Best bets • 09.30.11

Friday 09.30

You had us at ‘howdy,’ Big Tex
When the Food Choice Awards rolled out fried bubblegum as the Most Creative winner, we weren’t immediately on board. Yes, we know it’s a marshmallow that tastes like gum, but do we get to stick it under our ferris wheel seat when we’re done? Sure, we’ll try it, but the Best Taste winner Buffalo chicken in a flapjack rings like heaven in our ears. Welcome back, State Fair.

DEETS: Fair Park, 1121 First Ave. Through Oct. 23. $13.95. BigTex.com.

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Saturday 10.01

Don’t strain your brain
Although the band hit it big in the early ’80s, Blondie’s hits never sound dated. Instead they sound cool and classic, much like singer Debbie Harry herself. But the band’s not too shabby either. See the band in the flesh as they bring back the new wave to Dallas.

DEETS: With Nico Vega. Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. 8 p.m. $60. GranadaTheater.com

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Tuesday 10.04

Yes, you feel pretty, witty and gay
Face it, it’s the one go-to line for queens of all ages, but West Side Story is much more than that cliche. It’s heart and angst rolled into a love story and a rumble. Which means, don’t miss it.

DEETS:  Music Hall, 909 First Ave. Through Oct. 23. $20–$90. DallasSummerMusicals.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

DRIVER’S SEAT: Jenny Block

JENNY ON THE BLOCK | Bisexual author Jenny Block chose the cliche of a car for her new ride: A Subaru.

Occupation: Author, freelance journalist and blogger, JennyOnThePage.com.

How might we know you? I’m the author of Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage and sex columnist for FoxNews.com. If you can believe it!

What kind of car do you have? 2011 Subaru Outback. Cyprus green.

Have you named her? I just got her the beginning of February, but I’m toying with calling her the Green Machine or maybe just Greenie. Sigh. Who am I kidding? None of my cars have ever had names.

Subaru is a cliche lesbian ride, but I’ll still ask: Why this car? You never know what we’ll be up to. In the last four years, I’ve taken up all sorts of adventures and this car will be perfect for putting up with all of it.

Good gas mileage? Yup. 29 on the highway and 22 in the city.

What are the rules of your car? No yelling. No playing “Punch Buggy.” No eating if you’re under 18. And I get to pick the music — always.

You have the most modern of modern families. How does this car help? Everyone and everything can pile in: my husband, my girlfriend, my daughter, our dog Walter, the Hula Hoops, the mountain bikes, the climbing equipment. You name it.

Fast driver or grandma? I can’t lie. Grandma. Definitely.

Who drives more — your hubby, girlfriend or you? So far I’m the only one who drives this one. But most of the time we take his car or her car. They never want me to drive when they’re with me. They say I drive too slowly. Go figure.

Best car memory: When I bought it, the guys at Subaru of Plano wanted to take a picture of me with it for some groovy promotion they’re doing where they make you a calendar with a pic of you and your new car. Anyway, we had such a blast doing it. It was during one of those hideous, freezing, snowy days we had, but I insisted they help me onto the top of the car for a picture. And they did. I look like a crazy person in the pic because I’m laughing so hard.

Funniest road trip story? Ask me in six months.

What’s in your CD/mp3 player right now? Jason Mraz, Katy Perry and Brett Dennen.

Stick shift vs. automatic: Automatic.

How do you rate this car to previous ones? I have always had Jeeps and I have always loved them. But this car is amazing. I suppose I’m going to need to give it some time. But I think it might beat out all of my previous rides.

Did any TV commercials sway you about your purchase? Maybe the one about “You never forget your first Subaru.” But, honestly, it was the gang at the Subaru dealer. I just swung by one afternoon to have a look and it was super low pressure. They wanted me to want the car. And I did!

Sexiest thing about your car? Love the moon roof. Everyone looks good in moonlight.

What’s the one new feature you already can’t live without? Heated seats. I know it’s not new in general, but it’s new to me. I didn’t have them in the Jeep. Now I do and I love them.

Where is one place you would like to drive your car? To Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, Texas, so we can go climbing and “camp” in the car if the tent freaks out my 11-year-old — or me.

So is this an SUV or a car or what? I think they consider it a crossover. It’s a wagon but it looks more like an SUV and it has a ton of space. Besides, I cannot say I drive a station wagon because that reminds me of the white Dodge Aspen my mom drove in the ’70s. Yick.

Are you a double space parker now that you have a new car? I so do not want to be that girl. I don’t take up two spaces. But I do park way in the back of a parking lot where there is generally less commotion.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

LISTEN: Dallas singer Brandon Hilton shows his ‘serious side’ with new single ‘Adrenaline’

Brandon Hilton seems to be on a roll. Just a few weeks ago, I blogged about his new video. Now, the Dallas singer is releasing his new single, “Adrenaline,” from his upcoming album Nocturnal. Not too bad from a self-made ce-web-rity. According to his e-mail sent out last night, this album will show a whole new side to Hilton. “Adrenaline” is Hilton’s first ballad which he figures will show his more artistic side.

“People were complaining because all I usually create is fun dance music, well my new album isn’t like that, I’m showing my serious side as a serious artist,” his e-mail states.

Personally, I’m not really sure an “artist” would bow to pressures of people complaining. Hey Hilton, if you don’t wanna do ballads, don’t. “Adrenaline” is a decent effort with just enough going right and wrong to balance it out. Overall, the tune is simple but I have to say, it hooked me. I mean, it’s auto-tuned to hell and a little cliche in the lyrics department, but it works well enough.

And we’re all in agreement here that Hilton provided one of the best lines ever in his press release. According to the e-mail, when he was asked about Nocturnal, he said — get ready for it — “this is all I will say, this album is about my death as an Internet Celebrity, and my birth as an Artist!”

So priceless.

Listen to “Adrenaline” here

—  Rich Lopez

My take on ‘Burlesque’

There’s a review in the print edition this week (and online) of Burlesque, but I didn’t write it because I didn’t screen the film in time. But as the film opens today I wanted to weigh in. Not because I disagree with our reviewer, but because I agree with her … and wonder how many other gay men out there do, too.

I’ve often grouped gay men not into traditional categories like top/bottom, twink/bear, daddy/boy, but rather by their favorite diva. Judy queens. Liza queens. Bette queens. Barbra queens. Celine queens. Mariah queens. Patti queens. Of late, Gaga queens.

And, of course, Cher.

Often, this is a generational thing (I may be Gaga’s oldest living fan); some youngsters don’t even know who Judy is. But Cher seems to cross ages. Maybe it’s her long career (her 2000 single “Believe” made her the oldest soloist ever to have a No. 1 pop hit). Maybe it’s her massively bad career choices (her Oscar follow-up is Mermaids?) or her trans child, Chaz. But for some reason, gay men have always given Cher a pass when it comes to reviews of her work. You can never trust how good she really is, because her fans seem to want to prevent the truth from coming out. They protect her. And sometimes she needs it.

Cher hasn’t made a feature (other than a cameo in Stuck on You) since 1999′s Tea with Mussolini, and she chooses to return to film with a Showgirls-vibed musical from a first-time director? Just how badly does she need money?

But here’s the thing: The movie succeeds. This is not to say it is a good film; it is most definitely not. But it is exactly what it sets out to be. It’s the McDonald’s french fry of cinema: Addictively enjoyable if objectively trashy. Hooray for Cher — she gave us just what we wanted.

So did the writer-director, Steve Antin. He doesn’t miss one cliche. Not the farm-girl (Christina Aguilera) from, of course, Iowa; not the creditors beating at the door, wanting to shut down the Burlesque Lounge, which seems to emerge like a ghostly haunted house from the Sunset Strip. (Here’s my notion for why the club doesn’t turn a profit: 20 dancing girls who get free drinks and big enough salaries to drive BMWs, a six-man live band and staff of bartenders big enough to man a cruise ship.)

But there’s an energy to the movie — it succeeds despite itself. Antin has fun with the musical numbers, and he lingers on the body of hot young boytoy Cam Gigandet, dressing him in a Fosse-inspired bowler with sleeveless shirt and guyliner. It’s gayrific, but straight-friendly. (Eric Dane is in it too, but not the playing the beefcake this time.) Even gayer is Stanley Tucci, perfection as the bitchy old queen with the smart-ass wisecrack, who plays off of Cher expertly. He gives her sometimes wooden acting credibility.

Acting’s one thing, but Cher’s big number — which makes no logical sense in the movie; few scenes do — is a marvel of passion and pride and survival. It makes up for all the nonsense.

Aguilera acquits herself well both as a singer (no surprise there) and as an actress. Is she this year’s Mo’Nique? Not even close. But she could become Cher. And that’s not such a bad thing.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones