Deaths • 11.04.11

Studer.JohnSpanke

John "Spanke" Studer

John “Spanke” Studer was born in Beattie, Kansas on April 10, 1955 to Ted and Margaret Studer, and died peacefully at his home on Oct. 31, at the age of 56.

Studer was an active member of the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, volunteering his services as a docent as well as in the church’s baking ministry.

He was also well known for his significant contributions to AIDS Services of Dallas.  According ASD’s President and CEO Don Maison, Studer served on the agency’s board for several years and over the past 20 years he catered and hosted  Spanke’s Toilet Paper Parties, collecting thousands and thousands of rolls of toilet paper, toothbrushes, soap and other personal items ASD residents and raising between $2,000 to $5,000 twice each year throughout that time.

Studer also served on the boards of of the Dallas Bears, Texas Bear Association and the Resource Center Dallas. In June, Dallas Bears named him Bear of the Year in recognition of his years of service to the community and his work in this year’s successful Texas Bear Round-Up.

He touched the lives of many friends and all who knew him understood he had a heart as big as the gentle man he was.

A memorial service will be held at the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, on Friday Nov. 4 at 10 a.m., followed by a reception at the church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to AIDS Services of Dallas

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Renee O’Connor film looks to add Facebook fans

Renee O'Connor in Beyond the Farthest Star
Actress Renee O’Connor and producer Benjamin Dane on location in Leonard, Texas, filming “Beyond the Farthest Star.”

Back in April, we published this interview with Renee O’Connor, the straight actor who earned herself an army of devoted lesbian fans with her role as the sweet and sexy Gabrielle on the TV series “Xena: Warrior Princess.”

O’Connor was, at the time of the interview, on location in Leonard, Texas — just northeast of Dallas — filming a movie called “Beyond the Farthest Star,” about a preacher, his wife, their daughter and the secrets they have been keeping. It’s not the kind of movie we would usually cover in Dallas Voice; there’s nothing LGBT-related in the storyline. But hey, I was a “Xena” fan, too, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to interview O’Connor. Plus, I know there are plenty of lesbians out there who still follow O’Connor’s career and would be interested in her latest venture.

This week, I got an e-mail from Benjamin Dane, a local actor who not only has a role in “Beyond the Farthest Star,” but is also one of the film’s producers. And he is once again reaching out to O’Connor’s lesbians fans to help get the word out about the movie:

“The new film, ‘Beyond the Farthest Star,’ starring Renee O’Connor is up to 3,400 fans on Facebook. In the last week, fan numbers have increased over 1,500. In an effort to spread the word about the film as it is in post production, we are setting a goal for 5,000 Facebook fans by Aug. 31. We need another 1,600 fans in nine days. I know Renee has a powerful fan base and I am hoping it can be rallied to help us reach our goal.”

He also noted that the movie’s website includes a “fan-driven demand/release” program called “Bring It,” where fans can, basically, vote to have the film screened in their area. He explained:

“This innovative system gives us more ammunition with our distributors. We have three distributors interested, but if we have numbers to prove interest from fans, it gives us more bargaining power. The fans literally can bring the film to a cinema near them if there are enough votes! As of right now, there are 202 American cities and 7 different countries that want ‘Beyond’ to screen in a theater in their community! And this is without a trailer! We are working on a trailer and it will be presented, however numbers are starting to grow on buzz alone!”

And, Dane said, the “Bring It” button is also on the film’s Facebook page. He also had a special message to O’Connor’s fans:

“I know Renee and Xena fans. I have spoken to a lot of you and understand your passion and love for Renee. I cannot wait for you to see her in this powerful performance. I have seen rough edits of the film and it is very dynamic. It is emotional, intense and compelling. I look forward to sharing with you all!”

The film also stars Todd Terry, Cheramie Leigh, Barry Corbin, Lou Beatty Jr. and more. It was written and is directed by Andrew Librizzi, and is co-produced by Dane and Sally Helppie.

And by the way, the Dallas Metro area is leading, by a big margin, in the “Bring It” vote count.

—  admin