some paradise to live out the rest of his years. You know, something that would make sense for the garden variety dictator.

But egomaniacs like to hold on to power, so he handed over some responsibilities to his VP:

I am telling you, as a president of the country, I do not find it a mistake to listen to you and to respond to your requests and demands. But it is shameful and I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dictations, whatever the source might be or whatever the context it came in.

…I have delegated to the vice president some of the power – the powers of the president according to the constitution. I am aware, fully aware, that Egypt will overcome the crisis and the resolve of its people will not be deflected and will [inaudible] again because of the – and will deflect the arrows of the enemies and those who [inaudible] against Egypt.

But Mubarak still holds power over the country’s constitution and ability to dismiss Parliament, according to CNN.

The White House has yet to respond. Who knows what the Egypt’s army will do.

***

UPDATE: The WH response:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                                                                                                            February 10, 2011

Statement of President Barack Obama on Egypt

The Egyptian people have been told that there was a transition of authority, but it is not yet clear that this transition is immediate, meaningful or sufficient. Too many Egyptians remain unconvinced that the government is serious about a genuine transition to democracy, and it is the responsibility of the government to speak clearly to the Egyptian people and the world. The Egyptian government must put forward a credible, concrete and unequivocal path toward genuine democracy, and they have not yet seized that opportunity.  

As we have said from the beginning of this unrest, the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. But the United States has also been clear that we stand for a set of core principles. We believe that the universal rights of the Egyptian people must be respected, and their aspirations must be met. We believe that this transition must immediately demonstrate irreversible political change, and a negotiated path to democracy. To that end, we believe that the emergency law should be lifted. We believe that meaningful negotiations with the broad opposition and Egyptian civil society should address the key questions confronting Egypt’s future: protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens; revising the Constitution and other laws to demonstrate irreversible change; and jointly developing a clear roadmap to elections that are free and fair.

We therefore urge the Egyptian government to move swiftly to explain the changes that have been made, and to spell out in clear and unambiguous language the step by step process that will lead to democracy and the representative government that the Egyptian people seek.  Going forward, it will be essential that the universal rights of the Egyptian people be respected. There must be restraint by all parties. Violence must be forsaken. It is imperative that the government not respond to the aspirations of their people with repression or brutality. The voices of the Egyptian people must be heard.

The Egyptian people have made it clear that there is no going back to the way things were: Egypt has changed, and its future is in the hands of the people. Those who have exercised their right to peaceful assembly represent the greatness of the Egyptian people, and are broadly representative of Egyptian society. We have seen young and old, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian join together, and earn the respect of the world through their non-violent calls for change. In that effort, young people have been at the forefront, and a new generation has emerged. They have made it clear that Egypt must reflect their hopes, fulfill their highest aspirations, and tap their boundless potential. In these difficult times, I know that the Egyptian people will persevere, and they must know that they will continue to have a friend in the United States of America.

###

Below the fold is the Mubarak transcript.

 

In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate, dear fellow citizens, my sons, the youth of Egypt, and daughters, I am addressing you tonight to the youth of Egypt in Tahrir Square, with all of its diversity.

I am addressing all of you from the heart, a speech from the father to his sons and daughters. I am telling you that I am very grateful and am so proud of you for being a symbolic generation that is calling for change to the better, that is dreaming for a better future, and is making the future.

I am telling you before anything, that the blood of the martyrs and the injured will not go in vain. And I would like to affirm, I will not hesitate to punish those who are responsible fiercely. I will hold those in charge who have violated the rights of our youth with the harshest punishment stipulated in the law.

I am telling families of the innocent victims that I have been so much in pain for their pain, and my heart ached for your heartache.

I am telling you that my response to your demands and your messages and your requests is my commitment that I will never go back on to. I am determined to fulfill what I have promised you in all honesty, and I’m determined to execute and carry out what I have promised without going back to the past.

This commitment is out of my conviction of your honesty and your movement and that your demands are the demands – legitimate and just demands. Any regime could make mistakes in any country, but what is more important is to acknowledge these mistakes and reform and correct them in a timely manner, and to hold those responsible for it accountable.

I am telling you, as a president of the country, I do not find it a mistake to listen to you and to respond to your requests and demands. But it is shameful and I will not, nor will ever accept to hear foreign dictations, whatever the source might be or whatever the context it came in.

My sons and daughters, the youth of Egypt, dear fellow citizens, I have announced, without any doubt, that I will not run for the next presidential elections and have said that I have given the country and served the country for 60 years in public service, during wartime and during peacetime.

I have told you my determination that I will hold steadfast to continue to take on my responsibility to protect the constitution and the rights of people until power is transferred to whomever the people choose during September, the upcoming September, and free and impartial elections that will be safeguarded by the freedom – the call for freedom.

This is the oath that I have taken before God and before you. And I will protect it and keep it until we reach – we take Egypt to the safety and security.

I have given you my vision to get out of this current situation, to accomplish what the youth and the people called for, within the respect for the legitimacy and the constitution in a way that will accomplish security, and security for our future and the demands of our people, and at the same time will guarantee a framework of peaceful transition of power.

Through a responsible dialogue between all factions in the society, with all honesty and transparency, I have given you this vision under commitment to take the country out of this current crisis, and I will continue to accomplish it. And I’m monitoring the situation hour by hour.

I’m looking forward to the support of all those who are careful about the security and want a secure Egypt, within a tangible time, with the harmony of the broad base of all Egyptians that will stay watchful to guard Egypt and under the command of its military forces.

We have started a national dialogue, a constructive one, that included the youth who have called for change and reform, and also with all the factions of opposition and of society. And this dialogue resulted in harmony, and preliminary harmony in opinions that has placed us on the beginning of the road to transfer to a better future that we have agreed on.

We also have agreed on a road map – a road map with a timetable. Day after day, we will continue the transition of power from now until September. This national dialogue has — has met and was formed under a constitutional committee that have looked into the constitution and what was required – and looked into what is required, and the constitution reforms that is demanded [inaudible].

We will also monitor the execution – the honest execution of what I have promised my people. I was careful that both committees that were formed – to be formed from Egyptians who are honorable and who are independent and impartial, and who are well-versed in law and constitution.

In addition to that, in reference to the loss of many Egyptians during these sad situations that have pained the hearts of all of us and have ached the conscience of all Egyptians. I have also requested to expedite investigations and to refer all investigations to the attorney general to take the necessary measures and steps – decisive steps.

I also received the first reports yesterday about the required constitutional reform – reforms that was suggested by the constitutional and law experts regarding the legislative reforms that were requested. I am also responding to what the committee has suggested. And based on the powers given to me according to the constitution, I have presented today a request asking the amendment of six constitutional articles, which is 76, 77, 88, 93 and 187, in addition to abolishing article number 79 in the constitution, with the affirmation and conviction that later on we can also amend the other articles that would be suggested by that constitutional committee, according to what it sees right.

Our priority now is to facilitate free election – free presidential elections and to stipulate a number of terms in the constitution and to guarantee a supervision of the upcoming elections to make sure it will be conducted in a free manner.

We – I have also looked into the provisions and the steps to look into the parliamentary elections, but those who have suggested to abolish article number 179 in the constitution will guarantee the balance between the constitution and between our security and the threat of terror, which will open the door to stopping the martial law, as soon as we regain stability and security and as soon as these circumstances — circumstances assure the stability.

Our priority now is to regain confidence between citizens among themselves and to regain confidence in the international arena and to regain confidence about the reforms that we have pledged.

Egypt is going through some difficult times, and it is not right to continue in this discourse because it has affected our economy and we have lost day after day, and it is in danger — it is putting Egypt through a situation where people who have called for reform will be the first ones to be affected by it.

This time is not about me. It’s not about Hosni Mubarak. But the situation now is about Egypt and its present and the future of its citizens.

All Egyptians are in the same spot now, and we have to continue our national dialogue that we have started in the spirit of one team and away from disagreements and fighting so that we can take Egypt to the next step and to regain confidence in our economy and to let people feel secure and to stabilize the Egyptian street so that people can resume their daily life.

I was a young man, a youth just like all these youth, when I have learned the honor of the military system and to sacrifice for the country. I have spent my entire life defending its land and its sovereignty. I have witnessed and attended its wars with all its defeats and victories. I have lived during defeat and victory.

During the victory in 1973, my happiest days were when I lifted the Egyptian flag over Sinai. I have faced death several times when I was a pilot. I also faced it in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and elsewhere. I did not submit nor yield to foreign dictations or others. I have kept the peace. I worked towards the Egyptian stability and security. I have worked to the revival in Egypt and the prosperity.

I did not seek authority. I trust that the majority — the vast majority of the Egyptian people know who is Hosni Mubarak, and it pains me to what I have — what I see today from some of my fellow citizens. And anyway, I am completely aware of the — what we are facing and I am convinced that Egypt is going through a historical — a historical moment that necessitates we should look into the higher and superior aspirations of the nation over any other goal or interest.

I have delegated to the vice president some of the power – the powers of the president according to the constitution. I am aware, fully aware, that Egypt will overcome the crisis and the resolve of its people will not be deflected and will [inaudible] again because of the – and will deflect the arrows of the enemies and those who [inaudible] against Egypt.

We will stand as Egyptians and we will prove our power and our resolve to overcome this through national dialogue. We will prove that we are not followers or puppets of anybody, nor we are receiving orders or dictations from anybody — any entity, and no one is making the decision for us except for the [inaudible] of the Egyptian [inaudible].

We will prove that with the spirit and the resolve of the Egyptian people, and with the unity and steadfastness of its people and with our resolve and to our glory and pride.

These are the main foundations of our civilization that have started over 7,000 years ago. That spirit will live in us as long as the Egyptian people – as long as the Egyptian people remain, that spirit will remain in us.

It will live amongst all of our people, farmers, intellectuals, workers. It will remain in the hearts of our senior citizens, our women, our children, Christians and Muslims alike, and in the hearts and minds of all those who are not born yet.

Let me say again that I have lived for this nation. I have kept my responsibilities. And Egypt will remain, above all, and above any individuals — Egypt will remain until I deliver and surrender its — it to others. This will be the land of my living and my death. It will remain a dear land to me. I will not leave it nor depart it until I am buried in the ground. Its people will remain in my heart, and it will remain — its people will remain upright and lifting up their heads.

May God keep Egypt secure and may God defend its people. And peace be upon you.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  David Taffet

More info on Saturday’s Prop 8 protest in Dallas

If you’re interested in helping out with Saturday’s Prop 8 protest in Dallas but couldn’t make last night’s organizational meeting, there’s plenty of contact info and volunteer opportunities after the jump.

—  John Wright