Chanel Champagne, left, and “Are You Smarter Than A Drag Queen?” winner Bel Je’dai. (Patrick Hoffman/Dallas Voice)
Chanel Champagne, hostess of ”Are You Smarter Than A Drag Queen?”, wrapped up the first night of competition at the Round Up Saloon on Monday. Bel Je’dai, the winner, walked away $25 richer. The contest will last several weeks and is held each Monday at 9 p.m. Anyone who thinks he’s smarter than a drag queen is invited to participate.
North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Vedda sent a letter to more than 300 member businesses. He reminded them of why the pantry came into existence.
“The gay & lesbian community (as it was called at the time) took care of its own; no one else would,” he wrote. “Making sure that people with HIV/AIDS had food to eat was essential to their survival.”
He asked each business to make a $25 donation, which would total $7,500 in donations for food from the chamber.
Anyone who brings five cans to Fashionista GayBingo at S4 this weekend will be entered into a drawing for a variety of prizes including tickets to future GayBingo and GayBingo North.
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas passed a hat at their meeting on Tuesday and sent Resource Center a check for $500. Log Cabin Republicans meets at Acme Social Club, 4900 McKinney at 6:30 tonight and will also be collecting.
Several of the bars are collection points for food including Dallas Eagle, JR.’s Bar & Grill and the Round-Up Saloon.
Dallas Voice is doing its own food drive and is a collection point for canned goods. Anyone who lives or works in the area is welcome to drop off canned food at the office during business hours. Items may be dropped at Dallas Voice, 4145 Travis St., Third Floor off Mon.–Fri. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It’s no secret that Texas gays like their cowboy bars — Dallas has the Round-Up, Austin had the Rainbow Cattle Company, and Houston? Well, Houston can soon lay claim to the biggest C&W-themed gay bar in the Lone Star State. Neon Boots Dancehall and Saloon is set to open a week from today at 11410 Hempstead Highway, the space that once was the Esquire Ballroom. The historic 1955 building on the outskirts of the city — which has played host to Patsy Cline, George Jones and Willie Nelson — has undergone a major renovation after laying fallow since the Esquire shut its doors in 1995. Neon Boots will be open Thursdays through Sundays, and plans include cowboy karaoke and line dancing lessons.
If you find yourself in Houston, you can check it out by visiting the club’s website.
Last night at the Round-Up Saloon, the contestants who have been vying all summer to be crowned the 2013 Voice of Pride got whittled down to a final 10. These 10 will compete on Aug. 11 at the Rose Room in the final showdown of the year; the winner gets bragging rights and the chance to sing at the festival in Lee Park following the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, plus $3,500 in cash and two round-trip airline tickets and a hotel stay at a luxury Hilton.
Congratulations to all the finalists, listed here in alphabetical below:
LifeWalk isn’t until October, but you can get started early with helping raise money for the AIDS fundraiser. Here are some events this weekend:
• AIDS Services of Dallas Car Wash. Get your ride clean and contribute to ASD at the same time. IN the Round-Up parking lot off Throckmorton, Saturday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
• Green Team Pool Party. A private home hosts a day-long dip and sip for one of the teams. 1010 Gregory St., Garland, Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
• 10th Annual Miss LifeWalk Pageant. Come root for your favorite ladyboy as she walks the runway for charity. The Rose Room inside Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road, Sunday, doors open at 6:30 p.m. $7 donation requested at the door; $17 reserved seating.
Tom Sweeney, counting money thrown into the Texas flag during the Pride parade in 1993.
The remains of The Round-Up Saloon after the 1989 fire
Tom Sweeney, original owner of the Round-Up Saloon, died this week. The bar opened July 11, 1980. Current owners Alan Pierce and Gary Miller bought it from Sweeney in 1998.
Sweeney began the bar’s tradition in 1987 of carrying the giant Texas flag in the Pride parade used to collect money that was donated to AIDS organizations.
In 1989, a fire at the Dallas Gay Alliance office, which was next door to the Round-Up, destroyed the DGA office, the Round-Up and TapeLenders. The bar reopened in its current location in the summer of 1990.
Sweeney moved the club to Maple Avenue for a year to a building that was most recently The Brick before being razed a year ago. He rebuilt the club on Cedar Springs Road in its original location.
After selling the club, Sweeney moved to Norman, Okla., to be near his sister, Patsy. The funeral is today.
Watch a video below about the 30-year history of the Round-Up Saloon:
The Round-Up Saloon played host to Night Two of the annual Miss Gay USofA Classic Pageant on Monday. Similar to the Miss Gay USofA Pageant in every way save for an age requirement, Classic boasted 29 contestants, all ages 40 or above as per the rules. Contestants hailed from all over the country, the closest being Dallas’ very own Edna Jean Robinson and UnShante DeFoxx, and the farthest being Marina Del Rey, who traveled from Hawaii. Amy DeMilo won the title with Roxie Hart and Victoria Lace finishing as first and second runners-up, respectively.
Night One of the pageant set the stage for the elimination of all but the top 12 competitors. Remaining contestants competed in two categories: Evening Gown and Talent. In many instances multiple talent presentations were as flashy, intricate and creative as the gowns worn. With five minutes allotted to each contestant to set up the stage, many took advantage, and — with the help of each contestant’s own personal team — assembled elaborate sets adorned with props, hidden places for costume changes, and specially made backdrops. One in particular was Billie Jean, the winner of Miss Gay New England USofA Classic. With three costume changes during the allotted seven minutes of performance time, Jean began with a costume bearing a striking resemblance to Wonder Woman, then transformed to impersonate Annie Lennox from the Eurythmics, and ended as a priest(ess), complete with collar and rosary. Another over-the-top performance was given by first runner-up Roxie Hart. With the help of two professional ballet dancers, Hart put on her own rendition of Black Swan, with herself in the title role, and received a standing ovation at the conclusion of her talent presentation.
The Round-Up Saloon posted the above on Facebook this afternoon, unleashing a torrent of angry comments including some from customers who say their debit accounts are now overdrawn — and one who says he may have to sell his belongings to pay his bills (no, we’re not kidding).
We also received an email from a Round-Up customer who reminded us that “high dollar amounts over the past month were likely easily accumulated with St. Patrick’s Day weekend and Bear Weekend.”
“I have no doubt that several people were waking up to overdraft charges today; which undoubtedly the Round Up will not reimburse. I’ve heard stories of people who were charged $6-700 today,” the customer wrote. “I am incredibly disappointed in the Round Up — which if I remember correctly, is supposed to be one of the friendliest bars in Dallas. I will likely not frequent there any time soon.”
Alan Pierce, co-owner of the Round-Up, told Instant Tea the problem apparently started due to a glitch with a single transaction last month. However, he said the Round-Up didn’t become aware of the problem until earlier this month. Pierce said he’s had dozens of phone calls from customers already today — prompting him to post the item on Facebook and place signs at all of the cash registers.
“Obviously this has never happened before, and this is not something we ever expected to happen,” Pierce said. “We had no idea this was going on.”
Pierce said he thinks both the bank and the credit card processing company should have caught the problem sooner. However, they’ve told him they’re not legally liable. He doesn’t believe the Round-Up is liable, either, but he said the bar is the one that will ultimately suffer.
“We’ll be the ones left holding the bag here,” he said. “We feel badly that it’s affecting customers this way.”
Pierce said he didn’t want to make any promises, but said people with questions should contact the office.
“We’ll deal with them individually on that,” he said.
“Sadly, it’s a glitch of technology,” he added. “We’ll be monitoring it much more closely.”
A Round-Up Saloon patron says he fears the bar is discriminating against Hispanic clubgoers who have permanent resident visas, but management says it accepts them.
Eddie Munoz said he and a friend visiting from out of town went to the Round-Up on Tuesday night after the Lady Gaga concert. Gaga was expected to appear at the club after her Dallas performance.
But when Munoz’s friend presented his permanent resident visa — commonly called a “green card” — the doorman told him that management had changed the policy to no longer accept them as valid IDs. When Munoz and his friend asked to speak to a manager, Munoz said they were rudely told to wait outside.
“It was a perfectly legitimate ID. We never had issues before,” Munoz said. “I was infuriated.”
While waiting, Munoz said he saw a group of women who looked Hispanic being turned away with their IDs in their hands.
Munoz ended up texting a friend already inside the club to seek out a manager to address the issue. His friend spoke to a manager who then approved the ID and let them in.
But Munoz said his friend, who is from Mexico but lives in South Texas, had been admitted to the club last Saturday and Sunday using the same ID, so he wanted to know why the policy had suddenly changed, but he said they were never given an answer Tuesday night.