Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan tonight at the Eisemann

Country divas live

We’re trying to figure out  if we even deserve a night of such fabulosity. Lorrie Morgan, pictured, comes to town with her sass and glam country that paved the way for the likes of Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood. Pam Tillis was a pioneer in country music as one of the first female producers of her own work. They bring us the Grits and Glamour tour and we’re thanking the country music gods.

DEETS: Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. 8 p.m. $44–$62. EisemannCenter.com.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan at the Eisemann this Saturday

It’s a double header on Saturday when country music titans Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan come to town — in one show. That’s pretty major and the folks at the Eisemann were kind enough to offer us three pairs of tickets to giveaway to some of you die hard country fans. The Grits and Glamour Tour comes to North Texas and you just might get to go.

What do you have to do? Not too much. Just answer this trivia question which should be pretty easy. What’s the No. 1 hit Morgan sang that Tillis also recorded?

Got it? Good. Now just email me here with your answer and full name and “Gimme some grits” in the subject line. I’ll randomly pick three winners (with the right answer) tomorrow at 3 p.m. Winners will then receive deets on how to get their tickets.

Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

Good Christian belle

Gay ally Kristin Chenoweth talks about her new country music CD (she adores Dolly!), queers … and the right way to be a Christian

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO KRISTIN | The performer has conquered stage, recording, TV … and uniting gay rights with her faith.

Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t get miffed very easily. But when she does, watch out. Last year, after Newsweek published a commentary on the inability of gay actors to play straight roles, she wrote an extensive letter to the magazine, calling the article “horrendously homophobic.”

But Chenoweth’s allegiance to the gay community goes back to growing up in Oklahoma — a place she returned to for her latest album, Some Lessons Learned, the first of four where the opera-trainer singer fully embraces her country roots.

We had lots to talk about when we caught up with Chenoweth, on a dinner break from shooting her upcoming series, Good Christian Belles. She discussed her history of dating gay men, her opinion on Michele Bachmann’s support of gay conversion clinics … and being a little bit wicked.

— Chris Azzopardi

………………………..

Dallas Voice: Your character’s name on Good Christian Belles is Cockburn — Carlene Cockburn. Chenoweth: I can’t wait for my family to hear that one. Are you kidding? I was like, “Wait a minute…!” But I just think the most important thing for me as an actress, because of the lines that come out of my mouth, is to just have to speak them and keep going, because they’re so funny and her name is so funny and the whole thing is just so great. I love it.

Does your character have anything in common with April Rhodes, who you play on Glee? Probably not on paper, but they’re both pretty outlandish people. Carlene, though, is the antithesis of April.

You grew up in Oklahoma, so country music is your roots. How is your new album a reflection of that? It’s so funny, because I get asked, “Why a country album now?” But that’s how it all began for me. Of course, why would anyone know that? It’s not something I’ve been talking about a lot, but it’s the music I grew up listening to. One of my biggest influences is Dolly Parton, and when you look at the history of songs in musical theater and in country, they’re both usually great storytellers.

I know just how lucky I am to do this kind of music. Getting to go to Nashville and sing this music that feels like home to me was a real gift, and one that I don’t take lightly.

The song “What Would Dolly Do?” reminds me a lot of Dolly herself. I co-wrote that. [Producer] Bob Ezrin asked, “Who’s had the biggest influence on you country music-wise?” I said, “Dolly, without question.” And he said, “How would she approach it? Let’s think: What would Dolly do?” I said, “Bob, why aren’t we writing that song?”

There’s something about her that I feel very attuned to. There’s only one Dolly. I’m not comparing myself, but I’m just saying her spirit and the way she looks at life is pretty similar to me. And the cover I did of hers [“Change”] is actually a very emotional thing and it reminded me — of course, how could I ever forget? — what an amazing songwriter she is. You know, I didn’t do a lot of covers. I did two covers, one of Carrie [Underwood] and one of Dolly’s, and I just love both of them. I love their music, I love their spirit — everything they stand for.

It makes total sense, because, to me, both you and Dolly epitomize happiness. Oh my god, thank you. That’s the biggest compliment you could give me.

So, being so happy… what pisses you off? Oh, gosh! I don’t really get mad that often. But I’m not going to lie: When I do, there’s a quiet that comes over me that is a little like whoa, and that happens when I don’t feel other people are prepared or doing their job or pulling their weight. I come from a family where my dad came from nothing and worked hard to get where he is, and he said, “Work hard, play hard, Kris,” and I guess that’s kind of been my motto in life. So when I see people squandering opportunities or having a sense of entitlement, that really makes me crazy. Because I don’t understand it. It’s not a world I get.

One thing that does make you upset is homophobic people. I don’t like that, you’re right.

Your letter in response to that Newsweek column said it all. Why was it important to address your feelings on that issue? To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for what was going to happen. I was on Broadway doing Promises, Promises, and I read the article and I actually thought it was pretty irresponsible. I’m not even talking about whether a person agrees with being gay or not, I’m talking about artistry and gay

actors trying to play straight. It just made me mad, because I thought, “Well, I’ve played a prostitute, does that mean I am one? No.” I just thought it was a little bit of a bullying thing, and I honestly prayed about it — no kidding, I prayed about it.

And by the way, I’m a big fan of the magazine, which is why I was so bummed. But I think that they felt bad and hopefully there’s been some discussion about it and some learning, because that’s what we’re here to do on this Earth, to learn our purpose. Well, one of my purposes in this life — since I’m a believer and a Christian — is to help people realize that not every Christian thinks that being gay is a sin.

To reinforce your point, you made out with your Promises, Promises co-star Sean Hayes at the Tonys last year. It might’ve been a little jibe. It might’ve been a little one! Ha!

What was it like to make out with a gay man? Was that your first time? Well, let’s face it, my high school boyfriend is gay, so I don’t think it’s my first time making out with gay men! I bet a lot of women don’t even know they’ve done it! And Sean Hayes is just a darn good kisser, what can I say?

Wait, so you dated a gay man in high school? Yeah, and I’m like, “Well, that’s why we were such a great couple!” He didn’t pleasure me in any way but he helped me pick out my prom dress!

Was he one of the first gay people you knew in Oklahoma? Yeah. I want to tell you something I know about myself: When I was in the second or third grade, I first heard the word “dyke,” and it was in reference to a girl in our school who was very, very tomboyish. I didn’t really understand what the word was, but I knew I didn’t like the way it was said. And for some reason I’ve always been drawn to the person that was alone, and I don’t mean to make me sound like I’m Mother Teresa, because I’m not. But I’ve always been drawn to people who felt left out or different, and maybe it’s because, I too, felt different and unique. People would not think this of me, because there’s this perception of me that, “Oh, life’s been perfect and things have come so easily.”

But let’s face it: My speaking voice is very interesting. Yes, I was a cheerleader but I also wanted to do all the plays, I was in renaissance choir, and, I too, felt a little bit like an outsider. I was always drawn to people who felt that way, too. And sure, some of them were gay and I never did understand — I guess the word is fear.

God made us all equal. He made me short, he made someone gay, he made someone tall — whatever it is, it’s not a sin; it’s how we’re made. And that’s the way I feel about it. It flies in the face of a lot of what Christians believe, but as I’m finding out there’s a lot of Christian people who think the same as me. So that’s my deal, and I think we should not be careful of the unknown but rather accepting and loving of it.

As someone who’s Christian and supports the gay community, how do you feel about the pray-away-the-gay program that Michele Bachmann supports? [Long pause] You know what, you can have your opinion. One of the great things about being in this country is we get to freely say what we believe. I just don’t happen to agree with that. Though I like the “pray” part!

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

—  Michael Stephens

Chatting up the Secret Sisters before tonight’s benefit for The Women’s Chorus of Dallas

Tonight, the Secret Sisters headline The Southern Harmony Party at the Lakewood Theater, which also features local band The King Bucks and Audrey Dean Kelley. The night benefits The Women’s Chorus of Dallas, a very gay-friendly organization. In a recent interview with Dallas Voice, real-life sisters Lydia and Laura of the Secret Sisters talked up their connection with the gay community and how growing up Church of Christ never stopped them from accepting people as they are:

So first, how did you get hooked up with The Women’s Chorus of Dallas? We were playing a show in Birmingham, AL several months ago, and met a really nice promoter named De Foster, who loved our sound and was determined to have us play a show in Dallas.  We agreed that we would love to come there and play, and so not long afterwards, he contacted us about playing a show that would benefit the Women’s Chorus.  We love playing shows that are in conjunction with positive organizations, and especially those that are connected to our favorite hobby:  music.  So when we got the invitation to play, we were thrilled!  We are so excited to meet everyone involved with the chorus, and very excited that the focus of the evening will be on women and music.  We both feel that there just aren’t enough strong women in the music industry, and we know that the evening will be positive one, that’s also a lot of fun.

What do such groups mean to you? Any time that we can use our music to highlight organizations that do good things, we are eager to do so. Both of us were in our high school choruses when we were younger, and we know just how much fun it is to be surrounded by your friends, enjoying music that you are making together.  Music means so much to us, and to be able to spend the evening with others who are passionate about it as well is going to be an honor.  We’ve been looking forward to this show for a while now.

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Emmylou Harris and the Red Dirt Boys on Thursday at the Winspear

Emmylou Harris

Let me start by saying that I like Emmylou Harris, but I can’t say that I’ve followed her enough to know much from her catalog save some signature tunes. But I had to see her. I mean, it is Emmylou Harris, and while I can’t say she disappointed, she wasn’t quite what I expected.

On tour for her 2011 release Hard Bargain, Harris played a healthy set of old and new Thursday night, coming in just over the two-hour mark. With an impressive catalog of 26 albums, she wasn’t short for material. She opened the show with the new “Six White Cadillacs,” a playful tune that set a welcoming tone. Without missing a beat, she followed up with “Orphan Girl” from her 1995 landmark album Wrecking Ball. A song I liked, but this is where the unexpected part began.

“Orphan” has a middle pacing that’s not too slow and not too fast. It coasts on beautiful guitars and mid-tempo beats. Which is fine, but almost every song after it followed this same formula. Regardless of the quality of the songs, the pacing was so even-keeled that it was a couple of shades shy of boring. She did punctuate it with a couple of rousing ditties, but the first one came an hour into the show. If she had just added two or three more of those, it would have had a better flow.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 04.08

He’ll keep a ‘Light’ on for you
Last year, Jake Heggie brought people back to the opera with the world premiere of his adaptation of Moby Dick. The gay composer works his magic with another world premiere, but for one night only. He and Gene Scheer debut their song cycle A Question of Light, performed by Nathan Gunn, as part of
Unveil: The Dallas Opera 2011 Gala.
DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2301 Flora Way. 8 p.m. $75. DallasOpera.org/gala

 

Saturday 04.09

This comedy isn’t down the tubes
As the Dweeb Girls, rock band The Surly Bitches or pseudo country music sensations Euomi and Wynotta Spudd, comedy team Dos Fallopia works hard for the laughs. The “kamikaze comedy team” of Peggy Platt and Lisa Koch have been at this for 25 years and bring the funny to Fort Worth.
DEETS: Youth Orchestra Hall, 4401 Trail Lake Drive. 8 p.m. $20­–$40. OpenDoorProductionsTx.com.

 

Sunday 04.10

Get hallucinating with ‘Alice’
Nouveau 47 amps up last year’s production of the Lewis Carroll classic by adding more of his work in Alice in Wonderland & Other Hallucinations. We’re glad we get to partake in theater that acts as an hallucinogen rather than taking a pill. So much easier.
DEETS: The Magnolia Lounge, 1121 First Ave. Through April 23. Nouveau47.com

—  John Wright

On our Christmas list: These pink headphones

Perhaps one of the perks of being in this biz is the opportunity to check out products and shows and music before they hit the general public. We review and then offer our opinions and that’s that. But one item was offered to us that leaped to the top of the Christmas list. OK, it’s pink, but that’s part of the charm.

When AblePlanet Linx Audio sent our senior editor Tammye Nash a sample of their Extreme gaming foldable active noise-canceling headphones (with Linx Audio), we were both oohing and ahhing over the whimsical pink color and Burberry-ish plaid accents. Initially, they looked like the stuff kids plastic toys are made of and the pink paint chipped off upon opening. Bummer.

And then we tried them out.

—  Rich Lopez

People Magazine tried for buzz on Chely Wright's coming out — but TMZ happened

That buzz in your ear is probably that of country singer Chely Wright’s coming out. Although you weren’t supposed to hear that until Friday from the newsstands. People Magazine was trying to create buzz about this week’s issue in order to create a big reveal. The only thing is, TMZ got a hold of it and now, it’s out. Or rather, Wright is.

The Advocate, Salon plus every celeb site and blog are already all over it. The thing is, we got the impression that People had wraps on someone who’s a little more, um, superstar-ish. We have no doubt that Chely Wright is a big deal — in country music — but admittedly, there were a couple of us in today’s editorial meeting asking, “Who?” Speculation on the web was figuring the likes of Queen Latifah, Kevin Spacey or Anderson Cooper, all who have been under the scrutinizing eye of gaydar. People’s handling of this seemed a little over the top. Had they said nothing at all, they probably would have gotten the result they wanted.

—  Rich Lopez