Dallas’ gay culture — and the cultural life of gay Dallas — has evolved over the years as much as the Dallas Voice itself. When the newspaper was started, tentpoles of the culture that made up most of the advertising were "the Three Bs: Bars, baths and bookstores." You didn’t see ads for car dealerships, straight political candidates or Frito-Lay.
Things certainly have changed.
From the names of the clubs to the people and groups that entertained us and the institutions that provided the support, comfort and social background for our lives, Dallas has been a lively and tranformative city.
Still, there have been many constants over the years: Bars that have survived everything from the AIDS crisis to the smoking ban; groups that have continued to perform (like the Turtle Creek Chorale) that contrast with those that haven’t (Theatre Gemini); local notables who have aged and grown with the city.
Here is a snapshot, year by year, of the lifestyles stories — of the images and subjects and even advertisements — that the Dallas Voice has reported on, or which have been contained within the pages of the paper for 25 years.
May • On May 4, the Dallas Voice distributes an "announcement," heralding the arrival of a "New Voice in Dallas" for the gay community. On the following Friday, May 11, Dallas Voice begins full publication of its newspaper out of offices on Oak Lawn; early on, the paper is folded and released in two sections. Advertisers in the first issue include Club Dallas, the Hidden Door, the Hideaway (which celebrates its one-year anniversary), Throckmorton Mining Company, Crews Inn and the Turtle Creek Chorale; moustaches abound.
July • "Phyllis Diller at the Majestic" is the cover story. … Gay clubs, from Cedar Springs to Mockingbird Lane to Fort Worth, include the Snake Pit, Bentley’s, Tarrant County Mining Company, High Country, Contemporary Country, 4001, The Unicorn, Tex’s Ranch and Lifter’s.
December • "The Arlington City Council, bowing to pressure from red-faced residents of Gaywood Street, changed the street name to Garden Oaks Drive. The street name, near the notorious Randol Mill Park where the city launched a crackdown on lewd behavior and indecent exposure, has made residents the butt of jokes, they said."
January • Caven publishes its "Crossroads Calendar" for the year, which includes well drinks and beers on Wednesdays for 10 cents.
February • "Gone with the Wind" is released on Betamax. Tapelenders sells the tape for $10 off the list price of $89.95.
March • Bonnie Pointer performs at the Old Plantation (in what is now Station 4). … The Dallas Gay Alliance (now the Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance) holds a Tupperware party to raise money.
May • "Bath Owners Split Over AIDS Issue." Bathhouses, led by ones in Dallas, object to their trade organization’s blind eye toward promoting safe sex.
September • Dallas prepares for second annual "Freedom Parade," previously called "Gay Pride Parade." Both Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Co. place full-page ads in the Pride issue.
November • The DGA announces the formation of a new organization: The AIDS Resource Center.
January • Dignity Dallas celebrates its 10th anniversary.
April • When Dallas Voice co-founder Robert Moore is hospitalized, Baylor places him in isolation simply because he is a gay man, the paper reports. Moore had been a robbery victim and was stabbed in the back, during the attack.
May • Dallas Voice converts to a more magazine-cover format featuring a single picture and headline on its front page.
June • Cedar Springs merchants weigh in on the sale of the legal designer drug "Eve," which follows the emergence of a new drug that had come onto the market in the previous 12 months, called Ecstasy. … Dallas gears up for Razzle Dazzle. … Gay Day at the Races features a chartered bus to Louisiana Downs with complimentary bloody Marys.
August • Dallas is selected by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance as the site for the 1988 Gay World Series of softball. … Team Dallas travels to San Francisco for Gay Games II.
June • Patti Le Plae Safe emcees a show at Arena on Maple Avenue. Admission is a can of food donated to the Food Pantry.
July • The president of the local President’s Health Club franchise says that people with AIDS are not welcome at his clubs.
October • Elizabeth Taylor arrives in Dallas to promote her fragrance Passion at Neiman Marcus. During the event, she talks to the crowd about how AIDS is not just "a gay disease."
November • Kate Clinton brings her comedy act to town. … The Fourth Annual Texas Gay Rodeo Association rodeo arrives at State Fair Coliseum. … The gay-themed play "As Is" opens at the Bath House Cultural Center.
May • Realtor Lory Masters establishes the Extra Mile Awards. … Less Miserable, a new comedy trio, debuts; its members are Paul J. Williams, Steven Jay Crabtree and Pat Skinner.
September • The Gay World Series is held in Dallas. A Minneapolis team wins the men’s division, a San Diego team wins the women’s. The final party is held at The Wave (now Buddies II) where the pool was the big attraction for those fighting the summer heat.
October • Three Dallas newspapers reject the National Coming Out Day ad sponsored by Lesbian Visionaries and the MCC.
November • Beth El Binah, then also known as Gay Jews of the Metroplex, sponsors a benefit performance for Bryan’s House. … John Thomas opens the first account at the DGA Credit Union.
December • Theatre Gemini, a gay theater troupe located along Cedar Springs between what is now the Round-Up Saloon and Crossroads Market, stages its last production, "Soul Survivor." A fire that guts the block two months later puts an end to the company. … Activists draw chalk outlines outside City Hall representing the 1,102 people from Dallas who had died of AIDS as of that time …. Caven Enterprises celebrates its 20th anniversary.
January • The Nelson-Tebedo Clinic begins tests on a new drug for those already showing a resistance to AZT.
February • A fire destroys the Resource Center of Dallas, Union Jack and the Round-Up Saloon. Four months later, Dale Wesley Biddy would walk into the Dallas Voice offices and admit to starting the fire during a robbery.
May • Annette Strauss campaigns for mayor of Dallas by placing an ad in the Dallas Voice and saying she supports the fair housing ordinance (which is passed 15 years later). She appears at the Oak Lawn Bowling Association’s Monday night bowl.
September • A newly formed girl group from Dallas books a show at John L’s. They call themselves the Dixie Chicks.
October • The Turtle Creek Chorale gives its first performance in the newly opened Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
December • The AIDS Resource Center is not awarded any AIDS funding by the Texas Department of Health because it is run by gays. … Alan Ross commits the Dallas Tavern Guild to spearheading the building of an AIDS Memorial in Lee Park. Six years later, the parks board allows it to go forward. … Kate Clinton appears at the Arcadia on Lower Greenville Avenue.
February • A string of armed robberies and two murders in Oak Lawn has business owners concerned. Deb Elder, owner of Curious Times on Cedar Springs, says that she rarely sees the police in the neighborhood.
March • A profile of Bill Nelson airing on Channel 13 upon his death describes "the life he lived and the legacy he leaves behind."
April • Meals on the Move, which delivered food to more than 100 persons with AIDS, ceases operation due to a lack of funding.
June • GUTS (Gay Urban Truth Squad, a Dallas group similar to ACT-UP) stages demonstration in Lee Park to commemorate 1,421 AIDS deaths in Dallas County and call for permanent tribute in Lee Park. … Dallas Alliance Theater presents "Bent."
July • Protesters pour 300 cases of Miller beer donated by Caven Enterprises into the street, protesting parent company Philip Morris’ donation to Sen. Jesse Helms. The boycott ends the following February with a $3,000 donation by the local Miller distributor, soon followed by another donation of $6,000.
December • DGA holds first Lesbian and Gay Film Festival at Texas Theater in Oak Cliff.
March • Amyl nitrate, the original poppers formulation, is banned. Dallas Voice reports that those who hoarded poppers in anticipation of the ban do not have to worry about being prosecuted for owning them.
April • The SMU student senate votes to prohibit harassment based on sexual orientation.
September • Night of Pride, the first North American Gay and Lesbian Bodybuilding Championships to be sanctioned by Amateur Athletics Union, takes place at Arcadia Theater on Greenville Avenue.
December • The World AIDS Day commemoration in Dallas includes panels from the quilt, a concert by Boy George and a candlelight vigil.
March • The play "Jerker" (comprising of 20 scenes of two gay men talking on the phone) returns to the Moonstruck Theater. At the time, it was the longest running drama in Dallas history.
April • Coors Brewing Co. films part of a 60-second commercial for European television at Village Station.
August • Alouso Duralde and Bill Travis leave hosting duties on the "Lambda Weekly" show on KNON. Steve Walters joins David Taffet as co-host.
December • The MCC consecrates the Cathedral of Hope’s new sanctuary.
January • Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong ride on a float in Bill Clinton’s inaugural parade. … Meadowood Ranch, a luxurious, 650-acre resort near Athens, Texas, opens, catering to the gay community.
February • Georgia Ragsdale performs at the Desert Moon lesbian bar.
March • Local activists and photographers CeCe Cox and Lisa Means negotiate with Alyson Publications to produce a photo book of the March on Washington. … Michael Doughman serves as M.C. of the "Antiques to Zebras" auction for the Turtle Creek Chorale; the event nets $50,000.
April • Miss America Leanza Cornett, whose project was AIDS awareness, visits White Rock Community Church.
September • The Dallas Theater Center produces John Guare’s "Six Degrees of Separation," featuring gay characters — one a hustler naked on stage. Soon after the opening, the actor is required to wear underpants.
April • Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett, who had shown no indication of support for the gay community, visits the hot meals program at the AIDS Resource Center.
May • The Rainbow Skydive Club trains novice jumpers.
June • Team Dallas participates in the Gay Games in New York City
August • The JR.’s/AIDS Resource Center softball team wins the Gay World Weries in Nashville, the first win for a Dallas team in the 18-year history of the games.
September • Gov. Ann Richards serves as honorary co-chair of LifeWalk ’94.
December • The Rev. Michael Piazza’s book "Holy Homosexuals" is released.
January • Steve Burrus, who organized the DIFFA Dallas chapter and created the denim jacket collection, retires from his position as executive director. The organization had already raised $2 million for local AIDS organizations.
February • The Gay and Lesbian World Travel Expo is held at the Ramada downtown.
June • The Cathedral of Hope, founded in 1970 with 12 people, celebrates its 25th anniversary. … Moonstruck Theater Company presents "The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me."
October • Caven Enterprises files a lawsuit against Boy George as the singer appears in Dallas for a book signing. The company alleges George breached a 1991 performance contract when he walked off stage after just two songs.
April • The Dallas Theater Center stages part one of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning AIDS cycle "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches." Despite some backlash from season subscribers, the following fall DTC produced part two, "Perestroika." Both are considered commercial and artistic successes.
May • Suzanne Westenhoefer performs at the Texas Lesbian Conference at the Dallas Grand Hotel.
July • The Gayla Affair wedding fair and party expo for LGBT community is held at the Horticultural Center at Fair Park. … Members of Cheer Dallas participate in San Francisco’s gay Pride parade.
April • Ellen DeGeneres comes out. Dallas Voice editor Dennis Vercher calls the show "history making" and says, "having the courage to be honest with ourselves, our family and our friends — is still the key to improving our lot. Always has been. Always will be."
May • PFLAG sponsors the first Gayla Prom.
July • "Golden Girl" Estelle Getty is the hit of the World Conference of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas. Paul J. Williams entertains.
September • Dallas Voice sponsors the first Gay Day at Six Flags. … Walt Whitman Community School is opened by Becky Thompson and Pamela Stone, two educators concerned with at-risk LGBT youth; initially six students enroll.
February • The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical "Rent" plays for the first time in Dallas, running for a month at the Majestic Theater.
June • Pocket Sandwich Theater produces Terrence McNally’s gay bathhouse comedy, "The Ritz." … Log Cabin Republicans rally at Fort Worth Water Gardens, protesting the GOP denial of their application to have a booth at the state convention.
July • Pegasus Theater mounts a stage version of the ’30s camp classic "Reefer Madness." … Dallas Voice sponsors a preview screening of the comedy "Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss" at Loew’s Cityplace, starring Sean P. Hayes — two months before "Will & Grace" premieres on NBC.
October • The first Texas AIDS ride, a 575-mile, 7-day trip from Austin to Houston to Dallas, is completed by 710 riders. … The Oak Lawn Tennis Association sponsors the Texas Open, which hosts players from across the country. … Following a lawsuit by a religious organization with a similar name, the Foundation for Human Understanding becomes the Resource Center of Dallas.
March • Dallas restaurateur and actor Hector Garcia holds his 20th annual Academy Awards party at the Lakewood Theater.
May • An immunocize fundraiser at the Lakewood Theater includes a reception with circuit DJs Chris Leeds, Chris Mann and five others, a screening of "Got 2b There," a circuit party documentary and a dance party.
July • Todd Camp, a film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the artistic director for Q Cinema, announces an ambitious plan for the new Fort Worth gay film festival.
August • White Rock Community Church founding pastor Jerry Cook resigns, saying he will probably establish a new church in another state. … American Airlines, the Metroplex’s largest private employer, begins offering same-sex partner benefits.
November • The publisher of the Plano Star-Courier warns an employee about writing up gay and lesbian listings in the future after the staffer includes a listing for Out Takes Dallas, the new gay film festival. …. Out Takes runs at the Lakewood Theater, and donates $5,000 to its beneficiary, the Walt Whitman School.
December • Oak Lawn Community Services closes its doors and transfers its services to Legacy Counseling Center and AIDS Interfaith Services.
April • Gay and lesbian activists in Dallas hold the first local "Stop Dr. Laura" rally at a TV station scheduled to air the show. Other cities follow Dallas’ lead. The show still airs, but is a flop and is canceled its first season.
July • Dallas activists Louise Young and Vivienne Armstrong head to Vermont, becoming the first Texas couple to get a civil union. … Judy Shepard appears with Turtle Creek Chorale and Women’s Chorus of Dallas. … Tracy Chapman performs at the Bronco Bowl.
September • Lambda Legal announces that it will open a regional office in Dallas in 2002; when it opens in April 2002, Lee Taft becomes its first director.
November • Gay "Real World" teen heartthrob Danny Roberts speaks to an audience of 350 (mostly girls) at SMU about his secret relationship with "Don’t ask, don’t tell" boyfriend Paul.
January • The Dallas chapter of GLSEN holds a "training the trainers" workshop for local public school teachers.
February • Dallas Voice co-founder Don Ritz dies.
May • Crossroads Theater, the group that staged "Genderella" and an all-male version of "Steel Magnolias," presents "Pageant" at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park. … Dallas Voice features a profile of 22-year-old actor Heath Ledger, who plays gay bicyclist in an Australian TV show. Asked if he would play a gay again, he responds, "Yeah, I don’t care. To play any person, it’s just a person."
September • Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — scheduled for only several days later — changes its tone to fit the more solemn occasion. The planned honorary grand marshal, Miss America, is replaced by a horse drawing an empty carriage.
December • In the midst of the economic downturn occasioned by 9/11, actors Jeff Rane and Craig Lynch launch Uptown Players, a gay-centric theater troupe. Its first show, "When Pigs Fly," stars B.J. Cleveland opens at the Trinity River Arts Center. The company will go on to become one of the most honored theater troupes in North Texas.
March • Donna Foster, who opened Texas’ first lesbian bar, Trader Vic’s on Monticello, in 1962, dies.
June • "Barbette," a new play about the cross-dressing, Texas-born cabaret star of the 1930, opens at Kitchen Dog Theater. … Monica Lewinsky displays her handbags at Dallas Gift and Home Accessories Mart.
August • The Dallas Morning News reexamines a prior policy and decides it will accept civil union announcements on its wedding announcement page.
September • Laura Miller becomes the first sitting mayor to ride in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. In 2007, recently elected Mayor Tom Leppert walks in the parade wearing a rainbow necklace.
December • Ninety Turtle Creek Chorale members, dressed as elves, take part in halftime performance at a Dallas Mavericks game at American Airlines Center.
June • Felipe Rose, the "Indian" of the Village People, comes to town for Razzle Dazzle — which ends up being the last Razzle Dazzle event ever.
August • The Cathedral of Hope drops its affiliation with Metropolitan Community Churches.
September • Marking a huge change in gay acceptance and political influence, 10 members of the Dallas City Council participate in the gay Pride parade and rally in Lee Park.
October • The 20th anniversary tour of "Greater Tuna" with Jaston Williams and Joe Sears comes to Dallas.
November • Lee Park’s Arlington Hall reopens after a two-year renovation. … Alfredo Zarate, the owner of Bamboleo’s, Texas’ first gay Latin nightclub, dies at 40.
January • Hamburger Mary’s opens on Lemmon Avenue. … "Monster," with Charlize Theron playing lesbian serial killer Aileen Wouronos, opens in Dallas; Theron will win the Oscar for best actress within two months …. Woody’s Sports & Video Bar opens in the former Moby Dick space, the same week that Mickey’s replaces BJ’s.
February • Dallas Voice launches a major redesign. Aside from tweaks, the format persists today. … Mona West leaves the Cathedral of Hope. … Israel Luna’s "The Deadbeat Club" opens; Mayor Laura Miller taps Hewitt & Habgood to sell her Kessler Park home.
May • Organizers announce that Razzle Dazzle, scheduled for June, will be canceled. … Dallas Voice celebrates its 20th anniversary; the following week, same-sex marriages begin Massachusetts following a Supreme Court ruling the previous November.
June • The Dallas Tavern Guild announces the debut of the Voice of Pride competition. … Dallas-bred gay playwright Doug Wright wins the Tony Award for best play for "I Am My Own Wife," about a transsexual who survived the Holocaust, adding the accolade to the Pulitzer Prize he received earlier in the year.
July • The Dallas CVB announces a new marketing campaign that promises to reach out to gay travelers. … The national tour of a sign language version of "Big River" opens, with gay actor and Tony nominee Michael McElroy as Jim; McElroy will be back town in May 2009 playing Collins in the national tour of "Rent."
August • The Gay World Series of softball returns to Dallas. … Uptown Players opens "Love! Valour! Compassion!"
September • Buli opens on Cedar Springs. … The Black Tie Dinner is forced to relocate from the Anatole. … The national tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar" opens, directed by Kevin Moriarty; three years later, Moriarty will be named the new artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center.
October • Gay porn star Matthew Rush takes to the stage in the live play "Making Porn" to sellout crowds.
May • Phil Johnson turns 80.
July • Jesus Chairez makes his last broadcast of "Sin Fronteras" on KNON, after 12 years serving the Dallas gay Latino community. … The Pooch Patio opens. … The Round-Up Saloon celebrates 25 years.
August • Gay TV newsman Jim Walker appears in the Voice scantily clad in an outfit suited to that week’s Gay Bingo theme. On Aug. 25, he is fired from Channel 11 and claims the station’s discomfort with his openness about his sexuality (and willingness to show some skin) panicked management.
September • Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast, effectively canceling New Orleans’ Southern Decadence and Dallas’ Lone Star AIDS Ride.
November • The AIDS Quilt goes on display at Lee Park. … Stephan Pyles, the acclaimed gay chef who helped found the Southwestern cuisine movement in the 1980s, opens Stephan Pyles Restaurant downtown, his first venture in years, and reestablishes his reputation.
December • "Brokeback Mountain" opens at the Magnolia Theater in the West Village. For several weeks, it is the only place in Dallas where the film screens, and lines stretch around the block for nearly every showing. Several months later,, despite Oscars for director and screenplay, its loss of the best picture category is considered a huge upset.
March • The Dallas CVB launches a gay-specific Web site, GLBTDallas.com. … Dallas’ Doug Wright chooses to attend the Dallas debut of his play "I Am My Own Wife" rather than appear at the Off-Broadway opening of his new musical, "Grey Gardens."
May • WaterTower Theatre opens the Tony Award-winning play "Take Me Out" about an openly gay baseball player, with mucho nudity intact.
June • Timothy Seelig announces he will step down as artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale the next year, after 20 seasons with the group.
September • Delta Burke, Leslie Jordan and others perform the live stage versions of Del Shores’ plays "Sordid Lives" and "Southern Baptist Sissies" at the Majestic Theater to sold-out crowds. … Dallas Voice’s longtime editor, Dennis Vercher, dies.
October • The Legacy of Love Monument at the Triangle at Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs is dedicated.
November • Robert Whiteside, once an acclaimed jeweler in Dallas but lately the proprietor of an elegant bed and breakfast in East Texas, is murdered; in July of 2008, one of his killers is sentenced to prison; two others later plead guilty and are jailed.
January • The Melrose Hotel, a landmark along Cedar Springs and Oak Lawn for more than 80 years, is bought by Warwick Hotels, and undergoes a renovation.
March • The Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association throws out the first pitch on its 25th season.
May • Rachel Brown, a Dallas chef who became a cult figure when her budding romance with a fellow contestant the previous summer on the reality show "Hell’s Kitchen" offered "L Word"-like drama, dies of an apparent suicide.
June • Cyndi Lauper’s gay-supportive music festival, True Colors, comes to Dallas with Margaeret Cho, Erasure and Rosie O’Donnell. … The Dallas Theater Center names Kevin Moriarty, an openly gay director and arts administrator, to lead the group into its new digs in the Downtown Arts DIstrict when the new Wyly Theatre opens in the fall of 2009.
August • Transgender restaurateur Monica Greene closes down her popular Oak Lawn eatery Ciudad; her signature Deep Ellum restaurant’ Monica’s Aca y Alla remains. … Local theater professionals Doug Miller and Bob Hess (who are also life partners) co-write and co-direct a stage adaptation of "Valley of the Dolls."
September • Former gay TV reporter Chris Heinbaugh becomes chief of staff for Mayor Leppert. … Jonathan Palant assumes leadership of the Turtle Creek Chorale.
December • The recently-formed Cedar Springs Merchants Association begins its First Wednesday event to encourage more foot traffic along the strip.
January • The long-vacant Cedar Springs location of the Tom Thumb grocery store — affectionately called "Mary Thumb" — is razed to make way for a new multi-purpose development project.
April • Rene Moreno, North Texas’ most acclaimed theater director, returns to acting playing Richard III. … After months of renovation, Caven Enterprises re-opens Sue Ellen’s in the old Throckmorton Mining Company space. TMC will later move into Sue Ellen’s former space on Cedar Springs Road.
May • Gay comic book store owner Richaed Neal hosts CAPE 4, his fourth annual convention for graphic novel enthusiasts. … Gay restaurant owner Scott Jones opens Screen Door, his high-end Southern kitchen, in the recently-opened One Arts Plaza.
July • Part time Dallas resident George Michael goes on his first North American tour in more than two decades, including a date at American Airlines Center. … Crews Inn comes under fire after banning drag queens on Tuesdays; the issue is later resolved.
September • In an interview with Dallas Voice, comedian Wanda Sykes coyly suggests she is lesbian; the next month, she publicly comes out while announcing she and her partner will marry in California. … The Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade marks its 25th anniversary.
November • Crossroads Market, the coffeeshop and card- and bookstore that for nearly three decades has been a fixture in Dallas’ major gayborhood, is forced to close its doors. It remained open during most of 2008 following the last-minute extension of its lease at the end of 2007.
January • Dallas saxophonist Tim Stallman becomes one of nearly 200 gay musicians to march in Washington during President Obama’s inaugural parade. … Gay filmmaker Robert L. Camina releases his short "Martini the Movie" starring Steven Jay Crabtree.
February • The cross-dressing comedy ballet troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo performs at McFarlin Auditorium on the SMU campus. … Gay protestors objecting to policies by Cinemark Theatres lobby moviegoers to boycott attending "Milk" in Cinemark venues; Sean Penn and screenwriter Dustin Lance Black win Oscars for the film.
April • Dallas’ city-wide smoking ban in bars and clubs goes into effect. … Uptown Players’ hit production of the campy "The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode" is transported to an RSVP cruise with most of the same cast intact. … The annual Easter Sunday Pooch Parade in Lee Park is canceled due to weather.
May • DIFFA Dallas celebrates the 20th anniversary of its collection. … Dallas Voice turns 25.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 22, 2009.