Fashion leader Alden Clanahan dies

Alden Clanahan, right

We just learned of the passing Alden Clanahan, an executive with Dallas Market Center and a frequent patron of social functions in Dallas; he was also a DIFFA volunteer.

According to Clanahan’s friend and next door neighbor, Michael A. Smith, Clanahan failed to show up at work several days ago and did not answer calls. Earlier today, police were dispatched and entered his apartment and found him dead. “His dog Bella was at his side,” Smith said.

His colleague Rawlins Gilliland, who worked with Clanahan when he was at Neiman Marcus, mourned Clanahan on his Facebook page. When Gilliland did his experimental fundraising marathon on KERA last fall, Clanahan was one of his guest hosts. “It’s too much to say goodbye,” Gilliland wrote.

No other details were available.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Art Conspiracy 7 tonight

We’ll fall for these Con men (and women)

With more than 150 artists auctioning off their art and for cheap (opening bid is still $20), Art Con 7 is both the best place for snagging original art and a flat out blast. With live music by the Hope Trust, KERA’s Rawlins Gilliland as auctioneer and all of it benefiting Musical Angels that provides free piano lessons to hospitalized children, it’s unparalleled in offering a fulfilling night.

DEETS: 511 W. Commerce St. 7 p.m. $10.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 11.11.11

Saturday 11.12IMG_1929

We’ll fall for these Con men
With more than 150 artists auctioning off their art and for cheap (opening bid is still $20), Art Con 7 is both the best place for snagging original art and a flat out blast. With live music by the Hope Trust, KERA’s Rawlins Gilliland as auctioneer and all of it benefiting Musical Angels that provides free piano lessons to hospitalized children, it’s unparalleled in offering a fulfilling night.

511 W. Commerce St.
7 p.m. $10.


Sunday 11.13

Gaultier gets his proper due
The world has oohed and ahhed over designer Jean Paul Gaultier’s striking fashions for years, but from afar. The Dallas Museum of Art brings the designer’s work up close in the highly anticipated exhibit The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. The exhibit includes not only his fashions, but an animatronic mannequin of the designer. And it talks!

1717 N. Harwood St. Through
Feb. 12. $16–$20.


Thursday 11.17

The man still is a “Work of Art”
Even with more than 30 years in the music industry, Morrissey still retains an air of mystery. That’s part of his mystique. Sure we’ve discovered tidbits about the former Smiths singer, but his hidden side is part of his allure and odd sex appeal.

McFarlin Auditorium,
6405 Boaz Lane.
8 p.m. $40–$50.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Rawlins is back!

The 10-hour Rawlins Gilliland fundraising marathon on KERA is underway right now, with Monica Greene as his first co-host of the day. Tune in and for God’s sake, pledge so we can end this insanity!!!!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Operators standing by

Rawlins Gilliland’s pledge to KERA listeners? Less boring, more fabulous

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor


SWITCHBOARDS NOW OPEN | Gilliland commandeers the mic for two days of the KERA pledge drive, and he’s determined to entertain while begging for dollars. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Although  Rawlins Gilliland would never describe himself as a mad prophet of the airwaves, he does have at least one thing in common with Howard Beale from Network: He’s mad as hell, and he’s not gonna take it anymore.

As a long-time contributor — and, of course, devoted listener — to KERA 90.1 FM, the local NPR affiliate, Gilliland is all-too-familiar with the infamous pledge drives that have become long, intrusive and tedious.

He understands why people tend to tune out during the 240 days of fundraising each year. (Actual figure may be less; it just feels that way.)

“Most people would rather have their teeth cleaned by a bipolar dentist who reeked of boxed chardonnay” than endure another pledge drive, he says. So, as the fall campaign loomed — it’s scheduled to last up to 14 days, starting Oct. 14 — Gilliland decided to take action. While he did not want to insult his colleagues for their efforts, he nevertheless told KERA’s management they needed to make the pledge drive better. Lots better. And he wasn’t shy about saying he was the man who could do it.

He has facts on his side. Gilliland’s droll commentaries, often with a sassy gay twist, have engaged listeners for years. He has volunteered to host countless hours on the pledge drive, and his segments always are among the most lively and effective at getting calls in. “Begone the endless droning!” he seems to say. “Let’s bring in some fun!”

“They were very enthusiastic,” he says of KERA’s reaction to the proposal — so much so, they asked if he would consider two dates.

“Everything I’ve ever done well in my life is because someone told me they liked the idea and gave me to freedom to do what I needed to,” Gilliland says. “A fresh idea has a very short shelf-life. It’s only a really good idea when it’s still new.”

Toward that end, Gilliland may be the first person since Jerry Lewis to turn a telethon (or radiothon) into an entertainment event. On Tuesday, Oct. 18 and again on Monday, Oct. 24, he’s programming virtually the entire day of fundraising from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., bringing in special guest co-hosts from across the community to share in the duties.

He insisted that all his co-hosts meet three criteria: They had to be glib, multifaceted and devoted listeners of KERA. “All of these people are people I really know,” he says.

Among the local celebs set to share the air during Gilliland’s two day begathon: Former city councilwoman and current Arts District maven Veletta Lill (Oct. 18, 3–4 p.m.), gay publicist John Shore (Oct. 18. 4–5 p.m.), transgender restaurateur Monica Greene (Oct. 24, 9–10 a.m.) and Dallas Market Center V.P. and DIFFA volunteer Alden Clanahan (Oct. 24, 11 a.m.–noon). One of his guests will be Mary McDermott Cook, whose father founded Texas Instruments. Gilliland met her after he made a radical promise during the spring membership drive: Make a pledge and I will take you out for cocktails and dinner.

“One person called in because he said, ‘You had some skin in the game.’ I said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do.’ People respond to that.”

It’s that kind of response Gilliland hopes his experiment will yield. “I call it a sort of intervention to minimize the apocalypse of the pledge drive,” he says.
To pledge — please — and end the drive early, call 888-694-6931 or visit

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Rawlins Gilliland debuts new KERA radio column

When he’s not auctioning at Art Con, Gililand speaks his mind on new KERA segment. (from Facebook)

We may not enjoy those lengthy membership drives KERA has like every other week (OK, every other month?), but thankfully Rawlins Gilliland brings a certain Southern panache to the drive. With sassy wit and comic timing, Gilliland also makes them bearable. We caught up with him last October when he and artist Cathey Miller repped the LGBT contingent at the Pecha Kucha event.

Today, he returned to KERA, not for a drive, but for the first of his on-air columns. And for his debut, “A Verbal Mongoose Guide To Bullies And Bores,” he talks about coping with bullying as he grew up.

He posted this Monday on Facebook announcing the new show:

I return to the KERA Commentary airwaves Tuesday Sept. 20th, both on Morning Edition & later on All Things Considered with an oral essay, “A Verbal Mongoose Guide to Bullies & Bores” about my personal journey to self-protection & creative retaliation regarding being pushed to the brink of teenage suicide.

The issue of bullying in general is very prominent today & relative to gay issues, endemic. So my hope is that my seemingly light spin on this critical issue will make people laugh, yes, but think. Think.

Typically these pieces air shortly after 6:30 am & repeat shortly after 8:30 & then air on All Things Considered shortly after 4:30ish all on 90.1 fm KERA. Hope you can hear it on-air but if not the link to listen will be posted on my FB page after it airs.
Love you, Rawlins

You can either listen to it or read the transcript here.

—  Rich Lopez

Drawing Dallas • 12.24.10

All we want for Christmas

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator

In the season of miracles, meet miracle baby Luis Rios

Name and age: Luis “Lulu” Rios, 25

Spotted at: Throckmorton and Rawlins streets

Occupation: Cashier

Sleek and sexy Plano-born Luis Rios is a miracle baby, being born unexpectedly from a mother who had her tubes tied, then surviving a heart murmur and seizures at 5, which led to a major heart operation at 7. Luis came out at 15. “I did my research about how to be gay and what all comes with it. I knew it would be difficult, especially for my mom.” Luis’ family has been amazingly supportive, welcoming his partners and friends as part of the family. “My friends love my parents.” His hobbies include dancing, music, and fire dancing.

The boy with something extra: This enigmatic Libra has a sixth sense, which runs in his family. He has experienced telepathy and sometimes sees the future in dreams. This empathic ability makes him a go-to guy when his friends need psychological counseling. “It’s a gift, and a curse.”

Happy holidays! Luis plans to spend Christmas on the strip, singing R&B and ballad karaoke at Hungdinger.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Get your Pecha Kucha fix tonight at the Wyly

The networking event Pecha Kucha is about precision and presentation — but say it correctly, first

With an endless barrage of Twitter and Facebook updates, people are learning how to communicate quicker and with fewer words. Writing is one thing, but how are people at talking with that same succinctness? Is 20 seconds enough time to verbalize your point in a clear fashion?

If you ever plan to partake in some Pecha Kucha it will be — because you have no choice.

“The format took me forever to figure out, “ Rawlins Gilliland, pictured, says. “But it really is a wonderful one and you can pretty much conceptualize anyway you see fit.”

The KERA commentator known for his Southern drawl during pledge time, is one of 12 presenters for Wednesday’s fourth Pecha Kucha event. But first, he had to learn how to say it.

“I didn’t know anything about it and I still can’t pronounce it,” he says.

Originally designed as a networking event for designers in Tokyo, Pecha Kucha (pronounced puh-che ku-cha) has gone viral in bringing creative types together for a chit-chat (pecha kucha in Japanese). Only it’s not about cocktails and mixing: Participants present topics in some pretty precise parameters —all thanks to Sarah Jane Semrad and Brian Murphy, who licensed PK here in town.

DEETS: Wyly Theatre, 2403 Flora St. Oct. 13. 6 p.m. $10.

—  Rich Lopez

What’s so gay about Idea Week?

Raise your hand — how many of you know that this is Idea Week? All righty then.

You might have seen it buzzing around on Twitter and Facebook, but Idea Week is kind of a great idea which you can read more about on the link. Wednesday’s Pecha Kucha event I wrote about is one of the events throughout the week which will feature Cathey Miller and Rawlins Gilliland as presenters and repping the LGBT community. Artistic director Kevin Moriarty also reps when he speaks Thursday at the Dallas Museum of Art on the State of the Arts with DMA director Bonnie Pitman, KERA’s Jeff Whittington and Creative Time president Anne Pasternak.

Nice to see the LGBT community partake in the events going on even in a peripheral way. But I thought, we could do a little more ideating (as they call it). So I posed the question to a few colleagues around the office with no other direction: What’s you’re big idea?

Read ’em below.

—  Rich Lopez

Victim knocked out, shot fired into air during robbery near Cedar Springs strip early Saturday

A man was knocked unconscious and a gunshot was fired into the air early Saturday during a violent robbery just a few blocks from the Cedar Springs strip, according to Dallas police reports.

The two victims were walking home at about 1:30 a.m. in an alley between Throckmorton and Knight streets when two Latino males came up behind them, pulled out guns and demanded money, the reports say.

One of the men ran out of the alley onto Knight Street between Hall and Rawlins streets, yelling for someone to call police. One of the gunmen briefly chased the man and fired a shot into the air as he ducked behind a car.

Meanwhile, after the second victim handed over some cash, the other suspect hit him in the face with his pistol and demanded his wallet. The victim fell to the ground and the suspect got on top of him and took his wallet. Then both suspects pistol-whipped the man in the head until he blacked out.

The victim regained consciousness and was able to walk out of the alley toward his home on Knight Street. He was taken to Parkland hospital with cuts and bruises on his head and face.

The suspects were still at large.

—  John Wright