BREAKING: Fort Worth’s gay-owned Tap House closing its doors for good

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 4:36pm

12698523_10153917106217937_4806134657854669180_oRestaurateur Eric Tschetter has had a busy few weeks — he and his husband just married last month, and now comes news that his Cowtown crafty brewpub Trinity River Tap House — former The Pour House, and sister establishment to Oak Cliff’s PhD — will be shuttering its doors for good on Valentine’s Day.

“Business has just gotten too damn competitive on 7th street and it is not showing signs of slowing down,” Tschetter said in a Facebook post.

The cavernous sports bar with the impressive tap wall — I wrote about it here — renamed itself last year with a renovation, but competition was too fierce.

Still, you can enjoy it on Super Bowl Sunday, then again on Mardi Gras and finally on Feb. 14 for a sentimental farewell. And PhD continues to operate for Dallasites.

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Cocktail Friday: Appletini

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 2:28pm

06 appletiniWe profile Weslo’s Home-O-Erotic Cookbook in this week’s edition of Dallas Voice, so we thought it was a good time to share of the classic cocktail recipes you’ll find in it: The Appletini.

We all remember the forbidden fruit. It was pulled straight from the Tree of Knowledge. And after all them appletinis, we still haven’t made the best decisions. Either way, I say we toast! Here’s to the men who make stiuff drinks and here’s to the drinks that make men stiff … cheers.

2 oz. Absolut vodka

1 oz. apple brandy

1 oz apple juice

Apple slices

Making it: Mix all ingredients into a shaker with crushed ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into a martini glass using a strainer. Garnish with thinly sliced green apples. Get turnt bitch!

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Best Bets • 02.05.16

Posted on 04 Feb 2016 at 4:10pm

Friday 02.05

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Texas Theatre, Cine Wilde team for screening and party of ‘The Hunger,’ honoring David Bowie

The death of the pioneering artist David Bowie continues to resonate, and Cine Wilde — the monthly gay film fest — has paired up again with Texas Theatre to screen one of his most outrageous and stylish films, Tony Scott’s 1983 film The Hunger. Bowie and Catherine Deneuve play modern-day vampires in a cat-and-mouse pursuit of Susan Sarandon. The screening with be followed by a after-party featuring punkish DJ music. Come ready to dance.

DEETS:
The Texas Theatre
231 W. Jefferson Blvd.
9:20 p.m. screening;
11 p.m. after-party
thetexastheatre.com/movies-events/the-hunger

Friday 02.05 — Sunday 02.28

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Dallas Theater Center revisits the Bard with ‘Romeo & Juliet’

For the first four full seasons with Artistic Directed Kevin Moriarty, the Dallas Theater Center performed one of Shakespeare’s plays — a comedy, a history, a tragedy and a so-called romance — each season. The tradition dropped off, though, after King Lear. Well, it’s back, with another of the major tragedies, Romeo & Juliet. Unlike the last four, Moriarty isn’t directing this one (that role falls to the talented Joel Ferrell) and it moves from Downtown’s Wyly Theatre back to the DTC’s Uptown haunts at the Kalita Humphreys.

DEETS:
Kalita Humphreys Theater
3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
DallasTheaterCenter.org

Saturday 02.13

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BalletBoyz dance troupe makes its Dallas debut with graceful muscularity

With its innovative combination of weightless elegance and brute muscularity, the U.K.’s BalletBoyz is one of the most intensely exciting dance troupes in the world today. The company makes its Dallas debut on Feb. 13 with a sensual performance at the Winspear. This may be the most anticipated local premiere of TITAS’ all-dance season.

DEETS:
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
8 p.m.
ATTPAC.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

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And then there were 4: Spot-checking the NYT’s historic Per Se review

Posted on 04 Feb 2016 at 7:26am

Dish 1Editor’s note: I was having lunch last month with Howard Lewis Russell — our snarky advice columnist of Ask Howard. He mentioned over beef Wellington and a chicken appetizer that, two weeks’ hence, he would be headed to New York City and had reservations at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s acclaimed prix-fixe dining institution. He’d been before, but it was a rare treat.

Then, less than a week later, the New York Times’ dining critic Pete Wells issued a stunning review that set the food world on edge. Not only did he knock down Per Se’s star rating, he went from four all the way to two. The review even landed Wells an interview on Fresh Air, so monumental was its impact. I asked Russell — a savvy eater with whom I frequently dine when on my reviewing excursions for Dallas Voice — to write up his experience dining there just days after the review heard ’round the world. Here’s what he found. 

Daniel, Del Posto, Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, Per Se: These are the ambrosial half-dozen New York City restaurants to regularly garner four-stars from The New York Times, the most storied and reliable restaurant criticism in journalism. (FYI, there exists no such thing as an actual five-star restaurant — it’s merely a Hollywood tinsel-and-pasteboard creation. Four stars is the pinnacle.)

New York City boasts northwards of 25,000 restaurants — more than even Rome, London and Sydney combined (only Paris can lay claim to more eateries than does the isle of Manhattan). And every Wednesday, this comparatively small island’s premier restaurant critic (currently Pete Wells holds the title) chooses but a single restaurant within its boroughs’ boundaries upon which to cast a review of deserved deliciousness (or not). Theoretically, four stars can be bestowed, yet the unspoken caveat is this: Never in the newspaper’s history has it ever permitted more than six NYC restaurants, maximum, to simultaneously earn its zenith of culinary achievement at any given time. Which means if you want to honor a new one, something has to drop off.

Dish 3Lately, the mighty have begun to slip from their mountaintop perch; shockingly, master chef Daniel Boulud’s Upper East Side eponymous flagship restaurant, Daniel, was first to fall two years back (demoted from four stars down to three), then more recently another thunderbolt struck down from the culinary heavens: Per Se was electrocuted down two full stars! To put this in proper perspective, no four-star restaurant in the entire history of NYT has ever plummeted two entire stars overnight. Until now.

To quote Wells’ reasoning: “With each fresh review, a restaurant has to earn its stars again. In its current form and its current price, Per Se struggled and failed to do this, ranging from respectably dull at best to disappointingly flat-footed at worst. In 2004, the year Per Se opened, the price for nine courses was $150 before tax and tip; in January 2016, it went up to $325, with service included.”

This contributor simply had to check it out. I’d once lived in NYC, after all, and now make a point to visit Manhattan’s four-star fine food emporiums on a rotational basis during my bi-annual return visits — I’d eaten at Per Se three times previously; this would be my fourth stop. (What can I say? I married well.)

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The view from Per Se

Here’s exactly what I can say: Every single one of Per Se’s nine courses, for a fixed price of $325 per person (prior to the bill’s ultimate, grand tally, once cocktails and wine were also added in, plus tax and tip) was truly . . . F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S.

This is not to say Wells was wrong; rather, it suggests Keller hopped the first red eye from Napa’s French Laundry to oversee every detail of the operation and re-earn those twinkly stars. And you felt it.

From Keller’s Per Se trademark-opener experience of Oyster and pearls: Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and Sterling White Sturgeon Caviar” to the herb-roasted turbot; from the charcoal-grilled Stonington Maine sea scallop to the Thomas Farms pigeon “en crepinette” to the hand-cut tagliatelle pasta with shaved black winter truffles; from the saddle of Elysian Fields Farm lamb to the Twig Farms’ “Crawford” honey-crisp apple marmalade, granola, mache, candied English walnuts and aged balsamic vinegar and the seemingly never-ending  ”assortment of desserts” lavished on us in profusion, the meal served to my table (compliments of Per Se’s chef de cuisine, Eli Kaimeh) was a rock-solid, four-star dining triumph all the way.

What’s significant is: Nothing about the meal was noticeably different from any of my three prior experiences there. There was no sense of panic or desperation; no fawning, over-the-top obsequiousness grasping to retain its well-heeled clientele, the Fourth Estate be damned; no pallor of sadness and suspicion amongst the diners. No, the experience was, as it has always been, exquisite — precisely what the four-star appellation was intended for.

Who am I to fancy myself remotely a legitimate restaurant critic? But I am well-traveled and well-fed. Nonetheless, I do lament that the four-star NYC restaurants remaining today (from a pool of 25,000!) have been “officially” whittled down now to an all-time-low of four survivors: Del Posto, Eleven Madison Park, Jean Georges and Le Bernardin. All of which deserve it.

To quote that former loftiest of legends herself, Sophia Loren: “It’s far easier clawing rock over rock, up to the top, than it is staying there when they start hurling the rocks back at you.”

— Howard Lewis Russell

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Review: ‘Bridges of Madison County’

Posted on 03 Feb 2016 at 8:59pm

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If you weren’t around when Robert James Waller’s novel The Bridges of Madison County dropped in 1992, you probably can’t fully appreciate its cultural impact. It was, in retrospect, the Midwestern equivalent of 50 Shades of Grey: Poorly written treacle masquerading as grand romance. It was almost a parody of itself from the start, with a love interested who was masculine and mysterious, but also a feminist and vegetarian. (The message was: Adultery is wrong, unless it’s with the right guy.) Waller even included a foreword to the book insisting the story was true (it was not) and asserting that anyone not moved by his prose was a soulless ghoul.

I hated it, of course … at least until Clint Eastwood’s 1995 film adaptation. It took Hollywood’s least sentimental director to turn a work of literary diabetes into a palatable meal. Waller’s follow-up book was a comparative flop (critics never liked him, and audiences caught on)and the property drifted off, like Brigadoon, into the mists of poor decision-making, like mullets and Alicia Silverstone movies after Clueless.

At least until composer Robert Jason Brown got ahold of it, and crafted a musical version (with book by Marsha Norman) in 2014. Despite a Tony Award for best score (it bested If/Then, which just closed in Dallas), Bridges lasted just 100 performances, so a tour was not a certainty. But there it is, planted into Fair Park Music Hall for a two-week run. At capacity, almost more people could see it here than in New York — its Broadway home was fewer than 1,100 seats, not even a third of the Music Hall’s cavernous auditorium.

Which may be the principal failing of this production. Form the opening song (more like an aria), Elizabeth Stanley as Francesca — the Italian war bride living a life of quiet desperation in 1965 Iowa —cannot be heard or understood. It’s as if the actress wasn’t prepared for the vastness of the space she would be expected to fill in what’s essentially a chamber musical (albeit one that runs nearly three hours). Her Arianna-Huffington-speaking-Russian-with-socks-in-her-mouth accent garbles the lyrics; it’s not until Andrew Samonsky as the sexy NatGeo photographer Robert Kincaid belts out a few numbers that we really enjoy the aspiring beauty of Brown’s folksy-pop operetta.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

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Something ‘Wicked’ this way comes. And InstantTea readers can access the Yellow Brick Road

Posted on 03 Feb 2016 at 8:41am

Wicked Emerald City TourWicked is, of course, a wonderful musical, and one of the signature theater events of the last decade or more. But when it’s on tour, getting the best seats can sometimes require a bit of wizardry. We can help. Dallas Voice readers have access to the Emerald City with our very own link that offers you access to the show, and picking tickets for any of the performances when Wicked returns to Fair Park Music Hall in the spring (the show runs April 20–May 22). From now through Feb. 15, this link gives you unique access to individual tickets. Your friends will turn green … from envy. So get in on the ground floor, skip the poppy fields and see the show. Again.

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WTT announces new Discovery Series for spring, with gay content

Posted on 02 Feb 2016 at 1:00am

IMG_7710In this week’s edition, we have a story about the peripatetic Kelsey Leigh Ervi, who in the past three years has been something of a dynamo in North Texas theater. Well, she’s going stronger than ever, performing — not directing — in Bright Half Life, a romantic drama centered on a lesbian relationship. That will be one of two shows presented as part of WaterTower Theatre‘s new Discovery Series, which will take place this spring in the company’s Studio Theatre.

Garret Storms (currently also acting in Martyr) will direct Bright Half Life, which runs May 21–June 12. The other play, Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses, will co-star favorites Jim Crawford, Diana Sheehan, Justin Locklear and Martha Harms. It runs March 21–April 10.

Tickets go on sale Feb. 9 here.

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Shangela appears tonight on ‘X Files;’ Bruce Wood dancers Wednesday on ‘American Crime’

Posted on 01 Feb 2016 at 8:33am

XFiles_Shangela_PhotoMy lead story this week in Dallas Voice is about a naked chef’s sexy (and informative!) webseries, but it’s hardly to only exciting, gay thing going on on television this week.

Tonight on Fox, the rebooted miniseries of The X Files features an episode called “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” in which the FBI agents question Annabelle, an eyewitness. Annabelle is placed by Paris, Texas’ D.J. Pierce, aka Drag Racer drag queen alum Shangela, pictured. “I think writers are talking more chances with characters on TV, and that means more opportunities for diverse actors,” Pierce says. “To that I say, ‘Halleloo!’”

Over on ABC, the second season of the drama series American Crime — which is shot in Texas — is currently underway, address one crime per season and how it affects many people in its orbit. This season focuses on male-on-male rape. According to Andy Noble, artistic director of Houston’s NobleMotion Dance, “There is a big emphasis this season on tough and intimacy [and] dance is used to add to this discussion. I have never really seen dance used like this on network television before.”

This Wednesday’s episode includes a four-minute dance that includes two dancers from the Bruce Wood Dance Project, including its artistic director, Kimi Nikaidoh. The dance is a single shot, no edits.

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Cocktail Friday: Jerry Cherry on the Dashboard

Posted on 29 Jan 2016 at 2:13pm

Sailor Jerry Cherry on the DashboardI got into a car accident this week. So I need liquor. Here’s one helpful recipe.

1.25 oz. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

1/2 oz. Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur

1/2 oz. black cherry shrub

Cherry bitters (3 dashes)

2 large sage leaves

Dry champagne

Making it: Add all ingredients except champagne into an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorous and double strain into a flute. Top with champagne and garnish with sage leaves and a black cherry.

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