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

Cirque Dreams Illumination at Bass Hall

Everything is ‘Illumination’
While we are recovering from food overload, superhumans gear up for Cirque Dreams Illumination. In what sounds like Rent meets Pink Floyd, the show depicts workers and pedestrians (aka urban acrobats) balancing on wires, chairs and other daring stunts against illuminated effects and eclectic score from rock to jazz to street beats.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Through Dec. 5. 7:30 p.m. $22-$49. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 11.26.10

Saturday 11.28

Everything is ‘Illumination’Christmas trees get all fancified
Artreach Dallas hosts the inaugural Bough Wow event to tie in with the lighting of Lee Park. Forget popcorn garland and plastic ornaments here. Artists and designers put their talents to the test using trees and wreaths as blank canvases. While you pine over the greenery, DJ Lucy Wrubel will spin the tunes while the wine and appetizers are served.

DEETS: Arlington Hall at Lee Park, 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd. 5 p.m. $65. ArtReachDallas.org.

………………….

Tuesday 11.30

Everything is ‘Illumination’
While we are recovering from food overload, superhumans gear up for Cirque Dreams Illumination. In what sounds like Rent meets Pink Floyd, the show depicts workers and pedestrians (aka urban acrobats) balancing on wires, chairs and other daring stunts against illuminated effects and eclectic score from rock to jazz to street beats.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Through Dec. 5. 7:30 p.m. $22-$49. BassHall.com.

…………………

Thursday 12.02

Red ribbons should match that cosmo
Chef Blythe Beck serves up her designer nibblies while Micah B provides the tunes at Kimpton’s Cocktails for a Cure red ribbon party. With auction items, cocktails and food, the only thing that makes it all better is that it benefits the Resource Center Dallas.

DEETS: Central 214, 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane. 6:30 p.m. $20. HotelPalomar.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

‘Spring Awakening’ opens at Bass Hall tonight

Just two days for ‘Spring’ break
Once you get past the darkness of the original version on Monday, do a 180 with the updated musical Spring Awakening. Musician Duncan Sheik penned the music and the touring show features local actress Elizabeth Judd. She’s kind of a big deal as the female lead.  So is the show which won eight Tony awards including best musical.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Nov. 9–10. 7:30 p.m. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Benise brings his nouveau flamenco to Bass Hall

Long luxurious hair and Spanish guitar — what’s more to say?

Head to Cowtown tonight for some super-sexy Benise. He’s like a romance cover come to life — those eyes, that face, the hair! He’s like Fabio with a guitar. Benise calls his playing nouveau flamenco which fuses Spanish guitar, African tribal influences and rock into a music all his own. The good thing is, he’s got talent! Don’t let the looks fool  you. He has some impressive intricacies in his guitar-playing arsenal.

Of course, we’re going to tell Performing Arts Fort Worth who’s presenting the show that we expect a prominently opened-button shirt.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. $22–$66. 8 p.m. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez