‘Upstairs Inferno’ sets premiere date, Rice will narrate

Posted on 19 May 2015 at 8:01am

DSC_6794Dallas filmmaker Robert L. Camina, who caused a sensation with his documentary Raid of the Rainbow Lounge three years ago, announced that out novelist and New Orleans native Christopher Rice — son of vampire chronicler Anne Rice — will narrate his newest documentary, Upstairs Inferno. The doc, which details the largest mass-death of gays in the U.S. — a fire at a New Orleans gay bar on June 24, 1973 — will have its world premiere in NOLA on the 42nd anniversary of the deadly blaze.

The gala screening, which will take place at the Prytania Theater on June 24, will include a Q&A with Camina and some yet-to-be-released guests. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here.

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Gay travel journos tour Dallas, eat too much and have too much fun

Posted on 18 May 2015 at 8:07am

IMG_1588For a number of years, gay journalists from around the world (and the U.S.) have descended on North Texas to get a taste for what it’s like to live in, and visit, Dallas as a gay person. Ya know, if you don’t live here, you can imagine outsiders might think “Red State haters” and “George W. Bush’s hometown” more than “largest DIFFA fundraiser, Black Tie Dinner and gay church in the world,” so we need to welcome them and put on our best Stetson and tallest stilettos to show them what it’s like. (We expect they will write copious positive reviews of their experience to share with their audiences.) And based on my poll, mission accomplished.

Seven journos braved the trip that exposed them to life here. Paul (from Holland, second from left), returns to Dallas after having been here last five years ago. Fellow Amsterdam resident Edwin (center) remarked that he could move here permanently, given the chance.

It’s interesting how others see our city, as well. All were impressed by the “ample” parking (are they crazy?) and some were agog that the line dancers at the Round-Up Saloon could actually “click” their boots when they stomped around the dance floor. They also seemed to enjoy the ample food, which is always a huge part of press tours. They got to dine at Stephan Pyles’ Stampede 66, Henry’s Majestic, Dish and Meso Maya; and took cocktail classes at Cook Hall and with Leann Berry at Komali. That was just the start: They got massages at Green Lotus Spa; they took excursions to NorthPark Center, the Arts District, Oak Cliff and Klyde Warren Park; ventured to the museums and even took in Gaybingo on Saturday night, in addition to exploring the gayborhood and its nightlife.

It only took three days to do all this, and lots more; Steven Lindsey — himself a travel journalist (and frequent Dallas Voice contributor) — organizing a full but not overwhelming experience for them. So keep an eye out for stories appearing in Curve, The Out Traveler, Man About World and other gay pubs around the world in the coming months.

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CONCERT REVIEW: NKOTB

Posted on 15 May 2015 at 4:29pm

image3Is it fair to continue calling pop group New Kids on the Block a boy band? At an average age of 44, the guys are actually closer to AARP eligibility than boyhood. Yet, judging by the crowd’s high-pitched squeals and thunderous applause at American Airlines Center Thursday night — a concert broadcast live on Yahoo! Screen — NKOTB may remain forever young.

The group’s current tour, with supporting acts Nelly and TLC, was presented as a boxing match of sorts, complete with a sign-carrying ring girl and a rectangular open “ring” in the center of the arena’s floor. While the stage’s upfront placement brought artists and audience closer, it also meant that, as often as not, the audience was viewing performers’ backsides.

Round One. Rapper Nelly — a man whose Hulk-like arms defy images that his stage name might evoke in gay circles — opened the show. He was joined by a two-man crew and a bevy of bootylicious dancers as he performed biggest his including “Ride Wit Me” and “Hot in Herre.”

image4Round Two. Dressed in iridescent overalls, TLC (Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas) provided an R&B counterpoint to Nelly’s rap-heavy set. Highlights included a performance “Red Light Special” during which a lucky audience member (or, more likely, an audience plant) was escorted on stage for a sultry lap dance. The duo remembered late band mate Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes during a performance of “Waterfalls,” asking the audience to raise their phone lights in the air. And a performance of their timeless man-shaming classic “No Scrubs” brought the crowd to its feet.

Round Three. Collectively known as NKOTB, headliners Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood and openly gay member Jonathan Knight took center stage in hooded boxing robes as a recorded ring announcer introduced them one-by-one. The group gave a visually stunning performance that included hydraulic stage stunts, pyrotechnics and an abundance of colorful confetti. The quintet performed a mix of pop songs and ballads from their repertoire including crowd-pleasers “Step By Step” and “Hanging Tough.” They also asked the audience to join them in singing “Happy Birthday” to Wood who celebrated his 46th birthday.

The concert was not short on eye candy, either. Quick-change cameras in the dressing rooms caught the boys in their underwear during a costume change, and McIntyre, the group’s youngest member, showed of his abs during a chest-baring solo.

Overall, the feel-good evening felt much like a college homecoming or a high school class reunion. And, even though the New Kids on the Block may no longer grace the pages of teen magazines, they proved that they still have the right stuff to draw a crowd.

Watch Yahoo!’s 24-hour rebroadcast of the May 14 event here.

— Scott Huffman

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Cocktail Friday: ‘Mad Men’ Edition

Posted on 15 May 2015 at 1:51pm
6 Dewar's Old Fashioned

Don Draper

After seven season, Mad Men closes up shop on Sunday night with the series finale of the show that popularized ’60s-era culture from three-martini lunches to skinny ties. And the cocktails they drank over the decade got us a little thirsty — which would be the ideal potable for each of the main characters? Well, we put together a few recipes. Pick the one that goes best with your personality and get yer pretty ass over here, sweetie!

Don Draper: Dewar’s Old Fashioned

It’s no secret that Don is a whisky drinker (though he favored client Canadian Club on the show) but for the finale, let’s break out the scotch. and have a traditional old fashioned.

1 oz. Dewar’s White Label

1 tsp. sugar

2 dashes bitters

1 Sapphire Ultimate Martini

Roger Sterling

Orange slices

Maraschino cherries

Water (or soda)

Making it: Muddle sugar, bitters, 1 cherry and 1 orange slice in the bottom of a rocks glass with a splash of water or soda. Add scotch and ice, garnish with orange twist and/or cherries. Think about your childhood and marry your secretary.

Roger Sterling: Ultimate Martini.

Roger’s a gin drinker (fish, more accurately) so this really reflects his aesthetic.

1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin

A whisper of vermouth

Olive/twist.

9 Disaronno Godfather

Pete Campbell

Making it: Do it right: Chill a martini glass by filling with ice, swirled around. Then in a Boston shaker coat the glass side with vermouth to coat the sides and ice; discard. Refill with ice and gin. Shake. Strain into chilled glass with garnish. Make a droll remark and screw your secretary. (To turn it into a Peggy Olson, replace vermouth with tonic and serve in a high ball. Then smoke a joint and feel a little guilty about it.)

Pete Campbell: The Godfather

Pete may be weaselly, but he’s also the most progressive of the men on the show, always defending women, minorities and even gays (for the era).

3/4 oz. Disaronno amaretto

1 1/2 oz. whiskey.

Pour over ice. Rent a hotel room for an assignation with a shopgirl.

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STAGE REVIEW: ‘The Down Low’

Posted on 15 May 2015 at 7:40am

The Down Low by Danny O'Connor  _Credit -Audacity Theatre      LabSimon (Jeff Swearingen), a fussy high school theater teacher gets a strange phone call from his colleague Aaron (Danny O’Connor), the school’s health teacher. Why has he been beckoned so suddenly? Will they finally become friends? Simon kind of answers the question himself when he asks Aaron: “Why is a naked African-American man dead in your bedroom?”

And so begins 85 minutes of dark-humored, often poor-taste (but hysterically funny) jokes about gay experimentation, inappropriate parent-teacher relationships, recreational drug use and the Polish secret police. Danny O’Connor also wrote this one-act comedy, called The Down Low, which is performed in front of a tiny 15 audience members in the home of one of the actors in East Dallas (it’s on Mockingbird Lane between Greenville Avenue and Skillman Street). There aren’t many seats available, if any still are in the two remaining performances, but do what you can to snag a few and see grassroots theater artistry that’s so alive, you can overlook how much it’s really about death.

The plot is wackadoo but strangely believable. Aaron wants to experiment with giving a blow job (“I’m not gay!” he insists, despite all evidence to the contrary) and things go horribly wrong, necessitating he seek help from Simon, the only gay guy he knows. (The implication: Gays are used to disposing of tricks who die brutally; it usually happens between gym and brunch, I suppose.) Aaron’s roommate Jack (Jordan Tomenga), a male nurse, and Jack’s FWB Kassia (Robin Clayton) also get dragged into the plot, which takes more turns than a mountain road before becoming not just dark, but outright menacing.

There’s much to love in the show, from the intimacy (the whole from of the house is utilized by directed Brian Grunkowski) to the off-handed line-readings (Swearingen and O’Connor are two of the best at what they do) to the deadpan dialogue that sneaks up on you with its sick humor. But say too much and you’ll ruin it. Suffice it to say, it goes where it has to, and takes you along for the ride. By the end, you’re more co-conspirator than watcher. That’s an exciting way to consume theater.

Through Saturday.

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Quinones named new chef at Kitchen LTO

Posted on 13 May 2015 at 9:34am

Anastacia Quinones

Anastacia Quinones, the former chef at Komali, won the polling among supporters of Casie Caldwell’s Kitchen LTO in Trinity Groves to become the fifth person to lead the stage there with her twist on Mexican cuisine.

The current chef, Blythe Beck, had two four-month terms leading the “permanent pop-up” concept, but Quinones will actually be on board for a full six-month stint, running June 2 through December.

At the same time, artist Crimson Shults was selected as the winning artist, whose work will establish the decor in the restaurant.

Beck’s last night there will be the end of May.

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Rachel Potter takes on the hypocrites with ‘Jesus and Jezebel’

Posted on 12 May 2015 at 3:41pm
Screen shot 2015-05-12 at 3.30.18 PM

Rachel Potter

A lot of folks think that country-western music is still a stronghold of homophobia, and in some ways, it might be.

But not completely. I mean, way back in the 1990s, C&W superstar Garth Brooks was speaking out for LGBT folks in his song “We Shall Be Free.” He also appeared at the Equality Rocks held in conjunction with the 2000 LGBT march on Washington. In recent years, C&W stars Chely Wright and Ty Herndon have come out. And then there are queens of country, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, who have both been vocal in their support for LGBT equality.

And you can add an up-and-coming star to that list, too. Rachel Potter has just released a new song and video called “Jesus and Jezebel,” in which she explores not only her personal issues with her Southern Baptist upbringing, but calls out  church folk for their less-than-loving ways toward LGBT people.

Potter tells ETOnline: “”I think that country music listeners are becoming more and more open minded every day, as is the rest of the country. I think a lot of people may misconstrue the song to say I don’t believe in what the bible says or like, ‘gay sex for everybody’ but that’s not what I’m trying to say, and I’ll make that as clear as possible. All I’m trying to say is that I think Jesus loves us all the same.”

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Fashion Optical celebrating new collections with style

Posted on 12 May 2015 at 2:10pm
Kandy Cayne

Kandy Cayne

Fashion Optical, the eyewear shop at 3430 Oak Lawn Ave., is announcing the arrival of five new eyewear collections with a grand Spring Launch Party Friday, May 15, from 7-10 p.m. at the store.

The event will include performances by Kandy Cayne, Nicole O’Hara Munro and Jade Summers, the music of The Brick DJ Brandon Moses and an exhibit of cutting-edge artwork by Zachariah B. Adams.

Admission is free. But seating is limited and reservations are required. So go here by Wednesday, May 13 to reserve your seat.

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Knife launches film series with, natch, ‘Chef’

Posted on 12 May 2015 at 6:58am

chefIt’s an example of life imitating art and then using art to illustrate life. Last summer, just as the indie film Chef — about a volatile chef who gets into a viral shouting match with a local food critic — was hitting theaters, John Tesar, the chef at the newly-opened Knife steakhouse at The Highland Dallas, was getting into a very public shouting match with a local critic (not me, of course — I’m a delight). There were some who accused Tesar of capitalizing on the film (ludicrous, since it wasn’t a big hit anyway) … though he did address that in my interview with him about the opening of Knife. In the same article, chef told me that one of his plans for the restaurant was a film series on the outdoor patio area, which Tesar — himself a movie fan — would program.

So perhaps it is not a huge surprise that, for the introduction of the series (which is a lot later than we expected, but that’s the restaurant business for you), Tesar has chosen to screen … Chef. Honestly, that’s not something you should miss, if only to howl at the similarities (and dissimilarities) with Dallas reality. It kicks off on Sunday, May 17. And keeping with the foodie theme, subsequent films will include Big Night, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Julie and Julia.

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