LifeWalk steps off Sunday in Lee Park

Nobles says that park will not be fenced this year but is worried about added cost and barrier affecting next year’s event

KICKING UP THEIR HEELS | The LifeWalk organizing committee gets ready for Sunday.

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

New requirements by the city of Dallas could affect proceed totals from this year’s AIDS Arms LifeWalk, and at least one more new requirement is expected to be added to the list next year, according to LifeWalk organizers.

The 21st annual LifeWalk steps off from Lee Park on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. for the 3.2-mile walk. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Last year’s event raised $401,000 and this year’s goal is $500,000.

Although thousands of people are expected for the event, Lee Park will remain unfenced this year, even though the city has said such gatherings will require fencing in the future.

Officials with the Dallas Tavern Guild, which stages the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and the Festival in Lee Park each year as part of Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride celebration, decided to get ahead of the new requirement by fencing in Lee Park this year for the festival, although the city requirement had not yet gone into effect.

Tavern Guild officials also chose to charge a $5 admission fee to the festival this year to help offset expenses and raise extra funds that will be distributed to parade beneficiaries.

The admission fee raised the ire of some in the community, and attendance at the festival was down compared to last year. But Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said the drop was not significant, and noted that the admission fee brought in about $25,000 that will be divided among beneficiaries.

But AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles said new city requirements have already had an impact on LifeWalk, and she is worried that the new fencing requirements could affect next year’s walk.

“There were a lot more expenses from the city this year,” she said. “It really hits the bottom line.”

The cost of fencing next year will add an additional, unwelcome expense. But Nobles said she isn’t going to worry about that until after this weekend’s event. Right now, her main concern is getting people out to participate in this year’s fundraiser.

“Anyone can participate in LifeWalk,” Nobles said. “You can walk alone or bring friends or join a team. We even have poop-out vans: In case you can’t walk the entire three-mile route, someone will pick you up and bring you back to the park to have a good time.”

She also invited people to just come to the park and cheer.

“We need cheerleaders at the start and finish and at the water stations,” Nobles said. “We have pompoms for anyone who wants to cheer the walkers on.”

Registration for LifeWalk is $40 for people and $10 for dogs participating in LifeBark. People get a T-shirt and dogs get a bandana to show their support for people with HIV.

AIDS Arms is the primary beneficiary of LifeWalk, but other organizations also receive funds from the event, including AIDS Services of Dallas, Legal Hospice of Texas, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus, Bryan’s House, Resource Center Dallas and the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

Money raised goes toward programming rather than capital costs. The chorale uses funds for their HIV fund, including giving tickets to performances through the year to people with AIDS.

Nobles praised that effort, saying that socializing is an important holistic element in treating HIV.

The Women’s Chorus will present a program at AIDS Arms in March on National HIV Women’s Day. Those expenses, Nobles said, should be covered by the group’s LifeWalk proceeds.

Nobles said it would be tempting for AIDS Arms to use the money to finish paying off the agency’s new Trinity Health and Wellness Center in Oak Cliff. She said that the new facility cost more than $2 million, and AIDS Arms needs to raise just $35,000 more to pay off the facility.

Trinity Health and Wellness Center opened in September and will have its formal grand opening in two weeks.

But despite the temptation, AIDS Arms will instead use proceeds from LifeWalk to support programs for clients at Trinity as well as at AIDS Arms’ older clinic, Peabody Health Center in South Dallas.

AIDS Arms also uses the money to administer HIV tests to more than 3,500 people a year and for case management for more than 3,400 people.

LifeWalk began in 1990 as a fundraiser for Oak Lawn Community Services. When that agency closed, management of the event moved to AIDS Arms.

LifeWalk Co-chair Marvin Green noted that his Green Team will mark its 20th year of participation in LifeWalk. He said he put the team together for the first time in the second year of LifeWalk because he had already lost 20 friends to AIDS.

That first year, three team members raised $75. This year, the 32-member Green Team has collected about $22,000.

Co-chair Fred Harris said that there were quite a few new teams this year.

“We’re reaching out to new communities,” Harris said. “There’s new energy. We’re branching outside Oak Lawn.”

He said teams are using creative new ways to raise money and AIDS Arms has actively brought in new sponsors such as Chipotle.

“Stoli is coming with a first-ever LifeWalk drink,” Nobles said. Returning sponsor Caven Enterprises will serve beer and Ben E. Keith donated iced tea.

Harris said planning has gone well, and that “LifeWalk is a well-oiled machine.”

Harris said he has seen more use of social media this year than ever, reaching out to people outside the Metroplex.

“This year Facebook has become a very powerful tool,” he said, not just for fundraising but also for recruiting walkers.

Last year, about 3,500 people walked, and this year, “Registration is ahead of where we were this time last year,” Harris said.

Waterpalooza, another AIDS Arms event, was moved to Pride weekend this year, just two weeks prior to LifeWalk. Harris said they took advantage of that event to sign up teams and walkers and generate excitement for this weekend’s walk.

Among the new teams, Harris said, are the DFW Sisters.

“Their efforts have been tireless,” he said. “They raise the bar.”

Nobles said that WFAA Channel 8 morning anchor Ron Corning will serve as M.C. in Lee Park. Although he’s appeared at several events since arriving in Dallas, this is the first big public event the openly gay television host has emceed.

LifeWalk received the Human Rights Campaign family-friendly designation, and Nobles said there will be bounce houses, clowns and face-painting for children.

Harris said the event is pet-friendly as well, “because pets are our family.”

There will be games and puppy pools for dogs as well as doggie adoptions, Nobles said.

She said the day would be a lot of fun but asked people to participate because the need is greater than ever.

“With the growth in the number of newly-infected people in Dallas County who need help in this economy, we’re seeing people who never would ask but must,” she said.

Next year, Nobles said, she would like to see LifeWalk return to Oak Lawn, but new city regulations for events may change those plans. Among the events changing plans this year because of the city involved Lone Star Ride.

Last year, Lone Star Riders participated in LifeWalk on bike. This year, city regulations banned bikes from walks so LSR riders who participate will have to walk.

Green was thinking about bigger plans for future LifeWalks. Other cities that raise more money stage longer walks. He said he’d love to use the new Downtown Deck Park that should be completed next year and dreamed of seeing LifeWalkers crossing the new suspension bridge that should be open in March 2012.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Planning Black Pride

Spotlighting events this weekend from seminars to sexiness

pride

YOU ROCK | Adult film actor and entrepreneur Rock Rockafella is one of several African-American porn stars who will appear at Dallas Black Pride events.

 

Two organizations have made Dallas Black Pride into an enhanced experience for the local queer community. DFW Pride Movement puts emphasis on education while Dallas Southern Pride celebrates with several parties.
Here are some of the highlights both have planned for Dallas Black Pride Weekend.

— Rich Lopez

Friday

Third Annual Black LGBT Community Summit
with speakers Cleo Manago and Steve Wakefield. Marriott City Center, 650 N. Pearl St. 1 p.m. DFWPrideMovement.org.

Queerly Speaking:
Black Pride Edition with special guests Kerin Rodriguez and Uriah Bell. Marriott City Center Cambridge Ballroom. 7 p.m. $5. FahariArtsInstitute.org.

Cirque du Freak party
with DJs C. Wade and Unique and adult film star Ty Lattimore. The Brick, 2525 Wycliff Ave. 10 pm.
Sponsored by 7Connection. DallasSouthernPride.com.

The Dom: A Night of Dominance
with DJ Laid Back. Victory Tavern City Grille, 2501 N. Houston St. 10 p.m. $15. DallasHerStory.com.

Him4Him All-Star Friday Pride Boyzz Night Out
with Sex Siren competition. Club Elm and Pearl, 2204 Elm St. 10 p.m. ElmAndPearl.com.

Saturday

HisStory/HerStory: Telling Our Story intergenerational discussion.
Marriott City Center, Plaza A. Noon. DFWPrideMovement.org.

The Ex-Factor.
Q-Roc Ragsdale talks about ex-partners and living in the same community. Presented by Q-Roc.TV. Marriott City Center,  Nice Room. 2 p.m. DFWMovement.org.

TransFormation.
Valerie Spencer discusses trans topics within the black community. Marriott City Center, Champagne Room. 3:15 p.m.
DFWPrideMovement.org.

HIV through the Looking Glass.
Adult stars Ty Lattimore, Rock Rockafella and Remy Mars discuss HIV in the adult film industry. Marriott City Center, Normandy Room AB. 3:15 p.m.
DFWPrideMovement.org.

That’s Not Love, That’s Stupid
is designed to educate participants on relationship issues. Marriott City Center, Nice Room. 3:15 p.m.
Official Dallas Black Pride Tweet and Greet. Marriott City Center Plaza C. 3–7 p.m. DFWMovement.org.

Uncut (Sex and the Modern Man).
GLO TV live taping with Maurice Jamal. Marriott City Center, Plaza A. 3-5 p.m. GLOTVNetwork.com.

Full Throttle Fashion Explosion hosted by Midweek Meltdown. Marriott City Center, Plaza AB. 8–10 p.m. DFWMovement.org.

Her4Her’s Seductive Saturday Femme Figure and Stud Realness Show
featuring guest dancers. Club Elm and Pearl, 2204 Elm St. 10 p.m. DallasSouthernPride.com.

Cirque du Male party
with all-male circus. Presented by 7Connection. J. Pepe’s, 2720 N. Stemmons Freeway. DallasSouthernPride.com.

Sunday

Living Faith Covenant Church
worship service featuring the DFW Pride Movement Gospel Choir. Marriott City Center, Normandy Room AB. Noon. LivingFaithDFW.org.

Family Affair Carnival
is a family-friendly event featuring bounce houses, petting zoo and games. Club Elm and Pearl, 2204 Elm St. 4 p.m. DallasSouthernPride.com

Black Pride Dinner
at Catfish Blues, 1011 Corinth St. from 2–5 p.m.  DFWPrideMovement.org.

Whip My Hair
inaugural gay Pride hair show with DJ Black Cat and MC Sister Ida Mae Watergate. Presented by 7Connection and Tysin and Starr Entertainment. The Brick, 2525 Wycliff Ave. 7 p.m. DallasSouthernPride.com.

The Lipstick Ball 2011
is the official after party with local performer Shemar Collins Dupree. Radisson Hotel, 2204 Elm St. in the grand ballroom. Midnight. DallasSouthernPride.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Utility work on Cedar Springs not expected to hurt business

CSMA announces schedule of fall events, including annual Christmas tree lighting in December

IMG_4486
STRONG SALES | Matthew Evans, the newest employee at Union Jack on Cedar Springs Road, saw his busiest day at the store during Pride weekend. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Utility work is scheduled to begin on Cedar Springs Road on Monday, Sept. 26, but should create minimal interruption to business on the street, business owners said this week.

When Atmos Energy first announced the work, all parking on the street was going to be affected for about two weeks. The original start date would have had the street torn up during the Pride parade.

After City Councilwoman Angela Hunt intervened, the work was postponed until after Pride, and the company agreed to do one section at a time.

Cedar Springs Merchants Association President Scott Whittall said this week that he doesn’t expect the work to interfere with business. Only a few parking spaces at a time should be disrupted, he said.

“They’re checking connections, not doing repairs,” he said, adding that it will be a “dig, check, fill back in” situation.

Work will begin on the Oak Lawn Avenue end of the street and proceed toward Douglas Avenue. All construction should be completed in time for fall events planned for the street.

Merchants this week reported strong business during Pride weekend, and they said they are looking for fall events to continue boosting sales.

Whittall.Scott
CSMA President Scott Whittall

“We really had a good weekend,” said Macho Nacho Assistant General Manager Brandi Knutzen. “We had fun and saw a lot of new faces.”

She said it was their biggest weekend since the restaurant opened in April, and she hopes many of the people who came in for the first time during Pride will return.

OutLines Manager David Lester said that business in his shop is up over last year. He said that in addition to events the Cedar Springs Merchants Association has planned, his store will decorate for Texas-OU weekend and will do a tent sale once a month.

“Overall, business is good,” he said.

Union Jack Manager Kim Johnson reported a similar boost in business over the Pride weekend. “It was one of the best we’ve had in a long time.”

Matthew Evans, the store’s newest employee, said it was the busiest weekend he’s seen.

Johnson said that rather than special promotions, he’s relying on new lines of jackets, shoes, accessories and “the works” that are scheduled to arrive for the fall.

One that hit the store recently is a line of Pan Am logo wallets, bags and related merchandise. The items are tied to the premiere of a new TV show about the airline set in the 1960s, and Johnson said sales of those items are especially strong.

Johnson also suggested that new stores opening on the street will help keep shoppers on Cedar Springs.

A hair care supply store is set to open in the old Shades of Gray space behind Hunky’s. And across from there, construction is close to complete on the new Thai-rrific restaurant that should open in October.

However, a coffee shop that had begun construction in the space between Thai-rrific and Macho Nacho abandoned its lease because of permit issues related to parking.

Events drive traffic to the gay strip, and CSMA announced a fall schedule of events through Christmas.

On Oct. 29, Cedar Springs Road will be closed to traffic for the annual Halloween street party, which, Whittall said, is traditionally one of the biggest times for sales along the street.

He said the best time to shop is after the street closes around 4 p.m.

The next sidewalk sale and mini art show is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 19, with artists  showing their work along the strip in conjunction with sales by many of the merchants. A lineup of local vendors in booths is planned as well.

DFW Rescue will be there looking for new homes for pets. Music on the street will add to the day’s festivities.

“That event kicks off the Christmas season on Cedar Springs,” Whittall said.

Two events are scheduled for the first week in December.

On Dec. 2, a holiday dinner theater at the Rose Room will benefit the Cedar Springs Beautification Project. Whittall said the lineup should be announced soon.

On Dec. 7, the DFW Sisters will light the Christmas tree on the patio of TMC: The Mining Company at 7 p.m. Whittall said they plan to have a bigger tree this year. And he hoped to have an announcement soon about additional lighting.

The Oak Lawn Band is slated to perform. The lighting will be followed by a cider and wine stroll. Sexy Santa will be on the street handing out gifts and carolers will perform.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

ilume Gallerie gets its Pride on

The ilume Gallerie is settling into the start of its third year in its space (its sign went up last week) just in time for Pride, and as always, there’s plenty of diverse art to appeal to every taste.

The current exhibit, More than Words by artists Kat and J Taylor, features dynamic oils and complex color compositions that speak to gay-positive messages with titles such as Rights and Liberty, below. It runs through Sept. 30 and sales benefit the charity Wednesday’s Child.

Resident photographer Jorge Rivas also launches his new series, capturing the frescoes, sculpture and architecture of Fair Park with The Esplanade Series, right.

This is also the final weekend to participate in Rivas’ Faces of Life project. For a donation of $50 per person ($75 for couples and families), Rivas photographs people with a signature red ribbon raising money and awareness in combatting AIDS. “Pets and creative expression are encouraged,” says Ronald Radwanski, ilume Gallerie’s director and artist-in-residence. No appointment is necessary on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. — just show up and contribute. The final exhibit will be on display in November.

The Gallerie has enhanced hours over Pride weekend (Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.), but will be closed Sunday due to the parade and ilume celebration.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Best bets • 09.16.11

Friday 09.16

Bears do a switcheroo
BearDance steps out with a new Dallas Pride event. In the first Switch Party, the bears take over Sue Ellen’s for a night to dance the night away with Bearhaus DJ Blaine Soileau at the helm. The ladies

will head to TMC: The Mining Company to let the bears play while they raise money for AIDS Arms. Sounds good all around.

DEETS: Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. $15. BearDance.org.

………………….

Friday 09.16

Coco puff
Since Dallas was so good to her last time, Coco Peru thought she’d come this way again for her End of Summer Tour. Plus, it totally enhances all of your Pride festivities. Who doesn’t want a legendary drag queen/actress as part of the fun-filled weekend? We do for sure.

DEETS: The Rose Room (inside Station 4), 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. $30.  CocoPeruTour.com.

…………………

Saturday 09.17

Cruising the amusement park
Is it un-PC to say “scream like a girl?” Because you will as the Mr. Freeze ride drops you faster than your last Grindr hookup. The DV presents Gay Day at Six Flags for Pride weekend.

DEETS: Six Flags Over Texas, 2201 Road To Six Flags. Park opens at 10 a.m. $25 pre-order. $57 door. AltURL.com/ogddb

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Do you Peru?

Even as fans rallied to help Coco Peru get her next film off the ground, the drag goddess still likes her comedy live

lead

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Expect a lovefest when Coco Peru comes back to Dallas for Pride weekend. With memories of a responsive audience, shopping and beef jerky during her last go-round here nearly two years ago, the drag goddess is hoping for a repeat performance. Sort of. She’s back on the road with a new show, but that’s not all the legendary queen has going on.

“Well, we’ve filmed Girls Will Be Girls 2 already,” Peru (aka Clinton Leupp) says. “Right now the writer/director is busily editing. It’s just one of those things: You film it and hope for the best.”

Peru has garnered a significant amount of film work over the years, usually with notable cameos in films like as Trick, but occasionally as the star, as with Girls Will Be Girls. But she admits live performance is where she’s at her best.

“I like to think my show is like watching a theater piece,” she says. “I love film acting, but it’s exciting on a whole other level. There’s not that energy of a live audience and no feedback. So often, comic timing is how the audience is reacting to you. With acting, you mentally feel it out, try it and mostly trust the director. I find sometimes I rehearsed a line so much in my head, it takes me a few times to take direction on it.”

For Girls 2, Peru discovered just how much her fans appreciated her work. As a micro-mini indie, the film went on the website Kickstarter to raise funds. As word got out that the film was in production and that Peru was in it, the money rolled in.

“The movie was completely funded by fans,” she exclaims. “It was just incredible that they would want to pay money! And I must say, most of it came from my fans. I’m just putting that out there.”

Along with funds from Kickstarter, the crew itself was almost all-volunteer. People would just show up, willing to help out. It turned into an actual labor of love.

Along with donated help, the production even received a donated green screen. All the generosity reminded Peru that people are that genuinely kind and that it’s all right to ask for things, which usually embarrasses her. She saw this particular filmmaking experience as a good lesson on many levels.

“Let’s just hope the movie’s funny,” she laughs.

Dating back to the “early ‘90s” — that’s as specific as her website will get — Peru gives much credit to her fans along the way for the success of her career. Even if they come up to once again mention her role in the film Trick, Peru takes none of it for granted. Perhaps it’s cliché for any type of celebrity to appreciate their fans, but she  talks at length about how her fans have kept her driven.

“It’s so overwhelming, whether it’s a movie or my own shows, that they will take time to contact me to tell me whatever it is they are feeling,” she says. “I feel lucky and blessed when they reach out to me and I strive to answer every email. I remember those days that felt so lonely and sad. Growing up gay and feeling rejected doesn’t make a happy life. But when you get over 800 birthday messages on Facebook, it’s amazing!”

She’ll meet a new slew of fans on her current End of Summer Tour, as she’ll visit Tampa and Las Vegas for the first time as a performer. Even with her experience onstage, Peru is still daunted by a new audience, the same way she was before playing Dallas the first time early last year.

“The first time, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect,” she recalls. “I felt that audiences came wanting to have a great time. You go to certain cities and they have a bit of an edge, but in Texas, it was an immediate love fest on both ends.”

In her new show, There Comes a Time, Peru talks about getting older and reminiscing about her life. Fortunately, Dallas isn’t a punch line in her monologue. The city left a good impression on her and she only hopes to make another one of her own.

“Well, I’m happy to be coming back and they took such good care of me last time,” she says, “but I don’t wanna jinx myself. You never know.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

BearDance event during Pride at … Sue Ellen’s?

When I spoke with BearDance co-founder Mark Trimble for this story, we got to talking about how the normally TBRU dance event will evolve into something bigger. And why not? The guys know how to raise some big bucks for local nonprofits. They made a healthy donation to the Dallas Bears, which in turn, doled out the money to their beneficiaries.

On Facebook last week, the BD guys announced and invited people to the SwitchParty BearDance at, of all places, Sue Ellen’s, during Pride weekend. How are the ladies gonna like that? Don’t worried, they’ve got it covered, according to this explanation on their event post:

BearDance is bringing back DJ Blaine to spin for a hopping dance party on Friday of Dallas Pride Weekend, September 16th. BearDance is partnering with Caven Enterprises to sponsor this SwitchParty, so the bears are getting Sue Ellen’s and the girls get live music back at TMC. Come out, dance, and socialize with all the bears, cubs, otters, daddies, musclebears and friends as we mix things up, take back the dance floor, and trade spaces with the girls! As always, this non-profit event has a charitable component and the $15 cover charge proceeds at the BearDance will be going to AIDS Arms.

You got some time to plan. Mark your calendars for Sept 16. at 9 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

Blythe Beck introduces 1st-ever cooking series

If there’s a gap in most home cooks’ repertoire, it’s probably that they don’t deep-fry enough kobe beef or use enough butter. OK, maybe not that exactly, but the thing is, that’s the specialty of Central 214 exec chef Blythe Beck. Now, for the first time, she’s gonna share some of her creations in intimate cooking classes this fall.

There are three classes planned so far — Sept. 17 (Pride Weekend!), Oct. 15 and Nov. 19 — in which she’ll share some of her secrets in making a three-course dinner complete with wine pairing. Class size is limited to 25. Cost is $125 per person.

To sign up, visit Central214.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Coco Peru returns to S4

It’s been almost two years since the drag comic Coco Peru descended upon the Rose Room at Station 4 with her droll drag show, but she’s coming back — and just in time for Pride.

Coco will perform a one-night-only engagement on Sept. 16 — the Friday night of Pride Weekend in Dallas. Tickets go on sale today at CocoPeruTour.com. Advance tickets are $25 for general admission ($30 at the door), and VIP passes are available.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Arts District pairs with Dallas Film Society for Sunset Screening series

‘Waiting for Guffman’ screens Sept. 17, just in time for Dallas Pride weekend.

The AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Film Society introduce a series of Sunset Screenings at Annette Strauss Artists Square alongside the Winspear Opera House, showing movies for free monthly all summer. It starts this Saturday.

Five hundred reserved seats are available with your RSVP, with lawn seating (blankets only; no portable chairs allowed) available as well. Coolers and strollers are not permitted, but concessions will be available.

The schedule is below:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones