DIFFA reveals Style Council, move to Omni for 2014 Collection

Style CouncilLast week at an event at Neiman Marcus, DIFFA/Dallas announced its slate of Style Council Ambassadors for House of DIFFA: Masquerade, which returns March 29. The local luminaries tapped for the honor include: Sami Abboud, David Biggar, Angela Choquette, Leslie Concors, Jennifer M. Kolstad, Lisa Lowery, John Pfifer Marrs, Matthew Minnick, Joseph Minton, Autumn Rich, Marcus Spears, Steve Stodghill, Shannon Sturdivant and Clarice Tinsley.

Style Council Ambassadors help DIFFA/Dallas educate the city about AIDS/HIV needs in North Texas. Ambassadors donate a minimum of 10 hours to various AIDS service organizations across North Texas to understand the community’s needs and make an impact and assist in fundraising efforts, including selling tables and spreading the word about DIFFA’s mission.

The next big public DIFFA event will be the Holiday Wreath Auction at Dallas Market Hall on Nov. 7. The 2014 collection will, for the first time in years, move out of the Anatole Hotel to the still-newish Omni Hotel Downtown.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

DIFFA wreath auction returns

BB2 Prom and FormalDIFFA isn’t just about its spring couture collection. Each fall, designers create one-of-a-kind wreaths — from the uber-fabulous to the tastefully elegant — to be auctioned off in support of DIFFA’s HIV/AIDS work. (I bid on and won this one last year.) This year, the champagne-and-hors d’oeuvres soiree is set for Nov. 7, at Dallas Market Hall, from 6–9 p.m. Tickets are $75, but the real treat is placing the winning on a cool wreath.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from Burgers+Burgundy

Grace burger

This weekend was ripe with social events and fundraisers — not time to attend all of them, in fact. But the most filling was surely yesterday at DIFFA‘s fifth annual Burgers+Burgundy picnic.

Not only was it well attended (by Dallas star Linda Grey, no less!) but the burgers were delish. My favorite: Blaine Staniford, chef at Grace (and the just-opened Little Red Wasp in Cowtown), did a simple yet complex burger with a healthy (or rather, unhealthy) dollop of Port Salud cheese and a mushroom ketchup (not a ketchup at all, but a saucy reduction). It was designed to be paired with a hearty wine.

Other restaurants participating included Spoon (a catfish slopping joe), Five Sixty and Smoke (both of whom provided lamb burgers of very different flavor profiles), Nick & Sam’s, Max’s Wine Dive, Shinsei (which did a banh mi), Asador, Ranch 616 and 3015 Trinity Groves (the only one to also prepare a dessert, which was yummy, even though Steve Kemble ate all of them.)

The Hunter Sullivan Band provided the entertainment, with great vocals from Hunter. And the weather was perfect — a nice surprise, following the heavy rains on Saturday. And DIFFA announced the theme for next year’s collection as well: Masquerade. Get your mask ideas ready.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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It’s a theaterific week in Dallas, and don’t think the community doesn’t know it.

There are, of course, the usual opening and continuing runs, but if it seems like there’s more than most early Junes, that’s because the Theater Communications Group is holding its national conference in Dallas (with the DTC hosting) starting next week. That means the Festival of Independent Theatres moved up its start date by a month to give attendees a choice of new work to see. Meanwhile, over at Kitchen Dog they are mounting their own 15th annual New Works Festival, of which Se Llama Cristina is the mainstage production.

Up in Addison, WaterTower Theatre is about to open its new show, Black Tie, a family comedy directed by Rene Moreno, while in Fort Worth, Jubilee Theatre’s Knock Me a Kiss addresses the controversial story of an outing that scandalized the African-American community in 1920s Harlem. That’s pretty gay, but not as gay as Sister Act, which continued Dallas Summer Musicals‘ season.

And in Fort Worth, native son Guy Stroman — one of the original cast members and creators of the musical Forever Plaid, pictured — returns to direct and choreography Casa Manana’s latest production, to coincide with the company’s gala.

For fun in a theater that doesn’t have any actual plays, see Public Radio icon Ira Glass at the Winspear on Saturday with his presentation Reinventing Radio. And Cowtown’s quadrennial presentation of the 14th Cliburn International Piano Competition is already under way. And over at Victory Park, Clint Mordecai opens an exhibit of his new artwork at the Cirque Apartments as a benefit for DIFFA Friday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fashion roundup

2photoLast Thursday was Dallas’ most fashionable day of the week — perhaps the year. On the heels of DIFFA the previous Saturday, three fashion events spread throughout the day captured our imaginations — and monopolized our time. (You can link to photos from all of the events here.)

It  started in the morning with the cancer fundraiser Dress 4 Yellow, a luncheon and runway show at the Adolphus Hotel. With most (but not all) fashions splashing shades yellow, it was a canary-like kick off to spring.

The only men’s fashions to walk the catwalk were from Nike Golf, but one of the highlights was the appearance of a cancer survivor among the male models. Two women, although cancer survivors, both showed off the fashions of the day, and all were stunning. But this event was less about fashion itself than about hope — a message spread especially poignantly during the luncheon by former NFL player Dhani Jones, dapperly decked in one of his own bowties, designed for the LiveStrong Foundation. Jones’ personal story of being touched by cancer added a serious and sobering moment to all the glam.

The afternoon benefited from beautiful weather and low winds for the outdoor “What to Wear” fashion show at Mockingbird Station. Hosted by DFWStyleDaily.com editor Lisa Petty, who led a panel commenting on the horseshoe runway of fashions available from retailers at the upscale development, it took on the theme of Las Vegas glitz, with the panel commenting on trends like layered necklaces and how to pack for a weekend in Vegas to maximize looks in a minimum of space. Plus appearances by members of FC Dallas soccer team added some beefcake. (Arnold Wayne Jones)

In the evening, fashions took wing at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, a creative and diverse range of designs turned up the heat on the runway for the annual Fashion Cited show, benefiting Legal Hospice of Texas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from Dress 4 Yellow, Mockingbird Station fashions

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Scenes from DIFFA’s runway show

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For the second year, DIFFA’s gala went toward the glam of smoking jackets — you saw a lot less denim than in previous years, but just as much skin, with a runway show that popped with fabulosity. The drag queens from the Rose Room probably got the biggest ovation when they took the stage in all-out ownership; touchingly, in the program they dedicated their performance to their recently passed colleague, Erica Andrews.

But drag wasn’t the only look — there were some rockin’ designs, from a French Revolution theme to sexy men’s clothes (the men sometimes in high heels themselves) and of course the auctioned jackets. Add to that Sue Ellen herself, Linda Gray, helping with the live auction portion, and it was an event worthy of gala.

See more pictures after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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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 kristamartinpr@gmail.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.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

There’s still time to win a grand in the Top Hat photo contest!

Time is running out to win money. We’re not joking.

You know how EASY it is to win $1,000 for charity? Pretty damn easy! Get some kind of hat. It can be a beret. Or a snood. Or a box of oatmeal cereal. Then find a head. It can be bald. Or teased  and treated. Or on a dog. Then get a camera — even a smartphone. And take a snapshot. THAT’S IT. After that, just email it to TopHat@dallasvoice.com with the name of your nonprofit by Friday. We’ll whittle the entries down to the top nine, and the winner (chosen by Voice readers) gets a photo of them in their hat on the cover of an issue in March and a donation made in their name.

OK you members of the Turtle Creek Chorale, or volunteers for DIFFA, or chefs who donate to the food pantry, or fundraisers for AIDS Arms or ASD or Black Tie. You don’t have to sell tickets, you don’t have to make a matching contribution, you don’t have to design a denim jacket. All you need to do is take a photo and make a grand for charity. If you’re email address ends with .org, you probably already work for an eligible agency. It’s like free money! Think how you can impress your boss!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Of Madonna and Big Tex

Oct. 19, 2012, may we be considered Dallas’ Black Friday — or at least, Blackened Friday.

The day began with the surprising news that Big Tex, the animatronic corporate logo for the State Fair of Texas (the Fair’s website is even BigTex.org), caught fire and burned up faster than a joint in Snoop Dogg’s trailer. Pictures of the flamer (I knew it!) became the latest meme to dominate Facebook; news sourced from as far away as the BBC reported on it.

Then, less than 12 hours later, came more devastating news: Madonna was canceling the first of her two concerts at American Airlines Center. I was at an event with tons of gay folks, and the news spread faster … well, faster than flames over Big Tex.

How much can one community be expected to endure?!?!

The thing is, neither of these event is, really, such a big deal. Oohhhh, Madonna has laryngitis; it happens. She still performed last night (and, by all accounts, was fully recovered) and so many of her fans still got what they wanted. And Big Tex? Well, the fair was almost over anyway, and while the majority of the skeleton may have been around for 60 years, it was, in the end, a badly dressed scaffolding with a loudspeaker in his chest. It was not, in the end, a tragedy of any sort.

So why were people acting as if both of them were?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones