Russian LGBT leader Nicolai Alekseev speaks tonight

A true international male

Nikolai Alekseev has become the face of Russia’s LGBT community. He comes to Dallas to discuss the plight and triumphs of gays worldwide and how today’s community can work toward equality everywhere. Gay Liberation Network’s Andy Thayer from Chicago joins Alekseev talking about his experiences in Russia.

DEETS: Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. InterfaithPeaceChapel.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 03.04

A true international male
Nikolai Alekseev has become the face of Russia’s LGBT community. He comes to Dallas to discuss the plight and triumphs of gays worldwide and how today’s community can work toward equality everywhere. Gay Liberation Network’s Andy Thayer from Chicago joins Alekseev talking about his experiences in Russia.
DEETS: Interfaith Peace Chapel, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. 7 p.m. InterfaithPeaceChapel.org.

Saturday 03.05

Let’s try this again, shall we?
Caven celebrates Mardi Gras across its clubs with Carnivale VI. With Ricky Sinz at TMC: The Mining Company and aerial artist Amber Monson at Sue’s, the night is highlighted by the return of Cazwell at Station 4. We’re not expecting the same Super Bowl party debacle that canceled his last show here. We are expecting a major crowd, if it’s anything like his last S4 gig.
DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. $15–$20. PartyatTheBlock.com

Thursday 03.10

Denton deals a pair of queens
The NX35 Music Conferette gets underway for a four-day music conference in little ol’ Denton. Little D’s answer to SXSW, NX35 gets way impressive with some pretty familiar names on the roster. The fest begins with legendary soul and gospel singer Mavis Staples and ends with outrageous sissy bouncer Big Freedia on Saturday.
DEETS: NX35 event grounds, 110 W. Hickory St., Denton. 35Conferette.com

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

—  John Wright

Del Shores turns on the stand-up comedy at the Rose Room

This comic takes his first steps

Life as a Southern gay man would be far less interesting if Del Shores hadn’t been around. He gave us close-to-home hilarity with Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies, but now he gives us a different kind of funny. We’ll see Shores like never before — as a stand-up comic. Easy enough because we already know he’s funny.

DEETS: The Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. $15. Caven.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 12.17.10

LoniLove_MG_6016
Loni Love

Friday 12.17

It’s gonna be a Love fest
When Loni Love speaks, you better listen; especially if she’s talking about celebrities on Chelsea Lately or The World’s Dumbest. Her stand-up isn’t too bad either.  When Variety and Comedy Central name her as one of the top 10 comics to watch, well, that goes a long way. But it’s her snarky wit and diva fab humor that will keep you laughing for days after.

DEETS: Improv, 309 Curtis Mathes Way, Arlington. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Through Sunday. $15. Symfonee.com.

Saturday 12.18

Not the time to be modest
Being humble is charming, but it won’t get you anywhere in the Dallas Voice’s search for DFW’s Ultimate Diva. Don’t think diva and drag queens. Musicians, activists, allies; If you’re the best at it then go for it. The incentive? How about winning $1,000 for your favorite nonprofit or charity. Gotcha.

DEETS: Deadline is Dec. 23. Visit DallasVoice.com/Diva for rules and application.

Sunday 12.19

These herald angels sing with glory
TeCo Productions stages Black Nativity, the retelling of the story of the birth of Christ by gay playwright Langston Hughes. With gospel, dance and poetry as elements of the show, Hughes’ version is both stirring and uplifting.

DEETS: Bishop Arts Theater Center, 215 S. Tyler St. 3 p.m. $15–$20. TecoTheater.org.

Monday 12.20

The Chorale keeps tradition going
Director Jonathan Palant says this year the Turtle Creek Chorale is going back to basics. O Holy Night will feel like going home for the holidays with all the songs and carols we know. But it wouldn’t be a TCC Christmas without some flair. With some new arrangements on hand, we figure they won’t disappoint.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. 8 p.m. $20–$65. TurtleCreek.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Jay Brannan and Eric Himan perform tonight at The Loft

A double-dose of sexy

Indie rocker Jay Brannan returns to Dallas tonight. Not only might he remind you of our national anthem, Brannan isn’t half-bad when it comes to lyrics. Quirky, original and at times even delightful. With an acoustic set, The Loft is the ideal setting for his music as it was last year. Fellow gay musician Eric Himan joins the bill tonight. He’s not doing too bad himself. He just released his piano-based solo album Out With the Old and hits the pavement pretty often according to his Twitter and Facebook feeds.

These boys are working it for all they can and if past shows say anything, tonight should be an acoustic set of awesome.

DEETS: The Loft, 1135 S. Lamar St.. Doors at 7:30. $17. GilleysMusic.com

—  Rich Lopez

Best bets • 12.10.10

Friday 12.10

Dog days in Big D
Gays and their dogs are a breed unto themselves and we imagine some will be competing in this weekend’s Lone Star State Classic dog show. For sure, we know local Laurie Foley will be there with her cocker spaniel to compete for top dog honors. Forget watching Best in Show again, see it for real.

DEETS: Dallas Market Hall, 2200 Stemmons Freeway. Through Dec. 12. LoneStarStateClassic.com

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Saturday 12.11

Some cracked nuts for Christmas?
Mark-Brian Sonna brings back his snarky wit with The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-less-Q Nutcracker!  When food poisoning wipes out an entire ballet company, it’s up to stranded burlesque troupe The Velvet Kittens to save Christmas in Beulaville. Nutcrackin’ funny stuff.

DEETS: Stone Cottage Theater, 15650 Addison Road. Through Dec. 26. $18–$22. MBSProductions.net.

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Sunday 12.12

Holidays the Wright way
Fort Worth pianist Danny Wright performs a benefit concert for Chelsea’s Fund which promotes pet hospice in Dallas and Fort Worth. Rebecca Miller hosts the evening that includes Wright’s concert, a silent auction and champagne reception.

DEETS: Casa Manana Theater, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. 7 p.m. $50. CasaManana.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Cocktails for a Cure tonight benefits Resource Center

Those red ribbons should match that cosmo
Chef Blythe Beck serves up her designer nibblies while Micah B provides the tunes at Kimpton’s Cocktails for a Cure red ribbon party. With auction items, cocktails and food, the only thing that makes it all better is that it benefits the Resource Center Dallas.

DEETS: Central 214, 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane. 6:30 p.m. $20. HotelPalomar.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Cirque Dreams Illumination at Bass Hall

Everything is ‘Illumination’
While we are recovering from food overload, superhumans gear up for Cirque Dreams Illumination. In what sounds like Rent meets Pink Floyd, the show depicts workers and pedestrians (aka urban acrobats) balancing on wires, chairs and other daring stunts against illuminated effects and eclectic score from rock to jazz to street beats.

DEETS: Bass Hall, 525 Commerce St., Fort Worth. Through Dec. 5. 7:30 p.m. $22-$49. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Movie Monday: Get your Cher fix with ‘Burlesque’ in wide release

If we could turn back time … we’d still want to see Cher in this campy hoot

In Burlesque, pop diva Christina Aguilera plays a small-town girl with a big voice who leaves the heartland to chase a predictable dream in L.A. She lands a job as a cocktail waitress at the Burlesque Lounge, meets a couple of hot guys (Cam Gigandet and Eric Dane), builds a friendship with one dancer (Julianne Hough), makes enemies with another (Kristen Bell), and learns a few life lessons from Tess (Cher), a broke, weary, but totally hot burlesque goddess with a heart of gold.

Big surprise: It’s not a great script. The mortgage is due and the moneylenders lurk and gosh, the lounge needs a miracle to survive! But who will go see it for the plot, the hokey dialogue or the not-so-great acting from Aguilera (her character is hardly full-bodied, with a backstory that is even slimmer than her hips).

But do go see it, because the movie is exactly what its audience is looking for: A campy, sexy hoot. It struts. It’s fun. It’s funny. There’s some serious eye candy with Gigandet and a box of cookies. There’s Stanley Tucci, playing Sean, the surly gay manager of the lounge.

And of course, there’s Cher. Cher still has the glam to pull the clichéd Tess off — and she still has that voice. The ups and downs of her life (both Tess and Cher) can be summed up in one show-stopping number: “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me.”

Burlesque is not supposed to be Cher’s movie, but she steals it anyway — along with Tucci, whose one-night stand with a potential life partner is heartwarming and real. Tucci may be playing a gay BFF to a burlesque queen, but Sean is not some kind of gay caricature. He’s the heart of a film that has no brain.

Three and a half stars.

— Angela Wilson

DEETS: Burlesque, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci, Cam Gigandet, Eric Dane. Rated PG-13. 125 mins. Now playing wide release.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Tales from Mount Olympus’ comes to a close at Theatre Three

Bruce Coleman wields power over the gods, turning Greek myths into Day-Glo puppets for Mount Olympus

With adult hindsight, Tales from Mount Olympus director Bruce Coleman  sees the importance of these stories and the meanings behind them. The moral tales and life lessons come much clearer with life experience. But he also knows that the gods and goddesses have their own subtexts that speak directly to LGBT audiences. The characters are already  interesting, but it sounds like they have some major fab cred behind them.

“Well, yes! I mean Artemis is the goddess of all lesbians. She made Zeus promise her that she’d never have to marry a man,” he laughs. “Goddess of the hunt? OK, go on, girl. And everyone knows Dionysus [the god of wine] is our patron saint.”

But one puppet god might end up catching some eyes ogling a little more intently.

“Someone had looked at my Poseidon and said he is not the god of the ocean,” Coleman chuckles, ”he’s the god of hotness!”

DEETS: Theatre Three, 2800 Routh St., Suite 168. 2:30 p.m. $20–$30.  214-871-3300. Theatre3Dallas. com.

—  Rich Lopez