City Hall Gives Gene Simmons a Big KISS

Categories: City Hall, Music
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Photos by Patrick Michels
Well, that was ... surreal.

When I left Dallas City Hall at 4:50 this afternoon, Gene Simmons was still there -- in the mayor's fifth-floor conference room, surrounded by cameras and politicos and one or two fans who'd managed to work their way into the room. Laid out before the God of Thunder were  myriad gifts handed to him by council member Steve Salazar about 20 minutes earlier, up in the Flag Room outside city council chambers -- a key to the city, a street sign bearing his name, a state flag that once flew over the Capitol in Austin and a blue vase upon which was engraved the city of Dallas seal. (That particular present had been given to Shannon Tweed, the 1982 Playboy Playmate of the Year with whom Simmons has lived for 26 years.)

Somehow, in between spots, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway managed to get the KISS singer and bassist and Tweed into his office, just down the hall from the conference room. When I walked in, after scootching by the A&E camera crew that perpetually follows around the couple for their Family Jewels reality series, I overheard them talking about Caraway's Pull 'Em Up campaign.

"I need your help in pullin' up those pants," said Caraway, who, earlier, had taken off his gold pin emblazoned with the seal and made Simmons "a citizen of Dallas." (A shot of that follows.) It was unclear if Simmons had agreed to enlist in the Caraway Army.

But at some point, Simmons noticed a framed poster of Muhammad Ali -- that famous photo in which he towers over a vanquished Sonny Liston. Simmons, speaking so softly it was hard to hear at times, began talking about Ali and civil rights. Then, he told Caraway, "I used to live with Diana for two years -- Diana Ross -- and she used to talk about touring the South with the Supremes and how their tour bus would get shot at." Caraway nodded and said, "S'tough, man."

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Below are more photos from the Flag Room ceremony -- easily, one of the more raucous events in Dallas City Hall history. Said The News's Rudy Bush, facetiously, "City Hall has never been more ... alive." More than a few times the room erupted in cheers, never more so than when Simmons insisted, in rock-star parlance, "Dallas rocks."

Most of the event proved to be a rather serious tribute to the troops and a plug for Simmons and Tweed's Angels & Aces event at Fair Park on Wednesday benefiting the Wounded Warriors Project. As Simmons said, he was glad everyone came out to see a celebrity, but "I'm a nobody," just some schmuck who wears "stupid sunglasses even in the dark." Said Simmons, "We're forever indebted to our troops who make our lives possible."

Still, it was kinda funny when Salazar -- standing with Tennell Atkins, Ron Natinsky and Caraway -- said he spent 12 years trying to get a street named for César Chávez. But, he joked, this time around he didn't have to go through the City Plan Commission or the council to get the street in front of the Centennial Building at Fair Park renamed Gene Simmons Boulevard for Wednesday night's event.

Simmons, who'd only expected to get the key to the city, actually seemed a little ... overwhelmed, maybe?

"I don't know what to say at this point," he said as the gifts kept on coming. He put his hand to his forehead -- a very oy vey look. But he happily, dutifully went where he was directed, and in between TV interviews, he signed autographs and posed for photos with the City Hall workers who'd packed into the Flag Room.

Oh -- and For Your Weekend Listening Pleasure, here's KISS at the Smirnoff on October 2, 2003. I should send it to Natinsky. When I asked him if he even knew who KISS was, he said, "Sure." I asked him to name a favorite song. "Hell, I dunno -- all of 'em." Riiight.

For all I know, Simmons is still at City Hall.

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State Rep. Roberto Alonzo was also on hand to present Simmons with a flag that once flew down in Austin.

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That's Gloria Sandoval showing off her City Hall ID badge while Steve Salazar snaps a photo on his BlackBerry.

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And, finally, the God of Thunder picks up his key to the city.
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24 comments
Rooster
Rooster

You'd think a guy with his bank account could afford a better fitting wig. Just sayin'....

Todoledo
Todoledo

intelligence!Chris PelletierPhiladelphiatodoledo@hotmail.com

Dhayes
Dhayes

Anyone who puts his time and money to supports the troops is a hero to me!

I saw KISS last year and they did a tribute to the US Soldiers on stage - ending with the band, soldiers on stage and 25,000 fans saying the Pledge of Alliance in their honor.

Anonymousanonymous
Anonymousanonymous

WTF??

HE IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. HIS SINGING SUX SO GLAD I MOVED FROM DIRTY DALLAS!

JOKE OF A TOWN.

Pecos_Drifter
Pecos_Drifter

From the City Of Dallas

Mr Simmons,

We regret to inform you that "Gene Simmons Blvd" has been changed to "Cesar Chavez Blvd" in a effort to show racial peace and a hope for more votes, we regret this change, but you can keep the key

Yours,City Of Dallas

Bartona104
Bartona104

Dear City Hall: Sounds like he was great, but if he took a Polaroid of you in that supine position, you'll never get your innocence back.

Nick Horner
Nick Horner

To all who've served,,Thank You. To all who've died or,been wounded we've wept and remember foundly..to Gene and others who give large and small its a gift that is very much appreciated from our heart. To my son going into the Navy and then and forever a joy and Blessing..knowing all and still you go to serve- I love you

isabelle sunn
isabelle sunn

Out of all the bull crap people talk about Gene Simmons with remarks like "he is a has been" and blah blah blah! Well look, here he is making a difference and supporting our troops. Being a Hero to our Heroes!! Well, you bull crap talking people can shove it where the sun don't shine!!!!!!!! You inconsiderate imbeciles!!!

<3 Me :-)

scottindallas
scottindallas

If you're a sucker for being patronized I suppose KISS is for you, that and Def Leppard,

TXranger55
TXranger55

He's a VERY intelligent man as well.

Scripted reality
Scripted reality

I think he's a celebrity I must like despite his reality show. It is nigh on unwatchable. But he's interesting, business savvy, and still a rock star after all these years.

ChrisU
ChrisU

yeah, in KISS's heyday they were 'pullin up those pants' right before they jumped on the tour bus heading off the the next town.

Joey
Joey

Him and KISS donated somewhere close to a million dollars to the Wounded Warriors foundation for soldiers who come home from war with serious injuries.

Augie
Augie

With no offense to Gene Simmons, but what, other than Shannon Tweed, did he do to deserve all the affection and accolades from the City of Dallas?

scottindallas
scottindallas

real courage would be to confront our absurd military posture. How on earth do you, does ANYONE think that we are making our world safer in Iraq, or Afghanistan. We support the dictators and pay lip service to "democracy" Our troops are pawns in the game, but our policies are dreadful and endanger this country. Gene might be more equivocal when he thanks the troops for protecting his country. The country of his berth is Israel, and our support of tyrants and dictators in the Middle East has been in service to that country, and not our own. Notice how the neo-cons and Israeli leaders are defending Mubarak and even dared to chastise the US and Canada for cheering on the democratic revolts in Egypt. We don't advance our security and safety by torturing, bombing, invading and occupying other countries. By the way, we are in a severe budget crunch, and considering that the foreign follies are so misguided it's flatly alarming.

isabelle sunn
isabelle sunn

In your WILDEST CRAZIEST dreams !!!!!

HA HA HA......You are a fool to think you can fool me...ha ha haNice try!

:) Me

Steve
Steve

Dear Ironic Old-School NBA Jersey Wearing Hair Dyer,

Please straighten your lensless Nerd Glasses, and list for us your totally badass obscure bands that nobody totally knows about because people suck.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

As I said, it was very much a promo for his event on Wednesday at Fair Park, which will be attended by soldiers as well as celebs. I've added the Wounded Warriors information to clarify. But I'd also like to think he got in for KISS Alive.

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