Jennings Street Fall Festival

The weather has finally cooled down enough to make it seem like fall in North Texas, and the folks on Jennings Street in Fort Worth celebrated last weekend with the 2014 Jennings Street Fall Festival. Dallas Voice staff writer James Russell was on hand to get a few photos of the fun.

—  Tammye Nash

2 club-goers attacked near Rainbow Lounge over weekend

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Two club-goers were attacked over the weekend near Fort Worth’s gay clubs on South Jennings Avenue.

Cpl. Tracey Knight, LGBT liaison for the Fort Worth police, said two men reported being attacked near the Rainbow Lounge at 651 S. Jennings Ave. and Club Reflections, 604 S. Jennings Ave. on Friday.

Knight said the men were approached by four to five black men between the ages of 20 and 25 while walking to or leaving the clubs at 2:30 a.m. on Friday morning and the other at 10:45 p.m. that night.

During one assault, the men tried to take the man’s cell phone. Both suffered cuts and bruises with one requiring stitches.

Knight said there isn’t evidence of the attacks being hate crimes, but police have added extra patrol around the area and are still investigating them.

“The fact that there were similar instances by the same suspects two nights in a row is concerning,” Knight said. “The Fort Worth Police Department is taking precautions to keep citizens safe, as well as making bar staff and patrons aware of these incidents.”

Knight said she has already spoken to Fort Worth police Chief Jeffrey Halstead about the attacks, as well as openly gay Fort Worth Councilman Joel Burns, whose district includes the area. She said people should remain aware of their surroundings when going out.

“As always, people should be aware of their surroundings, park in well lit areas and walk in groups or pairs. Personal safety should always be taken seriously but especially so when you are in a known LGBT area, unfortunately this is the world we live in.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents should call the Fort Worth Police Department or contact Knight at tracey.knight@fortworthtexas.gov.

—  Dallasvoice

Dancer of the Month: Trey Aaron

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We begin a new monthly photography feature, Dancer of the Month, with an up-close look at Trey Aaron.

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Trey is looking to move to Dallas soon and do more of what he likes, such as hanging with friends and perhaps finding a place to swim and play basketball.

You might be able to tell that Trey has Swiss heritage along with some German and Cherokee Indian. But not too many people know that he sings and likes to two-step!

Trey likes a wide variety of music styles and of course loves to dance, which you can find him doing at BJ’s NXS and the Rainbow Lounge.

He’s engaging with customers and fellow dancers and shared this unusual pick-up line: “Is there a cellphone in your pocket? Because that ass is calling me!”

Next time you’re out, say hi to Trey and congratulate him on his recent graduation. More photos below.

—  C Marcelo

Photos and video from last night’s vigil for Tom Anable at the Rainbow Lounge

People who attended the vigil for Tom Anable Wednesday, Aug. 22, signed a photo of him afterward that was given to his family. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

As overhead lights shimmered across a mourning crowd Wednesday, candles were lit and tears were shed in sorrow and joy while celebrating the energetic and accomplished life of Thomas Anable.

The gay Fort Worth activist was respected in North Texas for his work throughout the Metroplex after the raid on of the Rainbow Lounge, but more than 100 friends who attended a vigil for him Wednesday remembered him as a friend who was funny, charming and, above all, a man who got what he wanted by finding a way to accomplish it.

“He was an anchor,” the Rev. Carol West said. “He was the voice of Fairness Fort Worth.”

West served on the board of FFW with Anable, who was president the past two years after quitting his job and dedicating himself full time to the organization.

Amid the underlying sadness that Anable left this earth too soon after taking his own life last weekend, West said it is time to “celebrate who he was and who he is and who he will always be in our hearts and in our minds.”

Jon Nelson with Fairness Fort Worth addressed the audience with a question of why Anable had devoted himself so fully after the raid, saying he finally found his voice when others couldn’t.

“He joined the fight and I can’t know for sure why he did that, but I think he did that for some of the reasons that you and I have,” Nelson said. “When he saw what he did, when he felt what he did that night, it may have brought back memories, memories that you have still today. The wrongs that were done to you, the wrongs that were done to him.”

Nelson said that Anable’s numerous accomplishments as president were attributed to FFW, but Anable was really the one who made them all happen.

“What he did, and make no mistake, what he did, he did. Not we did, he did,” Nelson said.

Friend Todd Camp said he couldn’t find words after learning of Anable’s death and he still feels lost without him.

“Tom lived his life his way,” Camp said before Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” was sung. “And he even left this world his way. Our way, unfortunately, is far more difficult. Our way comes with the challenge of fining meaning in the darkness, continuing a legacy that few could live up to and bringing hope and inspiration to a new generation of activist, allies and leaders.”

The audience then lit candles and listened to a rendition of the song, many holding hands and clinging to each other as they said goodbye to Anable.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, at Celebration Community Church.

Video and more photos from Wednesday’s vigil below.

—  Dallasvoice

Rainbow Lounge panel to feature FW police chief, TABC captain, Queer LiberAction founder

An “unprecedented” panel discussion focused on the Rainbow Lounge raid and its aftermath will follow a third-anniversary screening of Robert Camina’s documentary film about the raid on Thursday in Dallas.

The panel discussion will feature Fort Worth police Chief Jeffrey Halstead, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Maj. Charlie Cloud, TABC agent and LGBT liaison Leigh Ann Wiggins, Queer LiberAction founder Blake Wilkinson, Fairness Fort Worth spokesman Jon Nelson and Camina himself. The 30-minute panel discussion will be moderated by yours truly.

“I really do think that the panel discussion is unprecedented, where all these people are getting together in one room to talk about it,” Camina said.

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s screening of Camina’s Raid of the Rainbow Lounge at the Magnolia Theater, which will precede the panel discussion. The screening is the third and last scheduled for the award-winning film in Dallas.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the screening begins at 7:30. Those who’ve seen the film but want to attend the panel discussion should arrive by 9 p.m.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased here. Use Coupon Code ETT87D to get a $3 discount. For more on the film, go here.

—  John Wright

“Raid of the Rainbow Lounge” wins awards, books anniversary screening at Magnolia

Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, the documentary about the event that triggered a renewed passion for gay rights in North Texas, has won two recent awards. Earlier this month, it took the Audience Choice Award at Fort Worth’s Q Cinema; then a week later, it took Best GLBT FIlm at the 32nd Breckenridge Festival of Film in Colorado. The latter, mind you, is not a gay film fest at all, but a mainstream one with a gay category.

The film has already screened thrice North Texas — at a world premiere this past spring in Sundance Square, a Dallas premiere in April and at Q Cinema on June 1 – but you still have another chance to see it: Raid will screen in Dallas on June 28 — the third anniversary of the actual raid — at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring many of the actual parties involved in the raid and its aftermath. You can purchase tickets in advance exclusively here.

View the trailer of the film, narrated by out TV icon Meredith Baxter, after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Percussions Lounge closed until further notice

We’re sorry to hear that Fort Worth club Percussions Lounge closed its doors last Wednesday. This was posted on the club’s Facebook page. However, owner Randy Norman says that it really was just a matter of location.

“People didn’t really want to walk that far out and it never has really taken off,” Norman said.

Instead, Norman is focusing on his two more popular spots — Rainbow Lounge and Best Friends. That was part of the deal when he took over most of the gay bar scene in Fort Worth.

“I wanna get those built up, but we are also looking for another location for Percussions and we’re trying to see what we can find, but yeah, the focus now will be on Rainbow and Best Friends.”

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Fairness Fort Worth’s submission to the White House Pride Month Video Challenge

Thomas Anable, president of Fairness Fort Worth, reports that the below video focusing on the city’s response to the Rainbow Lounge raid has been submitted to the White House Pride Month Champions of Change Video Challenge.

The video, which features narration by Councilman Joel Burns and clips from the recently released film Raid of the Rainbow Lounge, was put together by Fairness Fort Worth in conjunction with the city and the Police Department, Anable said.

The deadline for submissions to the White House contest is today, and a panel will now select semi-finalists before the public helps select finalists in June to attend a Champions of Change event at the White House.

Watch the video below.

—  John Wright

Alan Steen, who guided TABC through Rainbow Lounge aftermath, to retire from agency in June

Alan Steen

Administrator Alan Steen, who guided the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission through the aftermath of the Rainbow Lounge raid, is retiring from TABC effective June 1, according to a press release.

Steen famously apologized to the LGBT community after the raid, which TABC conducted with the Fort Worth Police Department. Three TABC officers involved in the raid were later fired, and the agency settled with Rainbow Lounge patrons who were injured. TABC also became the first state agency to conduct comprehensive LGBT diversity training for all employees, and assigned a liaison to the LGBT community.

“I wanted to leave the agency when it was right for me personally and when I felt the agency was in the best shape of its existence,” Steen said in the release. “I believe that time is now. I know the dedicated employees of TABC will continue to progress and move forward. … I’d like to acknowledge the board that hired me. They wanted change for the agency and took a chance on someone who had no alcoholic beverage industry experience and who wasn’t a peace officer. I also want to thank the current board. During tough times, they stood by me, pushing the agency to cultivate a professional image, business-friendly practices, and a common sense approach.”

According to the press release, Steen has accepted the position of executive director of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA), which is based in Fort Worth and has more than 20,000 members around the world. Steen is a native of Granbury. An interim head for TABC has not been named.

—  John Wright

Owner of Cherries acquires 3 Fort Worth clubs

Former Rainbow Lounge manager and owner of Randy’s Club Cherries, Randy Norman has made his big move in Fort Worth. He is reportedly the new owner of the Rainbow Lounge, Best Friends Club and Percussions Lounge all in Cowtown. This comes from the Dallas Gay Bars website. We spoke with Norman this afternoon and his sights are set on getting Fort Worth clubs to a high standard. Sensing some decline in the clubs’ upkeep, Norman took action.

—  Rich Lopez