Simon (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.
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.
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.”
It’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.
Andrea Grano, left, and Tara Karsian star in ‘BFFs,’ the award-winning film screening Saturday at QCinema’s Double Take.
QCinema is partnering with Fort Worth’s Modern Art Museum to present the May installment of QCinema’s Double Take, a three-month series featuring award-winning and audience favorite films from QCinema’s annual LGBT international film festival held every October during Tarrant County Gay Pride Week. May’s Double Take, BFFs, won two awards last October at Q16 — Best Comedy Feature and Audience Choice.
BFFs, directed by Andrew Putschoegl, stars Andrea Grano and Tara Karsian as Kat and Samantha, best friends who decide to pretend to be lesbian partners, just to have a relaxing, all-expenses-paid weekend getaway at a nice couple’s retreat for the “Closer to Closeness” weekend. Only problem is, spending all that time around real couples fighting to save their relationships in intensive workshops makes Kat and Samantha begin to rethink their own relationship as the line between friends and lovers begins to blur.
The film screens at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 9, at The Modern, 3200 Darnell St. Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for Modern Reel members and free for QCinema sustaining members; available at Tickets to the City.
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and maybe you’ll want to toast dear ol’ ma with an adult beverage that even she will enjoy. Natch, that excludes vodka and Red Bull, Jell-O shooters, Everclear and Kool-Aid and the like. Try this pleasant twist of the Bellini.
1 oz. Solerno liqueur
2 oz. blood orange puree (or juice)
3 oz. Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
Making it: Shake Solerno and orange puree/juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Fine strain into a champagne flute, then fill with bubbly.
They have remade the old Chevy Chase comedy Vacation, which normally I wouldn’t care about, except the trailer has a brief-wearing, lean Chris Hemsworth sporting an enormous package. I’ve excerpted the best parts here, but if you want, you can see the entire trailer here.