Owner Kathy Jack issues statement saying she’s ‘truly sorry’ for closure of Jack’s Backyard

This morning we received a statement from Kathy Jack, owner of Jack’s Backyard, regarding the recent closure of the lesbian-oriented Oak Cliff bar and grill. The statement, sent over by Kris Martin of Kris Martin Public Relations & Marketing, was apparently issued in response to our post detailing creditor Marla Custard’s side of the story earlier this week. As we said in the post, we tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with Jack.

In Jack’s statement, which we’ve posted in its entirety after the jump, she says she is “truly sorry that this happened” but adds, “There is so much misinformation and so many rumors.” Jack goes on to say that she never paid herself a salary during the 2½ years the venue was open, and that she believes she could have repaid her debts if she had been given the opportunity.

Here’s the full statement:

—  Rich Lopez

Financial troubles led to closure of Jack’s

Jack’s Backyard owner Kathy Jack has not returned calls from Dallas Voice about the venue’s abrupt closing 10 days ago. But Marla Custard, one of the property owners, alerted us to some of the details behind the closure.

According to court records, Jack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Dec. 16, 2010, for the business, Jack Out of the Box LLC. Documents show the business owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to investors including Custard, as well as the IRS, the state comptroller’s office and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Considering that business seemed to be good at Jack’s Backyard, Custard said she’s still unclear about why the bills weren’t being paid.

Days before the club’s final Sunday on June 26, a judge dismissed the bankruptcy filing, saying the numbers didn’t add up in Jack’s plan to get out of the debt.

“That’s when it became clear Jack’s Backyard would have to close,” Custard said. Custard is one of about 15 people listed as creditors who invested in the venue, including recognizable names in the LGBT community such as Howard Okon, Laura McFerrin and Matt Miller.

Custard said she’s personally out more than $600,000, between her investment in the bar and loss of rent payments.

“We love this place,” Custard said. “I’m so mad at her [Jack] for this. It’s heartbreaking, but at the end of the day, it all rests in Kathy’s lap.”

The landowners are now looking for a new tenant.

In an email to the Dallas Voice, Custard forwarded documents from the case and gave us her breakdown of the events that transpired before the closing. Read a portion of her email after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Plan your weekend: Two plays worth seeing

There was no room in the print edition this week or last to review all the shows I saw over the past few weeks, so I wanted to give a shout-out to two that deserves to be seen during this, their closing weekends: True West at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and Creditors at Broken Gears Theatre Project.

True West, Sam Shapard’s modern reinterpretation of the Cain and Abel myth, pits Austin (Mike Schrader), a dour, responsible, by-the-rules screenwriter, against Lee (Gregory Lush), his manipulative numbskull petty crook brother. Lee considers himself an average American, which doesn’t speak very well of our culture. Austin, though, it just as deluded, with lofty, high-brow ideas for a script he’s pitching to an independent producer (T.A. Taylor). Lee perceived Hollywood as no better than he — a hustle is a hustle. Slowly, the brothers’ roles shift, creating tension and ample amounts of comedy.

Lee is a perfectly awful character, the unbridled id with access to a car. He uses his own version of logic illogically (think all those “deep” conversations lorded over by the preachy morons on reality TV) and you feel for Austin’s plight. Lush handles that dichotomy of amiable and infuriating expertly, and brings an aggressive physicality to the part (he really destroys that typewriter with a golf club — I hate to see a classic so brutalized). If Schrader’s desperation is less engaging, it’s not due to him, but to Austin’s self-destructiveness.

Shepard isn’t performed as often as he deserves to be. His plays don’t fit in easy pigeonholes of comedy, drama, romance. He’s all things, and True West is a superior achievement.

Creditors is a  very different play in many way — 90 years older than True West — but no less relevant. This taut three-character drama is a shockingly contemporary and breathlessly intimate psychological thriller. Although it pre-dates Freud, Strindberg’s dissection of the human will is unnervingly accurate.

A frail artist (Evan Fuller) recovers at a resort with the support of a fellow traveler (Elias Taylorson), who probes the man about his unfulfilling relationship with his wife (Meredith Morton). With laser accuracy, he dissects the dynamics of their relationship and devises a ploy for making him see the pointlessness of his marriage. But things aren’t what they full appear to be.

Broken Gears, located in a rustic 30-seat theater across from the Grapevine Bar, is the perfect setting for this claustrophobic investigation into revenge and suspicion. The characters rarely talk above a hushed conversation, which creates unnerving closeness not just to the actors, but to the emotions. Director Rene Moreno keeps it clean and unfussy, with minimal movement that seems not stiff but still.

All the actors are exceptional, with Fuller seeming to undergo actual asthmatic attacks and Taylorson’s professorial demeanor wholly convincing. SO intense is the action that at a recent performance, a sudden crashing noise offstage (intentional) caused the entirety of the audience to startle. It grabs you by the short hairs. Catch it before it’s gone.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 02.04

She’ll give you ‘Hot Pleasure’
With five number one dance hits, Erika Jayne is nicely establishing herself as a singer to be reckoned with. She’s even knocked off big hitters like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga from the top spot of Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play charts. Her most recent single “One Hot Pleasure” is her fifth consecutive hit. Yeah, she’s pretty much bringing it.

DEETS: Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Midnight. $7. PartyAtTheBlock.com.

Saturday 02.05

As gay as the Super Bowl can get
Are you ready for some football? OK, what about a big Cedar Springs Super Street Party? Showing that the LGBT community has an affinity for both, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association put together what may be the first gay Super Bowl celebration ever. Live music, DJs, food, beer and an appearance by gay athlete of the year Michael Holtz round out the shebang.

DEETS: Cedar Springs and Throckmorton roads. 7 p.m. Free. ShopCedarSprings.com.

Wednesday 02.09

Payback really is a bitch
New company Broken Gears Project Theatre presents August Strindberg’s Creditors about three people who play diabolical and manipulative games with each other.And it all sounds delicious, especially when Rene Moreno is directing.

DEETS: 3819 Fairmount St. 8 p.m. Through Feb. 26. $10-$15. BrokenGearsTheatre.com

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

—  John Wright

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