9 unmissable CDs of 2014 (so far)

Posted on 30 Jul 2014 at 12:44pm

No. 2: Against Me!

1. Sia, 1000 Forms of Fear. Sia’s come a long way since “Breathe Me,” a song so emotionally vulnerable it borders on overwhelming. No wonder premier pop starlets have been knocking on her door, hoping for a piece of her songwriting genius (ask Rihanna and Beyoncé). Luckily, though, Sia held onto some of her gems for her first release in four years. The moving-on mantra “Burn the Pages” is a glorious circus of sounds, while soaring ballads “Big Girls Cry” and “Eye of the Needle” take her to new heights. A stunning full-blown pop achievement, this album should do the same.

2. Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Against Me!’s sixth release is a deeply personal outpouring, a disc as necessary — both to now-frontwoman Laura Jane Grace and the band’s fans — as it is empowering. An open diary exploring internal and external struggles with identity, but also acceptance and love, fear and loss, the complex, often-tremendous Transgender Dysphoria Blues triumphs at acknowledging one’s differences and the power that can be had when we embrace them.

No. 5: Mariah

3. Miranda Lambert, Platinum. While Lambert’s restless peers stray from the purity of the country genre to achieve mainstream acclaim, the Nashville Star alum (and reigning queen of country) has stuck to her guns and been rewarded for it. She’s known for slipping one in her back pocket should she need to pop an abusive lover, but what’s more, Lambert’s not leaving the house that built her. At least not any time soon, as demonstrated by yet another feather in her cowgirl hat with the irresistibly witty, hit-heavy Platinum.

4. Lykke Li, I Never Learn. It’s hard not to wish eternal sadness upon Lykke Li — her gloom inspires greatness. Thankfully, the Swedish songstress is in a bleak place on I Never Learn, an emotional reflection of fragility and isolation that abandons almost all sense of hope – and also almost all sense of pop. Li is better for it: The intimacy she strikes on this album is a portal into her broken heart.

5. Mariah Carey, Me. I Am Mariah … The Elusive Chanteuse. The title is insane; the retouched album art, even more so. So how is it that Mariah Carey’s latest album — her 14th! — defies expectations, making for one of the diva’s best? Simply put: She. She is Mariah. And from the surprisingly low-key lead-in, “Cry,” to the glass-shattering gospel stunner “Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up Now),” Carey affirms that when you’ve survived Glitter, anything is possible.

6. Sharon Van Etten, Are We There. Affecting without any of that sentimental preciousness, there’s a transparency to Sharon Van Etten’s latest that daringly exposes the visceral emotions of the end of a relationship. A stunningly sad truth-telling about two hearts that have grown apart, “I Love You But I’m Lost” cuts deep. “I Know,” too, is simple poignancy told potently. This fourth album from Van Etten is a work of soul-baring genius.

No. 7: The Antlers

7. The Antlers, Familiars. An enveloping soundscape of crescendos and thoughtful literary reflections, the Brooklyn band’s fifth album is, at its core, concerned with catharsis — particularly having to do with mortality. That universal certainty is threaded throughout Familiars. Void of singles, its intention is to be heard as a full narrative. Conjuring one endless dream with its majestic lacing of twinkling pianos and wistful horns — on “Palace,” particularly, it sounds like the sky is opening up — The Antlers know that even in death, there’s life.

8. Tori Amos, Unrepentant Geraldines. Tori Amos is reinvigorated on Unrepentant Geraldines, a compelling return to the back-to-basics sound of her ’90s zenith. “Invisible Boy,” an obvious standout, wouldn’t have sounded out of place on any of Tori’s earliest works. Then there’s “Promise,” an inspiring conversation with Amos’ daughter that sweetly embodies the lifelong bond between mother and child. (Read our interview with Tori, who performed last night at the Winspear, here.)

9. Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence. Lana Del Rey’s follow up to her claim-to-fame, Born to Die, is such a convincing piece of mainstream-defying art that it’s easy to write off that Saturday Night Live flub. Fleshing out the persona introduced on its 2012 predecessor, Rey’s follow-up feels like a hallucinatory acid trip — it could levitate you to the sky on its feathery sound pillows.

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Uptown Players announces 2015 season

Posted on 29 Jul 2014 at 7:20pm

Nathan Lane starred on Broadway in ‘The Nance,’ which will receive its regional premiere from Uptown Players in 2015.

Uptown Players’ upcoming 2015 season will feature two major recent Tony winners, from a new comedy to a rock musical, as well as the return of a TV spoof in the Rose Room at S4 and the annual fundraising performance.

Things were more complicated for Uptown Players this time, scheduling-wise. For several years, they have shared the Kalita Humphreys Theater with the Dallas Theater Center, which moved to its new digs in Downtown’s Wyly Theatre, but which is still the primary leaseholder at the Kalita. DTC mostly performs at the Wyly … mostly — not exclusively. So when DTC announced its 2014-15 schedule this spring, it threw a monkey wrench into the works: Its plays would seesaw between the venues, and the timing was going to interfere with Uptown Players’ calendar.

But they worked it out, in part by starting a month early. The first show of their 2015 season will actually be in December 2014: Christmas Our Way, UP’s holiday-themed Broadway Our Way fundraiser (where men sing women’s songs and vice versa) will be held Dec. 11–14.

The first official show of 2015 will be Gilligan’s Fire Island, another spoof by playwright/actor Jamie Morris, who was last represented onstage at the Rose Room as Julia Sugarbaker in Re-Designing Women. As the title suggests, the castaways have gotten pretty gay.

The mainstage season will arrive at the Kalita in June, starting with the wonderful comedy-drama The Nance, then the regional North Texas-produced premiere of Catch Me If You Can, the rock opera Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the new off-Broadway hit Harbor.

See the complete lineup after the jump. You can also get season tickets here.

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DMA begins sale of David Sedaris tickets

Posted on 29 Jul 2014 at 10:50am

SedarisYou know how arts organizations are always encouraging you to become a season subscriber for all the great benefits? Well, here’s a prime example of why it really does pay to do that.

Starting right now, the Dallas Museum of Art has on sale tickets to hear David Sedaris talk pretty via its Arts & Letters Live series at the Winspear Opera House on Nov. 11. Tickets don’t go on sale to the general public until Aug. 12. Now, you may think, “That’s only two weeks; the Winspear holds 2,300 people. I can wait.” But you’d probably be wrong. Or at least disadvantaged.

I know from experience how quickly Sedaris’ readings sell, and how hard tickets can be to come by. You really will benefit getting them early, and you can join for as little as $100 (which comes with free parking at the museum and is 80 percent tax deductible). Click the link or call 214-922-1247 to join and get the code. Tickets start at $25.

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LISTEN: ‘Nothing Short of Wonderful’ from ‘Dogfight’

Posted on 27 Jul 2014 at 10:59am

In the current edition of Dallas Voice, we have an interview with Benj Pasek, the gay half of the composing team responsible for the musical Dogfight, which gets its outside-of-New York premiere at WaterTower Theatre, which opens tonight. You can listen to a sample of what the show has in store here, with one of the charming musical numbers form the show.

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Model Andreja Pejic talks to ET about being transgender

Posted on 25 Jul 2014 at 12:16pm

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Tori Amos: The gay interview

Posted on 25 Jul 2014 at 12:00pm

Tori1“Lighting, sweetie, lighting!” is Tori Amos’ theatrical retort to my compliment about how she’s still looking as radiant as she did at the launch of her career more than three decades ago. Now 50, and with her acclaimed 14th album, Unrepentant Geraldines, she’s facing age head-on. Candor isn’t unusual for the composer; from rape to religion and even her MILF status, she’s approached a bevy of topics too controversial for most artists.

That same directness extended to our recent conversation, prior to her appearance in Dallas on July 29 at the Winspear Opera House in support of the album, during which Amos chatted with our Chris Azzopardi about the LGBT influence on “Promise,” a duet with her daughter; being the muse for the big Frozen ballad; and the gay fans who share their “traumatic experiences” with her.

Dallas Voice:  How did your last several projects — Midwinter Graces, Night of Hunters and Gold Dust — reenergize the contemporary songwriting heard on Unrepentant GeraldinesAmos: All of them fit into giving me fresh perspective. Starting with Midwinter Graces, I was thrown into the deep end, studying carols from the last few hundred years and just immersing myself in a different genre. It’s almost as if it became a baton hand-off, from Midwinter Graces to Night of Hunters and Gold Dust, back and forth with The Light Princess [a musical written by Amos], which was floating between all these projects, because she’s been in development for five years. All of them were giving inspiration to the other. Each one was giving some kind of spark.

The spark linking all of those works is very evident.  They’re very interconnected, and The Light Princess cast recording — I’m producing that for Mercury Universal — will be out globally in early 2015, and we’re making the record on the tour, so [Unrepentant Geraldines] will be affecting that. They all gift each other something. I don’t always know what it is when it’s happening; you just get energy from one that propels another.

There is a freshness, a new perspective [on the new CD] that I was able to bring to contemporary writing because of all these other projects that had shown me different possibilities in structure and different possibilities in line. In that way, I feel like I’ve been rejuvenated by these other projects. When these songs were coming, they were coming not for me to make a record; they were just coming so that I could process what I was going through. And I didn’t share them with anybody. They were for my own private notebook.

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Black Tie names Anglin 2014 Kuchling Award recipient

Posted on 24 Jul 2014 at 8:46pm
Anglin 2

Mike Anglin

 

Attorney and activist Mike Anglin of Dallas is the recipient of the 2014 Kuchling Humanitarian Award, which will be presented at the 32nd annual Dallas Black Tie Dinner in November.

BTD officials made the announcement Thursday during the Black Tie Dinner Sneak Peek event at Park Place Motorcars in Dallas.

Anglin is being honored for his long record of activism in the Dallas LGBT community, starting in the late 1970s with the Dallas Gay Political Caucus and threading through the community’s story, up to present day when he was a founding member of The Dallas Way history project.

For the complete story, read the Friday, July 25 issue of Dallas Voice, or find the story here on our website.

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‘Rocky Horror’ casting call changes

Posted on 24 Jul 2014 at 12:09pm

Two weeks ago, I posted a notice about an open casting call for Dallas Theater Center‘s upcoming production of The Rocky Horror Show (they are looking for engaging side-show-like acts). Well, some of the information has changed. Due to a schedule conflict with director/choreographer Joel Ferrell, the event will now be held at the Wyly Theatre (instead of the Rose Room) and the time has been compressed. The correct information is below:

Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St.

Saturday, July 26

Check-in at 2:45 p.m., call from 3–4 p.m.

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Chris Miklos to be remembered at Dallas Eagle Friday night

Posted on 24 Jul 2014 at 10:06am
Miklos

Chris Miklos

Chris Miklos, the popular bear who died suddenly in his sleep this week at age 40, will be remembered by his friends Friday night with a celebration at the Dallas Eagle. “Join us for a night of celebrating and dancing, the way Chris would have wanted us to,” the invitation reads. Folks will gather to remember Chris starting at 11 p.m.

You can read the invite and spread the word here.

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WATCH: Drag queens and Speedos and sarongs, oh my!

Posted on 23 Jul 2014 at 12:46pm

IMG_2878Last weekend, over the course of a brief 24 hours, three different charities — AIDS Services of Dallas, Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage and AIDS Arms — received an awful lot of love from the Dallas gay community … and did so with a lot of costume changes.

On Saturday, The Summer Party, a 12-year-old pool bash at a private home in East Dallas, raised money for ASD, and included a fashion show by Skivvies, as well as a sarong contest for the gathered guests. Later that evening, The Red Party, a fundraising group benefiting Legacy, staged a poolside fashion show of its own at the ilume, with vodka by Hudson Ferus, snacks and margaritas from Mi Cocina and swimwear by Aussie Bum, ES Collection, Marek+Richard and others. Then on Sunday evening, the Rose Room gave over to the Miss LifeWalk contest, a fundraiser for AIDS Arms. Thousands of dollars were raised … and a lot of eyes popped.

You can see slide shows of each of them with these links to the Summer Party, the Red Party and Miss LifeWalk.

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