Jay-Z announces tour date for Dallas

We live in the age of no privacy, where we work out our relationships on social media rather than in the bedroom. Sometimes, we start not on Facebook, but the recording studio. Taylor Swift writes a song about every failed date; and Beyonce…? Well, last year she released Lemonade, an entire album shading husband Jay-Z. Then she went on the Formation Tour to promote it.

As you certainly know, Jay-Z parried back, with his new disc 4:44. And now he has announced to 4:44 Tour (although I think I’d call it the Pushback Tour). And you can see him live in Dallas on Nov. 7 at the American Airlines Center. That’s one of the first legs on the tour, with tickets going on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday. Here’s the URL if you wanna get seats asap. That is, if you wanna hear his side of the story…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Remembering Nelsan Ellis

HBO has long been at the forefront culturally, addressing progressive and present-day issues quickly and directly. And for many, one of the best examples of verisimilitude was the queeny but fierce out gay black Southerner Lafayette on the Louisiana fantasy series True Blood. And the actor who played that iconic character, Nelsan Ellis, gave scores of proud gay men a role model because of his never-take-shit attitude. So when word came Saturday that Ellis had died of heart failure at just 39, there was a collective gasp of genuine sadness. Ellis appeared in other TV shows and movies, but it was as Lafayette he will long be remembered, especially in this unforgettable scene from Season 1.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Play about Dallas Police ambush opens on 1-year anniversary

It’s been nearly a year since a home-grown terrorist started shooting sniper-style at Dallas Police officers and civilians during a peaceful protest march in Downtown, killing five and wounding nine. Within months following the ambush, a group of teenagers took it upon themselves to interview some of the survivors, the on-call trauma surgeon and others about their experiences, and turned it into a play, called Shots Fired, which reflected on the state of race relations.

Starting tomorrow — July 7, the one-year anniversary of the ambush — Cry Havoc Theater Co. and Kitchen Dog Theater will team up to present Shots Fired. The play will be performed July 7–8, and 12–15 at the Trinity River Arts Center (Kitchen Dog’s new home), starting at 8 p.m. (plus a 2 p.m. matinee on July 9). Prior to the July 13 performance, the troupes will present a panel discussion, including the head surgeon during the events, one of the civilians shot and the man wrongfully first identified as the suspect. The panel will start at 7 p.m. and is free to ticketholders. You can learn more at Kitchen Dog Theater’s website.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BREAKING: Uptown Players announces 2017-18 season

Uptown Players announced the line-up for its 17th season this morning, which starts in October and continues until next September, with a slate of two full-length plays, three full-length musicals and the company’s annual fundraising performance, Broadway Our Way.

The season begins with The Full Monty (Oct. 20–Nov. 5), the Terrence McNally-penned musical about out-of-work laborers who decide to put on a strip show to raise money. Cheryl Denson will direct at the Kalita Humphreys Theater.

That will be followed, also in 2017, with the regional premiere The Legend of Georgia McBride (Dec. 1–17), pictured, a “play with music.” Kyle Igneczi (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) plays a small-time Elvis impersonator who, in order to pay the bills (sound at all like The Full Monty?) becomes a drag queen. Bruce R. Coleman will direct.

Next up will be A Chorus Line, which will play one weekend only at the Moody Performance Hall (Feb. 2–4, 2018). Jeremy Dumont will direct this Tony- and Pulitzer-winning musical about the lives of dancers longing for a Broadway show. Unlike in previous years, the Turtle Creek Chorale will not be participating.

The next show will be the Broadway Our Way fundraiser (June 14–17), written and directed, for the seventh straight (well, sort-of straight) year by B.J. Cleveland.

The big summer musical will be the locally-produced debut of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (July 13–29). Based on the Oscar-winning 1994 film, this jukebox musical dealt with drag queen crossing (and cross-dressing) the Australian Outback in pursuit of a gig. Cheryl Denson will again direct.

The season will end with Perfect Arrangement, a regional premiere about two State Department workers in 1850 Red Scare” America tasked wit unearthing “sexual deviants” within the department… only they are two of those deviants BJ, Cleveland will direct (Aug. 24–Sept. 2).

The expected other play, Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika, will not be staged until the 2018–19 season.

The current season continues next week with La Cage aux Folles, followed by the regional premiere of The Tribute Artist.

Tickets range from $25–$65, with discounted season tickets now available at UptownPlayers.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

RuPaul crowned another winner… what did you think?

Maybe I’ve become tired of the format, but for me, this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race — which moved, inexplicably, to a Friday night on VH1, giving up the nothing-better-on catbird seat of Mondays on Logo — was the most boring ever, with queens who never really stood out. Was I the only one who quickly grew brain-dead to the constant self-confidence crises of Nina Brown? Did anyone else not have a favorite all season… including into the finale? Did anyone else find the cop-out of sending four queens to the finals, and then round-robin-ing them with lip-synch battles, a lazy abrogation of the entire purpose of developing the competition over 13 weeks?

When Sasha Velour was eventually declared this year’s winner, it was less a coronation than a resignation — she outlasted like a schemer on Survivor, rather than impressing with consistently outstanding performances. The good news was, Ru finally chose another conceptual winner — art drag, which brought Kim Chee close last season (only Sharon Needles arguably took the title for conceptual drag before).

Did you have a favorite? Think the right queen was chosen? Or were you too bored to make it through?

Hopefully next season will raise the stakes.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Story on gay men tortured in Chechnya

Photo by Daniel Bateman/Vice News (HBO)

If you missed it when it aired earlier this week on HBO, you can now see (for free on YouTube) the Vice News segment about how gay men were allegedly tortured at Argun prison in Chechnya. The officials deny it, of course — one honcho, named Kataev, bizarrely offering correspondent Hind Hassan the contradictory argument that gay men are so disgusting, his men would never even touch one, so how could they beat them? (Imagine all gay bashings defended that way: I hate gays so much, I would never beat one up cuz I don’t want to be that close.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Before you see Melissa Etheridge at the Majestic, read this

Last month we ran an interview with music legend (and gay icon) Melissa Etheridge. Next week, the lesbian rocker will be performing live in Dallas at a concert at the Majestic. (You can get tickets here.) Before you see her in concert, though, you might wanna check out the interview, in which she talks about how she relaxes before a concert, dealing with the Trump presidency how she feels about gay activism. Read it here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Fun Home’ tickets to Dallas show go on sale Friday

Fun Home, the Tony Award-winning musical about a young queer girl who grows up in a funeral home, and only later discovers secrets about her father, will be coming to Dallas’ Winspear Opera House in September (just in time for Pride!). Starting on Friday at 10 a.m., single tickets for the production will go on sale. The show runs Sept. 13–24.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Attend a free screening of the Oscar-winning ‘Moonlight’ Tuesday

MoonlightDespite what Faye Dunaway said (accidentally — we forgive you, Faye!), it was Moonlight, and not La La Land, that won the Oscar for best picture … and deservedly so. But if you still haven’t seen this moving portrait of a gay black man at three stages of his life, well now if your chance… and it’s free. Dallas’ Coalition for Aging — LGBT is hosting a screening of Moonlight at the AMC NorthPark cinema Tuesday, starting at 7 p.m. Following the screening, I’ll moderate a panel that will briefly discuss the importance of the film. Although there’s no charge, space is limited, so you will need to RSVP to obtain tickets — either call 800-418-2281 or visit AARP.cvent.com/moonlight_dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Friday is Pride Night at Echo Theatre

Brides---Crew-of-FourWe wrote a few weeks ago about Echo Theatre‘s Pride Month play Brides of the Moon, from the writing collective known as The Five Lesbian Brothers, which runs through this weekend. Well, to celebrate the gay in June, Friday’s performance is officially designated Pride Night at Echo. And if you’re a virgin (i.e., first-time Echo patron) you get $10 off your tickets. Just use the promo code PRIDE when you check out here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones