Cocktail Friday: The 10 Martini

Posted on 17 Apr 2015 at 1:13pm

IMG_1064Kenichi, the long-running Japanese restaurant in Victory Park (it’s the longest continuously-operating restaurant in the neighborhood), recently hired a hot new executive sushi chef, who will launch his new menu on Monday. I’ll have a review of it next week. But until then, I thought I’d share one of the faboo cocktails the back at Kenichi offers: The 10.

1-1/4 oz. Tanqueray Ten gin

1/2 oz. St-Germain liqueur

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Lime juice


Making it: Combine gin, liqueur, syrup and a splash of lime in a shaker, pour into a martini glass. Top with a splash of champagne. Garnish with a cucumber.




Sam Kalin nominated for Golden Crown Literary Society Award

Posted on 17 Apr 2015 at 11:51am


First-time author Sam Kalin of Dallas, who wrote the moving autobiography First Stone: A Gay Daughter’s Survival in a Religious World, has been nominated for a Goldie Award in the Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual competition.

Kalin is one of seven finalists in the Creative Non-Fiction category. Her book, published last year by Canyonwalker Press, tells the gritty, often heart-wrenching story of her life, growing up as the only daughter of a evangelical preacher, who himself was the son of a preacher. In First Stone, Kalin tells how she survived her father’s physical abuse, her uncle’s sexual abuse and the spiritual abuse that comes with growing up gay in a religious family, and how she is still working to overcome the scars her early years left on her soul.

Read my review of Sam’s book here.

The Golden Crown Literary Society is a nonprofit, volunteer organization founded in 2004 and dedicated to educating people about and promoting and recognizing lesbian literature. The organization aims to provide learning opportunities, encouragement and assistance to new and established authors in developing their craft; support and strengthen quality lesbian writing by providing educational programs and creating opportunities for readers and writers to interact; and to recognize and promote lesbian literary work. Membership in the society is $25 a year.

GCLS sponsors conference each year for lesbian writers. This year’s event will be held July 22-26 at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans. Keynote speaker will be Dorothy Allison, award winning author of Bastard out of Carolina. Cuban-born, Louisiana-based author Ali Vali will also speak, and lesbian literary icon Rita Mae Brown will attend, as well.

For more information or to register, go here.


Scott Eastwood: The gay interview

Posted on 16 Apr 2015 at 1:59pm

East1 The hunky shirtless star of the Western romance The Longest Ride talks with our Chris Azzopardi about his famous dad, gay marriage and sex in a barn.

Scott Eastwood has already provided a generous hunk of swoon-worthy shirtlessness, but the model-turned-actor is just getting started. In his first lead role as Luke Collins in the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Longest Ride, Clint’s sexy son makes you feel all the feels as a bull rider pursuing a hard-won girl (and, for good measure, flashing his now.

— Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: Scott, you were obviously blessed with good genes, and people have taken note of that, many of them in the gay community. At this point in your career, how aware are you that gay men enjoy you?  Scott Eastwood: Now I am — you’re bringing it to my attention! I love it. I don’t discriminate against any fans. Fans are fans, and gay men are great. I support gay marriage and the whole bit. I think everybody should be able to be with who they want to be with. My dad is the same way. He’s a total Libertarian — everyone leave everyone alone. Everyone live their own private life. And why does everyone gotta be all up in arms about it?

Your dad put it best when he spoke about gay marriage: “I don’t give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?!”  I’d give the same fucking quote — that’s perfect. I’m a firm believer that everyone’s human. We’re only on this planet for a short period of time, and we should all just be as kind as we can to other people because, in life, all you really have is how you affect people, in a negative way or a positive way.

How did you learn to embrace that mentality?  My mom — and my dad, too — was really a firm believer of it, and really compassionate and selfless. She’s such a firm believer that in life you gotta be compassionate. Everyone’s from different walks of life and everyone has their own reality, and to be uncompassionate is not very human.



Posted on 15 Apr 2015 at 8:49am

Projections work best to evoke setting more than they do to create mood in ‘Iolanta.’ (Photo by Marty Sohl/Dallas Opera)

Iolanta, Tchaikovsky’s one-act lyric fairy tale, has long been popular in its native Russia, though not often performed elsewhere. The Dallas Opera, therefore, made an unusual choice in introducing this work as the concluding entry in its current season, but the risk paid off with this inventive and satisfying production.

Princess Iolanta (wonderful soprano Ekaterina Scherbachenko) lives a contented but sheltered life in the mountains of southern France, hidden away from her subjects. She is blind, and her father, King Rene (portrayed with pathos as well as strength by bass Mikhail Kolelishvili), has forbidden her caretakers — Bertrand (powerful bass Jordan Bisch) and Marta (standout mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford) — from mentioning anything in her presence about vision or light. As a result, poor Iolanta has no idea that anyone in the world has sight, believing that eyes are only for crying.

King Rene desperately wants to find a cure for his beloved daughter’s blindness, so he brings renowned Moorish doctor Ibn- Hakia (excellent baritone Vladislav Sulimsky) to their mountain home. The doctor delivers his hopeful prognosis (via the mystical aria “Two worlds”), explaining that Iolanta may be cured of her blindness, but only if she has the desire to see, which necessitates informing her of the gift of sight. The ever-protective King, however, refuses to let her know about her blindness, ordering anyone executed who violates his decree.

Robert, Duke of Burgundy (fine baritone Andrei Bondarenko) and his friend Count Vaudemont (fantastic tenor Sergey Skorokhodov) accidentally stumble upon the beautiful gardens that hide the princess. Robert has been betrothed to Iolanta since a young age, but admits that he has fallen with another in the lovely Matilde instead (“Who can compare to my Matilde?”). Vaudemont sees the princess sleeping and is immediately enthralled by her, but Robert runs for help, fearing that they are in danger. Vaudemont and Iolanta fall in love, during which time he accidentally reveals the secret of Iolanta’s condition to her.

Will Vaudemont be beheaded? Will Iolanta ever see his face? Will the King’s heart soften? In opera, you can never tell, but hey: It’s a fair tale. Still, it’s sentimental even for Russian opera, and more than a touch sanctimonious.

This modern production, directed by Christian Räth, relies heavily on light projections to convey not only the setting but also the mood. The projections (designed by Elaine J. McCarthy) effectively set the various scenes, but are distracting when used decoratively. The costumes, recreating early 20th century fashions via designer Susan Cox, demonstrate a great attention to detail. Though conducted energetically by Emmanuel Villaume, the orchestra, particularly winds, sounded muddled during several technical passages. Despite being in the back of the orchestra pit, the chorus projected powerfully. And at compact 90 minutes, Iolanta is worthwhile.

Performs tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

— Alicia Chang


Goodbye, Edna Jean

Posted on 14 Apr 2015 at 9:28am

IMG_0519For many in Dallas, it’s difficult to remember a time when Richard Curtin aka Edna Jean Robinson was not stalking the halls of S4 (like, when it was still Village Station). Alas, all things come to an end. After 21 years, Curtin has left Caven Enterprises to strike out on a new venture: owner and manager of Zippers, which he recently renovated (including the addition of a piano bar and new DJ booth). “Im excited about this new chapter; I’m also very ready,” Curtain said.

IMG_0525As a farewell, many of the manager and drag diva’s close friends and well-wishers gathered at S4 on Monday for a farewell salute and party. Among those paying their respects were Kelexis Davenport, Cassie Nova, Lalya LaRue, Krystal Summers and Valerie Lohr (pictured above with Curtin). Of course, it’s not really “goodbye;” it’s just “don’t let the door hit yo’ ass on the way out, beeyotch!” I mean, they are drag queens.

Best of luck! We’ll see you at Zippers!


Cocktail Friday: Grapefruit Basil

Posted on 10 Apr 2015 at 12:23pm

1 Grapefruit Basil_13What happens when you start out making a Sea Breeze and then add the herbaceous aromatics of basil and sweetness of syrup? This is what happens. 

2½ oz. Grey Goose vodka

1½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice

¾ oz. simple syrup

1 fresh basil leaf

Making it: Muddle basil with simple syrup, add ice and liquid ingredients, shake until chilled, strain into a martini glass; garnish with fresh basil.


Preview: Gay-interest movies at Dallas International Film Fest this week

Posted on 10 Apr 2015 at 10:24am

David Thorpe, trying not to sound gay

Despite no specific gay programming series, the 2015 of the Dallas International Film Festival — which is going on now through April 19 — is one of the gayest yet, with a lot of diverse and interesting LGBT films, from shorts to narrative features to documentaries. Here’s a brief (but non-exhaustive) rundown of some of what to check out, but there’s tons more as well.

The Amina Profile (documentary). Filmmaker Sophie Deraspe online flirtation with blogger Amina, known to the world as “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” rose to the level of international intrigue when Amina was kidnapped, and Deraspe set out to find out what happened. Screens Friday at 10:15 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.

Margarita with a Straw (feature). An Indian woman with cerebral palsy sets out to make a life for herself in New York, only to discover something about herself when she meets and falls in love with another woman. Screens Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 at 10:30 p.m.

She’s the Best Thing In It (documentary). After years on TV and stage as a reliable character actress (Gypsy, One Day at a Time), Mary Louise Wilson finally scored gold, taking a Tony Award for playing Big Edie Bouvier in the musical adaptation of Grey Gardens. It should have opened even more doors for her, only, she says, “I never worked again.” So, without prior experience teaching, she accepts a position in New Orleans instructing students on the art of acting. Ron Nyswaner (Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Philadelphia) made this look at the actor’s craft through the eyes of one of the best who most folks have never heard of. Screens Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

Do I Sound Gay? (documentary), pictured. David Thorpe’s personal, comic look at gay stereotypes about what an effeminate voice says about you to the outside world — both the English-speaking and non-English-speaking. Confessional, funny, charming and profound by turn, it includes interviews with the likes of George Takei, Tim Gunn and David Sedaris. Screens Saturday at 10:15 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The Outfit (short). Texas filmmaker and DIFF fave Yen Tan (Ciao, Pit Stop) directed this tight narrative about how clothes suggest something about a public figure’s sexuality. Part of the Shorts Competition Program. Screens Tuesday at 10 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Adjust-a-Dream (short). A gay couple, planning for their big move in together, go searching for the perfect mattress … only the process reveals a lot about their differences and insecurities. Comic and dramatic by turn. Part of the Shorts Competition Program. Screens Friday at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Little Deputy (short). Gay director Trevor Anderson tries to re-take a photo with his dad at a shopping mall kiosk 30 years late in this quirky, quasi-experimental and very personal private history of father-son relationships. Screens Friday at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.


Really? People are surprised Barry Manilow is gay?

Posted on 09 Apr 2015 at 2:05pm

ManilowWhy the stupid headlines?

People: Surprise! Barry Manilow Has Married His Manager Garry Kief


And this from the story in the U.K.’s Daily Mail: Apparently, the star who has millions of female fans around the world, was worried that if they made their union official, word would leak out about his sexuality and that his fans wouldn’t approve of him being gay.

Yes, because a gay male star can’t have millions of female fans. Right Ricky Martin? Liberace? Elton John? Adam Lambert? Clay Aiken?

And those headlines — really?!


No, Barry Manilow, 71, never came out officially with a big public pronouncement. No one did that in the late ’60s, early ’70s. He never did the big Advocate coming out cover story interview.

He didn’t have to. He was gay. There was never any secret since his 1971 hit, “You deserve a break today, so get up and get away to McDonalds.” Really. “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me” is his, too.

But if anyone needed clues that the man who made the whole world sing was gay, he dropped a few along the way.

He wrote the Broadway musical Copacabana. Gee, I hate to stereotype, but name a straight Broadway composer — later than Oscar Hammerstein — off the top of your head.

Here’s another:

He got his start as Bette Midler’s piano player. At the Continental Baths. With gay men dressed only in towels watching him perform. Night after night. Especially every Saturday night. With the Divine Miss M. At the baths. The really sleazy Continental Baths.

Anyone who didn’t catch on with that clue wouldn’t have gotten the hint had he said, “Yep, I’m gay” on the cover of Time. With some people, it just doesn’t sink in.

And “secret gay wedding” as the Daily Mail claimed? They got married at their home with about 30 friends there. Just because they didn’t make a big announcement to the press doesn’t make it a secret wedding.

Maybe it just bothers some straight people that “The Greatest Love Songs of All Time” was by a gay man.


Review: ‘The Illusionists’

Posted on 09 Apr 2015 at 9:32am
Jeff Hobson - The Trickster - Photo Credit The Illusionists

The Trickster

There are two irrefutable facts about magic shows: 1) They are cheesy; 2) when they are good, they are  a whole helluva lot of fun. The Illusionists is a whole helluva lot of fun.

In some ways, magic has been ruined for me by Gob Bulth from Arrested Development, who never failed to walk into a room without doing jazz hands to a prerecorded fanfare and dropping a playing card. There are a lot of jazz hands, a lot of silk shirts and moving fingers in The Illusionists. There are even two jokes about Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s the cheesy part. But it’s also an element of its charm. Magic is as much about showmanship as mystery, as much about a good time as misdirection. Seven magicians, all with different skills sets, populate the cast, each bringing a different energy to the show. The Trickster, a Liberace-esque comedic-magician, has a gay ol’ time playing with sexuality as much as a deck of cards. The Escapologist, a half-naked Italian, does an actual bit of legerdemain underwater when, over the course of three minutes — and right before our eyes — he extricates himself from a tank while shackled. The Anti-Conjuror, a wraith-like steampunk dude covered in tattoos — he looks as if Iggy Pop and Lance Burton had a love child — performs some uncomfortable bits of physical magic, such as putting a piece of dental floss under his skin and popping things out of his body.

Andrew Basso - The Escrapologist - Photo Credit The Illusionists

The Escapologist underwater

It’s a great hodgepodge of styles and techniques, from simple coin tricks to elaborate mechanical illusions, and some work better than others. But the trick to enjoying The Illusionists as much as I did is simply to let yourself go. Allow the indescribable sleight-of-hand of The Manipulator to take you back to a time when magic was real and everything was possible. It’s like being a kid again.

At Fair Park Music Hall through April 17.