6 ways to start the year as the best gay you can be

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 at 8:05am

Another new year means another set of resolutions. But given the kind of 2016 that most of us had, 2017 demands a different sort of resolve. Sure, you can still kick the smoking habit and cut back on the drinking and lose a couple pounds — if those are commitments you want to make for yourself — but we also need to remember to include bigger-picture concepts that keep our lives as a whole cohesive and in a continued pursuit of positivity. Here are six ideas to give you that fresh start we all so desperately need right now.

Organize your personal and professional life. I’m self-employed, and as a result I have the luxury of taking the last week of the year off not only to relax and celebrate the holidays with my family and friends but also to prepare for the year ahead. I make a big list of to-dos right before Christmas of items I’d like to accomplish to get my personal and professional life in order so I can hit the ground running when I’m back at it in January. At home, I like to deep clean and organize the house, which is somewhat chaotic this time of year with all the holiday trimmings, and where work is concerned, I delete unused files on my computer, sift and expunge expired emails, prepare client schedules for the months ahead, and — on a day where I’m feeling particularly patient — organize my taxes so I can cop that refund ASAP. Completing these tasks while I have the extra time during break keeps me just busy enough to not get bored between holidays, but it also makes the transition into a new year that much smoother.

Eliminate the literal and figurative toxicity. There’s no denying that 2016 was a real bear. It took its toll on all of us emotionally and mentally, the genesis for most of which can be blamed on the lead up and subsequent fallout of a highly contentious election year. But that’s all over now, and it’s time to move on. Think positive, and steer clear of any negativity that tries to infiltrate your life — particularly on social media. Maybe a hiatus is order. If that’s what you need to clear your head and start thinking straight again (wink), shut it down and distance yourself until you feel ready to engage. Take it from me that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how freeing the stepping-away experience can be. You may never want to go back.

Focus on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. I wholly believe in living your life at 110 percent. Eat healthy; exercise most days of the week, if only for 30-minute sessions; and stimulate your brain by reading or playing strategy games (yep, mobile games apply), both of which are scientifically proven to enhance your creativity. If you find it difficult to schedule in this “me time” due to a hectic schedule, compromise and do what works for you. Plan a night or two a week, for instance, to make a new recipe, or drop in on a class at your gym to find the fitness motivation that you might not otherwise have on your own. It’s up to you how so long as you’re doing it.

Practice tolerance. It seems like no matter where you turn, the scene is straight-up vitriol. This year, rise above the fray. Don’t let bad attitudes bring you down, and show compassion for those who are having a hard time finding their inner peace. Remember, we don’t all have to agree on everything, but we do need to respect one another. If respect isn’t reciprocal, however, you owe it to yourself to distance yourself from the negativity and focus on brightening your own light. It’s the only one that matters in the end.

Uphold your convictions and fight for your rights. Just when we thought it was safe to be LGBT, along comes a new political regime that, on the surface at least, threatens all we’ve worked to accomplish civilly over the past few decades … which means that 2017 is no time to rest on our laurels. We don’t know yet what’s coming our way, but whatever happens we must be prepared to fight for our rights. Stay proud, stay vigilant, and most importantly stay on the right side of history. Do that, and together we’ll always come out on top.

Set new goals and map out paths to success. I’m a goal setter through and through, and I’ve found that the only way I have success in reaching them is to build an actionable plan around the end game. For example, if you want to increase your savings this year, it’s important to set weekly or monthly savings goals that, little by little, inch toward that larger sum. If you’d like to take a much-needed vacation, start planning ahead by researching what it’ll cost in terms of transportation, lodging, food, activities, shopping and other expenses that you may incur. Whatever your lofty goals are, you’ll have an easier time meeting them when you break down into smaller tasks what it’ll take to get there. The payoff will be that much sweeter as well; you earned it and you deserve it. Happy New Year!

— Mikey Rox

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Year in Review: Memorable celebrity quotes of 2016

Posted on 02 Jan 2017 at 8:09am

A lot happened in 2016, especially in the world of celebrity gabfesting with our Chris Azzopardi. Acting queen Meryl Streep spoke affectionately to me about her lifelong love for the LGBT community. Country queen Dolly Parton revealed that she, naturally, has been a confidante to her own gay and lesbian family members. And then there’s Joe Jonas, who shared his fondness for S&M, potentially inspiring some adventurous bedroom behavior this year. Here’s a collection of some standout quotes from Hollywood queens… and one horny JoBro.

Here are some of the memorable comments from family and allies.

“I’ve grown up with gay people and been in love with gay people.” — Meryl Streep

“I have a song called ‘Outside’ that a lot of people from the gay community have always said they grew up listening to and were like, ‘That helped me come out to my family.’” — Mariah Carey

“I’ve had many people through the years who I have helped to feel good about themselves. I say, ‘You need to let people know who you are and you need to come on out.’” — Dolly Parton

“I would be blessed with a gay son.” — Gwen Stefani

AbFab“We love you, sweetie darlings!” — Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie actresses Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders

“There are a lot of people, and time does this, who are going to be severely embarrassed for their bias and intolerance. And they’re going to have to live with that; that’s going to be their legacy. I refuse to have that as part of my legacy.” — Michael Buble

“I’m not saying ‘Will & Grace’ is responsible for gay marriage; I’m saying that maybe there was an element that helped in some way.” — Megan Mullally

“I think some of the shoes I wear are ugly but they don’t hurt. I just don’t want my feet to hurt anymore.” — Cyndi Lauper

LenaDunham1“There are thousands upon thousands of voiceless LGBT people within even just the Mormon community who feel like they can’t ask questions and can’t have doubts and can’t be themselves. I want to be able to give a microphone to those people.” — Tyler Glenn

“When we get married we want our wedding party to just be our two sisters in tuxedos. Jack has a straight sister, I have a queer sister; they’d be our best men/women and we’ll call it a day. That’s our dream.” — Lena Dunham

TitussBurgess1“It’s definitely fun when you bring some whips and leather and whatever you may be into – a little bit of S&M – into the bedroom.” — Joe Jonas

“I know what dark places feel like and I know what the absence of love and community feels like, and if I had a me when I was growing up to see, I would have perhaps been familiar to you guys a lot sooner than two years ago.” — Tituss Burgess

“In my teenage years, I was very girly. I remember when I used to go on a French exchange in Paris and all the locals called me ‘mademoiselle’ because they thought I was a girl.” — Hugh Grant

“I was a funny kid and that was one thing I always knew I had. You know how you’re insecure as a kid? I was like, ‘Well, I know I’m funny.’” — Jane Lynch

 

 

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Still wanted: Nathan Sykes — the gay interview

Posted on 29 Dec 2016 at 8:40am

 

nathansykes3Boy bander on self-discovery, gay rumors and his sometimes-bromosexual relationship with Tom Daley

Since serenading queer crowds at gay clubs as a teenager, Nathan Sykes has been the subject of prurient curiosity regarding his own sexuality. He’s British, so there’s that. And the whole boy band thing, which began in 2009, when Sykes joined Eurodance group The Wanted, didn’t exactly disband “is he or isn’t he?” rumors.

Now, with his solo debut Unfinished Business is out in the midst of a band hiatus, the giggly 23-year-old opens up about ongoing interest in his sexuality (“I didn’t know I was gay, but OK!”), his sometimes-“bromosexual” relationship with Tom Daley and being “really drunk” at a gay club at 4 a.m.

Dallas Voice: You’re 23, but you sound like you’re 30, and that’s a compliment.  Nathan Sykes: Thank you so much. That’s a marvelous compliment. It’s been part of this journey of self-discovery as an artist, which has been incredible.

What does your journey to self-discovery involve?  Just really figuring out for the first time who I am. I knew who Nathan from The Wanted was, and I lived my life for five years as Nathan from The Wanted. I’d be walking down the street [and people would say], “Oh my god, that’s Nathan from The Wanted!” Then, for the first time, I sat there, especially after the band decided to take a break, and I went, “Who the hell is Nathan Sykes?” And it was for me to figure out who that was, and it was an amazing journey of figuring out who I am as an artist, what music I wanted to create, how I want to be portrayed, how I want to look, how I’d like to come across. And then I was like, “Just be yourself,” and even that was a breakthrough moment. Because when you’re working so hard with four other people, it’s amazing for the first time to focus on being myself.

In so many words, you recently said that after you turned 21, gay men have been less subtle with their thirst for you.  I didn’t mean that in an arrogant way. That’s not a thing at all. I mean, I wish people had thirst for me! That would be amazing. It’s just a massive compliment. I can go out with my friends and have an amazing time, whether that’s at a straight or gay club. We always have an amazing time when I’m with people who are gay, who are just so amazing and so flirty as well, which is fun. So, what I was trying to say is that people don’t see me as a baby anymore; they don’t necessarily see me as the youngest member of a boy band. People are seeing me as an adult now for the first time, which is cool.

What’s been your best night at a gay club?  There’s been quite a few really, really amazing ones. I think just ending up in G-A-Y in London, drunk at 4 o’clock in the morning, because I’ve got loads of friends who are gay. It’s just fun and nice, and everyone is up for a good time and fun to be around. It doesn’t matter to me what the company is, whether you’re straight or gay, as long as everyone is happy and in a good place and having a good time. I draw off people’s energy, so as long as people are having a good time, I’ll have a good time as well.

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What happened?

Posted on 28 Dec 2016 at 1:48pm

Rusty Feasel walked out of his life and into oblivion nearly two years ago. Arnold Wayne Jones explores what could lead a man to do that

This story is a mystery, but it is not one with a happy ending, or even a satisfying ending; in many ways, it does not have an ending at all.

The mystery began on the morning of March 29, 2015. I awoke as usual for a Sunday. I brushed the sleep from my eyes, placed a kettle of water on the flame and spooned some coffee grounds into my Bodum French press. I texted a friend to set up a get-together for later that day, brushed my teeth and turned on Charles Osgood. While I waited for the water to boil, I grabbed my iPhone to check work email messages. I try to avoid checking messages too much on the weekends, and had managed to resist the urge all day on Saturday. Even still, my in-box was littered with hundreds of emails, the vast majority of them spam. I scanned through quickly just to make sure there was nothing timely that needed attending before Monday morning.

One message caught my attention, even though there was no reason it should. Buried among the missives about horny Russian girls and diet drugs was one from “Shannon.” I had never met Shannon, nor had we even talked, but I vaguely recognized the name. It was from deep in my past.

“I’m contacting you regarding Rusty Feasel,” the email began. “I believe you are the AJ I’ve heard him talk about through the years.”

Rusty was my ex — my first serious boyfriend. Even though we had dated for less than a year, and had broken up nearly 17 years earlier, we had remained close friends throughout the decades. Rusty had been there through all my other relationships, in good and bad times. I knew he still loved me; he told me so frequently. I was, in some ways, “the one that got away” — or rather, that he had let go. Our relationship ended when he walked away from me. He eventually said he regretted that. There was no reason to feel regret, at least from my perspective. We were better as friends than as lovers, and Rusty was one of my most trusted confidantes. There was virtually nothing I couldn’t tell him, or him me … or so I thought. The rest of Shannon’s email hit hard:

“Rusty is missing.”

The shiver that ricochets through you when you read the words that someone you care about is gone is seismic.

That was how the mystery began. But the story starts much, much earlier.

Rusty Feasel with his beloved dog Brutus. Photos by Arnold Wayne Jones

People who are old enough to predate Grindr, Craigslist and cyberstalking will remember the days of the personal classifieds. I was still largely closeted, but looking to start dating, without going to bars. The classifieds were the alternative.

In Dallas Voice, a section was published for a long time called Encounters: “Man seeking man,” “casual encounters,” “missed connections.” (Craigslist may be more technological, but the idioms endure.) I placed an ad.

As with much of dating, there are as many frogs as princes; my experience was no exception. Many dates, usually dinner or evening cocktails at chain restaurants. But when Rusty called my mailbox, he immediately stood out as different.

“This is Ruuusty,” he drawled in a thick, charming Texas accent, like someone out of a B Western. I’d lived in Texas more than five years, but he was the real deal — my first quasi cowboy. No photos back then, just descriptions, voices and meet-ups. He picked a place, a choice that set him apart again: Vern’s, a soul-food restaurant on the edge of Deep Ellum. For lunch, too, not in the evening — a first for me.

Our initial contact wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t love at first sight. He wasn’t exactly what I expected. A paradox: Tall (over 6-foot) and with a lot of meat on his frame, he drove a beat-up pickup truck and wore faded, ripped Levi’s and dusty boots, unpretentiously handsome. But he also had waist-length hair that he tossed around like a girl in a shampoo commercial. His mannerisms seemed at odds with his burly appearance and down-home choice of locales. “How do these pieces fit?” I wondered as I squirmed through our meal, sadly suspicious that everyone was staring at us. Rusty couldn’t have cared less. He seemed comfortable in his own skin.

That was a lesson I would take not just from that encounter, but from our relationship.

It all started slowly, but snowballed; he moved in within three months; in less than a year, we would separate, and it would be another full year before we talked again. But when we did, we connected profoundly. He was a standup guy, the kind who wouldn’t just keep your secret, but offer to move the body. He bred Rottweilers, to whom he was devoted. He’d help you repair your roof or cook you a pot of pho. For years, he was my dog-sitter, a duty he studiously performed with no more payment than an occasional bottle of Bombay Sapphire.

Despite no post-high-school degree, Rusty’s intelligence was formidable. He read voraciously, and composed long emails — screeds, really — against the right wing morons, but also the namby-pamby liberals. His mind was as active and curious as a cat’s. Arguing with him was a form of exercise.

Rusty had his demons. He often told me he didn’t have a stable, satisfying relationship since we broke up. He was often strapped financially. He would hibernate from society for weeks on end, barely answering his phone or emails. I cared for him as much as I cared for anyone, but he erected barriers. He felt strongly, but kept much inside.

I just had no idea how much.

Rusty on Joe Pool Lake, in happier times. Photos by Arnold Wayne Jones

“Rusty is missing,” Shannon’s email read, “and by missing I mean he left a note and now no one can find him. His mother is desperately trying to find out any information as to his well-being. If you know anything, please contact me as soon as possible.”

I called Shannon immediately.

The story was mysterious and dark.

“When’s the last time you heard from Rusty?” Shannon inquired. I knew immediately.

“Valentine’s Day,” I said. “I wished him a happy Valentine’s Day. He said ‘Same to you.’” I suppose I should have known something was wrong then — Rusty was not a sentimentalist, but rather the kind who would bah-humbug meaningless celebrations and artificial social holiday norms; even “happy birthday” could elicit a scoff.

Six weeks, I realized. I hadn’t heard from Rusty in six weeks.

Shannon explained that the last time anyone last heard from Rusty was about two weeks earlier. He was expected to his mom’s house for dinner, and never showed up. She called; he didn’t answer. Eventually, she visited the East Dallas duplex he rented. What she found astonished her.

Rusty was missing, and most of his furniture was gone. His neighbors, whom Shannon described in less-than-glowing terms, claimed that he left a note with them, the door unlocked, and drove off. The note was allegedly cryptic; I never saw it, but the gist was he was in debt and wanted to disappear, and asked someone to look after his dogs. The neighbors, apparently, gave them away or sold them; they took or sold most of his belongings. They claimed not to know any more. They showed Rusty’s mother the note.

She was suspicious. Why just disappear?

“She talked to [the police investigators] assigned to the case this morning and they are searching for his cars, phone records — the usual routine,” Shannon informed me. There wasn’t much to go on, they said. It was not a high priority case.

His email accounts were closed. His bank account not accessed for weeks. No calls placed on his cell phone. He was a ghost. There was almost no evidence he had even been in our lives.

A few days later, while watching Fox4 News, I saw a brief “police blotter” piece — “If anyone has seen this man” kind of thing. It used his first name, John (Russell was his middle name), so few people who even heard the piece would know who it was. They underestimated his weight by at least 25 lbs. The photo used was old, grainy and a poor likeness. I never saw anything else on him covered in the media. I emailed Shannon some months later, and asked if there was any news. “No,” was the expected answer.

That’s the last I heard from Shannon. That’s the last I knew for sure about Rusty.

How could this have happened?

We all know the legend of Kitty Genovese — the New York City woman in the 1960s who, allegedly, was brutally attacked for the better part of an hour, her screams heard by dozens of neighbors, who did nothing. The current scholarship says the story is vastly exaggerated, but its legacy remains. Accurate or not, the truth is, those experiences occur more often than they don’t. We are all surrounded by people who are suffering, and who tell us they are suffering in coded messages we are either too ignorant, or too dense, to parse.

Rusty was one of those signalers. You couldn’t know Rusty for very long and not realize he was unhappy and even anti-social. But what can friends do?

Not enough, as it turned out. Despite my efforts, and the efforts of other friends (including, certainly, Shannon and his mother), Rusty was in a dark place emotionally, and we were ill-equipped to deal with it. And, as it happens, ill-equipped to deal with the aftermath in our own lives.

I saw Rusty three times after his disappearance. At least I thought I did. Once, I was in Deep Ellum and saw him walking down the street. I ran out of the restaurant I was in, chased him a few feet, turned him around and said, “Rusty! Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick!”

“I’m fine,” he replied with a blank stare, turned and walked away.

Then I woke up.

The dream was vivid — amazingly real. It took me several hours the next day to convince myself it didn’t happen. A similar dream occurred several months later, where I saw him sitting in the corridor at NorthPark Center. He was friendlier this time, but no more forthcoming. And it was a fantasy, anyway. So was the third dream. (My friend Lila asked her friend who identified as a psychic to look for evidence of Rusty’s psychic energy; none was detected, Lila told me.)

But the images lingered. I imagined a number of scenarios: Rusty took off to Mexico, or Wyoming, to reinvent himself and start life over anew — new identity, a complete break with the past. Or he met with foul play, his car broken down by the side of the road, a stranger offering to help and killing him. Another possibility — which I sadly considered as likely as any — was that he drove into a remote forest as deep as he could, drank as much gin as his body could handle, and wandered into an unused lake or bog: No trace, no explanation, no closure.

But there was one thing I knew, almost instantly that morning I first learned he was missing. Whatever the truth, I would never see him again. That’s what he wanted. It was the one thing he could control.

No matter what happened to Rusty, I doubt I will ever know for sure. Which, in many ways, is the worst thing about his disappearance — not the loss of his presence, or even the possible loss of his life, but how my friendship failed to sustain him. There’s almost nothing I wouldn’t have done for Rusty… except that I didn’t do what I needed to, and he either didn’t know that, or didn’t feel it would make a difference. Depression, isolation, desperation — these are real things, and we have friends to help us through them. I wasn’t there for him, simple as that. It’s almost a form of survivor’s guilt: How could I ignore the signs and allow such troubles to go unaddressed.

Six weeks. I hadn’t communicated with him for six weeks. One of my dearest friends. One of the most loyal people I know, and one who hurt most profoundly. And for six weeks, I did nothing. And 15 years of friendship were gone, just like that.

Maybe, if he’s still alive, Rusty could read this, and reconnect with those he left behind. But I doubt it. Depression has a way of consuming you. And all the rest of us can do is hope for the best.

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Emeli Sande — the gay interview

Posted on 28 Dec 2016 at 8:39am

emelisande20161Hello, it’s… Emeli Sandé, this generation’s only performer able to rival Adele as a powerhouse, tear-jerking force of nature.

The Scottish vocalist (born, funny enough, Adele Emily Sandé) is back for your pillow-sopping nights with her much-anticipated Long Live the Angels, a rumination on new versions of events, particularly the dissolving of a decade-long relationship that ended in divorce in 2014. Among the best albums of 2016, Sandé’s triumphant catharsis pushes through the pain with spirited, choir-lifted credos of faith and love-led empowerment.

In this revealing interview with Sandé, the 29-year-old opened up about the gay fans who helped her realize she needed a break, discovering President Obama’s daughters listen to her music and how Mariah Carey helped her feel less alone.

Dallas Voice: It’s been nearly five years since you released your debut, Our Version of Events. Why the wait?  Emeli Sande: I was just going through such a personal and spiritual growth. I mean, we spent so long promoting Our Version of Events, and it was amazing, touring, but I found it almost impossible to get back to ground zero and write music. I needed a timeout. I also was going through stuff myself that I needed to understand before I could put it in music and feel steady enough to go out there and give it to other people. So, it was a combination of both. I feel like for two years I just needed that time to dedicate to making this music.

How would you describe the process of writing these songs while going through something as difficult as your divorce?  I was always writing; this kind of feels like real diary entries. With every song, it was almost like I was sponging up my life. I find it a lot easier to express emotions through music, so I was acting like I was fine, but the music was all telling the truth in what I was feeling internally. It was all kind of me writing my emotions as I felt them, or if I’d do sessions, whatever I was going through at that time in my life, it just kind of came out.

Do you get emotional singing these deeply personal songs?  Not really. I feel quite empowered when I sing them just because it gives me an honesty on stage. Obviously, I hope they’re entertaining and they make people feel great, but it was really my truth. So, when I’m on stage it feels like I’m connecting with the audience and just kind of sharing myself fully. So, seriously enough, I kind of feel quite strong when I sing them. I feel liberated to tell the truth on stage.

Tell me how your connection with your gay fans has evolved since releasing your debut album.  During every show, I can feel my gay fans out there, and there’s a real kind of depth and understanding. I remember I was doing a show at KOKO in London, and it was around the time everything was going so fast, and I got a couple of notes from fans. A gay couple wrote, “Are you OK? If you want to come hang out with us, you can come on holiday with us.” I just thought it was so nice that they recognized — I must’ve been exhausted at that point, and I think they could see that. I really appreciated that letter from them. And I just appreciated all the different stories. I just love that I can also empower them through the music.

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DNCE’s Joe Jonas — the gay interview

Posted on 27 Dec 2016 at 8:39am

 

HyperFocal: 0Why is Joe Jonas talking about whips and leather?

Apart from recalling his experience with both, the answer is simply, because he can. Because the former baby-faced JoBro is all-man now — from his 5 o’clock shadow to his steel physique, which he’s not been shy about showing off.

While making the promotional rounds for his debut as lead singer of Los Angeles-formed collective DNCE, the newly liberated 27-year-old hasn’t merely shifted away from the much-publicized “purity ring” of his youth, taking on a kinky array of topics including porn, boners and penis size — he’s erased its very existence.

Like younger brother Nick, middle sibling Joe wasn’t done destroying any traces of his Disney halo when he freewheeled through our recent talk. Read on as he chats about his fondness for S&M, gay fans who send him pics of their privates and preferring an “older, mature” man play his hypothetical onscreen lover.

Dallas Voice: It’s been surprising to hear you talk so salaciously while promoting this album. But then again, I keep forgetting you’re not 17 anymore.  Joe Jonas: A lot of people do!

What about your current professional life differs from your career as a Jonas Brother?   The biggest difference is the writing. I’m proud of the stuff I did with my brothers, but you grow up and go through a lot of different things, so you may be talking about something very innocent — a first kiss, taking somebody out for the first time — when you’re that age. But cut to when you’re 27, and you’re going through things that are a bit more mature, sexually or what not, and that’s what you’re gonna write about.

A song from your new album, “Be Mean,” is essentially about S&M. Tell me about your decision to be so sexually liberated in your music.  Some people say, “We finally can talk about these kinds of things, and we want to go wild and crazy,” but really, it’s just stuff we’re going through. I feel like I’m free in my life to speak about it, and yeah, everyone should try a little bit of something new in the bedroom. It’s definitely fun when you bring some whips and leather and whatever you may be into — a little bit of S&M — into the bedroom. I wrote it about me and someone I was getting wild with, and maybe [we] busted some outfits out — you know, you get a little crazy. It’s a fun song, and I hope people can have fun with it and learn from it.

What do you want them to learn?  Well… I would love for them to learn that it’s good to try new things.

Maybe you should teach them, Joe.  I’ll do a handbook.

Have your brother, Nick, write the foreword.  Exactly. I expect you to be one of the reviewers.

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Cocktail Friday: Christmas Party Edition

Posted on 23 Dec 2016 at 1:35pm

Museum of Moving Image Presents: Martin Scorsese - An Exhibition - Opening ReceptionInstead of an open bar, or spending your time mixing everyone a specific cocktail, a punch is an easy way to lubricate your Christmas party and provide a center for conversation as well, as you can with this amaretto/cranberry cider.

3 parts Disaronno amaretto

2 parts apple cider

1 part lemon juice

1 part pomegranate juice

1 part cranberries

3 parts prosecco

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and stir lightly; garnish with rosemary springs or other greenery and cranberries.

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Two great reasons to get over to Fort Worth over the holidays

Posted on 23 Dec 2016 at 12:10pm

 

bellows

The Fisherman, George Bellows, courtesy Amon Carter Museum

The Monet exhibit continues at the Kimball Museum through Jan. 29.

If you love Monet, this is an opportunity to see paintings including rarely exhibited works from private collections and both pieces of Luncheon on the Grass that are reunited after 100 years apart.

Here are his first haystacks, his first use of dots and dashes, the origin of Monet’s style that became known as Impressionism.

Just up the street from the Kimball, the Amon Carter Museum has acquired a landmark painting by acclaimed 20th-century artist George Bellows (1882–1925). The Fisherman (1917) is the first painting by Bellows to enter the collection; the museum already holds a set of 230 lithographs by the artist. The painting is on view beginning December 21 alongside a lithograph of Bellows’ iconic A Stag at Sharkey’s (1909).

“This is one of the museum’s most significant acquisitions in the last 10 years,” said Andrew J. Walker, executive director of the Amon Carter. “Bellows is perhaps most famous for his gritty depictions of early 20th-century New York urban life, but he was equally adept at depicting the powerful force of the American landscape. This fascinating painting adds invaluable depth to our collection and will surely become a visitor favorite.”

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Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence — the gay interview

Posted on 23 Dec 2016 at 9:33am

 

df10950_rv2Take it from Chris Pratt, who recently experienced being shipped off to a new world: The future is full of promise for the queer population.

“If you’re a member of the LGBTQ community and you’re really good at plumbing, then you know, they’ll send you, I’m sure,” quips one of the hottest actors on earth regarding whether the hibernating pod people aboard the Starship Avalon in his latest action-adventure, Passengers, are of varied sexual orientations.

“Anyone who’s valuable to the homestead company and who would be worth money to the homestead company would go,” the 37-year-old Guardians of the Galaxy star continues, speaking from the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, “so that would include all people from all — the whole spectrum, anyone who could essentially provide a service that’s an old-world service.”

Imagine a world of gay plumbers who aren’t defined by their sexuality but by their ability to unclog toilets. Or one in which Chris Pratt, as Jim Preston, and his Passengers co-star Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Aurora Lane, aren’t contemplating anyone’s sexuality. Perhaps sexuality will be but a footnote among the more important qualities that characterize persona, even as Jim prematurely wakes up 90 years ahead of schedule.

“Hopefully we’re well into the future where none of these things are even a conversation anymore, where they’ve gone from issues to conversation to hopefully being forgotten about, and everybody is treated equally,” says Lawrence, 26. “So, yes. Of course I would assume there’d be diversity.”

Chris Pratt and director Morten Tyldum on the set of ‘Passengers.’

Naturally, director Morten Tyldum shares that sentiment. Not only does he have a gay stepdaughter, the filmmaker was behind the camera for the Oscar-winning Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as gay computer scientist and famed WWII codebreaker Alan Turing.

“I think, very shortly, it will become a non-issue,” Tyldum says. “As Chris said: If he’s a good plumber, he would be on the ship. Nobody would care if he’s gay, straight, whatever.”

That, he notes, was his approach to 2014’s Imitation Game, which was controversial for its absence of gay sex scenes. In an interview with Variety in 2015, the director explained why his Turing wasn’t romantically or sexually engaged with another man: “It was not because we were afraid it would offend anybody,” he said at the time. “If I … had this thing about a straight character, I would never have a sex scene to prove that he’s heterosexual. If I have a gay character in a movie, I need to have a sex scene in it just to prove that he’s gay?”

In Passengers, Pratt and Lawrence do go at it. But Tyldum, who admits sex scenes in films are “very complicated,” explains this sexy scene is necessary for character development.

“The sex scene in Passengers is there because it’s a relationship — it’s between the two main characters – and there’s a sex moment because it’s about these two characters,” he says. “I think to have a sex scene it needs to have a story moment, going from the two strangers to becoming a couple.”

Jim (CHRIS PRATT) and Aurora (JENNIFER LAWRENCE) walk thru the Hibernation Bay on date night in Columbia Pictures' PASSENGERSThe difference, the director points out, is that “to have a sex scene in Imitation Game would be to sort of prove that Alan Turing is gay,” which, like the hypothetical gay pod people, would minimize more qualifying human attributes.

For Counterpart, an upcoming espionage-themed thriller Tyldum shot for Starz, the filmmaker reveals one of the leads is gay “for no other reason than that person is gay.”

“It’s not made an issue,” he adds. “He just happens to be gay.”

Conversations with his stepdaughter led to him underplaying the gay character’s sexuality both in Imitation Game and Counterpart. The sex in Passengers, on the other hand, builds upon Pratt and Lawrence’s chemistry. Hypothetically, could a movie this blockbuster-sized involve two queer lovers in space?

“I think that that will come sooner than we think,” he says. “But there’s always going to be the challenge that the more an audience can identify with the character — there’s a bigger group of heterosexuals than gay people, but I think we’ll be seeing more and more.”

Meanwhile, you decide if Passengers benefits from a hetero sex scene and — bonus! — two shots of Pratt’s bare bottom. Lawrence relishes the fact that “we could just keep diving in” – no, she wasn’t exactly talking about sexy time with Pratt. She was referring to the “original script.”

“It’s really rare that you get to be so intimate with filmmaking,” she says, not meaning “intimate” in the way most of us do when we refer to Chris Pratt. “It’s normally an ensemble. I’ve never worked with so few actors before. I was very excited to be stuck in space in Atlanta with them.”

Shot on a 1,000-foot-tall, four-story concourse adorned with eight miles of LED lights, Pratt likens the confined set to a stage play, and says, “It did feel more intimate than anything I’ve ever done.”

What other celebrity would they be keen on sharing such close quarters with?

“Oprah! Beyoncé!” Lawrence blurts. “No, I’d get jealous of Beyoncé after a while and, like, probably rip her hair out.”

Pratt, on the other end, wants “someone really funny.”

“Well, my wife [Anna Faris] is famous, so I’m gonna say, of course my wife. I would take my wife. But I would try to do someone really funny, maybe like George Carlin.”

Unless, of course, you know any famous gay plumbers.

— Chris Azzopardi

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Megan Mullally — the gay interview

Posted on 23 Dec 2016 at 6:00am

WHY HIMTip one back for Megan Mullally, who’s making a move to the big screen in Why Him? after a drove of indie roles, including gay-affirming mom Mrs. Van Camp in 2013’s G.B.F., and a variety of TV stints. But when it comes to the small screen, it’s the 58-year-old actress’ eight-year role on the groundbreaking late ’90s NBC sitcom Will & Grace, as quippy, martini-swigging socialite Karen Walker, that changed Mullally’s life as much as it changed ours (including two Emmy Awards).

So, honey, sit back and catch up on all things Mullally. She has a lot to say about that time a female coworker attempted to seduce her, crushing on “the gayest person in the world,” witnessing “100 percent” of James Franco’s butt crack and the likelihood of a Will & Grace reboot (spoiler alert: it’s very, very likely).

Dallas Voice: There are a lot of gays who’d like to chat with you, so I feel very lucky.  Megan Mullally: I love it. You can say, “Oh my god, she was really boring.”

Why Him? centers on the awkward situation of bringing home someone your parents are likely to dislike. Have you ever brought a controversial boyfriend home to your parents?  My first boyfriend in college, Brad. My father was an arch-conservative and Brad subscribed to the communist newspaper, so that was not cute. My father wasn’t too thrilled about Brad.

You’re saying he had a “why him?” moment?  Yeah… and then some.

Having you and James Franco in a movie together is basically a match made in gay heaven. He has quite the gay resume.  That’s funny. I never thought about that! But yeah, totally.

On set, I guess you didn’t have a chance to compare your queer credentials.  No, but I’m familiar with straight James, gay James, all of that. I mean, I know him. We got along very well, James and I. Maybe there was something in the air… the gays brought us together.

DF-00202_R2 – Laird (James Franco, left) meets his girlfriend Stephanie’s (Zoey Deutch) family: Ned (Bryan Cranston), Barb (Megan Mullally) and Scotty (Griffin Gluck). Photo Credit: Scott Garfield.As someone I consider to be a guru of all things gay, were you able to determine what it is about James that appeals to the LGBT community?  I think because he kind of flirts with them. I mean, he’s very cute. That doesn’t hurt.

And in the movie, shirtless.  He’s also pantsless! His butt crack was 100 percent showing and, like, a little bit of pubes.

What was it like shooting those scenes?  Um, it wasn’t horrible. I was actually a little embarrassed when I walked on the set the first time and was like, “Oh my. Wow. OK.” [Sings] “Getting to know youuuuu….” So yeah, that happened.

You were raised not far from Texas — in Oklahoma City. Before you became immersed in the gay community through living in West Hollywood and starring on Will & Grace, what was your introduction to it?  Oh, that’s funny. A couple of things: I did my first summer stock musical when I was 12. I also did another summer stock when I was 14, and I had the biggest crush on this guy named Tommy who was in the ensemble and played a small part. He was the cutest blonde boy in the world, and I just could not understand why he didn’t really pay very much attention to me. We were really good friends, always hanging out. But I was very naïve. Later I was like, “Ohh, wait. Totally the gayest person in the world.”

Around that same era, there was a woman who was also somehow involved in this summer stock. She was gay, and I used to go to her apartment and she would get me high. I remember one time I fell out of the chair, I got so high. I, like, hobbled over out of the chair, and she thought it was hilarious. So yeah, she was gay and I thought, “Gosh, she really likes me,” and it dawned on me that she probably thought I was pretty cute, but she never made a pass at me.

WHY HIMEven later, when I was 20 or 21, I was doing this musical in Chicago. Pat Resnick wrote the book to the musical, and we were doing it in Woodstock before we moved it into downtown Chicago. There was one night she and the other writers in the musical were all running house together and we were having a party. They said, “Pat wants to talk to you — she’s upstairs.” I go upstairs, and I was just wandering down the hall and there’s this open doorway, and there was nothing in the room but a mattress on the floor and a red lightbulb, and the light is on. So it’s a red light, and she’s laying on the mattress, and she wasn’t, you know, a knock-down, drag-down beauty or anything like that. She literally patted the mattress and was like, “Sit down.” She said, “Megan, have you ever kissed a woman before?” And I was like, “No.” And she said, “Do you want to?” And I said, “Nooo.”

But you have kissed a woman before, right?  I have. And I did like it. Maybe she tried to or something happened or I broke away. She just wasn’t the one for me. Later, when it happened, I thought it was quite cute. Different situation, different girl. Better.

There’s no denying the influence of Will & Grace on generations of LGBT people. For you, what does it mean to hear stories from LGBT people who saw themselves being represented on a barrier-breaking TV show that cultivated visibility?  Words can’t really describe what it means to me. All you really hope to do, if you’re a performer and if you’re not an asshole, if you’re coming from a really legitimate, sincere place, is to have a positive impact. So, to have been a part of a show that actually not only helped people come out to their parents, or to come out period, or to not feel like they were alone — much less in the larger view and maybe, possibly even contributing to an awareness and an acceptance that has resulted in all the strides that have been made, especially gay marriage. I’m not saying Will & Grace is responsible for gay marriage; I’m saying that maybe there was an element that helped in some way.

When accepting other roles, did ever think, “If it’s not as good as Karen, I’m not taking it?”  Yeah, and it never is, but you have to work. I feel like I’m really lucky to have gotten a lot of the things that I’ve done since Will & Grace. I have Why Him?, but I also did four other indie movies this year that I really liked. Smaller parts. And just a lot of weird TV shows I’ve done: Childrens Hospital and Party Down, and Gayle on Bob’s Burgers; obviously, Parks and Rec. That role was sort of tailor-made specifically for me, which was great and so fun to do. I mean, rarely is [a role] at the level of a character like Karen, although I think Tammy on Parks and Rec is one of those great characters, and Gayle on Bob’s Burgers is a great character, too. I mean, you don’t always get an eight-year run at it, and that makes a big difference.

How many roles came your way that were just like Karen?  I got offered a few, but obviously, I didn’t take any of them. They were just a shadow of somebody trying to write something like that, but I never really took any of those parts. I’ve tried to pick things that I think are well written, basically, and hope that the people involved are really nice and good at their jobs.

In September, the _Will & Grace_ cast reunited on-screen for the first time in 10 years for an election-themed episode that received more than six million views on YouTube. And then, recently, you tweeted a pic of yourself and fellow Will & Grace stars Sean Hayes, Eric McCormack and Debra Messing eating dessert. Is that what break looks like on the set ofWill & Grace in 2016?  That was actually over at Sean Hayes’ house, but, I mean… what are you asking me? [Laughs]

I’m asking you if the show is coming back and if you’re working on new episodes.  Well, OK. All I can say is that there is a very good chance that that might happen. It’s not happening right this second. I mean, we’re not rehearsing or anything like that. But there is a very good chance that something is going to materialize.

My heart wants to jump out of my body right now.  I know. Mine too! But can’t really talk about it or say anything, because you know how it is.

How might a Will & Grace revival reflect the strides we’ve made in the LGBT community since the show’s original inception as well as the current political climate?  So speaking theoretically, in a completely made-up world where Will & Grace is coming back to NBC for 10 episodes — just in that made-up world — it couldn’t be a better time.  I mean, it couldn’t possibly be better timing. I think more so now than even when we started! And who would have ever – I mean, it’s heinous that it’s because Donald Trump is the president-elect. That’s just a crazy sentence that nobody would have ever thought they’d utter. But having said that, at the same time, that just gives us carte blanche.

Megan Mullally of NBCUniversal's 'You, Me and the Apocalypse' poses in the Getty Images Portrait Studio at the 2016 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Hotel on January 13, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Maarten de Boer/Contour by Getty Images)I think the first rule of any show — and again, we’re speaking hypothetically — is that it be funny and entertaining. I mean, it’s comedy. If you’re doing a comedy, the first rule is that there be good comedy in that comedy show, so that’s the jumping off point. Then, from there — the show was always very topical. For eight seasons, extremely topical — so much so that [director] Jim Burrows was always telling the writers, “Honey, it’s crazy topical — it’s not gonna stand the test of time.” But I just think that’s what the show is. It’s a very topical, current show. We had a gay marriage on Will & Grace in 2000/2001. And I was like, gay marriage?! I mean, it was just really early.

Are you saying it was impossible to even think of the concept of gay marriage at the time?  I was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe it. You’re having two men get married to each other — that is such a great idea.” Because it was just not happening! It wasn’t something! It wasn’t like every weekend, “Oh no, I’m sorry, I have another gay marriage to go to this weekend.” People just weren’t getting gay-married as much at that point. And the whole thrust of that episode was that they were gonna have a wedding even though it wasn’t recognized by any officiant. There wasn’t any paperwork involved. They were gonna get married and honor their relationship and celebrate their love for each other. It was such a beautiful episode.

People watching it must’ve been like, “Huh? Two gay people are having a wedding?” It was early! And the thing is, we had a gay marriage on the show, but it still has to be funny, and so that was one of the episodes where Jack and Karen have one of those famous slap fights. There was still a lot of funny stuff going on.

You were 40 years old when you played Karen. Considering the amount of flak Hollywood gets for being ageist, what does fame feel like in your 40s, when most actresses would say they’d least expect it?  Oh yeah, well, I don’t know because I think I’m a little anomalous in that I’ve always been a late bloomer in everything. I didn’t meet my husband [Nick Offerman] till I was 41, and I didn’t have that kind of career success till I was about that same age: 40, 41. A lot of things have come to me late in life, and it even applies to Why Him? I have gotten an actual part in a [major] movie at the tender young age of 57! It’s all happening so fast! Hope I don’t get into drugs. [Laughs]

It’s just funny: I’ve always been a late bloomer, so that gives me eternal optimism, so I never feel like, “Oh, I’m gettin’ older; I guess everything is gonna stop.” I’m the opposite: “Oh, I’m just getting started.” I really feel like that, and also, I don’t really feel very much like a grown up, which is kind of a problem.

I’m really starting to see the similarities between you and Karen Walker.  That’s the thing that I really love about Karen — she has the ability to be very childlike and have a lot of joy. I think she’s a big optimist, too, quite frankly.

— Chris Azzopardi

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