Helping owner Israel Luna, far right, on a recent clean-up day at Dragonfly Texas were, from left, Tommy Hubbard, Jayson Woods, James Galbraith, JP Mandarino, Kevin Saddler, Matheus Salbego and Matthew Zamora.
Israel Luna is making another of his dreams come true with Dragonfly Texas campgrounds
TAMMYE NASH | Managing Editor
Start with 31 acres of North Texas land; add a pinch of Lord of the Rings and a couple cups of fairy dust, and what do you get? Dragonfly Texas, a new campground being created by Dallas filmmaker Israel Luna and his business partners to be a safe place for what Luna refers to as his rainbow family.
Luna, who grew up in Wellington, Texas, but moved to Dallas in the 1990s to start his career in film, also lived in San Francisco for about three years. It was there, he said, that he began to get in touch with “my hippy side,” and where he adopted a less judgmental, more “live and let live” philosophy.
And when he moved back to Dallas, Luna said, “I brought a little bit of San Francisco with me.”
Back in Dallas, Luna took care to nurture that San Francisco spirit and his hippy side. He started moderating a group for male nudists called Skinny Dippers and then took over as moderator of an existing male nudist group called DAMN (Dallas Area Male Nudists). He began hosting nude yoga at his Spayse Studios. And he started getting into camping, converting his van to use for camping.
But, Luna said, he wanted to share the joy he had found outdoors. He wanted to make sure the LGBTQ community — his rainbow family — and especially older gay men had the outdoor opportunities he had come to love so much.
“I met John Maguire when I first came to Dallas, and he has been like a father figure to me,” Luna said. “He has supported my films and my projects, and he has been one of my best friends and biggest supporters all along.
“John is retired now, and when I was thinking about John, I realized that retirees, men of that age, are often sort of forgotten in our community. So I wanted to create a safe place for those men to go to, where they could be around other gay men of all ages and enjoy themselves.”
That was the seed. Then, Luna said, he just had to find somewhere to plant and someone to help him make it grow. So he reached out first to the members of his two nudist groups looking for investors, and two men — Scott Jacqmein and David Bugbee — quickly responded.
And with the help of Realtor Lacey Brutschy, the three men set about finding the perfect piece of land on which to create their refuge.
“I was looking for land that had plenty of cleared areas for camping and RVs, but I also wanted lots of trees,”
Luna said. “We found one place that was ok, but the trees were just like big bushes. I wanted big trees, huge old trees that would make you feel small when you stood underneath them and would give you shade even when the sun was at its brightest.”
After much searching, Luna said, they found the perfect place: 31 acres in Ravenna, Texas, just miles north of Bonham and a few miles south of the Texas/Oklahoma border. Luna said that while the property was larger than they had planned on — “We really were just looking for 25 acres” — it is exactly what he had been looking for: plenty open space, but with plenty of wooded areas, too. It not only has the big, mature trees he wanted, it also has a creek and four ponds.
Luna also knew what he didn’t want: “When I was telling someone about it, about the wooded areas and everything, they said something about how we could have hunts on the property. I said absolutely not. I don’t want anything to do with any kind of killing or violence on the property.”
What he wants, he said, is the exact opposite: “I want it to have a whimsical feeling, and enchanted feeling,” he said. “I wanted a touch of Lord of the Rings [minus the Dark Lord and orcs, of course] and a touch of fairy dust. I want it to feel safe for everybody.”
Luna said he especially wants Dragonfly Texas to be a safe space for men — “gay men, straight men, whoever.”
“There is a certain bonding that happens in a space when it’s just men there, and I want men to find that bonding, that camaraderie here. I want to give them a place, a platform where they can just be a guy, an outlet where they feel like they can finally just breathe.”
But at the same time, Luna said, Dragonfly Texas isn’t excluding women. “I totally understand that women need places where they can go and be safe,” he said, “and we are very open to the idea of events and weekends that include women, maybe even some that are just for women.”
What it will look like
Dragonfly Texas will include primitive campsites, “luxury” campsites that have electrical outlets available and RV pads. Initial plans called for 10 RV pads and 10 luxury campsites, but interest has been so great that Luna and his business partners have already expanded the number of initial RV sites to 24.
“We have people contacting us from all over the state, all over the country, asking about leasing RV sites long term,” Luna said. “I have people tell me they were going shopping now to buy an RV that they could leave at our place year-round.”
There will also be a limited number of “themed” cabins available to rent. The Love Shack, “complete with tin roof, rusted,” will hold two people, as well the Game Zone, which will have video and arcade games and two gaming chairs. Shady Pines, of course, will have a Golden Girls theme, and “everything will be made of wicker,” Luna said.
“With the cabins, you’ll have all the conveniences, but you’ll still be out in the woods!” he added.
There will also be a community area, featuring a large swimming pool, a pool house, a double-decker patio, a covered pavilion and a “barndomenium” which can be opened on all sides, or closed in to hold events.
This is all part of phase one
Luna said he and Bugbee and Jacqmein, along with a crew of volunteers, have spent the last several weekends since they closed the deal out at the property, cleaning up the land and getting everything ready to go. Now they are meeting with contractors, getting bids on construction and gathering estimates on what it will cost to complete phase one of the project. When they have those estimates, then they will put out the call for investors who, in return for contributing money to help cover the phase one costs, will get an interest in Dragonfly Texas as well as “perks and benefits” at the campground, Luna said, adding that he hopes to have a grand opening by spring or early summer 2022.
Those who have already found their safe space in Luna’s nudist groups or the yoga classes he hosts or group meetings and events at his Spayse Studios need not worry. He said he will continue to live in Dallas and operate his groups and his studio. In fact, he said, he is looking for a bigger space for Spayse to move into and hopes to have that move accomplished by early next summer, too.
And, he said, his work in film continues full steam ahead as well. He is well into post-production on his feature film Businesswomen, and is involved with local filmmakers Chaselyn Wade Vance, Terry Vanderholt and Joseph Herrera on projects they are working on. And, Luna said, Round 12 of his film contest Rack
Focus starts soon, and he plans to get started soon on his next feature film project, another comedy/horror mash-up called La Chancla del Diablo.
“I have plenty to keep me busy,” Luna said, “and I love it all.
Anyone who wants more information or is interested in investing can visit the Dragonfly Texas page on Facebook or email Luna at email@example.com.