FILM REVIEW: In time for our fashion issue, a look at designer ‘Saint Laurent’

Posted on 21 May 2015 at 12:24pm

1Even though Yves Saint Laurent began his career working at the House of Dior, he was more of the successor to Chanel in the universe of French fashion, updated for the swinging ’60s and indulgent ’70s with elegance that was also wearable comfort. (“Chanel freed women; I empowered them,” he famously said). He is credited with modernizing the smoking jacket/tuxedo look (especially for women) — a fact DIFFA used as a theme for several of its own recent collections — and when fashion was in freefall, he was the most consistently praised designer in the world.

You’ll learn virtually none of that, though, from watching Saint Laurent, which is surprising considering that the film runs a hefty two-and-a-half hours … even more so when you consider the vast majority of the film takes place during his heyday (and the rest in retrospect late in life, from a position of authority and perspective). Where is the exposition that puts YSL in context, both as a man and a brand? In short, not much. Maybe Saint Laurent, which is in French and a huge hit already in France, assumes its audience already knows the broad strokes about the man, the way Spielberg’s Lincoln doesn’t tell us much about the Great Emancipator’s humble beginnings in a log cabin. But the time commitment begs that it share more than it does.

One problem is that the director, Bertrand Bonello, doesn’t seem to know what kind of film he’s making: It is like Blow, a drug-fueled Virgilian decent into the hell of addiction? Is it intended to be like Coco Before Chanel, a fashion biopic, or even Valentino: The Last Emperor, a documentary about a moment in time presented here as a docudrama? Is it a boardroom drama about the business of fashion? Or perhaps he’s making a Parisian version of Tales of the City, as it graphically (lots of full-frontal!) shows YSL’s sex life, from his non-exclusive relationship with business partner Pierre Berge (Jeremie Renier) to his full-on sex parties? I still can’t tell.

And yet, Saint Laurent isn’t bad, just disappointing. (Frankly, the spate of fashion-centered films in the last few years is awash in bad biopic contrasted to excellent documentaries). Gaspard Ulliel, as Yves, does a compelling job portraying the designer, who suffers from creative block but struggles through. (He’s also quite easy on the eyes). It’s a strong, intense performance that is disserved by scenes that drag along pointlessly. You get a better sense for fashion from Iris (at the Magnolia) and Dior and I (at the Angelika).

Opens Friday at Magnolia.

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DFW Style Daily previews Dallas Voice Swimsuit Edition

Posted on 21 May 2015 at 11:09am

Our friends at DFW Style Daily did a wonderful write-up of our upcoming Swimsuit Edition, which comes out tomorrow. You can read about it here, and see a few exclusive photos (that you won’t even see at Dallas Voice!) Thanks Lisa!

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Blythe Beck to open new concept, Pink Magnolia, in Oak Cliff

Posted on 20 May 2015 at 2:48pm

BlytheBlythe Beck has barely a week left leading the brigade at Kitchen LTO, Casie Caldwell’s “permanent pop-up” in Trinity Groves. She’s the longest serving chef as the concept, which is itself intended as a laboratory for concepts and chefs who might be able to open another restaurant somewhere else. And that time has come.

Beck and Caldwell are uniting for Pink Magnolia, their new partnership that will take over the shuttered Driftwood space in Oak Cliff. The name combines Beck’s famous love of one color  with her steely Southern influences, and will surely feature her signature “naughty” recipes. Best of all, it gives Beck, finally, a place to truly call her own, floorboards to shingles. It will open later this summer. Congrats!

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Swimsuit Edition: First look

Posted on 19 May 2015 at 11:03pm

T1 IMG_1116 copyOn Friday, our second annual Swimsuit Edition — featuring nine models, great summer accessories, multiple location shoots and tons of sexy (and often revealing) swimwear — hits newsstands. Last year’s was a huge hit and a big sellout, so pick up yours as soon as you can to see what’s hot (including a sneak peek of the brand-new collection by local gay designers Marek+ Richard) in poolside fashions this season.

Here are a few pix to whet your appetite. And you can see more exclusive photos later this week at DFW Style Daily!

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HavenCon 2016 dates set, fundraising effort launched

Posted on 19 May 2015 at 1:54pm
Screen shot 2015-05-19 at 1.48.36 PM

An attendee at HavenCon 2015

Organizers of  “Texas’ only LGBTQ-A sci-fi, fantasy and gaming convention” have announced dates for the second annual HavenCon, and launched a campaign to raise funds for the 2016 event.

HavenCon 2016 will be held April 22-24 at the Holiday Inn Midtown in Austin. The newly-launched fundraising campaign will help pay for equipment, event and production costs. Rewards for contributing include artwork, t-shirts, stickers, buttons, discounted HavenCon passes and more.

A campaign referral contest is also underway with a prize pack that includes a 2016 pass upgrade, a hotel room at the convention center, VIP access and more. To donate visit the HavenCon fundraiser on Indiegogo.

Organizers said that due to “overwhelming vendor interest and higher-than-anticipated attendance” this year, the 2016 con will expand to three days. They said vendor space is expected to sell out quickly so those interested in getting space should act quickly.

Anyone interested in being a vendor, panelist or sponsor can visit the HavenCon site or email Shane@HavenConTx.com.

The first HavenCon was held last month in Austin and “vastly exceeded expectations,” organizers said. The con drew more than 1,000 attendees over two days and included gaming tournaments, a cosplay contest, dozens of vendors and artists and panelists from the local and national levels of the industry, such as Janet Varney and P.J. Byrnes, stars of the animated TV series The Legend of Korra.

HavenCon Founder Shane Brown said he was “staggered by the amount of support and pure joy from attendees. Although Texas is no stranger to comic book and gaming conventions, this was the first time the state has ever hosted a convention of this type targeted specifically to a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and allied audience.”

He added, “Every vendor, attendee and panelist that I spoke with was amazed by the inviting, positive atmosphere. It was a celebration of what made our diverse crowd both different and united. And everyone seems excited to come back for more next year.”

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‘Upstairs Inferno’ sets premiere date, Rice will narrate

Posted on 19 May 2015 at 8:01am

DSC_6794Dallas filmmaker Robert L. Camina, who caused a sensation with his documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge three years ago, announced that out novelist and New Orleans native Christopher Rice — son of vampire chronicler Anne Rice — will narrate his newest documentary, Upstairs Inferno. The doc, which details the largest mass-death of gays in the U.S. — a fire at a New Orleans gay bar on June 24, 1973 — will have its world premiere in NOLA on the 42nd anniversary of the deadly blaze.

The gala screening, which will take place at the Prytania Theater on June 24, will include a Q&A with Camina and some yet-to-be-released guests. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

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Gay travel journos tour Dallas, eat too much and have too much fun

Posted on 18 May 2015 at 8:07am

IMG_1588For a number of years, gay journalists from around the world (and the U.S.) have descended on North Texas to get a taste for what it’s like to live in, and visit, Dallas as a gay person. Ya know, if you don’t live here, you can imagine outsiders might think “Red State haters” and “George W. Bush’s hometown” more than “largest DIFFA fundraiser, Black Tie Dinner and gay church in the world,” so we need to welcome them and put on our best Stetson and tallest stilettos to show them what it’s like. (We expect they will write copious positive reviews of their experience to share with their audiences.) And based on my poll, mission accomplished.

Seven journos braved the trip that exposed them to life here. Paul (from Holland, second from left), returns to Dallas after having been here last five years ago. Fellow Amsterdam resident Edwin (center) remarked that he could move here permanently, given the chance.

It’s interesting how others see our city, as well. All were impressed by the “ample” parking (are they crazy?) and some were agog that the line dancers at the Round-Up Saloon could actually “click” their boots when they stomped around the dance floor. They also seemed to enjoy the ample food, which is always a huge part of press tours. They got to dine at Stephan Pyles’ Stampede 66, Henry’s Majestic, Dish and Meso Maya; and took cocktail classes at Cook Hall and with Leann Berry at Komali. That was just the start: They got massages at Green Lotus Spa; they took excursions to NorthPark Center, the Arts District, Oak Cliff and Klyde Warren Park; ventured to the museums and even took in Gaybingo on Saturday night, in addition to exploring the gayborhood and its nightlife.

It only took three days to do all this, and lots more; Steven Lindsey — himself a travel journalist (and frequent Dallas Voice contributor) — organizing a full but not overwhelming experience for them. So keep an eye out for stories appearing in Curve, The Out Traveler, Man About World and other gay pubs around the world in the coming months.

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CONCERT REVIEW: NKOTB

Posted on 15 May 2015 at 4:29pm

image3Is it fair to continue calling pop group New Kids on the Block a boy band? At an average age of 44, the guys are actually closer to AARP eligibility than boyhood. Yet, judging by the crowd’s high-pitched squeals and thunderous applause at American Airlines Center Thursday night — a concert broadcast live on Yahoo! Screen — NKOTB may remain forever young.

The group’s current tour, with supporting acts Nelly and TLC, was presented as a boxing match of sorts, complete with a sign-carrying ring girl and a rectangular open “ring” in the center of the arena’s floor. While the stage’s upfront placement brought artists and audience closer, it also meant that, as often as not, the audience was viewing performers’ backsides.

Round One. Rapper Nelly — a man whose Hulk-like arms defy images that his stage name might evoke in gay circles — opened the show. He was joined by a two-man crew and a bevy of bootylicious dancers as he performed biggest his including “Ride Wit Me” and “Hot in Herre.”

image4Round Two. Dressed in iridescent overalls, TLC (Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas) provided an R&B counterpoint to Nelly’s rap-heavy set. Highlights included a performance “Red Light Special” during which a lucky audience member (or, more likely, an audience plant) was escorted on stage for a sultry lap dance. The duo remembered late band mate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes during a performance of “Waterfalls,” asking the audience to raise their phone lights in the air. And a performance of their timeless man-shaming classic “No Scrubs” brought the crowd to its feet.

Round Three. Collectively known as NKOTB, headliners Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and openly gay member Jonathan Knight took center stage in hooded boxing robes as a recorded ring announcer introduced them one-by-one. The group gave a visually stunning performance that included hydraulic stage stunts, pyrotechnics and an abundance of colorful confetti. The quintet performed a mix of pop songs and ballads from their repertoire including crowd-pleasers “Step By Step” and “Hanging Tough.” They also asked the audience to join them in singing “Happy Birthday” to Wood who celebrated his 46th birthday.

The concert was not short on eye candy, either. Quick-change cameras in the dressing rooms caught the boys in their underwear during a costume change, and McIntyre, the group’s youngest member, showed of his abs during a chest-baring solo.

Overall, the feel-good evening felt much like a college homecoming or a high school class reunion. And, even though the New Kids on the Block may no longer grace the pages of teen magazines, they proved that they still have the right stuff to draw a crowd.

Watch Yahoo!’s 24-hour rebroadcast of the May 14 event here.

— Scott Huffman

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Cocktail Friday: ‘Mad Men’ Edition

Posted on 15 May 2015 at 1:51pm
6 Dewar's Old Fashioned

Don Draper

After seven season, Mad Men closes up shop on Sunday night with the series finale of the show that popularized ’60s-era culture from three-martini lunches to skinny ties. And the cocktails they drank over the decade got us a little thirsty — which would be the ideal potable for each of the main characters? Well, we put together a few recipes. Pick the one that goes best with your personality and get yer pretty ass over here, sweetie!

Don Draper: Dewar’s Old Fashioned

It’s no secret that Don is a whisky drinker (though he favored client Canadian Club on the show) but for the finale, let’s break out the scotch. and have a traditional old fashioned.

1 oz. Dewar’s White Label

1 tsp. sugar

2 dashes bitters

1 Sapphire Ultimate Martini

Roger Sterling

Orange slices

Maraschino cherries

Water (or soda)

Making it: Muddle sugar, bitters, 1 cherry and 1 orange slice in the bottom of a rocks glass with a splash of water or soda. Add scotch and ice, garnish with orange twist and/or cherries. Think about your childhood and marry your secretary.

Roger Sterling: Ultimate Martini.

Roger’s a gin drinker (fish, more accurately) so this really reflects his aesthetic.

1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin

A whisper of vermouth

Olive/twist.

9 Disaronno Godfather

Pete Campbell

Making it: Do it right: Chill a martini glass by filling with ice, swirled around. Then in a Boston shaker coat the glass side with vermouth to coat the sides and ice; discard. Refill with ice and gin. Shake. Strain into chilled glass with garnish. Make a droll remark and screw your secretary. (To turn it into a Peggy Olson, replace vermouth with tonic and serve in a high ball. Then smoke a joint and feel a little guilty about it.)

Pete Campbell: The Godfather

Pete may be weaselly, but he’s also the most progressive of the men on the show, always defending women, minorities and even gays (for the era).

3/4 oz. Disaronno amaretto

1 1/2 oz. whiskey.

Pour over ice. Rent a hotel room for an assignation with a shopgirl.

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