‘Hamilton’ actors will be featured artists at DTC gala

Posted on 13 Mar 2017 at 8:18am

Harcourt in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ at DTC.

The Dallas Theater Center’s Centerstage Gala, it annual fundraiser and frou-frou social event, will take place on May 6, but we already know who the featured entertainment will be.

Two actors from the Broadway production of Hamilton — ensemble member Elizabeth Judd, and Sydney James Harcourt, who played multiple roles including understudying Aaron Burr (and who previously performed in musicals at the DTC, pictured) — will be headlining the event.  Local DJ Spinderella will provide the after-party music.

Individual tickets are $1,000 and after-party tickets from $175. You can learn more here.

 

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Street’s Fine Chicken to open second, fast-casual location this summer

Posted on 09 Mar 2017 at 3:02pm

Street’s Fine Chicken, the Street Family spot that opened last year in the long-standing Blackeyed Pea space on Cedar Springs, will open a second location this summer, the company announced this afternoon.

A more fast-casual incarnation of the sitdown-service gayborhood location, the new chicken joint will be located near the intersection of Inwood Road and Forest Lane, according to Marco Street. The company’s Liberty Burger is already a success at that location, he said.

Much of the menu will remain the same, and the spot will offer whole chickens and cater to take-out orders.

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DVtv: 2nd Annual Miss Red Pageant

Posted on 09 Mar 2017 at 10:20am

Brad Pritchett and Brian Kennedy were on the scene with DVtv at the Round-Up Saloon for the 2nd annual Miss Red Pageant, presented by Dallas Red Foundation.

Check out all the fun:

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Heart of dumbness: The King-sized fiasco that is ‘Skull Island’

Posted on 08 Mar 2017 at 3:30pm

What I looked like yelling at the screen about midway through ‘Kong: Skull Island.’

I defy anyone to find 90 second of continuous dialogue in Kong: Skull Island that make even a tiny bit of logical sense. For that matter, I defy anyone to find 90 seconds of continuous dialogue. The filmmakers seem so unsure of their storytelling abilities, that they inject explosions as often as possible to mask the total absence of ideas or reason.

We’ve seen bad movies like this before, overloaded with scene after scene of pointless, repetitive and confusing action set pieces — usually we call them “Transformer movies” — but somehow it feels much more offensive when done under the brand of King Kong.

Skull Island does a huge disservice to the Kong legacy, which got its start with 1933’s essential original film and lovingly updated in Peter Jackson’s faithful but ambitious 2005 remake. Both of these films were divided into three acts: The Heart of Darkness-esque journey to the island; the aboriginal monster adventure once they get there, and the cross-species love story and tragedy of Kong’s demise in NYC. This film bears no resemblance to its source material at all, and the muddled result is nonsense. It’s neither prequel, sequel nor remake; indeed, it does not appear to exist in a world where prior Kong lived.

The prologue takes place in 1944, near the end of WWII, when an American and a Japanese pilot both crash-land on Skull Island, the first outsiders to encounter the land that time forgot. (There’ no indication they know of the events of 1933, which should have been known to them, which erases the original from the film’s timeline.) Cut to 30 years later, and the U.S. is involved in Vietnam. A kooky fringe scientist (John Goodman) gets military funding to investigate the newly-discovered Skull Island, and a group of Army commandos (led by Samuel L. Jackson) and civilians (Tom Hiddleston joins Goodman & Co.) delivery them to the atoll where nothing goes well.

If you didn’t pick up on the heavy-handed ‘Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now’ allusions already, here’s a shot that does the lifting for you.

Of course nothing goes well: The soldiers are lied to (why?), the scientists appear to not be interested in actual science (why drop incendiary device instead of landing) and Kong — now about the size of the Empire State Building — destroys the invaders in an over-long attack sequence that is impossible to follow. (How many helicopters are there? How many men die? And how does a strapping 20-year-old soldier expire on impact while a morbidly obese 65-year-old Goodman gets off with barely a scratch?)

If you sensed that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts had the least amount of affection for Kong, or the characters, you might overlook some of the confusing carnage, but he’s clearly got a hard-on only for the special effects, which he wields like a toddler with a Tommy gun. This is pretty derivate war movie detritus at its best, like those rip-off Rambo movies of the 1970s, where the film may be in color but everything else is in black-and-white.

Even the screenplay’s lame efforts to enrobe the plot with the aura of legitimacy — HiddlestonHeart of dumbe’s character is named Conrad and John C. Reilly’s is Marlow, in a clear evocation of Apocalypse Now (the poster art connects the dots for anyone too dim to pick up on the allusions) — backfire, as this effort is half-hearted at best, and merely reminds you what a fiasco this is; it’s never a good idea to remind audiences of better films.

Hiddleston appears to be a charisma-free zone, whose body acts like a black hole of personality, dragging all enthusiasm into its gravity well and condensing it into an inky, micron-sized molecule of concentrated boring. He makes everything around him look bad.

The lone exception is Reilly, as the surviving flyboy from 1944 finally given a shot at getting off the island. His wacky comic energy (the role was originally intended for Michael Keaton, and you can feel Beeltejuice’s hands all over it) entertains when everything else does not… which is mostly all the time.

Post-credits, there’s an add-on scene (which you can probably figure out if you pay attention to the credits, which give Tokyo’s Toho Studios their due) where you finally realize why the filmmaker shat all over the Kong brand: It’s in service to a new Cinematic Universe to leverage properties into one mega-movie that goes on forever. It doesn’t matter whether the ape survives until the end — Warner Bros. killed him in the conception.

Begins previews tomorrow night in wide release.

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Cliburn Competition identifies 30 finalists

Posted on 07 Mar 2017 at 8:01am

Rachel Cheung

Almost since its inception more than a half-century again, the quadrennial Cliburn International Piano Competition — founded by (and named after) the legendary Fort Worth maestro Van Cliburn, who wowed the world with his interpretation of Tchaikovsky so impressively, he won a Russian-based contest at the height of the Cold War — has been a crown jewel in the world of classical music. It has also focused a lot of attention on North Texas as an arts hub, which ain’t a bad thing.

This morning, the Cliburn Foundation announced the names of the 30 finalists for the 15th competition, which will take place this summer. Nearly 300 pianists submitted applications, and 141 auditioned live in five cities from Budapest to Seoul. Sixteen nations are represented (including, of course, Russia) by the contestants, who will range in age from 18 to 30 (as of the final day of the competition). Nine women and 21 men will compete.

Cliburn died 0n Feb. 27, 2013, just as the 14th festival was about to announce its competitors, making this year basically the first to be finalized entirely after the gay maestro’s death.

Philipp Scheucher

Here are the competitors. The competition will span May 25–June at Bass Performance Hall.

Martin James Bartlett, United Kingdom, age 20

Sergey Belyavskiy, Russia, 23

Alina Bercu, Romania, 27

Kenneth Broberg, United States, 23

Luigi Carroccia, Italy, 25

Han Chen, Taiwan, 25

Rachel Cheung, Hong Kong, 25

Yury Favorin, Russia, 30

Madoka Fukami, Japan, 28

Mehdi Ghazi, Algeria/Canada, 28

Caterina Grewe, Germany, 29

Luigi Carroccia

Daniel Hsu, United States, 19

Alyosha Jurinic, Croatia, 28

Nikolay Khozyainov, Russia, 24

Dasol Kim, South Korea, 28

Honggi Kim, South Korea, 25

Su Yeon Kim, South Korea, 23

Julia Kociuban, Poland, 25

Rachel Kudo, United States, 30

EunAe Lee, South Korea, 29

Ilya Maximov, Russia, 30

Aloysha Jurinic

Sun-A Park, United States, 29

Leonardo Pierdomenico, Italy, 24

Philipp Scheucher, Austria, 24

Ilya Shmukler, Russia, 22

Yutong Sun, China, 21

Yekwon Sunwoo, South Korea, 28

Georgy Tchaidze, Russia, 29

Tristan Teo, Canada, 20

Tony Yike Yang, Canada, 18

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2nd Annual Miss Red will be crowned tomorrow

Posted on 06 Mar 2017 at 12:41pm

Last year, the inaugural Miss Red Contest — a fundraiser for the Red Foundation, which benefits Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage, which helps those with HIV/AIDS — saw Raquel Blake crowned its champion. It’s already been a year, and the contest is back tomorrow at 8 p.m. Raquel, pictured, will hand off her sash to the new queen, in a show hosted by the dazzling Krystal Summers at the Round-Up Saloon. Jenna Skyy, Tasha Kohl and others will judge the event, which is sponsored in part by Stoli Vodka… so Stoli drink specials are only $5.

Turn out for a fun night that does something good for Legacy.

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Way to go Coca-Cola!

Posted on 03 Mar 2017 at 11:41am

“Nothing refreshes like an ice cold Coca-Cola on a hot day. This is especially the case for this story, which features a wild race between two sibling to offer the household Pool Boy a Coca-Cola and quench his thirst. To their surprise, someone else may just get there first.”

A totally NOT unique or innovative concept for a soft drink ad. Except that it is.

Thanks, Coca-Cola, for promoting inclusivity in such a a casual, “it’s-no-big-deal” kind of way.

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‘Moonlight’ is already a success; now it can become a hit

Posted on 02 Mar 2017 at 8:42am

MoonlightOf the nine films that were nominated for the best picture Oscars this year — Arrival, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Fences, Lion, Hell or High Water, Manchester by the Sea, Hidden Figures and Moonlight — the one that has made the least amount of money at the domestic box office is the winner: Moonlight. Before the awards, it had logged in about $22 million — nowhere near the frontrunner Hidden Figures (with $152 million), or La La Land ($130 mil) or even Arrival ($100 mil). It shared the same range as Hell or High Water ($27 mil), Manchester ($46 mil) and Lion ($42 mil).

But those facts don’t tell the full story. Hacksaw Ridge, which took in nearly three times as much as Moonlight ($66 million), also cost about $40 million to make — when you figure in marketing and distribution expenses, it probably hasn’t broken even yet. And while Hidden Figures was a bargain at only $25 mil to make, earning six times its production cost, even it doesn’t compare to Moonlight. That film cost only $1.5 million to make, so its gross is already 15 times its cost.

Profitability isn’t the only story, though. You want eyeballs on the screen as well. And so, the Ar-House-Queer-Black-Indie-Film That Could is expanding tomorrow to 1,500 screens. That’s an amazing roll-out, and shows a lot of hope that audiences will turn out for a movie because of the acclaim and the accessibility… even if the subject matter is on the edge.

Here’s to more people seeing the best film of the year.

 

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‘When We Rise’ star Rachel Griffiths: The gay interview

Posted on 01 Mar 2017 at 1:28pm

 

Early in her career, she stole our queer hearts as Toni Collette’s freewheeling yang in 1994’s buddy comedy Muriel’s Wedding, but before long, Rachel Griffiths became one of our most passionate allies both on- and off-screen.

In 2001, the Aussie actress starred as Brenda Chenowith, the enigmatic, gender-subverting girlfriend-turned-wife of prodigal son Nate Fisher (Peter Krause) in HBO’s Emmy-winning landmark series Six Feet Under, out creator Alan Ball’s gay-inclusive, darkly comic rumination on life and death. A year after Six Feet Under concluded in 2006, Griffiths made the leap from the Fishers to the Walkers, the family at the center of ABC’s Brothers and Sisters, also celebrated for its LGBT representation.

Now, Griffiths is taking her longtime queer advocacy to the next level with When We Rise, which began airing Monday night and pick up for three more installments tonight. (Read our interview with the show’s writer/director here.) The miniseries seeks to connect with the heart (not the politics) of Americans through real family stories, something Griffiths’ gay-affirming résumé certainly reflects.

Our Chris Azzopardi spoke with the Emmy- and Oscar-nominated actress about her involvement, and her identification with the queer community.

Dallas Voice: In When We Rise, you play Diane, who’s raising a daughter with women’s rights activist Roma Guy, portrayed by Mary-Louise Parker. What are your thoughts on bringing the lesbian-led blended family dynamic to audiences on a mainstream network like ABC?  Rachel Griffiths: Brothers and Sisters was on ABC at the same time as Modern Family, and we had Will & Grace [on NBC], so I didn’t have any kind of surprise it was on a network, because ultimately it is about family — it’s about the “we” of gay, lesbian, transgender lives, not the “they” or the “others.” So, for me, to move these people’s lives away from the premium cable niche — I love that by not being on a niche network, there wasn’t a pressure to be noisy in a more sexual way. We’ve kind of moved past having to explore that.

That’s there in other shows if you want it, particularly with women’s lives. We’ve had The L Word, where the women are identified first off in the show by being lesbians. But Roma and Diane’s trouble was, first, [being] women — 51 percent of the population — then the gay/lesbian, then it was understanding the power of how those two movements can come together.

Your roles on both TV and in film suggest that you appreciate portrayals of social and political issues that are reflected through a personal lens.  I absolutely love that. I think if people aren’t living in a wider sociological space, they’re in a bubble. Growing up, my favorite movies actually were World War II movies — get motor bikes and outdo the Nazis. I was just really primed by seeing political moments intersecting with personal and moral choices, and the drama of that.

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BREAKING: DTC’s 2017-18 season sets the model for future years

Posted on 01 Mar 2017 at 2:01am

Brandon Potter, who stepped in as a last-minute replacement as LBJ last year for the joint Alley-DTC production of ‘All the Way,’ returns to the role next season for ‘The Great Society.’ Photo by Karen Almond.

In a free-wheeling discussion about the arts scene and his plans for the future, Kevin Moriarty announced the lineup of shows for the 2017-18 season at the Dallas Theater Center — his tenth since taking over as artistic director of the company.

Four shows — Hair, Frankenstein, The Great Society and The Trials of Sam Houstonhad already been announced, though their run date were not known. We now know the schedule: Hair, at the Wyly Sept. 22–Oct. 22; Frankenstein, at the Kalita Feb. 2–March 4, 2018; The Great Society, the follow-up to last season’s All the Way, back at the Wyly March 9–April 1 (with much of the same cast from All the Way, including star Brandon Potter, returning); and the world premiere of Aaron Loeb’s The Trials of Sam Houston, about two important but largely unknown facts about one of the founders of Texas, at the Kalita April 20–May 1. In addition, as usual A Christmas Carol will return as an extra no including in season tickets. That will return to the Wyly Nov. 22–Dec. 28, with Lee Trull directing.

The three un-announced mainstage shows will alternate between the Kalita and the Wyly, including the Wyly’s smaller Studio Theatre which will be expanded to accommodate up to 150 patrons. (Its current capacity is 99 seats.)

The season kicks off this summer with Miller, Mississippi, a world premiere from playwright Boo Killebrew, spanning the Civil rights Movement as seen from a white family and their African-American servant. It will be in the Studio Theatre Aug. 30–Oct. 1. Following Hair, and concurrent with Carol, they will return to the studio with Fade, about a Latina writer hired on for a TV show, who finds herself more drawn to the studio’s Hispanic janitor than that bullpen of white male writers. It plays Dec. 6–Jan. 7.

Next up will be Frankenstein, Great Society and Sam Houston, and the season will end with White Rabbit Red Rabbit, one of the most controversial and mysterious plays in the world today. Why? Because no one is allowed to talk about. The author, Nassim Soleimanpour, is Iranian and now living in exile. He wrote the allegorical play, which does involve, at some level, a rabbit or two, to comment on Iranian oppression. The secret is, no performance is exactly the same. Each show has a different act cast in the one-man show, and that actor has not seen the script or know anything about it before it is handed to him when he walks onstage. He (or she!) is then required to perform everything in the play until the end 80 minutes later. The audience is also deeply involved. (Think of The Crying Game meets Groundhog Day set in a puzzle room.) That will be in the studio May 30–July 1.

In addition, DTC will continue with its Public Works Project, which seeks to perform Shakespeare with a mix of professional and community actors in a series of free performances. The first such show in the project, The Tempest, will take place this Friday through Sunday; next season it will be The Winter’s Tale, Aug. 31–Sept. at the Wyly.

13-Norton-Headshot-copy

Jonathan Norton

Moriarty maintains that this line up should set the standard for the next few seasons: Seven mainstage productions in the studio and Rose Hall of the Wyly, alternating with the Kalita; and as many as three bonus/add-on shows outside of the subscription for a total of 10 productions a year. Moriarty also wants to include a family-friendly musical to be staged each summer at the Wyly. (The world premiere Hood will probably fit that bill this summer; nothing is yet scheduled for 2018.)

In addition, queer playwright Jonathan Norton (Mississippi Goddam) will have his specially-commissioned piece, Penny Candy — about his childhood in Pleasant Grove — as part of the 2018–19 season, probably arriving around October 2018. Two other local playwrights, Matt Lyle and Steven Walters, are also working on commissions.

For more information, visit DallasTheaterCenter.org.

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