This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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It’s a theaterific week in Dallas, and don’t think the community doesn’t know it.

There are, of course, the usual opening and continuing runs, but if it seems like there’s more than most early Junes, that’s because the Theater Communications Group is holding its national conference in Dallas (with the DTC hosting) starting next week. That means the Festival of Independent Theatres moved up its start date by a month to give attendees a choice of new work to see. Meanwhile, over at Kitchen Dog they are mounting their own 15th annual New Works Festival, of which Se Llama Cristina is the mainstage production.

Up in Addison, WaterTower Theatre is about to open its new show, Black Tie, a family comedy directed by Rene Moreno, while in Fort Worth, Jubilee Theatre’s Knock Me a Kiss addresses the controversial story of an outing that scandalized the African-American community in 1920s Harlem. That’s pretty gay, but not as gay as Sister Act, which continued Dallas Summer Musicals‘ season.

And in Fort Worth, native son Guy Stroman — one of the original cast members and creators of the musical Forever Plaid, pictured — returns to direct and choreography Casa Manana’s latest production, to coincide with the company’s gala.

For fun in a theater that doesn’t have any actual plays, see Public Radio icon Ira Glass at the Winspear on Saturday with his presentation Reinventing Radio. And Cowtown’s quadrennial presentation of the 14th Cliburn International Piano Competition is already under way. And over at Victory Park, Clint Mordecai opens an exhibit of his new artwork at the Cirque Apartments as a benefit for DIFFA Friday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GLFD’S NEW FORMAT

WELCOMING MEMBERS  |  Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas kicked off its membership drive Tuesday, Sept. 13, with a party in the Owners’ Lounge at The House in Victory Park, hosted by Ferrell Drum. Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller made the pitch to supporters to join as members. During the past 10 years, the organization raised more than $1 million for a number of non-profits committed to equality and diversity. Pictured at the event are, from left, Paul Polanco, Keith Nix, Noel Santini and Mark Niermann.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Local briefs

Miller to speak at GLFD event

Former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller will speak at the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas membership kickoff event at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Fifth Floor Owners’ Lounge at The House at Victory Park, 2200 Victory Park Ave.

GLFD raises money to support local organizations outside the LGBT community to raise the visibility of and awareness of philanthropy in the LGBT community. Among previous GLFD beneficiaries are The Women’s Museum, Parkland Hospital, the Latino Cultural Center, the Dallas Symphony and Southern Methodist University.

Until now, money was raised through donations and events. Now, GLFD is soliciting memberships. A basic annual membership fee is $50. For $200, the “Advocate” level also includes two invitations to an annual member appreciation event. The $500 “Philanthropic Partner” level also includes optional website recognition.

Anyone who would like to attend should email Keith Nix at knix@keithnix.com.

UUCOC offers grief workshop

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, 3839 West Kiest Blvd., will begin a grief workshop series and a speakers forum next week.The workshop series is for those coping with loss, whether from the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or termination from a job.

Hosted by the Rev. Mark Walz, the workshops will be lead by the Rev. Xolani Kecala, chaplain and affiliated minister of UUCOC.

Interested parties should call 214-337-2429 to reserve a space. The workshops take place Sept. 15 and Oct. 13.

The Second Wednesday Speaker’s Forum kicks off on Sept. 14 with Garrett Mize, Texas Freedom Network’s youth advocacy coordinator.

Mize’s efforts focus on engaging young people to become leaders in advocating for evidence-based, comprehensive sex education.

Light refreshments and discussion begin at 6:30 p.m. Mize’s presentation begins at 7 p.m. followed by a service from 8 p.m. to8:30 p.m. focusing on the evening’s topic.

Austin Pride to help wildfire victims

Austin Pride events scheduled for Saturday will continue as planned, despite wildfires that have ravaged surrounding counties this week. But in response to the fire, Pride organizers said they are organizing a clothing and non-perishable food drive with GoingUpDay.org to help those displaced by the fires, which have destroyed more than 1,300 homes, many in Bastrop County, just east of Austin.

Austin Pride takes place Saturday, Sept. 10 in downtown Austin at Riverside Drive and South 1st Street at 8 a.m. For more information, visit AustinPride.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

There’s no place like home

With the Mavs’ victory and the Super Bowl, all eyes are on Dallas lately. But many locals don’t know just what Uptown has to offer

CLANG CLANG CLANG WENT THE … | Uptown’s trolley service has a history and plans for expansion. Best of all, it’s free. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Every year, when they bring in travel journalists from all over the world to promote Dallas as a gay destination, the Tavern Guild shows them everything the city has to offer a visitor. (See sidebar.) Just this week, all eyes were on Victory Park as the Mavericks won their first NBA championship title. In other words, lots of people from outside have had Uptown Dallas on the brain.
So let me ask: Where, exactly, is Uptown?

There’s a lot even Dallas natives don’t know about the Oak Lawn-adjacent neighborhood. And that’s something the local association is trying to change.

Uptown, officially, is just a single square mile, bordered roughly to the south by Woodall Rodgers Freeway, to the west by the Katy Trail, to the east by North Central Expressway and to the north by Haskell Street. But they’ve packed a ton of stuff in that district: Five hotels, all pretty high end (the Stoneleigh, the Ritz-Carlton, the Crescent Court, Zaza and the Hotel St. Germain); 90 bars and restaurants; three live theaters … and tons of gay folks, of course.

Uptown didn’t used to be “up;” it used to be “low.” When the plans were drafted in the 1980s for construction on the Crescent, the area was described as “Lower Oak Lawn,” which is how many in the gayborhood still see it. But Uptown has some attractions unique to it.

Not the least of these is the McKinney Avenue Trolley system, which circles Uptown before crossing over the Woodall canyon and dead-ending on St. Paul Street between the Dallas Museum of Art and the Fairmont Hotel. That’ll change soon; plans are underway to extend the end of the line and make it a true loop. That should add to the 390,000 riders who hopped one of the three trolleys in 2010. And best of all, they rode them for free.

If you haven’t ridden the trolley yet, it merits your time. Because they are antiques, these are not cookie-cutter light rail trains but variously sized, one-of-a-kind streetcars loaded with history. One of the cars is 101 years old; one has distinctly European styling; they come from as far away as Australia, and run on tracks that won’t need to be repaired for decades.

One trolley trip can take you from right next to Stephan Pyles Restaurant back up McKinney Avenue, where you can grab a cocktail at Sambuca and an appetizer from Fearing’s across the street; up toward State-Thomas, which hides some hip bars like The Nodding Donkey; and past the West Village where Cork has a variety of wines. And you’re just a few paces from the Cityplace DART stop, so you don’t have to drive home after indulging.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Travel

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BEST STAYCATION
W Dallas — Victory Hotel

2440 Victory Park Lane
214-397-4100

If you’ve never taken a staycation — or even heard of one — trust us: If gas prices continue to head the way they are, you will. A lot. Staycations allow you to get away without going away (and paying for travel). Crave a spa treatment, clean sheets every night, a breathtaking view of a miraculous city skyline, access to a swimming pool and fine dining without stepping outside? Then you’re talking about a few nights in the W Dallas Hotel in Victory Park. With Craft restaurant serving up top-notch meals and the notorious Ghostbar providing pulsing dance music and loads of delicious cocktails, it’s just like a vacation to WeHo or Lauderdale without the TSA agents performing a cavity search. Save that experience for your birthday.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 

TOP SINGLES GET LAID
DESTINATION
Palm Springs, Calif.

It’s not in any official guidebook, but it’s probably a pretty safe assumption to say that Palm Springs has more naked gay men per capita than just about anywhere in the world. Home to tons of intimate gay resorts where clothing is almost always optional (except in line for the continental breakfast), it’s no wonder that people consider this one of the best places for singles to “have relations.” It’s a quaint little city where you not only don’t have to buy the milk, the cow will show you everything it’s got for free. And then some. Of course, even if your goal isn’t to get busy in the desert, Palm Springs is a great gay destination for anybody looking for plenty of sunshine, beautiful pools and scenic views in every direction. Just don’t be scared if there’s a nude man behind that cactus when you go to take your new profile pic for Facebook.

— Steven Lindsey


BEST SMARTPHONE TRAVEL APP
American Airlines

Travel tech junkies rejoice with the American Airlines app available for iPhone, iPad and Android to make flying easier — even fun. The app can be used for check-in, to review schedules and notifications, to access AAdvantage accounts, book flights and even act as a mobile boarding pass, complete with scanable code. It’ll even give you gate and seating information and track your spot on the standby list. American has made traveling as simple as a swipe and a tap. And for those with layovers and delays, it has you covered: The app features a Sudoku program to play while waiting for your group to be called.

— Rich Lopez

 

BEST PLACE TO TAKE
OUT OF TOWN GUESTS
Where the Cowboys Are

In announcing this selection, we aren’t referring to the kind of cowboy you’ll see wearing Wranglers and Stetsons and showing out every weekend dancing together at the Round-Up Saloon (although that’s a good spot for this category, too). Give your visitors a taste of real cowboy culture at the Fort Worth Stockyards, which not only has some dandy shopping  (best place for boots and leather goods) and restaurants (Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove, for instance), but does a twice-daily cattle drive of Texas Longhorns, at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Find out more about the Fort Worth Herd at FortWorth.com/TheHerd. They’ll even let you pick one out.

Or, for another kind of Cowboy-spotting, but one no less sexy, take them on a tour of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It got a lot of not-so-positive press attention when Super Bowl XLV was hosted there, but the facilities themselves are pretty amazing, despite the seating issues for the big game. It’s also a monument to hubris, and in our state, that’s not necessarily a bad thing: We are famous for boasting that everything is bigger here.

— Mark Lowry


BEST AIRLINE
American Airlines

AA.com

 

ULTIMATE DOMESTIC LGBT
DESTINATION • TIE
San Francisco
New York City
Provincetown, Mass.


ULTIMATE INTERNATIONAL
LGBT DESTINATION
Puerto Vallerta, Mexico


TOP COUPLES ROMANTIC GETAWAY
Cross Timber Ranch Bed & Breakfast

6271 FM 858, Ben Wheeler, Texas 75754
903-833-9000
CrossTimberRanch.com


BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Austin

 

BEST LGBT CRUISE COMPANY
Atlantis Cruises
AtlantisEvents.com


BEST ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Orbitz.com

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Rockin’ bowl

Super Bowl weekend brings more than athletes to town — like, gay musicians

concert-2-1For those music fans who aren’t quite sports fans, the Super Bowl may not seem like such a big deal (unless you want to find a parking space in Arlington that weekend). But don’t worry — the biggest football weekend of the year has just as much for you.

A slew of big-name artists will be in town performing throughout the Metroplex that week; here’s a quick breakdown of some of the bigger shows on the calendar.

concert-2-2
SPORT TUNES | Cazwell, above, and The Village People, top left, bring gay flair to Super Bowl concerts while Prince adds royalty to the weekend.

The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl spans three days and hits all the marks — even the gay ones. The lineup on Thursday, Feb. 3, is especially targeted to gay sports fans, with the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell. Indie popsters Passion Pit perform a DJ set Friday, Feb. 4, and rockers Sublime headline the final party on Super Bowl Sunday. Visit XLVParty.com for more information.

DirectTV hosts its Celebrity Beach Bowl V on Feb. 6, turning Victory Park into a sandy oasis. After the celeb-game, pop rockers Maroon 5 perform a free post-game show. Visit DirectTV.com for more information.

The Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam hosts a random lineup at Verizon Theatre on Feb. 3. Duran Duran, Kid Rock and Jason Derulo offer a schizophrenic roster of music. Visit Ticketmaster .com to purchase tickets.

Headlining the benefit show theEvent, Prince brings his purple reign back to the old Reunion Arena site where he performed in 1984 — only this time, it’s in a big-ass tent complex. For $1,500, you can see him live and support the Goss-Michael Foundation, which provides scholarships for students pursuing the arts. Visit Twitter.com/theEventDallas for more information.

— Rich Lopez

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 11.05.10

COH holds vigil for equality

The Cathedral of Hope 20Something Ministries and Peace House Dallas in conjunction with other community activism groups are hosting a candlelight vigil to commemorate and express gratitude to those who struggle for peaceful equality on behalf of LGBTQ people.

They will gather with local community leaders on the grounds of the recently dedicated Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. Speakers will include representatives of Lambda Legal, Cathedral of Hope and Peace House Dallas.

The evening will conclude with a prayer for peace and strength with a progressive lighting of candles as a tribute in honor and memory.

Celebrichefs grill burgers for AIDS

A dozen celebrity chefs joined Chef John Tesar, culinary director of DRG Concepts, on the fifth floor pool deck at The House in Victory Park, for the second annual Burgers & Burgundy event benefiting Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. The chefs crafted a variety of burgers from BBQ spiced beef with smoked sausage to grilled garlic lamb sliders to raise funds for DIFFA.

This year’s event raised more than $25,000 while guests sipped burgundy wines and with  downtown Dallas serving as a backdrop.

Chefs who participated in addition to Tesar included Cooking With Friends host Nick Stellino, James Beard award winner R.J. Cooper, Stephan Pyles, Kent Rathbun, Tim Byres, Scott Romano, Dan Landsberg, Samir Dhurandhar, Sharon Van Meter, Kevin Williamson, and Brian Luscher. They represented restaurants as diverse as Samar, Nick and Sam’s, Smoke, Tillman’s Road House and The Grape.

Silent auction packages included four Kenmore grills paired with a celebrity chef visit or a party with Michael Martensen.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Election Day watch party locations

AT&T Plaza at Victory Park on south side of AA Arena

Election Day watch parties will be held Tuesday night at various locations in Dallas. Each county party will hold a rally and many candidates are hosting gatherings of their own.

The Dallas County Democratic Party will rally at AT&T Plaza in Victory Park by the south entrance of American Airlines Center. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will be at Victory Park. The location in case of rain is the Jack Daniels Grill inside the arena.

The Dallas County Republican Party will be at Hotel Palomar on Central Expressway at Mockingbird Lane. Log Cabin Republicans will be at a private house in North Dallas. Contact the group for more information.

Openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons hosts a party at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Elba Garcia, the Democrat running for the District 4 seat on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, will be at the Kessler Theater on Davis Street in Oak Cliff.

County judge candidate Clay Jenkins and State Rep. Eric Johnson will be at Studio Bar & Grill, 1135 South Lamar near Gilleys and Southside on Lamar.

A number of candidates will be at Victory Park, including Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and State Rep. Carol Kent. Openly gay judicial candidate Tonya Parker will be nearby at the W Hotel.

Bill White’s Dallas campaign will be at Victory Park as well. White will be in Houston.

—  David Taffet

Best bets • 10.08.10

Friday 10.15

No need to ask where the beef is
Burgers and beer is a primo combination, but with wine, it’s a step up. Especially if they are made by 11 local celebrity chefs, then it could just be heaven. The second annual Burgers & Burgundy hosted by Chef John Tesar puts it all together for your pleasure while raising funds for DIFFA. Who said eating burgers could ever be bad for you?

DEETS: The House in Victory Park, 2200 Victory Ave. 6 p.m. $75. DiffaDallas.org.

……………………………….

Saturday 10.16

Never cross a gay vampire at bingo
The last thing you want to do is piss off Miss True Blood by yelling “bingo” before her. The last thing you need is a big bite mark on your neck before it’s truly scarf season. Put on your fangs, widow’s peaks and capes for this month’s GayBingo Vampire. Just watch out for those real ones blending in. Garlic should keep you safe — alone, but safe.

DEETS: The Rose Room (inside Station 4), 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 5 p.m. $25. RCDallas.org.

……………………………….

Sunday 10.17

Fahari introduces Miss Bull Jeans
Harold J. Steward directs Q-Roc Ragsdale in this one-woman multi-media show about Bull Jeans and her life in the rural South of the 1920s. Her story of survival, love and lesbianism is told in the bull-jean stories based on the book by Sharon Bridgforth.

DEETS: South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. 3 p.m. $15. Q-Roc.tv/Bull-Jean.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Swarm up for Black Tie Dinner at Ghostbar tonight

‘Get wired for Black Tie Dinner’

Black Tie Dinner knows how to tease us social media folk. They’ve planned a social swarm party that caters to the Foursquare and Tweeter in all of us. Once you unlock your Foursquare swarm badges, then you can drink the night away, socialize with fellow Twitters (you thought we’d say “twits,” huh?) and hang with party host Kellie Raspberry from “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning.” Consider this the mixer of the week. We are.

DEETS: Ghostbar at the W Hotel, 2440 Victory Park Lane, Suite 3300. 6 p.m. RSVP required.

—  Rich Lopez