A few people we think of when we think 2014

BWDP_Bruce profile-1

Bruce Wood

Tomorrow’s edition of Dallas Voice reveals our annual choice for LGBT Texan of the Year. I won’t spoil who we chose, but in going over the year in my mind, some names stuck out — they were on my mind during 2014 a lot, for a variety of reasons. For instance, Bruce Wood — a friend and also one of the most frighteningly talented artists Texas has ever seen (I swear that’s not an exaggeration) — passed away, far too soon, at age 53 this past May. We did a cover story about Bruce the following week, cause he touched so many lives.

The community also reacted strongly to the passing of Chris Miklos, a muscleman popular in the bear community, but also a medical researcher who did a lot of good for people. Just a few weeks ago, I was stunned and saddened by the death, at age 31, of Brandon James Singleton, an actor, dancer and funny, skilled writer (he contributed a terrific series to Dallas Voice in 2012 about turning 30). Just as recently, two community leaders — Paul Lewis, a former executive with Caven and Steve Bratka, a huge fundraiser for the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats — passed away.

Wed Steve Dan

Noviello and Bedner

Not everyone who resonated died, of course. Mark Pharris and Victor Holmes of Plano won a marriage equality against the state of Texas — bully for them! And bully, too, for Jack Evans and George Harris, who finally tied the knot last March after more than decades as a couple (though not legally binding, their retired pastor wanted to make a statement to the Methodist Church). TV personality Steve Noviello did enter wedded bliss — legally — to his partner Doug Bedner in New York. Matt Miller brought the Gay World Series of Softball back to Dallas, and we were all glad to see thousands of athletes out at the clubs. And Stephan Pyles got more recognition for his cuisine for his new restaurant, San Salvaje. We were also pleased as punch when our favorite radio commentator, Rawlins Gilliland, did his first live spoken word show … and it was such a hit, he did several more.

There were some important allies who we cheered on, as well, from failed gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and lieutenant governor hopeful Leticia Van de Putte. Local chef John Tesar caused such a stir in the foodie community, we were happy he was on our side as a gay-friendly restaurateur. And Dale Hansen raised the bar high early on with his full-throated advocacy for gays in sports.

Think we left off someone important? Possibly — feel free to weigh in with comments. Then again, maybe they are in tomorrow’s paper — or even on the cover! Check it out Friday!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A foodie weekend (with pictures!)

Dallas’ social season really gets rolling in the fall, with tons on foodie events especially ramping up already. Burgers & Burgundy is this Friday, followed soon by Chefs for Farmers, the Caesar Salad Competition, the Beaujolais Festival and more. Heck, if you add in all the fried foods at the State Fair, it’s virtually nonstop.

But it all got moving this weekend especially, starting with the James Beard Taste America Dinner at the Hilton Anatole’s Wedgwood Room on Friday; Abacus, the Uptown eatery, celebrating its 15th anniversary on Saturday; and Les Dames d’Escoffier Dallas hosting its Raiser Grazer on Sunday. (I wasn’t able to make it out to the latter, but Les Dames always do it up right.)

lobster Gnocchi

Gnocchi lobster

The James Beard event, a first of its kind in Dallas, featured five local chefs designing signature apps served during a reception, followed by superchefs Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington and Dallas’ own Stephan Pyles taking on two courses apiece at the sit-down dinner. O’Connell’s lobster-gnocchi and Pyles antelope entree were heaven, and Janice Provost’s (Parigi) crab cake with lemony aioli the most heavenly single bite.

Abacus chefs

Abacus chefs

The fun at Abacus the next night was the uniqueness of the menu: The four-course dinner offered your choice of one of three items per course — one from Abacus executive sous chef Chris Patrick, one from former exec Omar Flores and another from Tre Wilcox, also a former exec. The winning chef on my menu? Flores, who delivered two of the four, with Patrick and Wilcox one each. But it’s quite possible the best single item was Wilcox’s duck three ways, especially the lobe of foie gras which started out the evening right. Congratulations to Kent Rathbun for a decade-and-a-half of setting the bar high.

See a slideshow of photos from the two events below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Penne Pomodoro offers gluten-free menu

Food coverIn this week’s Food Issue, we have stories about the Oak Lawn Farmers Market and a vegan cookbook by drag cabaret performer Mistress Ginger. Organic… vegan… but we left out a gluten-free story. Sorry! Just so you know, Penne Pomodoro, the Italian restaurant with locations in Snider Plaza, Lakewood and Preston Forest, has gluten-free options on its menu. That’s a pretty sweet development for folks who like pastas, pizzas and risottos, but suffer from celiac disease.

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Dallas Voice this week and read all about Trinity Groves, Stephan Pyles’ San Salvaje, the Resource Center’s food pantry, and much more.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Perini Ranch wins James Beard Award

Atop the famed iron armadillo at James Beard winner Perini Ranch Steakhouse

It’s the Oscars of the culinary world, the James Beard Awards (named after the late gay gourmand). Winning one is a feather in a cap — and in this case, that cap is a Stetson. Perini Ranch Steakhouse, the home to the annual Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit, is one of five recipients this year of the the Beard Foundation’s American Classic Award, which often goes to family-owned foodie businesses that have maintained their local character. The steaks there are excellent, as is the brunch if you’re lucky enough to get it, but it’s no doubt the steakhouse’s participation in the summit that helped bring it to the attention of the foundation. The Perinis attract some of the best culinary talent in the nation, many from the Metroplex (owner Tom Perini’s daughter, Caroline, is co-owner of Dallas’ Easy Slider food truck, and she is actually featured in tomorrow’s Readers Voice Awards). And the upcoming summit, in just a month’s time, will be the final appearance of legendary Dallas chef Stephan Pyles.

Congrats to the Perinis!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting notes: Mattito’s moves, El Fenix offers cheap margaritas

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In the Jan. 3 edition, I wrap up my year-in-review coverage with the people, cultural events, TV shows and books of the year, as well as the top new restaurants of 2013. (What, oh what, will make the list, my foodie friends?) But the food news today isn’t something new, but something pretty old. El Fenix, which kicked off a year-long celebration last September (pictured) of its 95 years in business, is offering a few value deals throughout the month of January, including its house margarita for $2.95 and chicken-and-steak fajitas for $9.95, plus its Wednesday-only enchilada dinner for $5.99. (As an enchilada junkie with lots of free Wednesdays, this excites me.)

In other Tex-Mex news, Mattito’s is officially open in the gayborhood. Actually, it’s been open for a few weeks, but you might not have noticed since it’s  ”official” first week came at the height of the icepocalypse. The new space is roomy and keeps all of the items you’re used to. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Mattito’s, which moved away from Oak Lawn Avenue about a dozen years ago to hole up on Routh Street. It’s now in the Centrum in a space once occupied by Stephan Pyles’ Star Canyon. No pressure.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

SPOILER ALERT: ‘Top Chef’ all-straight now, but Texan’s still in running

Top Chef: Seattle has toyed with us, both as gays and Texans. The first evictee was openly gay chef Jeffrey Jew. Since then, we’ve had just one queer chef to root for: returning competitor Josie Smith-Maleve, pictured. She wasn’t personally popular among the other cheftestants, and they’d been itching for her to go for a while. Last week, when she bested frontrunner Kristen Kish, the world seemed topsy-turvy. So last night, when Josie was finally let go, it felt, sadly, like justice had been served.

Still, that leaves a gay-free zone headed into the final weeks of the competition. Not, though, a Texan-free one. FT33‘s Joshua Valentine — who started as a line cook at Stephan Pyles — is still in the running. Hey, if we don’t have a gay to support, we always go for a Texan.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

It’s very moving weekend we have in store. Wheel get right to it.

Starting today, Dallas’ Classic Chassis Car Club revs its engines for the 25th annual Golden Girls meet-up, a convention of member clubs that enjoy older, interesting or unique automobiles. The event includes mixers, a picnic and an awards dinner in Fort Worth. Here in Dallas, Park Place Motorcars officially launches its new Motorsports division, targeting those gearheads who have a need for speed.

One of the best movies of the year, Skyfall, opens today as well, with Daniel Craig, pictured, returning as James Bond and Javier Bardem as a gay supervillain. Even if you aren’t double-oh-seven fan, you’ll love it. Another admirable film opening this weekend is A Late Quartet, a clever drama where then members of a musical group find themselves actually performing the roles of a fugue as they interact. It contains an amazing performance by Christopher Walken, who should be short-listed for the Oscar this year. And it’s not too late to catch Cloud Atlas, another terrific movie with gay themes. Also, The Variants finished up its third season this week; you can watch it here.

On stage, Kitchen Dog Theater continues its new season with the dark comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane opening Friday, and on Saturday 42nd Street tap-dances its way into Casa Manana. Also this weekend, the Theater Ministry of the Cathedral of Hope stages Standing on Ceremony, a collection of short plays about marriage equality. And on Thursday, Rick Miller performs, for what he says will be the penultimate time, his one-man show MacHomer at the Winspear.

Jim Duran, a Dallas fashion designer, launches his new menswear label, BLKLN, with a gala at Dish on Tuesday.  And sticking with fashion, model lensman Steven D. Hill holds his second annual toy drive with snacks from the Original Cupcakery and fashionistas on display. Oh, and last night, Stephan Pyles’ newest restaurant, Uptown’s Stampede 66, opened for dinner.

There’s also an anti-bullying concert being held at the Angelika Plano at the Shops of Legacy from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, with CDs available and proceeds benefiting anti-bullying causes.

Finally, Art Conspiracy returns for an evening of fundraising and art, music, food and other things that make life worth living. It’s at 960 Dragon St. in the Design District Saturday night.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Yes, we know this is Black Tie Dinner weekend, but if you don’t have tickets by now, you’ve got other stuff to keep you busy — some of it quite great.

First, you can get a taste of Black Tie for the B4 Preview Party Friday night at the Sheraton, a little sneak peak of the auction items. Then on Saturday you have two chances to see Jaston Williams (of Greater Tuna fame) performing his one-man show about growing up in the Panhandle, Cooking with Gasoline, pictured, at Casa Manana. You also only have a few more changes to see Lyric Stage‘s production of 1776. It’s not a perfect musical by any means, but the cast is strong and nothing will get you excited about voting more than a patriotic musical. You have a little longer to see The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity from Dallas Theater Center. Hot guys in Speedos and a smart dissection of consumer culture? I was sold.

Also on Saturday, you can go to the 500 Inc.’s 10th annual WineFest in Addison. (We’re even giving away free tickets!)

If you prefer staying in on a Friday night, Lily Tomlin returns to sitcomdom with Malibu Country tonight on ABC.

On Election Eve, Mama’s Party returns for a fundraiser in Grand Prairie with Amy Stevenson hosting as always and local vocal luminaries performing. Expect a lot of tributes to the late Buddy Shanahan — the local pianist died Sunday; a memorial service will be held for his friends at the Cathedral of Hope on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. For a different kind of music on Monday, you can instead see Liz Mikel play Blue (Room) at South Side on Lamar with her show about sex and women. Oh, lord!

Many of us will be glued to the TV watching election returns on Tuesday, but if you need some other distraction, consider seeing Oral Fixation, the storytelling series, at The MAC.

And finally, although Stephan Pyles’ newest restaurant Stampede 66 hasn’t officially opened yet, it’s due and day now, and until then, you can check out pictures of the interior here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

1ST LOOK: Stephan Pyles’ Stampede 66

It hasn’t officially opened yet, but following a few charity dinners and a party last week, Stephan Pyles’ new restaurant Stampede 66 is putting the finishing touches on the decor (and the menu) prior to a planned opening next week. Here’s a look at some of the pictures you can come to expect.

Check out the full slide show here. And read my preview-interview with Pyles in Friday’s edition.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

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