Current, former parade grand marshals set to tell tales at Outrageous Oral
DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
Current and former Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade grand marshals are the speakers for Outrageous Oral 17, set for Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Rose Room at S4.
Outrageous Oral is the oral history project of The Dallas Way organization created to preserve the history of DFW’s LGBT community. Each speaker’s story is recorded and made available on YouTube. The videos are also preserved at University of North Texas as part of its North Texas LGBT digital archive.
Dreanna Belden, assistant dean for external relations at UNT Libraries, said YouTube is a great way for The Dallas Way to get its stories out to the general public today, but YouTube is a commercial enterprise, not a preservationist effort.
“The Dallas Way has done an outstanding job of engaging with the community to record and capture these important stories,” Belden said. “At UNT Libraries, we look forward to preserving the digital copies so they’ll be around 100 years from now for research and learning.”
Outrageous Oral 17 is a Pride week event that includes this year’s two grand marshals, Patti Fink and Evilu Pridgeon.
Fink has served as president of Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance for more than a decade and has been a host of the LGBT radio talk show Lambda Weekly since 2000.
Much of her work with DGLA has involved diversity training at the Dallas police and fire academies. She said for her presentation she was going through stories about radio guests and listeners and has been thinking about how the questions from cadets have changed at the police academy over the years. She said she hopes to put some of those stories together for her Outrageous Oral presentation.
“I’m looking forward to looking back together,” she said.
Pridgeon is president of The Dallas Way and is passionate about preserving the community’s history.
She’s known in the community for having created an outpatient addiction treatment program for the gay community and persons impacted by HIV/AIDS at Oak Lawn Community Services, an organization that closed in 2000. OASIS, as the program was known, became the first treatment program for the LGBT community licensed by the state of Texas. She was also a teacher and served on the board of Razzle Dazzle Dallas.
Pridgeon said she was going to talk about being a DISD teacher at the same time as Bill Nelson and Don Baker, well-known activists who were fighting the school board at the time.
“I’ll talk about their courage and how afraid I was in that setting,” she said.
She said she is also pulling together some Razzle Dazzle memories from having served six years on the board, two as president.
In putting together her presentation, Pridgeon said she began with one memory that changed her forever. She remembers reading “the article” in 1981 — the first New York Times story about AIDS.
“Seeing that article changed the course of my life,” she said. “I learned I needed to step up.”
Two former grand marshals will also present at Outrageous Oral 17 — Sue Ellen’s manager Kathy Jack and former Dallas City Councilman Chris Luna.
Kathy Jack served as grand marshal in 1989 with Bill Nelson. For 20 of her 30 years working in the Dallas bar business, she’s been with Caven. After a couple of years in her own business and then with BJ’s NXS, Jack is back with Caven, managing Sue Ellen’s, a bar she opened in 1989.
Jack was the first female president of the Dallas Tavern Guild and worked as a parade organizer for many years.
Former District 2 City Councilman Chris Luna was a 1992 grand marshal. First elected in 1991, Luna didn’t run in his first election as an openly gay candidate. Bill Nelson had run for council as an openly gay candidate just a few years earlier and came in third, so that wasn’t seen as a successful strategy.
Luna wasn’t the city’s first gay elected official, either. In the late ’80s, during his last term in office, Councilman Craig Holcomb came out, but he wasn’t up for re-election. So Luna met with community leaders like John
Thomas who was executive director of Resource Center. He said he’d never deny who he was and promised to never work against the community. He received their backing.
Luna kept his word and spent his first term concentrating on providing excellent constituent services. When he ran for re-election two years later, his sexual orientation wasn’t an issue, paving the way for Craig
McDaniel to win his first election as an out candidate in District 14.
After leaving office, Luna continued to serve the community on a number of boards. In 2009, he was appointed by Dallas County commissioners to sit on the Parkland Hospital board where he helped improve AIDS healthcare and shored up LGBT nondiscrimination protections.
Dallas Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman will emcee. Outrageous Oral events are free and open to the public.
Outrageous Oral 17, The Rose Room at S4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. on Sept. 17. Free.
The Pride Agenda
Pride season is in full swing in the DFW Metroplex. The Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade steps off at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, but between now and then there are plenty of events scheduled to keep you busy.
Here are a few highlights of the days to come:
• PlayPride Festival, presented by TeCo Theatrical Productions, through Sept. 20. Bishops Arts Arts Theatre. For details visit TeCoTheater.org.
• Outrageous Oral: The Pride Parade, Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Rose Room at S4. 6-9 p.m. Admision is free. Features current and former Pride parade grand marshals.
• Crystal Waters in concert, Friday, Sept. 18, at It’ll Do Club. For details, read our interview with Crystal on Page 18.
• Indigo Girls in concert Friday, Sept. 18, at House of Blues in Dallas. 8 p.m. Tickets range from $27.50-$45. For details visit HouseOfBlues.com/Dallas.
• 7th Annual Red Party, featuring recording artist Dev and benefiting Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage, at Sixty Five Hundred, Saturday, Sept. 19. 9 p.m. General admission is $55. For information visit DallasRedFoundation.org.
• Gay Day at Six Flags, hosted by Dallas Voice, Saturday, Sept. 19. 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. Tickets available at http://is.gd/W00eKU.
• Shine: The Dallas Pride Pool Party with DJ Tony Moran, Saturday, Sept. 19. 2-9 p.m. At SISU Uptown. $30 at the door. For details visit DallasPurpleParty.com.
• Teen Pride: All Lives Matter, Saturday, Sept. 19 at Cathedral of Hope. 2-7 p.m. For LGBTQ youth and allies ages 13-19. For details visit TransTexas.org/RealLiveConnection.
• Wendy Ho performing at Barbara’s Pavillion. 9 p.m. $5 donation benefiting Feral Friends Community Cat Alliance. For details visit Facebook.com/Barbaras.Pavillion.
• House of Pride Party with Drag Racers Alyssa Edwards, Shangela and Laganja at Brick/Joe’s. 9 p.m. V IP table for three for $150; general admission $20. For details visit OneNightInBangkock.org or BrickDallas.com.
• Family Pride Zone safe space for LGBT parents and their children, part of the Festival in the Park at Reverchon Park. Noon-7 p.m. For details visit DallasPride.org.
• Miller Lite Festival in the Park presented by T-Mobile at Reverchon Park, with live entertainment featuring Ty Herndon. noon-7 p.m. $5 at the gate. For details visit DallasPride.org.
• 32nd annual Heineken Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, along Cedar Springs Road. 2 p.m. For details visit DallasPride.org.
• SPECTRUM The Dallas Pride Tea Dance at Marty’s Live, presented by Dallas Purple Party with DJ Roland Belmares. 5-11 p.m. $5 at the door benefits local HIV/AIDS service organizations. For details visit DallasPurpleParty.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 11, 2015.