Cocktail Friday: Hot Toddy

Posted on 28 Nov 2014 at 1:10pm

2 GINGERS Hot ToddyYou’ve probably heard the name of this drink, but — like hot buttered rum and grog — never actually tasted one … or even know what’s in it. Well, time to demystify this whiskey (of course!) drink for you, a traditional cold-weather cure whether you’re chilly or feeling the sniffles coming on.

4 parts 2 Gingers Irish whiskey

2 parts agave nectar

1 part ginger liqueur

1 part lemon juice

Bitters

Lemon, cloves, cinnamon stick

Making it: Combine liquid ingredients in a mug, stir in aromatic bitters, and top with near-to-boiling water (what you’d make coffee with). Garnish by floating a lemon wheel stabbed with dry cloves or a stick of cinnamon.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: Keep your elves warm this year

Posted on 28 Nov 2014 at 9:30am

FullSizeRender2Keep your favorite Santa’s elves warm and comfy and stylish this holiday season with the Tipsy Elves Fur Christmas Hat, and the Nutcracker sweater.

The hat, available in red houndstooth, is $25, and the sweater is $65. Both are available at Outlines Men’s Wear, 3906 Cedar Springs Road. 214-528-1955 OutlinesMenswear.com.

 

Give the gift of comfort with The Affair trunk from 2(X)IST. The trunks come in soft, stretch Modal with a boosting original contour pouch, hip rise and truncated leg length. Comes in black or cranberry. $38. Available at Outlines Men’s Wear,3906 Cedar Springs Road. 214-528-1955 OutlinesMenswear.com.

Trunks

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: The couch potato’s heavenly remote

Posted on 27 Nov 2014 at 9:30am

HarmonyUltimateHome_Group1_300_dpiForget the TV remote. Your couch potato needs the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home universal remote that works with more than 270,000 connected devices to make your home “smarter” than ever. And you can use the Harmony Mobile App to create customized activities that group device commands to initiate at the same time. For instance, create the Good Morning or Welcome Home activity that can activate lighting, locks, the thermostat and entertainment devices to all work together. Now if you can just get it to fry your eggs over easy and make your coffee, you’re all set.

$349.99. Available at all Best Buy locations.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: Doggy styling

Posted on 26 Nov 2014 at 6:30pm

Petrageous Quilted Christmas Jacket

The weather forecasters are predicting an especially cold winter this year, so you want to make sure your dogs are warm and cozy when the cold winds blow. And this Petrageous Quilted Christmas Jacket fits the bill not just for warm and cozy, but for stylish too. Available in sizes XS to XL, from $26-$32, at Dee’s Doggie Den, 6444 E. Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. 214-823-1441. DeesDoggieDen.com.

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REVIEW: ‘Foxcatcher’

Posted on 26 Nov 2014 at 5:09am

Carell and Tatum

Bennett Miller has only directed a handful of feature films: Capote, the stark, ominous true-crime  story behind gay author Truman Capote’s efforts to write his masterpiece, In Cold Blood; and Moneyball, about A’s manager Billy Bean’s formula for for turning a last-place ball club into pennant champs. Combine the catchwords of both those films: True-life, gay, sports, crime, murder, even one-word title … all elements that emerge, in various levels, in Miller’s newest effort, Foxcatcher. It could — should? — be the perfect confluence of topic and talent. But while there’s no denying the craftsmanship and sincerity that goes into the film, it’s also difficult to shake the sense that there isn’t enough undergirding its tone, its artistry, its seriousness.

The film is based on actual events that, while shocking at the time, haven’t lived on in popular culture like they might have. Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) hasn’t lived well off the glory of a gold medal, remaining in the shadow of his more legendary older brother David (Mark Ruffalo). Then one day the eccentric billionaire John DuPont (Steve Carell) calls on him: How would Mark like to join Du Pont and his band of merry athletes at his Foxcatcher estate to train for the next Olympics? Du Pont fancies himself a world-class coach and sports benefactor — equal parts Bela Karolyi, Vince Lombardi and Tex Schramm, but it’s apparent to everyone but him he’s merely a world-class creep. Du Pont — remote, humorless, socially awkward, patently sexually repressed and lacking in any self-awareness — is a professional dilettante, a dabbler who has found the homoerotic world of pro wrestling as a weird outlet for his need for masculine physical contact. He writes laudatory speeches about himself for others to deliver. He creates a seniors wrestling league so that he might win a trophy. He commissions a documentary about himself and dictates the outcome. (It is not, in the world of the film, totally his fault. He is part of a profoundly disconnected family that has a history of making documentaries about themselves. The rich really are different from you and me.)

Tatum and Ruffalo

You know — both because pre-opening press mentions it, and the tone of the film practically projects its ominous outcome from get-go — that Du Pont is a brittle twig who will snap and commit a seemingly senseless act of violence, a crime made more tragic because of its pointlessness. You hope that the goal of the movie will be to provide context — to frame the crime and make it seem less random than inevitable. You want to, if not assign blame, figure out not just what happened by why.

And that’s where Foxcatcher fails. Indeed, it never even comes close.

There are many images and a spooky vibe that linger after the film ends, but what you never get is a sense of purpose. Miller has made a haunting story that doesn’t haunt you, a tragedy with no flawed protagonist to sympathize for. The film, like John Du Pont, is a cypher.

Miller has allowed all the artists involved so much latitude to create that he seems to have forgotten his role is to unite them together. I venture to guess that half the below-the-line budget was spent on singlets, nose putty and false teeth: Carell, Tatum and Ruffalo are all made the physically transform for their roles, getting seemingly lost in the characters, the way Philip Seymour Hoffman did in Capote. But Hoffman had a deceiver’s heart at work behind the scenes; you could tell what he was thinking. Carell is a wall of unfathomable mystery, like the patients in the criminally-insane wards of bad horror movies. You can’t understand him, just observe him. All of which keeps everything perpetually on the surface.

The actors are all quite good at their impersonations: Tatum is lurching and damaged, and you feel for him as an inarticulate man daring to find a form of expression that makes sense to him; Ruffalo’s big-brother pal-ness feels lived in, his accent authentic; and Carell is sometimes so strange that it gives you gooseflesh. But their characters, like the pacing and tone of the film, never alter. Miller’s preoccupation with silences and stillness begins to feel like a cheat, a substitute for figuring out these characters and really providing insight. (The horrible events for which the entire incident is remembered occur in the final minutes of the film, with only a few post-script paragraphs to inform us of what eventually happened. Wikipedia is more informative.)

Foxcatcher has a distinct European air to it, not unlike Capote, but without the passion that European films usually find simmering beneath. It’s OK to be cold, but to make the audience care, there has to be a spark of humanity. This film never generates that kind of heat.

Two and half stars. Now playing.

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Gay-interest, Texas films score with Independent Spirit Award nominations

Posted on 25 Nov 2014 at 8:38pm

‘Love Is Strange’ nominees Alfred Molina, John Lithgow and Ira Sachs.

The Film Independent Spirit Award nominations came out today, and films with gay content or interest — and one biggie from Texas — figured prominently.

Among the gay-interest films were Love Is Strange, about a late-middle-aged gay couple transformed by their marriage. The film was nominated for best feature, leading male John Lithgow, supporting male Alfred Molina and the screenplay by Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias. Gay African-American filmmaker Justin Simien was nominated for best first feature and best first screenplay for his race comedy Dear White People.

Julianne Moore was nominated for leading female for Still Alice, about a woman ravaged by Alzheimer’s, in the drama by gay filmmakers Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer. Foxcatcher, which opens in Dallas Wednesday (and which I review here in the morning), received the Special Distinction Award.

Among the other nominees are Austin-based director Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which scored noms for best feature, director, film editing, supporting female (Patricia Arquette) and supporting male (Ethan Hawke). Strangely overlooked? The title actor, Ellar Coltrane.

The excellent Birdman, with Michael Keaton as a movie star making a serious stage comeback, had the most nominations, for best feature, director, leading male (Keaton), supporting male (Edward Norton), supporting female (Emma Stone) and cinematography. It has some lesbian content as well.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: ‘Cher’-ing some holiday cheer

Posted on 25 Nov 2014 at 6:30pm

Cher Upon a Midnight ClearWe gay people love our divas, and Cher is one of the diva-est. So it seems only fitting that there should be a book in which Cher saves Christmas.  “If 8-year-old Luca can’t convince his parents to give him the white ice skates he has his heart set on, Christmas is going to be ruined. Who does a child turn to when he can’t even county on Santa Claus?” Why, Cher, of course. Cher Upon A Midnight Clear is the “Christmas fable for children of all ages and the homofriendly/genderqueer holiday story your modern family has been waiting for.”

Cher Upon A Midnight Clear, by Matteo B. Bianchi. $8. Available online at FourCatsPress.com/new-releases.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: Get happy, stay happy

Posted on 25 Nov 2014 at 9:30am

IMG_3522_1024x1024You may not always control your own destiny, but you can control your own attitude. And this trucker cap from Robert Hearn reminds you — and every one else of that fact every time you wear it. The khaki mesh back helps keep you cool while the patch on the front with a rainbow and the brand name “You Can’t Steal My Happy” reminds you to keep your cool. And your smile.

$16. Availble in blue or black at Skivvies, 4001 Cedar Springs Road, or online at YouCantStealMyHappy.com.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: Sparkle and Shine

Posted on 24 Nov 2014 at 6:03pm

The holidays are full of sparkle. But you can make sure that very special man or woman in your life sparkles year-round with jewelry from J. Pacetti Precious Jewels and Joe Pacetti His World Collection. This bracelet from the “His World Couture Collection” shines as bright as your love for him with 12 carats of diamonds set in large links of 18K gold. And she will know she is the shining star in your life when you give her this Van Cleef & Arpel signed necklace J. Pacetti Precious Jewels.

Contact for prices. HisWorldCollection.com. JPacetti.com. By appointment only. 214-521-0815. pdmj@aol.com.

Highh-end

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide online special: Ring in the New Year

Posted on 24 Nov 2014 at 1:03pm

Let your favorite guy know you are ready to “ring” in the New Year with him with gifts from Joe Pacetti’s “His World” collection. “Wild At Heart” silver ring, $315. Silver filigree ring, $175. HisWorldCollection.com. 214-521-0815.

Rings

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