In a year of impossible stress and uncertainty, we can take solace in Dallas’ gay community — a wellspring of entrepreneurship, imagination and strength. In the pages of the fourth annual Readers Voice Awards, you’ll see the recession-proof spirit that’s driving Big D’s queer scene.

This is a time to celebrate.

And haven’t y’all noticed something?

As the economy circles the drain, something’s been galvanizing the LGBT community. People who stand in our way are being outed and tagged as bigots. And those who support us are the ones we support. Many of these allies are Readers Voice winners — people, businesses, and places to shop, eat, play, dance, cruise, raise families and live.

So think of the Readers Voice Awards as Dallas’ big gay Schindler’s List. And except for ignorant dumbasses — like pastor Robert Jeffress — every RVA winner is proud of our community. We should be proud of them.

— Daniel A. Kusner

Click to vew the winners in the following categories:


Compared to 2008, online voting jumped 300 percent this year. Online voting ran Dec. 26, 2008 through Jan. 31, 2009. There are 185 items in nine categories: shopping, dining, entertainment, pets, health, nightlife, service, metro and travel.

Y’all could vote as many times as you wanted — making it impossible to calculate how many individuals cast ballots. (And it looks like best drag performer Cassie Nova did not stuff the ballot box this year and still earned a respectable 127 votes. That’s like four votes a day!)

TAKE ME WITH YOU: Carson, left, has her polka-dot suitcase packed, and she and her partner Kimberly Cody are ready to fly.

Susan Carson’s Readers Voice online ballot was picked at random. She won two round-trip tickets on American Airlines.

Where’s Susan going? Who’s going with her? She answered some questions about her upcoming travel plans.

Who: Susan Carson

Occupations: Art salesperson and musician — guitarist-singer of Bandmates.

Where did you grow up? Oklahoma City. And still growing up in Dallas.

How long have you lived in Dallas? 25 years.

When did you fill out your Readers Choice on-line ballot? Mid-January, during a lunch break on a slow day at work.

In the past, how has your luck paid off when it comes to winning jackpots and prizes? I’m very lucky. First time I ever gambled in Shreveport, I won more than $500 on the slot machine. In Las Vegas, I won several thousand-dollar jackpots playing slots. I also won a Skold bass in a drawing. And yes, I have reported all of my winnings.

Planned where you might go with the winning airline tickets? As far as I can. Tossing around the idea of Victoria, British Columbia, or St. John in the Carribaean. It’s so fun thinking of the possibilites.

Who’s going with you? Without a doubt, my girlfriend, Kimberly.

Most exotic destination you’ve ever traveled to: Ambergris Caye in Belize.

Favorite thing about leaving town: New experiences.

What do you dread having to do in order to prepare for travel? Saying bye to my animals.

See the world before you leave it — name three destinations you want to visit before you croak: Santorini, Greece; Amalfi Coast, Italy; and Fiji. I’d better start entering more contests!

Carson and Cody front the alt-folk-rock act Bandmates, which perform at Winedale Tavern, 2110 Lower Greenville Ave. on Monday, March 23 at
9 p.m. No cover.

1. Shop: Grocery Store — Kroger
2. Dining: Breakfast — BuzzBrews
3. Dining: Mexican/Latin — Ojeda’s
4. Nightlife: All-Around Bar, Dallas — The Round-Up Saloon
5. Dining: Burger — Hunky’s
6. Shop: Shopping Mall, NorthPark Center
7. Dining: Home Cooking — The Black-Eyed Pea
8. Dining: Java — Buli Cafe
9. Dining: Fast Food — McDonald’s
10. Dining: Pizza — Fireside Pies

Editors: Daniel A. Kusner, Tammye Nash
Writers: Daniel A. Kusner, Arnold Wayne Jones, Tammye Nash, Truitt Ray and Robert Sanchez
Ballot tallying: Terry Thompson
Research: Bryan Amann

Sales: Leo Cusimano, Gary Karwacki, Chris Edwards, Ramon Vega
Promotions manager: Kris Martin

Illustration: Mark Stokes
Photography: Bryan Amann and Daniel A. Kusner
Production designer: Michael Stephens
Graphic artists: Michael Stephens,
Kristina Walton

Publisher: Robert Moore
Controller: Terry Thompson
Circulation: Maryann Ramirez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 20, 2009.
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