WATCH: John Lithgow’s brilliant analysis of ‘playing gay’

Posted on 10 Sep 2014 at 9:26am

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 9.23.13 AMOn The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert plays a fake conservative who baits guests with muddle-headed, FoxNews-worthy comments, so you have to take his interview with John Lithgow — the star of the new gay-marriage film Love Is Strange, which we profiled this week — with a grain of salt. But what’s awesome is where Lithgow plays along, explaining how he approaches playing a gay character. Playing gay in nothing new for the Oscar nominee; he was a trans woman in The World According to Garp. But it’s a brilliant statement not only on the craft of acting, but humanity. The real good stuff starts at about 4:30. (Watch below or go to this link.)

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GIVEAWAY: Win tickets to the screening of the gay film ‘Cupcakes’

Posted on 09 Sep 2014 at 2:17pm

A048R1PYIsraeli filmmaker Eytan Fox (Jossi & Jagger) has turned his sights to comedy with his latest film, Cupcakes. Set in Tel Aviv, it tells the story of bored housewives who decide to enter a songwriting competition, with comical results. The local premiere screens as part of the Jewish Film Festival on Thursday, and we are giving away two tickets to see it. Simply be the first to email jones@dallasvoice.com with the subject line CUPCAKES to qualify! The screening — which will include a talk-back by Dallas Voice staffer David Taffet — is at the Studio Movie Grill at Spring Valley at 7 p.m., Sept. 11; you have to pick up your tickets by 6:30 p.m. to get a seat. The winner will be notified by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Enjoy and good luck!

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Dallas Voice sports authority David Taffet talks football on L.A.’s KPFK

Posted on 08 Sep 2014 at 4:19pm
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David Taffet reporting from the Texas high school playoffs at the Cotton Bowl where the East Dillon Lions took the state championship.

If you had a radio talk show in L.A. and you wanted to talk football with someone in Dallas, who would you call? That’s right. Obvious call. You call Dallas Voice sports expert David Taffet.

OK, so maybe 5 million people in the Dallas area know more about football than I do, but few people who know less about football are as comfortable on a football field as I am.

That’s because I spent several season playing a sports reporter on NBC’s show Friday Night Lights. In just about every episode with a football game, I’m standing on the sidelines or in the end zone and am the only person on the field in a jacket and tie.

Sideline. End zone. See? I know the lingo. I spent one episode filming in the field house and in the locker room.

That gig really stretched my acting ability and built on roles I’ve played in the past. In the film JFK, I played a reporter and carried Gary Oldman, who was actually in the coffin, to Lee Harvey Oswald’s grave. (Director Oliver Stone was going for realism. Oldman was freaking out). My best acting in that film came in the scene where reporters are interviewing Marina Oswald. You can see my thumb holding a mike. You can tell it’s me, because I’m the only one in the scene who’s left-handed.

But I digress.

The show is IMRU, the gay show that’s L.A.’s counterpart to Lambda Weekly. Chrisanne Eastwood is the host who contacted me. She and I co-hosted a cable TV show with the always-beautiful Jack Jett for about six months. The topic is Michael Sam.

So to prepare for tonight’s appearance, I just looked up that the Cowboys lost yesterday. I’m very sad about that. Tony Romo turned in his worst performance ever. I’m apparently surprised about that, because he went into yesterday’s game as the best ranking, or best prepared or best looking quarterback in the NFL. And they played at AT&T Stadium. I have no idea where that is. I’ll just call it Cowboys Stadium.

I’ll be on Monday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. Central Time (7 p.m. Pacific Time). Click here to listen live.

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Crosland Group make huge donation of gay-themed books to Oak Lawn Library

Posted on 08 Sep 2014 at 10:12am

booksDallas developer Luke Crosland, whose company The Crosland Group is responsible for ilume and ilume Park, has marked a gift of more than 6,000 volumes of LGBT books to the Dallas Public Library. The collection will be stored at the Oak Lawn branch in the heart of the gayborhood.

The donation was originally housed at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Florida.

There will be a presentation of the books during Pride Weekend. Due to space limitations, not all volumes will be on display, but will be available to be checked out.

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Theater critics bestow awards

Posted on 08 Sep 2014 at 8:01am

Liz Mikel, left, and Tiffany Hobbs, right, were singled out for their performances in ‘Raisin in the Sun,’ directed by Tre Garrett. (Photo courtesy Karen Almond)

The Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum met as usual the first Saturday after Labor Day to hash out our awards for the best of North Texas theater over the preceding 12 months, and the Dallas Theater Center ended up the big winner, with five of its shows receiving citations. Les Miserables, Fortress of Solitude, Oedipus el Rey and its in-repertory pair of Raisin in the Sun and Clybourne Park (Raisin‘s quasi-sequel) all took home major awards, including direction for the first four. Cast members from many were also recognized, including Liz Mikel and Tiffany Hobbs from Raisin, Allison Pistorious from Clybourne and Steven Walters from Les Miz. Uptown Players, coming off one of its best seasons, also won accolades for two of its shows: The gay comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (for direction and its ensemble) and for The Boy from Oz for its three stars and for its wig and makeup by Coy Covington. My own Actor of the Year winner for 2013, Tina Parker, won note for her performance in Detroit — one of nods to Kitchen Dog Theater, which also produced best new play winner Barbecue Apocalypse by Matt Lyle. WaterTower also fared well, especially for its recent musical Dogfight. The winners — which are voted on by a panel of 12 local theater critics, including me — are hashed out over a luncheon. There are between four and nine winners in each category this year.

The complete list is below.

Direction: Daniel Aukin, Fortress of Solitude (Dallas Theater Center); B.J. Cleveland, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Uptown Players); David Denson, Year of the Rooster (Upstart Productions); Tre Garrett, A Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Jubilee Theatre); Tim Johnson, Detroit (Kitchen Dog Theater); Terry Martin, Dogfight (WaterTower Theatre); Kevin Moriarty, Oedipus el Rey (Dallas Theater Center); Susan Sargeant, The Diaries of Adam and Eve and Happy Days (WingSpan Theatre Co.); Liesl Tommy, Les Miserables (Dallas Theater Center).

Vanya-Show

The cast of ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ was recognized as best ensemble, as was its director, B.J. Cleveland.

Actor: Adam A. Anderson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Jubilee Theatre); Jaxon Beeson, Stiff (Fun House Theatre and Film); Joey Folsom, Year of the Rooster (Upstart Productions) and Hank Williams: Lost Highway (WaterTower Theatre); Alex Ross, The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players); Garret Storms, for his season of performances; Drew Wall, Nocturne (Second Thought Theatre); Steven Walters, Les Miserables (Dallas Theater Center).

Actress: Tiffany Hobbs, Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center) and Spunk (WaterTower Theatre); Janelle Lutz, The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players); Liz Mikel, Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center); Tina Parker, Detroit (Kitchen Dog Theater); Allison Pistorius, Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre) and Clybourne Park (Dallas Theater Center); Sarah Elizabeth Smith, The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players); Juliette Talley, Dogfight (WaterTower Theatre); Ashley Wilkerson, The Mountaintop (Jubilee Theatre).

Ensemble: Barbecue Apocalypse (Kitchen Dog Theater); Heroes (Stage West); The Echo Room Presents: Her Song (Echo Theatre); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Uptown Players).

Creative Contribution: Coy Covington for his wig and makeup design for The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players) and wig designs for Pageant (Uptown Players); Clare Floyd DeVries for her set design, Detroit (Kitchen Dog Theater); Jay Dias for his music direction, Nine and Titanic (Lyric Stage); Jeffrey Colangelo and Katy Tye for their movement design, Galatea (Prism Co.); the design team with Trinity Shakespeare Festival, for their season.

New Play or Musical: Barbecue Apocalypse by Matt Lyle (Kitchen Dog Theater); Booth by Steven Walters (Second Thought Theatre); Fortress of Solitude by Itamar Moses and Michael Friedman (Dallas Theater Center); mania/gift by Shelby-Allison Hibbs (Echo Theatre); Stiff by Jeff Swearingen (Fun House Theatre and Film).

Touring Production: Evita (Dallas Summer Musicals); The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (ATTPAC); Peter and the Starcatcher (ATTPAC); Trick Boxing (Sossy Mechanics).

Special Citations: To Matt Tomlanovich, for reviving the Margo Jones as a busy performance space, opening it to fledgling companies at a reasonable price, and making it available to small festivals, poetry slams, readings and dance groups; and to Lawson Taitte, for his distinguished career in arts criticism.

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Cocktail Friday: Wise Margarita

Posted on 05 Sep 2014 at 11:58am

WiseMargaritaThe Owl’s Brew — artisanal, fresh-brewed, ready-to-pour teas crafted especially for cocktails — are essential to those lazy summer brunches where less work means more play. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

1 part fresh pressed watermelon juice

1 part Pink & Black

1 part tequila

Making it: Shake with mint. Garnish with mint, lime and watermelon

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Sheriff Lupe Valdez takes the ALS ice bucket challenge

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 5:09pm

Sheriff Lupe Valdez and other members of her department took the ALS ice bucket challenge on Sept. 4 and raised $610 for ALS research.

Valdez was challenged by Dallas County Treasurer candidate Pauline Medrano, Denton County Sheriff Bill Travis and Dallas County DA Craig Watkins. After taking the challenge, she challenged Sheriff Department LGBT liaison Shelley Knight who accepted on the spot and also challenged the two remaining Dallas City Council members who have not taken the challenge yet — Rick Callahan and Tennell Atkins.

Click here to watch the video: MVI_2109

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The winner of ‘SYTYCD’ is …

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 10:05am

_W5A1689_hires1… not in any way a surprise. If you’ve been watching this season of So You Think You Can Dance since the start, it was pretty apparent Ricky Ubeda was the one to beat. And no one did end up beating him, not even runner-up Valerie, who was among the best of the girls. The contemporary dancer who could spin and twist and become a different personality with every dance seemed to have no limitations, and last night it took him the prize.

But…

MY2_7038_hires1…It might be a good thing he did not have to go up against the winner of Australia’s SYTYCD, Michael Demeski, whose Lord-of-the-Dance-ish acrobatics in pleather tights was an amazing display on the show.  Check out his chops.

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Heather Kitchen retiring from DTC

Posted on 04 Sep 2014 at 9:27am

Heather Kitchen

Many professions are about forming relationships — some necessary, some welcomed — and when someone clicks with you personally, it makes your job all that much better. In the nearly five years I’ve known Heather Kitchen, she’s been one of the best working relationships I’ve encountered. From the first day we met, she’s greeted me with “Hey, Arnie!” every time she sees me. She has that familiar, dare I say motherly, aura, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve made her day better when in fact it is she who has improved yours.

Since 2011, she’s led the business side of the Dallas Theater Center as its managing director, giving the support that artistic director Kevin Moriarty has needed to make exciting theater and revitalize the 55-year-old institution. By keeping it in the black — and always with a smile — she’s actually contributed to the artistry, and more importantly, the tone of theater in all of North Texas.

So her decision to retire — at 62, she’s been involved in arts administration for 40 years — just as the DTC begins its new season is a personal loss as well as a professional one. She’ll stay on until her successor is found (probably early 2015), but whoever it will be could never replace Heather. She’s someone I’ll miss.

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Right-wing media upset with fed money studying lesbian and gay health

Posted on 02 Sep 2014 at 4:10pm
obviously gay

Random Internet picture of a guy who’s obviously gay, because straight men aren’t as toned, according to new fed study

A new study that’s mostly been reported by conservative-leaning newspapers and blogs says that lesbians tend to be obese and gay men tend to be toned.

But the reason these websites and newspapers are reporting it is because they’re accusing the federal government of wasting money — $3 million so far — studying gay and and lesbian health issues.

The conservative Washington Times reports that dollar amount in its lead sentence.

Right-wing website The Blaze writes, “What have taxpayers gotten for their money? A handful of research papers delivering some small insights into homosexual health.”

That’s because heterosexual health matters. Gay and lesbian health doesn’t.

The conclusion of the study is that lesbians don’t tend to self-perceive as being overweight, while gay men have a greater desire for toned muscles than straight men, but straight men are more likely to go to a gym.

The report also says gay men and lesbians are less likely to be on athletic teams.

OK, so here’s where this report — or at least the right-wing media interpretations of this report — are full of crap.

Lesbians are less likely to be on sports teams than straight women? Please. Go to a local softball league game or a WNBA game. When the WNBA first began playing, announcers were falling all over themselves to report when a player’s husband was in the audience, because they were so few and far between. Lesbians are well represented on sports teams. I’m wondering how many accurately self-reported, because of the blatant discrimination in sports.

On the other hand, lesbians don’t starve themselves to get into a size 0 dress to please their overweight pig of a husband who will dump her when she turns 40 for a young bimbo. Put another way, women are less likely to criticize other women because of their weight than straight men are. What lesbians perceive as good looking is different than what straight men perceive as good looking. Anorexic isn’t a lesbian ideal. Of course, overweight can be unhealthy and finding a healthy weight is something lesbians — really everyone — should do with their doctors.

Gay men are less likely to go to a gym? But we have more toned bodies? Yes, we’re less likely to play on a professional athletic team — maybe because when one gay man is finally drafted into the NFL, all ESPN can think to report on is his showering habits. But the toned bodies don’t come from nowhere. We go to the gym. We exercise on our own. We play team sports. Or maybe the gay gene just makes us better looking with better bodies and that’s pissing off the dumpy straight conservative media writers.

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