Pet of the Week • 01.13.12

Snow

Pet-Snow

Snow

Snow is one of the happiest, friendliest dogs you’ll ever meet. She’s 10 months old and full grown at 46 pounds. Snow loves people and should do fine with other dogs. With her sunny personality and great demeanor, Snow will make a faithful canine companion.

Snow and many other dogs, puppies, cats and kittens are available for adoption from Dallas Animal Services, 1818 N. Westmoreland at I-30, just minutes west of Downtown Dallas. The shelter is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and Sundays noon-5 p.m. The regular adoption cost is $85 for dogs and $55 for cats, but discounts are offered for older animals and those in the shelter longer than 45 days and to senior citizens and those who adopt two animals at the same time. All dogs are negative for heartworms, and cats have been tested for FeLV and FIV. For more information, visit DallasAnimalServices.org, or call 214-671-0249.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Semi-‘Precious’

Black, lesbian and troubled home life? New film ‘Pariah’ hits as a middle-class ‘Precious’

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE  |  A closeted 17-year-old (Adepero Aduye, right) shares a moment with her clueless mom (Kim Wayans) in ‘Pariah.’

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE | A closeted 17-year-old (Adepero Aduye, right) shares a moment with her clueless mom (Kim Wayans) in ‘Pariah.’

3 out of 5 stars
PARIAH
Adepero Aduye, Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Kim Wayans
Rated R. 85 mins. Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia

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While politicians debate whether life begins at conception, dudes know it begins at puberty, when we start masturbating hourly until we can interact sexually with others.

An exception might be for gays, who begin life when we come out, becoming aware of who we are and finally knowing for sure what we want.

Pariah is a realistic portrait of a young woman who, at 17, knows who she is and what she wants but hasn’t quite figured out how to act on it. Things are complicated because she’s lesbian and has to worry about the reactions of peers and parents.

Alike (Adepero Aduye) doesn’t care about the kids at school, who have figured out from her butch demeanor that she’s not exactly a girly-girl, but her folks are something else entirely. Her father, Arthur (Charles Parnell), is a police detective with homophobic friends, but he’s clueless where Alike (ah-LEE-kay) is concerned. Her mother, Audrey (Kim Wayans), is a control freak who can’t wait for Alike to outgrow her “tomboy phase.”

On the positive side, Alike is lucky to have Laura (Pernell Walker) as a BFF, confidante and tour guide through the coming out process and the lesbian subculture. “You need to pop that damn cherry of yours,” Laura tells Alike, going so far as to buy her a strap-on (though perhaps not the most appropriate model).

Perceiving Laura as a bad influence on her daughter, Audrey tries to keep them apart. She forces Alike to spend time with Bina (Aasha Davis), the daughter of a church friend. But the plan backfires for better — and worse — than any of them could have expected, as Bina unintentionally drives a wedge between Alike and Laura.

Anyone who’s ever been a teenager can relate to the emotions involved when one changes besties, and it gets more complicated when sex is involved.

When Alike finally comes out at home the reactions are predictable. Audrey is too bourgeois to go all Mo’Nique on her ass, but the scene is at least semi-Precious.

Indeed, with its hard look and African-American setting, Pariah easily recalls Precious, though it’s more reined in in just about every way, so it doesn’t afford the opportunity for attention-getting histrionics that win awards.

This has been a long project for filmmaker Dee Rees, who wrote it as a feature several years ago, then made a short version in 2007 that played the festival circuit. The result is praiseworthy and I suspect Rees will feel rewarded when she sits in a theater and hears even straight girls cheering on Alike, as you’ll want to.

At any rate, life begins for Alike in the course of Pariah — and careers begin for Rees and Aduye as a result.

— Steve Warren

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

Death: Stan Wisniewski

Stan Wisniewski, 51, of Dallas, died just prior to Thanksgiving 2010. A native of Pennsylvania and Ohio, he had lived in Dallas since 1985 and worked as a courier, clerked at Honda Mechanics and Sales, and warehoused at MJ Designs, finally settling into a seven-year career at Walgreen’s. Wisniewski was a generous giver who volunteered at Resource Center Dallas and at the center’s food pantry. He had a friendly and happy-go-lucky demeanor that brought him many friends who will miss him sorely.

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

—  John Wright

Sticky sweet

Cheeky raps and beefcake videos? Yes. But Cazwell is serious about his music … even if he is a club diva

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

HIS ‘ICE CREAM’ BRINGS THE BOYS TO THE YARD  |  Damn right! Cazwell, in front with white hat, put together his viral video in a day, but the rap is poised to be his biggest hit yet — thanks in large part to all the beefcake.
HIS ‘ICE CREAM’ BRINGS THE BOYS TO THE YARD | Damn right! Cazwell, in front with white hat, put together his viral video in a day, but the rap is poised to be his biggest hit yet — thanks in large part to all the beefcake.

CAZWELL
Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Sept. 30 at midnight. Doors at 9 p.m. $15.
Caven.com.

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The most surprising thing about Cazwell is his soft-spoken demeanor. With all the bravado in his rhymes, ranging from overtly sexual to ridiculously fun, he’s really just a guy. He just happens to also be the toast of gay club culture. But first thing’s first.

“Normally it takes a couple of months of planning,” he says. “But we did this quick.”

He’s referring to “Ice Cream Truck,” his rap and video which has turned into a sensation on gay dancefloors everywhere.

With a bevy of scantily clad beefcakes, including the tattooed hunk himself, the music video is two minutes and change of amateur production that doesn’t matter one bit — its guerrilla roots aside, it’s sexy as hell. When the video pops up at Station 4, the boys aren’t hoppin’; they’re staring at the monitors.

“That’s awesome,” he chuckles. “We were just gonna run up an ice cream truck with some friends and make it into this summer video. I knew some of the guys; Marco [Ovando, the director] knew others, and they came over. We filmed the whole thing at my apartment in a day.”

The video was posted a month ago on YouTube by Cazwell’s label, Peace Bisquit, and has notched more than 2 million views. For what started out as “a stupid song” for a movie called Spork, the old-school rap recorded in three hours is positioned to be Cazwell’s biggest hit to date.

With this tune and others such as  “I Seen Beyonce at Burger King” and “I Buy My Socks on 14th Street,” it’s easy to get the impression that Cazwell is more club kid than musician. And that would be wrong.

“I am serious about music,” he says. “Just because I don’t get too deep with my lyrics shouldn’t make me feel like I don’t do a good job. I’m flowing with it and I know I’m doing a good job. I think people might take things way too seriously. I just want people to connect to what I’ve done.”

Good thing, then, that he’s down with the people almost every night.

“Clubs are my life. I’m out like five nights a week,” he admits. “I don’t think anything shapes my music as much.”

Cazwell’s music is club-based, with slick danceable beats and raps that flow well over his groove. He’s a throwback to actual disco from its heyday. Cazwell and his team cleverly sidestep the detachment of DJ-induced techno and house and deliver reliable music to dance to.

“DJing has influenced my music and lyrics,” he says. “To me it’s more about the hook and lyrics. I think people don’t wanna think so much. That’s what I’m hearing in clubs. People just want to dance.”

With a big life in the circuit and club scene, Cazwell seems to have a very un-Lohan like air. He describes himself as a closet health nut and begins discussing his crash regimen to get cut for “Ice Cream Truck:” He swears by liquid meals and cleansing protocols.

“That’s changed my life the most,” he says. “I see results really quick and I’ve lost most of my cravings for processed foods — unless I’m stoned. Plus, I go to the gym as much as I can.”

Regardless of his boisterous persona and ability to get shirtless faster than Matthew McConaughey at a paparazzi convention, Cazwell is just a timid soul. Or so he says.

“The thing that would surprise most people about me is that I’m really, really shy,” he says. “People don’t expect that and sometimes I think they feel like I’m not making an effort. But, yeah, I’m painfully shy. “

He assures that won’t be an issue at Thursday’s meet and greet after his show at Station 4 — he knows how to turn it on. Mostly, he looks forward to meeting the fans he gained with his last show in Dallas at minc back in 2007. Plus, being in a different city than the Big Apple gives him some new perspective.

“Sometimes I take it for granted that I live in New York City where all these gay guys know the words,” he says. “I think they gain a sense of entitlement, but in a good way. I want people to feel like that. I hate to sound corny but it’s cooler to be gay than straight and I want people to get a taste of that.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas