Overtures: Notes on the classical scene

NOTE: With this, we begin a new regular column, Overtures by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs — an overview of the month ahead in the classical music scene in North Texas of interest to the gay community. It will run occasional Fridays in place of The Week’s Takeaways.

January starts with an overloaded Saturday (Jan 5). First, the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcasts presents Berlioz’s six hour long opera Les Troyens starring Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham and Marcello Giordani starting at 11 a.m.; check out the Met website  for a list of local theaters that will screen it. This opera is almost never produced because it is such a monster and so long, so this is a rare chance to see it.

That same afternoon, the Fort Worth’s chamber music society will present Gregory Raden, principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony, in a recital at the Modern Art Museum with Antonio Pompa-Baldi, Silver Medalist in the 2001 Cliburn competition. Both are superb artists and Raden gets my vote for the best clarinetist of his generation. That evening, the Fort Worth Symphony presents none other than gay icon and super diva Bernadette Peters at Bass Hall. A planning suggestion: Hit the recital early, have dinner in Fort Worth and then cross to Bass to listen to La Peters, and catch the encore screening of the opera on Jan. 23 (6:30 p.m.).

The Dallas Symphony continues it conservative offerings Jan. 10–13, but gussies it up with the glamorous violinist Nicola Benedetti playing the Tchaikovsky concerto, paired with Brahms’ first symphony. Pablo González is the guest conductor. Yawn. The rest of the month, the DSO presents a two concert Mozart miniseries. Wow — there’s an original idea.

Things are somewhat better at the Fort Worth Symphony. Jan. 11–13 is the most interesting concert musically, with a performance of Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote with Brinton Averil Smith, their handsome former principal cellist, doing the honors. Cliburn also brings in gay composer John Bucchino for a performance at the Modern Art Museum on Jan. 19. Then get out your ruby slippers Jan. 25–27 as the FWSO screens The Wizard of Oz with the orchestra playing the Oscar-winning score live.

Voices of Change always presents is a fascinating journey into the music of our time, and their concert on Jan. 20 at 2:30 p.m. at SMU’s Caruth Auditorium is no exception. Show up at 1:30 to hear the always-intriguing Laurie Shulman give a preview.

Lastly, on Jan. 28, the Cliburn at the Bass Series will present a recital by pianist Radu Lupu, who won the second Cliburn competition and went on to achieve legendary status.

— Gregory Sullivan Isaacs 

—  admin

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

With the Labor Day holiday upon us, there’s lots of stuff you can do (especially if you’re skipping Southern Decadence this weekend — lots of flooded streets, curfews and canceled flights). If you stick around Dallas, you can check out a pool party during the day … and maybe  and get a new swimsuit beforehand.

Wanna stay inside? See The Producers at Uptown Players, which we (and most other critics) loved. One set of “critics” who apparently didn’t like it: Some students from Kentucky. According to reports from audience members, chaperones for the minors stormed out of the theater during intermission, apparently not happy with the gay themes and Jewish humor. (Ummm… the musical’s been around a decade and the theater is run by gay guys — how did you not know what it was about and come in the first place?!?!?) Still, leading actor B.J. Cleveland apparently had fun with it. During his Act 2 number “Betrayed,” where he pauses to summarize the show until then, Cleveland ad-libbed “Last bus leaving for Kentucky!’ and “They’ll marry their cousins, but they find this offensive.” Ouch.

A lot more fun is taking place this week, too … though much of it seems to be at the end of the week. Even at Uptown Players — again. On Thursday, it launches is second annual Pride Performing Arts Festival with a one-night-only staged reading of Dustin Lance Black’s play 8, and continuing until Dallas Pride Weekend. Also on Thursday: The first concert of the Van Cliburn Concerts series at Bass Hall kicks off with four former Gold Medalists performing for the ailing gay maestro; plus, it’s Fashion Night Out (and our friends at DFW Style Daily have complete coverage here).

On Tuesday, gay music legend Bob Mould drops his latest CD, Silver Age, in which he embraces his daddy status — and rocks out doing so. Before that, the new film For a Good Time, Call from gay director Jamie Travis opens today, and it might be worth a look-see — especially if you’re a fan of huge dildos (other than the ones you saw at the GOP National Convention this week).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dixie’s Tupperware Party at McDavid Studio

Plastic all the way

Tupperware parties may evoke images of shag carpets, Ambrosia salad and avocado decor of the 1970s, but it’s just as popular as it ever was. Some of that is likely owed to Dixie Longate, the drag queen who took her party on the road and turned it into a show. That doesn’t mean she’s not selling it, but at least you can have a good time while pondering your selection(s). It’s not one of those awkward situations where you’re just kind of there to help a friend out but you really don’t want to spend the money.

DEETS: Bass Hall’s McDavid Studio, 301 E. Fifth St., Fort Worth. 7:30 p.m. Through Feb. 26. $22–$38.50. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to Dixie Longate’s Tupperware Party at Bass’ McDavid Studio

Tupperware parties may evoke images of shag carpets, Ambrosia salad and avocado decor of the 1970s, but it’s just as popular as it ever was. Some of that is likely owed to Dixie Longate, the drag queen who took her party on the road and turned it into a show. That doesn’t mean she’s not selling it, but at least you can have a good time while pondering your selection(s). It’s not one of those awkward situations where you’re just kind of there to help a friend out but you really don’t want to spend the money.

Longate will turn up the fabulosity on Tupperware when she comes to Fort Worth Feb. 14–26 at Bass Hall’s McDavid Studio. And you could win a pair of tickets to the show. Here’s what you gotta do. We wanna know what’s been your most inventive use of T-ware. Do you use it as a cake mold? Maybe a planter? As part of your Halloween costume? We need to know. Email us your unique Tupp-ish innovations here with your name and contact info and “Gimme some Dixie” in the subject line. Two winners will be selected and notified prior to the show.

Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

Jim Brickman tonight at Bass Hall

He’s a brick…man

BrickmanThe elegance of popular pianist Brickman is never lost during the holiday season. He brings back his “Christmas Celebration” concert to North Texas, and while he enchanted us at the Meyerson this past January, he’ll be tickling our ivories in Cowtown at Bass Hall this time. Either way, he makes it look a lot more like Christmas when he’s around.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. 7:30 p.m. $33–$82. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Joan Rivers tonight at Bass Hall

Can she talk?

While she’s never fully on the road anymore like she was in her heyday, the comedy icon (and celeb-basher) can’t help but return to her standup roots — even if her shows are in glamorous venues (like Fort Worth’s Bass Hall) instead of dank comedy clubs of one-liners past .

“I love to get out there and do it,” she says. “And those gays better show up.”

Rivers knows she can count on her gays. And with her foray into fashion and celebrity dish, well, what self-respecting gay man could resist? Her show on E!, The Fashion Police, has become a huge hit since she and her daughter Melissa (who produces the show) took over, with Rivers’ fashion shtick both hilarious and spot-on. But with such gay appeal, many of her fans are surprised to learn that Rivers is (cue the collective gasp) a Republican. (It’s no secret — she’s mentioned it in previous interviews.)

Read the rest of the article here.

—  Rich Lopez

Joan of Snark

Comic icon (and queer fave) Joan Rivers is (gasp!) a Republican … but only when it comes to her money

Joan-Rivers

RIVERS RUNS THROUGH IT | The comedienne has long been a ‘friend of the gays.’

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

There is something fascinating about Joan Rivers eating a sandwich on the phone during an interview. She’s demure about it and never talks with her mouth full, but she acknowledges its existence. Is it a ham sandwich? With pickle? Celebrities eat sandwiches?

“They just brought me my lunch,” she says,” Hope you don’t mind.”

Of course not — it’s fucking Joan Rivers!!!

While she’s never fully on the road anymore like she was in her heyday, the comedy icon (and celeb-basher) can’t help but return to her standup roots — even if her shows are in glamorous venues (like Fort Worth’s Bass Hall, where she’ll be Wednesday) instead of dank comedy clubs of one-liners past .

“I love to get out there and do it,” she says. “And those gays better show up.”

Rivers knows she can count on her gays. And with her foray into fashion and celebrity dish, well, what self-respecting gay man could resist? Her show on E!, The Fashion Police, has become a huge hit since she and her daughter Melissa (who produces the show) took over, with Rivers’ fashion shtick both hilarious and spot-on. But with such gay appeal, many of her fans are surprised to learn that Rivers is (cue the collective gasp) a Republican. (It’s no secret — she’s mentioned it in previous interviews.)

“Yes, I am,” she says. “I am a Republican who believes in gay marriage, is pro-choice … all that stuff. My assistant once said that I’m only a Republican when it comes to my money. I’ve already paid my taxes so shut up, people. Don’t touch my money!”

As Rivers comes to Texas, she isn’t all that impressed with Gov. Rick Perry who has been sliding in recent polls for the Republican nomination to vie for the presidency. But really, she’s not impressed with anyone on either side.

“Ugh, that Rick Perry is hideous,” she says. “Everyone [on the GOP front] is a moron in this race, but so is Obama. Plus, I wish I could fix his teeth. I can’t stand that whistle.”

Rivers isn’t optimistic about the direction the next election will take. For her, it’s not about which party comes out ahead, but if there will ever be the right person (or people) in charge. But she keeps trying when it comes to heading to the ballot box.

“This country is in such trouble, there’s nobody out there you want,” she bemoans. “They are all liars and cheats and stupid and they only vote on the party lines.  I feel sorry for the person behind me at the booth because I vote all over the place. My ballot looks like a drunk driver going, from person by person.”

But fans tune in and turn out, not for her punditry, but for her outlook on celebrities. Lately, she’s been hammering at Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s marriage and Christina Aguilera’s … um, curvier lines. Rivers takes to Twitter to unleash her comic bullets that are both scathing and hysterical, which sometimes come back to bite her in the ass. She tweeted recently after running into Demi Moore on a flight: “Now for the awkward moment! After joking about Demi on last week’s Fashion Police I hid under a blanket for the entire flight.” Awkward moment indeed, but Rivers doesn’t shy away from them.

“Those come with the job,” she says. “What I really am is a critic and I think that’s what makes the show so good. We tell the truth, but it’s fun for people who like fashion.

We have a good time, we gossip. It’s not for the uptight.”

What people might forget is the number of hats Rivers wears. Besides hosting Fashion Police, she designs jewelry and fashions for QVC, she’s a radio host, she has the Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best show on WE, in addition to her occasional live performances. At 78, not much is stopping her.

“Well, at this age, it does take careful planning,” she laughs. “But you know, I love what’s happening around me. I do it with fun and it’s not always easy but I love my work.”

Rivers is almost as famous for her plastic surgery as she is for her comedy. She knows the gay boys have their narcissism and offered these tips for those considering going under the knife or sticking a needle in their forehead.

“Oh, do it while you’re young,” she insists. “That’s the trick. And just do it a little bit at a time. The thing is, you don’t want anybody to think that you’ve done anything.”

Rivers doesn’t mind so much what people know about her. She’s willing to head into TMI territory and proudly proclaims she’s been sexually active recently, even if it’s been a few years.

“It was about three years ago the last time I got laid,” she admits. “That’s why I’ve gained a little weight. Anyway, this hotel is now closed.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

For gay actor Steve McCoy, it’s good to be king

Spamalot has been a boom — and not just to its producers, whose touring production has lasted longer than the actual Crusades (it returns to North Texas next season as part of the Bass Hall Broadway series) — but to its cast. Steve McCoy, the gay actor who plays King Arthur in the production now onstage at Fair Park from Dallas Summer Musicals, is certainly grateful for why prancing around the European countryside in chain mail can do for one’s career.

Mark Lowry, the Dallas Voice contributor and co-founder of TheaterJones.com, interviewed McCoy this week. You can read the full interview here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

O’Hurley gives ’em the old razzle dazzle

Don’t toss the term “Renaissance man” at John O’Hurley. He may be an actor, singer, writer and composer, but he just won’t have it. Though maybe he’ll at least have a sense of humor about it.

“Oh, do people still say that?” he asks with a laugh.

O’Hurley is the man you know, but name you can’t quite recall. Most famous for his role as adventurer-businessman J. Peterman on Seinfeld, he’s actually an experienced song-and-dance man, which he gets to remind people of when he returns to the role as Billy Flynn in Chicago, which settles in for five performances at Bass Hall this weekend.

Although he has an extensive stage background, he’s content that many people may only be familiar with the musical through the movie.

“That’s fine, because it rekindled interest in the show,” he says. “The movie was imaginative but the [stage] show is much more. Sets are minimal and in your mind more. It’s such an innovative presentation.”

As with Anderson Cooper and his Chicago predecessor Richard Gere, O’Hurley embodies the silver fox — sexy but mature. His sophistication, good looks and humor are what also prompted People magazine to name him one of their sexiest men alive in 2006, when O’Hurley was a sensation for his appearances on Dancing with the Stars. (He was the runner-up, but later won a celebrity re-match.) The honor, though, was short-lived.

“It was very funny to hear that news. It was during that swirl right after” DWTS, he says. “I remember rolling over with my hair messed up and sleep in my eyes and my wife saying, ‘Look at you, Mr. Sexy.’ She brought me back down to earth then.”

O’Hurley seems to be everywhere — and he prefers it that way. When not touring with Chicago, he hosts the National Dog Show on NBC every Thanksgiving Day, is finishing his third book and composes music.

“I enjoy moving from thing to thing,” he says. “My mind moves in lot of different directions anyways, so I like to do that a lot.”

That keeps his acting chops in tip-top shape.

He’s played Billy Flynn before, but he tries to avoid repeating himself. Each performance is a new adventure.

“I made a promise to myself back in 1984 that I would surprise myself every night,” he says. “Something new will happen or an idea occurs to me and it keeps me fresh and present. The role gets deeper, so it changes every night for me.”

He did appear in the promo video for The Charles Schulz Celebrity Golf  which shows O’Hurley at his best: Dry humor. He endorses Rangé Golf Balls and guess what he invites people to play with? The video is now on YouTube.

—Rich Lopez

Chicago at Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Through June 19. $38–$88. BassHall.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

A Brit abroad in Dallas

Doug Mayo may like Dallas more than a native Texan.

The Australian-born travel writer, now living in Great Britain, has visited as part of the Tavern Guild’s international journalists’ tour on several occasions; the last time, in April, he ended up staying a week longer than anyone else.

And the entire time he was here, Mayo had a look on his face like a kid in a candy shop. And he knows it.

“I love Dallas,” he gushes on a rare break from sightseeing. “Dallas is all about the people — I’ve met the nicest people in the world here. I could actually live here quite easily.”

Even during the Texas summer? Well, for Mayo, it’s less about the weather than what it has to offer.

“It’s probably not as much of a culture shock as moving somewhere else,” he says. “[People] don’t equate Dallas with culture, but you appreciate wine, cabaret, the arts. The performing arts district is out of this world —the Wyly and the Winspear are amazing. And for me, it does seem to be a Democratic state, considering that there are some Republican presidents from here.”
So what does an Aussie by way of England find so appealing about Dallas? Just give him a second to count the ways.

“The Round-Up is just surreal because it’s such a Dallas thing — there’s something about it that is distinctively ‘Texas,’” Mayo says. “You don’t realize it, but you won’t find something like that in London.”

The Book Depository is a draw as well, as is some of our architecture: “My last tour, we toured the construction of Cowboys Stadium. It’s a phenomenal building.” He even enjoyed going a bit west to Cowtown to see the cattle drive and inspect Bass Hall before trips to Billy Bob’s and the Rainbow Lounge, all of which he loved.

And what about the food? Well, that might be the easiest sell of all.

“Central 214’s my favorite,” he says. “[Chef] Blythe Beck can work out a way of chicken-frying anything.”

That’s Texas all right.

— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens