I had neglected a proper visit to my good friend Andrew, who has been living in Dallas for the past year and a half, until he uttered two very sacred words that sold me on a visit to the south last week: GAY RODEO.
I actually headed straight from Good Times at Eastern Bloc to the airport, for a 7am flight to Dallas via Memphis, which may explain why I started having sleep-deprived visions of black babies reading me while I waited in line for the toilet.
Andrew is an urban studies Phd and professor so he's really great at touring me around each and every neighborhood, including this one with an amazing old time movie theater that was showing Burlesque for no good reason (does one really need a good reason to screen Burlesque?)
Most of my time in Dallas was either spent at the gay rodeo, napping because I had the flu or ANTIQUING! Who knew Dallas had such a thriving knick knack scene?
Taxidermy is really happening right now in Brooklyn and Dallas but I like to pretend that this deer was probably killed and stuffed not too far from Dallas, whereas most Brooklyn taxidermy probably didn't come from Bushwick or anything.
We didn't stay late enough for these guys to come alive after dark when they do a song and dance throughout the store.
Andrew and a taxidermy snake that would probably be a bit tricky to travel with.
HANDS! Touching hands! Reaching out...
It was actually quite common to see these old time slave posters and memorabilia throughout Dallas. Andrew even found a lawn ornament of a black boy sitting on a watermelon on his previous visit here but someone had bought it before we arrived.
I was super close to buying this but ended up shying away from it, solely because it was priced at $750 and I would have had to pay for art shipping as well. But I'm having second thoughts.
One of many bears on the Dallas bear scene.
Real Dallas barbecue, as opposed to barbecue from Dallas BBQ (which we have in New York City).
Andrew told me I would DIE for the stripper shows at the Tin Room and he was absolutely right.
Roadside chillin'. It was pretty common to see people walking along highways and interstates too, which you rarely see in the northeast.
Letter junkyard outside a shop called Junkadoodle, which really lived up to its name for having more junk than antiques.
En route to the The Gay Rodeo Association's main event in Fort Forth, Texas, I logged on to Grindr to discover this gem, giving Gene Simmons a run for his money.
We arrived at the gay rodeo just in time for the opening ceremonies. Lots of patriotism and gay pride all on display with bright and shiny sequins.
Though this was literally my first time at the rodeo, it was pretty rad to see real gay cowboys. Like, Brokeback Mountain, but real.
Clearly the bull riding event was my favorite event by a long shot, although there was no rodeo clown to tame the bulls after the riders fell off, which made me believe the bulls were a bit more sedate or perhaps even gay themselves (yes, one queen in NYC asked me if the animals were in fact gay.)
Fuck DJing. I'm thinking about changing careers.
The second event was this bull wrestling thing where they had to drag the bull across that white and then wrestle it to the ground. This is when animal cruelty part started to sink in (not pictured: goat dressing, when two teams raced to dress a goat in underwear).
It was tough to snap photos of the surround cowboy viewers (note: Andrew and I seemed to be the ONLY non-Southern, non-cowboy attendees) but as you can see from the dude seated next and the SPURS on his cowboy boots, this event was no joke.
Texans love a big ol' Texax flag. This was the bluegrass side stage next to the main arena.
Not sure if this was drag or cross dressing but whatever it was, there was lots of it and I loved every minute of it.
One of the final events was when two teams had to get a bull across a certain line and then a drag person (mostly men in wigs and dresses) had to jump on the bull and ride it back to the other side of the white line. Easier said then done, I'm sure.
In the refreshments area, lots of men in "cowboy drag" (name given for men who dress up as cowboys despite not being ranchers or cattle herders or anything. Basically its a uniform fetish party and I was living) kiki'd with one another as they do each and every year at the gay rodeo.
We parked near an Epcot Center Spaceship Earth lookalike and trekked back to Dallas for my final night of gay line dances and country music.
My local Manhunt boyfriend in Dallas.
The Dallas skyline is characterized by a light-up spherical ball, a neon green outlined skyscraper and that building to the right that become a complete motion board by night fall.
Bartender at the Roundup Saloon, which is a gay Dallas institution that probably holds something close to 1000 patrons on any given weekend.
Before midnight, The Roundup plays country music and 20 to 30 people line dance on the dance floor while hundreds stand around and watch. Then the DJ throws on something like the Cupid Shuffle (pictured) or The Wobble and EVERYONE swarms the dance floor.
On Sunday, I flew to Atlanta to continue my Southern tour hang with my friend Tony (left), who brought me to a Sunday queer dance party at a bar called Church, complete with radical fairies in dresses like Tony's friend Justin (center).
Church is decorated with hundreds of paintings by an artist named Sister Louisa. Crack Moms for Christ!
Justin actually started off in a boy look and then threw on a sequined dress early on and had his dress rolled all the way down by the end of the evening. Who knew Atlanta was such a hub of radical fairy activity?
Since bars in Atlanta close at 12 on Sunday, we drove to a literal truck stop at an intersection of the Interstate called Southern Comfort. They were hosting a non-ironic karaoke night where this elderly dude stood next to the stage / performers and unfurled random flags that he was apparently selling.
Flag-selling dude sang his own karaoke song, at which point our friend Kyle took it upon himself to go unfurl some of the flags for sale behind flag-selling dude, including a confederate flag (!) and a flag that said Happy New Year!
We found this suggestion box near the exit and thought about suggesting that they retire the sale of confederate flags.
On Monday, we hiked around the base of and then up Stone Mountain, which apparently used to be home to many Ku Klux Klan rallies and is still a confederate-themed park in many senses.
BEHOLD! A carving of three confederate heroes into the side of a mountain!
Some more flags of Georgia, including that one that incorporates the confederate flag. Clearly, I was shocked that this flag is still flown sky high.
An evening view of the downtown Atlanta skyline. Or is it Midtown? Atlanta has skyscraper pockets so it was a bit hard for me to discern one from the other.
One landmark I didn't have a hard time recognizing was the original Krispy Kreme drive-thru.
Tony and his pup Bosco took good care of me while I recovered from the flu, taking me to the Colonnade, The Earl and other fine southern establishments.
And finally back to the airport so I could return to New York for my weekly DJ duties. Thanks Andrew and Tony. Let's do it again when the Texas and Georgia state fairs roll around. xo