Cocktail Friday: The Star-Eyed Julep

StarEyedJulep Cocktail_Zodiac VodkaThe vodka brand Zodiac launched earlier this month, and the first market to receive a bottle was Dallas, so good for us! They know Texans can drink. We asked them to provide us with a recipe for Cocktail Friday, and they tapped Standard Pour mixologist Brian McCullough to come up with this, the Star-Eyed Julep, to reflect the brand’s celestial namesake.

2 oz. Zodiac vodka

3/4 oz. orgeat syrup

3/4 oz. lime juice

Powdered sugar

Mint sprigs

Nutmeg

Making it: In a julep cup (traditionally pewter, but anything in a pinch, even glass, pictured) add 5–6 mint leaves and muddle 4 or 5 times. Add vodka, syrup, lime juice and a small spoonful of sugar; fill halfway with crushed ice. Stir ingredients until incorporated. Top with remainder of ice, and sprinkle with nutmeg and more mint to garnish.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What to expect on ‘Project Runway’ tonight? It depends on which you watch

trds_101rc_05152104_bq-1080The finale of the current season of Project Runway is tonight, and I have no idea who will win (though I’m pulling for Sean and will plotz if Char wins), but there’s more to fashion tonight than just the main show; immediately following the finale will be the premiere of Project Runway; Threads. It’s a great companion series to Toddlers & Tiaras: The show focusses on teens and tweens who are fashion designers, assisted by their parents in executing their designs. The premiere features three contestants, including very gayish 13-year-old Alabaman Bradley; Christian Soriano serves as chief judge.

Maybe I don’t understand the trends in reality television, but I just don’t find watching children put into pressure-cooker situations to make for good TV. I mean, American Idol already has teenagers being judged harshly, but the show feels dumbed-down, especially with host Vanessa Simmons’ condescending narration. (She brings one 12-year-old to tears within the first half hour.)

Next week, Project Runway: All Stars returns with seasoned (adult) contestants preceding this show. I think I’ll change channels once All Stars ends — if I wanna see kids cry, I’ll watch videos of Neverland Ranch.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: WaterTower’s ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ cast goes ‘Bang Bang’

CriminalOK, so Kayla Carlyle doesn’t have a wardrobe malfunction like Nicki Minaj did at the VMAs, but otherwise this music video — produced by WaterTower Theatre to promote their current production of the musical Bonnie & Clyde (which I quite enjoyed) — has all the trappings of a fun time. Just watching Depression-era gangsters lip-synch to Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki to “Bang Bang” is hilarious (especially starting around two minutes in). Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

When it comes to dating (or hooking up), do you have a racial preference?

“The heart wants what it wants,” the saying goes, but even if that’s the case, does broadcasting a racial or ethnic preferences on a hookup app smack of honesty … or racism?

It’s a question many gay men have probably asked themselves in the age of Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, Jack’d and other such apps. “Not into Asian guys — sorry, just a preference” is probably familiar to some. Others are more coarse: “No blacks! No exceptions!”

This summer, the blog Angry Homosexual took up this cause with an experiment: The author (himself Asian) posted two profiles on Grindr with equally impressive stats and pictures. The only difference? One profile was for a white guy, one an Asian. And the author found that the white guy did a lot better in the dating market.

According to him, there’s a hierarchy that goes “white, Latino (honorary whites), Mixed, Asian, Black, Indian, etc.” I’m not sure where he gets all those stats, but I won’t dispute them here.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not discriminate on race or ethnicity. I have been in relationships with white, Southeast Asian, Arab, black, mixed race and Latino men over my adult life. To me, hot is hot … and nice is nice, interesting is interesting, a good person is a good person. Am I attracted to men who “turn me on” more than those who have good qualities but I don’t find physically appealing? Sure, we all do. But race is never a factor for me.

I wonder if, once you start dating outside your own race, you have a sense for physical beauty that’s more expansive than if you never did. For instance: If you grew up idealizing blond hair and blue eyes, chances are black, Latin and Asian men don’t fit into that. But what if you dated a bald guy? Once you got beyond the color of the hair, and developed an attraction for a sleek head, would you start to think, “Hmmm… dark-skinned heads can be nice, too.”

The question I have about this, though, is: How do you feel about guys who express those preferences on their hookup profiles? If they aren’t attracted to one race, do you appreciate them being up-front about it so you don’t waste your time? Or is that assertion of one preference a breach of social decorum?

And maybe just as importantly: Does it matter what your race is? I mean, you rarely see “no white guys” on app profiles, so is being white the advantage the Angry Homosexual says it is? But I have seen black men saying “not into blacks” and Asians who do not wish to date other Asians. Is this better or worse?

And what about guys who only want a different race? Some men will ask, for instance, “You into black guys?” Is being into someone because of their race better or worse than not wanting someone for the same reason?

And how do you personally react when you see a same-sex interracial couple? Is it still a taboo?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Food Network casting home cooks for reality series Saturday

Food Network host Alton Brown is due in Dallas later this month, but you don’t have to wait until then to meet someone from that channel. On Saturday, producers will be in Dallas searching for the next great home cook. Last season, the show America’s Best Cook (it will be renamed for the upcoming season) was won by Stephanie Goldfarb, a lesbian from Chicago, so the LGBT community is batting .1000 so far with queer cooks! (Subject to change.)

If you’re interested, come by the Dallas Farmers Market between 1 and 6 p.m. Oct. 18 with a savory dish (no desserts!) that highlights your cooking style, plus a photo of yourself and your dish. Or visit HomeCooksCasting.com for more details. Bonne chance… and bon appetit!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: The Basil & Lime

Basil and LimeHere’s a trend we can get behind: Mixed cocktails on tap. Why should beer have all the convenience of a quick pour? That’s why Rocco Milano, beverage director at Barter, came up with this refreshing little number, called the Basil & Lime. Of course, you might not have a spigot of vodka in your home, but you can still make it the old fashioned way.

1.5 oz. Reyka vodka

1 oz. fresh lime juice

3/4 oz. basil syrup

1/2 oz. Amer Picon

Fresh basil sprigs.

Making it: Combine all the liquid ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into an 8-oz. footed Collins glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with basil sprig  and to “wake up” the flavor. (Note: Rocco always tests his cocktails with the finger-and-straw technique before serving to his guests. It’s a nice touch if you’re making it for someone else.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Allison Tolman to receive Topaz Award from Women in Film Dallas

Allison Tolman (with Bob Oedenkirk in 'Fargo') will receive a Topaz Award from Women in Film Dallas.

Allison Tolman (with Bob Oedenkirk in ‘Fargo’) will receive a Topaz Award from Women in Film Dallas.

Allison Tolman — the Baylor grad, co-founder of Second Thought Theatre and award-winning star of this season’s hit series Fargo — will join legendary comic Ruth Ruzzi as the recipient of a Topaz Award, presented by Women in Film Dallas at their annual gala on Nov. 22.

Tolman received an Emmy Award nomination (she lost to Kathy Bates — not bad) and a Critics Choice Award as deputy Molly Solverson on Fargo. She is familiar to Dallas stages, but has spent the last several years in Chicago. Buzzi, of course, is the iconic comedian, best remembered for her days on Laugh-In opposite Lily Tomlin and Arte Johnson.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What a weekend! Your guide to what’s going on in North Texas

Rawlins Gilliland

So, there was simply no room this week to write about all the incredible things going on in North Texas this weekend. Tomorrow’s print edition will have stories on the Texas Veggie Fair (Sunday), Dallas Comic Con (Friday–Sunday) and of course the IGRA Finals Rodeo (which will be our cover story), but there’s much more. So, to make it easy on you, here’s a breakdown:

Friday. The Turtle Creek Chorale is back for its 35th season opener, this time premiering at the Latino Cultural Center, in a concert called Brave. It also marks new interim music director Sean Baugh’s debut behind the baton. (The concert is also on Saturday.)

Also on Friday and Saturday, and even on Sunday, is the Texas Ballet Theater‘s season opener, The Sleeping Beauty, which will be a Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth.

Saturday. Rawlins Gilliland, pictured, returns with a new live show of spoken words, this time with a seasonal theme. Happy Murder Stories are expected to be dark (yet always with a humorous chunk of humanity) recollections from his amazing adventures. It’s at the Kessler at 8 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the Dallas Video Festival continues, and among the films screening will be Fallen Angel II — The Legacy Lives On. A sequel (though more of a re-edit I hear) of a 2008 documentary about the choreography of Bruce Wood, who passed away suddenly earlier this year. This version contains new footage and discussed Wood’s lasting impact on dance. At the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station at 8:15 p.m.

Also on Saturday is Drag Racer Willam Belli appearing at Gaybingo in the Rose Room!

Sunday. Another busy day. In addition to the Texas Veggie Fair at Reverchon Park (11 a.m.–6 p.m.), the Honey Pot Bear Fest returns to the Dallas Eagle (2–5 p.m.) and the annual Great Gatsby 1920s-themed fundraiser for AIN is back in Preston Hollow (3–6 p.m.). All of these kinda require costumes, whether it’s flapper garb, leather, or definitely not leather.

Have fun sorting it all out!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

2015 DIFFA Style Council Ambassadors announced

chefAt a party Wednesday night at Neiman Marcus’ flagship store, DIFFA revealed the nine members of the Style Council for 2015. They are tasked with promoting the DIFFA cause and especially generating support for the gala next March 7, which will return to the Omni hotel.

In addition, to mark the 25th anniversary of DIFFA, seven Legends of Style were announced — former Style Council Ambassadors who have long supported the cause over the years in significant ways.

Here are the ambassadors and legends!

Style Council: Jenna Alexander, Jenn Clark, Norma Johnson, Scott Kehn, Debra Nelson, Ralph Randall, Shayne Robinson,  Jody Stein, Patrick Ware.

Legends: Simona Beal, Gillian Breidenbach, Don Gaiser, Rebecca Hallman, David Kiger, Matrice Kirk and Joe Pacetti, pictured.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

William Blake returns for cabaret show with Denise Lee

Blake LeeFull disclosure, here: Both William Blake and Denise Lee love me. I know, cuz they’ve said so. Will something come of it? Never say never.

To say I love them, though, would be superfluous — everyone does. Denise, the sultry powerhouse; Blake, the lilting crooner. Blake’s a local, but has spent much of the last decade tearing up the cabarets on NYC. He’s back home, though, for a one-night-only performance with Lee at the Uptown Theatre in Grand Prairie on Tuesday called, natch, My Baby & Me. In addition to great songs, you’ll hear awesome stories about their careers and even get to much on some appetizers. But nothing is more appetizing that hearing these songbirds.

Get your tickets here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones