Tori Amos: The gay interview

Tori1“Lighting, sweetie, lighting!” is Tori Amos’ theatrical retort to my compliment about how she’s still looking as radiant as she did at the launch of her career more than three decades ago. Now 50, and with her acclaimed 14th album, Unrepentant Geraldines, she’s facing age head-on. Candor isn’t unusual for the composer; from rape to religion and even her MILF status, she’s approached a bevy of topics too controversial for most artists.

That same directness extended to our recent conversation, prior to her appearance in Dallas on July 29 at the Winspear Opera House in support of the album, during which Amos chatted with our Chris Azzopardi about the LGBT influence on “Promise,” a duet with her daughter; being the muse for the big Frozen ballad; and the gay fans who share their “traumatic experiences” with her.

Dallas Voice:  How did your last several projects — Midwinter Graces, Night of Hunters and Gold Dust — reenergize the contemporary songwriting heard on Unrepentant GeraldinesAmos: All of them fit into giving me fresh perspective. Starting with Midwinter Graces, I was thrown into the deep end, studying carols from the last few hundred years and just immersing myself in a different genre. It’s almost as if it became a baton hand-off, from Midwinter Graces to Night of Hunters and Gold Dust, back and forth with The Light Princess [a musical written by Amos], which was floating between all these projects, because she’s been in development for five years. All of them were giving inspiration to the other. Each one was giving some kind of spark.

The spark linking all of those works is very evident.  They’re very interconnected, and The Light Princess cast recording — I’m producing that for Mercury Universal — will be out globally in early 2015, and we’re making the record on the tour, so [Unrepentant Geraldines] will be affecting that. They all gift each other something. I don’t always know what it is when it’s happening; you just get energy from one that propels another.

There is a freshness, a new perspective [on the new CD] that I was able to bring to contemporary writing because of all these other projects that had shown me different possibilities in structure and different possibilities in line. In that way, I feel like I’ve been rejuvenated by these other projects. When these songs were coming, they were coming not for me to make a record; they were just coming so that I could process what I was going through. And I didn’t share them with anybody. They were for my own private notebook.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Singer George Michael in press conference today: “I’m incredibly fortunate to be here.”

Singer George Michael held a press conference today speaking about recovering from his bout with pneumonia. After a month-long stay in a Vienna hosptial, he held this conference back at his London home. In the video, he discusses quickly his condition, apologizes to fans and chokes up a bit when thanking his doctors for saving his life. Michael looked a bit gaunt and tired, but sounded like he’s fully intent on returning to the road to make up for the concerts he had to cancel.

Watch his statement after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Tix to Of Montreal on Wednesday

As you probably have noticed, this is a big week for concerts in our neck of the woods. Wednesday night’s double-header could definitely split the gays, but maybe this will help make up your mind. The guys at the South Side Music Hall are offering Dallas Voice readers a chance to win a pair of tickets to Of Montreal, pictured here with opening band Painted Palms.

So whaddya have to do? Just email us here with “Take me to Montreal” in the subject line. We have four pairs to give. One could be yours.

This video is from their last show at the Granada in November.

—  Rich Lopez

Resource Center raffling off Lady Gaga tickets

Resource Center Dallas’ Rafael McDonnell just sent out notice that the center will be raffling off tickets to Lady Gaga’s show at the American Airlines Center in March:

We’re doing it again! Resource Center Dallas is raffling off two LUXURY SUITE tickets and parking for the Monster Ball Tour starring Lady Gaga March 14 at the American Airlines Center. You may remember that we held a similar raffle last summer for Lady Gaga’s July concerts at AAC. The raffle tickets are $10 each or 6 for $50. Only 500 raffle tickets will be sold. The winner will be announced at the Pride Pharmacy Toast To Life Gala Feb. 26. People can buy their tickets to win now by going here .

If you snag those kind of seats for Gaga for $10, that would so be the bargain of the year. In case you missed it last summer, here’s some “Telephone” from her Dallas show:

—  Rich Lopez

Just like at her concerts, Britney Spears doesn’t actually sing on leaked clip from her new single

Britney Spears is slowly building up her own buzz in her attempt to catch up to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. This two-minute clip of her next single “Hold It Against Me” was released … er, leaked, today. Spears clearly isn’t doing the vocals, but Just Jared points out that it sounds a whole lot like Ke$ha. And he’s right. I could overspeculate on why she would leak the song if she’s not even singing it, but then the trite dance beat and juvenile lyrics like So if I said I want your body now/ would you hold it against me? (really?) reminded me not to waste my time. 

Like Gaga, Spears teased the masses with a tweet mentioning the real release of “Hold It …” which comes out Tuesday. All the kids are doing it.

—  Rich Lopez

The Nooner: SLDN on Navy sex videos; more Super Bowl concerts; new Victory Fund seal

Your midday news roundup from Instant Tea:

• Victory Fund launches endorsement seal (right).

• Happy New Years from Dallas regarding DADT.

• More Super Bowl concerts announced, including Kid Rock and Duran Duran.

• President of Houston GLBT Political Caucus steps down after two years.

• Servicemembers Legal Defense Network responds to Navy sex video controversy.

—  John Wright

After voting today, see Of Montreal at the Granada Theater

You actually can rock the vote today

Take time to vote today and make your voice be heard. The polls are open today from 7 a.m.–7 p.m. That should give you enough time to get in, punch your ballot and get on out. Just remember, unlike early voting, you have to do it in your home precinct. And don’t forget your voter’s registration card.

DEETS: Visit DalCoElections.org/nov22010/EVLocations.htm for your precinct location.

Then, once all that’s done and your civic duty fulfilled, get down with likely, one of the more exciting concerts in town. Alt-popsters Of Montreal are back in town touring in support of their latest album, False Priest. The album features Solange Knowles and opener act Janelle Monae.

Now, Of Montreal is something to behold, but Monae could kill this one live. Her album this year The ArchAndroid is one of the best of 2010. Not only are her songs brilliant, but she’s a frenetic ball of energy. She should rule the stage on her own. When they are together, we figure it will all just be mindblowing (kinda like the video below from their NYC show). The two are a match made in heaven.

DEETS: Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. 9 p.m. $26. GranadaTheater.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Lee Park Fest: The Unsung Fun of Pride

“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive,” said Twain, “but it’s lightning that does all the work.” The same is true with Dallas Pride: Everyone talks about the parade, but it’s the festival in Lee Park, with food, concerts and booths, that provides the best views  of gay life in town. Dallas Voice will have a booth as always, handing out goodie bags and such, but we know focus will probably center on our neighbor, Advanced Skin Fitness, who this year tapped trainer and bodybuilding champ Tony DaVinci, pictured, to man (and we mean man) its kiosk, signing autographs and passing out flyers. We’re over here, guys! Thanks for noticing.

Festival in Lee Park at Turtle Creek Blvd.
11 a.m. DallasVoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Melissa Etheridge at McFarlin Auditorium































—  Rich Lopez