Resource Center reveals 5 Factor honorees

loftisThe 5 Factor is the Resource Center’s annual party honoring locals who have achieved something in five fields of endeavor. RC has now announced its list for 2015, which includes:

Terry D. Loftis for the arts (we profiled Terry recently); Courtney Kerr for fashion; Pinky’s Valet for commerce; Brent Willmott for design; and the Purple Foundation (which we have also frequently covered) for philanthropy.

The party celebrating these folks takes place Sept. 25 in the Design District. Get tickets here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Pink Magnolia sets open date

Oak Cliff Cristo 1Our current edition of Dallas Voice is what we call The Food Issue, and the cover story is of the gay-owned new restaurant Pink Magnolia. In the story, we note that the opening date would take place “by Labor Day,” and that’s exactly right — Casie Caldwell has announced that chef Blythe Beck’s food will be ready on Thursday, Sept. 3 … just before Labor Day weekend. It’ll be open for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays, as well as for Sunday brunch (with items like the Oak Cliff Cristo, pictured); lunch will come later. Can’t wait!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

NPR’s ‘ATC’ gets gay co-host

arishapiroHe wasn’t supposed to start until September, so I was surprised yesterday when Ari Shapiro began as one of the three co-hosts of All Things Considered, the most-listened-to radio news program in the country, which airs on Dallas’ NPR affiliate, KERA 90.1 FM, from 4–7:30 p.m. daily. Shapiro replaced Melissa Block, who stepped down after 12 years alongside Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish.

The reason we care, other than being addicted to National Public Radio, is that Shapiro is openly gay — the first out host of the flagship program that we know of. It’s not like gays are rare on NPR, either nationally or locally, but this seems significant to us. Why? Well, if we didn’t believe that being a “gay journalist” was different than be a “journalist,” we wouldn’t work for a gay media company. And being out is important — it brings a perspective and challenges politicos and pundits to think about their words … or get caught up in what they say afterwards. We might bristle if someone says “the homosexual lifestyle” where even a progressive wouldn’t … and we might then hold their feet to the fire. (Compare, for instance, Diane Rehm, who routinely fails to invite openly gay journalists to her Friday News Roundup shows, even as she discusses gay issues … imagine if she had only men talking about women’s rights or only whites discussing race issues week after week.)

So I say “yea!” for Shapiro, who’s been a great London correspondent for years. He might put the “all” into All Things Considered.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Zachary Quinto: The gay interview

ZacharyQuinto1“Oh, Jesus.”

Zachary Quinto is aptly responding to the fact that, yes, despite establishing himself as an Emmy-nominated actor with versatility, out-of-this-world talent and some of the best eyebrows in the biz, he once starred on an episode of Touched by An Angel.

He isn’t reacting to being on the show, per se – he just can’t believe it’s been nearly 15 years.

Since then, Quinto has made major shifts beyond his transformation to leading man. After matter-of-factly coming out to the masses in 2011, he became an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community and has notably taken on subjects such as PReP and gay teen suicide.

The 38-year-old’s sexuality is a non-issue when it comes to his meandering career on TV, in film and on Broadway, as his varied typecast-defying roles demonstrate: Sylar on NBC’s Heroes, Quinto’s breakout role; the infamous American Horror Story killer Bloody Face; James Franco’s lover in I Am Michael; and, of course, Spock, the Star Trek icon he brought back to the big screen, ears and all. (He’s currently shooting Star Trek Beyond, the reboot franchise’s third installment.)

Quinto’s latest big-screen endeavor, released this past weekend, is the video game-inspired Hitman: Agent 47, wherein he dials up the badassery as a CIA agent you definitely do not want to cross. A major studio-produced action movie featuring… an out gay actor? You better believe it.

As he swings open the door on a traditionally gay-less genre by breaking down Hollywood stereotypes, Quinto spoke to us about recognizing his unique place as the go-to gay when it comes to action flicks and how he “definitely” thinks the world is ready for a gay James Bond. Plus, why he believes, despite the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage, our fight for equality is far from over.

Dallas Voice: Hitman centers on an assassin who’s genetically engineered as the perfect killing machine. If you could be engineered to do anything you wanted, what would that be?  Quinto: If I could just travel anywhere at any time and somehow my genetic modification allowed me to transport somewhere, I imagine that would be a pretty useful genetic modification that I would get a lot of pleasure out of. No jet lag!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Horseshoes and politics

Jones, Arnold WayneWe’re no better than our enemies when we misrepresent the facts

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted one of those attempts at a photo meme on his Facebook page. It was of a bulbously double-chinned Chris Christie, purporting to quote him from an appearance on CNN in which he said: “If I am elected president I will go after marijuana smokers and the states that allow them to smoke. I’ll shut them down big time. I’m sick of these addicts, sick of these liberals with no self-control.”

Only Christie never said those words — and certainly not on CNN.

In a call-in right-wing radio show hosted by Hugh Hewitt, Christie said, “We have an enormous addiction problem,” and that “the states should not be permitted to sell it.” Nothing about liberals. Nothing about self-control. Those were lies.

IMG_3900I pointed out to my friend that this was not an actual quote by Chris Christie. His response: “He says stuff like that all the time.”

A few weeks later, I saw another photo meme on a different friend’s Facebook page. This was of Louis Gohmert, perhaps the least qualified person ever to sit in Congress and decide laws since he’s far too stupid to even read them and understand what they mean. The man really should be sent to remedial kindergarten and not the Congress. Anyhoo. This meme quoted Gohmert as saying he “thinks a lot about gay sex.” He then went on to make a typically dumb statement about how, if left on a desert island for 100 years, gays would die out since they don’t reproduce. Did Gohmert make bigoted, ill-informed statements about gay sex? Absolutely. Did he say any of the words quoted in that meme? Not a chance. But it didn’t matter to that friend, either. It was, in his view, “close enough.”

And here in lies my major quibble with the quality of political discourse as we now practice it in America: It is not, in fact, a discourse. It is instead position-taking based upon faulty, misleading and outright untruthful information.

This is not news to followers of politics. Not at all. Sarah Palin invented — through her own social media platforms — the entire concept and phrase about “Obamacare death panels,” which never existed in any form, but became a part of the political discussion. Fair-minded progressives would point out that this was made up, though unfair and imbalanced FOXNews wouldn’t hear of it, and repeated the myth as if it where’s Obama’s main doctrine, a plan by the Kenyan-born Muslim communist at eugenics. It’s been five years, and “death panels” still lingers in the public consciousness. And Liberal Democrats still pull out their remaining hair to rage against the political machine about misinformation, disinformation and lies that pervert the process.

And then they turn around and do the same thing.

There is an old, trusty adage that one must “fight fire with fire.” I bet sure most firefighters would tell you that water and sand usually do a better job, but let’s forget about that for a second. Democrats have never been at a loss for having their own ways of phrasing and crafting a message to highlight their opponents’ weaknesses, to minimize their own, and to steel the positives in their message. Excoriating the enemy with clever linguistic tricks and rhetoric is time-honored. Frankly, it’s what we writers frequently do.

But I’m not talking here about characterizing one’s position as extreme and another’s as moderate, or shining the best light on one’s own ideas. I’m talking about lying about quotes and acting like the lie is justified. I am talking about propagating known falsehoods about another candidate, another party, an opposition group, and twisting it beyond recognition while pretending it is fact. Pardon my naïveté, but I thought progressives were better than that.

I foolishly thought that when I pointed out the errors of these memes to my friends, they would quickly disavow them if not take them down right away. But no: They embraced the now common, Trumpian practice of doubling down. They cleaved to the errors and defending them as, I suppose, speaking to a “higher truth.” Of course, the higher truth that they refer to is likewise based upon these mistaken premises. When your entire dialogue is merely a catalog of falsehoods about your opponents, at what point does the reality settle in and mean something to you? When we put up a photo of Chris Christie and quotation marks around words that we attribute to him, on specific dates and in specific media, knowing that’s wrong, we haven’t won any battles, we’ve merely contributed to the dumbing down, the name-calling, the schoolyard taunting quality of American politics.

It would not be difficult to find reams of direct quotes from Chris Christie that would hoist him with his own petard. Likewise Louis Gohmert, who is a hardworking factory of lies. You want grist for your political hate mail? The facts are out there. Let’s take them to task on the facts. But when we just pander to our own feelings and desires and what we want to believe, we can’t then attack the other side for doing the same.

When we present opinions under quotation marks; when we rewrite history to suit our own needs; when we compromise our own values in order to score fleeting and hollow victories against perceived enemies, we are no better than the opponents. And then, when our opponents accuse us of lying and misrepresentation, we have to concede, “Yep. We did it. So what?”

And that’s when we lose. It’s when the American people lose. It’s when the political system gets beyond the control of intelligent people wanting to be informed voters and falls to the hands of who has the loudest megaphone, the largest checkbook, the meanest barbs. Without a claim to moral or at least ethical superiority, we lose an important arrow in our quiver and distort the democratic process. It’s difficult to criticize a system that doesn’t represent the people’s interest when the people aren’t representing their own.

Note: The person who posted the Chris Christie meme  informs me that he later removed the post from his page.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: The strangest cocktail we’ve ever listed

2InkBombSince our Food Issue is out today, we decided it would be fun for Cocktail Friday to go full-on foodie for our beverage du jour: The oddest thing we have probably ever seen.

Ink Bomb 

Arguably one of the most innovative cocktails we’ve ever had on this list is this squid-ink shot from Death Ave. in NYC. Cocktail enthusiasts can harvest their own ink by cleaning store-bought cuttlefish at home. Yeah, right.

1 oz. Tsipouro grape pomace brandy

1/4 tsp cuttlefish ink

Splash of sour mix

1 tsp fresh lime juice.

Serve with grilled seafood.

— Mikey Rox

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting Notes: Food Issue Edition

Screen shot 2015-08-18 at 12.21.22 PMOur Food Issue is out tomorrow, and the print edition just doesn’t have enough space to list all the varied food-centric events going on in Dallas for the rest of the month. So here’s our rundown of things to look out for.

Steel Restaurant and Lounge at the Centrum has a new executive chef in the kitchen (for Shinsei chef T.J. Lengnick) as well as a special sushi making class on Aug. 22 from 4–6 p.m. And you get to eat what you make! $45.

Todd Fiscus, co-owner of the Tillman’s Roadhouse concepts, will be rebranding the Fort Worth location as Market + Table, a combination restaurant and fine grocery. This Saturday is the last day for Tillman’s in the West 7th Development; the new concept will open in October. Tillman’s in Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts will go on.

The Grape will host its latest come-as-you-are wine dinners on Aug. 27. Sous chef Scott Girling will prepare a “Sampling of Italy” three-course tasting with wine pairings. $52.

Cook Hall at the W is hosting an Irish whiskey dinner featuring four whiskeys —one with each course, including dessert — on Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. $75. Also at the W, the Living Room has launched a new craft cocktail menu, with each artisanal mix at $14.

Proof + Pantry in the Arts District just launched its Wine Down Sundays special, with select bottles of wine (up to $100) 50 percent off every Sunday from 5 p.m. to close. That’s in addition to the daily happy hour already offered 4–7 p.m.

DemisCinnamonRoll_HDNow through Aug. 30, Hopdoddy Burger Bar on McKinney and in Preston Center are offering a “breakfast shake” of Demi’s Cinnamon Roll ($6, pictured).

Souk at Trinity Groves and Baboush in the West Village are both offering a summer cooldown refresher: The Casablanca Mint Tea Cocktail, a vodka drink mixed with Moroccan mint tea, lemon juice, simple syrup and orange blossom, for $12.

I bet you didn’t know Aug. 24 was National Waffle Day, but Del Frisco’s Grille does, and so will be celebrating all day with red velvet waffles. And on Aug. 27, the Uptown location will also host a “beer social” featuring local craft brews. $44.

Paul Martin’s American Grill, the big newcomer to Oak Lawn, is now open for lunch with $12 items. Brunch will begin later this month.

The same trio of restaurateurs are opening two Uptown locations. The first, TBD on Hall Street, in the old Republic location, is conceived as a bar-and-bites hangout that’s part club, part restaurant, part way station. And the bartenders are all models. Seriously. The same group will then open Uptown Pawn next month. That concept, in the old Belly & Trumpet space across McKinney from TBD, is described as a combo pawn shop and bar.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tacos y Mas readying to open at the ilume

tacosymasWe’ve known that Tacos y Mas was taking over the space at ilume vacated by the ill-fated Xamach for a while, but it looks like the doors are about to open (they tell us a mid-September launch date it planned — just in time for Dallas Pride). Not only is the signage up, but so is the menu of $2 Mexican street tacos and $3 specialty tacos, plus combo plates, burritos and more. And everything is under $10. It looks like a good fit for the gayborhood, especially if the hours are late enough for the impulse buy for clubgoers.

Tacos y Mas is a Dallas institution, having started nearly 20 years ago in a tent, and for a long time being simply a small taco stand at the corner of Lower Greenville and Ross avenues. But in recent years, the company has expanded — up the street on Greenville to the old Quesa-D-Ya’s space, as well as North Dallas and Plano. Bring on the tacos! And check out of Food Issue this Friday, in print newsstands and online!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Break out those spring fashions! DIFFA 2016 moves the May 21

Jeweled body at DIFFA. The annual DIFFA Dallas fashion show and fundraiser has long been a late-winter event, usually taking place — as it has the past two years — the first weekend of March at Downtown’s Omni Hotel. Well, in 2016 it will be back at the Omni, and you can expect more runway glam … but the looks on the red carpet will likely be quite different.

That’s because DIFFA Dallas has announced that the Collection next year will take place on May 21 — fully 10 weeks later in the season that usual. And that probably means a lot of reimagining of what guests will wear. Unlike the Black Tie Dinner, where most men keep it to black tuxes, DIFFA has always been the hipper, crazier cousin of gay Dallas society.

Sure, most of the women already wear dresses that probably make them a little chilly walking into to the hotel. But it won’t just be the cut! That’s on the cusp of Memorial Day, which means we might see more white, more blowsy fabrics, more (ahem) revealing looks.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chef and Song continues tonight at Kitchen LTO

Our Food Issue comes out on Friday, so to gear up for it, I thought I’d remind everyone online about the numerous diverse culinary options out there. One coming up immediately — tonight, in fact — is the latest Chef and Song. Basically a dinner with a live pop-up concert, it’s the brainchild of Ron Thompson, who loves food and music. As before, it takes place at Kitchen LTO in Trinity Groves. And there’s no cover, no fee, no nothing — just come to dinner and enjoy music from David Tercero and Robin Tercero Montgomery while new Kitchen LTO chef Anastasia Quinones, pictured, cooks for you. (She does have a special one-night-only three-course dinner for $40, if you want to go that route, but the full menu is available.) It starts at 7:15 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones