WATCH: People consuming ‘prairie oysters,’ and more, for the first time

Doesn’t that look delicious? Maybe, until you know it’s fried penis. Bon appetit.

I waited until after lunch so most people could dine in peace. But this video is interesting to watch.

I myself have never had “Rocky Mountain oysters” — sometimes called prairie oysters, but simply “fricasseed bull testicles.” And the reason I have not are pretty plainly demonstrated by what you are about to see. As a foodie, perhaps I should be more adventurous. But as a biological male …. I just can’t. Oh, and the penis is no better. (I’m OK with eating bird and fish eggs, though. Go figure.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas skyline voted world’s best by USAToday

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A view of Dallas’ skyline by Alex Remington.

USAToday polled its readers: What city has the best skyline.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to North Texans: Dallas won hands-down. We beat out D.C., Seattle, Chicago and even Hong Kong.

It makes sense. Dallas has little by way of natural beauty, so the skyscrapers are our de facto mountains.

You can see the other finishers here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: John Lithgow’s brilliant analysis of ‘playing gay’

Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 9.23.13 AMOn The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert plays a fake conservative who baits guests with muddle-headed, FoxNews-worthy comments, so you have to take his interview with John Lithgow — the star of the new gay-marriage film Love Is Strange, which we profiled this week — with a grain of salt. But what’s awesome is where Lithgow plays along, explaining how he approaches playing a gay character. Playing gay in nothing new for the Oscar nominee; he was a trans woman in The World According to Garp. But it’s a brilliant statement not only on the craft of acting, but humanity. The real good stuff starts at about 4:30. (Watch below or go to this link.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GIVEAWAY: Win tickets to the screening of the gay film ‘Cupcakes’

A048R1PYIsraeli filmmaker Eytan Fox (Jossi & Jagger) has turned his sights to comedy with his latest film, Cupcakes. Set in Tel Aviv, it tells the story of bored housewives who decide to enter a songwriting competition, with comical results. The local premiere screens as part of the Jewish Film Festival on Thursday, and we are giving away two tickets to see it. Simply be the first to email jones@dallasvoice.com with the subject line CUPCAKES to qualify! The screening — which will include a talk-back by Dallas Voice staffer David Taffet — is at the Studio Movie Grill at Spring Valley at 7 p.m., Sept. 11; you have to pick up your tickets by 6:30 p.m. to get a seat. The winner will be notified by 2 p.m. Wednesday. Enjoy and good luck!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Crosland Group make huge donation of gay-themed books to Oak Lawn Library

booksDallas developer Luke Crosland, whose company The Crosland Group is responsible for ilume and ilume Park, has marked a gift of more than 6,000 volumes of LGBT books to the Dallas Public Library. The collection will be stored at the Oak Lawn branch in the heart of the gayborhood.

The donation was originally housed at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives in Florida.

There will be a presentation of the books during Pride Weekend. Due to space limitations, not all volumes will be on display, but will be available to be checked out.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Theater critics bestow awards

Liz Mikel, left, and Tiffany Hobbs, right, were singled out for their performances in ‘Raisin in the Sun,’ directed by Tre Garrett. (Photo courtesy Karen Almond)

The Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum met as usual the first Saturday after Labor Day to hash out our awards for the best of North Texas theater over the preceding 12 months, and the Dallas Theater Center ended up the big winner, with five of its shows receiving citations. Les Miserables, Fortress of Solitude, Oedipus el Rey and its in-repertory pair of Raisin in the Sun and Clybourne Park (Raisin‘s quasi-sequel) all took home major awards, including direction for the first four. Cast members from many were also recognized, including Liz Mikel and Tiffany Hobbs from Raisin, Allison Pistorious from Clybourne and Steven Walters from Les Miz. Uptown Players, coming off one of its best seasons, also won accolades for two of its shows: The gay comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (for direction and its ensemble) and for The Boy from Oz for its three stars and for its wig and makeup by Coy Covington. My own Actor of the Year winner for 2013, Tina Parker, won note for her performance in Detroit — one of nods to Kitchen Dog Theater, which also produced best new play winner Barbecue Apocalypse by Matt Lyle. WaterTower also fared well, especially for its recent musical Dogfight. The winners — which are voted on by a panel of 12 local theater critics, including me — are hashed out over a luncheon. There are between four and nine winners in each category this year.

The complete list is below.

Direction: Daniel Aukin, Fortress of Solitude (Dallas Theater Center); B.J. Cleveland, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Uptown Players); David Denson, Year of the Rooster (Upstart Productions); Tre Garrett, A Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Jubilee Theatre); Tim Johnson, Detroit (Kitchen Dog Theater); Terry Martin, Dogfight (WaterTower Theatre); Kevin Moriarty, Oedipus el Rey (Dallas Theater Center); Susan Sargeant, The Diaries of Adam and Eve and Happy Days (WingSpan Theatre Co.); Liesl Tommy, Les Miserables (Dallas Theater Center).

Vanya-Show

The cast of ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ was recognized as best ensemble, as was its director, B.J. Cleveland.

Actor: Adam A. Anderson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Jubilee Theatre); Jaxon Beeson, Stiff (Fun House Theatre and Film); Joey Folsom, Year of the Rooster (Upstart Productions) and Hank Williams: Lost Highway (WaterTower Theatre); Alex Ross, The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players); Garret Storms, for his season of performances; Drew Wall, Nocturne (Second Thought Theatre); Steven Walters, Les Miserables (Dallas Theater Center).

Actress: Tiffany Hobbs, Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center) and Spunk (WaterTower Theatre); Janelle Lutz, The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players); Liz Mikel, Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center); Tina Parker, Detroit (Kitchen Dog Theater); Allison Pistorius, Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre) and Clybourne Park (Dallas Theater Center); Sarah Elizabeth Smith, The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players); Juliette Talley, Dogfight (WaterTower Theatre); Ashley Wilkerson, The Mountaintop (Jubilee Theatre).

Ensemble: Barbecue Apocalypse (Kitchen Dog Theater); Heroes (Stage West); The Echo Room Presents: Her Song (Echo Theatre); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Uptown Players).

Creative Contribution: Coy Covington for his wig and makeup design for The Boy from Oz (Uptown Players) and wig designs for Pageant (Uptown Players); Clare Floyd DeVries for her set design, Detroit (Kitchen Dog Theater); Jay Dias for his music direction, Nine and Titanic (Lyric Stage); Jeffrey Colangelo and Katy Tye for their movement design, Galatea (Prism Co.); the design team with Trinity Shakespeare Festival, for their season.

New Play or Musical: Barbecue Apocalypse by Matt Lyle (Kitchen Dog Theater); Booth by Steven Walters (Second Thought Theatre); Fortress of Solitude by Itamar Moses and Michael Friedman (Dallas Theater Center); mania/gift by Shelby-Allison Hibbs (Echo Theatre); Stiff by Jeff Swearingen (Fun House Theatre and Film).

Touring Production: Evita (Dallas Summer Musicals); The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess (ATTPAC); Peter and the Starcatcher (ATTPAC); Trick Boxing (Sossy Mechanics).

Special Citations: To Matt Tomlanovich, for reviving the Margo Jones as a busy performance space, opening it to fledgling companies at a reasonable price, and making it available to small festivals, poetry slams, readings and dance groups; and to Lawson Taitte, for his distinguished career in arts criticism.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The winner of ‘SYTYCD’ is …

_W5A1689_hires1… not in any way a surprise. If you’ve been watching this season of So You Think You Can Dance since the start, it was pretty apparent Ricky Ubeda was the one to beat. And no one did end up beating him, not even runner-up Valerie, who was among the best of the girls. The contemporary dancer who could spin and twist and become a different personality with every dance seemed to have no limitations, and last night it took him the prize.

But…

MY2_7038_hires1…It might be a good thing he did not have to go up against the winner of Australia’s SYTYCD, Michael Demeski, whose Lord-of-the-Dance-ish acrobatics in pleather tights was an amazing display on the show.  Check out his chops.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Heather Kitchen retiring from DTC

Heather Kitchen

Many professions are about forming relationships — some necessary, some welcomed — and when someone clicks with you personally, it makes your job all that much better. In the nearly five years I’ve known Heather Kitchen, she’s been one of the best working relationships I’ve encountered. From the first day we met, she’s greeted me with “Hey, Arnie!” every time she sees me. She has that familiar, dare I say motherly, aura, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve made her day better when in fact it is she who has improved yours.

Since 2011, she’s led the business side of the Dallas Theater Center as its managing director, giving the support that artistic director Kevin Moriarty has needed to make exciting theater and revitalize the 55-year-old institution. By keeping it in the black — and always with a smile — she’s actually contributed to the artistry, and more importantly, the tone of theater in all of North Texas.

So her decision to retire — at 62, she’s been involved in arts administration for 40 years — just as the DTC begins its new season is a personal loss as well as a professional one. She’ll stay on until her successor is found (probably early 2015), but whoever it will be could never replace Heather. She’s someone I’ll miss.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Michael Urie opens ‘Buyer & Cellar’ tomorrow night

Even though he trained in theater here in North Texas, Wednesday night will be something special: the professional Dallas stage debut of Michael Urie, in his one-man show Buyer & Cellar. Urie recreated his starring role in the off-Broadway hit — about a man who curates Barbra Streisand’s memorabilia mall — with a handful of performances at the City Performance Hall. Welcome home, Michael! We look forward to enjoying you again … for the first time.

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—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: A beautiful song about marriage equality

Garfunkel and Oates

It’s only been airing a few weeks, but already Garfunkel and Oates is one of my favorite quirky comedies. Playing on IFC, it’s about two girls who are musician-comedians, performing lilting humor songs as part of their act. In the most recent episode, they were tapped to write a song about two male puppets on a popular kids’ show who were getting married. This is the result, called — like another song sung by a puppet named Kermit — “Rainbow Connection.” If it’s not in the running for an Emmy next year, there’s something very, very amiss in the world.

New episodes airs weekly on IFC.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones