Best Bets • 02.05.16

Friday 02.05


Texas Theatre, Cine Wilde team for screening and party of ‘The Hunger,’ honoring David Bowie

The death of the pioneering artist David Bowie continues to resonate, and Cine Wilde — the monthly gay film fest — has paired up again with Texas Theatre to screen one of his most outrageous and stylish films, Tony Scott’s 1983 film The Hunger. Bowie and Catherine Deneuve play modern-day vampires in a cat-and-mouse pursuit of Susan Sarandon. The screening with be followed by a after-party featuring punkish DJ music. Come ready to dance.

The Texas Theatre
231 W. Jefferson Blvd.
9:20 p.m. screening;
11 p.m. after-party

Friday 02.05 — Sunday 02.28


Dallas Theater Center revisits the Bard with ‘Romeo & Juliet’

For the first four full seasons with Artistic Directed Kevin Moriarty, the Dallas Theater Center performed one of Shakespeare’s plays — a comedy, a history, a tragedy and a so-called romance — each season. The tradition dropped off, though, after King Lear. Well, it’s back, with another of the major tragedies, Romeo & Juliet. Unlike the last four, Moriarty isn’t directing this one (that role falls to the talented Joel Ferrell) and it moves from Downtown’s Wyly Theatre back to the DTC’s Uptown haunts at the Kalita Humphreys.

Kalita Humphreys Theater
3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.

Saturday 02.13


BalletBoyz dance troupe makes its Dallas debut with graceful muscularity

With its innovative combination of weightless elegance and brute muscularity, the U.K.’s BalletBoyz is one of the most intensely exciting dance troupes in the world today. The company makes its Dallas debut on Feb. 13 with a sensual performance at the Winspear. This may be the most anticipated local premiere of TITAS’ all-dance season.

Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
8 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

David Bowie allowed you to be gay


The man who sold the world

I can’t get David Bowie out of my head.

I’ve known he’s been dead less than a day, so it’s fresh. But more than the passing of many past-their-prime celebrities, who exited the stage when ready, something about Bowie’s death at 69 feels abrupt, underhanded, mocking. It’s as if a monarch has died, and the town crier called out, “The king is dead, long live the king!” … even though you know there’s no new king on the horizon, no replacement that can touch the predecessor. David Bowie dying is like acknowledging the death of the 20th century, and the man who created it has left it, left us, in ruins.

You can’t blame him. He did what he could. One reason why Bowie resonates more strongly and clearly than any other artist — to my thinking, he was, along with Eugene O’Neill, Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock, George Gershwin, Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel and Frank Lloyd Wright, a defining genius — was that he represented more than a career in music. He practically led us through the pop culture generation of the latter half on the 1900s. He made so much possible … including the ability to be openly gay. (More on that later.)

David Bowie’s career began as early as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, although his path was very different. He was an educated man, who understood culture from Hockney to Elvis, Little Richard to Balenciaga. Whereas the Beatles and Stones hit it big in the early to mid 1960s (the Beatles had actually split up by 1970), it wasn’t until the ’70s that Bowie found his footing as a musician. While certainly at the forefront of the glam rock revolution, unlike his fellow practitioners — the New York Dolls, Elton John, Roxy Music — Bowie could do it bigger and better. It wasn’t a costume for gigs, not just a style he re-created, but a persona that he embodied; he would even change his name as needed (Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust) to conjure new associations. And more so than any other rock contemporaries, Bowie reinvented himself continuously. Queen will forever be an arena rock glam band; they never turned into disco gods, or fashion icons, or film/stage actors, or financial innovators. Bowie did all that.

david-bowie (1)

The man who fell to earth

That is not to say that he did everything equally well. All great artists have failures. Not every doodle by Picasso was museum quality. His acting career never caught on fire, in part because his versatility onscreen was limited and he was difficult to cast. But he wasn’t hemmed in, at least in his own mind. He was a creator, an experimenter. And his refusal to cleave to expectations for what someone needs to do to be “popular” meant that he was, ironically, the inventor of his own culture, which through the force of its brand inevitably infiltrated every aspect of American life. Don’t fool yourself: Stonewall may have been the start of the gay rights movement, but without Bowie, can you imagine it would have gained traction in every corner of society?

In a very real sense, David Bowie made you possible. As much as he was a leader in fashion through his glam era (and beyond), he was also an icon of sexual freedom. Many of his era dressed outrageously and with androgynous looks, but still steered clear of LGBT identification. Bowie didn’t. He was always out front about his bisexuality — remarkable for a pop star in the 1970s. Elton John, by contrast, didn’t officially come out until much later. But his orientation seemed authentic and personal more than a political statement. When, in 1992, Bowie married the model Iman, no one considered it a lavender marriage, that she was somehow his beard. Who wouldn’t want to sleep with David Bowie? For that matter, who wouldn’t want to sleep with Iman, one of the world’s most beautiful women? His sexual power was its fluidity. He didn’t have to be the grand marshal of Pride parades to be a role model … in some ways, he was a better kind of role model, the kind that just does as he pleases and everyone else be damned. It was that commitment to his vision — of his art, of himself — that set him apart from his contemporaries (and, for that matter, virtually every pop music wannabe of the last three decades). One doesn’t think of the chart-topping hits from David Bowie, but from the remarkable catalog of albums and songs that escorted you through a career as diverse as the culture itself.


Ziggy played guitar

He was also a visionary in another important way: as a futurist about pop culture in general. His characters hinted at an otherworldly obsession with the cult of personality. Decades before Lady Gaga envisioned a fame monster, Bowie conceived of a world driven by an unhealthy preoccupation with celebrity. (It’s probably no coincidence that the name of a song off of Gaga’s first album, “Just Dance,” echoes one of Bowie’s, or that she has worked to combine music and fashion in equal measures.) Unlike other artists who explored popularity as an American theme — including Andy Warhol, whom Bowie portrayed in the movie Basquiat — Bowie seemed separate from, and not beholden to, popular culture. He was a critic of it more than Warhol, a bemused alien or god, laughing from Mount Olympus.

You ignored David Bowie at your peril. I confess, when “Let’s Dance” was released in the ’80s, I didn’t fully “get” it. It was only later, with hindsight, that you could realize he prefigured the entire club kid movement by at least half a dozen years. That’s when his genius emerged: even though he was famed for his work in the idiom of pop music, it wasn’t his raison d’etre. He was a leader, not a follower, who affected pop culture in countless particulars. I don’t know that most people will be able to fully grasp the impact he had on their lives until years from now, when we’re finally able to step back and evaluate not only where we were, but where we are, and how we got there. With the perspective of sober reflection, we will plainly see that Ziggy Stardust’s fingerprints were on every page of that history.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

RIP David Bowie

All we need is music, sweet music…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The big this this weekend, of course, is the release of The Dark Knight Rises, which is an improvement on The Dark Knight but not quite as elegantly composed as Batman Begins. Still, it’s worth seeing if only for Tom Hardy’s man-meat. As a comic book movie, though, it’s about on par with The Amazing Spider-Man and not as good as The Avengers.

For much bigger laughs than all of those put together, though, The Divine Sister is your best bet, with Coy Covington again tackling a Charles Busch drag role in this astute and surprisingly clever riff on nun movies. The entire cast is in rare comic form. Meanwhile, two other shows — Avenue Q and Joseph — announced this week they will be extending their runs.

Friday night is also a great time to be at the ilume … though you’ll have to choice between some competing events. The Red Party hosts a kick-off event for its fall fundraiser with a men’s fashion show (read: bathing suits and briefs) out by the pool, while around the corner at ilume gallerie, The Art of the Bow Tie, pictured, with a reception for artist Jeremy Calhoun and a share of proceeds going to AIN.

That’s not the only art to see, though.

You could have your own art crawl this Saturday. Readers Voice Award winner Daniel Padilla and his brother Manuel open Beyond Infinity at the Padilla Gallery. The works are partly inspired by the current Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum. Down the street, be sure to catch Cathey Miller’s charming Texas Lady Singers at The Kessler. And jaunt over to East Dallas to see the Sacred David Bowie Art Show open at Wine Therapist.

Finally, if you need to lose some weight, you can get The Biggest Loser to pay for it by auditioning on Saturday for the next edition of the show. You can register here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones