Beaumont holds first Pride parade

Maxey BeaumontFormer Texas state Rep. Glen Maxey was grand marshal of Beaumont’s first Pride parade.

Here’s what Maxey posted on his Facebook page about the event:

I spent an amazing day in Beaumont for their inaugural Pride Parade. See me splendidly perched on the back of a convertible (I was honored to the the Grand Marshall and cut the ribbon at the festival entrance! Thanks Jennifer Daniel and the Pride committee for the invite and honor! All successful Pride events have: a person with a large snake, very cute young men who organized this thing, and well appointed drag queens (from Sulphur Louisiana). Thanks southeast Texas!!! btw, they had a huge group in this parade (and not a single protestor, Klan siting, or Bible thumper (take that Houston, Austin and Dallas)!

Maxey Beau

—  David Taffet

Defining Homes • Timing is everything

All signs point to now as the right time to buy

palm-beach-real-estate-sold— Rich Lopez

The ironic bit of this troubled economy is that this is an advantageous time to buy a home. A huge purchase doesn’t seem wise in the air of unemployment, higher prices and an unstable stock market. But by all appearances, housing prices are going down while everything else goes up.

“It’s like our parents used to spend 10 to18 percent and now, rates are now at 4 percent and lower,” Realtor Sandy Maltese says.

Last month, the Primary Mortgage Market Survey set a record low with a 4 percent rate for a 30-year mortgage and 3.28 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Maltese urges contemplative buyers to act now.

“Payments can be so much lower right now and rents are rising,” she says.

Maltese and her group, DFW Urban Realty, work with many properties in the Oak Lawn/Uptown area. With many rental properties throughout, renting has been cheaper than buying. Where sellers unintentionally become landlords, rents rise so owners can afford to keep paying on the property.

“People can either downsize to fit into a rental space or can afford to buy,” she says.
Realtor Derrick Dawson agrees.

“Most people don’t realize they qualify to own their own home,” the Texas Pride Realty agent says. “I’d encourage anyone interested in owning a home to seek a lender today and find out if they qualify. It is free to do.”

In the Sept. 29 article “Good Time to Lock in a 30-Year Fixed Home Mortgage Rate?”, the International Business Times advised to evaluate the probability of a rising fixed mortgage rate to its decline probability.

The piece points out that historically, upside risk is higher than downside gain which should encourage buyers for nailing a fixed rate now.

Maltese points out that initiative is what’s needed. Qualifying for financing is crucial , but after that, then comes the nerve to plunge in now to lock in a low rate and have a home sweet home.

“Here in Dallas, I say give it a shot,” she asserts. “If a property, especially a foreclosure, is marked low, there will be  offers for it quick. If you’re paying cash, you jump to the front of the line, but that’s not always the case. At the very least, show up and try.”

Visit and for more information.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

N. Texas GLBT Chamber marks 6th anniversary

CHAMBER HONORS | Dinner chair Lorie Burch, left, presents awards Fashion Optical owner Morgan Metcalf with the GLBT Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year award. (Courtesy Terry Walker/563 Photography)

Fashion Optical named business of the year; Bob McCranie of Texas Pride Realty wins businessperson of the year for 2010-11

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

Fashion Optical was named business of the year and Bob McCrainie of Texas Pride Realty was recognized as businessperson of the year by the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, March 30, several hundred members of the chamber attended the sixth anniversary dinner and awards presentation at the Adolphus Hotel in Downtown Dallas.

Fashion Optical was cited for turning a discount eyewear store into the largest optical store in North Texas.

Morgan Metcalf said he turned the store that was doing about $350,000 annually into an almost $2 million operation in about two years.

“We have the look of luxury at reasonable price points,” he said.

Metcalf spoke about having been bullied in high school and by his father and said that was actually his motivation for success.

“I love being underestimated,” he said.

McCranie was recognized for his work locally with the Carrollton Project, an LGBT outreach project in the northern suburbs, for his evergreen award for promoting environmental issues and for his work nationally. McCranie was instrumental in getting sexual orientation added to the Realtors’ code of ethics.

J.T. Williams was named Emerging Leader for the success of his company, Uptown Capital Title, and for his work in the community. He is treasurer of Dallas Stonewall Young Democrats and volunteers with and raises money for Legacy Counseling Center and Lambda Legal.

Luke Crosland, developer of ilume on Cedar Springs Road, received a double award, the first time the chamber has given two awards to one company in the same year.

The ExtrAA Mile Award and the Member Service Award went to the developer for his commitment to the community and his contributions to the chamber.

“From the start, he made it clear they [ilume] would be part of the GLBT community,” said Lorie Birch, the dinner chair and presenter.

The company donates office space to the chamber as well as separate meeting space for the chamber and other groups.

Raytheon, recipient of the Corporate Ally Award, is “a great partner in the chamber,” said Chamber President Tony Vedda.

“The sponsored the Emerging Leader Award,” he said. “They sponsor a membership for Youth First Texas. They supply us with volunteers. Raytheon has a wonderful track record of diversity and inclusion.”

He said that Raytheon won’t sell more missile guidance systems because of company employment policies and support for the LGBT community.

Raytheon was the first aerospace company to score 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. Alice Walker, who heads the company’s LGBT employee group, gave credit for that to Louise Young.

Vedda gave the Chairman’s Awards to Jamie Sloan of the UPS Store Highland Park and Christopher Walthall, owner of Aneita Fern.

Chamber member Candy Marcum called Sloan a tireless ambassador for the community. Sloan has chaired the chamber’s membership and fundraising committees.

Vedda said that when ilume offered the chamber office space, he called Walthall about donating some furniture. Vedda said he hoped for a desk and a chair. Instead, Walthall fully outfitted the office with Stickley furniture, artwork and accessories.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.

—  John Wright

Defining Homes: Ask the Experts

As Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a number of other social networking sites are more and more prevalent in everyday life — professional and personal — we wondered whether the trend is effective as a marketing tool in the real estate industry as a marketing tool. Area agents put in their two cents worth on how the trend works, or doesn’t work, for them in their work.

Vice president of real estate services for Prudential, Steve Shatsky has presided over classes on the use of social networks in business. He discusses, at length, how the trend has worked for him and the strategies behind using the networks.

Now we’re just waiting for all of them to accept our friend requests.

Steve Habgood

Steve Habgood

Hewitt & Habgood Realty Group

Social networking is an important component of an overall marketing effort. It helps keep us connected with our friends, family and clients on a personal, individual level. We d

on’t use it to push all our new listings or open houses. It’s more of a pull marketing rather than push marketing effort. Brian Bleeker on our team is especially effective in using it to keep connected and informed about what’s going on in his circle of friends and clients.

Mike Grossman

Re/Max Urban

Social networking is not a tool to sell real estate in my opinion. It is an effective way to stay in “personal touch” with customers, clients, friends and acquaintances and to inform them of emerging trends, market conditions and updated information regarding real estate.

Jack Evans

Ellen Terry, a division of Ebby Halliday Real Estate

Just today, I received an invitation to join a new group: “Realtors on Facebook.” The purpose of the realtor group so far has been to let member Realtors know about new listings and buyer needs (looking for something that is not active on the market).

Bob McCranie

Texas Pride Realty

I have different fan pages for the 20 or so towns I work in. I advertise those pages and invite other people to put content on those pages. I get people who aren’t even friends to participate and solicit buyers and sellers.

Jere Becker

Jere Becker

Pinnacle Experts Group

For investment houses I am looking to sell or rent, I use it to market the property, especially now where there are so many buyers looking for seller financing and don’t use the services of a Realtor. Video is going to be the preferred medium for viewing properties and the link is easy to put into social media.

To find clients who want to sell, I use it to market my services. Also, real estate is evolving into a consulting business where my clients pay only for the services they want.

Steve Shatsky

Steve Shatsky

Prudential Texas Properties

Social networking is not a “new” tool. Agents on the cutting edge in building business and effectively marketing their clients’ properties have been using it for several years now. In fact, any agent today who does not have a social networking strategy as part of both his/her business and marketing plans is missing a critical component.

I have been successfully using Facebook to create visibility for listings and draw attention to open houses. I have also used Facebook to connect with and strengthen my relationships with clients. Real estate is a business of relationships and Facebook allows me to communicate and get to know my clients even better, while it allows them to get to know me better, as well.

My blog has served multiple purposes. It has provided a search engine optimized platform to promote my listings to prospective buyers searching for homes on the Internet. It also allows me to provide monthly market reports for all the Turtle Creek highrises to prospective buyers and sellers searching for information on the Internet. has introduced new clients to me and my market expertise in the Turtle Creek area.

Lastly, I have blogged and been an ambassador for ActiveRain (an international real estate networking and blogging website) for more than three years. My blogging as a member of the ActiveRain community has allowed me to develop relationships and a nationwide network of real estate agents who refer business to me and with whom I network to share marketing and business ideas. This has been invaluable, allowing me to gain insight into new trends and innovative technologies, giving me a competitive advantage over agents whose networking is confined to only a local level.

Shatsky is vice president of real estate services, Dallas office manager for Prudential Texas Properties. He has recently taught classes on the use of blogging and Facebook in real estate at several locations across the DFW area for the MetroTex Association of Realtors. He was a panelist on the topic of real estate blogging for ActiveRain at their RainCamp-Charlotte event last fall, and will be speaking on a panel covering the topic of short sales at the Prudential Real Estate sales convention in San Diego in March.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Day of the living DIABLOS

Dallas gay rugby team wants you to go to Hell(fest)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

GHOUL!  | Diablos Nick Hughes, Stephen Mitchell, Dustin  Abercrombie, Ryan Cavender, Will Padilla and A.J. Tello expect HellFest to be a scary fun time. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
GHOUL! | Diablos Nick Hughes, Stephen Mitchell, Dustin Abercrombie, Ryan Cavender, Will Padilla and A.J. Tello expect HellFest to be a scary fun time. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Every tournament has its hook, but for the Dallas Diablos Rugby Football Team, that hook comes at the end of a bloody stump.
Or maybe a fairy princess or Sarah Palin impersonator. Point is, it’s Halloween.

The Diablos didn’t really expect HellFest, their one-day rugby tourney to be held Oct. 30, to be such a hit, even though they knew they had a good idea.

“Originally, what we wanted was to have two or three teams come down, play some games, hang out for the [Cedar Springs] block party,” says Will Padilla, team captain and one of the organizers of HellFest. “We said, ‘Let’s try it out and see if we can get people interested in coming.’”

The interest was there and it grew exponentially. The previous year, an attempt to attract gay rugby teams from around the country resulted in only one attendee: the Minneapolis Mayhem. But word of mouth spread, “and more people asked to come, then more and more,” says Padilla. “I eventually had to cap it because it’s only a one-day tournament and we wanted everyone to get to play.”

Right now, 160 players representing eight teams from as many cities as far away as Atlanta are set to descend on Dallas for what looks to be one of the bigger gay rugby matches going.

“Austin, Houston and Dallas used to compete for a trophy called the Texas Pride Cup,” says Diablos co-founder and president A.J. Tello. But the Houston and Austin teams folded in recent years. “We haven’t had anything like that for a while, other than in Seattle, which has several teams in the area, and Bingham Cup every other year. We’re trying to get that back with an invitational with a national reach.”

“What I’ve found is that the majority of people on these teams have never been to Dallas,” adds Padilla. “Lots of them want to see what nightlife is like in Dallas.”

It’s an astonishing sense of camaraderie for a sport known for its aggressive play. But Padilla says rugby is one of the few sports where teams have no problem socializing with each other after the match is over.

“You play hard to party hard. Everybody who comes out is hyper-competitive and wants to win, but afterwards, we’re here to promote the game. You leave the anger on the pitch. After, you talk war stories and live it up with the guys. A lot of sports you don’t get a lot of commingling of teams; that’s not the case with rugby — not all.”

The openness is also true of the membership. “All of the teams are part of the IGRAB, the gay rugby union, and each is classified as openly diverse, but none of them are strictly gay,” Padilla says.

“We’re all inclusive. It’s not about who’s gay or straight — unless you want to date,” says Tello, who notes the Diablos have several straight players.

Still, that doesn’t mean there’s no difference between a gay rugby team and a straight one.

“We play other [non-gay] rugby clubs. After games, we go to the straight bars and the straight guys come to the Eagle,” Tello says. “We bring a little kick to it: We ask one of the members from the other team to get on the St Andrews cross, we get some paddles out and a whip and ask one of their girlfriends or wives to whip them. They have a ball and laugh.”

The tournament is intended to allow the players to enjoy a competitive round-robin of rugby, but there’s more motivation behind it. The Diablos  — both the men’s and women’s teams — want to spread their passion for the game throughout the community. (Although the women’s team is not playing, they have been instrumental in planning the tourney and will be active running it on game day.)

“I’ll judge its success by how well the teams receive the tournament, but we also wanna pull people in the community here, to come out to watch a tournament,” says Padilla. “There’s been nothing like this for rugby in Dallas.”

Those who don’t play are still welcome to come watch or even buy a “participant package” including tote bag and T-shirt, and come by the mixers or meet up with them during the block party.

Whether HellFest continues next year may also depend on the satisfaction of their sponsors, though Padilla says many were enthusiastic about helping out.

“It hasn’t been very hard — we’re promoting deeply within the community,” he says. “The host hotel is Hawthorne Suites and they gave us a good rate and helped us acquire shuttles to go to the venues. The Dallas Eagle is hosting our happy hour after the tournament and MGD64 is donating beer.”

That sounds like a sporting event all ghouls and boils can enjoy.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 22, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Business Briefs • 07.23.10

Karim Harati-Zadeh opened a second Spectrum Chiropractic & Acupuncture location at 1300A W. Arkansas Lane in Arlington. His first office is on Lemmon Avenue in Oak Lawn.

Derrick Dawson passed his Texas real estate salesperson licensure exam and has joined Texas Pride Realty in Carrollton.

Eric Johnson has formed a new law firm with John Helms and Manuel Diaz at 6060 N. Central Expressway.

Turtle Creek Consignment & Estate Sales, a gay-owned, Web-based business, recently opened their warehouse showroom to the public. Located at 3737 Atwell Street, behind the Home Depot on Lemmon Avenue, they specialize in new and pre-owned luxury home furnishings, home décor, collectibles, fine art, vintage home accessories vintage jewelry, crystal, glass and pottery. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lula B’s moved from its Lower Greenville Avenue location to 2639 Main St. in Deep Ellum. Their second store is on Riverfront (Industrial) Boulevard and features 80 vendors selling funky, kitschy and collectible, vintage and pimpadelic items.

—  Kevin Thomas