Jonathan Palant named an Innovator of the Year

Posted on 08 Dec 2016 at 10:15am

Jonathan PalantWe’ve written a lot in the past about Jonathan Palant — former artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale and lately founder of the choral groups Dallas Street Choir and Credo. Those groups, especially the Dallas Street Choir, bring music to the masses in the most ecumenical of ways, as in employing many homeless people in the process of creating song.

Now, a national organization has recognized his efforts as well. The group Musical America Worldwide has named Palant one of its 2016 Innovators of the Year — a list that also includes Jonathan Friend (artistic administrator of New York’s Metropolitan Opera), Robert Spano (conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra), Stephen Wadsworth (director of opera at The Jiulliard School) and also Jonathan’s older brother Bill, managing director of Etude Arts.

“I am thrilled to be listed among so many artists whose musical imagination and impact I admire,” Jonathan Palant said in response.

Next up for who DSC and Credo will be a tour to perform in New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral, in June. (The honorary chairs for the NYC concert include Whoopie Goldberg, Jake Heggie, Stephen Schwartz, Frederica von Stade, Audra McDonald and Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings.)

Congrats to Palant and his singers.


Hip resto Remedy to close, replacement will be American/Chinese concept

Posted on 06 Dec 2016 at 11:32am


Remedy, which opened over the New Year’s weekend nearly two years ago, will say farewell around its second anniversary. Founder Elias Pope and culinary director Danyele McPherson have just announced that Remedy’d final dinner service will take place on Dec. 31. Soon thereafter, a new, as-yet-unnamed restaurant will open in mid-2017. It will also expanding into the Project Pie space, which 80/20 Hospitality took over earlier this year.

Remedy was McPherson’s first foray into opening her own concept; she had previously worked at The Grape, and appeared on a season of Top Chef Just Desserts. It was a hit (it just missed my Top 10 tables list last year, and got a favorable right up for its Sunday Funday in an installment of A Brunching of Gays), but McPherson quickly expanded her duties to other concepts in the brand. The executive chef at the new restaurant will be Kirstyn Brewer, formerly of Victor Tangos, pictured.


WATCH: New trailer for next summer’s likely blockbuster

Posted on 06 Dec 2016 at 8:49am

SOFIA BOUTELLA in a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: "The Mummy."  From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, "The Mummy" brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.Remakes! Uggh. How many times can we see an origin story, or a retread of a familiar, legend, before we say “Enough!”

Well, at least one more.

A friend told me the other night he has just seen a trailer that wowed him. I knew the film was coming out, but hadn’t seen the trailer, so I tracked it down … and not only does it do what a trailer should (make you want to see the film), it also shows you how to update, change and reimagine an old saw — in this case, The Mummy — for a contemporary audience. Here is the trailer, then, for Tom Cruise’s next big hit. Enjoy.


Teddy Bear Party brings in the goodies for patients at Children Medical Center

Posted on 05 Dec 2016 at 4:52pm


Brad Pritchett and the DVtv crew made the scene for the 2016 Teddy Bear Party on Saturday night, Dec. 3, which raises funds and stuffed animals for the young patients at Children’s Medical Center. Watch the video below to see what was going on at the party, and watch the Dec. 9 issue of Dallas Voice for photos from the party.


Holiday Gift Guide: Reading list!

Posted on 05 Dec 2016 at 9:42am

Books are always good gifts, and they’re super-easy to wrap, too. How about one of these great selections for that One Person…


the-jealous-kindFor the independent traveler on your list, Paris for One & Other Stories by Jojo Moyes might be a great bon voyage gift. It’s a collection of short stories about change, opportunity, independence and life in general. Pair it with The Jungle Around Us: Stories by Anne Raeff. It’s a collection of tales with the jungle — its mystery, darkness and richness, as both metaphor and connecting force here.

The reader on your gift list who prefers books set in other time periods will love Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt. It’s a 1960s-era story of a woman who chooses a man over the sister who basically raised her, and the dynamics of family. Put it together with Jazz Moon by Joe Okonkwo, a book set in Harlem, 1925, where Paris is where it’s at, baby.

The person who loves a little mid-century drama will enjoy The Jealous Kind by James Lee Burke. It’s a bit of a Romeo-and-Juliet novel set in the 1950s in Texas, at a time when the line between the “haves” and the “have-nots” was drawn in the sand with danger, and money talked a lot. Definitely wrap it up with another great drama-mystery, Manitou Canyon by William Kent Krueger. Cork O’Connor is back and sleuthing. Fans, rejoice.

Historical novel lovers will devour News of the World by Paulette Jiles, a book set in Texas in the years following the Civil War. When a down-and-out former Captain of the military is hired to deliver an orphan girl to her distant relatives, he partakes an adventure — not just through rough terrain, but through rocky childcaring, too. Wrap it up with The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa, a multigenerational novel about home, based on a true story.

Dog lovers will howl over Jonathan Unleashed by Meg Rosoff. It’s the story of a man who’s at the end of his leash, and his brother’s dogs, who begin to show him that dogs are smarter than they seem. And won’t the pet lover on your list love getting A Guinea Pig Oliver Twist in that package, too?  Yes, it’s Dickens as you’ve never seen him before…


trialsFor the true-crime buff, Trials of the Century by Mark J. Phillips & Aryn Z. Phillips is a great go-to gift. What made Sam Sheppard’s case, the Lindbergh baby, and Charles Manson leap onto the headlines?  This book looks at those famous cases, and more… Add on I Will Find You by Joanna Connors, a story of a reporter who finally reveals a crime she had to hide, and the man who committed  it.

Is there someone on your gift list who loves nothing more than to be scared?  The one who longs for a different holiday? If so, The Monster Book by Nick Redfern is what you want to wrap up. Using quick chapters and scattered photos, this book informs, entertains and (good for your giftee) scares!  Definitely wrap it up with Real Visitors, Voices from Beyond, and Parallel Dimensions by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger. Ooooooh, then shiver!

For the woman who’s just about had enough this year – of everything – you’ll want to get The Bitch is Back, a collection of essays edited by Cathi Hanauer. This no-nonsense sequel to The Bitch in the House is just as empowering and strong as its predecessor, and it’s perfect for the strong woman on your list.

Science fans will love The Point Is by Lee Eisenberg, a book on who we are, why we’re here, and how we can make the most of life until we die. For the know-it-all on your list, Head in the Cloud by William Poundstone might make a great gift. Why, Poundstone asks, do we know celebrities but not mathematics? When we can look things up online, why should we know things in our heads?  You can’t go wrong with this gift if you also give A Field Guide to Lies by Daniel J. Levitin, a book about critical thinking and believing (or not) everything you see online.


fateIn Saving Delaney by Andrea and Keston Ott-Dahl, your giftee will read the story of one little girl, her life before birth, her lesbian moms and her wealthy parents, and what happened when she entered the world with Down’s syndrome. Wrap it up with tissues and Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood by Eric Rosswood, a book filled with tips and tales of gay and lesbian folks who finally became parents.

If there’s an art lover on your gift list, they’ll love unwrapping One Man Show: The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin by Michael Schreiber. Part gay history, part art, this book showcases the life of a man who painted portraits of gay clubs and street life, and whose works were collected by mid-century high-society collectors, some of which still hangs in museums today.

For the mom or dad who’s just learned that their child is gender-questioning, The Gender Creative Child by Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D. might be a loving gift. It’s a book that will guide them through many early questions and thoughts they may have now, and later.  Wrap it up with When Your Child is Gay by Wesley C. Davidson and Jonathal L. Tobkes, MD, for the answers to even more questions.

What does it mean to be a man or a woman?  In The Fate of Gender by Frank Browning, your giftee will learn what science says about gender, brains, chromosomes, social pressures and how other countries see gender and the spectrum. Wrap it up with Queer Identities and Politics in Germany: A History 1880-1945 by Clayton J. Whisnant, a fascinating history book that looks at German LGBT organizations, people, publications, and the culture, especially during World War II.


How do you drive someone happy this holiday?  Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow by Steve Lehto, foreword by Jay Leno. This biography of Tucker, the creator of an ahead-of-its-time vehicle is a car-crazy reader’s dream.

atticus-finch_my-father-and-atticus-finchFans of the latest Harper Lee novel will love receiving My Father and Atticus Finch by Joseph Madison Beck. Pulling a page from Lee, it’s the tale of a white trial lawyer in Alabama who defended a black man charged with rape. Happened in 1938. Your giftee will love reading it in 2017.

The lover of Christmas will also love Tree of Treasures: A Life in Ornaments by Bonnie Mackay. It’s a memoir written through the trimmings of a tree; where the author got them, why she loves them and how they make her remember. For the person who loves a touch of romance beneath the tree, Casanova: The World of a Seductive Genius by Laurence Bergreen takes readers to Europe and through history to walk through the life and times of a man whose name is synonymous with love.


dowdUndoubtedly, there’s a political animal on your gift list who didn’t get enough politics this year. Fear not! Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton by Joe Conason will let you check off another name. This book takes a look at Clinton ’s work in his post-presidential years. If your giftee is still wondering what happened this political year, you can’t go wrong with The Year of Voting Dangerously by Maureen Dowd. It’s a book filled with essays by the woman who’s covered elections for the past nine presidents. Nope, can’t go wrong here.


What’s it like to feed the people in America ’s largest city?  Your giftee won’t be able to wait to read Food and the City by Ina Yalof, a book about the chefs, cooks, street vendors, and others who serve up apples (and more) in the Big Apple. To make it an even tastier gift, pair it with The Book of Spice by John O’Connell, a book about all the things that make meals zestier.


There’s someone on your gift list who loves music of all kinds, and They Call Me Supermensch by Shep Gordon will be a welcome gift. Gordon was a manager for a number of Big Name music acts, as well as an innovator in the entertainment industry. Who can resist a book like that? Nobody, especially when you wrap it up with another mensch-y book, Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong. It’s a book about “nothing,” which surely became a great big something.

madonnalandFor the midnight-movie fan who can’t get enough of toast or Janet, The Rocky Horror Picture Show FAQ by Dave Thompson is exactly what you want to give. This book is absolutely jammed with facts, stories, fun-to-know details, everything you ever wanted to know about Frank-N-Furter and more.

Want to see the biggest smile ever?  For the fan of the newest Pulitzer Prize Winner for Literature, buy Bob Dylan: The Lyrics 1961-2012.  This book is huge — at nearly 700 pages and weighing, well, let’s just say the reindeer will complain and it’s also on the spendy side but if you’ve got a Dylan fan on your list, this will get you hugs through at least Independence Day. And for an even better gift, you may want to pair it with Madonnaland and Other Detours Into Fame and Fandom by Alina Simone. It’s a look at The Material Girl, music, and being a rock star.


Who loves reading about the Civil War?  Your giftee, that’s who – so you’ll want to get City of Sedition: The History of New York City During the Civil War by John Strausbaugh. New York played a major part, behind-the-scenes, in what happened during the War Between the States. Another volume on the war is just what your giftee wants this year. If there’s a social studies fan on your list, make White Trash by Nancy Isenberg the gift you give. It’s a look at poverty, class, American caste and how it’s been perceived for the last 240 years. The Downton Abbey fan on your gift list will love Mind Your Manors by Lucy Lethbridge, a book about keeping house (or would that be mansion?) in Great Britain in times gone by.


The kid who already misses Halloween will love Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl, pictures by Joyce Wan. It’s a tale of two friends, one of whom has a stubborn streak and is easy to scare. For the budding fashionista on your list, D is for Dress-Up by Maria Carluccio will be a welcome gift. Starting with “A,” of course and moving through guess-what-Z-word, this book doubles as a great learn-the-alphabet gift, too.

For the little one whose get-up-and-go never got up in the first place, Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts by Stephanie Shaw, illustrated by Kevin M. Barry will be a great gift. It’s a tale of a wizard’s apprentice who takes a very ill-fated shortcut. For the child who loves nighttime, Max at Night by Ed Vere will be a great gift. It’s the story of a cat who has a very special friend. Unfortunately, the friend only comes around a few times a month.

Season’s Readings!

— Terri Schlichenmeyer


Cocktail Friday: Pumpkin Spice Lebowski

Posted on 02 Dec 2016 at 3:14pm

pumpkin-spice-lebowskiWe know, we know — everyone does pumpkin spice. But that’s coffee drinks — what about some adult beverages? Try out this seasonal one.

2 oz. Reyka vodka

1 oz. coffee liqueur (Tia Maria, Kahlua, etc.)

1 oz. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Making it: Combine heavy cream and spice into a shaker and shake. Add ice, vodka and liqueur and shake more. Strain into a rocks glass; garnish with cocoa puff.


REVIEW: DTC’s feminist ‘Christmas Carol’

Posted on 01 Dec 2016 at 11:34am

Sally Nystuen Vahle as Scrooge (Photo by Karen Almond)

Ebenezer Scrooge’s name immediately conjures a dour, angular, mean physicality. You can see his pointy chin, his narrow, flinty eyes, his thin-lipped scowl.

Only the Scrooge at the Wyly Theatre now, courtesy of Dallas Theater Center‘s annual production of A Christmas Carol, isn’t a he at all, but a she. It’s not just gender-blind casting: DTC has had women play Jacob Marley before, as well as a host of the Ghosts of Christmases, and Tiny Tim is often played by a little girl. No, this Ebenezer definitely has two X chromosomes — “Miss Scrooge,” her terrified workers call her. He last surviving relative isn’t Nephew Fred, but Niece Lucy; even the Fezziwigs appear to be a partnership.

Hey, Hillary mightn’t’ve risen to the top, but these revisionist Dickens characters have.

And it definitely adds a new layer to the psychology of Scrooge.

How he got to think of holidays as a humbug has never fully wrung true. Yes, young Scrooge was abandoned by a remote dad, and he lost his devoted sister Fanny; even his fiancee abandoned him. But only after money had driven him cold. His miserliness drove people away, not the other way around.

But now, we see Miss Scrooge as the embodimentliz-mikel-gabrielle-reyes-ace-anderson-chamblee-ferguson-photo-by-karen-almond of The Bitch Conundrum: A powerful man is seen as decisive; a powerful woman as a bitch. Breaking that glass ceiling was sure to imbed some shards.

It’s a lovely little twist on the familiar tale, given a lot of life by Sally Nystuen Vahle as the top-hatted Ebby with perpetual smirk. Kevin Moriarty has updated his adaptation, jointly presenting the dual crises of the Industrial Revolution and the Sexual Revolution — Ebenezer Steinem, by way of The Jungle. The cold, heartless weight of the age linger more than even prior versions of this production, and not always in a good way. Bob Cratchit (here more foreman than bookkeeper, played by Alex Organ) all but disappears into the background of steam engines and furnaces; during the opening scenes, you even lose some dialogue to all the busy-ness on the stage.

But it does provide a striking counterpoint when the set begins to twinkle in colored lights and smiling harmonies as Miss Scrooge’s heart melts away. I see it every year, and every year it gets to me.

Vahle is terrific, of course, by so in Chamblee Ferguson, taking on a variety of small roles (Scrooge’s valet, Mr. Fezziwig, etc.) and proving how brilliant character work doesn’t depend on lots of lines, but rather inventive choices. He, like this version of the show itself, proves that there’s always room to be surprised.

At the Wyly Theatre through Dec. 28.


Dallas Zoo offers Penguin Days pricing and introduces Betty White

Posted on 30 Nov 2016 at 4:42pm

The Dallas Zoo will offer Penguin Days prices for admission for the next three months beginning Dec. 1 and running through Feb. 28. Admission will be $7.

Over Thanksgiving Weekend, I stopped by the Dallas Zoo hoping to get a few pictures of Ajabu, the baby elephant that was born to Mlilo, one of the Dallas’ four new rescue elephants. I just missed her. The keeper who was at the Savannah said I just missed her. It was chilly that morning, so mom and baby decided to return to the barn.

But I did catch a couple of the new elephants mingling with two of the Golden Girls, the four elephants that have called Dallas home for a few years now.

But I did meet Betty White. She’s the one-and-a-half year old giraffe that recently moved to Dallas who was out in the Savannah for the first time that day. Betty’s still young, but plans are to breed her. One of the zoo’s older males was very interested and was following Betty around the area and nuzzling her gently.

I posted a few other pictures. Last spring when I was at the zoo, I took some pics of gray baby flamingos. I posted one of those with a picture of that flamingo enclosure today. The babies are all turning pink.

Also take a look at the adorable baby chimpanzee clinging to mom.



Ocean’s 11 (out of 10): Frank Ocean’s awesome, long-awaited CD

Posted on 30 Nov 2016 at 11:28am

hmo110716frankoceanFrank Ocean, Blond. The genius of Frank Ocean’s intimate second full-length release is its scant emphasis on sexuality. Despite the attention given to Ocean’s queerness after his groundbreaking coming out in 2012, when the gifted Grammy-winner posted a heartfelt letter to Tumblr revealing his bent sexuality and affection for a special fella, Blond positions gayness as inconsequential to overall worth. Take, for instance, a casual mention of the gay bar you took me to. Understated lyrics related to his sexual fluidity evoke a brazen label defiance that new generations of queer rebels wear like a badge of honor. For that reason alone, the album is important and influential, as self-exploratory revelations draw upon nuanced recollections neatly tucked into serene R&B mid-tempos that enrapture you with their inviting sweetness.

Beyond his euphoric soundscapes is Ocean’s stream of consciousness, imparting cinematic and transient anecdotes that range from the loss of childhood virtue (remember how it was: climb trees, Michael Jackson, it all ends here…) to the complicated circumstances that adulthood summons. “Solo” sits atop a bed of organ accompaniment, throwing you into a divine state of hypnosis with the chorus’ inhale, inhale, there’s heaven, a reprise that couldn’t sound better unless you were hearing it in a hazy dream. “White Ferrari” is another respite. Here, Ocean falls into a quiet daydream, just a lover, their existential talk and an atmospheric blend of guitar and synths. The reverie, a classic among classics, concludes with indie virtuoso James Blake assuring, We’re so OK here; we’re doin’ fine.

On “Pink + White,” Beyoncé adorns the otherworldly outro with a gentle wind of whispery undertones, suppressing her presence to let Ocean have his moment. As Ocean reflects on scenes from his life throughout one of 2016’s greatest and most moving sets — his feelings and playbacks about sex, social media and those unforgettable car rides; the boyfriends, the girlfriends — it’s our own we’re seeing in the rearview mirror. Five stars.

hmo110716boniverBon Iver, 22, A Million. Bon Iver’s latest is a rumination on the uncertainty of life and time and moments and other stuff and things. Beautifully cryptic things. One: a river that knows no bounds, that doesn’t heed a line… or stay behind, a beautiful allegory for perseverance. Another: some unidentified man whose guitar Vernon carries, galvanizing him to “go in.”

Vernon’s fragmented imagery seems to suggest a man at a crossroads. Him? Perhaps. On 22, A Million, he takes the road less traveled, casting his Grammy-winning style of Wisconsin-born folk — heard on his 2006 debut, For Emma, Forever Ago and, later, on its self-titled follow-up — into a bold, futuristic discord that progressively deconstructs as it enacts a meticulous structural subversion. The result is hypnotic, as the album opens like something out of an alternate dimension on the sax-kissed “22 (Over S∞∞n)” and then, on “715 – CR∑∑KS,” he works his sinewy bellow into static distortion that wreaks havoc on the most neo of neo-folk.

The turning point of this challenging narrative is “21 M◊◊N WATER,” when the clamor is distilled into a soothing cascade of New Age-y synths. The transition into the next track, “8 (Circle)” (imagine an ’80s Bonnie Raitt ballad in the year 2040), is perfection. It almost couldn’t get better, except it does. The album’s coda, “00000 Million,” elicits tears for reasons initially unclear, and then it hits you; it’s because of this hopeful assertion: The days have no numbers. Because, too, the moment is meditative, tender and, performed on a creaky piano, rendered beautifully. And because, frankly, Bon Iver’s best, most life-affirming work is right in front of you. Four-and-a-half stars.

— Chris Azzopardi


Dallas Wings release 2017 regular season schedule

Posted on 30 Nov 2016 at 9:14am

dallas-wingsThe Dallas Wings, along with the WNBA, have released the 2017 regular season schedule. The Wings are entering their second season in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, while this will the 21st for the league.

The Wings will start the 2017 season on the road, Sunday, May 14, when they face the Phoenix Mercury, as part of the WNBA Tip-Off presented by Verizon.

The Wings will then open their home schedule six days later, Saturday, May 20 against the three-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College Park Center, located in Arlington, TX. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm CT.

The 2017 home schedule will include eight games against eastern conference opponents and seven games against Western conference opponents, hosting one game versus the 2016 WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks on June 9.

Full schedule here.