Denise Lee performs cabaret tonight; Kibbles and Cocktails serves it up

Posted on 31 Mar 2015 at 1:18pm

dogLast night, Kitchen LTO at Trinity Groves was filled with fans of Denise Lee, who got to see her perform her stylist cabaret songs while feasting on Blythe Beck’s decadent cuisine. If you missed it, you can try to recreate the experience tonight. She will perform her show Denise Lee and the Divas at Fair Park inside the Women’s Museum. Best of all: It’s free. Enter through Gate 3 and be there by 7 p.m. to hear Dee (on her birthday, no less) sing hits popularized by everyone from Bessie Smith to Whitney Houston.

If you did see Lee last night, but didn’t get enough of Trinity Groves, come back tonight for Kibbles And Cocktails, a fundraiser for the pet rescue group DFW Rescue Me. Tickets are available at the door, and you can enjoy more food and drinks from the chefs.

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Easter indulgences

Posted on 31 Mar 2015 at 9:26am

Ever since our traditional Easter celebration in Dallas was nixed over money woes, gay Dallas has been looking for some other way to spend next Sunday, April 5. How about doing something romantic for your honey-bunny … or just something indulgent for yourself?

BeekmanHandandBodyWash1. Beekman 1802 Hand and Body Wash. Those Fabulous Beekman Boys — husband-and-husband team Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge — are still at it with Beekman 1802 (you’ve probably seen them hard at work in their very own American Express commercial recently), a lifestyle brand born on their sprawling Upstate New York farm. To give your partner a skincare pick-me-up this spring, pack his basket with the delightfully perky Honeyed Grapefruit Body Wash and Honey & Orange Blossom Hand Wash. $20-$25; beekman1802.com.

2. FattyCakesNY Cookies. While you’re trying to avoid building a basket overloaded with empty calories you don’t have to shun sugar altogether. Satisfy his sweet tooth with FattyCakesNY’s Sweet n’ Salty Trio, six each of its three best-selling cookies, including Old Salt (triple chocolate with sea salt), The Norm (chocolate chip with sea salt), and PBCC (peanut butter with chocolate chips, pretzels and sea salt) … which, if it’s possible, sound just as delicious as they taste. $38; fattycakesny.com.

MenageATroisVodka3. Menage A Trois Vodka. Two’s company, but three’s a night to remember with Ménage à Trois. This gluten-free vodka (it’s made from American corn) is distilled six times for a clean, smooth liquor, the high proof of which is brought down to 80 using pure mountain spring water. Flavors include original, citrus and berry, and cocktail recipes are available on the Ménage à Trois website. $22.99; menageatroisvodka.com.

4. Elizabeth W Bath Fizz. A gift for both of you to kick back and relax (if you have a tub suited for two), Elizabeth W aromatic bath-time effervescents include six foil-wrapped tablets in assorted scents. To color coordinate with the other holiday goodies in your basket, opt for the Leaves, Rose, & Sweet Tea fizz or the special-edition fizz in the shape of festive eggs. $20; elizabethw.com.

LFHRSRF13006ScentSpringBreakLasVegas015. aussieBum Swimwear. Heat waves are on the horizon, and that can only mean one thing: Time to hit the beach. You’ll want him to look his best when he’s sopping wet with surf and sweat — and aussieBum’s got what he needs. Its Las Vegas short-leg boardie covers the junk but shows just enough leg to keep you excited, while the Speedo-style Superhero collection makes no bones about taking you up, up and away. $28.40-$31.95; aussiebum.com.

6. Illinois Nut & Candy. Illinois Nut & Candy offers a bevy of sweet selections (and plenty of nuts, too), but he’ll go gaga for its LGBT-friendly personalized chocolate options, available in dipped pretzels rods and peppermint patties. Other put-it-in-my-mouth confections include taffy apples, popcorn balls, English toffee and Jordan almonds. From $1.75; illinoisnut.com.

7. The Way He Looks DVD. End Easter on a high note with an LGBT DVD and a cuddle sesh. A new release of note, The Way He Looks  from Wolfe Video, is a coming-of-age story about friendship and young love set to the music of Belle and Sebastian. Plus, the boys are cute. Do you need a better description? $19.95; wolfevideo.com.

 — Mikey Rox

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The tribulations of shopping for Passover in Dallas

Posted on 30 Mar 2015 at 3:56pm
Matzoh

Yehuda organic whole wheat matzo

I normally wait until the day before Passover to buy any Passover foods. By then, everyone is sold out. This year I did my Passover shopping early — and still there wasn’t much to choose from.

Passover, or Pesach, is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. Next to the High Holidays — Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — Passover is the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar.

Because the Jews in Egypt had no time to prepare for leaving which meant they had no time to let their bread rise, Jews today commemorate the week by eating unleavened bread or matzoh. On the first two nights of Passover, we gather with family and friends for a Seder to retell the story of the Exodus and eat a meal that includes lots of matzoh, which ensures Jews remain constipated throughout the week.

We eat foods, like gefilte fish, that we wouldn’t consider eating any other time of year, but scarf up on Passover as if we like it. We eat matzoh ball soup, because although we didn’t have time to let the bread rise, we apparently had plenty of time to roll the crumbled matzoh into perfect balls, set in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and them pop into a pot of boiling broth to rise just perfectly. One of the biggest sins any Jew can commit on Passover is to serve matzoh balls that aren’t fluffy.

And we drink plenty of really crappy sweet wine, because rushing out of Egypt, we didn’t have time to let the booze age.

During Passover, all the food we eat is supposed to be marked “Kosher for Passover,” and in Dallas that presents a problem because of limited availability. My usual supermercados — Rio Grande and Fiesta — carry none. Even the stores that carry a line of Passover foods are usually pretty low by the time Passover comes around and I remember to buy any. So this year, I’m planning to be prepared and buy in advance.

Here are my Passover shopping tips.

Shop early. Dallas supermarkets are always surprised there are Jews in Dallas. Hello? Ever hear of the Neimans? The Marcuses? Laura Miller? There are Jews in Dallas and have been ever since there was a Dallas. In fact David Kaufman, who was Jewish, was not only the first person to represent Dallas in Congress when he was elected in 1846, but was the first Jewish person to serve in Congress from any state.

But I digress.

Shame on Fiesta, which has the best international food aisles of any supermarket in the area and is partially Jewish-owned, for not bothering to carry at least a couple of crappy boxes of matzoh. And by crappy, I mean Manischewitz, a division of Bain Capital (Mitt Romney’s old company).

Kroger on Maple Avenue doesn’t carry a single box of Passover matzoh despite the four hospitals and a medical school located across the street. Hello! Has anyone at Kroger ever heard of Jewish doctors?

Kroger on Cedar Springs Road usually carries some Passover foods, but every year I’ve caught them mixing their kosher for Passover food with their non-Passover foods. So if it makes a difference to you, look at the labels on each and every item you pick up in their Passover section.

The area’s largest selections are probably at Kosher Thumb on Preston Road at Forest Lane and Central Market on Greenville Avenue.

Whole Foods carries several brands not owned by Bain Capital in their stores throughout the city. None of them at the Lemmon Avenue store were just plain matzoh, but they’re just what you’d expect from Whole Foods. I bought some organic whole wheat matzoh. Because if you’re eating something made of nothing more than flour and water, you might as well use the whole wheat and not just half the wheat.

Whole Foods also carries Yehuda gluten-free matzot. I know. What the hell is that? Why pay Whole Foods prices for flour and water without the flour? It’s just a glass of glass of water. However, on the gluten-free matzoh label, it says: “gluten-free matzoh style squares not for sacramental use.” OK, so not really matzoh, but if you can’t eat gluten, better than eating Mrs. Baird’s white bread all week.

Again, at Whole Foods check the labels. I found their Streit’s not-for-Passover-use matzoh mixed in the with boxes marked kosher for Passover at the Lemmon Avenue store. I mentioned it at check out, but haven’t been back to see if they sorted them.

And what makes matzoh not kosher for Passover? On Passover we eat matzoh made only with flour and water. On all other nights, they make matzoh with things like canola oil, flour and water. Canola oil? Canolas don’t grow in the desert.

For Passover wine, I usually go to Sigel’s for several reasons. For years, I lived in Oak Cliff, which was dry until recently, and Sigel’s is the nicest liquor store just over the bridge on Industrial Boulevard. Yes, Industrial Boulevard. I can’t see any damn river from Riverfront Boulevard, so I still go to Sigel’s on Industrial Boulevard.

But again, I digress. I tend to do that when I’m ranting.

Sigel’s always carries a variety of Passover wines from around the world. Since I’m never looking for Mogen David Concord Grape or Manischewitz Extra Extra Extra Sweet Swill, a division of Bain Capital, I usually ask one of the Sigel’s Passover wine specialists for help.

“Hello, I’m looking for a Passover wine that doesn’t taste like crap,” I asked the first clerk I saw at Sigel’s last year.

He turned to the woman at the next register he thought might be more proficient in the fine Passover wines the store stocked.

“This gentleman is looking for a Passover wine that doesn’t taste like crap,” the clerk said.

“Let me ask,” she said and picked up the intercom. “I need help with a Passover wine that doesn’t taste like crap.”

She pointed me toward the store manager who was standing in the aisle with Passover wines.

They actually had a good variety of wines from around the world. In addition to California and New York wines, they had bottles from Australia, South Africa and Israel. What I got wasn’t sticky sweet, but quite good.

What makes wine kosher for Passover? In addition to the rabbinical supervision and bribes taken to get the kosher certification, the mold used in fermenting kosher for Passover wine must not come from bread. Common preservatives like potassium sorbate can’t be added either. That’s because in the laws of kosher, as written in Leviticus, one line is rarely translated in its entirety. That line says, “you shall not eat the meat from a cloven hoofed animal, such as a pig or a camel, or eat food preserved with potassium sorbate on Passover, even if that does jack the price way the hell up.”

Really. It says that.

But if tradition dictates that you buy a fine Mansichewitz, a division of Bain Capital, look for a vintage older than the previous Thursday to make sure your wine had those extra days to age to perfection. And since we drink four glasses of wine each at the Seder, Manischewitz, a division of Bain Capital, might be the more convenient choice since it not only comes in the traditional square stackable bottle, but also is available in gallon jugs.

Happy Pesach.

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Neon Trees books Dallas stop for upcoming tour

Posted on 30 Mar 2015 at 12:33pm

ZAEH_NEONTREESNeon Trees, the pop band led by out frontman Tyler Glenn, announced a new North American tour starting this summer, and Dallas will be among the first stops. The group’s most recent album, Pop Psychology, came out to acclaim last year. The tour will feature performances in intimate venues featuring songs from all three studio albums. The band will perform in Dallas at the Granada Theater on June 18.

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WATCH: Travel promo parody shows the real target for Indiana’s new law

Posted on 30 Mar 2015 at 9:23am

Indiana’s new “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” aka “License to be a Hateful Homophobe” has triggered a big backlash from the business community, but it’s not hopeless as this parody commercial demonstrates.

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WATCH: Dwayne Johnson’s hilariously homoerotic sketch on ‘SNL’

Posted on 29 Mar 2015 at 3:51pm

This is hilarious.

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BREAKING: TITAS unveils 2015-16 season

Posted on 27 Mar 2015 at 8:01pm

Tharp Twyla by Richard Avedon

Nine Dallas debuts, including two world premieres, distinguish the 2015–16 season of TITAS, the gay-run organization that presents innovative and international dance troupes to North Texas.

The 11-show season, including TITAS’ annual Command Performance Gala, includes the very sexy BalletBoyz, the return of Complexions Contemporary Ballet (founded by Alvin Ailey alums Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden) and the world premiere 50th anniversary tour of Twlya Tharp Dance.

Although it has in recent years moved toward an emphasis of dance over music, this is TITAS’ first-ever season without any music acts presented.

Twyla Tharp Dance‘s tour kicks off the season with two shows (Sept. 18–19) at the Winspear Opera House. That will be followed by the world premiere of the avant garde urban funk of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Oct. 29–30, at the City Performance Hall.

Herve Koubi:Ce-que-le-jour

The next seven shows are all TITAS debuts:

• British-based Akram Khan Dance Company performs two shows at the City Performance Hall, Nov. 6–7.

BodyTraffic, which in three years has risen in international acclaim. Winspear Opera House, Jan. 22, 2016.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan will be presented in coordination with the Crow Collection of Asian Art. Winspear Opera House, Feb. 5.

BalletBoyz combine an all-male cast with muscularity and grace. Winspear Opera House, Feb. 13, 2016.

Akram Khan

Mr. & Mme. Reve, the France-based performance-art troupe that creates dreamlike imagery through movement. City Performance Hall, March 18–19, 2016.

• La Compagnie Herve Koubi Dance. Reve is immediately followed by another French company for two shows, which TITAS executive director Charles Santos calls “surprising and fiercely masculine.” City Performance Hall, March 25–26.

• Canada’s Kidd Pivot Dance Company continues the French-language triumvirate at CPH for two shows, April 21–22, 2016.

• TITAS’ Command Performance Gala annually revives works from some of TITAS’ favorite companies and artists. Winspear Opera House, May 7, 2016.

• The season concludes with a favorite, Complexions Contemporary Ballet at the Winspear, May 21, 2016.

All performances except the gala begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at ATTPAC.org.

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Cocktail Friday: Everything’s Coming Up Roses

Posted on 27 Mar 2015 at 12:41pm

IMG_0221At the DIFFA gala a few weeks ago, Celebrity Cruises had a booth where they were serving a sassy little cocktail of their own making. The coolest thing about it? The addition of actual rose petals to the concoction. My friend asked, “Are they edible?” The bartender paused. “Uhh … sure, why not?” Well, we didn’t eat them. But the cocktail was fun nonetheless.

2 oz. Ketel One vodka

2 oz. brut champagne

1/2 oz. Rose’s syrup

Fresh lime juice.

Making it: Combine in a flute over ice, and garnish with rose petals.

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Judas Priest tickets on sale tomorrow

Posted on 26 Mar 2015 at 12:46pm

Judas Priest, the classic heavy metal band led by openly gay leatherman Rob Halford, will be returning to North Texas for a concert at Verizon Theatre on July 13. Tickets go on sale Friday starting at 10 a.m. Buy yours at AXS.com or by calling 888-929-7849.

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You’ll never guess what happened 40 years ago today in Dallas

Posted on 26 Mar 2015 at 8:18am

A scene from the film JawsToday is, for me, a significant anniversary. And most people don’t even know about it.

In the summer of 1975, a young filmmaker, directing just his second feature film, transformed the way we consume movies, but launching the summer blockbuster. Until then, studios just released films as they were available, sometimes waiting for the end of the year for their “prestige” pictures, but the idea of bubble-gum movies aimed at wide audiences out of school hadn’t taken hold until Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. It was the first film to gross $100 million on its initial release, and revolutionized Hollywood.

Of course, that was in the summer. So why is March 26 important? Because the very first preview screening of a rough cut of Jaws took place, in of all places, at the UA Cine cinemas (now torn down, they were near where Mockingbird Station is now) on March 26, 1975 — exactly 40 years ago today.

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