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

B’way at Bass boasts familiar line-up

Everything old isn’t always new again — sometimes it’s just old.

That seems to be the case with the upcoming 2011-12 Broadway at the Bass Series, which takes place at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. The selection of splashy musicals probably looks familiar, because most of these tours have already been to North Texas — some quite recently.

The season kicks off on Nov. 8 with Shrek the Musical (last year’s State Fair musical). That’s followed by Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (opening Nov. 29), Monty Python’s Spamalot (currently playing at Fair Park Music Hall; opens Feb. 7), Marry Poppins (the State Fair Musical two years ago, opens March 27), and ending with Blue Man Group, which bored me to tears at the Winspear earlier this season (June 26).

In addition, three “add-on” shows — not part of the season subscription — will play: The Wizard of Oz (Sept. 30), The Midtown Men (Oct. 26 only) and Young Frankenstein (March 14 and 15; is played at the Winspear earlier this season).

To me, that looks like a pretty safe line-up; then again, if you missed any of these when they came through the first time, this is your chance to catch them finally.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Shirley MacLaine at Bass Hall

Postcards from the edge

MacLaine is onstage in North Texas with her show An Evening with Shirley MacLaine, which stops at Bass Hall Saturday. Despite her musical theater cred (she was Sweet Charity, after all), don’t expect singing and dancing —  she’s over all that. Instead, the Oscar winner will talk about her movies, her life and her loves.

She’s been doing that a lot lately. She’s been making the media rounds lately for her 13th book, I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions, including a spot on Oprah. But the show isn’t necessarily the live version of her latest autobio.

“The show is really fun and just a retrospective of my life — I tell stories about my films and Broadway, television, travels, love affairs,” she says. “It’s just me and a remote control up there.”

Read the entire article here.

 

—  Rich Lopez

Postcards from the edge

Screen legend Shirley MacLaine talks about everything under the sun …. and a few things beyond it

shirleymaclaine
‘EVENING’ STAR | Shirley MacLaine, left, gives audiences the dish on her films in her one-woman show at Bass Hall Saturday. She’ll also talk up her life, possibly her past lives and anything the audience asks.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Maybe Shirley MacLaine is onto something with all her talk of otherworldly topics. When I asked the screen legend about her iconic status in the gay community — due to appearances in such films as Steel Magnolias, The Children’s Hour and even Postcards from the Edge — her phone cuts out. She doesn’t skip a beat on the return call.

“See how it went dead when you said the word ‘iconic?’ That’s a sign!” she says with a true guffaw.

At 77, MacLaine is still a spitfire who can quickly turn a question back on the interviewer. She’s a veteran at talking about her work and life, but admits that there are some things she doesn’t know about herself.

“I don’t know why the gays might think of me that way. What do you think?” she asks. The humor for one thing, I say — and how gays can’t resist a good, strong-willed woman.

“I’m curious what strikes me and what doesn’t,” she says. “Oh, and I think Madame Sousatzka is also popular. It’s the humor and that’s what I loved about those parts. There’s nothing more sophisticated than the gays’ sense of humor.”

So true — especially when it comes to Broadway. MacLaine raves enthusiastically over The Book of Mormon by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker and the musical version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Both show an irreverence as well as artistic merit, which MacLaine thinks is just what art needs right now.

“I just got back from New York and the audiences were so receptive,” she says. “Mormon is quite astonishing. You’ve just got to see it. You know, the world is in such bad trouble that [artists] don’t give a shit anymore. The feeling is, ‘We’ll make humor out of it.’ And Priscilla was moving and well done and over the top. It was such an exercise in imaginative clothing and shoes and humor. I had no idea.”

She has less to say about Promises, Promises, the musical revival based on her famed film, The Apartment. “Everyone keeps asking me that, but I just haven’t seen it,” she says.

MacLaine is onstage in North Texas with her show An Evening with Shirley MacLaine, which stops at Bass Hall Saturday. Despite her musical theater cred (she was Sweet Charity, after all), don’t expect singing and dancing —  she’s over all that. Instead, the Oscar winner will talk about her movies, her life and her loves.

She’s been doing that a lot lately. She’s been making the media rounds lately for her 13th book, I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions, including a spot on Oprah. But the show isn’t necessarily the live version of her latest autobio.

“The show is really fun and just a retrospective of my life — I tell stories about my films and Broadway, television, travels, love affairs,” she says. “It’s just me and a remote control up there.”

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 5.36.00 PMHopefully that will includes anecdotes about another screen legend, her late friend Elizabeth Taylor. MacLaine was part of the Golden Age that introduced the world to the likes of Paul Newman, Jack Lemmon and Taylor. But Liz’s passing (from this world, at least) struck MacLaine the hardest.

“That affected me more than I thought it would, to tell you the truth,” she says. “I met her when I was 20. I knew how she was feeling and I knew this would happen. I’ve been calling her and am talking to her still, but I don’t like to think of a world without her in it.”

Umm, still talking to Taylor? Well, MacLaine is almost as famous for her new age beliefs as for her acting prowess. She has written books that cover topics such as reincarnation, spiritual exploration and transcendentalism. So when she says she’s talking with Elizabeth Taylor … well, who can doubt her? A headline in a British tabloid recently labeled her “kooky,” but that’s nothing new to her. For years, she’s been mocked about her beliefs, but she uses the same thick skin needed for her acting career and she never let the media get to her.

Even having reached living legend status, MacLaine says that there is one thing she still hopes to accomplish in this lifetime.

“I’d like to go into space,” she says. “But not with an astronaut — an extraterrestrial spacecraft. I know a lot of people who’ve been taken aboard one. I haven’t done that yet in this lifetime.”

Of course, there’s always the next one.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Johnny Mathis brings class act to Bass tonight

A voice as smooth as silk

Yes, Johnny Mathis might be the stuff parents or grandparents are made of, but give him another  listen. He hasn’t been at this for more than five decades because he’s a slouch. The quietly out Mathis is a crooner and class act right up there with Tony Bennett, but without the retro appeal and MTV specials. He must have some appeal because we hear this show is sold out.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $29–$80. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 01.21

Get Max-ed out on pop art

Despite painting presidents and celebrities, artist Peter Max will verge either on blasphemy or on genius when his work shows here. Using Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns football helmets as canvases, Max applies his vibrant colors to iconic Texas images. We say “awesome.”

DEETS: Wisby-Smith Fine Art, 500 Crescent Court. Through Jan. 30. RoadShowCompany.com

Saturday 01.22

A voice as smooth as silk

Yes, Johnny Mathis might be the stuff parents or grandparents are made of, but give him another  listen. He hasn’t been at this for more than five decades because he’s a slouch. The quietly out Mathis is a crooner and class act right up there with Tony Bennett, but without the retro appeal and MTV specials. He must have some appeal because we hear this show is sold out.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $29–$80. BassHall.com.

Friday 01.28

There is more than ‘Brokeback’

Annie Proulx captured the soul of gay love with  her story ‘Brokeback Mountain’ that originally appeared in the New Yorker. Other works have garnered attention but she’s back with her first nonfiction book, Bird Cloud, which she’ll discuss at Arts & Letters Live in Horchow Auditorium.

DEETS: Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. 7:30 p.m. $37. DallasMuseumofArt.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2011.

—  John Wright