Cocktail Friday: Grapefruit Basil

1 Grapefruit Basil_13What happens when you start out making a Sea Breeze and then add the herbaceous aromatics of basil and sweetness of syrup? This is what happens. 

2½ oz. Grey Goose vodka

1½ oz. fresh grapefruit juice

¾ oz. simple syrup

1 fresh basil leaf

Making it: Muddle basil with simple syrup, add ice and liquid ingredients, shake until chilled, strain into a martini glass; garnish with fresh basil.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Preview: Gay-interest movies at Dallas International Film Fest this week

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David Thorpe, trying not to sound gay

Despite no specific gay programming series, the 2015 of the Dallas International Film Festival — which is going on now through April 19 — is one of the gayest yet, with a lot of diverse and interesting LGBT films, from shorts to narrative features to documentaries. Here’s a brief (but non-exhaustive) rundown of some of what to check out, but there’s tons more as well.

The Amina Profile (documentary). Filmmaker Sophie Deraspe online flirtation with blogger Amina, known to the world as “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” rose to the level of international intrigue when Amina was kidnapped, and Deraspe set out to find out what happened. Screens Friday at 10:15 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.

Margarita with a Straw (feature). An Indian woman with cerebral palsy sets out to make a life for herself in New York, only to discover something about herself when she meets and falls in love with another woman. Screens Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 at 10:30 p.m.

She’s the Best Thing In It (documentary). After years on TV and stage as a reliable character actress (Gypsy, One Day at a Time), Mary Louise Wilson finally scored gold, taking a Tony Award for playing Big Edie Bouvier in the musical adaptation of Grey Gardens. It should have opened even more doors for her, only, she says, “I never worked again.” So, without prior experience teaching, she accepts a position in New Orleans instructing students on the art of acting. Ron Nyswaner (Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Philadelphia) made this look at the actor’s craft through the eyes of one of the best who most folks have never heard of. Screens Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 12:15 p.m.

Do I Sound Gay? (documentary), pictured. David Thorpe’s personal, comic look at gay stereotypes about what an effeminate voice says about you to the outside world — both the English-speaking and non-English-speaking. Confessional, funny, charming and profound by turn, it includes interviews with the likes of George Takei, Tim Gunn and David Sedaris. Screens Saturday at 10:15 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

The Outfit (short). Texas filmmaker and DIFF fave Yen Tan (Ciao, Pit Stop) directed this tight narrative about how clothes suggest something about a public figure’s sexuality. Part of the Shorts Competition Program. Screens Tuesday at 10 p.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Adjust-a-Dream (short). A gay couple, planning for their big move in together, go searching for the perfect mattress … only the process reveals a lot about their differences and insecurities. Comic and dramatic by turn. Part of the Shorts Competition Program. Screens Friday at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

The Little Deputy (short). Gay director Trevor Anderson tries to re-take a photo with his dad at a shopping mall kiosk 30 years late in this quirky, quasi-experimental and very personal private history of father-son relationships. Screens Friday at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Review: ‘The Illusionists’

Jeff Hobson - The Trickster - Photo Credit The Illusionists

The Trickster

There are two irrefutable facts about magic shows: 1) They are cheesy; 2) when they are good, they are  a whole helluva lot of fun. The Illusionists is a whole helluva lot of fun.

In some ways, magic has been ruined for me by Gob Bulth from Arrested Development, who never failed to walk into a room without doing jazz hands to a prerecorded fanfare and dropping a playing card. There are a lot of jazz hands, a lot of silk shirts and moving fingers in The Illusionists. There are even two jokes about Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s the cheesy part. But it’s also an element of its charm. Magic is as much about showmanship as mystery, as much about a good time as misdirection. Seven magicians, all with different skills sets, populate the cast, each bringing a different energy to the show. The Trickster, a Liberace-esque comedic-magician, has a gay ol’ time playing with sexuality as much as a deck of cards. The Escapologist, a half-naked Italian, does an actual bit of legerdemain underwater when, over the course of three minutes — and right before our eyes — he extricates himself from a tank while shackled. The Anti-Conjuror, a wraith-like steampunk dude covered in tattoos — he looks as if Iggy Pop and Lance Burton had a love child — performs some uncomfortable bits of physical magic, such as putting a piece of dental floss under his skin and popping things out of his body.

Andrew Basso - The Escrapologist - Photo Credit The Illusionists

The Escapologist underwater

It’s a great hodgepodge of styles and techniques, from simple coin tricks to elaborate mechanical illusions, and some work better than others. But the trick to enjoying The Illusionists as much as I did is simply to let yourself go. Allow the indescribable sleight-of-hand of The Manipulator to take you back to a time when magic was real and everything was possible. It’s like being a kid again.

At Fair Park Music Hall through April 17.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Comic book start-up wants funding for gay Mormon superhero mag

striplingwarriorHere’s something you don’t see every day … well, maybe you do.

Kickstarter has become the obligatory way folks raise money for their dream projects. I support dreams totally, and the site (as well as IndieGoGo and others) do awesome things. I get a lot of requests to let people know about their crowdfunding campaigns. The latest to get my attention, though, is a fledgling comic book called Stripling Warrior, who its creator, Brian Andersen, touts as “the world’s first gay Mormon superhero.” I have to say, I’m not exactly a comic book expert, but I wonder how many straight Mormon superheroes populate the nerdverse. Andersen himself is a geeky, out gay Mormon married to another out gay Mormon, and so he’s serious (it seems) about exploring actual mythology in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints through a devout LDS superhero. I haven’t detected the irony in the story at all, or the camp factor. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

In any event, it is a thing, and so if you wan to support it (he only needs $5k, and is already a third of the way there will three weeks to go), you can click here. I’m not sure I want to read about the victories of Mormon gays over evil in the world, or any religious superhero for that matter, but the Warrior has a nice package. And that’s why comic books are all about, right?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Michael Sam booted off of ‘DWTS’

PETA MURGATROYD, MICHAEL SAMHe hasn’t had a great week. After failing to secure an NFL slot following the first-ever veterans’ combine, Michael Sam was voted off of Dancing with the Stars last night. I actually liked his performance the week before, though the competition was pretty fierce. Honestly, I haven’t watched the show much over the years and tuned in specifically to see Sam. But there are so many shirtless hunks this season, I may come back to it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Springtime Easter punch

image008Easter weekend is the springiest of times, and nothing if springier that a light and fruit punch drink. This creation from mixologist Enzo Cangemi sounds perfect for brunch at your place, or even a picnic or patio party.

14 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin

7 oz. St-Germain liqueur

6 oz. fresh guava juice

6 oz. lemon juice

Sprig of sage

Black peppercorn

Build ingredients in a punch bowl with ice. Stir. Serves 5–7 (or 1–2 drag queens).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TARDIS couple launch Cross My Hearts Foundation

TARDIS_engage_169It today’s edition, we have a story about HavenCon, Texas’ first-ever gay-targeted sci-fi and fantasy convention, taking place this weekend in Austin. In addition to the all the events covered in that story, though, is another event not to miss. Dallas entrepreneurs, married couple and Doctor Who geeks TJ and Timmy Mundell-Patterson will be appearing there to promote their new nonprofit, the Cross My Hearts Foundation, which supports LGBT families through advocacy for marriage equality, same-sex adoptions and legal counseling. You can learn more about the group on their Facebook page.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Josh Groban: The gay interview

JoshGroban4 JamesDimmockChris Azzopardi talks to the sexy singer.

It all began with the bears. “I’m like, ‘Are you a baseball team?’” says Josh Groban, recalling an early-career encounter with a man who informed the crooner about his growing number of gay bear fans. Nearly 15 years later, members of the LGBT community — even the non-hairy ones — are still feeling struck and soothed by Groban’s elastic range. Stages (which drops April 28) is yet another swoon-worthy set from the singer. His first collection of songs from Broadway musicals, Groban takes on some of Broadway’s best for the album, which includes “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel and The Phantom of the Opera showstopper “All I Ask Of You,” a duet with Kelly Clarkson. While discussing the release during a recent interview, the 34-year-old also highlighted the significance of performing with the Washington, D.C. Gay Men’s Chorus during Obama’s 2009 presidential inauguration, the validation his younger “awkward” self felt after being named Sexiest Newcomer and how Ryan Gosling put the singer’s sexuality to the test.

Dallas Voice: I saw you in Toronto for Rufus Wainwright’s If I Loved You: Gentlemen Prefer Broadway – An Evening of Love Duets last summer. You really got your gay on.  Josh Groban: [Laughs] I’ll always put my gay on for Rufus.

During an interview you did regarding that performance, Rufus referred to you as a “dreamboat.” At this point in your career, are you used to that kind of attention from gay men?  Yeah, it’s happened from time to time. Look, when Rufus Wainwright is complimenting you, musically or otherwise, it’s a great honor. Something that was surprising to me that happened when I first got signed at 19, 20 years old: I was at some kind of shop, and I was walking around with someone — it was probably my girlfriend — and this guy comes up to me and goes, “Hey, I just want you to know, the bears love you.” I’m like, “Excuse me? What?” And I didn’t know what that meant! I’m like, “Are you a baseball team?”

How did you figure out what type of bears he was referring to?  I think some Googling had to take place. And it was like, “Oh. Ohhhh!” [Laughs]

And you’re like, “Not the bears in the forest.”  Yeah, and not the Chicago Bears.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Denise Lee performs cabaret tonight; Kibbles and Cocktails serves it up

dogLast night, Kitchen LTO at Trinity Groves was filled with fans of Denise Lee, who got to see her perform her stylist cabaret songs while feasting on Blythe Beck’s decadent cuisine. If you missed it, you can try to recreate the experience tonight. She will perform her show Denise Lee and the Divas at Fair Park inside the Women’s Museum. Best of all: It’s free. Enter through Gate 3 and be there by 7 p.m. to hear Dee (on her birthday, no less) sing hits popularized by everyone from Bessie Smith to Whitney Houston.

If you did see Lee last night, but didn’t get enough of Trinity Groves, come back tonight for Kibbles And Cocktails, a fundraiser for the pet rescue group DFW Rescue Me. Tickets are available at the door, and you can enjoy more food and drinks from the chefs.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones