Work it!

Dallas is awash in places for fitness-conscious gay men to build muscles … and show off a little

There’s not a loss for gyms around the Oak Lawn neighborhood. Several fitness centers dot the healthy landscape from Uptown to Downtown and several in between. This is a list of health clubs that are among the favorites for the LGBT community.

— Rich Lopez


Club Dallas
Exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years, this institution actually has one of the largest gyms in the city, and is open 24 hours, 365 days a year.
2616 Swiss Ave

Diesel Fitness
Located on the third floor of the Centrum, it’s right in the heart of the gayborhood.
3102 Oak Lawn #300

Energy Fitness joins an already bustling roster of gyms in the Uptown area. Located in the West Village, this gym has garnered praise for its no-nonsense approach and competitive membership fees.

Energy Fitness
This recent gym has gained a reputation for affordable memberships and solid service right in the West Village.
2901 Cityplace West Blvd.

Located in the old Park Place Motorcars location, it offers a full range of fitness services
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.

Gold’s Gym
Locations are throughout the city, but the one in Uptown serves a fit, very gay customer base.
2425 McKinney Avenue

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

The LA Fitness by Love Field has been a favorite for the community with its convenience to the Oak Lawn area and an impressive list of amenities and classes. (Rich Lopez/Dallas Voice)

LA Fitness
Has multiple locations, but the one at Lemmon and Mockingbird by Love Field is popular with gay clientele.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane

Trophy Fitness Club
With four total locations, one can be found in the downtown Mosaic (formerly Pulse) and in one Uptown.
2812 Vine St. Suite 300

24 Hour Fitness
Popular locations include the one Downtown and one at Mockingbird Lane and Greenville Avenue.
700 North Harwood St.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

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


SZECHUAN SPICE | Howard Wang’s boasts evocative decor and the best version of Chinese food in the Uptown area. (Photo courtesy Robert Hart Studio)

Howard Wang’s has the look, and almost the flavor, of  classic Szechuan cuisine

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

The last time I was in San Francisco, I ate out at two restaurants. One was Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ Berkeley bistro that ushered in California cuisine. It was delicious and set us back $180. The other was a Chinese dive in the Haight. It cost $18. It was the better meal — authentic, fiery, unique.

The fact is, great Chinese food is hard to find in America (at least at reasonable prices). Pan-Asian-fusion? Sure. Kobe beef from Japan, or fluffy tempura? Yep. Thai and Vietnamese? You can find it. But the spice and kick of China is as rare as a unicorn. There’s good, even delightful versions of traditional classics, but greatness eludes us. It’s the one form of cuisine where I recalibrate my expectations … though I always hope for the best.

Howard Wang’s Uptown, which opened next the new Gloria’s at Cole and Lemmon, looked promising. For first impressions, you could hardly do better: Brush-stained white pine floors, soothing rich walls, shiny black lacquers and pops of color from paper lanterns and a wall of ceramic masks in bas-relief. It sidles up to cliché with its traditional — some might say predictable — palette, but it never crosses the line, as abstract window panels and an eye-catching bar area lend a modern, social feeling.

The other senses are stimulated as well, with the aroma of fresh wood wafting among the faint hint of peppers. If ever a restaurant’s décor got me in the mood for the kind of food I was anticipating, this was it.

And it almost made it. While the food at Howard Wang’s isn’t at the level it was at that hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco, it makes an admirable foray into the Dallas Chinese cuisine scene. (This ain’t Wang’s first time at the rodeo; he also owns China Grill in North Dallas.)

The menu, in typical brasserie fashion, is large and diverse without overwhelming. Like Pei Wei, it takes you on a grand tour of styles, from stir-fry to broth noodles to satays, salads and wraps. The dim sum list offers standard fare like edamame ($5), egg rolls ($2 each) and potstickers ($7). The latter stands out with its seared plumpness and chewy texture, although the sauces are enough to distinguish almost any of the dishes, with the super-spicy yellow mustard approaching the defiant flavor that makes a meal memorable.

It was a welcome addition to a mild dish like the  Mandarin sweet and sour chicken ($10), which pulls sweetness from lychees and mangoes, with only a hint of bite from the tang of pineapple. The spicy-crispy beef ($10), a stir-fry dish brimming with the pungency of ginger and garlic, packs a punch on its own, although it shies away from gaudy flourishes of spice. The zestiness of the orange peel shrimp ($16) and the General Tsao’s chicken ($14) had similar flashes of zing without going flat-out balls-to-the-wall.

Desserts are never a Chinese signature, although for seven bucks, the honey banana tempura with green tea ice cream is smashing: Plentiful (plan to share), sweet and tart, cool and warm.

Service is almost too solicitous. Our waitress — the same on several visits — is an enthusiastic cheerleader for the food, making suggestions and touting the high-points of several dishes. She has been supplemented by the manager, the owner and other staffers checking on us… perhaps too much attention for a dinner date. But food was delivered fast and pleasantly.

Howard Wang’s won’t make me forget  Haight-Ashbury, but it certainly gives Uptown its most formidable embodiment of Chinese cuisine yet.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Your smart phone is not safe on McKinney Avenue, as DPD warns of thefts in Uptown

This message was sent out by the Dallas Police Department’s Central Patrol Division on Thursday night:

During the past few weeks, as the weather has warmed up, an increase in thefts in the Uptown area has been observed.

Two young males have been observed by witnesses taking property, primarily smart phones (iPhones in particular) from businesses in the Uptown area, especially McKinney Avenue. Patrons of restaurants and bars along McKinney avenue report thefts as well, with many of thefts in these businesses taking place both indoors and on outdoor patios.

In addition to smart phones, an iPad, purses, and other personal property have been taken.

Crowded areas are attractive to criminals because people are distracted, and because it is easy for a criminal to disappear into crowds after stealing items.

Please keep personal items secured. Keep phones and other small items, especially electronic items, inside your purse or pocket. Keep your purse strap secured to your body to help prevent purse snatch, and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid laying items down on your table and leaving them there. It has take only a second or two for items to be stolen off of table tops, literally from under the noses of victims.

If you observe people whom you believe to be suspicious don’t hesitate to report to 911. Make note of their description (sex, race, height, weight, hair color, hair length, clothing color and description), what activities make you suspicious, and what direction the suspect(s) leaves the area. It is very likely that the suspect(s) will be gone by the time police arrive, so a good description will help officers when they search the area.

DPD’s warning followed an e-mail earlier this week from Nancy Weinberger, Oak Lawn Crime Watch volunteer, who says thefts have been reported at Dallas Fine Wines at 3518 Oak Lawn, Black Friar Pub at 2621 McKinney, and Idle Rich Pub at 2622 McKinney:

This was a big problem during the summer time. It looks like the same 2 suspects are at it again. This past summer they hit several businesses, not just bars, but all business types. Please pass this on to all of the business owners that you have contacts with and just anybody that lives in the Uptown area.

The same two suspects seem to be committing Thefts in the Uptown area, the suspects go into a Bar/Restaurant distract the employees/customers and take a purse or cell phones.  Suspects are two B/M’s one is 6’2 160 and the other is shorter 5’9 150 and they flee in a White Ford Crown Victoria parked nearby. They appear to be maybe 20ish or younger.

—  John Wright