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

Final bets at the finale of Team DV’s P-P-P-Poker Tourney

Ante up to the table

Team Dallas Voice and Pocket Rockets Dallas are raising money for the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS by holding a P-P-P-Poker Tournament at clubs across town. After three weeks, the event has come to the grand prize final.

Because this is Dallas, not Vegas, the game play is free, so if you want to contribute to the LSR cause, bring cash to enter the raffle. Among the prizes available or that have been won are tickets to see Dolly Parton (we’ll resist the urge to call this one a “booby prize”), Ke$ha and Chelsea Handler,  tickets to the Texas Rangers and Lone Star Park horse races, Starbucks coffee, a set of poker chips, books, grooming supplies and much more … and the final grand prize: Two tickets on American Airlines anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

DEETS: Check out the Facebook event page here for details.

—  Rich Lopez

Road trip! Head to Justin for Ranch Hand Rescue benefit concert

Giving a horse a hand

Honky Tonk for Horses is expected to be the largest fundraiser for the Argyle-based large animal sanctuary Ranch Hand Rescue which is founded by Bob Williams. His partner Marty Polasko owns the neighboring American Pet Spa & Resort. The event features a silent auction features DVD players, race packages including hotel stays and tickets, autographed sports and Hollywood memorabilia, Rangers tickets, restaurant gift certificates and more. A lineup of eight bands including Randy Brown, CC Cross and The Deaf Cats play the through the night. Andrew “AC” Carver of radio station The Ranch,95.9-FM MCs the event.

DEETS: The Mule Barn, 218 Hwy 156, Justin. 6 p.m. Free. RanchHandRescue.org.

—  Rich Lopez

DV Publisher Robert Moore settles his World Series gambling debt, won’t lose any fingers

On Page 12 of this week’s Bay Area Reporter we found the above photo of our own publisher, Robert Moore, holding a giant check for $1,000 and wearing a San Francisco Giants T-Shirt. Alas, Moore made good on his World Series bet with BAR Publisher Thomas E. Horn, donning the winning team’s apparel and sending $1,000 to the Gay Straight Alliance Network, a San Francisco-based organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools.

Robert did get something out of it, though, as Horn proved gracious in victory and sent over a Rangers T-shirt and cap that arrived today, shown below. Unfortunately, as you can see, the shirt is about three sizes too big for Robert. Sometimes you just can’t win for losing.

—  John Wright

Gay publishers ante up for World Series

Is it just us or does Giants closer Brian Wilson look like someone you’d run into at the Dallas Eagle?

Dallas Voice Publisher Robert Moore felt left out last week, after the publisher of New York City’s Gay City News refused to make a friendly, legal wager on the Rangers-Yankees series. I won’t repeat Robert’s exact comments here, but basically, the publishers of San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter and The Philadelphia Gay News had bet on the National League Championship Series, and Robert badly wanted a piece of the action.

Well, good things come to those who wait, and thanks to the Rangers first-ever World Series berth, Moore is finally getting in. Moore and Bay Area Reporter Publisher Thomas E. Horn have agreed that the loser will contribute $1,000 to a charity in the winner’s city and appear in the opposing team’s gear in a photograph to be published in the winner’s newspaper.

And while these are some pretty high stakes already, we’d also like to see Moore don a leather-daddy beard a la Giants closer Brian Wilson should the Rangers lose.

—  John Wright

Beefy Cowboys tonight at the Round-Up on Monday Night Football

Dallas Cowboys need you more than ever

Jason Whitten

Let’s face it, this isn’t a great season for the Cowboys and it’s just not looking good for Super Bowl dreams. Going into tonight’s game against the New York Giants with a 1-4 record just hurts to think about. But, with Rangers fever running rampant, maybe some of that winning spirit will transcend over to Cowboys Stadium. The Giants are coming off a three-in-a-row winning streak but we hear some buzz on the Interwebs that the Cowboys are favored for tonight. Time to cash in on those miracles we’ve been praying for.

Otherwise, go Rangers!

DEETS: Round-Up Saloon, 3912 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. Airs on ESPN. RoundUpSaloon.com

—  Rich Lopez

Take us OUT to the ballgame: Time for Rangers to join majority of MLB teams, sponsor a gay night

Rafael McDonnell
RMcDonnell@rcdallas.org

I’ve always loved baseball. It takes me back to summer nights at my grandparents’ house, listening to games on a crackly AM radio, dreaming of the word pictures painted by the play-by-play announcers in faraway places.

Later, I was lucky enough to work at the flagship radio station for the Texas Rangers, and got to see in person the team’s first two playoff appearances. That’s why I was especially happy to see the Rangers make the playoffs again this year, after an 11-year break.

At the same time I was cheering on the Rangers, it made me think. Why hasn’t the team conducted its own outreach event directed to its LGBT fans? For that matter, why haven’t any of the other major sports teams in North Texas held such an outreach?

By my count, 16 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams had held LGBT-specific community days prior to this season. The Chicago Cubs — the only MLB team with an LGBT owner — have held their event since 2001. The Philadelphia Phillies started theirs a year later. Other teams, from Los Angeles to Denver and New York to Tampa Bay, have also conducted similar community days.

This year, two more teams held LGBT community days: the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. Both are significant because the teams themselves were the driving force behind the events.

The Astros called their event “Pride at the Park,” donated a portion of ticket sales to seven local LGBT nonprofits, and invited the Bayou City Chorale, a chorus made up of gay men and lesbians,  to sing the national anthem.

According to the Houston Press, more than 1,000 members of the LGBT community attended the game. Other reports indicate there was no major opposition to “Pride at the Park.”

Earlier this month in St. Louis, about 200 members of that city’s LGBT community attended the Cardinals’ first-ever “OUT at the Ballpark” after the team reached out to Pride St. Louis.

In Minneapolis this past July, the fourth annual “Out in the Stands” event hosted by the Twins drew more than 1,200 fans to Target Field. For $25, attendees received a game ticket, admission to a pre- and after-party, and a T-shirt.

So, what about the Texas Rangers?

In 2003, roughly 200 tickets were sold to a community-generated, non-team-sponsored event. The event, spearheaded by then-employees of Resource Center Dallas, hoped to draw 1,000 members of the North Texas LGBT community.

It also drew protests from church groups. Since then, there have been no other similar events involving the local major sports teams and their LGBT fans.

The Rangers are under new ownership. With Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan in place, the team has reached out to fans by cutting prices on concessions, beer and parking. Have they considered an “LGBT Day at the Ballpark”? If so, would the community support it and attend? What should happen at such an event?

If the team hasn’t thought about holding such an event, we can encourage them to do so. Send them an e-mail, make a call or write a letter. Congratulate the Rangers on winning their division, and ask them to hold an outreach “day at the Ballpark” event for their LGBT fans in 2011. Show them that an event like this would be great for both the fans and the team.

The Rangers’ e-mail is fanfeedback@rangers.mlb.com. The team’s address is 1000 Ballpark Way #400, Arlington, Texas 76011, and their phone number is 817-273-5222.

And while were at it, Mavericks and Stars — some of your peer teams are having similar events. In the NBA, The Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors have held LGBT events, as has the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.

This would be a tremendous opportunity to reach fans that may feel marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and build a lasting loyalty to the teams. As best I can tell, no NFL team has conducted an LGBT outreach event, including the Cowboys.

It’s no secret that homophobia is an issue in sports — two-thirds of sports reporters identified it as a problem, according to a study conducted last year by Penn State University.

But events like LGBT community days at sporting events are a step toward fighting it. 2010-2011 isn’t 2003, and if the Astros can reach out to welcome the community, so can the Rangers.

Rafael McDonnell is strategic communications and programs manager for Resource Center of Dallas.

—  Michael Stephens

Power Rangers Producer Slams Yost

DAVID YOST POWER RANGER X390 (GRAB FAIR) | ADVOCATE.COMOne of the top producers for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
claims Blue Ranger David Yost didn’t quit over homophobia on the set. He
says Yost quit because he wanted more money and that the Blue Ranger
was always a “pain in the ass.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

The Power Rangers Backlash Against David Yost Begins

While Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers's Red Ranger (Austin St. John) might've done porn for a certain amateur website (as Sean), we learned this week Blue ranger, played by the now openly gay David Yost, quit the show over rampant homophobia. But what's this about Yost being a "pain in the ass" and there being no anti-gay atmosphere on set?

CONTINUED »


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—  John Wright