RuPaul crowned another winner… what did you think?

Maybe I’ve become tired of the format, but for me, this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race — which moved, inexplicably, to a Friday night on VH1, giving up the nothing-better-on catbird seat of Mondays on Logo — was the most boring ever, with queens who never really stood out. Was I the only one who quickly grew brain-dead to the constant self-confidence crises of Nina Brown? Did anyone else not have a favorite all season… including into the finale? Did anyone else find the cop-out of sending four queens to the finals, and then round-robin-ing them with lip-synch battles, a lazy abrogation of the entire purpose of developing the competition over 13 weeks?

When Sasha Velour was eventually declared this year’s winner, it was less a coronation than a resignation — she outlasted like a schemer on Survivor, rather than impressing with consistently outstanding performances. The good news was, Ru finally chose another conceptual winner — art drag, which brought Kim Chee close last season (only Sharon Needles arguably took the title for conceptual drag before).

Did you have a favorite? Think the right queen was chosen? Or were you too bored to make it through?

Hopefully next season will raise the stakes.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Story on gay men tortured in Chechnya

Photo by Daniel Bateman/Vice News (HBO)

If you missed it when it aired earlier this week on HBO, you can now see (for free on YouTube) the Vice News segment about how gay men were allegedly tortured at Argun prison in Chechnya. The officials deny it, of course — one honcho, named Kataev, bizarrely offering correspondent Hind Hassan the contradictory argument that gay men are so disgusting, his men would never even touch one, so how could they beat them? (Imagine all gay bashings defended that way: I hate gays so much, I would never beat one up cuz I don’t want to be that close.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Before you see Melissa Etheridge at the Majestic, read this

Last month we ran an interview with music legend (and gay icon) Melissa Etheridge. Next week, the lesbian rocker will be performing live in Dallas at a concert at the Majestic. (You can get tickets here.) Before you see her in concert, though, you might wanna check out the interview, in which she talks about how she relaxes before a concert, dealing with the Trump presidency how she feels about gay activism. Read it here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Fun Home’ tickets to Dallas show go on sale Friday

Fun Home, the Tony Award-winning musical about a young queer girl who grows up in a funeral home, and only later discovers secrets about her father, will be coming to Dallas’ Winspear Opera House in September (just in time for Pride!). Starting on Friday at 10 a.m., single tickets for the production will go on sale. The show runs Sept. 13–24.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Attend a free screening of the Oscar-winning ‘Moonlight’ Tuesday

MoonlightDespite what Faye Dunaway said (accidentally — we forgive you, Faye!), it was Moonlight, and not La La Land, that won the Oscar for best picture … and deservedly so. But if you still haven’t seen this moving portrait of a gay black man at three stages of his life, well now if your chance… and it’s free. Dallas’ Coalition for Aging — LGBT is hosting a screening of Moonlight at the AMC NorthPark cinema Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m. Following the screening, I’ll moderate a panel that will briefly discuss the importance of the film. Although there’s no charge, space is limited, so you will need to RSVP to obtain tickets — either call 800-418-2281 or visit AARP.cvent.com/moonlight_dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Friday is Pride Night at Echo Theatre

Brides---Crew-of-FourWe wrote a few weeks ago about Echo Theatre‘s Pride Month play Brides of the Moon, from the writing collective known as The Five Lesbian Brothers, which runs through this weekend. Well, to celebrate the gay in June, Friday’s performance is officially designated Pride Night at Echo. And if you’re a virgin (i.e., first-time Echo patron) you get $10 off your tickets. Just use the promo code PRIDE when you check out here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Cazwell’s latest single, ‘Loose Wrists’

The queer rapper Cazwell is known for his candy-colored videos featuring hot guys, and his latest “Loose Wrists,” is no exception. Clad in pastel lace rompers, Cazwell and company embrace their femme side. Check out the video, just i time for Pride.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Voice staffers win 4 first-place awards from Houston Press Club

Bette Midler and the Dallas Theater Center aren’t the only award-winners of the weekend. Dallas Voice staffers and contributors fared very well at the Houston Press Club’s annual Lone Star Awards this weekend, taking four First Place trophies, as well as three other awards.

Senior Staff Writer David Taffet and Executive Editor Arnold Wayne Jones each walked off with two First Place awards. Taffet won for Print News or Feature Story for “Rehabilitated?,” about an anti-gay hate crime and the perpetrator’s quest for reconciliation. That piece also helped Taffet win Print Journalist of the Year. Judges singled out his work as “lively and engrossing… it doesn’t hurt that he finds surprising subjects with great stories to tell.” Dallas Voice Managing Editor Tammye Nash took Second Place in the same category.

Jones won the top award for Print Photography for his photo of a hot-air balloon mid-flight. “The stunning, color image of the hot-air balloon highlighted by the stream of fire is an exciting photo catching a brief moment of time,” opined the judges Jones also won First Place for his op/ed piece “David Bowie Allowed You to Be Gay.” The judges said, “What a tribute to an incredible icon! Strong writing, interesting subject and thought-provoking presentation.” Jones also took Third Place for Internet Opinion for “Winter is Coming,” in which he analyzed the dangers of a Trump presidency in the hours after his election.

Finally, columnist Cassie Nova (aka James Love) won Third Place for General Commentary for her piece “Cassie Gets Serious About Orlando.”

You can see all winners here. Congrats!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Here’s a complete list of Tony winners

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Tony winners for ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

The Dallas Theater Center was already a winner long before the curtain rose on Kevin Spacey’s opening number marking the season’s crop of Tony Award. DTC was already announced as winner of the Tony for outstanding regional theater. Artistic director Kevin Moriarty accepted the award, although his moment during the broadcast were fleeting. Still, it was a highlight for local theater lovers.

It was a gay night from the start. Out actor Gavin Creel beat tough competition for Hello, Dolly! as best featured actor in a musical, and his win was followed immediately by out actress Cynthia Nixon for featured actress in a play for The Little Foxes. Then the third live award went to recent Oscar winners (La La Land) Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for best score for Dear Evan Hansen; Pasek is gay. Hello, Dolly! also took best actress for gay icon Bette Midler (whose speech went on so long they cut to commercial) and best revival of a musical for out producer Scott Rudin, who thanked his husband.

The big winners of the night, in fact, were Dolly with four (revival, actress in a musical, featured actor in a musical, costumes); and Dear Evan Hansen with six (best actor in a musical, featured actress in a musical, score, book and orchestrations).

Here’s a complete list of honorees, in the order presented:

Featured Actor/Play: Michael Aronov, Oslo

Costume Design/Play: The Little Foxes (Jane Greenwood)

Costume Design/Musical: Hello, Dolly! (Santo Loquasto)

Featured Actor/Musical: Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!

Featured Actress/Play: Cynthia Nixon, The Little Foxes

Scenic Design/Play: The Play That Goes Wrong (Nigel Hook)

Scenic Design/Musical: Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 (Mimi Lien)

Lifetime Achievement: James Earl Jones

Score: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Dear Evan Hansen

Actor/Play: Kevin Kline, Present Laughter

Glenn Close presented best actress to Bette Midler

Lighting Design/Play: Indecent (Christopher Akerlind)

Lighting Design/Musical: The Great Comet (Bradley King)

Actress/Play: Lauri Metcalfe, A Doll’s House Part 2

Featured Actress/Musical: Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen

Director/Play: Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

Director/Musical: Christopher Ashley, Come from Away

Book: Steven Levenson, Dear Evan Hansen

Revival/Play: Jitney

Orchestrations: Dear Evan Hansen (Alex Lacamoire)

Choreography: Andy Blakenbuehler, Bandstand

Play: Oslo by J.T. Rogers

Special Award for sound designers Gareth Fay and Pete Malkin

Isabelle Stevenson Award: Baayork Lee

Regional Theater: Dallas Theater Center

Revival/Musical: Hello, Dolly!

Actor/Musical: Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Actress/Musical: Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!

Musical: Dear Evan Hansen

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

VIDEO: House of DIFFA Dallas 2017 — Arabesque

DIFFA Dallas has posted this 4-minute video of its Arabesque event, which took place last month. See what you missed … or remember what you enjoyed.

House of DIFFA: Arabesque 2017 from DIFFA/Dallas on Vimeo.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones