UNT names fashion program after Dallas designer Michael Faircloth

DIFFADallas fashion designer Michael Faircloth — a long-time supporter of DIFFA and famous for designing Laura Bush’s inaugural ball gown — has been honored by the University of North Texas with a fashion program named in his honor.

Lisa Troutt, a former fashion designer, and her husband Kenny donated $500,000 to launch the Michael Faircloth Fashion Design Program in honor of the UNT alumnus. The goal is to raise a total of $2.5 million to support the program.

“I am humbled and overjoyed that my friend [Lisa Troutt] and my alma mater desire to recognize my achievements by name the [program] after me,” Faircloth said in a statement.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: ‘Drag Race’ Edition

RhuPaul1The Season 7 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race airs on Monday, so we have this untuckable cocktail that shows charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent: The RHU-Paul’s Orange Tic Tac (inspired by the girls’ “lunch” of a single orange breath mint). Bring it out for your hunties at your watching party and shantay, you stay.

1 oz. Art in the Age rhubarb spirit

1 oz. O.J.

2 oz. sparkling wine

Cranberry juice

Orange peel

Optional: Galliano.

Making it: Mix spirit and O.J. in a glass over ice. Top with bubbly and a splash of cranberry; garnish with a flamed (flaming?) orange peel (and stir in a teaspoon of Galliano if you want a disco flair). Annnnd …. werk it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Winners at Big D Talent contest

IMG_2276This week’s cover story is about the MetroBall and its headliner, Belinda Carlisle (whom I interviewed here), but she’s not the only person who will be performing at the fundraiser next week at Station 4. Last night, I was one of the judges who selected the top two finishers in the second annual Big D Talent contest at The Brick. It was a terrific event, because not all the performers were singers: Three were singer-songwriters (including two who played guitar) , there was a drag performance and a stand-up comic. And honestly, all were extremely talented — it was difficult to rate one against the other.

IMG_2285But that’s why there were five judges, and why two winners walked away with cash and the honor of opening for Belinda. Michael Duane, pictured right, who sang soulful R&B; and Aaron Soto, pictured left, who redefined the skill of pole dancing, placed first and second in the competition. You can see them both next Friday at the MetroBall, but you can get a preview if you want with the QuickTime movie of Michael Duane, below.

Congrats to everyone!

M Duane

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lights will be dimmed Friday in honor of Jac Alder

City Performance Hall and the Winspear Opera House will darken their marquee and lobby lights on Friday at 7 p.m. in honor of Theatre 3 founder Jac Alder, who died last week at age 80tides-1. He was the longest  continuously-serving arts company director in the U.S.

Theatre 3′s board also issued a statement mourning Alder’s passing today. The board revealed the establishment of the Jac Alder Memorial Fund to continue the arts leader’s legacy. A memorial honoring him will be held at CPH on July 13 at 6 p.m.

Bruce Coleman was announced as acting artistic director, with Marty Van Kleeck serving as advisor.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting Notes: Knife dinners, mozzarella on Cheese Day, Hickory & Uchi to open

2014-06-15 00.16.40[3]

We’ve all heard that Snookie’s will be closing for good this Sunday, but there’s a lot more going on in foodiedom this week and beyond.

John Tesar, the executive chef behind Knife steakhouse at The Highland, has long been an ardent supporter of HIV/AIDS causes — and never more so now. As the Ambassador Chef for Mario Batali’s EAT (RED) DRINK (RED) SAVE LIVES foundation, Tesar has planned an unprecedented series of dinners: Five chefs — starting with recent James Beard Award Best Chef Southwest winner Aaron Franklin (he of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue, in his first time cooking in Dallas) on Monday, and continuing with Alex Stratta (another Best Chef Southwest Beard honoree, Tuesday), Naomi Pomeroy (Top Chef Masters alum, Wednesday), Tim Rattray (San Antonio’s The Granary, Thursday) and Kris Morningstar (L.A.’s Terrine, Friday) — will pair up with Tesar for five intimate dinners (40 seats only) for five consecutive nights for this fundraising culinary experience, running all this week. Each dinner (priced $150) starts at 7 p.m. Call 214-443-9339 for reservations or click here.

June 4 is National Cheese Day, and to mark it, Olivella’s pizzeria (in Lakewood and Victory Park) offers diners a free sampler of its homemake prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella with every order of a Neapolitan or Roman pie.

The new chestaurant Tallywackers has its official grand opening on Saturday.

Klyde Warren Park announced today that it will host its first-ever food and wine festival and fundraiser this fall. Park & Palate will feature celebrity chefs, cooking demos, live music, tasting booths and VIP access. It will take place Sept. 25–26. Keep up with it here.

Lots is going on at Malai Kitchen lately. Braden and Yasmin Wages have added to their beer program, serving beer flights, allowing patrons to sample all three of their house-brewed beers in one sitting. Flights are $8 and include 5-oz. pours of each. In addition, Braden will appear June 25 on the Food Network series Beat Bobby Flay. Finally, the resto has a new chef’s tasting menu. I’ll have a review soon.

This Sunday is the last Sunday (heck, the last day) of the month, which means Drag Brunch at Dish at the ilume, with Jenni P headlining faboo tastings at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.


Tapas on tap at St. Germain Saturday.

Uptown’s classiest restaurant, the Hotel St. Germain, will host a tapas and Spanish wine dinner on Saturday to celebrate the festival of San Isidro with exquisite regional dishes. For reservations, call 214-871-2516 or click here.

The new chef at Cook Hall in the Dallas W is Vijay Sadhu, previously seen at Stephan Pyles’ now-closed Samar as well as Sutra and Pepper Smash. He launches his new menu (including cocktails) starting next month.

Kent Rathbun’s newest concept, Hickory, is finally poised to open. I’ll be checking it out at the earliest opportunity, so check back! Another big opening — finally: Uchi is set to swing out its doors on June 1.

From now through Labor Day, Grace in Fort Worth will offer a special dinner for two celebrating classic summer dishes. The three-course menu from chef Blaine Staniford costs $99 for two, and offers choices such as white asparagus soup, “toad in the hole,” cocoanut cream pie and butterscotch pudding as well as a petite filet and diver scallop.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WaterTower Theatre announces 2015-16 season

Cara Serber Peter Dicesare CREEPWaterTower Theatre officially set its 2015-16 season, which includes an already-revealed original musical, the return of a hit from this season and two recent Broadway successes, WTT’s producing artistic director, Terry Martin, announced.

The season opens with the world premiere of the musical Creep (Oct. 2–25), pictured, written by out Dallas writer/composer Donald Fowler. A moody investigation into the Jack the Ripper legend, it has been in the works for many years. That will be followed by the mainstage production of  Sexy Laundry (Nov. 20–Dec. 13) which played a limited run in the studio space earlier this season with Wendy Welch and Bob Hess. For the first time in a long while, WTT won’t have a holiday show.

2016 begins with an adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (Jan. 22–Feb. 14, 2016), about what happens to young boys when removed from organized society. That will be followed by the 15th annual Out of the Loop Fringe Festival (Feb. 25–March 6). The next single show is a regional premiere, Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal (April 15–May 8), followed by the regional premiere of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar (June 3–26), to be directed by Rene Moreno. The final production of the season will be the Richard Bean’s comedy One Man, Two Guvnors (Aug. 5–28).

All productions will be staged at the Addison Theatre Centre at 15650 Addison Road. The six-play season subscriptions range in price from $90–$180. The renewal deadline for current subscribers to keep their same seats is July 1. Subscribers who renew by June 19 will have the normal handling fee of $7 waived.

See more, and make purchases, at WaterTowerTheatre.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Remembering Jac Alder

A photo I took of Jac as the Arts District went online.

I’ve known Jac Alder for many years, but not nearly as many — not by a long shot — as he has been an arts leader in Dallas. In fact, he has led Theatre 3 for longer than I have been alive … and I’m not a kid. So yeah, maybe for a decade or so I was privileged to say, “Hi, Jac,” or even set up a photo shoot with him or get an exclusive or two in a private conversation, but if you wanna know someone who knew Jac Alder best, well, hell — it wasn’t me.

In many ways, I bet it was Terry Dobson, who was the music director at T3 for nearly 35 years and worked closely with Jac. Sadly, Terry died of sepsis just a few weeks ago … just as Jac checked into the hospital in respiratory distress. Jac’s condition was serious, but he seemed to be improving last I heard. So when word spread last night that Alder had passed away at age 80 … well, it’s a lot to digest in a short period of time.

Jac was widely acknowledged as the longest-serving artistic director of any arts organization in the U.S., which he cofounded (with his late wife Norma Young) in 1961; notably, Jac died just after the final show of the company’s 54th season concluded — Jac knew how to make a timely exit.

That’s because he did it all — not only as a producer and artistic director, but also as an actor (I saw him several time trod the boards, and he was brilliant each time), an entrepreneur (he turned himself in a puppet to give the curtain speech at Avenue Q), a director and occasionally as a designer. He could be prickly, but also droll; fiercely opinionated but also flexible; charming (the first time I met him he told me, “I’ve heard many excellent things about you … but I won’t say from whom”) and defiant. As a critic, I would sometimes write negative reviews of shows he produced, and I could usually tell when he disagreed with me, but never was he rude. He was the gentleman of Dallas theater.

He was savvy, as well, in helping Theatre 3 grow. When it had a reputation for doing “safe” work, he took some risks and put on plays with nudity (Metamorphoses, The Wild Party, The Full Monty), interspersed with Agatha Christie thrillers and song-filled revues. The mission statement of Theatre 3 says it took its name from the interplay between author, actor and audience; Jac really tried to embody that in every production. No one cared more about theater that Jac.

Few cared more about his fellow man, as well. Jac nurtured the young careers of such folks as Morgan Fairchild and Doug Wright; he was well-known to employ theater professionals who needed work so that they could keep their health insurance; he was supportive of AIDS causes and a long-standing friend of the gay community. Theatre 3 embraced its Uptown neighbors.

So, I didn’t know Jac as well as many other people. But I knew him well enough: Through his largesse, his artistry, his commitment. He wasn’t a tall man; but he was a giant.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Memorial Weekend Edition

It’s Memorial Day weekend! What to do for the three-day holiday?  Some summer refreshers should be in order — here are a few, culled from mixologists, bars and restaurants around the country, starting with a local. And we’ll see you back here on Tuesday after the holidays!

7DutchMuleDutch Mule

Spicy, sweet and a little bit sour, this recipe courtesy of Southlake-based Del Frisco’s Grille is just what the doctor ordered when you want something a bit more sophisticated than a so-last-year shandy.

1/2 oz. Nolet’s Gin

4-1/2 oz. ginger beer

Red grapefruit slices

Mint sprigs.

Making it: Fill wine glass 3/4 full with ice. Add gin and ginger beer. Place grapefruit slice in glass and top with mint sprig.


You Look Smashing 

Spyglass Rooftop Bar sits 22 stories atop Archer Hotel in NVC, serving small bites and crafted cocktails with unparalleled views of the Empire State Building and the New York City skyline. You’ll already look smashing up there, but this cocktail in hand won’t hurt either.

2 oz. Eagle Rare Bourbon

6 blackberries

3 mint leaves

1 lemon wedge

1/4 oz. maple syrup.

Serve in rocks glass.

Rise & Shine Coffee Cocktail

When you need more than a mimosa to get you back in the game after a long night of partying, opt for this easy-to-prepare energy bev crafted from liquid coffee concentrate, handcrafted at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen in Winter Park, Fla.

1 oz. Fernet

3/4 oz. Amaro

3/4 oz. Grand Marnier

1/2 oz. simple syrup

1 Barnie’s Blend BREWSTICKS

Making it: Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour and serve in a rocks glass. Garnish with orange twist.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Swimsuit Edition: Bonus Gallery

This week’s edition is crammed full of great pictures, but that still wasn’t enough for us or our readers. Here, then, are some more of the best (and raciest) photos from our swimsuit photo shoots that didn’t make it to the print version.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones