Our Readers Voice Awards issue is out now, and you see what won all the favorites of our readers — from favorite personal trainer to hottest bartender to top local chef — but there’s also tons more going on in town this week.
Friday, you have two chances to see Del Shores’ one-man show at the Rose Room — at 5 p.m. and then at 8 — which will be recorded for an upcoming DVD release. Standing-room-only tickets are available for as little as $10, but if you are one of the first 10 people to email email@example.com, you can win free tickets to the show. Also at the Rose Room for two shows this week? Comedian Bruce Vilanch. He’ll be performing March 28 at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.
On Saturday night, DIFFA returns with its second year featuring smoking jackets. Once again, runway legend Jan Strimple is in charge of the show, so it should be a hoot. It’s at the Anatole starting at 6 p.m. You can also get your fashion fix this week at Legal Hospice of Texas’ Fashion Cited event and Dress 4 Yellow, both next Thursday.
On Sunday morning, the inaugural Big Gay Brunch Party gets going at Blue Mesa Grill in Addison, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with DJ Michael Evans spinning.
Two indie theaters have very gay-themed plays opening this week. Up in Addison, MBS Productions is staging the original work The Futility of Hope, pictured, about a teenage girl who seeks out her birth father, only to be shocked to find out he’s a gay man. Over at the Green Zone near the Design District, Bruce Coleman has written and directed two one-acts he collectively calls The Apartment Plays: A Conversation with a (Potentially) Naked Man and Larry Kramer Hates Me. And at the Kalita for a one-night-only event you can see old-school DTC veterans Carole Cook and Tom Troupe in a staged reading of the Pulitzer-winning play The Gin Game on Monday at 7 p.m.
It’s not Pride Weekend, so why is so much going on this week?
Oh, wait — it kind of is Pride Weekend. It’s Gay Christmas — aka Halloween! That accounts for a lot of the goings-on: The Street Party on Saturday, the rugby tournament HellFest (timed, as its name suggests, to coincide with All Hallow’s Eve), the drag dinner and brunch at Dish with Candis Cayne. (Hotel Zaza’s monthly Sunday School brunch, with a costume theme, is also on Sunday.) And you can kinda see why Dallas Theater Center would open its dress-up play about pro wrestling when folks are all into costumes as well. (It also explains OhLook’s Evil Dead musical and MBS Productions’ annual classics of the macabre, Theatre of Death.)
But what accounts for Blues for Willadean being booked for a week-long stay at the Angelika Film Center Mockingbird Station, with writer-director Del Shores and producer Emerson Collins in attendance for some Q&A screenings? And with Cloud Atlas — co-directed by trans woman Lana Wachowski — laying claim to being probably the highest profile movie ever with a prominent (and frank) gay storyline, it’s an embarrassment of riches for moviegoers. And why are so many non-spooky themed stage productions opening, from Dallas Opera’s Aida to Lyric Stage’s 1776?
There’s also a chance to enjoy to new $100 million Klyde Warren Deck Park, pictured, which has its festivities all weekend.
Del Shores is back! For someone who’s not from Dallas, Winters, Texas native Shores has spent a lot of time here, and he’s back on Friday at the Rose Room inside Station 4, for yet another one of his standup performances. If you haven’t seen him before, trust me: He’s bitchy, dishy, energetic and hysterically funny. The show’s at 8 tonight, so get your tickets now.
As a child of the 1980s, I’m not ashamed — OK, I’m a little ashamed — to say I listened to Air Supply. Worse, I even enjoyed them. And bought their records. Why not? They sang catchy songs — and the likes of Jim Steinman (Meat Loaf) even wrote and produced some of their songs, so you can’t dismiss them entirely. Well, at 10 a.m. June 15, tickets for their Dallas concert (on Sunday July 29) at the Winspear go on sale at ATTPAC.org. I can’t guarantee there will be a rush on the box office, but I bet it sells really well. There are a lot of us out there.
After more than a month, Bernie continues to sell out shows at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre, and with good reason: The East Texas comedy is spot-on hilarious about a gay mortician who is the darling on a town that makes Tuna, Texas, look like San Francisco. Jack Black deserves an Oscar nominations. See if before it goes away. On the other hand, it’s not a bad idea to steer clear ofRock of Ages, a joylessly awkward and slogging film musical that’s saving grace is the romance between Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin.
Jersey Boys plays for about a month at the Winspear Opera House, but Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Theatre 3 won’t be here quite that long, and is definitely worth a look-see.
So if you’re not doing this tonight, then you may want to consider a night with Del Shores. Yes, he performs his newest show Naked. Sordid. Reality. tomorrow at Station 4, but tonight, he gives a whole different kind of performance.
Dallas Ft. Worth SAG-AFTRA will present ProACT’s “LIVE” Read with Shores for a “script to screen performance.” From the release:
On June 14th SAG-AFTRA sponsored ProACT (Professional Actor Career Training) will bring together a LIVE staged reading of Del Shores screenplay, Long Roads Travelled. This is not your normal table read but a professional read for investors and others in the film industry, with actors up on their feet and interacting with the other characters in the story.
Our staged reading (featuring union actors from all over Texas) will be presented at Poor David’s Pub on South Lamar — the perfect venue for our warm-hearted story of a guitar, country music, family and fulfilling your dreams, even when the odds are against you!
Following the performance, Shores will stick around for a Q&A session. Even though it sounds like a big industry thing, the event is open to the public.
DEETS: Poor David’s Pub, 1313 S. Lamar St. 7 p.m. $10.
Del Shores returns to Dallas for one more go-round of his Sordid Confessions. He goes for the jugular with stories about his life that are crass and comical. He’ll also be taping the shows for his DVD release of Confessions so that his rants on Southern Baptists, Hollywood and maybe even a teeny bit about his recent break-up will be preserved for all time.
DEETS: The Rose Room (inside S4), 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. $10–$30. DelShores.tix.com.
I was just reminded that Del Shores will be hyping his upcoming Sordid Confessions show early in the morning. His publicist emailed to say that Shores is gonna be talking with News 8 Daybreak host Ron Corning at 6:40 a.m. Thursday morning. Whew! That’s a whole lotta early. I’m thankful he let me chat him up in the afternoon.
I do hope Corning will comment on the somewhat racy ad Shores has been using. What’s a better way for waking up with that on morning TV?
Del Shores announced via Facebook this weekend that he and husband Jason Dottley, his producing partner and one of the stars of his series Sordid Lives, have decided to divorce. They met 10 years ago and had a commitment ceremony seven years ago; they legally wed in 2008 in California before passage of Prop 8. No details were released about the reason for the breakup, though Shores expressed support for Dottley, who was step-father to Shores’ two daughters. He also stressed that splits like this are further evidence of the need for marriage equality — including divorce rights.
Shores has a deep connection to Texas and Dallas. He grew up in Winters, Texas, and has set several plays in North Texas, including Southern Baptist Sissies. They were last in Dallas this past June, with Dottley performing his music and Shores doing his one-man performance. Shores tells me he has not canceled a scheduled performance, scheduled to take place at the Rose Room in January, where he will film his show.
Shores’ next project, the film adaptation of The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife starring The Help‘s Octavia Spencer, comes out next year.
Joe Solmonese, Eric Alva, Jessie Tyler Ferguson, Marlee Matlin, Caroline Rhea, Taylor Dayne, Chet Flake and the late Bud Knight are among those who will be honored or will speak at The Black Tie Dinner on Saturday.
Solmonese fears 2012 setback
LAST NIGHT | Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese speaks at a previous Black Tie Dinner in Dallas. Solmonese will be leaving HRC next March, making this weekend’s event the last Black Tie Dinner he will attend as president of the national LGBT advocacy organization.
Outgoing HRC president says community must fight for Obama
Joe Solmonese admits he’s “very concerned” about President Barack Obama’s prospects for re-election.
But Solmonese says he’s equally concerned about how the LGBT community — and his successor at the Human Rights Campaign — would respond if Obama loses.
Solmonese will step down as president of HRC after seven years in March. On Saturday, Nov. 12, he’ll make his final appearance as the group’s president at the Black Tie Dinner, of which HRC is the national beneficiary.
In an interview last month with Dallas Voice, Solmonese focused largely on the importance of 2012 elections, saying that depending on their outcome, major advances during his tenure could be all but erased.
“I don’t think that he’s going to lose,” Solmonese said at one point, attempting to clarify his assessment of Obama’s chances. “I think that if everybody does what they need to do, I think there is just as good a chance that Barack Obama will be re-elected, but I’m as concerned that he could lose.”
Solmonese said Republicans already have a majority in the House, Democrats have only a slim majority in the Senate, and “everything about these  elections points to us having real challenges.”
“I think that if everybody who has gained from the Obama administration does everything they need to do over the course of the next year, he’ll get re-elected,” Solmonese said. “But I would be lying if I said I’m not very concerned about the prospects of him getting re-elected.”
Solmonese said the message he wants to send to the LGBT community is that Obama has done more for us than any other president, and that the movement has seen more gains under the current administration than at any other time in its history.
“If we care about continuing with the forward motion that we’ve experienced, then we as a community need to do everything possible to re-elect Barack Obama,” Solmonese said. “And we can talk about and debate and press the administration on his ability to do more, and him coming out for marriage, or anything else that we want to talk about, but now is the time to sort of decouple that from all of the work we need to put into getting him re-elected. Because at the end of the day, it comes down to a choice, and the choice isn’t even hard for me: It’s Barack Obama or any of these other people who are running against him.”
Despite his concerns about Obama’s chances, Solmonese said he has no misgivings about leaving HRC seven months prior to Election Day. He said he made a commitment to give the organization six months notice, and his contract expires in March.
He said announcing his resignation at the end of August allowed HRC to begin the transition process, which will be completed when his successor takes over, midway through the Republican primary. Solmonese also said he’ll continue to be involved with the organization through next year, assisting with its efforts around the November election.
“I’m a lot more concerned about what happens the morning after the elections,” Solmonese said. “I’m a lot more concerned about this organization and its leader being in the best possible position to navigate those waters, and either we are contemplating a second term with Obama and a continuation of our agenda and perhaps a decidedly different Congress, or we’re contemplating President Mitt Romney and all of the implications that means for our community, and I want whoever is in this seat leading this organization contemplating where we go from there, to have had some time under their belt to figure that out.”
Asked whether that means he believes Romney will be the Republican nominee, Solmonese clarified that anyone claims to know definitively “doesn’t’ know what they’re talking about” — but he added that he thinks the former Massachusetts governor is the “odds-on favorite.”
And while Romney may appear less anti-gay than some other GOP presidential hopefuls, Solmonese said called him “someone you have to be careful of” because “he’s essentially beholden to no issue.”
“He adopts a position that works best for the political predicament he finds himself in,” said Solmonese, a Massachusetts native who’s watched Romney’s political career closely. “So, while he was seemingly pro-gay as he attempted to unseat Ted Kennedy, and his rhetoric isn’t harsh and he doesn’t have the same sort of narrative that a Rick Santorum has, he’s effectively said that he doesn’t believe in the repeal of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ and that he would support the federal marriage amendment. But what we don’t know, just like we didn’t really anticipate with [President] George [W.] Bush, is how beholden he is going to feel to the hard right once he becomes president.”
It was Bush, of course, whose administration was pushing a federal marriage amendment when Solmonese joined HRC in 2005.
The marriage amendment, Solmonese said, represents the worst possible thing that could happen to the LGBT community, because it would enshrine discrimination into the Constitution.
And although the threat of the amendment may seem like a distant memory to some, Solmonese warned that it could easily resurface. Which is why, he said, the 2012 elections are the biggest challenge HRC faces going forward.
“I think the elections loom largest because what the elections really represent to me is the potential for us to really stop, potential derail and ultimately set back a lot of the progress that we’ve made,” Solmonese said. “What also concerns me then is that the community be braced for that, and we understand that we’ve been in these places before, and the measure of who we are and how we’ll be defined, is how we react in those moments, the degree to which we stay in the fight and make sure we continue to press forward regardless of the outcome of the election.”
Solmonese said he fears the progress of the last several years may lead to complacency. And he said based on his experience, when the LGBT community suffers setbacks, instead of regrouping and uniting, people have a tendency to lose their way and point fingers.
“If we lose, if the outcome is negative, if we go from the march toward marriage equality and the repeal of DOMA and the positive direction that we’ve been in, to a president and a Congress who decide they’re so troubled by all the success we’re having with marriage they want to take up the fight again to pass the federal marriage amendment — well, boy, we’ve come full circle from where we were back in 2005, the last time that happened,” he said.
“And you can react to that in one of two ways. You can say this is the inevitable ebb and flow of social change, so pull up your boot straps and let’s get going and turn that around again — and understand that that sort of energy that the other side has around something like that is a reaction to their own fear of the progress we’ve made — or you can become very dispirited and depressed and disenfranchised and decide that it’s our own doing, it’s our own lack of progress, it’s our own failing. And that would be the worst possible thing that we could do.”
Caroline Rhea: From the hip
From her role as Noleta Nethercott on Del Shores’ campy queer Texas-based sitcom Sordid Lives to taking over Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show, Caroline Rhea has long has a strong connection to the gay community. This week, she breaks new ground again, becoming the first professional comedienne to serve as soup-to-nuts emcee for the Black Tie Dinner.
Rhea took a moment this week to discuss her involvement with the LGBT community, her Texas ties and her new (like her, Canadian) reality TV show.
Dallas Voice:You’ve always seemed to be close to the LGBT community. Where does that stem from? Rhea: I am not a direct member of the LGBT community, but I have had a BLT. In the Venn diagram of life, there is a lot of crossover between gay men and female comedians. It’s a mutual lovefest.
How different is it to do a gay event like Black Tie vs. a comedy show on the road? The audience is much better looking.
For special events like this, do you bring your family? Not if it involves bringing a toddler on a plane.
What in you is fulfilled to do an event such as Black Tie Dinner? I want to support the LGBT community in all that they do.
If you were to rank all you do — acting, hosting, voiceovers, comedy, etc. — how do you rank your priorities? Motherhood first. Then comedy, and working with people that I like.
You have hosted a new reality competition series in your native Canada, Cake Walk: Wedding Cake Edition. How did you enjoy that? Did you get to taste the goods? Believe it or not, I didn’t taste the cakes.
Will there be a same-sex couple on the show? I hope so.
How do you think that would fly with the show’s audience? Same-sex marriage has been legal for years in Canada. It would be another beautiful wedding.
Having now worked with Del Shores on the Logo series Sordid Lives, how do you perceive Texas in general? Dallas in particular? Any misconceptions you had that were proven wrong? My dad’s family was from Texas and my father looked like J.R. Ewing. I am not a fan of your toll roads and every time I am on the George Bush Turnpike I feel like I am going backwards.
—Arnold Wayne Jones
Taylor Dayne can’t stop the music
More than 20 years after she packed the gay bar dance floors with her debut hits, the songstress is still going strong, and says her performance at Black Tie is a ‘win-win’ for her and her fans
Helping out LGBT people is nothing new for singer Taylor Dayne.
She can’t quite recall when she knew she was a hit with the gay community: Over the course of her 23-year career in pop music, she’s played venues of all sizes, but she did notice early on how a certain fan base seemed to keep showing up.
“It’s kinda hard to remember, but I would perform very specific shows and then some gay clubs and it dawned on me,” she said.
With an explosive debut, thanks to her platinum selling 1988 debut Tell It To My Heart and the more sophisticated follow-up Can’t Fight Fate a year later, Dayne became a quick force to be reckoned with on the charts.
But her pop hits were just as big on the dance floor, and Dayne was resonating across the queer landscape.
“I’ve had wonderful relationship with gay and lesbian fans for years. I’m so glad to be doing Black Tie because I have a great core of fan base here,” she said. “It’ll be a good show with lots of fun and for a good cause. It’s a win-win.”
Dayne’s performed at gay bars and Pride events in Boston, Chicago and the Delaware Pride Festival. But appreciation of her work in the community was clearly evident in 2010 when she was asked to record “Facing a Miracle” as the anthem for the Gay Games.
“That was quite an honor and then they asked me to perform at the games,” she said. “It was very emotional for me. The roar of the crowd was great.”
Even after two decades, Dayne remains just as committed to music as she was in 1988. She’s embraces her sort of “elder” status in pop music and instead of seeing the likes of Nikki Minaj and Katy Perry as rivals, she enjoys what they are bringing to the landscape of music now.
“I love listening to all the new stuff going on. There is some great talent out there. It’s nice to know I was some inspiration to them, the way ladies like Debbie Harry and Pat Benatar were for me. The cycle goes on,” Dayne said.
But they still push her to keep in the game. She admitted, “I’m pretty competitive that way.”
This year, Dayne released the single, “Floor on Fire,” which made it to the Billboard Dance/Club Charts Top 10.
At 49, Dayne doesn’t show signs of slowing. Along with a rumored second greatest hits album, she recently wrapped up filming the indie movie Telling of the Shoes and she’s a single mother to 9-year-old twins. Juggling it all is a mix of emotions, but her confidence pushes her through.
“I can say I’m a great singer, so when it comes to decisions, I’m fine about recording and performing,” she said. “But I would say I work really hard at acting. It’s nerve-wracking but it’s also amazing. But I’m not a novice at any of this.”
With her children, she doesn’t make any pretenses about the difficulty of being both a musician and a mom — as long as she instills the proper principles in them.
“We don’t try to get wrapped up in small time crap,” she said. “At the end of day it’s about having a good heart and they have great heart.”
It’s likely she’ll show the same at Black Tie.
BLACK TIE DETAILS
The 30th annual DFW Black Tie Dinner will be held Saturday night, Nov. 12, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The event is already sold out.
Special guests at this year’s dinner include Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin as keynote speaker and Emmy Award-winning actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Media Award winner. Singer Taylor Dayne will perform.
Chet Flake and his late partner, Bud Knight, will be honored as recipients of the Raymond Kuchling Humanitarian Award, and gay military veteran Eric Alva, the first U.S. serviceman injured in the Iraq war and an advocate for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” will received the Elizabeth Birch Equality Award.
Dinner organizers this year decided, for the first time, to bring in an emcee for the evening, choosing popular comedian Caroline Rhea.
This year also marks the final time that Joe Solmonese will attend the dinner as president of the Human Rights Campaign, the national beneficiary of Black Tie, which each year receives about half the proceeds of the event. Solmonese has resigned as head of HRC, effective next March.
Seventeen local HIV/AIDS and LGBT organizations have also been designated as beneficiaries.
Black Tie Dinner includes a silent auction, a live luxury auction and an after-party at the hotel.