Cocktail Friday: Oscar cocktails!

The Selma 65

The Selma 65

The Oscars are Sunday night, and if you’re having a watching party, you might wanna share some of these recipes, inspired by some of the Oscar-nominated films.

The Selma 65. Inspired by the events portrayed in Selma set in 1965, this twist on the classic French 75 will be familiar and timely.

3/4 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

1/2 shot simple syrup

Martini Prosecco

Brief History of Thyme

Brief History of Thyme

Making it: Shake together first three items with ice, strain into a champagne flute. Top with a splash of bubbly and stir lightly. Garnish with a lemon twist.

A Brief History of Thyme. Inspired by the life of physicist Stephen Hawking, author of the book A Brief History of Time, adds a savory component to the unlikely life of the ALS survivor portrayed in the nominated Theory of Everything.

1-1/2 oz. Caliche Rum

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz. pomegranate juice

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 oz. triple sec, Cointreau or other orange-based liqueur

Agave nectar (omit for dryer taste)

The Moore Ginger Fizz

The Moore Ginger Fizz

Making it: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Serve in a chilled cocktail coupe; garnish with a thyme sprig.

The Moore Gin Fizz. Julianne Moore plays a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s in Still Alice (directed by gay couple Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer), but even she would find this simple concoction unforgettable.

1 part Dewar’s White Label whisky

3 parts ginger beer

Lime wedge.

Making it: Fill pint class with ice and add whisky. Top with ginger beer (or ginger ale) and garnish with lime.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DMN food critic Leslie Brennan ranks at the bottom of a national list

knife

Dallas’ major daily food critic sinks in national poll … and look who’s smiling.

The website The Daily Meal polls chefs nationwide (and anonymously) about what they think of the critics who write about them. Overall, 28 critics were reviewed (not, I hasten to point out, me; the rankings are mostly limited to the major dailies, statewide magazines and national blogs). The highest-ranking Texas critic, Austin’s Pat Sharpe, came in at No. 11. And Dallas Morning News’ Leslie Brenner? At No. 26. Of 28.

Criteria include food knowledge as well as prose style and “who you’d like to share a meal with,” so it’s no wonder Brenner faired poorly, following the divisive Twitterfeud between her and Knife founder John Tesar (who, incidentally, did not observe the “anonymous” option in the poll).

Incidentally, Knife was my No. 1 restaurant of the year (despite giving it as many stars as others on her Top 10, Knife was nowhere on Brenner’s year-end). Tesar was also just nominated for a James Beard Award for best chef/Southwest, alongside other Dallas cooks: Matt McCallister, Omar Flores and David Uygur. San Salvaje by Stephan Pyles was also nominated as best new restaurant in America, and Pyles as best overall chef.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Patty and Carrie Breckenridge ruin another Oscar Sunday

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Patty, Logan, Charlotte and Carrie Breckenridge

In the current issue of Dallas Voice, I have a story about Carrie Breckenridge, who took up yoga again to keep in shape after the birth of her second child. What I didn’t mention was that Carrie and her wife Patty are getting married … again.

I first attended the wedding of both exactly six years ago Sunday — indeed, I will never forget the date, because who gets married on a Sunday? And who gets married on — gasp!Oscar Sunday? In the gay community? On an evening?!?!

Well, they are doing it again.

Carrie and Patty’s first ceremony was for family and friends only; it took place in Texas, and therefore did not have the sanction of state law. But when they re-up this Sunday — once again, on Feb. 22; once again, on Oscar Sunday — it will be in New Mexico, and entirely legal. And this time, they have two children (and plans for a third).

This time, I was not invited to the ceremony, so I will sit home and watch the Oscar live, instead of catching them on DVR delay. But I suspect Carrie and Patty won’t remember who won best picture or what was the upset in best actor. They have other memories of Feb. 22.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dish set to expand to Preston Hollow location Feb. 24

For reasons I can’t quite put my finger on, I feel a degree of pride about the opening next Tuesday of the first satellite location of Dish Restaurant. Do you feel me? It feels like one of our flock has left the nest.

DISH_©Marple_141The original Dish opened at the ilume in 2009, and has thrived as a popular hangout for the gay community, especially with the monthly Drag Brunch (which, by the way, is this Sunday) as well as its refreshing menu, New Year’s Eve service, parade-ready patio and much more. Of course, Dish’s owner, Tim McEneny, has had plenty of experience at other restaurants in town; it’s not like Dish was his only venture. But Tim has always embraced the gay community, and it’s something of a compliment that “our” Dish has become the prototype for what he plans to be more “renditions” opening across North Texas and, for that matter, the country.

The new Dish — which will start serving lunch and dinner on Feb. 24, and Saturday/Sunday brunch on Feb. 28/March 1 — will have exec chef Andrew Bell on hand, and will feature Asian pulled-pork salad, signature flatbreads (pictured), diver scallops and many other familiar plate. The location will be 8611 Hillcrest Ave., at the corner of Northwest Highway.

In other lunch-y new, Henry’s Majestic officially opened for lunch yesterday.

Also in foodie-news, Chinese New Year officially begins tomorrow, Feb. 19, and Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck will be commemorating all week long with an extravagant five-course tasting menu through Feb. 27. As a special treat on Friday, the restaurant will have a Market Night, featuring market stalls, lion dancers and a complimentary glass of champagne for all guests. And with 2015 being the Year of the Sheep, among the items will be a cumin-soy sheep-chop. The meal is $110/person ($155 with wine pairings). Reservations can be made by calling 214-741-5560.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: A history of Dallas Pride by Prosper H.S. students

A few months ago, some students from Prosper High School contacted me: They were making a video about the history of Gay Pride in Dallas, and wanted to know if they could interview me on film to discuss it? I agreed.

The student arrived well-dressed and prepared. They were very professional (especially for juniors in high school) and easy to work with. It took just a few minutes of my time.

Last week, the director, Alex Watkins — who made the film for his AV class — informed me that it had been submitted to the University Interscholastic League of Texas festival of films. The short, Pride, made it past the first stage, but not on to the next stage.

It’s an impressive student film, I thought, and since very few people got to see it anyway, I figured I’d share a link to the film so others could enjoy it. And you get to see me, though I think it sounds like I have a cold, although maybe that’s how I always sound. Enjoy.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Come to the Magnolia tonight and see me predict the Oscars

OscarsNow, I am the first to admit that I do not always accurately predict all 24 Oscar categories every year. Take last year — I only got 23 right. You heard me. I have seen virtually every nominated film, and I will be weighing in on the likely winners as part of a panel discussion at the Magnolia Theatre tonight (Monday), starting at 7 p.m. It’s free, and you’re all invited to see me gues…. I mean, predict the outcome of the gay Super Bowl this Sunday. There will even be some trivia and maybe some giveaways…. And come ready to stump me with your trivia questions!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Vodka Punch

IMG_9713I decided to enjoy a well-deserved adult beverage at JR.’s with a friend after work this week, and the weather was so refreshingly springy, we wanted something light and fruity to go along with it. So we left it up to our bartender: Come up with something. He created for us what he called Vodka Punch, and it hit the spot. Here, then, is his recipe for this delightful cocktail.

Making it:

Equal parts Stoli Bluberi, cranberry juice, orange juice, and pineapple juice (or really, any juices you feel like). Add a splash of 7Up and grenadine and shake. Serve in a tall glass over ice. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

All about debase: ’50 Shades’ review

Fifty Shades of GreyI feel sorry for straight people, I really do. Maybe not all straight people, just the ones that think a novel — and now, movie — as innately prudish as Fifty Shades of Grey is somehow “shocking” or “edgy” or even “erotic.” How sad a love life do you have to have endured to find one moment of this Showgirls-esque camp disaster to be remotely sexy? I’ve sat through more erotic moments during Nick@Nite.

It’s 2015 — for more than 40 years we’ve been exposed to legitimately racy and fucked up expressions of sex, from Last Tango in Paris to The Night Porter to 9-1/2 Weeks to Henry & June to Blue Velvet. The only people who could remotely find such boring escapades sexy would be 39-year-old shut-ins who were home-schooled by the Amish. Everyone else will just laugh.

And laughter was what emanated from the preview audience this week — not nervous laughter, but rolls of derisive, “how-stupid-is-this?” contemptuous chuckles. It’s all about as alluring as the Harry Potter books, if you replaced “Hogwarts” with “genital warts.”

If you haven’t read the book (and, really, there’s no reason you should have other than being more of a sadist than the main character), you probably have heard that the plot is about mousy grad student Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) who is wooed by mysterious young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), eventually learning that the handsome magnate is into domination and wants not a traditional sexual relationship with her, but to make her his “submissive.” Based on that description, you probably think the plot is largely about their dark sexual exploits.

You’d be very, very wrong. The plot is really about a contract negotiation and whether Ana will agree to be his submissive. There’s more legalese and conference room meetings than an episode of Law & Order. And it’s about as hot as one, too.

I am not making this up.

2434_FPT_00047R_CROP.JPG_cmykThere’s very little sex in the film, despite its rep, and even less BDSM of any kind, but instead lots of discussions about sex. Not even Penthouse Forum letter discussions full of “throbbing members” or “engorged manhoods,” but dry recitations you might hear in a high school health filmstrip. I call it “Baptist porn.”

And therein lines the depressing truth about the success of Fifty Shades (already the best pre-opening-day online ticket sales of any movie in history): It’s a sex film for repressed appetites that is troubled by the very idea of anything more risky that heterosexual missionary sex. The film acts as if anal sex and handcuffs are the pinnacle of sexual perversity, instead of what we all know that to be: A slow Tuesday night at the Dallas Eagle. I can hardly fathom any gay person finding the film something other than Puritanical in its view of sex. Honestly, if my sex life every becomes as boring as what Ana and Christian engage in here, please shoot me.

Even if you go in pre-disposed to like the film (it follows the plot of the book almost to the letter), there are simply too many wrong turns that the movie makes stylistically, including Sam Taylor-Johnson’s juvenile direction. Nothing is less romantic than trying to seem romantic, and from the opening scenes, Christian comes off as simply creepy and Ana as a clueless nag. And we never see his junk, which shows you how fearful and modest this film really it. It never even flirts with an NC-17 rating.

Dakota Johnson herself never allows Ana to emerge from her ugly-ducklingness — she has the body of a Perdue chicken (only with smaller breasts) and makes Kristen Stewart seem pretty and warm by comparison. The sex scenes are shot with the faux art-house lighting of cologne commercial.

Dornan is no better, with his wonky eye and somnambulic expressions. He’s handsome enough, in that JCPenney catalogue way, but the lines of his face splay out all akimbo, like a hamper of dirty whites. When they are in bed together, the sex is so mechanical, it’s like watching robots screwing.

At the end, Ana is finally scared away from Christian (with room for a sequel or two) once she finally asks him to give her “the worst he can do,” and he lightly flogs her with a high-end cat-o’-nine-tails six times and, from my vantage, doesn’t even leave a red mark. That’s BDSM? That’s daring sex? The only real torture is having to sit through this crap.

Now playing in wide release.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Ideas to spend a romantic (but inexpensive) Valentine’s Day

Portrait of a happy gay couple outdoorsToday we released our Love Issue, where we get suggestions from couples on how to make a relationship work. But there’s still the mechanics of finding something to do on Valentine’s Day, so our contributor Mikey Rox came up with this list of inexpensive ways to make woo.

Make a surprise visit to the office for an impromptu lunch date. Dinner reservations may be hard to come by on Feb. 14, or pricey, but lunch is usually wide open. Worried that the time constraint will force you to rush? Slow it down and abandon the dine-in option altogether by bringing a picnic (or something that you grabbed on your way) that you can share in a quiet cove nearby.

 

Participate in a couple’s activity that facilitates closeness. Daily-deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are excellent resources for finding inexpensive activities that you and your significant other can do together. Options will vary, but even with minimal research you should be able to come up with a great activity to create a new memory — like naked yoga or a fencing class, for instance.

Take the day off and head out for an adventure. Feeling less than connected lately? Make an effort to reignite that fire by taking the day off work so you two can concentrate on the relationship. Sleep in, have breakfast together, and then head out for a local adventure with the goal of being attentive and affectionate to one another for the duration of the day.

Set up a cozy candle-lit screening of your favorite films at home. Just like every restaurant in town, movie theaters also will be mobbed on Valentine’s Day (Fifty Shades, anyone?) which gives you the perfect excuse to plan a private film screening at home. Instead of ordering a new release on-demand and cuddling up on the couch like you usually do, build a comfortable “screening nest” that consists of piles of pillows and blankets, provide your partner’s favorite snacks and drinks, and pick up a few movies from a bargain bin or a neighborhood rental kiosk that you’ll both enjoy.

Cook dinner as a couple. Cupid never intended for one half of the couple to do all the prep work on Valentine’s Day just so the other can reap the benefits. Rather, this celebration is about making each other feel loved and appreciated, and that’s only accomplished if you’re each contributing equally. One delicious way you two can spend quality time together while getting your hands dirty and enjoying the fruits of said labor is to cook a romantic meal side by side. The one with the most kitchen talent can still take the lead, so long as it’s a combined effort all the way to the finish. There’s no law against cooking in the buff either — just so you know.

Browse an antique shop together to find a thoughtful gift separately. Affection isn’t about material possessions, but there’s a way to make buying your sweetie something tangible much more memorable. Instead of ordering an arbitrary item online or stopping by the florist on the drive home, schedule an outing to a local antique shop. Once there, establish a reasonable budget (say, $20 each) and go your separate ways to find a thoughtful, personalized trinket for the other that you’ll both cherish forever.

Rent a motel room and enjoy a tantalizing little tryst. Sex can get stale in the same environment over and over — and Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spice things up. This year, go low (rent, that is) by booking a less-than-luxurious motel room to set up a seedy-yet-steamy encounter with your S.O. In anticipation of the evening’s events, sext your partner throughout the day to help elevate their arousal level so they’re rarin’ to go as soon as they step through the door.

Recreate your very first date. There’s a reason why you two fell in love – even if it’s sometimes hard to remember it. Take a trip down memory lane this Valentine’s Day by retracing your first date from start to finish – whatever that may entail. The feelings from that initial encounter will come flooding back like they never left, and you’ll be reminded of the myriad reasons that you work so hard to keep this one-of-a-kind coupling intact.

— Mikey Rox

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

John Waters: The gay interview

John Waters 2John Waters has taken many deviant turns during his influential career as a cult icon who’s constructed a legacy out of the poop-eating, mom-murdering outrageousness of his filmography. But he hasn’t stopped there.

Even in conversation one recent afternoon from his Baltimore home, Waters — who will appear live at the Texas Theatre on Sunday in his one-man show of hilariously inappropriate stories — is appropriately inappropriate as he considers a smorgasbord of provocative topics: his disdain for adult babies, the resurrection of Brad Renfro, how James Franco is too good looking to look at, and why, at 68, he may never make another film.

— Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: I can’t imagine much shocks you, but these days, does anything?  John Waters: The things that I don’t like that I don’t wanna be shocked by — $40-million gross-out Hollywood movies. Really ugly porn — – like rape porn. Stuff I don’t wanna look at. I mean, we have to put up with that for the freedoms of free speech, but also, some romantic comedies I can’t take.

What’s the biggest limit you’ve overcome?  Maybe sploshers. You know, people who are sexually attracted to food. And I still have problems with feeders. I have real problems with adult babies. Lock those fuckers up.

How do you feel about the plushies movement?  I think it’s bullshit. I think Vanity Fair made that up [with a 2001 story called “Pleasures of the Fur”], and then once they did the article, people became them. I’m not sure I believe that’s true even.

And grown men obsessed with My Little Ponies — “bronies”?  They’re trying too hard to be kinky. Plushie sex holds no interest for me. If people are into it, I don’t wanna know more about their life, really. Do it in private or — as that expression that I hate goes — “get a room.” I think I feel that way about plushies and people that wanna fuck people in unicorn costumes.

Fans adore you — I adore you — because you’ve always been the voice of the voiceless. As a youngster coming into himself, I remember you introducing me to so much more than morning cartoons did.  [Laughs] Morning cartoons are a good start, though! There’s always insane puppeteers and fairy tales. You know, when I was young I loved Slovenly Peter. That was a great one. I loved him. I still have that up by my bed. And Chicken Little — liked that one, too!

Today we’re getting shock-value films like The Human Centipede and the 2013 German drama Wetlands, which features vegetable masturbation — did you see it?  I did see Wetlands. I enjoyed it! It was the only movie I’ve ever seen about hemorrhoids. It started its own genre.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones