2005 VOP winner Lori McCracken offers advice to this year’s finalists
SING FOR IT
Voice of Pride Finals, The Rose Room inside Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.
The time has come. Who will be the next Voice of Pride?
Twelve finalists have made it this far to snag bragging rights, some sweet cash and perhaps springboard on to bigger and better things. Last year’s winner Juan DeLeon is currently in upstate New York with a summer opera camp and 2007 winner Randall Garland is in Nashville cutting a CD. Now we have a new crop of singers battling it out for the 2009 title.
We asked one expert what the finalists should expect as they head toward it. Lori McCracken took the title back in 2005. She took some time to share her wisdom on how this dozen should prepare for their one moment in time.
So go forth, Voice of Pride hopefuls, armed with an expert’s advice. It’s time to bring your game.
Dallas Voice: What should the current crop of finalists know that you wish you had known going into the finals your year?
McCracken: They should not take anything too seriously or personally. This is a contest for fun and bragging rights.
What should the winner expect to change for them after taking the prize?
I wouldn’t say it changed my life at all, however I was able to buy a great mattress with my winnings and it changed the way I slept! And I was allowed the opportunity to sing at the Black Tie Dinner, which was a great experience. I met a lot of really great people.
What have you been up to since winning?
I am actually in negotiations with a small indie label in Austin. I also try to sing and play where and when ever I can. I have a real job, but make it a point put my songwriting and singing at the top of my stack.
What did it mean to you to win?
It was an honor to be picked by my peers! I was truly grateful.
Did it have any importance to you to win with regard to the community?
Of course it did and I hope that continues to be the case. I am proud of my community and appreciate all of the support I’ve received since I won Voice of Pride.
Men have won the past three Voice of Pride competitions. How can a woman take it all this time?
I [credit my victory to] an air of confidence and being able to read an audience. I also think I picked great songs — they were classics that I truly loved and believed in and that showed.
Any over-the-counter meds the finalists should consider before stepping on to the stage Sunday?
Ibuprofen. It’s a long night.
How would you recommend them to spend their time the day of — even the night before?
Doing what they normally do. This is a contest; they will not be performing at Carnegie Hall. If singing is truly a passion and a gift to the contestants, it really won’t matter what they do that day or the night before. Have fun! Take it all in and make some friends along the way.
What types of songs should a hopeful winner stay away from?
Songs they can’t sing. They should choose songs that relate to the crowd as a whole… but nothing by Elton John, George Michael or Prince! We got it, you’re gay. We don’t need to hear them anymore.
How about attire for the performance?
That’s funny, because I looked scruffy. I was ridiculed about what I wore to the semi-finals the year I won. The truth is, spice it up. Wear something that fits your style, but also allows you to be comfortable and for God’s sakes, wear some shoes on stage!
With butterflies probably already in their stomachs, is there anything they should or should not drink or eat prior to showtime?
I have watched contestants get schnockered before their performances and I must say: it makes for a train wreck … but a good time for the audience!
QUEER CLIP: TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE
Everything you need to know about "The Time Traveler’s Wife" can be boiled down into the following five words: "From the screenwriter of ‘Ghost.’" Like the Demi Moore-Patrick Swayze swoon-a-thon, "Traveler" is a clunky supernatural romance about Henry (Eric Bana) who, "Quantum Leap"-like, jumps uncontrollably through time, always winding up near his one true love (Rachel McAdams).
Director Robert Schwertke seems to set as his primary goal forcing a lump in your throat at every second, accomplished through gummy, soft photography and constantly woozy music. What he does not do is orient the viewer to the skipping timeline ("old" Henry looks almost identical to his 20-year-younger counterpart).
Henry always leaps right out of his clothes, keeping Bana coyly naked through large portions of the film — easily the best thing to recommend about it. (When Henry dresses in women’s clothes after one leap, he’s nearly gay-bashed.) While a superficially effective tearjerker, it’s so manipulatively heavy-handed in its love-struck stargazing that none of the emotions feel earned. It’s as if someone force-fed you Valentine’s Day candy then swatted you over the head with the heart-shaped box with the shout, "Love me!" It feels less like a wooing and more like a threat.
— Arnold Wayne Jones
COH singers unite for AIDS benefit; Danny Wright performs
Fort Worth-based pianist Danny Wright has developed a loyal local following over the past 25 years — and it pushed him into chart heaven, garnering recognition by Billboard in the new age genre.
Wright teams up with guitarist Christopher McGuire of the Allegro Guitar Society of Dallas for the show "Broadway to Brazil." The concert will feature a night of Broadway show tunes, Brazilian music selections, film soundtracks and some of Wright’s original works.
The Cathedral of Hope brings out the big guns for their Sunday concert benefiting their AIDS Crisis Fund. Among those local talents featured are three of the cast members of Uptown Players’ latest show, "Altar Boyz:" Alex Ross, Michael Tuck and Angel Velasco. Mark Mullino and "Altar Boyz" conductor Adam C. Wright serve as musical directors.
"Broadway to Brazil," Palace Theater, 300 Main St., Grapevine. Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. $30. Palace-theatre.com.
AIDS Crisis Fund Benefit, Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. $10. Cathedralofhope.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 14, 2009.