Cocktail Friday: Throw Shade

Throw Shade 1Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson, the hosts of the queerish podcast Throwing Shade, bring their live show to Dallas tonight (see our interview here), so we thought it would be nice to welcome these Texans back home with a cocktail named for what they do. Enjoy!

2 oz. Sailor Jerry Rum

Juice of half a lime

1.5 oz. simple syrup

8 mint leaves

Amber lager

Making it: Muddle the simple syrup and mint. Add rum and lime juice and shake over ice. Double strain into a beer mug (or pint glass) on the rocks. Top with the lager. Garnish with lime and mine.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A Shade off

Throwing Shade podcasters Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi queer up the Internet… and now also Dallas

Erin&BryanAARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

It’s the morning after their first live show of a new tour, and Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson are jazzed. It was a sell-out — the first on a weeks-long, cross-country road show. It’s not that they haven’t performed live before, but their main gig — as co-hosts of the popular podcast Throwing Shade — is done in a studio, without the benefit of an audience.

And their own style of comic commentary, wherein they rail against the news of the day especially about close-to-the-heart liberal causes “relevant to women and gays,” as their motto goes, benefits from live interaction and instantaneous feedback. Indeed, what fuels a lot their humor is the “yes/and” format of the best improv sketches … even when things seem like they are about to go off the rails.

“Well, we trained at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in L.A., and that’s what’s drawn people to the podcast — ‘I’m gonna agree with you no matter what you say’ [shtick],” says Safi.

“We know mistakes are gifts, so why not make fun of them?” adds Gibson. “I think it’s a Southern thing too — Bryan has a kind of brassy you’re not-getting-away-with-nuthin’ attitude.”

That hold-your-feet-to-the-fire sticktoitiveness has served the podcast well, where once a week, the duo riff on the latest news stories with their unique, opinionated spins. Fully a third of each show, which can run as long as 90 minutes, comprises Safi and Gibson expressing indignation and resentment at right-wing homophobes, brain-dead politicians and hypocritical pundits. It’s serious opinion-comedy for those who don’t care about the Kardashians or what Real Housewife is getting divorced this week.

“The thiScreen Shot 2016-08-25 at 10.17.40 AMng is, the stuff Bryan and I talk about [isn’t all fluff],” Gibson says. “Some of pop culture needs to be laughed at, but there’s so many terrible things happening now I like to use it as only a small distraction. When [I consume] pop culture, I am looking at it as how women are being treated. I try to tread lightly unless it deserves to be treated more serious. I think there’s an unfairness that’s heavily skewed against women.”

It’s a good fit for the openly gay Safi because, “the marginalization is the same,” Gibson says. “You can’t really say there are women’s issues and [a different set of] LGBT issues, because there is definitely an overlap. And that’s sort of the reason why gay people and straight women get along.”

“It certainly is a mix of pop culture and politics,” says Safi. “We’re definitely not news readers. I always feel like we make good points but we wanna get there the dumbest way possible. I do think we have been really good that if we fuck up really badly we apologize. We don’t have researchers. But when we delve into our deeper issues, it is a conversation.”

“I read about six blogs a day for women’s issues and I go to the New York Times. Hard copies! We read newspapers!” Gibson says.

“Yea, we’re definitely the smartest people at brunch,” Safi adds.

And some of the savviest. Gibson was just nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the Funny Or Die web-spoof Gay of Thrones. And Safi was part of one of last year’s most magnificent national hoaxes: The Will Ferrell-Kristen Wiig deadpan parody of Lifetime movies A Deadly Adoption … which ran as an actual Lifetime movie with no explanation. (“It was incredible — such a crazy experience to be in a meta-serious movie,” Safi says. “The reaction to it was exactly what they wanted — people loved it and people hated it. I liked that my character’s relationship with Kristen Wiig is solely based on coffee… At one point I said, ‘I cannot believe we are talking about organic food again.’”)


THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS | Combative but hilariously shady, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi bring their podcast to the stage of Sons of Hermann Hall this week.

And together they will be venturing into new waters starting in January, when Throwing Shade expands from podcast to television… perhaps one of the first podcasts to make such a leap.

“TVLand came to us because they really loved our podcast,” Gibson says. “We want it to be like a John Oliver meets Amy Schumer. It will be topical but some segments will be more evergreen. It will sort of be the pinnacle of Throwing Shade.”

But until then, there’s still the tour and all that entails. Their current itinerary will take them from California across to the East Coast and up to Canada. But their three Texas shows — just-done Austin, Dallas on Aug. 26 and Houston on Aug. 27 — are a homecoming for the twosome: Safi is a native of El Paso, and Gibson grew up in the Houston area, and they bring a certain Lone Star spirit to their comedy. Gibson and Safi may be in California, but they are of Texas. But homecomings aren’t always pleasant, as any survivor of a Thanksgiving family reunion can attest.

“Houston is the most stressful city for me on the tour, because I have a lot of family there,” Gibson says. “I just get nervous, even though I think of Houston as the armpit of Texas.”

“Don’t put that in,” Safi quickly says. “We’re still trying to sell tickets. But really, Texas in general is the scariest part of the tour — not because of the people, who are wonderful, but because you wanna perform good for Mama.” (Safi’s family was mostly coming to the Austin show, meaning Dallas may be the least stressful of the local stops.)

“The live show is more of a standup — we don’t sit down as if we are recording, but we [perform]. About 80 percent is planned and written in advance, with some improv,” says Safi. “We kinda talk personally and integrate stuff that happens in town and anything exciting during that day.”

“And we do some live crank calls!” shouts Gibson, recalling a recurring gimmick from the podcast. “Crank calling is such a primal thing. We’re not mean, but we do call people, like organizations that aren’t cool to ladies and gays… you know … people who we don’t love.”

But who couldn’t love these two?

Listen to the Throwing Shade podcast weekly, available on iTunes and other platforms.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Trailer for ‘Hurricane Bianca,’ shot partly in Dallas

Screen shot 2016-08-25 at 10.15.48 AMDrag Racer Bianca Del Rio filmed her leading feature debut, Hurricane Bianca, last summer in Texas, with local boy Ash Christian (Fat Girls, Mangus!. Petunia) serving as the film’s producer. In it, Del Rio plays a straight-laced high school teacher fired for being gay who comes back stronger than ever in the guise of Bianca. Here’s a trailer for the film, which gets its world premiere next month in San Francisco.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’

GGLAM Tour 3In the 1940s and ’50s, Britain’s Ealing Studios dominated the landscape of sophisticated dark comedies. The Man in the White Suit, The Lavender Hill Mob and The Ladykillers all starred the great Alec Guinness as the deadpan anti-hero in outrageous adventures that were far to smart to just be labeled farces. One of Guinness’ best roles, though, was actually eight roles: All the family members (young/old, male/female, gentle/wicked) tapped as victims of a murderous social-climbing illegitimate heir to an hereditary earldom in the cultural commentary Kind Hearts and Coronets. A comedy about murder? It might not have been the first, but it remains one of the best, and gave Guinness a signature turn at creating multiple memorable characters with abandon. (In recent years, no one but Eddie Murphy has really tried to replicate that feat, or at least done so successfully.)

The 2014 Broadway musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder isn’t a carbon-copy of the Ealing film (the ending is different, and of course it’s a musical), but it’s just as withering in its dissection of the British classes… and it gives actor John Rapson free rein to horse around as all the members of the D’Ysquith family, soon to be knocked off my young, ambitious Monty Navarro (Kevin Massey), the disinherited black sheep of the D’Ysquiths who wants to become earl so he can marry his gold-digging girlfriend … even though he’s actually falling for his distant cousin.

This production, at the Winspear through Sunday, had the good sense to be as fluffy and delightful as cotton candy, with a stage-within-a-stage that adds a layer of artifice: It’s an old-style English music hall, a vaudeville of jaunty songs and colorful costumes and sets. (The show it most calls to mind for theater queens might be The Mystery of Edwin Drood.) Nevertheless, writer Robert L. Freedman sneaks in some saucy political commentary among the one-liners. It’s a fanciful and clever show, a bright respite from the summer heat.

At the Winspear through Aug. 28.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Valley of the Dolls,’ ‘Priscilla’ and more movie mania this week

ValleyOfDolls_originalIf you like movies, especially those with queer appeal, this is a great week to live in Dallas.

It starts tomorrow night at the Texas Theatre with a screening of 1967’s Valley of the Dolls, the inimitable camp classic about tragic Hollywood. It’s all part of Word Space‘s “behind the screen” season announcement, which includes the film, bites and cash bar. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the screening at 8:30 p.m.

Then it’s back to the Texas Theatre on Friday with Cine Wilde’s monthly LGBT movie night, this time with the joyously campy The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, about three drag queens traipsing around the Australian Outback.

Also on Friday is the inaugural Bengali Film Festival of Dallas, which takes place at the Angelika Plano. The first event focusing exclusively on films, filmmakers and topics relevant to Southeast India and Bangaldesh — a segment well-presented in North Texas — features three features and three shorts. Two of those (the opening-night short An Unknown Guest and the closing-day feature Bhool) deal with topics of interest to the LGBT community.

Back in April, in our preview of the USA Film Festival, we profiled gay writer/director Ira Sachs, whose feature Little Men was playing at the fest. Well, it took a while, but the film — about two boys initially forced into a friendship of convenience, who unite against their parents when the adults get involved in a legal tangle — finally is playing theatrically in Dallas, opening Friday at both Angelika Film Centers (Mockingbird Station and Plano). You can read my interview with Sachs here.

Also this week, last year’s revealing documentary Tab Hunter Confidential — a bio about the 1950s heartthrob, who stayed in the closet until his 70s — came out on video. I talked with Hunter at the 2015 USA Film Festival; you can read that interview here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And the Voice of Pride winner is…

From left: Fourth runner-up Steven Patterson, Guyer, Ramalho, third runner-up Imani Handy and Gilstrap.… Alvaro Ramalho! The local singer, pictured center, took the grand prize at the Voice of Pride competition, the annual “Dallas Idol” singing rondelet that culminated last night in the Rose Room. The winner (and first and second runners-up, John Paul Gilstrap and Colby Guyer) ride in the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade on Sept. 18 and perform at Reverchon Park afterwards. Congrats!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

National Gay Media Association presents inaugural Ad POP Awards

AbsolutThe National Gay Media Association — a consortium of LGBT publications across the U.S., including Dallas Voice — has announced the recipients of its first-ever Ad POP Awards, recognizing excellence in advertising efforts directed at gay consumers. They are awarded for both print and online campaigns in regional LGBT media. (POP stands for Pride in Online and Print.)

“The awards were created to illustrate the effective campaigns of companies that market to the LGBT community through local media,” according to Leo Cusimano, publisher of Dallas Voice. “The ads were chosen for their design and message. In addition, these ads show the fabric and diversity of our LBGT community.”

National winners were recognized in a variety of segments. The Automotive award went to Mercedes-Benz; The Pharmaceutical award (branded) went to Gilead for its Salix and Fulyzaq products; it also won the unbranded award for its “Answers” ad.

Pernod Ricard USA was recognized with the Spirits award for its Absolut campaign.

Several segments had multiple winners. The Non-Profit award went to: Harlem United; the D.C. Office of Human Rights; and the Centers for Disease Control. Financial winners were: Wells Fargo; PNC Bank; and Regions Bank. Travel winners are: Alaska Airlines; Hyatt; Loews Hotel; Key West Tourism; and Palm Springs Tourist.

Regional awards were also presented. Dallas Voice bestowed the top local award on the Dallas Conventions and Visitors Bureau for a campaign designed by Tracy Locke.

Other local winners include Cantoni; Love Field Jeep; Provincetown Tourism Office; and Capital One.


—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday: Happy Whiskey Sour Day!

IMG_4997Our Food Issue is out today, and in it we have one of our Cocktail Friday recipes, promoting National Bacon Day (Aug. 20)… with a whiskey drink. Well, Thursday (Aug. 25) is National Whiskey Sour Day… so we have another recipe for you. Even though this is a “national” holiday, this one (prepared for us at Boulevardier) is made with Irish whiskey. Hmmmm…. Well, cheers either way! And pick up the Food Issue this week.

2 oz. Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey

2/3 oz. fresh lemon juice

2/3 oz. simple syrup

1 egg white

Angostura bitters.

Making it: Pour all ingredients into a shaker without ice and dry-shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cocktail Friday special edition

MapleManhattanIt has become as prevalent in foodie culture as snarky Yelp reviews and truffle-oiled mac and cheese: National [Insert Food Item Here] Day.

Name your favorite: National Fajita Day. National Margarita Day. National Quinoa Day. (OK, I don’t know there is one of those, but the rule holds.)

It’s not a bad thing, really; it lets people focus on the things they wanna focus on and perhaps remind others they should focus on it to. And the fun, sometimes, is finding a way to expand on [It] Day to another.

Which is what Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House has done with this concoction, infusing National Bacon Day (Aug. 20!) into a cocktail format. We asked them to share the recipe; here it is:

4 oz. Pecan-Infused Smoked Maple Knob Creek Bourbon.

3 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey-Barrel Aged Bitters

1/2 slice cooked and candied bacon.

Making it: Pour liquid ingredients into a pint glass, fill with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with bacon.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

—  Craig Tuggle

Salum: A fresh look and an old favorite

The transfer of ownership of Komali didn’t just give new life to one restaurant, but two. A big reason for the sale was so that chef Abraham Salum could concentrate his energies on his self-named Salum restaurant, which opened in 2005. Eleven years is a long run for any chef-driven concept, but a recent visit shows that the Salum still has the chops as one of the memorable French-style bistros in town.

There are, of course, the bistro classics — staples of the cuisine: A cheese board, for instance, or platter of country pate with cornichon. But Salum modifies the expected with an appetizer of warm Texas chevres, dusted in herbs and served with roasted elephant garlic. Salum humbly underplays his pastry-chef skills, but his bourbon bread pudding  belies a deftness with desserts.

He’s perpetually shifting through new entrees monthly, with a few stand-bys recurring (the rack of lamb, happily), but each menu can be a new experience. Last month, the timing was perfect for the fried chicken with Texas peaches; but primetime for peaches is on the wane. And the recent pan-seared scallops in a pool of pea puree, pictured, exploded with summer freshness, but has given way to new creations for August. But don’t think of it as a disappointment it has migrated off the menu, but a chance to perpetually rediscover what one of Dallas’ best chefs is up to now.

— A.W.J.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones