Best Bets • 02.10.12

KC_Sparkle_ShirtFriday 02.10

Your life will suck without her
Kelly Clarkson kinda got a raw deal at last week’s Super Bowl. The Burleson native  killed the crowd singing the national anthem, but everyone keeps talking about halftime. We can make it up to her as she headlines her night in town. Matt Nathanson opens.

DEETS:
Verizon Theatre
1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie
7:30 p.m. $25–$50
Ticketmaster.com.

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Tuesday 02.14

Your funny Valentine
If chocolates and flowers aren’t your kinda thing, maybe a good laugh is. Spice up Valentine’s Day with comedy. Paul Varghese was named the Funniest Comic in Dallas and headlines this Valentine’s show taking the pressure out of romantic expectations, and going for a laugh. But candy and champagne are included just to seal the deal.

DEETS:
Backdoor Comedy
8250 N. Central Expressway (in the Doubletree Hotel)
7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $28
BackDoorComedy.com.

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Tuesday 02.14

They’re here, they cheer
From the movie screen to the stage, cheerleading rivals learn there’s more to life then human pyramids and herkies in Bring It On: The Musical. But awesome choreography and high school drama add to the fun.

DEETS:
Music Hall at Fair Park
909 First Ave. 8 p.m. $15–$80.
Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Boy wonder

Patrick Mikyles brings a decidedly masculine vibe to S4’s drag stage

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR | Mikyles raised eyebrows when he was named newcomer of the year, defeating more than half a dozen female impersonators. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

 

DRACONIS VON TRAPP  |  Intern
intern@dallasvoice.com

Patrick Mikyles raises the roof Thursday nights at the Rose Room, but he also raises some eyebrows: Entertainers dressed as men aren’t the norm at the venue famous for its drag shows. But Mikyles has made his way into the ranks of queens and kings as a pioneer in his category.

Originally from Odessa, Mikyles started dancing in a show at Club Sin City there. His break came four years ago when he was supposed to dance back-up for a drag queen. At the last minute, the queen changed routines, so Mikyles approached the show director and asked if he could do a fill-in performance. The director agreed and said he could do the second show for $30. When Mikyles asked if he had to pay before or after he performed, the director gave him an odd look. “No, honey, I pay you $30.”

That was when Patrick Mikyles was born.

Since then Mikyles has performed at multiple clubs from Amarillo to Florida. He refers to himself as a “true male entertainer.”

“I can entertain the crowd with my clothes on,” Mikyles jokes.

While he doesn’t have a classical dance background, Mikyles has a eidetic memory when it comes to dance. He describes his style as “very energetic, go-getter” and says his influences range from Michael Jackson and Beyonce to James Brown. “It’s really eclectic,” he says. “There really is a lot of choreography that goes into it.”

When he first moved to Dallas, Mikyles set as his goal to be the first entertainer to work the Rose Room as a male.

“[The Rose Room] is a staple in drag and performing arts, I think. It’s really big for the LGBT community,” he says.

While he encountered controversy upon winning the newcomer contest, Mikyles soldiered through until he was accepted. He knew it would mean a lot for the drag king community and other male entertainers to become a regular at the club. Since achieving that, Mikyles has opened the door for other male entertainers and drag kings, giving confidence to performers who don’t specialize in female impersonation.

Even though he’s a crowd favorite and gets plenty of tips each show, Mikyles still gets a few odd looks backstage.

“I’ve met a lot of people while in the community,” he says. “Layla LaRue has been a mentor, and I’ve known some of the queens up there for years; they’re not strangers. But some of the up-and-coming girls are kind of uneasy about it. I think it’s just a matter of [them] not knowing me. I’m just an easy-going guy; I’m not here about the drama.”

It’s not just the other performers — sometimes the audience is unprepared for his act. The initial reaction can be something like, “What is this guy doing on stage?”

“By the second number they usually come around,” he says. (The main performers usually do two numbers a night between the amateur acts.)

Even as an experienced performer, Mikyles still gets nervous. How does he get pumped for a show? “I take in plenty of alcohol,” he quips, then adds quickly, “No, I’m kidding.”

He still prays before every show and lets the music move him. Some of the thoughts swirling through his head include, “Don’t fall,” “Are they gonna like me?” and “Am I gonna remember the steps?” And while much of what he does is choreographed, Mikyles still improvises.

Mikyles has also won Mr. Amarillo USofA and hopes to tour while getting a few more titles under his belt before trying an acting career on radio, television, stage and in film.

When he’s not on the dance floor, the 29-year-old works as a loan officer for Cash Store. “Some people say I’m a loan shark,” he chuckles. And when the work-week plods along, he always has Thursday to look forward to.

“Dallas has been great,” he says. “I didn’t think it would open its arms as much as it did. I still feel like a kid in a candy store.”

Mikyles performs at the Rose Room inside Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road on Thursdays. PartyAtTheBlock.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 05.13Vern_Yip-1

Both historic and modern
The dancers from the Complexions Contemporary Ballet are likely in good spirits. They embark on their Dallas residency for the next year working with TITAS on the commissioned work Testament, a new work based on Negro spiritual songs sung by actor Cedric Neal and new choreography by the company.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m.
$19–$125. ATTPAC.org.

 

Sunday 05.15

Time for some family bonding
LGBT families are more than welcome at this first Modern Family Fest. A full day of activities, entertainment and the most family bonding thing ever — food. With Off the Bone serving up barbecue and the Mister Cool Ice Cream truck, the adults might end up taking a nap before the kids do.

DEETS: Methodist Hospital Folsom Fitness Center Park, 262 West Greenbriar St. Noon.
$5 children, $10 adults. WedChild.org.

 

Thursday 05.19

Yip! Yip! Hooray
If you’re having a major interior design brain fart (and who hasn’t?), help is on the way. Vern Yip from Trading Spaces fame comes to town offering his expert advice on your design debacles. Now just comes the time to admit to them.

DEETS: I.O. Metro, # 5301 Alpha Road, Suite 34. 6:30 p.m. IO-Metro.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

REVIEW: Janet Jackson at Verizon on Saturday

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM JANET JACKSON’S PERFORMANCE

When Janet Jackson appeared on Saturday night, she wowed the crowd by singing from the aisles at the Verizon Theater. Opening with “Pleasure Principle” in her best Catwoman-like attire and sassy short ‘do, she sang into her signature headset mike and the crowd was immediately on board. Come to find out, this would be the most interaction she’d have with the sold-out audience all night.

Jackson is a superstar and you cannot deny her big hits over the years (save for maybe the past five), but her robotic performance was a letdown, and as much as people screamed and applauded, this show should have been a whole lot more. Instead, Jackson nary performed a full song. The concert was broken into medleys and so she opened with “Principle,” and finished seven songs later without skipping a single beat. A. Single. Beat. We got ample snippets of big hits like “Miss You Much,” “Control” and “Feedback” to name a few, but this was the gimmick the whole night long and wore thin pretty fast. A ballad medley followed, some more dancey ones and even the encore was a megamix. She never gave us time to just soak in and appreciate her songs. If this was Janet back to form, then let the fans eat it up.

We had to endure snippets of her dramatic acting with clips from Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, Poetic Justice and Why Did I Get Married before heading into her slow songs. I wasn’t really sure the point of this other than reminding us that she is an actress. Other breaks included jam sessions and photo slideshows of Janet through the years. Perhaps she wanted to take us down memory lane, but that’s what the songs were for.

Her strongest set was the three-song medley of  “Scream,” “If” and “Rhythm Nation.” I think that owed a lot to incorporating brother Michael into the show (even if it was just the “Scream” video), but the strength of the songs and sharper choreography from the videos all played out the right way. The crowd seemed in a more uproarious frenzy at this point and where she seemed to be lagging off her dancing a bit mid-show, she seemed to pick back up here. This part of the concert is what we should have been seeing all night.

The finale medley ended with the one complete song of the night. After three black bodysuits, she changed into a white one and finished off with “Together, Again.” The song was accompanied by images of her and Michael through the years which was rather sweet. Minus a few “I love yous” and kisses blown to the audience, she never engaged much with her fans. I think this made the show restrained and lacking in personality. She never let us in and on top of her falling into an automaton performance, all that we were really left with was a hell of a dance party. It’s hard to resist not dancing along with the diva, but even though this tour is touted as a scaled-back event, the Up Close and Personal part was hardly that.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Flash mob at Cedar Springs Kroger

You can’t see her very well in this angle of the video, but if you look closely you can see our lovely new sales rep, Emmy Stringer, among the participants in the Kroger flash mob that took place at the Cedar Springs store last week. Flash mobs, of course, appear out of nowhere and entertain people with choreography that seems random but it actually well planned. At least, we hope they entertain us. “Our House”? Not a huge fan of Madness (more of a Squeeze guy myself). Still, this is fun.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Robyn last night at South Side Music Hall

Robyn escaped the machinations of other pop divas by giving all to her songs instead of distracting with over-abundant choreography and gimmicky tricks. Of course, South Side Music Hall is a smaller venue and likely no pop performer there will have that much trickery behind their show, but nonetheless. She thrusted her voice and body into every song turning her concert into a cardio workout and a ferociously unforgettable experience.

Tearing through hits like “Dancing on My Own” and “Fembot,” Robyn was spot on with attitude and moxie. Her voice at times was thin, but this audience didn’t care as the crowded house pumped their arms in the air and danced completely out of their personal spaces. Robyn commanded the way many veteran divas do. But don’t think Madonna, think Janis Joplin.

The gays were en masse and so were the gals while the straight guys tweeted about being the only ones in the audience. But with everyone dancing and grooving as one cohesive unit, none of that mattered. She finished her just-shy-of-two-hour set with a couple of encores including “Hang with Me” and ultimately. a sort of deconstructed “Show Me Love.” With her hands in the air forming a heart  and mouthing “I love you,” clearly she felt the love this audience gave her all night. She earned it.

Diamond Rings performed a solid set despite a shaky start. Sound issues kept popping his mike but he pretty much shrugged it off and continued his almost hourlong set. Finally catching his groove, he rocked the guitar, keyboards and strange dance performance art schtick. The tall, lanky Canadian won big time with the crowd giving a show with the panache of a veteran. Plus, as small of an act as he is, it was nice to see many in the audience singing along to his pop-rock sound.

We walked into Natalia Kills performing her dance pop which filled the South Side Music Hall with pounding bass any dance club should be jealous of. With some staged choreography and drive to be a bigger star, Natalia Kills worked the stage and growing crowd like a headlining drag queen.

Video shot by Greg Hoover.

—  Rich Lopez

From Broadway to broadcast: London staging of musical ‘Fela!’ comes to Angelika screens tonight

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  |  Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

When Stephen Hendel first approached out choreographer Bill T. Jones about directing Fela!, Hendel’s hoped-for musical about the life and work of Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, Jones had absolutely no experience on Broadway.

But that was OK — neither did Hendel.

“I’d never produced a musical — not any theater show — before. And this was the first time [my wife] Ruth and I had lead-produced before, though Ruthie is a Tony voter. And the show was out of left field from the mainstream fare on Broadway,” Hendel says by telephone from New York.

This week, the culmination of their efforts will be seen by the largest audience ever, as Fela! airs as part of the National Theatre Live series of stage productions filmed for moviehouses opens at the Angelika, starting tonight.

The path was one of mutual enthusiasm by relative novices. Hendel was put in touch with Jones through a mutual acquaintance. Hendel had already spent several years trying to generate interest in his idea for a non-narrative musical overloaded with dance and tribal rhythms. And Jones was very interested.

“I could see he was really, really brilliant and that many of the themes — of an artist in society, of being a political artist and being a black man — were all issues will had spend him career exploring and living. We agreed when and if I got the rights [to the music and story], Bill would direct and choreograph the show.”

It took nearly a year for that to happen. In the interim, Jones got an agent who secured him choreography duties on an off-Broadway play called Seven. One of the hopefuls was not cast, but Jones loved his energy. He would eventually originate the role of Fela on Broadway.
Jones, for his part, made an impact as well, winning an Tony Award for choreographing Spring Awakening and becoming a hot property in the theater community. And Hindel got him started. (Hendel himself has continued his theater work, co-producing American Idiot, another outside-the-box, Tony-nominated musical from last season.)

The journey from New York stage to London stage to, this week, movie screens across the world, was a surprisingly natural progression.
“We opened on Broadway and got amazing reviews, and the National Theatre [in England] came to see it. Nick Hytner, their artistic director, called me to talk about bringing it to the Olivier Stage in London, so we created a production for the National,” Hendel says. He then learned that the National was beginning its second season of broadcasting stage works from its and other London stages to movie theaters across the world.

Hendel was in. The version airing this week at the Angelika Film Centers in Dallas and Plano was shot with nine cameras at the London shortly before Fela! closed its original Broadway run earlier this month. That means the broadcast is the only way an American can see the show for the time being.

“It’s like having the best seat in the house every minute, only you get things you can’t see sitting in a Broadway house,” Hendel says. And it is just one more way people in the U.S. can experience a musician Hendel has long loved but most people have never heard of.

“People thought we were crazy [doing the show] — who’s ever heard about Fela Kuti and would want to see a show about a Nigerian they’d never heard of?” he says. “It has been a big challenge making audiences aware of what it’s about and why it’s so entertaining and important. We want people all over the world the see the show and why we’ve spent eight or nine years working on it. It’s been a total joy and a total thrill.”

Still, Hendel says the cinema version does not replace seeing it live, which he hopes will happen; he is planning to announce soon a U.S. and international tour to start mid-2011.

Until then, though, the Angelika’s the place to be.

Fela! airs at the Angelika Mockingbird Station Jan. 19 and 20, and at the Angelika Plano Jan. 22 and 23, at 7 p.m. Visit AngelikaFilmCenter.com for details.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Modern Family: There’s Cheating, And Then There’s Choreography Cheating

Mitch thought he was giving Cam the ultimate gift when he let him witness his flash mob routine. But it's simply not polite to rub your routine in a theater queen's face.

CONTINUED »


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