WATCH: Uh Huh Her’s “Wake to Sleep”

Uh Huh Her dropped a new video for this next single from Nocturnes. There isn’t a lot of fanfare going on with the release of “Wake to Sleep,” but Lezbelib was sharp to point out the guest star in the duo’s video. From the site’s post.

In this video, directed by Justin Coloma, we can see behind Camila Grey and Leisha Hailey, the dancer Sasha Mallory (So You Think You Can Dance) who came out as a lesbian last year.

Good eye, ladies. Mallory has also danced for the likes of Rihanna and Adam Lambert. I can’t say the video is altogether mind blowing, but it’s nice UHH is keeping it in the family. Watch “Wake to Sleep” after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Livin’ the Vida

Richard Vida revisits ‘Les Miz’ in a grand revival

La-Vita

MASTER OF THE HOUSE | Rirchard Vida returns to ‘Les Miz’ 18 years after his B’way run.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

“Show people don’t have holidays,” Richard Vida says with a sigh. Though he’s not complaining. In fact, he kind of likes it.

“In New York City, Christmas is packed. You’ll always have a show Christmas night, though on Christmas Eve, it depends. Before 9/11, we always had matinee and evening shows on New Year’s Eve. When I was doing Les Miz in the old days, when it was still three hours and 15 minutes, it got out at 11:45 and we were right in Times Square at midnight.”

A lot has changed since those days. Evening shows in Dec. 31 are canceled and Vida is on tour, not in New York. But one thing hasn’t changed: Vida is still doing Les Miserables.

Not the entire time, of course — and not in the same way. Vida was a replacement in the original production back in the 1980s, playing the thieving Montparnasse for two years. He loved the show.

“I was a dancer at the time, doing all the big dance shows. Les Miz was my first non-dancing show but I was blown away by it.

The original production of Les Miz ran until 2003 — closing a decade after Vida’s run in it. He went on to act in numerous TV shows, movies and musicals in the intervening years. “So imagine my surprise, 18 years later, to be playing Thenardier in the 25th anniversary production.”

Surprised, because as much as he enjoyed the experience, he’d had it. So when his agent asked if he’d be interested — advancing from one the bandits to their sleazy leader, Thenardier — he passed. His agent asked, before deciding, if he would go see the production. He did.

“It was the best version I have seen,” he says. “It’s been reorchestrated and newly conceived. Technologically it’s just beautiful — no more turntable! The backdrops are actual projections of Victor Hugo paintings. It’s so imaginative.At intermission, I called my agent and said not only am I interested in doing it, it’s mine.”

The process has been illuminating, now that he approaches it not as young dancer but as a seasoned actor in middle age.

“I already knew the role, but what is interesting was, when I re-read all 1,236 pages of the book and as an older person, I understood it better. I have the life experience to play this unredeemable, despicable human being. The comedy comes through, but he’s dark. And it’s so completely the opposite of who I am in real life.”

Les Miserables is one of the most successful — and divisive — musicals in history, a long-running hit about the failed 1832 Paris uprising. It’s a sweeping epic based on what is generally considered one of the great novels of the 19th century, but has its detractors as bombastic, although the characters are sharply drawn and the complexities of the book are masterfully synthesized.

Hmmm… students who take up arms against the rich hierarchy in the streets. Sounds a little like Occupy Paris, no?

Vida’s not so sure.

“In some [curtain speeches], Several presenters have said this is the French Occupy Wall Street, but I’m not so sure patrons are making that correlation. I don’t see it being the same thing. I think of it more as an allegory, and the religious awakening that turns your life around,” he says.

It’s certainly turned Vida’s life around. This is his eighth national tour, and the first one where he’s been able to travel with his partner, who is the show’s musical conductor.

“It’s fantastic that we are working and traveling together after 18 years,” Vida says.

That’s almost enough to soften the hardest of hearts … maybe even Thenardier’s.

… Nah, don’t count on that.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Strip tease

burlesque-1
THE FACE, AND BODY, OF BURLESQUE Satan’s Angel, center, continues in a profession that has welcomed such newcomers as Dita von Teese, left, and Jett Adore, right.

Out burlesque legend Satan’s Angel last performed in Dallas at Jack Ruby’s club in late 1963. And that’s not the only thing that has changed in the last 50 years

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Although she liked the film, Satan’s Angel thought the movie Burlesque was more about a lounge act than the actual art of the tease.

She should know. Satan’s Angel — a stage name, of course — is a legend who has a few healthy decades under her belt and she doesn’t want today’s generation to forget what burlesque should really mean to performers and audiences.

“Burlesque is about sexuality, being sensual and teasing,” she says by phone in a gravelly voice. “It’s getting the audience worked up and then letting them go home all fired up. It really is about the journey of titillation, not the destination.”

As part of Saturday’s Hotter Than Hell show at The Kessler, Ms. Angel doesn’t perform like she used to, but she still headlines this show that will include “boylesque” artist Jett Adore. Now 67, Ms. Angel has seen it all and welcomes the diversity in burlesque now, but she was in a class all her own back in the day.

“Well, I am the big lesbian legend of burlesque that probably paved the way for every queer there,” she laughs. “It was a terrible time. No one could really be open and lots of places were owned by the mob. If they found out, they’d throw you out the door.”

But she was defiantly queer in a pre-Stonewall era — even when she traveled in the South. She always “had a woman” and when a fellow dancer outed her to a club owner, she didn’t back down.

“Oh, he grabbed me by the hair and was hitting me in the face asking if I was gay,” she recalls. “Other dancers were telling me to just say I wasn’t, but I just told him to piss off. It was really hard then.”

Ironically, burlesque now is very fluid in its sexuality. Lesbianism could almost be looked at as a selling point. But Ms. Angel says many of today’s performers have replaced the tradition with shock art. She intends to keep the classical nature of it alive.

“People do this variety, bizarre stuff and it’s very offensive to me,” she says. “They need to put the truth of this out there. Don’t try to shock. That’s not burlesque; that’s bullshit. This Latina dancer had these donkey piñatas in her act and she’s fist-fucking the donkey’s ass. I mean, what the shit is that?”

Today’s performers haven’t all strayed from the traditional values. She cites Dita von Teese (who was in Dallas last week) and Ginger Valentine as staying true to the form, and commends the work of Jett Adore, who also performs Saturday.

Boylesque isn’t new to Angel — as she saw it decades ago in Canada and Europe. It’s just new to America.

“They were way ahead of us. Everyone was doing nudity outside of America and we were just trying to go topless,” she says. “What I like about Jett is he’s extremely masculine on stage and his Zorro makes Antonio Banderas’ a zero.”

Her appearance this weekend is something of a homecoming for Ms. Angel. She worked the Texas circuit back in the day, landing a gig in the fall of 1963 at Abe Weinstein’s Colony Club on Commerce Street. But then her agent found an offer for more money at a place called Carousel Club owned by some guy named Jack Ruby. Ruby wasn’t thrilled with the lesbian idea, either, but she was the featured performer.

Of course, a few weeks later, Ruby became more infamous than she could ever hope to be.

“He was a weird dude, very Jekyll and Hyde and a big talker but not much else,” she says. “He treated me well but I worked my week and was out of there and on to Kansas City. Next thing I knew, he’s on TV for shooting Oswald. He was strange, but I really never thought he was a killer.”

Life is a calmer these days. She does the occasional performance, live readings and burlesque classes, but finds her haven in Palm Springs. She calls her life partner of 14 years her “poor little butch” who has to sell merch, be her dresser, drive her to the airport and act generally as an assistant.

“If I didn’t just bring her along, I’d have to hire somebody,” she jokes. “She’s got bad knees. What is she going to do for a job?”

Of course, she’s just teasing.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Nightlife

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DICK DANCER DESTINATION
The Tin Room

2514 Hudnall St.
Open Sunday­–Thursday till 2 a.m.,
Friday–Saturday till 3 a.m.
214-526-6365
TinRoom.net

We could sit here and pretend that the reason the Tin Room won as the top Dick Dancer Destination has something to do with the atmosphere, or the bar service, or the variety of cocktail options. Yeah, and we read Inches magazine for the articles. But less just ‘fess up: The reason we love the Tin Room is because it has hot, fit, tattooed young men who shake like the San Andreas on a trampoline. And they’re friendly. And we’re certain they are good people. And there’s a cage. And a shower. Yeah, we definitely could use a drink.

— Arnold Wayne Jones


LESBIAN HOT SPOT
Sue Ellen’s

3014 Throckmorton St.
Open daily till 2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-559-0707
Caven.com

We love that Sue Ellen’s moved into the big digs once home to TMC a few years ago: Dallas’ long-running gal-pal spot feels right at home in its current location. There are plenty of spots to hear live music (a longtime selling point for female and male patrons), lots of nooks to get all cozy on handsome sofas and chairs, spacious dance floors, even dandy spots for daytime laptop work while enjoying a beverage. It’s geared for the ladies, but appeals to men, too.

— Mark Lowry


BEST NIGHTLIFE EVENT TO ATTEND IN THE MIDDLE OF DAY
Chill Sunday

House of Blues’ Foundation Room
2200 N. Lamar St.
2–6 p.m.
Facebook.com/SXSProductions

Truth be told, the gays cannot do a Sunday afternoon without a mimosa and a brunch menu. Thankfully, SxS Productions and Janus, the guys behind the monthly Chill Sunday, take it to a different level without the guilt of an overindulgent meal. Don’t worry. Lunch happens at Chill, but alongside the Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas, the music by a rotating lineup of DJs is always a downtempo beat, which makes for a cool way to bring the weekend to a close.

— Rich Lopez

 

ULTIMATE DALLAS CLUB
The Round-Up Saloon

3912 Cedar Springs Road
Daily 8 p.m.—2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com


ULTIMATE FORT WORTH CLUB
Rainbow Lounge

651 South Jennings Ave., Fort Worth
Open daily until 2 a.m.
817-870-2466
Facebook.com/RainbowLounge

 

BEST HAPPY HOUR
JR.’s Bar & Grill

3923 Cedar Springs Road
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-528-1004
Caven.com


BEST AFTER HOURS CLUB • TIE
TMC: The Mining Company

3903 Cedar Springs Road
Open Thursday–Sunday till 2 a.m.,
after hours dancing Friday–Sunday
214-521-4205
Caven.com

Station 4

3911 Cedar Springs Road
Open Wednesday-Sunday till 2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com


FRIENDLIEST CLUB STAFF
The Round-Up Saloon

3912 Cedar Springs Road
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

 

SEXIEST BARTENDER
Carter Young

JR.’s Bar & Grill
3923 Cedar Springs Road
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-528-1004
Caven.com

 

BEST CLUB DJ
Ronnie Bruno


TWINKY TOWN
Station 4

3911 Cedar Springs Road
Open Wednesday-Sunday till 2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com

 

DADDY DEPOT
The Dallas Eagle

5740 Maple Ave.
Open Sunday­–Thursday till 2 a.m.,
Friday–Saturday till 4 a.m.
214-357-4375
DallasEagle.com

 

BEST KARAOKE
The Round-Up Saloon

3912 Cedar Springs Road
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Jack’s Backyard

2303 Pittman Road
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-741-3131
JacksBackyardDallas.com

 

IT’S STRAIGHT BUT WE GO
The Grapevine Bar

3902 Maple Ave.
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-522-8466
TheGrapevineBar.com

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

—  John Wright

More ‘scary’ stuff: Attack of the dancer

To follow along in the same vein as the “wild gorilla attack” prank video John Wright posted here earlier, let me share this video from Ellen DeGeneres’ show:

—  admin

MOMIX ‘Botanica’ tonight at the Winspear Opera House

Keeping it au naturel

We spoke with MOMIX dancer Rob Laqui about his experience with the company and it’s current show Botanica. It’s in town for two nights only so catch it while you can. By the looks of it, it’s nothing short of amazing. Who knew fauna and flora could be this exciting?

DEETS: MOMIX: Botanica Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St., Sept. 10–11. 8 p.m. $19–$125., TITAS.org

—  Rich Lopez