Changes on tap for Pride festival

Organizers don’t expect decision to fence in Lee Park, ban outside alcohol at event following parade to have major impact on attendance

DOUGHMAN.Michael
Michael Doughman

JOHN WRIGHT  |  Online Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

When the Dallas Tavern Guild announced a $5 admission charge for Sunday’s Festival in Lee Park earlier this year, it led to some major backlash on social media networks and in the comments section of DallasVoice.com.

But Michael Doughman, executive director of the Tavern Guild, said the backlash hasn’t translated into significantly reduced interest in the event from vendors and nonprofit groups.
As of this week, only five fewer organizations had signed up for booths at the festival, which takes place before, during and after the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade.

“We don’t consider that a loss in attendance at the park at all,” Doughman said. “We do have some nonprofit organizations that opted not to be in the park this year, and that’s certainly their choice. We don’t think that it’s going to harm anything.

“We have over 70 vendors already paid in the park,” Doughman added. “If that were the general consensus, a whole lot of those people wouldn’t be coming either, but they are.”

The Tavern Guild, which puts on both the parade and festival, chose to fence in the park this year to be proactive since the city plans to require it in the future, Doughman said.

The fencing will also allow the Tavern Guild to prevent people from bringing in their own alcohol, which Doughman says has become a problem.

“We’ve had a really, really rapid rise in the number of people [getting] highly intoxicated,” he said.

Those who want to consume alcohol at the festival this year will have to purchase it from vendors — who’ll be selling plastic bottles of beer at the same prices as before, $3 for domestics and $4 for imports, Doughman said.

Lori Chance, special events manager for the city of Dallas, confirmed that her office likely would have required the Pride festival to be fenced beginning in 2012.

“Typically anytime alcohol is involved, we require fencing, and that’s so they can control the ingress and egress,” Chance said. “We’re headed in that direction because of the alcohol. Their choice is to fence the entire park … or to make a secluded area for alcohol, and the alcohol has to stay in that area only.”

While the decision to fence in the festival was made in anticipation of the city requirement, Doughman said the $5 admission charge is designed to raise money for the event’s beneficiaries.

The Tavern Guild historically has donated a combined $20,000 to $25,000 to three or four beneficiaries. But in recent years, there’s been only $7,500 or $8,000 left over for one  beneficiary — Youth First Texas.
This year, the Tavern Guild has added AIDS Arms, AIDS Services of Dallas, AIDS Interfaith Network and Legacy Counseling Center.

“If you begrudge $5 to be divided among four of the AIDS services and YFT, then that’s not the spirit of Pride to begin with,” Doughman said. “It’s always been about raising money for the community.”

The Festival in Lee Park normally attracts about 7,500 people, and organizers are predicting a decline in attendance of up to 1,500 this year due to the admission charge, Doughman said. But even if attendance is as low as 5,000, it will still mean an extra $25,000 for the beneficiaries. In addition, Doughman said 25 percent of net proceeds from alcohol sales will go to the Texas Gay Rodeo Association, while 75 percent will go back to the Tavern Guild and its beneficiaries.

Still, not everyone is willing to pay the price.

Rob Schlein, president of Log Cabin Republicans Dallas, said his group is among those that won’t have a booth at the festival this year because of the admission charge, which he called “a stupid business decision.”

Schlein said Log Cabin decided it wouldn’t be worth the $150 registration fee because of reduced attendance.

He said Log Cabin, which is also skipping the parade this year, used “free market principles” to make a statement.

“To have to pay for it just doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of gay Pride weekend,” Schlein said. “This is a tax on the gay Pride parade.”

Festival in Lee Park
Sunday, Sept. 18.
Park opens at 11 a.m.
No coolers, glass containers or alcohol can be brought into the park. There will be an exception for vendors who want to bring in coolers for volunteers. Admission is $5. ATM machines will be situated near festival entrances for those who don’t have cash. More info at www.DallasPrideParade.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Queer playwright Kisa Jackson opens ‘After the Rain’ tonight

Gay in the burbs

Kisa Jackson opens her play After the Rain the Sun Will Shine tonight in Garland. Garland isn’t a hotbed for LGBT anything making Jackson’s show even more exciting. The show is about eight friends who put their boundaries to the test when a whole lot of bad factors start creeping in. So much so, they have resolve it all in group therapy. The show plays for this one night only, so don’t miss out.

DEETS: Granville Arts Center, 300 N. Fifth St., Garland. 7 p.m. $20 advance, $25 door. 214-874-5915. Myspace.com/Kisa.Jackson.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Hairspray’ at Casa Manana tonight

What ozone layer?

Whether you’ve seen it onstage or at the movies (or both!), Hairspray is whole lot of delightful fun. Mixing social messages with drag characters is one thing, but to brighten it up with fun-loving tunes that feel like they popped right out of old-time radio is what makes the story work so well. Come on. How many times have we wished we could wake up singing “Good Morning, Baltimore” and feel that good about the day? Anybody? Just us?

Check out our piece on actor David Coffee who plays Edna Turnblad.

—  Rich Lopez

Master skater

IMG_0911
FOUR WHEELIN’ | Skate with caution to avoid this guy on the roller rink. Gay Skate Night returns every third Saturday at InterSkate in Lewisville. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

With Gay Skate Night back, roller derby’s Trigger Mortis offers some tips on making the floor your own

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

There was a time when the gays would routinely venture to Grand Prairie’s Forum Roller World for the ritual of roller skating. Don Blaylock used to DJ the event and decided he wanted to bring it back.

“It got to be too much for people every week,” he says. “I think that’s why it fizzled out.”

Scaling it back to once a month (every third Saturday) and moving it to the InterSkate Roller Rink in Lewisville, Blaylock wants to make it a more social event. Before heading to the rink, he chooses a place to eat where people can opt to meet up for a pre-skate nosh. He encourages carpooling up to Lewisville as well, all in efforts to get people “doing something” and “coming together.”

Sounds like a plan.

The last time I donned a pair of quad roller skates, my age was still in single digit territory. At 9, I took lessons on Saturday mornings at the Broadway Skateland in Mesquite and became fairly comfortable with all the basics. That lasted a couple of years. Three decades later, I think I may be a little rusty.

“It’s a whole lot easier if you’re going fast so you can’t feel any of the bumps on the rink,” Trigger Mortis says. “If you go slow, you’ll feel every plank of wood.”

Thanks, lady, but I’m going slow.

Mortis is a member of the Assassination City Roller Derby league, and she agreed to give me some pleasant tips to aid my return to skating … just like she’ll be doing on the flat rink at Fair Park next Saturday when ACRD ends its season with the championship contest. My lesson, however, nixed the elbows and knockouts and all.

She started with the basics.

“First, you need to squat really low. The lower you are, the less distance your ass is from the ground,” she says. “Bend your knees like you’re sitting in a chair. That’s really important.”

Squatting really low is not a look that I’m comfortable with. I’d like to impress the crowd but not look like an idiot.

“You’ll look more like an idiot if you fall standing straight up,” she says.

That shut me up. Usually, when I find myself in an unstable standing situation, I just grab onto whatever’s close by and hang on to reposition my posture — even if it is other people. Apparently, this isn’t cool.

“Oh, no, don’t do that. That’s like the biblical rule No.  1: You can’t grab anybody,” she says. “Just let yourself fall. Drop to your knees or on all fours.”

This is not unfamiliar territory.

Coincidentally, Mortis works at InterSkate in the skate shop. I feel this could prove fortuitous because she gave me some fashion and not-so-fashionable tips on preparing for my rollout.

“Get some wristguards,” she advises. “And dress comfortably. Tight jeans, no. I’ve seen people split their pants; not cute. I think those little athletic shorts are fine; with knee-high derby socks and a headband you’d get total street cred with an Assassination City shirt. I’d hang out with you.”

Mortis tried to convince me to go with the Roller Girl shorts that are made with “anti-cameltoe and muffin top technology.”

But I’d lose all cool points if I went in my inline skates. She informs that quads (four wheels, yo) are where it’s at and plus there’s more of a base to distribute my body weight on. That is if I don’t flatten the tires. Inliners are passé and she warns that she and her girls will make fun of me in blades. All of the sudden, it feels like middle school again.

Face it. Being that it’s Gay Skate Night, there is always the option for a potential hook up. You were thinking it! This wasn’t lost on Trigger Mortis. Although she doesn’t recommend throwing elbows or chairs, she says trying to skate backwards is as good as a pick-up line.

“Well, first, if you want to skate backwards, move your hips like salsa dancing,” she says. It’s like doing the Tootsie Roll. But you could have someone pushing you while you try it. If you happen to fall, the one thing that’s gonna happen is they land on top of you.”

Clearly, my kinda girl.

………………………….

TASTING NOTES

2011 has witnessed a boom in restaurant openings, but this week, there were some closings of particular note, as well.
The Cultured Cup, the wonderful store run by tea sommelier Kyle Stewart and his coffee-savant partner Phil Krampetz, will be shutting the doors of its Preston Center location Saturday. But that doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere.

While the last chance to purchase from the storefront will be July 16 at 6 p.m., you can still order their selection of brewing beverages online at TheCulturedCup.com. If you wanna stop by Saturday and Sunday, they’ll gladly feed you pizza and iced tea if you want to help them move.

Last Saturday ended up being the final day of service for Hector’s on Henderson as well. The Uptown eatery — which is where Central 214 exec chef Blythe Beck first made her culinary mark — was the child of Hector Garcia, frontman for the Riviera for years. Garcia, pictured, not only owned the place and worked the room, he also provided the entertainment on occasion, singing alongside the omnipresent piano.

Garcia — whose partner is former city councilmember Craig Holcomb — opened in the fall of 2004 (I vividly recall dining there on Election Night) to widespread acclaim. The closing was low-key, with Garcia thanking his longtime customers. “I never wanted a run-of-the-mill place, but rather something you would not experience anywhere else,” he said.

Lolita’s, the new Mexican restaurant that opened in the old Catalina Room space (later the short-lived Honey Shack), is adding entertainment to the menu. Husband and wife owners Karlos and Teresa Urban are launching a new Saturday night drag show, beginning at 10 p.m. on July 16. Even though the resto is in the gayborhood, the client base is largely straight, the Urbans said in a release, but they think the addition will appeal to both the gay and straight community. Cover is $10.

Axiom Sushi Lounge at the ilume started its Martini Monday this week, with .99 cent house cosmos and $2 off all regular price signature martinis.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 15, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 04.22

Life is a … oh, you know it
This doesn’t look like your usual Liza version. The Dallas Theater Center stages the Kander and Ebb musical Cabaret, and by the looks of their ad campaign, it’s going to be sizzling. Sure Sally Bowles is the central character, but weren’t you always intrigued by the mysterious master of ceremonies? We’re even more so now.

DEETS: Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St. Through May 22. $10–$80. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

 

Friday 04.22

La vida out and proud
Not only did Ricky Martin come out in one of the most eloquent ways ever, he took to using his celebrity in advocating for LGBT rights. That only made him sexier than he already is. As if he needed to add to his hotness, he’s been baring a whole lot more skin lately — and we likey.

DEETS: Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place., Grand Prairie  8 p.m. $40–$126.
Ticketmaster.com.

 

Saturday 04.23

Street art a different way
Before celebrating Easter in the Park, check-in to the Cedar Springs Art Festival. Local art, food booths and snowcones make this a must. Plus, it’s probably the only art fest with dance music.

DEETS: Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street. 10 a.m. Free. ShopCedarSprings.com.

—  John Wright

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 03.18

Footes won’t fail you now
Honoring the Texas playwright, the theater community unites for the first Horton Foote Festival. The fest kicks off with DTC’s Dividing the Estate. but even a touch of gay can be found with The Young Man from Atlanta, which Uptown Players will perform in April.
DEETS:
Various theaters and venues. Through May 1. Visit HortonFooteFestival.com for details.

Friday 03.18

When wine strolls attack
Savor Dallas is upon us again, filling the weekend with food, wine and fabulosity. The event starts off with an Arts District Wine Stroll within the museums and venues. Just don’t get tipsy and spill the wine on the art. That’s a whole lot of bad karma. And look for local celebrichefs like Stephan Pyles and Blythe Beck. Bon appetit!
DEETS:
Various venues. 5 p.m. $35. Through Saturday. Visit SavorDallas.com for schedule.

Saturday 03.19

Hey, why don’t you go take a walk
Designer Anthony Chisom took issues into his own hands starting the Anthony Chisom AIDS Foundation and creating the inaugural South Dallas AIDS Walk. Seeing the impact of AIDS beyond the gayborhood, Chisom’s foundation strives to expand the city’s vision of where AIDS impacts. After all, it is the same fight for the cure.
DEETS: South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. 8 a.m. SouthDallasAIDSWalk.org.

—  John Wright

Body & Fitness: Excess baggage

Duke Nelson, above, opts for the more personal environment and one-on-one training he gets at Trainer Daddy Fitness Studio. Smaller facilities are trending as an alternative to big gym memberships. (Photo by Rich Lopez)

Admitting to yourself that you don’t use your gym membership is the first step to recovery — the next is figuring exactly what to do now that you’re over it

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer

Drat those New Year resolutions. Every year for the majority of the population, the first day of the new year is the day to start getting in shape. With the onslaught of gym membership advertisements offering steals of a deal, joining one is clearly the right thing to do. Hey, this writer did it.

The only thing is — weeks (and in some cases months) later, you can count the check-ins on one hand. In the meantime, you’re bank account is depleted on a monthly basis. Frustrated? Broke? Buyer’s remorse? Join the club. But there are some options on what to do with that membership.

Cancel your membership: Well, this is the obvious first step. Hopefully you’ve signed on to a monthly plan that will make this a whole lot easier. Just be strong.

“When you let a health club or fitness center continue to bill you for a membership that you no longer use you are throwing money away,” local trainer J.R. Brown says. “I believe they pick a price point that you won’t miss every month and hope that canceling is just too much work and some gyms make the cancellation process almost impossible.”

A recent call to 24 Hour Fitness to cancel a membership was, overall, easy. But they didn’t go down without a fight. Brown has definitely seen this first hand.

“We will offer you a coupon for an hour of personal training while you reconsider,” said Raymond (just Raymond) at 24 Hour’s membership services line. So if you change your mind, you get the coupon — not get the coupon to change your mind. It was baffling but felt, you know, wrong.

After that was declined, an offer of putting the membership on hold was next. A monthly expense of $38 was being charged, but for $7 a month, it would go on hold for six months. Since it was akin to paying for nothing, this wasn’t overly enticing.

Once Raymond had finished his attempts, he was quite amiable about the total cancellation. The customer service was good and compelling, but never aggressive or guilt inducing.

Sell that sucker: Bigger named gyms likely don’t allow this, but check with your smaller ones. Less corporate types just want to be sure they get paid. Head to Craigslist to post or even buy a membership.

Consider gym alternatives: Yes, it’s nice to think you’ll be going every day after work to the gym, but try to be realistic . Do you have commitment issues? Do crowds bug you?

Consider a training studio that offers training in a smaller gym environment rather than a place to go to with gym equipment.

“At least spend the money where it will do you some good,” Brown adds.

His studio, Trainer Daddy, offers working out in a different fashion and the trend is growing among newer mixed-use developments and their in-house gyms. Trainers work with residents and, of course, clients offering supervised training rather than leaving you to your own devices. Plus, if they are like Brown, there can be no monthly fee and you can skip the crowds.

“Some people prefer a more private environment and they only get charged for training,” he says.

Wait it out: This isn’t about sticking it to the gyms out there. Sometimes we don’t read the fine print and just have to stick with what we started with. This is the time to research what the gym offers that may interest you. Classes may have more appeal than working out without direction. Network with people you know to workout as a group or in pairs. And gyms like 24 Hour offer online fitness training available to members.

The website eHow.com covers the topic of how to motivate yourself in going to the gym. They suggest to “think of the gym as a place to relax, not to work… as a change of scenery from the office and the house, not something obligatory.”

Yeah, right.

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

—  John Wright

Just like at her concerts, Britney Spears doesn’t actually sing on leaked clip from her new single

Britney Spears is slowly building up her own buzz in her attempt to catch up to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. This two-minute clip of her next single “Hold It Against Me” was released … er, leaked, today. Spears clearly isn’t doing the vocals, but Just Jared points out that it sounds a whole lot like Ke$ha. And he’s right. I could overspeculate on why she would leak the song if she’s not even singing it, but then the trite dance beat and juvenile lyrics like So if I said I want your body now/ would you hold it against me? (really?) reminded me not to waste my time. 

Like Gaga, Spears teased the masses with a tweet mentioning the real release of “Hold It …” which comes out Tuesday. All the kids are doing it.

—  Rich Lopez

Did you miss the 4D display last night at the Praetorian downtown? No worries

This may seem a lot of trouble for a mere movie trailer, but it was so worth it. Last night, great measures were taken to give a whole lot of Dallasites (especially downtowners) the pleasure of seeing the trailer for The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. The old Praetorian building was turned into a 4d mapped movie screen by the peeps at IllumeNight and pretty much kicked ass all over. Imagine if they had done it for Burlesque.

Thanks to a couple of YouTube posters, you can watch it in the comfort of indoors.

—  Rich Lopez

Out dance artist Brian Kent releases new video for ‘I’ll Find a Way’

I have to admit I didn’t know who Brian Kent was until today’s email. Very little digging showed me that this guy’s been making dance music for the past five years with singles and remixes here and there with a full-length release, Breathe Life, in 2008. He told Popnography earlier this year, that his newest single, “I’ll Find a Way,” is a tribute to his grandmother.

The new single is called “I’ll Find a Way” and is dedicated to his 89-year-old grandmother who recently found herself facing breast cancer. “I was inspired by her confidence and I was just amazed that she just kept finding a way to get through everyday. In this day and age whether it’s cancer, relationships, money…everyone is just trying to find a way and move forward,” Kent says.

The video for the song was just released yesterday. “Way” might be a tad too positive affirmation for some, but it is catchy and I did like the video. It reminded me somewhat of both the NOH8 and Bully Suicide Project campaigns and says a whole lot in the span of three minutes and some change. And how can you go wrong when men and women end up topless by the end?

—  Rich Lopez