Top 10: Out & Equal summit drew 2,600

Berry-Selisse

CORPORATE EQUALITY | Out & Equal founder Selisse Berry spoke at the Workplace Summit held at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in October. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

No. 10

The Out & Equal Workplace Summit held Oct. 22-25 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel broke records and had a bigger impact on the city than any other LGBT conference Dallas has hosted.

More than 2,600 people registered for the convention, with participants coming from 42 states and 23 countries.

That included 60 corporate CEOs, including Wes Bush of Northrop Grumman and Mike Ullman of J.C. Penney, who both addressed the LGBT group.

According to Out & Equal spokesman Justin Tanis, the Workplace Summit raised a total of $2.5 million.

The Thursday night gala’s live and silent auctions brought in $74,660 that will benefit the Out & Equal Scholarship Fund for LGBT students.

The conference had a big impact on the local economy both in the LGBT community and Dallas in general.

At the Thursday night dinner, Bush handed Youth First Texas’ Sam Wilkes a check for $20,000.

According to Cordey Lash, a senior sales manager with the Hilton Anatole, the conference had a $3 million impact on the hotel, which included about 6,000 room-nights plus food and beverage sales. During three nights of the conference, the Anatole sold out, so three neighboring hotels filled hundreds of additional rooms.

Lash called the Summit “one of the most impactful conferences of the year.”

He also expected future business from corporations whose executives attended and were impressed with the city and his hotel’s facilities.

The conference had an impact on local LGBT merchants as well. Wednesday was Out & Equal community night.

The Cedar Springs strip was as crowded as on a busy Saturday night.

While many of the attendees were from companies that affirm and encourage diversity and have top ratings in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, the conference also attracted employees of companies such as ExxonMobil that have poor ratings.

And the conference wasn’t all business. Top-name entertainment included Candis Cayne, the first transgender actress to have a recurring role on a primetime network series (Dirty, Sexy Money); comedians Margaret Cho and Kate Clinton; actors Meredith Baxter and Wilson Cruz; and the Turtle Creek Chorale.

Speakers included Andy Cohen, Bravo’s openly gay senior vice president of original programming and development; and Rick Welts, president and chief of operations for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Because evaluations of the event from attendees were so positive, Tanis said Out & Equal is already talking to the Anatole about returning, possibly as early as 2014.

— David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

WATCH: The Sounds at the Granada Theater

Maja Ivarsson was in fine form at The Sounds show Thursday night at the Granada. And by fine, I mean both energetic and hot. The bi singer likely turned the boys and the girls with those hot pants, but she proves here that she’s not to be underestimated as a dynamic front for the band.

The band killed when they performed “No One Sleeps When I’m Awake” from their 2009 album Crossing the Rubicon, which you can see after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Concert Notice: Lesbian Nashville crooner Steff Mahan on Thursday night at Opening Bell

Just a quick note that out singer Steff Mahan comes to town Thursday. Looks like she’s just on the road hitting up cities here and there as opposed to supporting a new release. Her last album, Never a Long Way Home, came out in 2009, but these indie artists likely find more scratch and satisfaction on the road anyway.

Her site keeps mentioning alt-country, but her sound is far more Americana and roots in the vein of Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams. And the intimate space of Opening Bell is likely ideal for her sound. If you’re hankering for live music with some queer flair, then head on down to the South Side.

Opening Bell, 1409 S Lamar St. 8 p.m. $10. Click here for more information.

—  Rich Lopez

Dallas premiere of ‘March On’ is Thursday night

Laura McFerrin

Dallas filmmaker Laura McFerrin’s award-winning documentary about the National Equality March, March On, will finally make its North Texas debut on Thursday, Feb. 24.

The film, which tells the story of the 2009 LGBT march on Washington through the lives of five families, will be screened at 7 p.m. at Studio Movie Grill, 11170 N. Central Expressway (at Royal Lane).

The screening is a fundraiser for GetEQUAL, but admission is free. Donations are welcome at the door, and merchandise will be available for purchase.

In addition to McFerrin, the screening will feature March On cast members Omar Lopez and Zoe Nicholson, who will offer a Q&A afterward, as well as GetEQUAL director and co-founder Robin McGehee.

For more info or to RSVP, got to the Facebook event page.

—  John Wright

Help kick off AOC’s 2011 AIDS Walk

The AIDS Outreach Center in Tarrant County marks its 25th anniversary this year, and one of the first celebrations will be the agency’s 19th annual AIDS Walk on Sunday, April 23.

You can read more about the history of AOC and plans for this year’s AIDS Walk in the Friday issue of Dallas Voice, but you can get a head start on the walk by going to the kick-off party Thursday night, Feb. 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Tommy’s Hamburger Grill, 5228 Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth. Tommy’s — who have, I have heard, some of if not the best burgers in Cowtown — will be providing free beer and burgers for the event. And walk coordinator Penny Rowell — along with other AOC staff members and walk organizing committee members — will be there with all the information you need to get involved and get walking to raise money for AOC.

Rowell said she will be working the party to get folks interested in being AIDS Walk team captains by helping out with ideas for recruiting team members and raising funds. (Of course, I figure they had most people at “free burgers and beer.”)

—  admin

Gay Super Bowl block party called a success

Scott Whittall warms up the crowd at the Super Street Party.

Maybe the gays in Dallas are capable of pulling off a Super Bowl party after all.

Although a gay-themed concert planned for the Cotton Bowl on Thursday night was canceled due to poor ticket sales, organizers of Saturday night’s block party on Cedar Springs are deeming it a success. (To view a slideshow from the party, go here.)

Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, said while the closed-down street itself wasn’t overly crowded during the event, the clubs were extremely busy and some were at capacity.

“The turnout was huge, but it’s hard for us to get a head count because everybody kept running in and out of the clubs to get warm,” Whittall said, adding that attendance was definitely in the thousands. “I think if they all would have been able to stay outside, I think we would have seen a street full of people. There was no question they were down here, they were just in an out all night long. They were flooding through those gates.”

Whittall said organizers of the Super Street Party — billed as the world’s first-ever gay Super Bowl block party — were “freaking out” on Thursday and Friday because they weren’t sure if the weather would clear.

“They had altered the forecast I don’t know how many times for Saturday,” he said. “We didn’t know what to expect, especially with all that snow and ice on the ground Friday. But it all worked out. I don’t even think there was a patch of ice left on Cedar Springs. Everything was set up in time. It went off great.

“We’re definitely deeming it a success, especially compared to a lot of the party debacles that were out there last week in the straight community. I heard that a lot of the parties around town were not well attended,” Whittall said. “We had the luxury of the fact that we have a ton of huge clubs around us where people can go and get warm. There was always a pretty good crowd around the stage. In a warmer weather situation, we will definitely set the street up like that again.”

—  John Wright

CORRECTION: Publicist says more than 13 tickets were sold to canceled gay Super Bowl concert

We received the below message marked “URGENT” late last night from Ariana Hajibashi, publicist for the this weekend’s XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl. Hajibashi was responding to our post Monday about the cancellation of the first night of the party, which was geared toward the LGBT community. In our post, we reported that Hajibashi said the Thursday night concert — featuring the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell — was canceled because only 13 (yes, 13) tickets had been sold. But she now says that’s inaccurate:

“I appreciate the story on XLV Party but I wanted to let you know that the 13 tickets number you quoted me saying is not correct,” she wrote. “When speaking with you, I was giving you an example, just threw a number out there. We definitely sold tickets but not enough to entice us to continue with the event as scheduled. If you could please make that correction, I’d appreciate it.”

Done, but how many tickets were actually sold then? We’ve responded to Hajibashi with this very question, and we’ll update if we get a response.

—  John Wright

Organizers cancel gay-themed Super Bowl concert at Cotton Bowl after only 13 tickets sold

The big gay Super Bowl concert planned for the Cotton Bowl on Thursday night has been canceled due to poor ticket sales, according to Ariana Hajibashi, publicist for the now-two-night XLV Party

Hajibashi said only 13 tickets had been sold for Thursday night’s concert featuring Lady Bunny, the Village People and Cazwell, which was marketed specifically to the LGBT community.

“Our Friday and Saturday are packed, but Thursday didn’t sell anything,” Hajibashi said. “I understand that everybody in Dallas is a last-minute ticket buyer, but unfortunately with only 13 tickets sold four days out, we couldn’t invest an additional $100,000 dollars. We couldn’t have a 6,000-square-foot space with 100 people in it. It kind of makes us sad because we were really trying to do an event for the GLBT community. Everybody else is focused on the sports angle and things like that, so we’re disappointed that we didn’t get any attention.”

Hajibashi said cold weather had nothing to do with the cancellation, because the tent over the Cotton Bowl will be heated. She said organizers thought they had a great lineup that would appeal to the gay community.

The XLV Party is still on for Friday and Saturday nights, and tickets are now as low as $59 per night for a limited time. As we mentioned earlier, Outtakes Dallas is giving away tickets.

A full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

DADT rally planned Thursday on Cedar Springs

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and other groups are planning a rally — either a protest or a celebration — on Cedar Springs on Thursday night following a possible Senate vote on the Defense spending bill that includes a repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” From the e-mail we just received:

The Senate will be voting on DADT 12/09/10. We are going to join other LGBT community organizations tomorrow for either a celebration or a protest according to how the vote goes tomorrow.

Here is what we need the membership to do:

1. Call Senator Hutchison (202) 224-5922 or (214) 361- 3500 and/or FAX (202) 224-0776

2. Call Senator Cornyn (202) 224-2934 or (972) 239-1310 and/or FAX (202) 228-2856

Just tell them your name and that you are a voting constituent. Then tell the staffer you URGE the Senator to vote to REPEAL DADT. While you’re at it you can also urge them to vote in favor of the DREAM ACT! Both legislations effect our LGBT brothers & sisters.

3. Show up at the rally at 7 p.m. on 12/09/10. We will meet at the Oak Lawn Library and then march down Cedar Springs to the Monument of Love and have our celebration or protest rally! Bring your PRIDE Flags, banners, signs, or just yourself! History will be made tomorrow. Be a part of it! Please forward this rally email to everyone you know. Please post in your Facebook and/or Twitter statuses! Thank you to Equality March Texas (EMT), LULAC 4871, HRC, and Out & Equal groups that are already on board for the rally!

—  John Wright

BREAKING: Arkansas school board member Clint McCance apologizes, says he’ll resign

Clint McCance, the school board member from Midland, Ark., who recently encouraged gays to kill themselves on his Facebook page, said Thursday night on CNN that he plans to resign his seat:

“I’m sorry I’ve hurt people with my comments,” McCance told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I’m sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum. …

“I would never support suicide for any kids,” McCance said. “I don’t support bullying of any kids.”

“The words I used were unfortunate … but they can’t be taken back,” he said. “All I can do now is extend my apologies for my poor speech.”

Read the full story by going here.

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“Clint McCance’s decision to resign from the school board is a step forward for the community he represents. We are hopeful the wounds that were inflicted will soon be healed. What remains troubling is that Mr. McCance focused his regret on particular word choices not the animus behind those words. We hope he will take this time to reflect not only on the language he used but on what he can do to make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people better.”

—  John Wright