Recipe: Cider caramel ice cream swirl

Cider Caramel Swirl Ice Cream-22Something different for a recipe this week (we have several cocktail recipes in the print edition!), one that combines dessert and alcohol — a perfect creation for the long Independence Day weekend, and something fun to share with multiple friends at a cookout.

12 oz. bottle of Leprechaun Premium Hard Golden Cider

4 tbsp salted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 egg (yolk only)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 9.57.13 AMMaking it: In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, simmer cider 10–15 minutes until it reduces and begins to thicken; add butter and brown sugar until mix simmers and starts to bubble, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Let sit for 10 mins. Transfer to a safe container, and allow to cool at least one hour.

To prepare ice cream base, whisk together sugar and milk in a sauce pan, simmering for at most 5 mins. (until sugar dissolves). Remove from heat, then whisk in cream. The add yolk and vanilla. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 mins. Then, add ingredients into an ice cream maker (follow instructions).

Transfer to freezer-safe storage container and folk in cider caramel sauce. Freeze for at least 12 hours (24 preferred) before serving.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Stage review: ‘Psycho Beach Party’

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It is a testament to the complete saturation of absurdism in a Charles Busch play that literally any female character can effortlessly be turned into a man in drag. In the original off-Broadway version of Psycho Beach Party, Busch himself played the ingenue teen; in the film, he created a new role for himself as a female detective; and in the latest incarnation — at Theatre 3 until July 10 — Coy Covington dons a dress to play the ingenue’s mother, the kooky over-protective Mrs. Forrest. The lesson? Men in petticoats = comedy gold.

As its name suggest, Psycho Beach Party is a spoof of the dumb coastal comedies of the 1960s like Where the Boys Are and Beach Blanket Bingo — inane, predictable, empty-calorie bites of eye candy. But Busch’s construct is more subversive: He combines that quintessential ’60s film genre with two others (Grand Guignol melodramas and lurid slasher films), throws in a substantial dose of homoeroticism and a Marilyn Monroe wannabe (Grace Neeley, stealing her scenes), and voila! A pastiche punch that exemplifies camp.

The secret weapon of PBP is that it cannot be over-played, as Covington proves in his over-the-top scenes. He twirls and mugs and winks like Bette Davis taking a bong hit from Joan Crawford’s LSD-laced cremains. And Jenna Anderson as the flat-chested teen with more psychotic personalities than Sybil plays the ugly duckling loser with as much gusto as the crazy alter egos. And you really can’t under-estimate the appeal of a quartet of bikini-clad musclemen (Jacob Lewis, Blake Lee, Heath Billups, Zach Valdez) shaking their moneymakers with a seductive innocence that raises the temperature in the theater.

Director Bruce R. Coleman doesn’t hold back, tossing in every kitschy music cue and outrageous dance move he can, though the pacing flails wildly from madcap to stagnant. Then again, so did those beach movies. …

Arnold Wayne Jones

Theatre 3
2900 Routh St.
Through July 10
Theatre3Dallas.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Drink up!

Some cocktail recipes to enliven your Independence Day weekend

The Fourth of July isn’t until Monday, which means a lot of us will get an uninterrupted three- or four-day weekend in which to celebrate our nation’s independence by getting tipsy by the pool (though no driving, guys!). Most Fridays, I provide a new cocktail recipe to lubricate your weekend, but for a super-sized holiday, I decided to bring out the big guns: several recipes for a variety of tastes. So cheers, and enjoy responsibly!

Arnold Wayne Jones

Star-Spangled Sangria

STAR-SPANGLED-SANGRIA
If you’re having a bunch of close friends over, make this in bulk for a high-end summer refresher.

3 cups Martini & Rossi prosecco
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or lemonade)
6 large mint leaves
3 lemon slices
3 cucumber slices
5 fresh strawberries (sliced)

Making it: Combine lemon juice, lemons, cucumbers, strawberries and mint in a pitcher with sparkling water. Chill. Gently stir in chilled prosecco just before serving. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Coffeetail No. 51

Coffeetail-51
Coffee maker Lavazza developed this caffeinated cocktail that’s low on alcohol but high on flavor.

3 oz. ginger ale
2 oz. cold brew coffee concentrate
2/3 oz. vodka
Splash of Grand Marnier
Splash of simple syrup
Sliced lemon, orange and cucumber
Maraschino cherries
Fresh mint

Fill a 12 oz. glass with ice. In a shaker, combine cold brew, Grand Marnier, vodka and syrup; pour over the ice. Top with ginger ale. Decorate with wheel or slices of orange and/or lemon. Skewer cherries and cucumber wedge. Garnish with mint.

Amaretto Colada

disaronno_colada
Nothing seems more tropical than a pina colada, and this version, made with Disaronno Amaretto liqueur, really gays up the traditional version.

1-1/2 oz. amaretto
3 oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. Coco Lopez (or coconut milk)
Sliced pineapple
Maraschino cherry

Mix first three ingredients in a blender with ice; pulse until slushy. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh pineapple and cherries.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The dachshund and the fury

Indie filmmaker Todd Solondz talks about revisiting Dawn Wiener in his hilariously twisted squirm comedy ‘Wiener-Dog’

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BIZARRO BENJI | Greta Gerwig plays Dawn Wiener, one of the messed-up owners of a dachshund who travels the U.S. affecting human’s lives in Todd Solondz’s brilliantly twisted new film.

 

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Todd Solondz is the undisputed master of squirm cinema: the kind of movies that make you feel uncomfortable for peculiar and oddly familiar reasons: Long, silent, disorienting shots; singularly unnerving conversations that cross a line of social decorum; and frank, desperate views of characters that border on pathetic.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 1.33.29 PMHis breakout hit, 1995’s Welcome to the Dollhouse, introduced audiences to Dawn Wiener, the dim-witted, goofy and kinda unlikeable tween student whose attempts at social acceptance go disastrously wrong. Dawn is back in his latest film, Wiener-Dog (now playing at the Angelika Mockingbird), though this may come as a surprise to those who thought she had been killed off in Solondz’ 2004 film Palindromes (more on that later), or even those who wonder why she’s now played by Greta Gerwig instead of Dollhouse’s Heather Matarazzo (more on that later, too). And she’s not the title character in the movie, either — that laurel belongs to a slow, adorable female dachshund who unifies this collection of four short films.

“It is the life trajectory of this single dog, passing from owner to owner — it’s about a dog, but not really about a dog,” Solondz says in an accent that seems equal parts Long Island and recently-arrived German émigré. (Solondz was born in Newark, N.J.) “The dog is really a conceit — how owners look at their dogs and anthropomorphize them. They become vessels for the owners’ hopes and illusions — we project innocence and purity on them, so that when harm befalls them, it affects people with more keenness than were it to befall one of their fellow humans.”

The owners in Wiener-Dog include a young boy, in remission from cancer; the now-30-year-old Dawn Wiener; a frustrated film school professor (Danny DeVito); and a bitter woman (Ellen Burstyn) near the end of her life (who, disturbingly, has named the dog Cancer). Some of the owners’ lives are improved by the dog; some not so much; but all are transformed at various stages of their life cycles.

“Yes, it was built into the structure,” Solondz says of the metaphor of youth-adulthood-middle age-dotage. “The movie is really about mortality and how it shadows and hovers over each of these characters and stories.”

He even is able to resurrect a character of sorts in the personage of Dawn.

“We all have one life, but we always imagine the possibility of roads not taken,” he says. “That’s what I’ve been doing in my movies for a while. After I killed [Dawn off] in Palindromes, I wanted to offer her another possible life trajectory. This was an opportunity for me to do that.” Matarazzo had said she did not want to revive Dawn … which was just another opportunity for Solondz. “I think that’s one of the pleasures as a filmmaker — not only creating other lives but letting other [actors] live those other lives of characters.”

Solondz doesn’t blink in his fearless undercutting of expectations. He admits that the opening shot — an overhead of a young actor lying in the grass — is an homage to Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater’s Boyhood … though with a much more subversive take.

“That was very deliberate,” he says. “But Boyhood is a very different. I have great respect for Richard Linklater, but I wanted to present a kind of alternative boyhood, so I told the boy [in the scene] to play dead. That was the [mood I wanted to create].”

It’s that perversity that has made Solondz a darling of indie film fans for 20 years … and probably also what has kept him from mainstream financial success. He makes films about outsiders — transgender people, societal “losers,” those with Down’s Syndrome and more — and doesn’t prettify their lives one bit.

“I like to play, but not everyone likes to play with me,” he drolly opines. “I think whenever I go to the movies I look to be surprised. [I like] to have my expectations subverted and provoked in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Art can be transformative. I’m serious about what I do. They are sorrowful and sad, but they are comedies. I guess [you could call Wiener-Dog] a comedy of despair.”

One of the comedic set-pieces in Wiener-Dog is when, half-way through this 90 minute film, Solondz delivers an “intermission” complete with C&W ballad by Marc Shaiman and Scott Witman while audiences are encouraged to “visit your concession stand.” Yet another homage … this time to Quentin Tarantino?

“I hadn’t been thinking so much about Tarantino, but there’s nor reason he should have a monopoly on playing with the intermission,” Solondz says. “Because it’s such a small movie, I wanted to give it a sense of expansiveness — a dog roaming the whole country looking for [his purpose].”

But Solondz does get that his humor is, irrefutably, all his, right? Take, for instance, a scene in which a boy’s mother (Julie Delpy) explains that spaying the dog is a “favor,” so she won’t be raped by an HIV-positive mongrel like her own puppy was. He gets that no one has as twisted of a take on the banalities of life as he does?

“I don’t know,” he says. “The funny thing about this, I suppose, is that I understand how things come across as odd or weird to others, but as I am writing them, they sound perfectly natural to me. It’s not an intellectual, but a creative process. I’ve always thought, if one day some alien creatures came to our planet and thought we [humans] were really cute and would make good pets, and to be good pets we would need to be neutered, would we call our alien owners our best friends?”

A creative process, indeed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 1, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Dance diva Kristine W’s new video ‘Out There’

KW_DANCERS_2016_LARGE_BLUEKristine W has been a fixture in the gay dance music scene for two decades (more than a dozen of her singles have topped Billboard’s U.S. dance chart). She’s just released her latest video and single, “Out There.” Take a look and listen here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Jones, Russell win in Houston Press Club’s Lone Star Awards

Dallas Voice Executive Editor Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas Voice Executive Editor Arnold Wayne Jones with his three Houston Press Club Lone Star Awards

Dallas Voice Executive Editor Arnold Wayne Jones came home from the Houston Press Club’s Lone Star Awards with three trophies this past weekend, and former Voice news writer James Michael Russell won one.

Arnold won first place in the “Newspaper Under 50K Circulation, News or Feature Story” category with Soup 2 Nuts, his profile of Pink Magnolia restaurant owners chef Blythe Beck and Casie Caldwell. (Judges praised the piece as “a fun story … It felt as if I knew Blythe and Casie by the end … full of sass and wonderful quotes.”) Second place in that category went to Michael Duke with the Jewish Herald-Voice for his story, “Bereaved Family Focuses On Lives After Deadly Flood.”

Arnold won second place in the Newspaper Print Journalist of the Year  category, behind Dianna Wray of Houston Press in first place, and ahead of third place winner Leif Reigstad, also of Houston Press. Arnold’s moving tribute to his mother following her death last year helped win him Journalist of the Year honors.

Arnold won third place in the Newspaper General Commentary category for his review of the restaurant Uchi, Uchie coochie, could she cook! Michael Duke at Jewish Herald-Voice won first place with his story “Israel Was Reborn Despite The Holocaust” and Houston Press’ Margaret Downing won second place for “The Rise and Crashing Fall …”

(Had there been a category for most creative headlines, Arnold would no doubt have won hands-down. Matter of fact, he would have won first, second and third place.)

James won second place in the Internet Opinion category for his “Bought and Sold” series of blogs on Texas lawmakers who have proven to be more beholden to big bucks than to Texas voters. First place went to Houston Press’ Cory Garcia.

For a complete list of Lone Star Award winners, go here.

—  Tammye Nash

Cocktail Friday: The Siege of Lisbon

TheSeigeofLisbon_LizClayman_01We’ve all heard of champagne cocktails, and even wine spritzers. But porto — a form of wine that originated on the Iberian peninsula — isn’t all that familiar as a cocktail mixer. The sweetish wine mixes well with other liquors, though, as this recipe bears out.

1.5 oz. of Sandeman Porto Founders Reserve

1 oz. gin

3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

3/4 oz. simple syrup

Angostura bitters

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and top with ice. Shake to chill and dilute. Strain into a chilled rock-filled double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Grapefruit Summer Solstice Punch

The summer solstice — the astronomical start to summer, and the longest day of the year — arrives bright and early on June 20, which gives you all that much more time for day drinking. Of course, day drinking is sad unless you do it with other people, and a punch is the ideal way to get everyone a little hammered and soak in the season.

10 parts Bacardi Grapefruit

4 parts Pineau des Charentes

5 parts triple sec

7 parts lime juice

5 parts orange blossom honey syrup

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice and stir. Garnish with lemon slices.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

First look: Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe

StephanPylesFloraAlthough Stephan Pyles hasn’t had a restaurant on The Strip since his game-changing Star Canyon, the superstar chef got his start in the gayborhood 40 years ago when he started working at the now-shuttered The Bronx. Since then, he’s become one of the acknowledged masters of high-end cuisine (the James Beard Foundation even created a Southwestern category for its awards due to his pioneering work).

Last month, he officially closed his namesake Downtown restaurant — because it was time. “I don’t miss it one bit,” he tells me. “It was time.”

But he didn’t have to go far to feel creatively revitalized. Already, he has emerged a few blocks away with a whole-new concept … of sorts.

Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe, across from the Meyerson Symphony Center, takes its name and inspiration from his Routh Street Cafe, which was launched in 1983 as his first solo venture. Old-school fans still remember its appeal, which included classical music wafting on the airwaves. Flora Street pipes in a combination of classical and ’80s trash rock as a kind of tribute to its roots in the 1980s.

The menu takes a few cues from past Pyles concepts as well (including the deliriously dextrous blue corn muffins), but it’s so far-reaching and ambitious as to seem like nothing we have seen before. Pyles is famous for traveling the world extensively, incorporating new techniques, ingredients and flavor profiles into his culinary creations. The menu descriptions read more like poetry than components. “Poblano infladito, black bean mousse, Tennessee wild paddlefish caviar” could be a new form: haikuisine.

He divides the offering into raw bar, starters, mains and a chef’s tasting, but even the desserts sound like a seduction of sweets. Equally beautiful are the platings of dishes and the space itself, whose 70 seats are bathed in soft natural light. All the details promise to make Flora Street Cafe the most talked-about restaurant of the summer.

2330 Flora St. FloraStreet.com.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chorale to hold free ‘healing’ concert Tuesday at COH

5-Sean-Baugh-TCC-by-HHenley-copyOn Saturday night, the Turtle Creek Chorale thought it had held its final concert of the season. It was the third consecutive presentation of Heartstrings, which celebrated love (and included nightly weddings of actual same-sex couples).

But the chorale’s work is not quite done — and for all the wrong reasons.

Following the tragedy in Orlando, TCC artistic director Sean Baugh has announced he will lead members of Dallas’ gay men’s chorus in a free concert Tuesday night. Songs for Healing will be a tribute and memorial “to help bring hope and healing in response to the deadliest mass shooting ever to occur.”

“This irrational and cruel act of terrorism strikes deeply at the very core of our community,” Baugh said. “This impact is horrible throughout our city, our state and our world. We must do what we do best — heal with the power of song — to blunt this pathetic act.”

The concert will include songs recently performed for Heartstrings, as well as a preview of some planned for the GALA Choruses Festival to be held in Denver in July.

It will take place in the sanctuary of the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road, starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Admission is free.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones