Inaugural Open Mic Night at BJ’s

Trial by fire

Local musician Rusty Johnson has been handling the live entertainment offerings at BJ’s (and no, not the dancers), but tonight he does it a little bit different. He’s hosting the club’s inaugural Open Mic Night tonight and with a full on backup band. How’s that for a kicker? So bring your original music, spoken word or even your favorite cover song. Johnson is calling tonight the trial version, but by the enthusiasm of his Facebook invite, we think he wants it to be a lasting thing. Hey, we’re down.

DEETS: BJ’s NXS!, 3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave. 8 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

BJ’s NXS! to try the live music thing starting tonight with Breggett Rideau

Local musician Rusty Johnson is known for his sax appeal and blonde locks, but according to Facebook, he’s taking on a new hat: booking agent. He posted the above in his FB invitation to tonight’s inaugural live music event. Click  to enlarge.

I can appreciate BJ’s move, although I don’t foresee go-go boys shaking it for a rock set. If so, it could be the most unusual live music offering in town.

—  Rich Lopez

CSMA raises money with dinner and cabaret

Linda Petty

Cedar Springs Merchants Association presents the Holiday Dinner and Cabaret in Friday, Dec. 2 at The Rose Room. Money raised benefits Oak Lawn beautification projects funded by CSMA.

Victoria Weston will emcee the event. Sax player Rusty Johnson is the dinner entertainment and Linda Petty performs in the after dinner cabaret.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the cabaret beings at 7:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $75, which includes a buffet dinner, wine and the show. Tables of 4 and 6 are available.

Contact Chris Bengston to purchase tickets at 214-528-3316.

The Cedar Springs merchants will also hold their next sidewalk sale on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition to savings in the stores, they plan sale tents, food booths, an artist pavillion and activities along the street.

—  David Taffet

Training tonight on LGBT foster youth

Rusty Johnson

Rusty Johnson will offer a training: Discussing a Taboo; empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered & questioning youth in care, tonight, Aug. 15, at Jonathan’s Place in Garland. Lambda Legal, Jonathan’s Place and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services are partnering to put on the event.

Johnson, a product of the foster system in Iowa, created the training when he was a Youth Specialist at Texas Child Protective Services.

CPS stats show that 78 percent of LGBT youth run away or are removed from their first foster placement because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. More than half of child welfare agencies say they don’t have the information they need to serve the LGBT youth in their care.

“This is your chance to finally address the all too real ‘taboo’ of youth in foster care identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning.” Johnson wrote. “Although very difficult to confirm, it is speculated that the leading cause of suicide of children in foster care is directly related to what many parents and staff refuse to address, ‘the taboo.’ Hear testimony from youth who have struggled, become aware of warning signs and discover what you can do to give these children the same fighting chance as any other child.”

Jonathan’s Place, 6065 Duck Creek Rd, Garland, 75043 in the T Boone Pickens Children’s Services Center, in the Board Room from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. RSVP to The event is free.

—  David Taffet

A couple of jazz cats for Jazz Appreciation Month

Sure it’s pretty much the end of the month, but April is marked as Jazz Appreciation Month and we couldn’t let it slip by without highlighting a couple of community locals. I’m fascinated by the fact that the LGBT scene here has such a strong jazz-based presence. Covers, originals, singalongs — Dallas has a significant number of gay (and very gay-friendly) musicians with some major jazz hands. Gary Poe, Linda Petty, Gary Floyd and Buddy Shanahan come immediately to mind. Whom did I miss?

Of course, we can’t forget Bill Shafer and his partner Michael Donovan as Deuce, pictured, or Rusty Johnson who performs tonight at Alexandre’s at his last Friday show with his band The Love Monkeys. Below is some video for your own jazz appreciation.

—  Rich Lopez

Local Briefs • 08.13.10

Landmark dinner inaugural

Lambda Legal is holding its inaugural Landmark Dinner at the W Hotel-Victory Park on Aug. 14. The gala celebrates the organization’s many landmark rulings including Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision invalidating criminal sodomy laws across the country, and the Iowa case that secured marriage equality in that state.

Paul J. Williams will be master of ceremonies. A former Lambda Legal plaintiff will deliver the keynote address and Joe Pacetti and Christian Iles will present a diamond jewelry show and auction.

Although the dinner is sold out, Lambda Legal supporters are invited to the White Party Gala following the dinner. The gala will be held in the W Hotel Ballroom at 10 p.m.

Included in the ticket price is a show by the “King of West Hollywood,” D.J. Casey.

Tickets are $30 and may be purchased in advance by contacting the Lambda Legal office at 214-219-8585 or at the door.

Lambda Legal is the nation’s oldest national organization pursuing equal rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through high-impact litigation, public education and advocacy.

Gay Pride gospel celebration

Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ and Art for Peace & Justice will host the first annual “Gay”ther Homecoming on Sept. 18 as part of Pride weekend celebration. They will host an array of talent performing familiar hymns and gospel songs from the past.

More than 40 singers, songwriters and instrumentalists from across the nation will perform solos, group performances and audience sing-alongs.

Marsha Stevens, Mark Hayes, Susie Brenner and Rob Parker as well as two LGBT gospel groups, Out 4 Joy and Voices of Hope, will be among the performers.

Amy Stevenson, Danny Ray, Lonnie Parks, Shelly-Torres West, Kim Wisdom, and Rusty Johnson are among the Dallas talent that will participate. Timothy Seelig will be the director for the evening.

“As the invitations to participate have gone out across the U.S., the response has been phenomenal,” said Seelig.  “Everyone contacted has responded with immediate enthusiasm.  We will include as many musicians as the stage will hold!  Most of these talented folks have experienced a huge amount of hurt at the hands of the religions of their youth.  This is our opportunity to stand proudly and sing the songs we thought were lost.”

The evening’s proceeds will benefit the soon- to-be-dedicated Interfaith Peace Chapel designed by noted architect Philip Johnson.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and are available at

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 13, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas