PSSA’s standings for the week

ThinkstockPhotos-177556272smThe three active divisions of the Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association‘s teams posted the following stat this week:

B Division: Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion B (6-2); Toxic (6-2); T.H.E. Round-Up (0-8).

C Division: Round-Up Synergy (13-3); JR.’s Texas Heat (12-3-1); Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion C (10-4); Dallas Woody’s (10-5-1); TMC Octane (10-5-1); Dallas Woody’s Demons (5-10-1); Dallas Radiation (5-11); Aftershock (4-12); Tim-Buck-2 Cat Squad (3-12-1); P-Cocks (3-12-1).

D Division: Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion D (13-1); DIVE! (12-1); Shockwave (9-3-1); JR.’s Dallas Devils (10-4); Winslow’s Winos (8-4-1); Dallas Woody’s Woodchucks (8-5); PowerStrokes (8-5-1); The Brick Titans (7-5); The Brick #Hashtags (7-7); Dallas Eagle Talons (5-8-1); TomKatz (5-8-1); Round-Up Diesel (5-9); N-Motion (4-8); Tap House Semis (3-9-1); Dallas Woody’s Saints (3-11); Dallas Tornados (1-10-2); Shockers (2-12).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The sun’ll come out… manana! ‘Annie’ goes bilingual

Annie the MusicalThe AT&T Performing Arts Center announced today that this Sunday’s evening performance of Annie will be offered in Spanish.

Broadway en espanol is a new program of ATTPAC, in collaboration with Cara Mia Theatre Co. and Univision, offering free headsets at the 7:30 p.m. performance of Annie at the Winspear Opera House. Members of Cara Mia will translate the show in real time for Spanish-speaking audience members. This is the inaugural effort for the program, but additional shows will be announced in the coming months. For now, though, enjoy classic songs like “Ciudad Nueva York,” “Quizas” and “Manana.”

Tickets are available here. My review of Annie will be in Friday’s edition of Dallas Voice, in print and online.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS: Scenes from Juneteenth celebration

Dallas Southern Pride and the Resource Center’s United Black Ellument teamed this weekend to present a Juneteenth Pool Party on Sunday. Here are some scenes from the party.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘A Deadly Adoption:’ A post-modern post-mortem

ADAIn April, word leaked that Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig, co-stars dating back to Saturday Night Live, would be appearing together in yet another film. Not news, itself, and even the title, A Deadly Adoption, didn’t necessarily mean anything, nor did the fact it was made for TV. No, the factoid that set everyone’s teeth on edge was this: It was slated to appear on Lifetime. You know, Television for Women and Gay Men. The plot sounded like a cross between The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Fatal Attraction, which are of course the same movie anyway. But this was Ferrell and Wiig. Clowns. Sure, they’d done some serious work, but there’s “serious” and there’s “Lifetime movie.” It had to be a joke … didn’t it?

And that’s what audiences still can’t figure out.

The movie debuted on Saturday night in the usually world premiere space previously occupied by such dubious titles as Mother May I Sleep with Danger, An Amish Murder, Another Woman’s Husband and Baby for Sale. So, clearly, it would be like those. And it was. ….

Or was it?

I’ve seen it and I still can’t tell.

wfI can say this much: It is not an outright spoof. It doesn’t hold for laughs, nor is it funny … at least no more so than any other Lifetime movie. The plot is predictable and dumb: A successful financial planner/author (Ferrell) — we know this because they mention “book” or “best seller” five times (five!) in the first 45 seconds of the screenplay — goes into a downward spiral after his wife (Wiig) loses their second child when she falls through a handrail on a dock. Five years later, Ferrell is still tortured, but they have decided to adopt, following the unorthodox method of allowing the mother to live with them. “I think we’re going to be very happy,” Wiig declared less than 20 minutes in, and for anyone who’s ever seen a Lifetime movie, that line is virtual proof that things are not going to work out.

gunAnd that’s the conundrum: Everything that happens in A Deadly Adoption is so terrible, so cliche. that you figure they have to be putting us on! But if so, they never let us in on the joke.

Nothing makes sense. Not that fact that Wiig expands her business not because her business-minded husband suggests it but because the Only Gay in the Village (Bryan Safi, from the Podcast Throwing Shade) does; he, of course, dies, as all sexless gay men do in these movies, because he follows a kidnapper without backup since his phone conveniently hits a dead zone at the precise right (wrong) moment. The couple’s 6-year-old daughter, of course, has diabetes (because asthma is so trite). The surrogate mom is a psycho who tears Wiig out of a photo and lets it fall to the ground. There is not one shot you see that you haven’t seen before, including the end-of-show, pre-credit-scroll assertion, “Inspired by a True Story.”

It’s a hoot … except it’s not. Ferrell and Wiig are terrible and wooden (proof that talent cannot elevate some scripts) and the movie so slow and predictable, if they were trying to make a point about cheesy TV movies by mimicking one, they fail.

David Lynch has toyed with soap opera by not blinking, and there are plenty of comedies that mock bad comedy by being intentionally unfunny, but this is somehow different: You can neither enjoy it ironically or unironically. It’s post-modern meta-cheesefest, so intent on recreating what it beholds that it becomes that very thing. Like the mad scientist who turns himself into a zombie, A Deadly Adoption is a victim of its own existence.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Some thoughts on Father’s Day

My dad, 53 years ago

Relationships between gay men and their mothers are legendary, but the dad relationship can sometimes be more complex. But on this Father’s Day, I think we all know how important a dad can be.

Everyone thinks their dad was the best, except for those who think he was the worst, and both are probably right. “Dad” is the worst job in the world, that’s for sure: It comes with no instruction manual and less of a “paternal instinct” that moms get. As fathering goes, there’s no right way, or at least no way to know it’s the right way. My dad is of a generation that wasn’t much for changing diapers (he famously changed mine only once, when I peed in his face). He himself was the youngest of seven kids; his parents were well into their 40s when he and his twin brother were born, and he was orphaned by the time he was 15. My dad turned a lot to his H.S. coach as a father figure (he almost adopted my dad and Uncle Ron) so he understood the value of a father figure.

Dad was only 24 when I was born — not much more than a kid, really. He was a jock in school and a soldier when I came along. He certainly didn’t have any reason to know what to do with two kids; it’s not like he could Google “good parenting — fathers” and watch YouTube videos. Dad then became a high school coach and phys ed teacher himself, and at my house, we always referred to the young men he coached as “his boys.” It made me feel a bit on the outside, because they were all older and more athletic and I had a back brace for much of my childhood that limited my mobility and made me not the star running back my dad probably would have wanted, or at least known what to do with.

But that didn’t stop him from supporting me. He taught me archery, which didn’t require speed. Every night, for as many years as I can remember, my dad came into my bedroom while I was in bed, stood across the room and threw a football to me — back and forth we went, with the rule that we had to have X consecutive catches without a drop before I had to go to bed. Eventually, it got to be 100 in a row. I remember a few times he fumbled around 98, and to this day I don’t know if he did it on purpose just so we could spend more time together. His name for me was always “Buddha.” I’m not sure when he stopped calling me that; I sorely miss it.

Sometimes, he would just hand me a toy gun and take one himself and we would have shoot-outs in the living room (when I was older, we had light saber battles); but I still recall the time my sister told him (correctly) that I had shot my pellet gun (small, rubber pellets in a plastic gun — nothing major) at her and my dad took my gun to the back porch and stomped it into shards while I watched on in tears. Playing with toy guns was OK, but he was teaching another lesson — about responsibility.

He also taught me about the birds and the bees, and walloped me a few times I remember, but also played the guitar a lot and taught us to sing and drove all night 450 miles in a station wagon so we could go on family vacations. My strongest memory is probably the summer I learned how to dive head-first off the high board. I did it, finally, on the last day our club’s pool was open, but dad was away at a track meet. No cell phones, mind you — so I waited by the door in my Speedo with a towel around me so I could show him when he got home. The pool closed at 10; dad pulled into the drive about 9:44, and we drove like crazy to the pool so he could see me dive. I did it — three times — while he looked on. I don’t think I dove off the high board ever again in my life.

When he took me to movies, which I loved doing with him (together, just the two of us, we saw Star Wars, Alien and Star Trek The Motion Picture), he liked to buy as many snacks as we could carry. In intermediate and high school, I did theater, including once a drag role, and he would beam — he was happy for me and very encouraging.

But he made a lot of mistakes, no doubt. He wasn’t a perfect dad any more than I was the perfect son. When I was a kid I’d overhear him say some homophobic things which frightened me about coming out to him, but actually he’s been totally supportive of me and always been nice to my boyfriends (or at least treated them with dignity). I got my name and my sense of humor from him. I like to think I got his looks, too, though he was far handsomer than I’ve ever been. And he always treated my mother right. I think that’s the best thing a father can teach his children: To respect their mother and to love the person who means the most to you.

He rarely raised his voice. He is a hugger and a kisser and has never hesitated to say, “I love you.” He is the only dad I’ve every known, and therefore the best dad.I wouldn’t be who I am without him. But then, he wouldn’t be who he is without me. It’s a two-way street, the dad job. I doesn’t come with a gold watch. In fact, it comes with bills and worry and heartache. But also memories and the legacy of showing the world a piece of yourself. He’s always been proud of me, so how could I ever not be proud of him?

I love you, Dad. Your son, Buddha.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: National Martini Day Edition

08_ClassicMartini_030_FINAL_HIRESSo, June 19 is actually National Martini Day, which for fans of cocktails, is practically Christmas, since martinis are simply the definitive idea of the cocktail. (Think of an adult beverage … it’s in a martini glass, isn’t it?)

Grey Goose developed a pair of recipes for us this week, one for “beginners” (the classic martini) and one for experts (hint: “absinthe rinse”).

The Original

2 oz. Grey Goose

1/2 oz. dry vermouth

Orange bitters

Olives or twist.

Making it: Fill a mixing vessel with ice; add vermouth and stir around the coat glass; strain out vermouth. Add vodka and 1 dash of bitters (optional). Stir (you’re not James Bond, kiddo). Strain into a chilled martini glass and add, per taste, skewer of olives of a lemon twist.

Grey Goose Webby Awards EventMartini Exceptionelle

2-1/2 oz. Grey Goose VX

Absinthe

Honey water

Garnish (your choice).

Making it: Rinse glass in a swirl of absinthe. Still VX over ice and strain into martini glass. Spray in honey water. Garnish with frozen grapes, a peach slice, a twist … or nothing at all.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Lisa Garza, Patton Robertson team up for new Southern concept, Shelby Hall

_DSC2568Her fried chicken and Derby-style beverage program has made Sissy’s Southern Kitchen one of the fashionable hangouts along the burgeoning Henderson Avenue district, but Food Network alum Lisa Garza isn’t quite done with sharing her Southern roots with area diners. Garza has teamed up with chef Patton Robertson to announce a new concept opening in Downtown this fall. Shelby Hall — named after Garza’s county of birth — will pay homage to her Mississippi Delta and low-country upbringing with a kitchen overseen by Robertson, the gifted (and personable!) chef who until recently was exec at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck in Reunion Tower.

Among the focus of dishes announced already will be an oyster/raw bar and game meats, as well as a bourbon-heavy drink menu.

Actually opening date is not available, but the space — 1525 Elm St. in the LTV Tower — is already selected.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Review: Lyric Stage’s ‘South Pacific’

Janelle Lutz in ‘South Pacific’ at Lyric Stage. Photo by Michael C. Foster

There’s a moment at the very beginning of Lyric Stage’s production of South Pacific — when the lights dim and music director Jay Dias picks up his baton and flourishes it at a full orchestra — that you hear those first four famous chords from the overture, the opening notes of “Bali Ha’i:” duh-duh-DUH… Crash! It’s all brass and cymbals, and so totally “Broadway” — the rest of the overture’s orchestrations are as warm as a cocoa and blanket — but it also instantaneously transports you mentally to exotic Polynesia. It’s musical theater, as only Rodgers & Hammerstein could do it.

And what a pair they were: Collaborators for only 17 years (the partnership ended when Oscar Hammerstein died, in 1960), they wrote and produced nine stage musicals, a movie musical (State Fair) and one a made for TV (Cinderella, both since adapted for the stage). Their output wouldn’t be so impressive if it weren’t, well, so impressive. In 2015 alone, we have seen excellent large-scale productions in North Texas of Cinderella and The King and I even before Lyric worked it magic with SP, which it has done with the five “big” R&H musicals in recent years (The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, Carousel, King & I). This one, directed and choreographed by Len Pfluger in the style of the recent B’way revival, is just as wonderful as anything else they’ve done.

Anthony Fortino and Janelle Lutz. Photo by Michael C. Foster

It would be easy to give much of the credit to the show itself, and lord knows, having Rodgers & Hammerstein on your show is as close to an imprimatur of quality as you can come without getting Consumer Reports involved. But it’s the full-throated abandon with which Lyric Stage produced their season — huge orchestras, original arrangements, large-scale casts and designs — that really makes you feel you’re as good as in New York City … circa 1958. Even real Broadway doesn’t do shows this big anymore, unless they have Disney animals or men bitten by radioactive spiders in the cast.

Christopher Sanders and Janelle Lutz.

Set in the Solomon Islands during the war with Japan, South Pacific opened in 1949, less than four years after the end of WWII, and yet the issues it addresses — American Imperialism, racial tension, the “honorableness” of war, etc. — are as well-thought-out and progressive as anything you could find today. (Fully half of R&H’s shows dealt prominently with social justice and racism; Hammerstein was one of the great liberals of the 20th century.) The bigotry reveals itself subtly, shockingly, by hiding (as it often does) in unsuspecting places. When the bubbly bumpkin Nellie Forbush (Janelle Lutz) first utters the words “colored” to describe the biracial heritage of her boyfriend Emil’s (Christopher Sanders) children, it hits you like a fist to the face.

It might not if you didn’t want to root for so many people in the story — not just the relationship between Nellie and Emil, but that between cocky Lt. Cable (Anthony Fortino) and the Tonkinese teenager Liat (Lia Kerkman). Not everyone will end up together. Not every romance is a happy one. War is hell, after all, and love … well, love is often war, too.

You root for them here, especially Nellie, because, honestly, Janelle Lutz is one of the most intoxicatingly effervescent actresses on North Texas stages. When she sings “Wonderful Guy,” she brings the performance more joyful abandon than I’ve ever seen delivered in the role before, filling Carpenter Hall not with her size but with her boundless personality.

If Lutz is all perky fun, Fortino is sexual energy. His Cable is a bit of obnoxious swagger mixed with tenderness and pecs. It’s a good combination. Sonny Franks as Luther Billis and Sally Soldo as Bloody Mary also deliver memorable moments.

The downside of Lyric shows is that their scale also makes their shelf-lives fleeting: It opened last weekend and closes Sunday. That doesn’t give you much time to see it, but see it you should. No one does musical theater better in Texas that Lyric, and nobody ever did musicals better the Rodgers & Hammerstein.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

SLIDESHOW: ES Collection hosts summer fashion show

Cedar Springs boutique ES Collection, the first U.S. outlet for the Barcelona-based men’s fashion line, hosted a runway show and part for its current collection, called Spectrum, on account of the diverse selection of colors. We were there, and got some hot pics!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PSSA standings for the week

Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association released its current standings for the current season in all three active divisions.

B Division: Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion B (4-1); Toxic (4-1); T.H.E. Round-Up (0-6).

C Division: Round-Up Synergy (10-2); JR.’s Texas Heat (10-2); Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion C (9-3); TMC Octane (7-4-1); Dallas Woody’s ((6-4-1); Dallas Radiation (5-8); Dallas Woody’s Demons (4-7); P-Cocks (3-8); Tim-Buck-2 Cat Squad (2-10); Aftershock (2-10).

D Division: DIVE! (10-1); Dallas Woody’s X-Plosion D (9-1); Dallas Woody’s Woodchucks (8-2); Shockwave (8-2-1); The Brick Titans (6-3); The Brick #Hashtags (7-4); Dallas Woody’s Saints (6-4-1); Winslow’s Winos (6-4-1); Dallas Eagle Talons ((5-4-1); JR.’s Dallas Devils (6-5); PowerStrokes (4-4-2); N-Motion (3-6); TomKatz (2-7-1); Round-Up Diesel (3-9); Dallas Tornados (0-7-2); Shockers (1-11); Tap House Semis (0-10-1).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones