A play where the critic dies. Are you trying to tell me something?

Dancing with the stiff (i.e., dead) critic to throw others off the track. Photo by Chuck Marcelo

Jeff Swearingen has written a new play about famed New York Times theater critic Mickey Blake, and asked me — begged, really — to comment about his life and legacy. But when you watch this video (also embedded below), you’ll see clearly that I did not agree to it. And here’s why, from my official statement, released to the media last week:

Frankly, nobody knew Mickey better than I did: Altar boys together, boarding school roommates, we even started our reviewing at the same Communist rag in Red Hook the same week. But the falling out between us — all his doing, that unforgivable betrayal which I could never get past — means I simply couldn’t bury the hatchet, even after all these years. I’m still dealing with the blowback. Curse you, Mickey!

Of course, this is all a put-on, part of Swearingen’s inventive marketing campaign for his new play, Stiff, which both makes fun of critics and shows them some props. It’s an hilarious bit of silliness, than only runs one more week (this Wednesday through Saturday) at Fun House Theatre in Plano. Go see it if you can. It’s a hoot, with great physical comedy, smart jokes and an overall sense of wackiness.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas’ Emmanuel Tobias, on (almost) getting on ‘Project Runway’

Emmanuel Tobias

Out Dallas designer Emmanuel Tobias made it onto TV last week as one of the finalists for Project Runway. Well, sort of. He wasn’t a “final-finalist;” he was a pre-final finalist, one of three designers who seemed to make the cut (he appeared on the run-up special before the season premiere) only to be dismissed before any real competition got started.

And here’s the thing: If you saw his designs, and especially those of some of the contestants who sailed through, you had to ask yourself (as I often do on that show) “what were they thinking?”

But Tobias has a good attitude about it all, and agreed to relive his brush with Heidifame. Maybe next season!

Season 13 of Project Runway continues tonight on Lifetime, at 8 p.m. (and you can re-watch Emmanuel’s episodes on the recap at 7 p.m.).

Dallas Voice: Sorry you got booted so soon! Describe your design style. What’s your signature look? Emmanuel Tobias: I have always leaned to being a conceptual designer, but as of late, I have been combining my avant garde aesthetic with a more approachable, ready-to-wear style. I would describe it as an artistic approach to wearable clothing. My signature look combines powerful masculine and feminine qualities and always has an interesting textile, whether it is texture, specialty dyeing technique, or print.

Did you know you still had to prove yourself before you were “officially” on the show?  The production company prepped us with a timeline after the “semi-finals” casting interview, so I knew that I still had more hurdles to jump.  The process for this was truly a rigorous one and the timeframe/turnaround times that we were required in every aspect were very fast. I had a good feeling I was going to make it to the finals, but I knew that I would have to prove myself to the Heidi, Zac and scary Nina. What you saw on TV was probably less than 15 seconds of my finals casting, but I was in that room for quite some time.  Nina and Heidi were very nice, and I thought I had sold them on putting me on the show, but we now know Nina didn’t care for me! I gave so much conviction in every question they asked with smiles coming back and forth from the judges and myself … except for Zac. Zac was the one that was so hard on me, but on TV he seemed easy-going.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Uptown Players announces 2015 season

Nathan Lane starred on Broadway in ‘The Nance,’ which will receive its regional premiere from Uptown Players in 2015.

Uptown Players’ upcoming 2015 season will feature two major recent Tony winners, from a new comedy to a rock musical, as well as the return of a TV spoof in the Rose Room at S4 and the annual fundraising performance.

Things were more complicated for Uptown Players this time, scheduling-wise. For several years, they have shared the Kalita Humphreys Theater with the Dallas Theater Center, which moved to its new digs in Downtown’s Wyly Theatre, but which is still the primary leaseholder at the Kalita. DTC mostly performs at the Wyly … mostly — not exclusively. So when DTC announced its 2014-15 schedule this spring, it threw a monkey wrench into the works: Its plays would seesaw between the venues, and the timing was going to interfere with Uptown Players’ calendar.

But they worked it out, in part by starting a month early. The first show of their 2015 season will actually be in December 2014: Christmas Our Way, UP’s holiday-themed Broadway Our Way fundraiser (where men sing women’s songs and vice versa) will be held Dec. 11–14.

The first official show of 2015 will be Gilligan’s Fire Island, another spoof by playwright/actor Jamie Morris, who was last represented onstage at the Rose Room as Julia Sugarbaker in Re-Designing Women. As the title suggests, the castaways have gotten pretty gay.

The mainstage season will arrive at the Kalita in June, starting with the wonderful comedy-drama The Nance, then the regional North Texas-produced premiere of Catch Me If You Can, the rock opera Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the new off-Broadway hit Harbor.

See the complete lineup after the jump. You can also get season tickets here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DMA begins sale of David Sedaris tickets

SedarisYou know how arts organizations are always encouraging you to become a season subscriber for all the great benefits? Well, here’s a prime example of why it really does pay to do that.

Starting right now, the Dallas Museum of Art has on sale tickets to hear David Sedaris talk pretty via its Arts & Letters Live series at the Winspear Opera House on Nov. 11. Tickets don’t go on sale to the general public until Aug. 12. Now, you may think, “That’s only two weeks; the Winspear holds 2,300 people. I can wait.” But you’d probably be wrong. Or at least disadvantaged.

I know from experience how quickly Sedaris’ readings sell, and how hard tickets can be to come by. You really will benefit getting them early, and you can join for as little as $100 (which comes with free parking at the museum and is 80 percent tax deductible). Click the link or call 214-922-1247 to join and get the code. Tickets start at $25.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LISTEN: ‘Nothing Short of Wonderful’ from ‘Dogfight’

In the current edition of Dallas Voice, we have an interview with Benj Pasek, the gay half of the composing team responsible for the musical Dogfight, which gets its outside-of-New York premiere at WaterTower Theatre, which opens tonight. You can listen to a sample of what the show has in store here, with one of the charming musical numbers form the show.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Rocky Horror’ casting call changes

Two weeks ago, I posted a notice about an open casting call for Dallas Theater Center‘s upcoming production of The Rocky Horror Show (they are looking for engaging side-show-like acts). Well, some of the information has changed. Due to a schedule conflict with director/choreographer Joel Ferrell, the event will now be held at the Wyly Theatre (instead of the Rose Room) and the time has been compressed. The correct information is below:

Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St.

Saturday, July 26

Check-in at 2:45 p.m., call from 3–4 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Chris Miklos to be remembered at Dallas Eagle Friday night

Miklos

Chris Miklos

Chris Miklos, the popular bear who died suddenly in his sleep this week at age 40, will be remembered by his friends Friday night with a celebration at the Dallas Eagle. “Join us for a night of celebrating and dancing, the way Chris would have wanted us to,” the invitation reads. Folks will gather to remember Chris starting at 11 p.m.

You can read the invite and spread the word here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Drag queens and Speedos and sarongs, oh my!

IMG_2878Last weekend, over the course of a brief 24 hours, three different charities — AIDS Services of Dallas, Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage and AIDS Arms — received an awful lot of love from the Dallas gay community … and did so with a lot of costume changes.

On Saturday, The Summer Party, a 12-year-old pool bash at a private home in East Dallas, raised money for ASD, and included a fashion show by Skivvies, as well as a sarong contest for the gathered guests. Later that evening, The Red Party, a fundraising group benefiting Legacy, staged a poolside fashion show of its own at the ilume, with vodka by Hudson Ferus, snacks and margaritas from Mi Cocina and swimwear by Aussie Bum, ES Collection, Marek+Richard and others. Then on Sunday evening, the Rose Room gave over to the Miss LifeWalk contest, a fundraiser for AIDS Arms. Thousands of dollars were raised … and a lot of eyes popped.

You can see slide shows of each of them with these links to the Summer Party, the Red Party and Miss LifeWalk.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS: The Summer Party, benefiting ASD

Photos by Arnold Wayne Jones

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS: Red Party fashion show at ilume, benefiting Legacy Counseling

Photos by Arnold Wayne Jones

—  Arnold Wayne Jones