12 ways to celebrate Black History Month

Queer-specific events

• Third Annual Marlon Riggs Film Festival: Friday, Feb. 17 marks the first day of Fahari Arts Institute’s Third Annual Marlon Riggs Film Festival, presented in cooperation with The South Dallas Cultural Center, Black Cinematheque Dallas, Q-Roc.TV and BlaqOut Dallas. The festival honors the legacy of the late gay, Fort Worth-based filmmaker Marlon Riggs. Screenings begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday night at the South Dallas Cultural Center, 3400 S. Fitzhugh Ave. The cost is $5 per night. There will be a talk back after each evening of films.

• Queerly Speaking: Queerly Speaking is a monthly spoken word open mic event for queer people of color hosted by the Fahari Arts Institute at the South Dallas Cultural Center. The fourth season begins this month with February’s theme of “Love on Top.” 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24. $5.

• Unity Black History Soul Food Potluck: United Black Ellument is an organization dedicated to building Dallas’ young black gay and bisexual men’s community. They will be celebrating Black History Month with delicious soul food on Sunday, Feb. 19. The food and fun starts at 6 p.m. and people are encouraged to come with or without a dish. The event is free. UBE is in Deep Ellum at 3116 Commerce St., Suite C. UBEDallas.org.

• ¡Baile! The Dance: Allgo is Texas’ statewide queer people of color and allies organization that focuses on improving the queer people of color community’s health and advancing LGBT black and Latino artists and community organizing.  Baile takes place from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center at 600 River St., Austin. Tickets are $25 online/$35 at the door. If you’d like to support but can’t travel to attend, consider an online donation, which can be made at Allgo.org/Allgo/Support.

Other events

• ‘Free Man of Color’: The African American Art Repertory Theater presents Free Man of Color, the true story of John Newton Templeton, a freed slave, who graduated from Ohio University 35 years before the Emancipation Proclamation. Desoto Corner Theater at 211 E. Pleasant Run Road, DeSoto. AarepTheater.com

• Mahalia Jackson ‘Queen of Gospel Music’ Exhibition: The African American Museum celebrates the life of Mahalia Jackson with 51 pieces of artwork and rare footage of her life and performances through June 30. The museum is at 3536 Grand Ave., Dallas, in Fair Park. Admission is free. AAMDallas.org.

• ‘My House Cultural Discovery — African American Folk Tales and Legends’: You and your children or favorite little ones can celebrate Black History Month at The Museum of Nature & Science with storyteller Toni Simmons at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 24, followed by craft time until 1 p.m. Free for members and included with the cost of general admission for non-members. 3535 Grand Ave., Dallas. NatureAndScience.org.

• 13th Annual Red, Hot & Snazzy Benefit: The United Negro College Fund, or UNCF, presents its 13th Annual Dallas/Fort Worth Black History Month signature event Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Dallas. Proceeds provide scholarships for low-income college students and operating resources for UNCF’s Texas-based historically black colleges. For more information on time and cost, visit: UNCF.org.

• Black History Month Celebration: South Side on Lamar celebrates Black History Month at 8 p.m. Feb. 26. The local Ebony Emeralds Classic Theater presents a special performance, Three Tales of Black History. It is directed by Akin Babatunde and will feature music by Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk and Billy Strayhorn. The show takes place in South Side’s Blue Room, 1409 S. Lamar St.

• Cultural Awareness Series: The Dallas Black Dance Theater presents its annual Cultural Awareness Series Feb. 23–26.  Price levels vary from $10–$65. DDBDT.com.

• ‘Frederick Douglass Now’: The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) presents Frederick Douglass Now, a show by Dress Performance Theatre Series starring Roger Guenveur Smith at 8:15 p.m Feb. 24-25. The show takes place in the Clarence Muse Café Theater in the Dallas Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., Dallas. $15.

• Saturdays of Service: Black history month is moving from being more event-based to service-based. Groups such as Black Men Emerging at SMU are pushing for change and not just entertainment. They lead Saturdays of service throughout the Dallas area from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Remaining service dates are Feb. 18 and 25.

— Compiled by Toi Scott

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 17, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Best bets • 09.23.11

Saturday 09.24

Spend the weekend with Candis
We were excited to see trans actress Candis Cayne land the juicy role of Carmelita Rainer on Dirty, Sexy, Money and then sad to see it go after two seasons. Now we can see the actress/entertainer up close as she comes to Dallas. Cayne performs at Dish’s Drag Brunch on Sunday, but first she headlines the Rose Room.

DEETS: The Rose Room (inside S4), 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 11 p.m. Caven.com.

…………………

Tuesday 09.27

‘Hair’ raising experience
How gay is the musical Hair? Find out at this special performance as the Lexus Broadway series presents GLBT Broadway in Hamon Hall. The pre-show event features Dallas Voice LifeStyle Editor Arnold Wayne Jones discussing issues of gender identity and sexuality within the counterculture musical.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 7 p.m.  $30–$150. ATTPAC.org.

………………….

Friday 09.30

Pride is hilarious
As Tarrant County Pride gets underway, Open Door Productions takes part with comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer. Her Semi-Sweet show will be the comic highlight of Pride in Cowtown

DEETS: Sheraton Hotel, 1701 Commerce St. 8 p.m. $25–$30. OpenDoorProductionsTX.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

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

Photos of suspect in gay man’s murder

These are screen grabs taken from surveillance video provided by the Dallas Police Department. The surveillance video was taken at the 7-11 at 2008 Commerce St., where the man used a debit card belonging to gay murder victim Aaron Cheung, 27. Police say the man shown is a “person of interest” in Cheung’s murder. The suspect appears to be in his 50s and stands about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, according to police. He walks with a pronounced limp. Anyone with information is asked to call the Dallas Police Homicide Unit at (214) 671-3661.

—  John Wright

UPDATE: Dallas police identify ‘person of interest’ in gay man Aaron Cheung’s murder

Aaron Cheung

The “person of interest” was observed using a credit card belonging to gay murder victim Aaron Cheung this morning at a 7-11 at 2008 Commerce St., according to Dallas police.

Cheung, 27, was found fatally shot inside his vehicle in northeast Dallas on Sunday morning.

Surveillance video from the 7-11 shows the suspect to be a black male wearing a black jacket over a white hoodie, according to DPD. The suspect appears to be in his 50s and stands about 5 feet, 5 inches tall. He walks with a pronounced limp. Anyone with information is asked to call the Dallas Police Homicide Unit at (214) 671-3661.

More to come shortly.

—  John Wright

Ooh-la-la

There’s a reason The French Room has a rep as one of Dallas’ best restaurants — because it is

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

MAIS OUI | The food at The French Room is as impressive as its decor.

Overall Rating 4.5 Stars

The French Room inside the Hotel Adolphus, 1303 Commerce St. Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner,  6–9:30 p.m. 214-742-8200. HotelAdolphus.com.

There’s fine dining, there’s special event dining, and then there’s The French Room. Chef de cuisine Marcos Segovia has maintained the high standards of this jewel box restaurant, with food as elaborate and impressive as the decor. Despite a mix-up on the bill that was quickly resolved, service is almost impeccable

Food: 5 stars
Atmosphere:  4 stars
Service:  4 stars
Price:  Expensive

……………………………………

Mark Twain defined a literary classic as a book everyone praised and nobody read. The same might be said of any creative undertaking with a long-standing reputation, even a restaurant. Sure, it was once great, but has it maintained those qualities, or do people’s expectations simply mask its weaknesses?

So after years of The French Room at the Hotel Adolphus getting credit as Dallas’ best dining establishment, a reassessment was in order.

Wow. Or rather, still wow.

Some things just resist diminishment. Certainly the room itself — an ornate rococo jewel box of space that almost makes Versailles look like a double-wide in Abilene — has retained its bones.  Soothing seafoam blues and angelic pinks on the walls and ceiling, soft ecru linens and comfy medallion back chairs inject a luxe Gallic panache into the boots-and-denim familiarity of most Texas-based restaurants. (It’s one of the few places in town where men are still required to wear a jacket.)

The mechanics of service are also intact. Waiters invisibly replace silverware for each course and refill water glasses with stealthy precision. The sommelier introduces the wines with authority but not pomposity. Plates are deftly serves from the left and removed from the right. (A mix-up on the bill on our visit was unfortunate but quickly resolved.)

But while bad service or a shabby atmosphere can ruin a good meal, it’s the food that should be the star, and here, it still is.

The menu at The French Room permits one of two prix fixe choices: An elaborate feast chosen by chef de cuisine Marcos Segovia ($110), or a three-course dinner (usually $80, but $50 Tuesdays through Thursdays) that allows some a la carte selecting by the diner. We went with the three-course, without disappointment.

The meal, of course, begins with a bread basket (the fennel wafer and oat bread were fantastic) and a complimentary amuse bouche of lobster salad with white grape and chanterelles, where crisp, earthy texture of the seafood combined seamlessly with the rich, soft fruit. But that’s just the beginning.

VERSAILLES REDUX | Compared to the usual denim-and-leather style at most Dallas restaurants, The French Room still requires men to wear a coat to dinner. Nice.

The appetizer of Hudson Valley foie gras was a perfect starter for the season. With its autumnal influences of cranberry reduction (so thick and tart, it almost tasted of raspberries), it’s a soothing cold-weather bite. The spongy fluff of banana bread, topped by a wedge of pecan crust, melted effortlessly on the tongue — helped along, no doubt, by the glass of Sauternes-like Torrentes wine that came with it. The floral, apricot-like notes with a bit of pear educed the fatty richness from the liver and bread.

The crab cakes took on an herbaceous quality, with lobster sauce imbuing the crab with a distinct muscularity, while the combination of goat cheese and polenta, pancetta and figs on slightly warm spinach elevated the salad to haute cuisine. (An apple cider sorbet, served in a charming bloom of a cup, makes for an excellent palate cleaner.)

The veal tenderloin, turned a vibrant red from the intense Chambord sauce as well as the medium rare prep, can only be described as creamy, with the beef nearly blue alongside an equally rich risotto with Spanish chorizo spicy. The boldness of the chorizo is not exactly French in character, but then who needs to be a purist? The black angus beef entrée melted in the mouth.

A rare misstep was with the halibut. It came as a beautiful piece of fish: big, white as a mountain with its top of toasted cocoanut. The cooking was also spot-on, though the sauce was too salty, interrupting the flavor of the fish.

Any place calling itself The French Room better know something about pastry, and naturally it does, under the eye of Joe Garza. If there was anything wrong with the Grand Marnier soufflé, it was just the strength of the orange sauce, which swirled around inside the lightest custard balloon imaginable. Soufflés can be tricky, but this one nearly floated out the dish.  Just as delicious was the banana bread pudding: Chunky but smooth, served warm with pralines and bourbon glacé.

There’s fine dining and there’s event dining, but The French Room is something else entirely: A restaurant whose food brilliantly mirrors the extravagance of its setting, where style is confluent in all disciplines. A classic? Yes. But one people definitely want to come back to again and again.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

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