This Here Utopia

Texas needs more politicians like Kinky Friedman. He's got a heart bigger than his hat, at least when it comes to stray animals. In 1998, the author, musician and gubernatorial hopeful founded the Utopia Animal Rescue with friend and fellow dog lover Nancy Simons. Since then, the no-kill shelter has taken in more than 1,000 stray dogs, donkeys, pigs, peacocks and more. Private donations and charity benefits keep the operation afloat. Further assistance is offered in the form of a Tex-Mex necessity; Friedman sells his own "private stock" of gourmet salsas and donates his proceeds to the rescue.

Friedman is no stranger to underdogs. He begins his first political battle on March 8, attempting to collect more than 45,000 signatures in 64 days in order to place his name on the gubernatorial ballot. Unfortunately, paw prints don't count. So those of you who share his love for four-legged friends might consider a visit to for more information on his political aims. (There's a wrestling vampire running for governor in Minnesota; don't be troubled by an author with a Kinky name.)

As for the animal rescuing, you can attend the Utopia Ranch's latest "bone-e-fit" this Friday night, when Kinky will host a charity concert featuring Billy Joe Shaver and Jimmie Dale Gilmore at Poor David's Pub. Your attendance helps the shelter to continue caring for its multitude of dogs and donkeys, and any party that helps feed a rooster named Alfred Hitchcock is a party worth attending. Those who aren't interested in musicians with three names can still support the ranch by donating directly via the Web site ( More important, you can adopt one of its various orphaned pets any day of the week by phone appointment or during the ranch's visiting hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. If nothing else, order a jar of Friedman's "Lone Star Caviar." Kinky Friedman hosts the Utopia Rescue Ranch charity benefit concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at Poor David's Pub, 1313 S. Lamar St. Tickets are $44. Call 214-565-1295 or visit
Sat., Feb. 18, 8 p.m.


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