Overtures: Notes on the classical scene

SangiovanniScipione

Scipione Sangiovanni is competing at the Cliburn competition later this month

Our classical music contributor Gregory Sullivan Isaacs updates us on what’s coming this month in choral and orchestral music:

We will also get treated to (or inflicted with, depending on your view) Carl Orff’s blockbuster oratorio Carmina Burana by both the Dallas and Fort Worth symphonies. (You would think that they would talk to each other so such an unfortunate colliding wouldn’t happen.) The Fort Worth Opera continues its well-received season, while four other groups all wind up their seasons with major concerts. Here are the details.

• May 5 at 7:30 p.m. at SMU’s Caruth Auditorium is the Voices of Change concert. They will welcome composer Derek Bermel and play some of his music. Arrive at 6:30 to hear the informative Laurie Shulman give a preview. On the same day at 7, Orpheus Chamber Singers presents a concert at Preston Hollow Presbyterian.

• The Fort Worth Opera’s summer festival includes Puccini’s three-hanky favorite, La Boheme, Donizetti’s comedy (one is really funny — many aren’t) Daughter of the Regiment, Richard Strauss’ comedy (that is more amusing than a knee-slapper like Daughter), Ariadne auf Naxos and the super-intense, disturbing, marvelous refill-your-valium-first, Glory Denied. All four are excellent. The innovative Frontiers! program will showcase scenes from new operas by living composers on May 9 at 6 p.m. and May 10 at 4 p.m.

• May 10 also brings some great string quartet playing to the new City Performance Hall as Chamber Music International presents a concert that contains two masterpieces: Beethoven’s Razumowsky quartet and Bartok’s fourth string quartet. There is other music on the program, but these two are must hears.

• The Carmina Burana overload starts with the FWO May 17–19 at Bass Hall. The DSO plays this same work, with its lewd sexual lyrics, May 23–25. Both symphonies have fine soloists and it will be, if nothing else, an opportunity to contrast the area’s two major conductors: Jaap van Zweden and Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

• May 17–19, the DSO takes a big risk by presenting the first act of Wagner’s opera, Die Walküre. The main interest here is tenor Clifton Forbis, who is also on the faculty of SMU. This is one act of a four opera cycle so it is a part of a part of a whole. Tickets are hard to come by, but it should be worth it if you are a Wagner fan.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Former Mayor Laura Miller wants you to become a member of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas

GLFD’s Dick Peeples, from left, Enrique MacGregor, and Mark Niermann at the opening of the Holocaust Museum’s “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals” exhibit at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, which they helped sponsor.

The Gay and Lesbian Fund for Dallas is becoming a membership organization. Former Mayor Laura Miller will be on hand for the kickoff event in September.

Until now, the organization’s money was raised through events, but the group is now soliciting memberships. A basic “Friend” annual membership fee is $50. For $200, the “Advocate” level also includes two invitations to an annual member appreciation event. The $500 “Philanthropic Partner” level also includes optional website recognition.

Former Mayor Miller will be the special guest at the membership event on Tuesday, Sept. 13 in the Fifth Floor Owners’ Lounge at The House at Victory Park, 2200 Victory Park Ave. at 6 p.m. Valet parking will be available. Everyone is invited, but an R.S.V.P. is requested at GLFD.org or by emailing Keith Nix.

—  David Taffet

Just Koz

Out saxophonist (and proud oenophile) Dave Koz turns collaboration into musical art

JAZZ MAN | Sax and cabernet share a place in the heart of Dave Koz, but it’s only the former you’ll enjoy at the Dallas Symphony on Sunday.

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor
marklowry@theaterjones.com

…………………..

DAVE KOZ
Meyerson Symphony Center,
2301 Flora St. June 19. 8 p.m. $35–$85. DallasSymphony.com

………………….

Saxophone player Dave Koz likes to have several things on his plate, so it makes sense that he’d want to pair them with wine — his own wine. He admits to not being a lover of vino, but an outright oenophile who drinks and appreciates it.

He describes his brand’s cabernet, from the Napa Valley vineyard Vinum Cellar (there’s also a Koz chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), as “very fruity, it’s fresh,” before settling on this: “You know, the best way to describe it is friendly. You share it with people you love and it puts you in a good mood.”

While that description might also go for any number of vintages and varietals, it certainly is a good summation of the man Dave Koz, who performs at the Meyerson on Father’s Day.

He has released 12 albums in a 23-year career, including 2010’s Hello Tomorrow, which, as he has done time and time again, is filled with collaborations from important names from the music world at large, including Herb Alpert, Keb’ Mo’ and Sheila E. And as with Hello Tomorrow, which fuses blues, funk and other styles into Koz’s smooth sax sounds, his music puts the listener in a good mood.

That also goes for when he’s tackling heavier themes, such as what inspired his latest album: The constant wave of change sweeping everyone’s lives … including his own.

“I was reeling with my own personal changes, including my mom passing away a few years ago, and the reality of that,” says Koz. “There were also a lot of changes in my business, in my daily life. The more I started talking to people about it, I realized there were so many people waking up going, ‘Wow, it’s a lot different than I thought it was going to look.’”

The music he wrote for songs like “When Will I Know For Sure” and “Anything’s Possible” tap into that, which is more open to interpretation when it’s mostly instrumental music (he also sings vocals on his take on the Burt Bacharach song “This Guy’s in Love With You”).

“Instrumental music is an interesting thing, because we’re living in a vocal world,” he says. “There’s a transparency that comes when someone plays the saxophone or piano or guitar that allows the listener to have a more personal experience with that song. The idea is for me to put as much emotional information into that saxophone so that someone on the receiving end can feel something.”

Having witnessed enough changes to inspire an album, one thing that surprisingly didn’t change for him was when, at 40, he officially came out in a 2004 interview in The Advocate.

“I never thought I would do it, but it just kind of bubbled inside of me and next thing I knew I was coming out,” he says. “It was the best decision I ever made. That being said, I would caution against telling anyone matter-of-factly that you have to come out. The reason it was a non-issue for me was because I was ready.”

Koz says that his decision was embraced in the jazz community, which has had a perception of being homophobic. A few weeks ago, he invited fans to participate in a video shoot in Ventura, Calif., for “This Guy’s In Love With You,” with the idea to celebrate love, and being bold enough to love whomever you wish, regardless of sex, race, religion or creed. He called it a “love mob,” and according to his website, it was a success.

Like his wines, proceeds from which benefit Starlight Children’s Foundation, consider it just another thing he does for a good Koz.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Funding set for Easter in the Park

Pooch Parade, Dallas Symphony to highlight annual event in Lee Park

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Event coordinator David Berryman, working with the Cedar Springs Merchants Association, this week announced that he has put together funding from several sources to ensure the annual Easter in the Park will take place on April 24.

Kroger, Park Place Volvo and MetroPCS will sponsor the event, with Berryman’s company Bravo Event Group of Texas coordinating it.

Edna Jean Robinson and friend

“We’re all set to go,” Lee Park Conservancy President John Williams said.

There was a question whether the annual event would proceed as usual when the Turtle Creek Association that sponsored the event in the past split the Pooch Parade from the concert. That group decided to stage a “family friendly” event a week earlier.

The Dallas Symphony, however, was still scheduled to perform on Easter Sunday and had committed $60,000 for the performance to take place.

The Lee Park Conservancy, which operates Lee Park, was concerned about the DSO not having an audience despite having committed the funds to perform. And many in the LGBT community were angry over what they saw as an attempt to weed out participation by the LGBT community from Easter in the Park, which has always had a large LGBT contingent of participants.

Many saw TCA’s “family-friendly” tag line as code for “no gays allowed.”

After much discussion, though, the conservancy teamed with Berryman’s company and the Cedar Springs merchants to ensure the traditional Easter Sunday event would take place.

Still, funding was needed to hire the required police and a rescue squad and to pay for trash removal that has to be contracted with a professional company.

The city waived permit fees to help the organizations stage the event.

Registration for the Pooch Parade will open at 11 a.m. The cost is $10 per pet entered. Paul J. Williams will be the emcee and council members Angela Hunt and Pauline Medrano will be among the judges. A special guest grand marshal will be announced next week.

Food and beverage vendors begin serving at noon and will be open though 5 p.m. The Dallas Symphony will perform in Lee Park at 5 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m., an Easter bonnet contest begins at select clubs on Cedar Springs Road. The list of participating bars will be released next week.

The April 17 event, renamed Creek Craze, will include a dog costume contest, and rescue groups will be at the park for adoptions. Food and beverage vendors will also be at the park.

Activities include an Easter egg roll. Children’s entertainer Eddie Coker and a DJ will entertain through the afternoon and a live band will perform at 4 p.m.

And all groups involved assure that “family friendly” means all families.

Williams said he was glad to see two weekends of activities in the park.

“I hope people come out and enjoy both,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

FEEDBACK: Cancel DMN subscriptions, Saving Easter in the Park, Tell TCA what you think

Cancel DMN subscriptions

The policy of the Dallas Morning News, which excludes same-sex marriage announcements while printing “traditional” marriage announcements, is discrimination, pure and simple. I just cancelled my subscription to the News, as I do not want my money supporting such discrimination. I urge other News subscribers to do the same, telling the News the reason for your cancellation.

Joe Ball, via e-mail


Saving Easter in the Park

Over 20 years ago, Oak Lawn was different. Known for our gays residents, artists and bohemians, Oak Lawn was a destination and a diamond in the conservative rough that was Dallas, Texas. People traveled miles for the safety, solace and solidarity provided just entering Oak Lawn’s boundaries. Events dotted the year. Obviously they were heavy on the gay side but they also were heavy with people that loved and didn’t judge us.

Easter in the Park was one of those events, and it was the most diverse of them all. Even the Dallas Symphony showed us the love by spending a cherished religious holiday with the scourge of the Christian community — we, the lowly homosexuals, and our proud brethren.

Fast forward to 2011. Those people we sought refuge from, that always showed us fear and contempt, infiltrated Easter in the Park and took our tradition away from us. The event was to be moved and made more “family friendly.”

I guess no one told them we were family already and our traditions bind us.

Gentrification is the same dance in any country and in any city. Bohemians, artists and gay people move to architecturally rich but neglected parts of town and make lemons into lemonade. Transformative magic happens, property values go up, tourism increases and good press abounds.

Then waves of yuppies come, each being a little less tolerant than their predecessor. They do not share the live-and-let-live mentality that allowed the first batch to come in the first place. They demand chain establishments and upscale amenties and folks with the income to afford them.

Long ago created to protect Oak Lawn’s character and history, the Oak Lawn Committee abandoned that mission ages ago. The last bit of history they let be destroyed were all the apartments that fell between Wycliff, Douglas, Rawlins and Hall. What were once charming duplexes and apartments are now what John Waters might call a “communist day care center.”

The committee is chock full of developers, and their last decade seems to have been dedicated to the three-story rectangle and the wonders it bestows on mankind. If you are unable to reside in one of these for $300,000, $400,000 or $500,000, then pity you, please leave. Be careful Oak Cliff. You’re next.

It isn’t just developers’ fault. The block on Cedar Springs where JR.’s resides used to be a historic collection of quaint storefronts that mirrored across the street. Now a collection of cavernous cinderblock buildings house our bars. They are so large and impersonal, they require a few hundred people to achieve the intimacy 50 used to provide. If we lose Easter in the Park, then we lose a piece of ourselves and where we came from. Those that fought for where we are today would be mortified. I hear them turning in their graves.

I intend to show up in Lee Park on Easter and have a contest with myself to see how gay I can look for the family-friendly crowd. When it comes to respect, I give what I get.

Michael Amonett, via e-mail


Tell TCA what you think

Please call the Turtle Creek Association and Cathy Golden at 214-526-2800 and voice your opposition to the hijacking of the Easter in the Park event, done apparently to exclude gays this year, which was thwarted only by heavy arm-twisting. Read the press; join the Facebook fan page and, most importantly, show up! Ms. Golden can have her own “family-friendly” Creek Craze on April 17 if she wants. I was born into a family and have a family of choice and consider myself friendly. Doesn’t that make me “family-friendly”? Perhaps not in Ms. Golden’s “hetero-Republican-marriage-and-two-kids” world, but the world has changed a lot. I remember when Lee Park was a cruise spot with a popular tee room; it was all some people had. I personally think it’s fantastic that youth today have no clue what a cruise park or a tee room is. There are real role models to aspire to today and real, healthy community events —including Easter in the Park.

This is really quite typical of how things tend to operate. We move in to an area, organization or event and make it fabulous — and then get run off. I will oppose any change that Ms. Golden wishes to bring that would take us all back to the “golden days” when gays were marginalized on a grand scale, forced into the bushes, darkened cruise spots and closets. Change is coming folks; change is here. We’re here; we’re queer; get over it! Oh and one more thing: Thank God for drag queens and trannies. If it were not for them, we as the gay community would not exist. Look back on Stonewall and remember; we must never forget to honor the bravest amongst ourselves. I stand in awe of people who are just who they are and live life day after day against threats of violence, hatred, homophobia, misogyny (which is where I personally believe that homophobia has it’s real origin), and just live out loud!

Daniel Shipman, via Instant Tea

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright