Celebrating Tammye Nash’s anniversary as managing editor

anniversary---Tammye-NashTammy Nash, managing editor of Dallas Voice, has a 28-year history with Dallas Voice.

Tammye started at Dallas Voice in June 1988 as a news writer and worked as a news reporter through March 2001. She worked about three years in the mainstream press, as a reporter for Cleburne Times-Review, before returning to the Voice staff in May 2004. Named senior editor in October 2006 following the death of longtime editor Dennis Vercher, she remained through mid January 2012. She spent a year as a freelance reporter and photographer before once again joining the staff of Cleburne Times-Review.

In June 2014 Tammye returned to Dallas Voice as managing editor.

—  David Taffet

A Couple of Guys • 06.03.16

DANCEPCH

—  Dallasvoice

Press Club of Dallas honors David Webb

Webb.David

North Texas Legends award winner and Dallas Voice contributor David Webb

The Press Club of Dallas has announced that longtime Dallas Voice staff writer and contributor David Webb, The Rare Reporter, has been selected to receive the organization’s Excellence in Journalism: North Texas Legends Award and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The award celebration will be held June 9 at the Sixth Floor Museum.

Webb, notified of the award on Thursday, May 5, said he was shocked and honored at the recognition. He is among about a dozen honorees this year.

Now mostly retired and living on Cedar Creek Lake — with his four dogs and the guard donkey Zorro — Webb has had a long career in journalism. He has worked for the Belo Corporation, for a chain of suburban DFW newspapers known as News Texan, the Valley Morning Star in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and for the Dallas Times Herald.

After a stint with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., he returned to Texas and began working for Dallas Voice in 2001. He worked full time for Dallas Voice until 2008 when he retired and moved to Cedar Creek Lake. He has continued to be a contributing writer for the Voice since his retirement, and also freelances for various publications nationwide. He is a correspondent for the Cedar Creek Lake newspaper The Monitor, editor of CedarCreekLake.com and author of TheRareReporter.blogspot.com.

Webb said this week that when you combine his years as a staff member and his years a contributing writer, he has worked for Dallas Voice longer than any other publication.

Press Club President Frank Librio said this is the club’s sixth annual Excellence in Journalism: North Texas Legends Award. Winners are chosen by a panel of their peers, comprising past Legend Award winners and longstanding Press Club members. Winners must have worked in the Dallas/Fort Worth area news media market for at least 10 years and currently reside in Texas. Nominees can be retired or still working in the field of journalism.

Librio said Webb was chosen to receive the award because his “body of work is respected, makes a difference in our diverse community and rises to the level of excellence.”

On a personal note, let me say that I am thrilled to see my friend and colleague David Webb receive this honor. He is a dedicated writer who is committed to excellence in journalism and to his community.

This marks the second year in a row that someone from the Dallas Voice family has won the Legends Award; founder and former owner/publisher Robert Moore was honored last year.

—  Tammye Nash

A Couple of Guys • 04.22.16

THATSNCH

—  Dallasvoice

Cassie Nova • 04.15.16

Allergies won’t stop Cassie from answering your questions!

CN3-KristoferReynolds

Photo courtesy Krisofer Reynolds

Holla, hookers! Allergies are the work of the devil. After being sick all week — convinced I had the worst cold in history and I was dying — I broke down and went to the doctor. “It’s just allergies,” the doc said. “It’s from the unusually high levels of pollen in the air.” Screw you doc! “Just” allergies. I feel like death warmed over. If you think about it, allergies are like an STD from nature. Thanks Mother Nature, you whore!

Sorry, I may be a little more moody than usual. So let’s get to the batch of Ask Cassie questions I received these past few weeks through Facebook (you can also email directly!).

Dear Cassie, Have you ever gone to jail in drag, or known someone who has? What was that like? What is the oddest/worst/funniest bathroom experience in drag? Thanks, Bradley.

Dear Bradley, Going to jail would be horrible, but going to jail in drag would be horrifying — now that I think about it, it might be my biggest fear. I have been very lucky in that I have never been to jail. I have heard a few stories of friends who have been incarcerated in full high whore drag. One got pulled over for DUI and went directly to jail … in Waxahachie.

Funny thing was, she lived in Garland and somehow magically ended up in Waxahachie. Poor thang said she was way too drunk to drive and is still paying for it. She also said, as horrible as it was, the officers were nice to her. They gave her some boy clothes and baby wipes to take off her make up. She said she was embarrassed but it could have been much worse.

A different friend was pulled over and taken to jail for a warrant she hadn’t taken care of. She said she was in a simple black cocktail dress that she had to stay in for more than 24 hours. When she finally was bailed out, she left in the same black dress with wig and pads in hand. She said they put her in a cell by herself where she sat contemplating what a strange turn her life has taken, calling it one of the worst experiences of her life. I bet it was. Oh yeah, she also said they only gave her bologna sandwiches to eat. I don’t think I would have survived.

As far as bathroom experiences, I’ve only been told by the police to leave the women’s restroom once. It was at a straight nightclub in Fort Worth. I was hosting a Halloween costume contest years ago and went into the restroom to touch up my lipstick. I don’t use the restroom once I am in drag — it’s too much work. I was in the women’s restroom holding court with some fascinated straight girls that were asking me a million questions when I heard a very deep voice coming from outside the door say, “Sir, I need you to leave the woman’s restroom immediately.” Oh shit! I got out real quick. He told me if I went back inside the women’s restroom, he was going to arrest me. I know that sounds like the beginning of a very hot porno, but it scared the mess outta me. The funny part was, all the straight women were yelling at the cop to leave me alone. He threw his hands up and walked away. I wasn’t going to take any chances. I fixed my lipstick in the men’s room after that. I got a few weird looks and a catcall. I felt pretty.

I honestly can’t imagine what it must be like for my trans brothers and sisters. These backward-ass states like North Carolina and Mississippi make me fear for their safety. It is so strange that what bathroom they use is even an issue.
Everybody has to pee and poop. Why are they making it weird? Anyhoo, thanks for your question!

Dear Cassie, I am a 51-year-old gay male that has had three relationships of eight, eight and five years, none of which were open relationships. Our GLBT community has worked so hard to obtain equal marriage rights. However, any gay hookup site has many of the profiles stating they are in open relationships. For me, this is a complete contradiction of what a relationship is. Should we be judging our friends, and our community who are in an open relationship? Is seems so contradictory to me. Thanks, Mike.

Dear Mike, Do you remember the theme to the show Diff’rent Strokes? “What might be right for you, might not be right for some.” If an open relationship works for others, then good for them. I personally could not do it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand the appeal. There are a lot of straight couples that consider themselves swingers. Swingers have been around forever. I guess that is a form of an open relationship. Open relationships are not just a gay thing. You just hear about it more because you are on gay apps. Whether straight or gay, the heart wants what it wants. If you are open-minded enough to give your heart to one person and your penis to another, who am I to judge? I just hope that both parties in said open relationship know that that they are in an open relationship. Cuz if one doesn’t know that’s just plain cheatin’!

Dear Cassie, Do you think it’s possible for middle/high school kids to already truly know that they are gay/bi? Signed, Stephanie, a curious parent.

Dear Stephanie, Absolutely they know. Knowing and being able to admit it to themselves are two different things. Looking back, the thoughts of being gay were there long before the hormones spurred me on to act on it. Self-discovery is different for everybody. Be accepting and show support without judgement to your kid and I can only imagine the thoughtful well-rounded individual they will become. Thanks, Cassie.

Dear Cassie, If someone who never tells you they love you but shows it, do they really love you? Thanks, Chad.

Ok Chad, Your question confuses the hell out of me. So he shows that he loves you but never says the words I love you? Do you believe he loves you? If hearing those words are important to you, tell him. Some guys just aren’t wired for communication. Words are not easy for some to say but at the end of the day, they are just words. If he proves and shows his love for you, you are luckier than most, but speak up and let him know you need to hear it. I love you … see I said it and I don’t even know you. Good luck, Cassie.

If I didn’t get to your question this week, check back in weeks to come. A woman’s work is never done but I do love my job, so keep the questions coming. I know all, and if I don’t know it, I can bullshit my way through almost anything.

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.

If you have a question of comment, email it to AskCassieNova@gmail.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 15, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Girl on Girls • 04.08.16

Jenny Block explores: Is dating an older woman such a bad thing?

Valentine's-Day-Photo-with-Robin

My last three girlfriends were all 11 to 17 years my junior. I was with one of them for eight years. Dated the other two for a year apiece. At the time it worked for me, for us. But I always wondered why I sought out women so much younger than I. Which got me thinking: Is there such a thing as “age-appropriate dating?” Does age matter?

I chalk some of it up to coming out late. I identified as bi from my 20s, and into my early 30s. But it wasn’t until my mid-30s that I identified as I do now: as lesbian. Did that have an impact?

I can’t help but think that perhaps I was wanting to experience a sort of lesbian adolescence. I wanted to be their age and I wanted to do the things I did when I was their age, not the things I imagined “women my age” did.

Those relationships worked for me, obviously. At least for a while. But when my last relationship ended, I wanted to try something different. I wanted to see if perhaps I hadn’t found my match because I was looking in the wrong age bracket.

Once I realized that femme girls were not my cup of tea, it seems like I should have figured out that young girls weren’t really brewed to my taste, either. I can be a bit old-school — I relish the femme role for myself. Now, I want an equal when it comes to things like intellect, respect and the like. But when it comes to being the “top,” for lack of a better expression, I want my partner to be in that role … in all senses of that word.

So a woman who was a bit older than I — but not too much older so as to recreate the same imbalance in the opposite direction — made sense. And that is exactly what I was thinking when I swiped right on my now-girlfriend. She is seven years older than I.

I don’t mind telling you, it was a little nerve-wracking at first. She said she liked Sinatra and “classic movies.” She has a high-powered job and is generally the boss of things. She has no interest in after-hours clubs or waking up on the floor of a friend’s apartment. I may be old-school, but I was worried she was just old.

Would it be bye-bye Sunday Funday and hello mah jongg? Was it going to be sayonara vodka and howdy Ensure? Hasta la vista stilettos and nice to meetcha slippers? And what about the sex? And her friends? Would we be spending the weekends bringing flowering plants to Shady Pines? Are we talking making doilies instead of taking shots? I confess, after dating a 28-year-old, 52 seemed, well, ancient.

Then we met in person. And I realized what a dumb ass I was. Am.

I’m 45. I am not twenty-five. And all of the things that I thought I didn’t like or, rather that I was fighting because I don’t want to be “old,” I actually do like. And 52 is not old. At all. I’m just, yes, a dumb ass.

On our very first date, we went to a fabulous dinner, followed it with Alexandre’s for drinks and then shut down the Round-Up, leaving the dance floor only to go to the loo. If I’m being honest, I love Frank Sinatra and not much makes me happier then dancing to the Rat Pack in the “ballroom” as we call her sunroom.

“She and her friends do Sunday Funday better than — or at least as well as — any 20somethings I know. And I have yet to spot a ball of yarn or a crochet hook anywhere among her possessions.

Truth is, I have more trouble keeping up with her than vice versa. And I love being the spring chicken — the hot, young girlfriend. (Insert winky-face emoji here.) Not to mention that she gets my jokes and I get hers. We watched the same TV shows and movies growing up. And we finish classic lines like, “Slowly I turned. Step my step…” and “I am serious…. And don’t call me Shirley” with ease.

I don’t feel embarrassed when my back hurts or the red peppers from the salad repeat on me. We have sex in the morning as often as we have marathons at night because, yes, we need to get some sleep.

We talk on the phone like teenagers instead of texting — a very new thing for me. Here’s an upside: the misunderstandings that arise from texts as compared to actual talking are few and far between. And the fact that we both travel a lot and live in different cities is far less of an issue than it might otherwise might be.

We’re at the same point in our lives and our careers. We want the same things and enjoy the same kind of people. I loved the girls I was with. I wouldn’t have been with them otherwise. But I often felt old and (ugh) maternal in our relationships. I’m the whole me, the real me, the me I am and want to be in this relationship more than I ever have been before.

All of it has to do with me coming to terms with getting older and becoming comfortable with what I really like and want, instead of clinging to the past in a painfully failing effort to stay forever young. I actually feel younger and sexier now. I’m not racing to keep up. I’m enjoying how far I’ve come.

I don’t have to feign allergy symptoms to explain why I can’t read the menu. I can just pull out my readers or borrow my girlfriend’s. I don’t have to Google the band we’re going to see. I already know all the words to their songs. And I don’t have watch Bad Grandpa. I can sing along with Streisand or bawl my eyes out at An Affair to Remember.

Is there such a thing as age-appropriate dating? Yes. But it’s different for everyone. “Age-appropriate” is not about a certain number of years that divide two people. It is about dating someone with whom you don’t have to pretend or hide or be ashamed of things that come along naturally with age. It’s dating someone with whom you find comfort and acceptance. It’s about dating someone who not only doesn’t mind finding your bite guard under the pillow but also loves finding every possible way to have mind-blowing sex. Still.

I was enjoying an excellent sex life before. But let’s just say there’s something to be said for experience…

Jenny is the author of the upcoming book The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex (Cleis Press), coming in May.

Have a question about sex you want Jenny to address? Email it to GirlOnGirlsJenny@gmail.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Cassie Nova • 04.01.16

Cassie calls ‘Shenanigans!’ on liars

CN3-KristoferReynolds

Photo courtesy Krisofer Reynolds

Hello all. As most of you know, I watch way too much TV. I watch hours of mind numbing fluff — possibly as a way to get out of my own head, or because I have very questionable taste. I do not keep up with the Kardashians, but I do visit Redneck Island from time to time. From Face Off to The Real O’Neals, my preferences are varied. If I cooked as much as I watch cooking shows, I’d be a Michelin-star chef.

The other night I was sitting in bed watching the hypnotic screen as it lulled me away to sleepy town when I accidentally hit the remote and it went to live TV. It just so happened to be the opening credits of Brokeback Mountain. I hadn’t watched the movie since it came out in 2005 so I decided I would watch a few minutes. I ended up watching the entire film.

If you haven’t watched Ang Lee’s masterpiece film, based on a short story by Annie Proulx, I urge you to do so. (I’m talking to you millennial gays.)
It’s about a secretive relationship between a couple of cowboys that starts while watching over a heard of sheep on Brokeback Mountain in 1963. The movie is heartbreaking and beautiful. It got me thinking of all of the real life stories of guys like Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. Men and women throughout human history that could not truly be with the person they loved and it breaks my heart. How many gays hid their relationships, only meeting in secret? How many found true love and actually had a happy life together. I like to think that for every sad, heartbreaking story out there, there are a hundred more that found their happily ever after.

The sad truth is that we will never know much about real gays through history. The stories we get are only speculation. The people in charge that get to shape history tend to omit and edit things so the past is biased. Part of me wants to research more on the topic of gays past, but I’m also not sure of how much of the truth I can take. I know what was done to gays during the Holocaust. I know what is still being done to them in Middle East. I know there was a little more sexual fluidity during Roman times.

It reminds me of how thankful I am to be alive today. We are a lucky lot. Your opportunities to love and be loved are better now than any other time in gay history and some of y’all still can’t get a man. (Winky face!)

Dear Cassie, I have a friend that lies so much. He lies about everything. He lies about guys he’s slept with to the places he has vacationed. It drives me crazy. Should I call him out on it or just let it go. It’s so annoying! Thanks, Ty.

Dear Ty, I think we all lie a little bit. We lie to make ourselves seem more interesting. Sometimes we lie just to hear ourselves talk. Well, not me. I have never lied. That’s a lie. If your friend’s lies are not hurting anyone, I say let it go. Naw, just kidding’! Call that bitch out. Every time you know he is lying call shenanigans. Yell at the top of your lungs Shenanigans!!!

I have a friend that lies a whole lot as well. She must also have a short memory. Once she told me and a group of my friends a story about how she put a sample of Selsun Blue shampoo in the mailbox of one of her enemies. Only it wasn’t shampoo in the bottle, it was Nair mixed with blue food coloring. The story ended with her enemy sporting short hair a few days later. Great story. Only one problem: She was telling a story that had happened to me. I did the exact same thing to my best friend’s ex-boyfriend. He cheated on, stole from and just really fucked my best friend over.
Long story short, I am a horrible person but a great friend.

Anyhoo, back to the liar. She told the anecdote to our group like it was 100 percent her story. I couldn’t believe she didn’t remember that not only was I the one that told her that story, but I had even written about it in this very column about a year before. I should have called shenanigans but I just let her go on, knowing that the people she was talking to knew the truth. It was unreal. Surprisingly enough that was just one of the many times we let her tell us a story that we knew didn’t happen to her. It was very… really, queen?

I admit, I like to embellish — that is part of being a good storyteller. But the balls on that bitch were enormous. We all want to feel interesting so maybe your friend that lies is just trying to fit in. Hoping that if they entertain you, a little white lie is no big deal. It’s when they start to believe their own lies that you have a problem. Live without regrets, call shenanigans! Good luck, Cassie.

Dearest Cassie, First let me say I adore you. Would you ever go or have you ever tried to go on RuPaul’s Drag Race? I think you would kill it. Forever a fan, Jeremy.

Dear Jeremy, Thank you for your kind words. I have been asked and answered this question in the past and the only reason I am revisiting it is because my thoughts on the subject have changed — well, not really changed, but I have come to a realization on the subject. In the past I have joked about not caring to be on that show, but the truth is, I think I would do horribly on Drag Race. Don’t get me wrong: I have more personality than any one show can handle, but that might not be enough to do well on that show.

I don’t think I would do well with the dancing challenges. It takes me forever to learn very basic choreography, but when I have it learned I know it to my core. I just need more time than what you get on such a tight shooting schedule. I don’t sing at all. They always have at least one challenge where those poor queens are forced to sing. There is a reason I lip-synch for a living. And to be perfectly honest, my taste in clothes is very questionable. I have a very certain look I like, and anything away from that look bothers me to the point I am uncomfortable. I am not fashion forward. I don’t wear enough — I like my little hooker dresses and big hair. I definitely have my own style but I don’t think it would do well there.

Plus, it seems exhausting. I’m not sure I have the energy and stamina to keep up with those damn kids. Not to mention, I have a temper and might actually punch the first the first bitch that called me old or fat. I guarantee you it would be good TV but I don’t think it would be fun (for me at least).
Who knows, maybe I will find a show to be on that lets me be me without having to kill myself! Oh my God, I’m lazy!

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.

If you have a question of comment, email it to AskCassieNova@gmail.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Do speak!

Gwen32016Gwen Stefani goes on the record about Gavin, Blake and her gay posse

Don’t speak? Gwen Stefani can’t help it as she opens up about her latest release — the “record that saved my life.”

Featuring a multitude of diary-like outpourings related to Gavin Rossdale, whom the No Doubt frontwoman divorced in 2015 after 13 years of marriage, This Is What the Truth Feels Like is Stefani’s third solo album and first since 2006’s The Sweet Escape.

“It’s so therapeutic to talk about it,” she says the day before the album’s release. “And I hope it saves some other lives. I really, really truly do hope that. That’s the message I wanna give.”

During our candid tell-all, Stefani also talked about her gay besties who “made me look pretty when I didn’t feel pretty,” being a (mostly) respected woman in a man’s world and how she and boyfriend Blake Shelton hang with the same “big posse” of gays.

— Chris Azzopardi

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Dallas Voice: In the last year, when the going got tough, which gay friends of yours could you count on to have the wine cupboard fully stocked? Gwen Stefani: Most of my gay friends are talented, close people who work with me: my hairdresser, my makeup artist. Those are probably my two closest gay friends, and what I love about them is how spirited they are and how talented they are. I think “passionate” would be a really good way to describe them. They’re not representing all gay men, but they represent the ones in my life who’ve had a huge impact on me. I turned to them this whole time period, during my whole tragedy, and they have been really, really super supportive and loyal and made me look pretty when I didn’t feel pretty.

How did collaborating with Justin Tranter of Semi-Precious Weapons, who’s gay, affect your recording sessions for This Is What the Truth Feels Like?  The thing that was so great about working with Justin was that he had followed my career for the longest time. He knew everything about every song I’d ever done, whatever I’d worn, every piece of jewelry. It was like, whoa. And he’d wanted to work with me for a long time and I didn’t know that, but it was like God put us in the same room at the perfect time because I needed his understanding and compassion. He was so supportive of me and so confident in me, and I had lost a lot of my confidence, so he really brought that out of me. I felt so comfortable around him from the moment that I met him. So, he was a huge support in making this record and a good friend — an instant friend, weirdly, because I didn’t know him at all. But now I feel like he’s one of my closest friends.

I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to say that any gay man would instantly connect with you.   Awww! That makes me happy.

Did Blake have to get your gay friends’ approval?  Well, I mean, Blake’s definitely like — how would I describe it? All the same people all the time are always in the room together and we do everything together, so it’s like we’re all a big posse. It’s funny, too, because Blake’s mom was a hairdresser growing up, so he was definitely introduced to that world a looong time ago.

As the frontwoman of No Doubt, there have been many times you’ve been the only female rocker on a festival bill. For you, what’s that experience been like? Did the boys take you seriously from the beginning?  No, it’s crazy. I’ve been so unbelievably blessed. I grew up in a man’s world and it really doesn’t make any sense either. In the past, as a girl — a baby girl — I was a girly girl and I wasn’t guyish at all, but when I did discover music, I really got into this niche music, which was ska. I really related to it. All of the people who were my mentors as far as music, they were all guys, and to be in a band with my brother [Eric Stefani] and then my boyfriend [Tony Kanal], I was in this little family and very protected. I always felt like my opinion was counted, and not even counted but even counted with double stars. My creativity was respected.

There was a moment back in the day when I was doing festivals and we were just getting known and I do remember being disrespected here and there — they’d want me to take my top off or whatever — but it really didn’t take long for me to be able to prove that I wasn’t gonna stand for that. I don’t know where the confidence came from, but I would get up there and I just knew I was gonna win them over and do whatever it took to win them over. I was not gonna leave the stage until I had a pit going. That’s it. No question. It was a fire that was inside of me. I wasn’t rebellious; I had this really normal, easy, beautiful, loving family. But I feel like I’ve always been respected and never had to really worry about, “Oh, I don’t get respect because I’m a woman.” And that’s a really good thing, because that means if I can have that, other women and other people can have that and we are making some progress.

You’re known for your sonic soul-barings, but lately, you also seem especially candid in interviews. Why did you decide to be so open about your life in the last year?  Because I’m the kind of girl that’s just not good with secrets. I tell everybody everything. If I ate too many Oreos, I’mma tell you about it! I grew up Catholic, so I just need to confess everything.

Gwen42016I feel like I’ve always been really open, but there was a point in my marriage [to Gavin Rossdale] —  because maybe we were born out of the ’90s – it felt cooler and more protected to not talk about the relationship, or it felt awkward because maybe we were both doing the same thing and I didn’t wanna say something and he’d be like, “Why’d you say that?!” There were probably some limits during that relationship. And then with my children, obviously I can’t talk about them because they’re gonna be 15 and like, “Mom, why did you say that? You’re embarrassing me!” I have to think a little bit about that now. But I just think… I don’t know how else to be. Everybody knows what happened to me. I got a divorce. It’s the worst thing that can happen to me besides death.

My whole life all I wanted to do was be a mother and a wife, and I had the dream of having this family because that’s what I had. I have parents who’ve been married since high school, who are in love, and they’re still in love and having their big wedding anniversary. I had a perfect example, so it’s super tragic for me. My dreams are shattered and I feel so embarrassed about what happened. I don’t feel embarrassed to talk about it though, with respect to my kids. I just think what happened was: In February [2015], my family fell apart. It was devastating. I didn’t know what to do. It was a real big secret, but as I just explained, I’m not good with that. I tried everything to fix it. By June, I went into the studio and started writing. I was praying. I had already started on a spiritual journey when I got pregnant with Apollo that was sort of like, “Wow, really? I’m gonna be blessed with a baby… now?” That was a miracle. It just started me on this spiritual journey and thank God it started then because I was prepared when I had the tragedy. I had that nest of spirituality in me.

They say everything happens for a reason.  And you kind of can’t see it until you go through it and look back at it and see all the signs. I had the baby. Then I got The Voice, which was so needed. I needed to do something like that. I needed to play that role, and I also got in the room with Pharrell again who’s been like a guardian angel to me.

You mentioned your son Apollo; you also have two other sons: Kingston and Zuma. There are people who don’t appreciate the fact that you allow them to explore their feminine sides by painting their nails. How would you respond to those critics?  Obviously I’ve lived my life with criticism for a very long time and my personality is, I live in truth and reality, and if somebody says something about me and I don’t know them and they’re not my friend or part of my life, it really doesn’t affect me. Of course everyone’s gonna have their perspective and their opinion, and I know what’s real and what’s honest and true, and that’s really all that matters to me and all that’s important. So, it doesn’t really bother me. As long as my boys are protected and happy and I’m spending quality time with them, whether it’s doing sports or doing nails, it really doesn’t matter.

What would you say to one of your boys if they came out to you one day?  I would be blessed with a gay son. You know that I would feel blessed about that. I just want my boys to be happy and healthy, and I just ask God to guide me every day to be a good mother because it is not an easy job.

I’ve been lucky enough to have such a blessed life. I’ve been able to travel the world and meet so many different kinds of people. And it doesn’t really matter if you’re gay, straight, whatever. There are good and bad people, and I would be happy. I just want my kids to be happy, and whatever journey God gives them is their journey. I just need to be there to be the most supportive mom that I can be and that’s what I’m gonna be. I always ask my gay friends, “OK, so what was it like when you were a little boy?” Because I do know that it’s gotta be difficult to be the alternative, to not be the mainstream, or to be different, if you want to call it that. I feel like it’s less and less [like that] these days, and it’s hard for me to understand because it doesn’t seem different or weird or anything anymore because it just seems so normal to me. I just saw [The Danish Girl]. I think what was so incredible about that movie was just — that was so long ago. I mean, can you imagine back then? Whoa. Now it feels like nothing anymore.

I’m not thinking about the future. I’m really trying to focus on right now, today. I wanna be in the moment right now because it’s so much better if you’re not thinking about the past or the future.

As a pop star over 40, what’s it like navigating the pop world with so much pressure on youth, age and beauty?  There was a moment right before I did The Voice, in between [2012’s No Doubt release] Push and Shove and The Voice, where I was concerned about it and desperate to have new music and it took a little earthquake to be like, “OK, let’s get some perspective here. You’ve already had the longest career. You’re so blessed to have any of this and any of this that happens after this is literally icing on the cake.”

I’m not delusional about where I’m at in my career. I know that this opportunity to have new music is magical, and there’s not one second that I don’t appreciate it and I think it is what it is. I feel proud of the career that I’ve had and I feel so grateful for it and I mean, we all have to go through life. This is life. Life is… “born to blossom and bloom to perish.” That’s it. That is what it is. And the way to do it is to be grateful and to be spiritual and try to do the best you can every single day — to be in the moment.

Gwen, you have such a healthy perspective on life.  Oh, I have to work on it! I work on it every single day. Some days I’m a mental case.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Ask Howard • 03.25.16

Howard-RussellHow to do the wrong thing right

Dear Howard,
I got married on the very day it first became legal last summer. During our four years of dating prior the Supreme Court’s ruling, my now-husband constantly badgered to do stuff in bed with him that in my opinion, as a Christian, was just too way, way immorally out there — a degenerate “boi-whore” I wasn’t raised to be.

The only thing that held “Mike” at bay was me promising him that if Texas ever made it actually legal for two men to marry, I’d then do every twisted thing he wanted of me to his depraved heart’s desire; meanwhile, until that day came (not!), my freak-in-the-sheets’ flavor of choice would remain plain vanilla. For emphasis, I even outstretched my left hand and steeled, “I’ll require a ring on this first, mister, too, before even considering any of your filthy honey pot extras.”

Well, flash forward to present-day, and my newlywed husband’s “imagination” behind closed doors with me, of course, has far exceeded anything he’d previously winked-and-grinned at me to expect back when he initially dropped down on bended-knee before me. I’m afraid if I tell him, “No!” ever in bed these days, though — any further rebuffs might eventually lead to Mike instead, possibly, working late, and all that “working late” implies. I love him and don’t want to lose him, but the sex stuff is just too… too. What do I do now? — Neal

Dear Nelly Mae,
Sweet mother of matrimony, you whiny boi-lemming, you, just shut … the… haughty … fuck… up! This little “morally horrified, Maria-from-the-convent-high-ground” shtick of yours ain’t gonna fly with dear Howard here — nor, clearly, with your sexually raunchy new husband, who knows you even better than I, thank heaven. Call me old-school, Miss Nelly — I mean, Neal — but, textually, any private-life activities involving legally wed spouses (short of, oh, engaging in a ménage-a-trois with, say, a minor, or any kind of non-consensual violence) is fair game. You set the conditions of sexual obedience when you set marriage as the benchmark and now you want to renege; sounds to me like you obligated yourself to keep your husband singularly satisfied whenever you’re alone behind vaulted doors, buck-nekkid with his erection bouncing high as an elephant’s eye. Otherwise, your promise was an empty as your protestations now seem. Obey and enjoy your nuptial partner, honey; after all, it’s his golden ring of avowed fidelity that glints — legally betrothed now! — from that piously-manicured, left ring-finger of yours, Nell — Neal, I mean.

Dear Howard,
I’m a heterosexually-married man; I dabble a bit on the side with play toys of my same gender. My own two children are grown now anyhow and away at college, but my wife, I’m certain, is herself diddling some practically-gay muscle-schmuck one cul-de-sac over. He’s practically a caricature of gym-obsessed narcissism — this freak has protruding nipples practically the size of elevator buttons, ’roided-up biceps and a perennial bulge in his pants like he’s smuggling a python… Not that such facts excus the cheating witch. What strategy should I take? — Frank

Dear Frank,
Contraband reptiles in the britches of your wife’s boy-toy aside,  to be dabbling “a bit” on the down-low with fellow males yourself leads dear Howard here to suggest the following placating solution: Either you perhaps tag-team with your wife the bicep-bulging, Otis-nippled serpent packer who resides merely one cul-de-sac over — whose packaged, coiled appendage clearly strikes salivating fangs in you both — or you continue fucking whatever local rental dicks you enjoy on the sly, and allow your wife to enjoy her own penile conquests minus your jealousy.
Howard Lewis Russell

Do you have a question — about etiquette, love, life or work — that needs an answer? Send your problem to AskHoward@DallasVoice.com and he may answer it.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Scene 03.25.16 • 2016 Readers Voice Awards winners

Making the SCENE the week of March 25–31:

• Alexandre’s: Filter Kings on Friday. No Label on Saturday. Chris Chism on Wednesday. Alicia Silex on Thursday.

• Brick/Joe’s: 50 Shades of Black celebrating Thad Jo and Drew hosted by Ida Mae Watergate on Friday. Carizmah Royale 25th Aries B’day Bash on Friday. Wintergreen 2016 emceed by Sable Alexander at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

• Cedar Springs Tap House: Alex’s going away party at 7 p.m. on Monday.

• Club Reflection: Trinity River Bears meeting at 2:30 p.m. and cookout and Easter Bonnet Contest at 4 p.m. on
Sunday.

• Dallas Eagle: Home for the Holidays show and auction benefiting Home for the Holidays from 7-10 p.m. on Friday. NLA Dallas presents Leather Perspectives from 1:30–5 p.m. on Saturday. United Court of the Lone Star Empire show at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

• JR.’s Bar & Grill: Net Chix Exposed with Krystal and Asia on Tuesday.

• Round-Up Saloon: Easter Basket Auction benefits Resource Center and Texas Gay Rodeo Association. Doors open at 6 p.m. Easter bonnet contest at 6:30 p.m. with cash prizes for the best solo and best group. Auction at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Baskets can be previewed in the Parlor on Saturday night.

• Sue Ellen’s: Adrian Johnston on Friday. Ciao Bella on Saturday. Kathy & Bella at 3 p.m. and Tyla Taylor at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

• The Rose Room: Kelexis, Layla, Cassie, Porsche Paris, Krystal, Valerie and Jenna on Saturday.

• Woody’s Sports & Video Bar: Mojo Dolls on the backlot stage hosted by Jada Pinket Fox on Sunday.

Scene Photographers: Kat Haygood and Chad Mantooth.

For photos of the rest of the 2016 RVA Winners, check out our 2016 RVA Issue, published Friday, March 18, in print and online.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice