The Red Party Foundation — the charitable fundraising wing of Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage — held its third annual runway fashion show at Sisu Uptown on Saturday night, and the stars were out … as were a few moons if you stood in the right spot. The show, which included designers like ES Collection, Aussie Bum, Edo Popken and more, was a dazzling parade of sexy looks, lubricated by Equality Vodka.
A number of years ago, “neighbors” along 75 and Mockingbird Lane complained about the “odor pollution” caused by a local business. The business? The Mrs. Baird’s bakery, which has been there more than 50 years. I called “bullshit” at the time — the bakery had been an institution, and who in their motherfrickin’ minds would ever consider the aroma of fresh bread wafting by as “pollution”? People pay to have that smell put in their cars. I suspected the “neighbors” was SMU, trying to get the land for developm… oh, look! The Mrs. Baird’s factory closed and SMU bought up the land! What are the chances?
Anyhoo, that’s Dallas for ya. Dumb regulations. Forget tradition. But that’s not Austin.
Only now it is Austin.
The website I Am A Texan has a post about how Austin’s city council has effectively launched a plan to ban from Austin City Limits (hey, that could be the name of a TV show!) smokehouses. Expensive diffusers. Shorter smoking hours. New equipment. It would all but ruin the distinctive cuisine of the city; they might as well outlaw live music and cycling. Dumbasses.
I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Aaron Franklin recently here in Dallas. The founder of Franklin Barbecue, winner of the most recent James Beard Award for outstanding chef in the Southwest, and author of a best-selling cookbook is the best ambassador for Texas BBQ the state has ever had, and every city in Texas would kill to claim him. And Austin basically wants him to move.
So here’s my proposal: Move Franklin Barbecue to Dallas. You can set up in my backyard. My only rent will be an end cut twice a day. Maybe a rib if ya got ‘em.
“What happens in the pool stays in the pool!” one attendee at the 5th Annual DFW Sisters Pool Party warned me when I walked in. Well, sort of. There are always photos when fundraising is involved, and the well-attended even in North Oak Cliff was raising money for LifeWalk. We kept the photos to a minimum, but let it be known, it was a fun afternoon and staying out of the sun as much as possible.
In August, a new drag show — called My Oh My — will launch, and every Monday night, you can jaunt on down the House of Blues for a live performance. But before that happens, there’s casting to be done! Local drag performers (and hopefuls) are invited to audition tonight starting at 7:30. But these are open auditions, which means you don’t have to have an act get get into the act. Members of the public are free to attend and watch the talent. And it’s free.
When you own a pan Asian restaurant, certainly one of the great perks is getting to do research. You can’t help but be envious of Braden and Yasmin Wages, who take vacations from Dallas to fly to Vietnam and Thailand in order to conjure up new recipes for their Uptown eatery, Malai Thai-Vietnamese Kitchen. The research includes tailoring monthly special menus — so-called chef’s tasting menus ($58) — to highlight what trends in Asian flavors capture them at the moment. The current menu, which remains up throughout July, is worth a taste investigation.
Some dishes on the five-course tasting are stronger than others, but certainly the strongest includes the scallops, served on the half-shell and dusted in crumbled peanuts and scallions. A delightful execution on its own, but on the side, the finish that elevates the dish is a Red Boat nuoc mam, a fermented anchovy sauce that warms on the palate slowly but inevitably. It raises the bar on the meal, presenting the flavor of anchovy in a way that will win over skeptics.
That’s true of the next dish as well. I’ve never been a huge sardine lover, but having tasted the sour sardine salad roll here, I’m beginning to regret that judgment. Wrapped a la Vietnamese spring rolls in a translucent, spongy rice paper, the lime-cured sardine filets poke through muscularly, but once more, the details complete it. Spicy Red Boat sauce and peanuts and both impart savory and soothing, earthy components without overwhelming shock of fishiness you often get sardines.
One of my favorite Asian flavors is tamarind, which is put to excellent but subtle use in the sticky rice crostini. A melange of duck and shrimp, the carrot-Thai basil-cilantro-mint salad is a pop of freshness, deriving heat from house-made sriracha and the faint tamarind drizzle.
Unfortunately, tamarind works against what should be the centerpiece dish — wok-cooked blue crab in a tamarind glaze. Texans are used to getting their fingers sticky from barbecue, but this is on the messy side even for a smoke house, and not wholly worth the effort: The whole crab is light on discoverable meat and it’s more frustrating that satisfying to struggle with it. Luckily, that disappointment is overcome with a platter of interesting tropical fruits — lychee, dragonfruit and countless more with astonishing textures, plys a palm caramel. The platter makes for a spectacular and refreshing dessert.
Wine pairs surprisingly well with Southeast Asian cuisine, and all the tastings come with optional wine pairing; take advantage of it, as the ones are well curated to accompany the dishes. Even on their own, though, the meal transports you.
For reservations, visit here.
Sometimes, you just wanna escape the North Texas heat and take a road trip to green, hilly Austin (it’s still hot, but it’s somewhere else’s version of hot). If that’s you, this weekend might be the ideal time. Big Dipper — a gay bear rapper, whom we’ve profiled here — will be performing off his new EP Extra Good, at Highland Nightclub on July 24. The first single off the EP (available now) is Vibin’, which puts the hirsute hip-hopper in a mermaid costume … though, I guess he’s technically a merman, without the Ethel.
You can check out the video here.
Love it or hate it, Instagram is a part of modern media — and for some members of the LGBT community, that means greater exposure with every filtered pic they post. Who are some of these IG movers and shakers actively working to have all eyes on them? Meet a few of my favorites right here.
Name, occupation, age: Chris Salvatore, actor/singer, 30. ChrisSalvatore.com.
IG Handle: @ChrisSalvatore
# of Followers: 98K
Name five character traits your ideal dude must have. They have to have a sense of humor first and foremost. I would also like them to not be shy when it comes to decision-making time, like where to go on dates. I like to be with someone who is confident in himself. I like good kissers, too! Sexual chemistry is important to me. Also, I am 6-foot-3, so ideally someone around my height I find makes things better.
Where’s your favorite place to kick it in L.A.? This is gonna be such a dad answer, but probably the dog park. My furry child, Bobby, has a lot of energy and needs to run free. There’s also a lot going on at dog parks, which can be highly entertaining.
What’s your next project? I will be joining the cast of The Horizon, an Australian webseries, which is kind of like Queer as Folk. We start filming this summer!
Name, occupation, age: Shakeia McCall-Barnes, comedian/speaker/educator. KiaComedy.com.
IG Handle: @KiaComedy
# of Followers: 7.3K
Who are a few of your comedy idols? Some of my comedy idols are Melissa McCarthy, Eddie Murphy, Rickey Smiley and Wanda Sykes, because they all started off doing open-mic standup comedy and were able to turn that into amazing careers in entertainment. They also took risks and stayed true to themselves, and the world fell in love with their comedy. They have influenced me the most, because their stories and careers encourage me to continue to do what I do.
Favorite sitcom of all time? My favorite sitcom of all time is The Cosby Show, regardless of Bill Cosby’s fall from grace. It showcased a successful and diverse family and addressed difficult issues and concerns, but still managed to be hilarious. Who didn’t want to be Rudy, Theo or Denise Huxtable in the ’90s?
Funniest movie of all time? The funniest movie of all time is absolutely Forrest Gump! The way it comically juxtaposes real-life issues like war, racism, death and American history while still cracking my side makes it the winner in my book!
Name. occupation, age: Connor Franta, YouTuber, 22.YouTube.com/ConnorFranta.
IG Handle: @ConnorFranta
# of Followers: 3.4M
Why do you think you appeal to so many online/social media users? I think people are attracted to normal people doing great things. I get inspired every single day by my YouTube friends dominating everything from the music industry to the fashion industry. We’re at the brink of a new era where anyone, including you reading this article, can achieve great things — all you need is an Internet connection.
How do you keep your YouTube content dynamic and intriguing? Variety and consistency is key in keeping your audience engaged with your creations. I never want to fall into a cycle of uploading videos I feel aren’t somewhat unique to me or unique to the space. I’m always trying to add a bit of flare and a twist to my content to keep my viewers interested.
Who are some of your favorite YouTubers? I’m a huge fan of the entire YouTube community. Each creator brings his or her own strengths to the table. Currently, I’m particularly captivated by what Joe Sugg, Marques Brownlee, Natalie Tran and Casey Neistat are creating. It’s all so good!
Name, occupation, age: Patrick Janelle, co-founder of Spring Street Social Society & The Liquor Cabinet, 33. SSSSociety.com
IG Handle: @AGuyNamedPatrick
# of Followers: 382K
You were recently awarded the first Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Instagrammer of the Year Award. To what do you owe that honor? I won the award for the Instagram work I did with the Thom Browne team, integrating the designer’s pieces into my lifestyle over the series of two weeks after I was nominated. The nomination itself was a huge surprise, and I’m not actually sure how the CFDA found out about me — but I couldn’t be happier!
Tell me a bit about Spring Street Society. Spring Street Social Society started as a series of cabaret shows in my backyard at the time, which was on Spring Street in SoHo. It has since become a series of different types of events, including dinners and social salons in empty buildings around Manhattan. We’ve also grown a membership following, in which guests can apply to become members for exclusive access to some of our activities. The events are always different, but some things stay the same: the location is announced the morning of the event, performances are an integral part of each gathering, and no two events are ever the same. Oh, and there are always cocktails.
Which is a good segue to the next question: What’s the Liquor Cabinet all about? The Liquor Cabinet is a company I founded with my two brothers. We are developing an app and a website that will act as the authoritative place to get information about liquor and cocktails. As a culture, we are increasingly interested in the origin of what we eat and drink, but this type of information for liquor is either untrustworthy or hard to locate. We aim to be the go-to destination whether you’re looking for cocktail recipes or general information about a spirit you’d like to learn more about.
Name, occupation, age: Malcolm René Ribot, freelance graphic designer, 26. YouTube.com/GorillaShrimp.
IG Handle: @GorillaShrimp
# of Followers: 11.6K
Who is your favorite superhero? Captain America.
What’s on your summer playlist? A whole lot of indie folk.
What advice do you have for other trans boys, girls, men and women who may be having a hard time right now? Trust the process, stay positive, and have patience with yourself and others. Embrace each step forward, and celebrate them. It really is a beautiful journey.
Names, occupation, age: Luke & Adam Monastero, twin YouTubers, 22. YouTube.com/TheMonasteroTwins.
IG Handles: @MyNameIsLuke, @Adamonastero
# of Followers: Luke, 4K; Adam; 6.4K
Which one of you is older? Adam: Luke is older by two minutes, which doesn’t bother me — but the fact that he’s an inch taller does a little.
Ever had a crush on your brother’s date/boyfriend? Luke: No, I don’t think that would never happen because Adam likes younger guys and I like older guys.
Using only three adjectives, describe your brother. Adam: Funny, sociable and trustworthy. Luke: Creative, ambitious and very articulate.
— Mikey Rox
Ernest Hemingway described Paris as “a moveable feast,” a term that could apply equally to gay Dallas this weekend, as two pool parties — one Saturday, one Sunday — attracted busy crowds of socially-active gay folks … often with similar guest lists. The Saturday party, in East Dallas, was a fundraiser for LifeWalk, and hosted (as it has been for several years) at the House of Doan.
On Sunday, the festivities moved to North Dallas for the DTF (Down to Float) party sponsored by Impulse, a collective of socially-aware gay men who began to Dallas chapter of the group just last January. The party was a fun blast that also set out to raise awareness of HIV-AIDS, while entertaining guests with a Marek+Richard fashion show, tracks from DJ Brandon Moses, bites from Tallywackers and a live performance by gay rapper Cazwell.
Here are some pix from both events!
There’s something about a gin drink that oozes intellectual sophistication. You can imagine Byron on a picnic with Mary Shelley, talking about Keats and poetry and literature while sipping a gin drink and looking oh-so-romantic. So here’s our version of that, the Sunsplash.
2-2/3 oz. Hendrick’s gin
1 oz. Licor 43
2 oz. fresh orange huice
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
Making it: Assemble all ingredients and shake with plenty of ice. Garnish with a cucumber slice.
There are many ways for athletes to be fearless. They can stand at the plate with the bases, in the bottom of the ninth. They can attempt a difficult dive. Rocket down an icy ski jump. Or they can come out of the closet as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
It took Jeff Sheng many years to overcome his fears. But in the years since, he has made it his life’s work to honor the fearlessness of over 200 young men and women.
Growing up in Southern California, Sheng was a competitive tennis player. Yet fear overtook him as a high school senior. He was starting to come out as gay. Unable to reconcile his sexuality with his sport, he quit playing.
The next year, at Harvard University, he met a closeted water polo player. Sheng could not go to games as his boyfriend (that fear again) and after a few months the relationship ended.
By senior year, Sheng’s ex was out — and on the cover of Genre magazine. “He was confident — an inspirational figure,” Sheng recalls. Having studied photography, he decided to focus his talents on gay college athletes. It seemed like a good way to honor their fearlessness.
In 2003, the universe of out sports figures was small. Friends of friends recommended subjects: a rugby player and squash player at Brown. A Harvard rower. A high school athlete, the first Sheng had ever heard of.
He photographed them after their workouts. They were sweaty and tired, but comfortable, and in their elements. The shots were powerful, and moving.
The first 20 or so subjects were almost all white, and lesbian, gay or bi. In 2005 Sheng began meeting athletes who called themselves ‘gender queer.” He knew he had to be more inclusive.
The next year, the Queer Alliance at the University of Florida — where he’d photographed a female softball player who filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination — invited him to show his photos. A mix-up prevented gallery space from being used. Sheng suggested a hallway nearby. Despite fears of vandalism, he mounted the exhibit. The final piece was text, explaining that every photo showed an LGBT athlete.
A high school debate meet was going on. The teenagers looked at the exhibit, then read the statement with shock. They seemed awed and impressed — not giggly or nasty.
“I realized I needed to put the photos in student centers and athletic buildings, where everyone could see them and have their assumptions challenged,” Sheng says. Around the country — at schools from Penn to USC — the reaction was always: “I didn’t know gay people looked like that!”
He kept working too. By 2010, he’d photographed 100 athletes.
Despite positive attention on college campuses, the project — called Fearless — did not receive mainstream attention. Sheng suspected it was because he was an Asian tennis player, not a white football star.
But now he was not fearful. He was angry. He redoubled his efforts.
“I could have stopped,” he says. “But I wanted to make this project so big, no one could ignore it.”
Now, no one can. Sheng has amassed 202 photos of LGBT college and high school athletes. They play every conceivable sport, and represent every type of self-identification. They look strong, proud, happy … and fearless.
They are also no longer solely photographs in a traveling exhibit. Three years ago, Sheng began work on a book. Fearless: Portraits of LGBT Student-Athletes, published earlier this month.
Sheng has taken the title literally. Sandwiched in between the stunning photos (with accompanying explanatory text) is the photographer’s own story. He’s taken 30 years of his life and shared it with readers. Sheng includes unpublished photos from his first relationship with the water polo player — and details about the two times he considered suicide.
A Kickstarter campaign raised $50,000 — half the amount needed to self-publish. (Mainstream publishers told Sheng there was no audience for his book.) The money covered a fantastic design team: a young gay male couple and their female assistant. They came up with the idea of eight different covers, and eight spines, each a different color. When placed together in stores, they’ll form a rainbow flag.
Fearless is a gorgeous, 300-page full color book. The photos and layout symbolize “the very beautiful, diverse community I’ve grown into,” Sheng says. They include a number of trans athletes. As part of Sheng’s own journey, he no longer uses headings like “Boys Tennis” or “Women’s Crew.” Now it’s “Casey, Soccer, University of Wisconsin.” The message is simple, proud, fierce — and very fearless.
Fearless will be introduced at the Nike LGBT Sports Summit in Portland next month. On July 21, it will be featured at the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks’ “Pride Game” at the Staples Center. To order a copy, go to www.fearlessproject.org.
— Dan Woog