Best bets • 12.09.11

Friday 12.09

A wicked signature
If you missed out on Kristen Chenoweth’s appearance at the Nasher, you get another up close and personal one when she signs copies of her newest CD, Some Lessons Learned. But get there early. You have to get a wristband to get in line to see the Wicked and Glee star. But she’s so likeable, it’ll be worth the trouble.

DEETS: Barnes & Noble at Stonebriar, 2601 Preston Road, Frisco. 6:30 p.m. 972-668-2820.

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Friday 12.09

For the girls
Deb Hunseder and Steph Callahan are kind of a big deal. As acoustic rockers Halcyon, they’ve opened for big time names such as Joan Osborne, John Mayer and Wynonna Judd. But they headline this weekend. The Florida-based band comes to Dallas with their harmonies intact and a taste of their queer indie rock.

DEETS: With Bad Habits. Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. SueEllensDallas.com.

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Saturday 12.10

Forget the stripes, go ‘Plaid’
Although Forever Plaid is filled with comedy, music and dancing, it’s rather dark because the fictional band The Plaids die — in a car crash — before their first concert! But don’t let that take away from the fun. Seriously, it’s a good time.

DEETS: Flower Mound Performing Arts, 100 N. Charles St., Lewisville. Through Dec. 23. $25. FMPAT.org.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the Week • 12.02.11

Mark

Pet-Mark

Mark is an adorable, medium-haired blue tabby with pretty green eyes. He’s very friendly, great with other cats, curious and playful. Mark is 6 months old and just about purrfect in every way!

Mark and many other cats, kitten, puppies and dogs are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. Adoption discounts are also offered to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV.  For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org or call
214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Guitar hero

Amanda Dunbar’s bedazzling attack on axes makes art out of instruments

_Amanda-Dunbar-(63)-rsArtist Amanda Dunbar spends hours attaching individual Swarovski crystals to her unique collection of guitars, but be careful how you refer to them. “I’m not sure Swarovski is into calling it ‘bedazzling,’” she cautions. “Bejeweling might be better.”

Whatever the term, Dunbar’s glittering guitars — called Precious Rebels — have made her popular with musicians and bling-queens alike. She custom-made some for the Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce’s guitarist is a client and Crystal Bowersox used one on American Idol.

Although the encrusted axes are a fairly new addition to Dunbar’s repertoire, she’s not a newcomer to art — she had her first show at 16. But Precious Rebels does represent another aspect of her expression.

“It’s the fusion between different forms of art, creating in essence another type that is totally different,” that initially intrigued her, though she admits to another motivation too.

“I remember reading that the average person spends two to three seconds looking at a painting — two to three seconds! Even the Mona Lisa! That astounded me. I wondered what’s a way to make people spend more looking at a piece of art. This was one way to have a functional piece of art. Painting will always be my first love, but I wanted to create a way to make it more appealing to a broader audience and incorporate another thing I love: Rockin’ out in my studio.”

“Creativity and art are a means of positive expression that transcends age, sexuality, gender, race. There’s something powerful about being able to make a statement that can’t be judged.”

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Amanda Dunbar Gallery, 154 Glass St. Precious Rebels exhibit runs through Dec. 31. AmandaDunbarFineArt.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Remembrance


HONORING THE DEAD  |  The names of transgender people murdered in the last 12 months were read at memorials on Transgender Day of Remembrance. About 150 people gathered at the Interfaith Peace Chapel on Sunday, Nov. 20, for a service. A separate service was held Saturday night, Nov. 19, at Agape MCC in Fort Worth. (Photo courtesy Gwendolyn Scogin)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Holiday heroes


A HELPING HAND  |  Members of Cathedral of Hope distribute more than 400 food bags to low-income families and individuals for Thanksgiving. Volunteers participating in the effort on Sunday, Nov. 20, included, from left, Rusty Baldridge, Marty Cramer, Mark Wright and Alex DaSilva. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Lucky ticket


AND THE WINNER IS  |  Paul Van de Vyver, who bought the winning ticket for the two-door 2012 C250 Mercedes Coupe at this year’s Black Tie Dinner, picks up his new car on Friday, Nov. 18 at Park Place Mercedes on Lemmon Avenue. Pictured, from left, are Black Tie Dinner board member Kevin Terrell, Van de Vyver and BTD Co-Chair Chris Kouvelis. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Pet of the week • 11.25.11

Colette is an absolutely adorable 2-year-old Papillon who enjoys sitting in your lap and playing in the yard with her toys. She also enjoys snuggling up in her bed for naps after playtime. She has beautiful black and white fur and is looking for a someone to give her a chance at a new life. She has already been spayed and microchipped, and she has received all her shots.
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Collette and many other great dogs and cats are available for adoption from Operation Kindness, located at 3201 Earhart Drive, 1 street south of Keller Springs and 2 blocks west of Midway Road, in Carrollton. The no-kill shelter is open 6 days a week: Monday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday; Wednesday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.; Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $110 for cats, $135 for kittens, $150 dogs over 1 year, and $175 for puppies. The adoption cost includes the spay/neuter surgery, microchipping, vaccinations, heartworm test for dogs, leukemia and FIV test for cats, and more. Those who adopt two pets at the same time receive a $20 discount. For more information, call 972-418-PAWS, or visit OperationKindness.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Drawing Dallas • 11.25.11

As ‘Twilight’ returns, Skylar Brooks shows blood sucking can be a service

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Skylar Brooks, 24

Occupation: Testing coordinator, Resource Center Dallas, and shift manager, Starbucks

Spotted at: Exxon on the Run at Maple and Oak Lawn

A twinkle in her unbelievably pale blue eyes and an effervescent smile are the first things you notice about this fine Virgo. Born in Monroe, La., and raised in Euless and Bedford, the perpetually positive Skylar considers herself a clown and a jokester — smiles and laughter come to her quite freely. She came out at 16.

She loves the nightlife. Skylar loves to dance, and her freestyle moves on the floor have garnered her three “dance off” wins at Station 4. She also loves to sing, especially R&B (Brian McKnight is a favorite). She auditioned for American Idol last year, and while she didn’t get through, says she’s determined to try again. Her love of music and dance is hereditary: Her mother was on the drill team and danced ballet, and her father plays drums and the trumpet and loves to belt out a song.

In addition to indoor activities, she plays midfield and forward in a local soccer league, and basketball for fun. Skylar loves to travel, she has a special affinity for the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Bahamas).

Enter love  “Three months in, I knew she was the one,” says Skylar of her fiancé, Shereen, whom she met through mutual friends 18 months ago; they have a wedding set in Vermont next June. Both of their families are excited for them.

Skylar’s goal is to become a surgical technician. Her motto: “I help people one blood draw at a time.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Best bets • 11.25.11

Saturday 11.26

Raise your paws up
Dogs and furniture sometimes don’t mix, but they do at Art is Art. The consignment shop teams up with Paws in the City for a pet adoption event that can also help with your holiday shopping. The consignment shop will donate 10 percent of sales of its local art, modern furniture, jewelry, candles and more to help out Paws’ cause. And the dogs will be quite thankful for your help.

DEETS: Art is Art, 2811 N. Henderson Ave. 11 a.m. PawsInTheCity.org.

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Saturday 11.26

Partying down with St. Nick
WaterTower Theatre brings back it’s holiday spectacular Rockin’ Christmas Party with a whole lot of shakin’ going on. Sure we love our dramatic, slow carols, but WaterTower spikes up the eggnog with this fun show of rock and soul. With the talents of Gary Floyd, Amy Stevenson, Marcus Lloyd and more, we’ll figure on being well into the holiday spirit.

DEETS: Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Road. Through Dec. 18. $30–$40. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

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Thursday 12.01

Wreaths on the runway
DIFFA knows how to turn the volume up on the mundane. We know what they can do for denim jackets. Now holiday wreaths go designer at Turn Up the Cheer!, the 2011 Wreath Collection party. Trust, these aren’t your grandma’s wreaths.

DEETS: Design Within Reach, 4524 McKinney Ave.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 4519 McKinney Ave.; Nest, 4524 McKinney Ave.7 p.m. $60. DIFFADallas.org/events.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

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

—  Michael Stephens