The soft side of Anne Steele

The out songstress is ready to show Dallas ‘What’s Mine’

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Anne Steele

SCOTT HUFFMAN  | Contributing Writer
scott_in_dallas@yahoo.com

Anne Steele knew at an early age that she would be a performer, and she pursued her calling with success. Her musical career has included gigs as a recording studio artist, cruise ship entertainer and award-winning NYC cabaret performer. Career goals achieved, as expected.

What Steele never anticipated, however, was that she would also become a wife and parent. And about that, she simply couldn’t be happier.

Screen shot 2016-02-18 at 10.30.49 AM“There are not a lot of sad songs in me anymore,” says Steele, who brings her What’s Mine tour to Dallas on Feb. 27. “It’s funny: When Adele’s CD came out, I keep thinking about how she can still draw on so much sadness even though she’s with someone. She’s happy. She has a baby and life is good. She can still find that. I don’t know if it makes me a shallow person, but I can’t really find that anymore.”

For her Dallas debut, Steele intends to introduce herself as any singer might — through her song choices. Expect the vocalist, who is married to R Family Vacations co-founder and SMU alumna Kelli Carpenter, to perform mostly a selection of upbeat tunes, including pop covers, standards and original songs from her 6-track EP What’s Mine, some of which Steele wrote herself.

“This is all new to me,” Steele says of songwriting for the EP, a process which, incidentally, was influenced by the VH1 reality series Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project. “I had in my head that I wanted to write a gay anthem and I wanted to write a love song about Kelli. I ended up doing neither because she [Perry] kept saying, ‘Don’t force yourself to write something. Just write what you know.’”

On the spot, Steele took Perry’s advice to heart. She began thinking about her youth in a small Indiana town. She recalled feeling as if she didn’t quite fit in there, despite not being sure why. Steele’s payoff was shockingly immediate, and the exercise produced the EP’s title track.

“I turned off the show,” Steele recalls. “I sat down, and I literally wrote the song right there. I had been struggling to write, and I wrote it top to bottom, right there. That’s what What’s Mine is about — knowing eventually I would find what was mine: my people.”

And it is to her people that Steele attributes most of the credit for her career success. Through cruise ship gigs and cabaret performances, the singer has built an ardent LGBT fan base — interestingly, one more centered on gay men than lesbians.

“I hate to limit it because it’s certainly not only gay people, but I have a strong gay following,” Steele says. “I am super proud of that. I would say that it’s not so strong in the lesbian community. I am generally drawn to gay men. I feel like gay men sort of get me and my music.”

Currently, one of Steele’s favorite songs to perform is Sara Bareilles’ spunky anthem “Brave.” Steele believes it describes perfectly the way she feels. Moreover, she believes the song translates easily to each member of her audience, regardless of sexual orientation. Steele often uses the song to close her sets.

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“For a long time in my life, I was not happy with who I was,” Steele confides. “I worried about people finding out I was gay. I worried about being overweight or not having the right hair color. I worried about a number of things that are not important. Now I get on stage and tell people my story. If you don’t tell your story, who is going to tell it for you? That song to me is all about being brave. You don’t have to be gay to get it.”

Steele was recently a featured artist in the Cyndi Lauper & Friends: Home for the Holidays concert, an annual event benefitting the True Colors Fund for LGBT homeless youth. Steele was thrilled to perform and at one point shared the stage with Cyndi and Boy George. While she considers the evening a career highlight, another moment in her life is the one which Steele remembers most fondly.

“I was most proud of standing in front of my parents and Kelli’s parents and all of our friends and pledging to love her for the rest of my life,” Steele says with conviction.
“Kelli’s really good friend had just been appointed by President Obama to be a judge in New York. She is the first Filipino-American woman to be appointed as a federal judge. We were her first wedding. It was amazing to have her there and to think about her accomplishment and to see where we’ve come as a country in order to be married. Just to see those boundaries fall down.”

As for her career, Steele believes she is exactly where she is supposed to be. For that she is grateful.

“I think my career came out like this because it was meant to be like this,” Steele says. “I think that I’m built to do what I’m doing now. I used to have all these huge Broadway dreams. I’ve talked to people who work on Broadway and they are all very happy in the moment for the time they are working. But I don’t ever have to worry about losing my job. My job is controlled by me. The fact that I’ve been able to work travel into my life is amazing. I do have to work for money, but I have the freedom to pick and choose what I want to do. And that is a gift.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Scene • 02.05.16

Making the SCENE the week of Feb. 5–11:

• Alexandre’s: Girls Night Out with Peggy Honea on Friday. Mi Diva Loca on Saturday. Karaoke with Wayne Smith on Sunday.

• BJ’s NXS!: Fat Tuesday Party with DJ T. Diamonds at 9 p.m. with 30 hot dancers to entertain on Tuesday.

• Brick/Joe’s: Win Dubal D’s Gift Bag promoting her new single release on Saturday. Sally Duvall benefit show hosted by Kennedy Davenport and Ida Mae Watergate at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

• Cedar Springs Tap House: Super Bowl watch party. Reserve your table now.

• Changes: Imperial Court candidate presentation at 9-10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Cowtown Leathermen meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday. Imperial Court candidate show at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

• Club Reflection: Imperial Court candidate presentation at 9-10:30 p.m. on Saturday. Texas Gay Rodeo Association meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Cowtown Leathermen cookout at 4 p.m. on Sunday. TGRA show at 7 p.m. on Sunday. TGRA-Cowtown Leathermen game night from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday.

• Dallas Eagle: United Court of the Lone Star Empire show at 8 p.m. on Friday. Leather Knights annual Buy Daddy’s Box fundraiser at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Dallas Bears club night on Saturday. Dallas Girls of Leather monthly meeting at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Trivia Night with Mama Payne at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

• Hidden Door: Firedancers Dallas presents 2016 Soup’r Bowl Cook-off — basically anything you can serve from a crock pot and eat with a spoon — from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday.

• JR.’s Bar & Grill: Mardi Gras Carnivale on Saturday.

• Pekers: Super Bowl watch party on Sunday.

• Round-Up Saloon: Super Bowl fun with free food, the biggest screen on the block and prizes each quarter at 5 p.m. followed by Miss Gay South Central States USofA with more than $5,000 in prizes at 11 p.m. on Sunday.

• S4: Mardi Gras Carnivale with performances by Trixie Mattel and Jessica Sutta on Saturday.

• Sue Ellen’s: Cherry Bomb on Friday. Pink tribute band Dirty Little Freaks on Saturday. Carnivale celebration on Saturday. Kathy and Bella at 3 p.m. on Sunday before the Super Bowl watch party.

• TMC: The Mining Company: Mardi Gras Carnivale on Saturday. Fat Tuesday crawfish boil at 8 p.m. Terry Bucher presents Rent-a-Cowboy with all your favorite Round-Up dancers benefiting R.E.B.A. at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

• Urban Cowboy Saloon: Imperial Court candidate presentation at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

• Woody’s Sports & Video Bar: Super Bowl in HD with stadium buffet and a game-related fundraiser on Sunday. Free beads and show tunes Fat Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

To view more Scene photos, go to DallasVoice.com/category/photos. Scene Photographers: Winston Lackey and Chad Mantooth.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Clinton campaign staffer holding training tonight

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Hillary Clinton

Ok, all you Hillary Clinton backers, you won’t want to miss this.

Carlos Paz, Texas state organizing director for the Hillary campaign, will be conducting a brief training session — as part of the Hillary for America Organizing Academy — tonight (Monday, Jan. 25) in the Rose Room at S4.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m., and those attending should enter through the green doors off the back parking lot and go to the second floor.

RSVP here.

Dallas Democratic activist Jeff Strater encouraged Clinton supporters to make time to attend despite the short notice, adding, “It’s not often that a presidential campaign deploys staff to Dallas and conducts training like this.”

Strater also said that because the original location had problems with the H/AC, the event had to be relocated at the last minute, and offered his thanks to Caven Enterprises for allowing the use of S4 and The Rose Room.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Rape victim speaks out

The woman attacked inside a bathroom stall at S4 over the weekend told Dallas Voice today (Tuesday, Jan. 19), that the attack “went way beyond sexual assault. It was a rape.”

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Prince Karim, suspect in rape at S4

The young woman, whose name is being withheld for her privacy, said she went to the Cedar Springs nightclub Saturday night, Jan. 16, with her female fiancee and her fiancee’s co-worker. She had become separated from them in the crowd when she met Prince Karim, a 31-year-old Middle Eastern man that she assumed — based on the way he was dressed, his hairstyle and the fact that he was in a gay bar — was a gay man.

The woman said she and Karim went out onto the S4 patio to smoke, and that while they were there, she realized that he was not gay and that he was hitting on her. “He told me he loves black women [the victim is black] and that he isn’t gay. He asked me if I had thought he was gay and if he looked gay. I told him yes, and that if he didn’t want people to think he was gay, maybe he should dress differently.”

The woman said she went back inside the club then to try to get away from Karim, but that he followed her inside. She said she was on her phone, calling and texting her fiancee and their friend to tell them he was following her and she had become afraid of him. When she couldn’t find her fiancee right away, the woman said she went into the bathroom — not realizing it was a unisex bathroom — to try and escape Karim.

“But he started following me inside. I pushed him out and said, ‘You can’t come in here,’” the woman said. “But he followed me in.”

She said she went into the stall and stood with her back to the door to keep him out. But Karim, she said, then crawled underneath the wall and into the stall with her, where he raped her. “They are saying it was a sexual assault,” the distraught woman said. “This goes way beyond just an assault. This was rape.”

The woman reported the assault to S4 security personnel who found Karim and held him until police arrived. He was jailed at Dallas County Jail on $25,000 bond, but appears to have posted bond and been released.

The victim said that Karim told her he lives in Los Angeles and was visiting Dallas “just partying with his cousin.” However, a public records search incidates that a man named Prince Karim, with the same birthdate as the arrested suspect, lives in an apartment in Southwest Arlington and has a Texas driver’s license.

The victim also said that the photo of Karim supplied by Dallas police “is not the same photo of him that they gave me. That’s not what he looked like that night. It’s not what he looked like when he was arrested.” (The photo with this post is the photo provided by Dallas police. We will update the post with the other photo once we receive it.)

 

Dallas PD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin has pointed out that “sexual assault” and “rape” are two different terms for the same thing. “Sexual assault” is the penal code language for “rape,” and any forced sexual contact is considered rape. For a complete legal definition, check here, and scroll down Section 22.011.

—  Tammye Nash

Man arrested for sexual assault at S4

Prince Karim

Prince Karim

Dallas police have arrested a 31-year-old for sexually assaulting a woman inside a Cedar Springs nightclub early Sunday morning, Jan. 17.

Police said Prince Karim, a Middle Eastern man, met the woman at S4 and sexually assaulted her inside the club “where he was later apprehended.” Karim was charged with sexual assault, a 2nd degree felony. He was jailed, with  bond was set at $25,000. A search of the Dallas County Jail records on Tuesday morning did not locate Karim among the jail’s inmates, indicating he likely has posted bond and been released.

Gregg Kilhoffer, president of Caven Enterprises, which owns and operates S4, said Tuesday that after being assaulted, the victim went club security personnel who found Karim inside the club and held him until police arrived.

Killhofer said he doesn’t know any details about the incident and is waiting for police to contact him with more information. He did, however, criticize a report published by Dallas Morning News calling the incident a “rape.” “It was a sexual assault, but we have no indication that it was a rape,” Kilhoffer noted.

Dallas Voice has left a message with a police spokesman seeking more information.

—  Tammye Nash

AIDS Arms offers pop-up HIV testing locations this week

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Dr. John Carlo

National HIV Testing Day is Saturday, June 27, and AIDS Arms Inc. is honoring the day with pop-up locations for free HIV testing in Oak Lawn and in Cockrell Hill, beginning Thursday, June 25.

While AIDS is no longer the death sentence it once was, it is still a pandemic,and its impact on individuals and families is staggering. The best way to fight it, says Dr. John T. Carlo, AIDS Arms’ CEO, is to educate ourselves and to know our sero-status.

“By getting tested, a person can find out whether he or she needs life-saving medications,” Dr. Carlo said, noting that these free HIV testing events provide the “ideal opportunity to take this important step in preserving the health, safety and lives of loved ones.”

The tests at AIDS Arms National HIV Testing Day events are “fast (results can be available in as quick as 60 seconds), free and performed in a confidential manner,” according to an AIDS Arms press release.

NHTD pop-up testing locations are:

• Thursday, June 25, 3-7 p.m. at Walgreen’s, 3802 Cedar Springs Road.

• Thursday, June 25, 3-7 p.m. at Walgreen’s, 8120 S. Cockrell Hill Road.

• Thursday, June 25, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. at Havana’s, 4006 Cedar Springs Road

• Friday, June 26, 3-7 p.m. at Walgreen’s, 3802 Cedar Springs Road.

• Friday, June 26, 3-7 p.m. at Walgreen’s, 8120 S. Cockrell Hill Road.

• Saturday, June 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. p.m. at Walgreen’s, 3802 Cedar Springs Road.

• Saturday, June 27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.. at Walgreen’s, 8120 S. Cockrell Hill Road.

• Sunday, June 28, 11 p.m.-3 a.m., Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road.

—  Tammye Nash

Belinda Carlisle at MetroBall 2015

Belinda Carlisle headlined the entertainment at the 10th annual MetroBall. The dance party last Friday night, June 4, at S4 benefited the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund. Jason Skidmore with The Mug Spot shared these photos with Dallas Voice.

—  Tammye Nash

Goodbye, Edna Jean

IMG_0519For many in Dallas, it’s difficult to remember a time when Richard Curtin aka Edna Jean Robinson was not stalking the halls of S4 (like, when it was still Village Station). Alas, all things come to an end. After 21 years, Curtin has left Caven Enterprises to strike out on a new venture: owner and manager of Zippers, which he recently renovated (including the addition of a piano bar and new DJ booth). “Im excited about this new chapter; I’m also very ready,” Curtain said.

IMG_0525As a farewell, many of the manager and drag diva’s close friends and well-wishers gathered at S4 on Monday for a farewell salute and party. Among those paying their respects were Kelexis Davenport, Cassie Nova, Lalya LaRue, Krystal Summers and Valerie Lohr (pictured above with Curtin). Of course, it’s not really “goodbye;” it’s just “don’t let the door hit yo’ ass on the way out, beeyotch!” I mean, they are drag queens.

Best of luck! We’ll see you at Zippers!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And the 2014 Voice of Pride winner is …

Reynolds, Ramalho, Guzman

… Loni Reynolds!

Loni wowed the audience and the judges in her three appearances — two solos, finishing up with a powerful version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and in a duet with fellow finalist Lauren Shafer on Adele’s “Someone Like You” — to take the 11th annual title. In fact, Loni was so good, she and Lauren jointly won the “best duet” award, voted on by the audience, meaning she took home $3,850 — not bad for one evening’s work!

First runner up was Alvaro Ramalho, followed by Vanessa Guzman, Carlos Saenz and Steve Patterson. Congrats, Loni and all the contestants on a great show. And look for Loni, Alvaro and Vanessa in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and festival next month.

You can see a slide show of the event by clicking here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Outrageous Oral features four outrageous speakers

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Vivienne Armstrong (left) and Louise Young

The Dallas Way presents its 9th edition of Outrageous Oral on Thursday with speakers Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong, Terry Loftis and, um, me.

I’ll be talking about my experiences writing for Dallas Voice and broadcasting Lambda
Weekly for the past 20 years.

Armstrong and Young were at the University of Colorado’s Gay Liberation Front in 1971 where Young was completing her Ph.D. Since then, their lives and relationship have been interwoven with the movement for LGBT rights.

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Terry Loftis

They moved to Dallas in 1976. In 1977 they joined the newly formed Dallas Gay Political Caucus (now the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance) and soon assumed leadership roles. They were the architects of the political arm of DGLA that established strong ties between the Dallas LGBT community and mainstream political parties.

In 1993, they represented LGBT Americans in President Clinton’s Inaugural Parade on the “Family of America” float. They are recipients of numerous awards, including the Black Tie Dinner’s Kuchling Humanitarian Award. Both have been featured in media throughout their relationship of over 42 years and have put a public face on long-term same-sex relationships. They were featured in the books, Uncommon Heroes: A Celebration of Heroes and Role Models for Gay and Lesbian Americans and Creating Civil Union: Opening Hearts and Minds and many articles on long-term relationships and domestic partner benefits.

Young has been especially active in the workplace equality movement. She retired after a 33-year career with Raytheon Company where she was instrumental in Raytheon becoming the first aerospace and defense company to score 100 percent on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. Armstrong retired after a distinguished career of more than 30 years with the Visiting Nurse Association, including leadership in HIV services.

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David Taffet

Terry Loftis is a brand strategist and was president of Verve Communications Group, a full service marketing communications firm, from 1997 until 2013.

A Dallas native, Terry’s life began in the North Dallas projects until his family moved into their first home in Oak Cliff where he grew up. He graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and moved on to Eastfield College as a jazz studies major.

His community work began when he joined the board of directors for the Resource Center, where he served for eight years and ultimately became board president. During his tenure at the Resource Center, Loftis was instrumental in the restructuring of Toast to Life, and he assisted in the creation of the Lone Star Ride and GayBingo.

His company donated over $100,000 in creative services to Resource Center that helped increase revenue across all programs and services. For his efforts, he was awarded the Lambda Legal Civil Rights Award for Leadership.

Loftis returned to Resource Center in 2012 as a member of the Capital Campaign Committee. Terry has served on the boards of Legacy Counseling Center, Friends of the Katy Trail and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In addition to his career and work in the community, he is a jazz vocalist and ordained minister.

The Rose Room inside S4, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. Free.

—  David Taffet