The gay interview: Jordin Sparks

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks’ first feature film — Sparkle co-starring the late gay icon Whitney Houston — opens tomorrow, and earlier this month she spoke frankly with our celeb correspondent Chris Azzopardi about working with Whitney Houston, their affection for their gay fan bases and how her Christian background taught her to love, not hate.

Jordin sparkles

Whitney Houston’s starring role — the last before her tragic death earlier this year — isn’t the only reason Sparkle has “gay” written all over it: There’s the flamboyant style of the ’60s, an all-girl singing group and, well, the movie’s name.

Seated in a hotel suite outside Detroit, where the film was shot, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks lights up knowing how many of her gay fans will see her on the big screen in her movie debut.

Sparks’ return to Motown in early August was even more appropriate when Aretha Franklin, who sang on the soundtrack for the 1976 original film, showed up to walk the red carpet with the remake’s star. Even though she lost a nail, the 22-year-old said having the Queen of Soul there was “absolutely incredible.”

About the finger fiasco: “I was freaking out because I looked at the picture of Aretha and me and the nail is gone.” That’s not a problem today, however. “I made sure I glued these suckers on like nobody’s business!”

After the jump, ever so bubbly Sparks chats about Whitney’s mutual adoration for the gay community, addressed “mean” rumors of her anti-gay upbringing and recalled her first time at a drag club — in Dallas!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

“The Voice” alum Frenchie Davis comes out

In an interview with St. Louis Today, singer Frenchie Davis came out of the closet. The world was introduced to the singer mostly through her stints on American Idol and The Voice, not to mention her topless photos incident, but now as the Pride headliner in St. Louis, it seems like this was an opportunistic time to open up. From StLToday.com:

There’s also something else going on with Davis. She’s been dating a woman for the past year.

“I wasn’t out before the relationship, but I wasn’t in,” she says. “I dated men and women, though lesbians weren’t feeling the bisexual thing. Now I’m in love with a woman I think I can be with forever.”

Davis headlines the St. Louis Pride event on Sunday after headlining Chicago events Friday and Saturday. and mentions in the piece that she is working on her debut album. She headlined Utah Pride Fest earlier this month.

So clearly she’s been comfy with the gays. Now she’ officially one of us.

 

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: ‘Glee Project’ season 2

The whole idea of The Glee Project is just so… so… meta. That’s not surprising — Glee is itself as much a mash-up of culture as the songs it performs. On the Project, average kids (Gleeks all) compete a la American Idol for the reward: A guest arc on next season.

Part of the appeal of Glee has always been its empowering sensibility: The characters all look like actual high schoolers, from the cheerleading beauty queen to the kid in a wheelchair to the flamboyant gay kid to the jock to the chunky, sassy black girl. It’s no surprise, then, that the Project has a similarly quirky cast: Mario, who’s blind; Ali, who is a paraplegic; Maxfield, a country boy who just started singing; and Tyler, a female-to-male transgender, pictured. And like Glee, it’s shamelessly manipulative. Watching these kids who desperately want to perform, who idolize the cast members of Glee (who are mentors; the first one is Lea Michele) is charming.

Of course, there is a sameness to a lot of it; half the kids (including a girl) look like Justin Beiber, and they flirt with the camera like pros and you kinda want everyone to win. This ain’t no Real Housekids — it’s happy reality.

Debuts tonight on Oxygen.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Adam Lambert: The gay interview

Our intrepid contributor Chris Azzopardi sent us this exclusive interview with gay music star Adam Lambert, whose sophomore album we reviewed here this week. In it, he talks about the “novelty” of his homosexuality, being an unfit role model and his peculiar sex toy.

Remember the fuss Adam Lambert caused when he tongued his keyboardist in front of the world? Of course you do. The controversial kiss drew both homophobic outbursts and so-what shrugs, and it’s an American Music Awards moment that won’t soon be forgotten. Especially by Lambert himself.

“That was an interesting night,” he says, snickering in his charmingly guy-next-door way about that seminal smooch. “That AMAs performance was trespassing, in a way.” And, on his latest album, he’s not done crossing the line: Trespassing is the defiant second to the American Idol spawn’s 2009 debut.

More after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lexus Broadway Series’ line-up

The Lexus Broadway Series at the Winspear Opera House confirmed its 2012-13 will contain seven shows, up from the usual four or five. As already reported, it features the play War Horse, the Tony Award-winner using remarkable puppet horses and other animals (including Joey, pictured), which runs Sept. 12-23. Much of the rest of the season, though, contains some familiar titles … though some are welcome back.

The season begins Aug. 14 with Chicago, which has been through North Texas a lot — last year, in Fort Worth with John O’Hurley; he’s here again in this production. After War Horse, Constantine Maroulis, the Idol who did a good job in the recent Rock of Ages, will be seen in Jekyll & Hyde (Dec. 4-16), a delightfully bombastic musical that hasn’t been to Dallas with a national tour since before it opened on Broadway.

A ” bonus” show (not part of the Series package) is Cirque Dreams: Holidaze, another Soleil wannabe from Neil Goldberg, from Decc. 18-23.

The season returns in 2013 with the national tour of the current Broadway hit revival Anything Goes† (Feb. 13-24), followed by the African-themed Fela! (May 7-19) from Bill T. Jones. The last show, Traces (Jun 11-23), is an unknown quantity, but looks like a cross between Cirque, Stomp and Movin’ Out.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Guitar hero

Amanda Dunbar’s bedazzling attack on axes makes art out of instruments

_Amanda-Dunbar-(63)-rsArtist Amanda Dunbar spends hours attaching individual Swarovski crystals to her unique collection of guitars, but be careful how you refer to them. “I’m not sure Swarovski is into calling it ‘bedazzling,’” she cautions. “Bejeweling might be better.”

Whatever the term, Dunbar’s glittering guitars — called Precious Rebels — have made her popular with musicians and bling-queens alike. She custom-made some for the Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce’s guitarist is a client and Crystal Bowersox used one on American Idol.

Although the encrusted axes are a fairly new addition to Dunbar’s repertoire, she’s not a newcomer to art — she had her first show at 16. But Precious Rebels does represent another aspect of her expression.

“It’s the fusion between different forms of art, creating in essence another type that is totally different,” that initially intrigued her, though she admits to another motivation too.

“I remember reading that the average person spends two to three seconds looking at a painting — two to three seconds! Even the Mona Lisa! That astounded me. I wondered what’s a way to make people spend more looking at a piece of art. This was one way to have a functional piece of art. Painting will always be my first love, but I wanted to create a way to make it more appealing to a broader audience and incorporate another thing I love: Rockin’ out in my studio.”

“Creativity and art are a means of positive expression that transcends age, sexuality, gender, race. There’s something powerful about being able to make a statement that can’t be judged.”

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Amanda Dunbar Gallery, 154 Glass St. Precious Rebels exhibit runs through Dec. 31. AmandaDunbarFineArt.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas • 11.25.11

As ‘Twilight’ returns, Skylar Brooks shows blood sucking can be a service

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Skylar Brooks, 24

Occupation: Testing coordinator, Resource Center Dallas, and shift manager, Starbucks

Spotted at: Exxon on the Run at Maple and Oak Lawn

A twinkle in her unbelievably pale blue eyes and an effervescent smile are the first things you notice about this fine Virgo. Born in Monroe, La., and raised in Euless and Bedford, the perpetually positive Skylar considers herself a clown and a jokester — smiles and laughter come to her quite freely. She came out at 16.

She loves the nightlife. Skylar loves to dance, and her freestyle moves on the floor have garnered her three “dance off” wins at Station 4. She also loves to sing, especially R&B (Brian McKnight is a favorite). She auditioned for American Idol last year, and while she didn’t get through, says she’s determined to try again. Her love of music and dance is hereditary: Her mother was on the drill team and danced ballet, and her father plays drums and the trumpet and loves to belt out a song.

In addition to indoor activities, she plays midfield and forward in a local soccer league, and basketball for fun. Skylar loves to travel, she has a special affinity for the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Bahamas).

Enter love  “Three months in, I knew she was the one,” says Skylar of her fiancé, Shereen, whom she met through mutual friends 18 months ago; they have a wedding set in Vermont next June. Both of their families are excited for them.

Skylar’s goal is to become a surgical technician. Her motto: “I help people one blood draw at a time.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Shabby Shriek of the Week: Neon Hitch

This week we take a look at singer Neon Hitch. We’ve received remixed singles for “Bad Dog” and “Get Over U” both from her upcoming album Beg, Borrow and Steal.

WTF IS Neon Hitch?

According to her info sheet for “Get Over U,” Hitch was born in London in 1986. Apparently her family’s house burned down the day she was born. Her lighting technician dad named her Neon. She and her mother traveled in a caravan as gypsies. By age 10, she started writing poetry and lyrics. At 16, she followed a boy to India. She met Neneh Cherry, opened for 50 Cent and was friends with Amy Winehouse.

In 2008, she headed to New York, co-wrote Ke$ha’s “Blah Blah Blah” and former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi signed her to Warner Brothers Records. From her press sheet.

“I want people to know that, yeah, time are tough, but you know what? There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m living proof.”

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

A&F wants no part of ‘Jersey Shore’

It’s hard not to smile with appreciation to read a story about product un-placement of the level we read here. Turns out Abercrombie & Fitch — that clothing brand that sells sex about as blatantly as one of the girls along Harry Hines — has standards … and they don’t include the cast of Jersey Shore. Lots of businesses pay TV shows and movies to feature their labels in the show (it’s not a coincidence that the judges on American Idol are always drinking Coke on the dais) but A&F so disapproves of the message sent by Snooki, The Situation and their cliche (not aspirational, A&F says), that they are willing to pay MTV not to let them wear their clothes.

This gives me an idea: Why not blackmail closeted gay celebs not to review their movies and CDs and run their interviews in the gay media? I’m not even talking about Dallas Voice — this is something that could keep Perez Hilton in faux fur and Twinkies until the next millennium. After all, if folks will willingly pay you off not to associate yourself with them, why not take advantage of it? (It might even extend to dating, though I haven’t worked that through.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What’s gay about this year’s Emmy noms

The Emmy nominations came out this morning, and there are, as usual, lots of gays in the mix.

The most obvious is the continued domination of Modern Family in the comedy category. Last year’s winner for best comedy series was nominated again for that, as well as the entire adult cast (pictured) in supporting categories, including out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays half of a gay couple with straight actor Eric Stonestreet. Also up for best comedy series at the very gay (or gay-friendly) Glee (from gay creator Ryan Murphy), The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. The Modern Family men will be up against Chris Colfer, so touching as Kurt, on GleeBig Bang‘s out actor Jim Parsons competes with his castmate Johnny Galecki and prior winner Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock.

Last year’s winner for supporting actress in a comedy, out actress Jane Lynch from Glee, is nominated again, alongside Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen, Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) and Kristen Wiig (SNL). Archie Panjabi, who won supporting actress in a drama last year for The Good Wife playing a bisexual lawyer, is also up again, going against Christina Hendricks from Mad Men.

There were big nominations for Emmy (and gay) favorites Mad Men and Dexter, and some real love for the Texas-filmed series Friday Night Lights, which finishes its series run tomorrow on NBC. The cult hit The Killing got several nominations, but best drama series was not among them.

Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D List was nominated for reality series, with gay hits American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars are up for reality competition. Gay-ish comedy shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are frontrunners for variety/comedy series.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones