Our gay Texas

Readers Voice Awards’ ‘Gay Texas’ photo contest entries show great talent

RUNNERS-UP |  Among the contenders for Dallas Voice’s My Gay Texas photo contest that did not make the top nine are, clockwise from above: Eric Dickson (cowboy), Lauren Farris (‘Drag Queens’), Stephanie Kern (Rainbow Lounge rally flag), Don Klausmeyer (man in leaves), Farris again (drag queen) and Shannon Kern (Milk Day rainbow flag).

RUNNERS-UP | Among the contenders for Dallas Voice’s My Gay Texas photo contest that did not make the top nine are, clockwise from above: Eric Dickson (cowboy), Lauren Farris (‘Drag Queens’), Stephanie Kern (Rainbow Lounge rally flag), Stephen Masker (man in leaves), Farris again (drag queen) and Shannon Kern (Milk Day rainbow flag).

The Dallas Voice’s Readers Voice Awards are underway (you can vote online right now, at DFWReadersVoice.com), where you can vote on your favorite whatevers — criminal attorney, chef, boutique, dog walker or get-laid travel vacation. (Trust us, we’ve tried to think of everything.)

But what you also get to vote for — and stand a chance of winning — is the My Gay Texas photo contest. We had scores of submissions during the month of December, asking photographers professional and amateur to submit the pictures that defined, for them, what’s great or interesting or special or unique or beautiful or sexy or hilarious about queer Texas. The top nine are on the site, and you can vote for your favorite and be entered to win two round-trip tickets on American Airlines to the lower 48, Mexico, Caribbean and Canada. And by voting, you also get to benefit the photographer’s charity of choice to the tune of a thousand simoleons.

But the nine photos that made the cut only tell part of the story. Tons of photos were in serious contention but just didn’t hit the top tier. Here are some that really speak to the diversity and fascination of our gay community … and the talent of our readers. With these the runners-up, you know the competition was fierce.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Time to vote for the Readers Voice Awards!

Yesterday afternoon, the Readers Voice Awards website went online, which gives you, dear readers, nearly a month to speak out about what matters to you! That means you get to vote for your favorite dining spots, shopping destinations, community leaders, barbers, doctors, Realtors, airlines … all the stuff that makes your life easier or better as a gay Texan. And when you speak, we listen.

The best part? Well, actually there are two. First, you can vote for one of nine images (above) to be our cover when the Readers Voice Awards issue comes out in March … and give one lucky photographer’s charity $1,000 prize. Second, you get a chance at a prize of your own when you vote. Someone wins two round-trip tickets on American to most of North America and the Caribbean just by voting… and you get to see some great photos, too. So vote now!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Up, up and away!

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SEE YOU NEXT TRIP | Brian Garrison voted and won. He plans to go to the Caribbean with his husband. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Voting in the Readers Voice Awards paid off for Brian Garrison — he won 2 tickets on American Airlines

Dallas Voice: Congratulations on winning the tickets! I’m jealous. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Garrison: Well, I work in IT, marketing and sales in various industries such as travel, investment banking and telecommunications. I’m a native-born Texan from Austin but raised in Luling, renowned for its barbecue and the Watermelon Thump Festival!

Where were you when you found out you won and how did you react? I was on the way to an early dinner and a movie. I was quite surprised because I thought it might be a solicitation call for donations.

Who is your dream travel companion? That would be my husband and partner, Cory Smith. Seriously!

Oh we believe you. That’s very sweet. Do you know where you’ll be going? I do extensive travel, domestic and international, for work and pleasure, but for this, we plan to go somewhere in the Caribbean, maybe the British Virgin Islands.

Why there? The sun, sand, sin.

You know that’s right. What prompted you to vote? Pardon the pun, but I really wanted my voice to be heard in our community.

What was your favorite category to vote in? Home and gift [Services and Shop].

Did you vote for any friends or yourself at all? No.

You might be our first unbiased voter. OK, so this is your acceptance speech…go! “It is thrilling! I’m so grateful to you all — my wonderful fans who made me a star! Mommie!” I’ve always wanted to say that in public.

And now you have. Have fun on your trip!

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

—  John Wright

Forget Gaycities — tell everyone what’s great about Big D with the Readers Voice Awards

The web site GayCities.com released its list of the best about dozens of cities worldwide, from bars to sex clubs to restaurants to fundraisers. And just how well did Texas do? Not great, actually.

Sure, we have several of the top hotels (a W, two Kimptons, a few Hyatts) and Resource Center Dallas came in fourth overall for best LGBT center (preceded only by those in San Francisco, New York and Toronto), but otherwise, the Lone Star State was practically overlooked: Splash Weekend in Austin came in sixth for an event to cross the country for, and Austin’s Kiss & Fly landed on the best strippers, but otherwise we were pretty much shut out. (Neighboring New Orleans’ Southern Decadence landed on best events list, too.)

This is, to put a fine point on it, bullshit. Dallas has so many great bars, businesses, boys and babes, it’s hardly possible for the staff here to list them all.

And that’s where you come in. We’re currently conducting the Readers Voice Awards, which single out the best of the best across the Metroplex: Favorite eateries, role models, doctors, drag queens, dog walkers, bands and more than 100 other categories. When you vote, you get to register to win two free tickets on American Airlines almost anywhere in the U.S. and its nearest neighbors. You can also vote for your favorite local Ultimate Diva!

So let’s make sure everyone knows that it’s not just NYC and San Fran and L.A. that have great gay cultures — so does Dallas. And we do it in cowboy boots.

Vote now — just click here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

VOTE: Who will be the “Ultimate Diva!”?

Everyone knows Dallas has more than its fair share of divas. So when we decided to hold the Ultimate Diva! contest — which comes with a photo spread in the Readers Voice Awards Ultimate Diva! edition on March 18, a $1,000 donation to the winner’s charity-of-choice and best of all, bragging rights — we knew we’d get some fabulous entrants from which to cull our top 10. And we did.

Not surprising (considering the charitable contribution) was that many of those who put themselves in the running as the Ultimate Diva! were locals with proven track records as fundraisers for gay nonprofits: Edna Jean Robinson (aka Richard Curtin); Victoria Weston (aka Mike Fulk); Jenna Skyy (aka Joe Hoselton); Linze Serell (aka Bill Lindsey); Ima Lush (aka Jerry McDonald); and SheGotta Moustache (aka Greg Smith). Perhaps also not surprisingly, these Ultimate Diva! wannabes are all members of that sub-classification of divaliciousness: The drag queen.

But this was not, per se, a drag competition — far from it. It’s about style, balls, attitude. It’s about being proud of who you are without apology and bringing the force of your personality into any discussion. So we happily added M-to-F trainer Chris Tina Foxx Bruce to the lineup, representing the trans community.

It’s also not just about those born as biological who dress (or identify) as women — we had some biological girls enter the Ultimate Diva! contest, too. Stacy McKinney’s photo surrounded her feminine self with hot gay guys — always a plus. And Brandi Amara Skyy (real last name: Garcia) has the name of a drag queen, perhaps even the soul of one, but the plumbing of a girl. (She calls herself  a “biologically challenged drag queen”).

Individual divas are all well and good, of course, but a group diva? Totally. So we were excited to see Dallas Pride Cheer, the prideful group of sissy-boom-bah athletes, wade into the fray: If anyone qualifies as an Ultimate Diva!, it’s someone who forms a human pyramid to make their point.

Of course, this is just the start of these contestants’ claim to diva glory — you play a part, too. Go to dfwReadersVoice.com
and read up on each of the contestants who believe they deserve to be named Ultimate Diva! Review their photos and their charity of choice; and tell your friends to come out and support their favorite diva, whether drag queen, trans role model, woman or group. And once you vote, enter yourself in the drawing for a round-trip ticket for two on American Airlines. What a diva thing that would be to win!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Readers Voice Awards – Travel


RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST BED AND BREAKFAST


Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
214-522-4692
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night.
DaisyPolkInn.com

The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.

She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.

Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.

Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.

— Jenny Block

 



BEST ROMANTIC GETAWAY
New Orleans, La.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
NewOrleansCVB.com
Visitor’s bureau LGBT focus:
NewOrleansOnline GLBT

 

A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.

But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)

Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.

For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).

Then there’s the food, an essential component whenever lovers get together. Creole and Cajun cuisine, from rich cream sauces to spices that can shoot steam from your ears, dominate, but the French influences extend all the way to the café au lait and beignets. And is there anything more romantic than a boat ride along the Mighty Mississip?

So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 


BEST AIRLINE
American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
817-963-1234, 800-321-2121
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs.
aa.com or American Airlines Rainbow

 


BEST NATIONAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Travelocity
Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
888-872-8356
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Travelocity.com

BEST LOCAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
972-241-2000
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
BestGayCruises.com


BEST BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN
La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
800-642-4271
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
LQ.com


BEST LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN
Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
800-774-1500
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Hilton.com


BEST DALLAS HOTEL
W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
888-625-5144
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
WHotels.com/Dallas


BEST AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE
SuperShuttle
SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
800-258-3826
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
SuperShuttle.com

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Rainbow Ranch
1662 Limestone County Road 800, Groesbeck, Texas.
888-875-7596
Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
RainbowRanch.net

BEST LOCAL TOURIST DESTINATION
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Suite 120.
214-747-6660
Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Mon. noon-6 p.m.
JFK.org

BEST LOCAL TOURIST TRAP
West End Historical District
214-741-7180
DallasWestEnd.org

BEST VACATION SPOT TO GET LAID
Palm Springs, Calif.
Palm Springs tourism bureau:
Palm-Springs.org


BEST EXOTIC DESTINATION
Hawaii
Official tourism site: GoHawaii.com

‘GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ DESTINATION
Jamaica
Visitor Web site: ComeToJamaica.com

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008

—  admin