Breaking news! A rare glimpse of the actual Easter Bunny!!!

(That’s Lady Easter Bunny to you.)

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—  Arnold Wayne Jones

El Paso drag performer dies in police custody after being Tasered

Mercedes Demarco

Mercedes Demarco

An El Paso drag performer died in police custody after police used a Taser on her during a domestic disturbance call on Sunday.

Fernando Gomez, 36, was known on stage as Mercedes Demarco and was known as a role model. A number of younger performers in El Paso have taken Demarco as their last name in her honor. She competed in the Miss Texas at Large pageant.

Another performer described her as trans.

Demarco performed Saturday night at Club Prism in Downtown El Paso. At 4 a.m., police were called about someone screaming outside a motel in the sunset Heights neighborhood.

A witness saw Demarco trying to get into the motel office, which was locked, and screaming for help.

An officer arrived and tried to subdue and cuff Demarco. After a struggle, four more officers arrived. Demarco, who was described by a witness as hysterical, was Tasered, cuffed and put in the squad car. While being transported, Demarco became unresponsive and did not respond to first aid. Paramedics were called but she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police said they are waiting on an autopsy and toxicology test to determine the cause of death.

—  David Taffet

Jamie Morris: Behind (and in front of) the footlights in ‘Re-Designing Women’

image001-e1364929658275Before Jamie Morris started writing a series of plays — cross-dressing send-ups of campy films and TV shows like The Facts of Life, Mommie Dearest and The Silence of the Lambs — he was an actor. So it has not been unusual for him to perform, even in his own shows. Still, it was a shock to him when he realized, during pre-production on his latest spoof — Re-Designing Women, which Uptown Players is producing in the Rose Room at Station 4 starting Friday — that he would be in it.

“We were casting the show and they said to me, ‘How would you like to play Julia?’” he recalls over lunch at the Black-eyed Pea on Cedar Springs. ”I texted my boyfriend that night and said, ‘I think they want me to play Julia.’” When he woke up the next morning, he was pretty sure they weren’t just joking.

The most peculiar thing about doing the show is that he hadn’t even finished writing it when he took it on. Morris, who lives in Las Vegas with his partner, didn’t complete Act 2 until a few weeks before rehearsals began. But, he says, serving as writer and star doesn’t make it any easier to perform.

“The rest of the cast assume I know every line, but I don’t,” he says.

He, like most of the rest of the all-male cast, still has to learn his lines under “about a pound of makeup.” Indeed, you’d probably not recognize Morris, with his scruffy grey beard, as the patrician Julia Sugarbaker from the sitcom. But hey, that’s why it’s being done in the Rose Room — it’s all about the illusion.

Re-Designing Women, presented by Uptown Players, opens Friday at the Rose Room inside Station 4 and runs through May 19. For tickets, visit UptownPlayers.org

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Uptown’s hail Mary: “The Divine Sister” warrants prays

Charles Busch really deserves more credit as a master of playwrighting than he typically gets. Mamet steals the limelight for crafty dialogue, Stoppard is the king of intellectual wordplay, but in many ways, Busch has both of them beat. The difference is, Stoppard toys with Shakespeare, and Busch fools around with Debbie Reynolds musicals and Douglas Sirk films. It’s as if he’s being punished for having a gay sensibility.

Who needs acclaim, though, when a production as sassy as The Divine Sister, presented by Uptown Players at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, is doing what good theater should do: Make you laugh and think … although, granted, much of the thinking goes on between fart and dick jokes.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Queer Bingo gets new home

The Houston GLBT Community Center’s First Saturday Queer Bingo moves into new digs for this month’s venture. The long running fundraiser starts its residency at Don Julio’s (322 Westheimer) Saturday, January 7, at 4 pm. Tim Brookover, president of the Community Center, says that the new venue provides much needed off-street parking for the event adding that the second story space is easily accessible by elevator. Additionally, bar service will be available from Don Julio’s along with their full menu.

Queer Bingo is hosted by drag performers Tanya Hyde and Lana Blake and features food, fun and a 50/50 auction. All proceeds benefit the center’s John Lawrence & Tyrone Garner Scholarship Fund. “We are very excited to move into the new home of Queer Bingo,” says Brookover. “We hope everyone can join us.”

—  admin

Fire Island reality series seeks gays to audition

If you think reality TV has made gay Dallas look a little crazy lately, well, here’s you chance to bring a little Texas-crazy to New York.

You have until Friday to apply to become a cast member of the Fire Island Summer Project (a working title, we’re assuming), a new series from the producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And here’s the best part: You don’t need to be from the NYC area — they want folks from all over to apply!  Filming begins this summer, probably in a beach house the Pines (despite a fire recently that scorched parts of the island).

The application has some pretty straightforward questions, plus a few that indicate the casting agents’ interest in seeking diverse and charged action on the show, such as “What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?,” “What role do you play in your social circle?,” “Do you have any quirks or strange habits? and “What is your craziest Spring Break story?” And you never have to have vacationed on Fire Island before to be eligible.

If you think you might be interested, click here. And if you end up getting cast and turn out to be the asshole villain on the series, do us all a favor — say you’re from San Antonio!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Get ready to Frolick!

Members of North Texas Council of Club's Fall Frolick Committee are: from left, Gaylon Maddox, Larry Harrell, Dan Nagel, Pancho Loza, Adam Lynn, Mike Hensley, Dan Perry, Marshal Styers and Wayne Davis.

The North Texas Council of Clubs is trying out something new this weekend with their “Fall Frolick” weekend, beginning tonight.

The event, which event chairman Dan Perry said will hopefully become an annual gathering, is three days of cocktail parties, meals and fellowship. “No contests, no classes. Just people getting together for a weekend to have a lot of fun,” Perry said.

Everything begins tonight, with registration opening at 6 p.m., at Club Reflections in Fort Worth (with free shuttle bus service from The Hidden Door for all you Dallasites who want to visit Cowtown without the hassle of driving.)

Then on Saturday morning, the party moves to Woody’s in Dallas from 9 to noon, then to the Round-Up Saloon at 1 p.m. The party winds up for the night at Dallas Eagle. Sunday begins with lunch at noon and the Fall Frolick Follies at 1 at Station 4. The party moves to The Hidden Door at 3 and winds up back at Dallas Eagle with the Sinners Sunday Social and barbecue at 6 p.m. and TGRA’s “Thanks for the Giving” show at 7 p.m.

And the perhaps the best thing about the weekend is that you get all this for just $10 for those from Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Rockwall, Kaufman, Ellis, Denton, Johnson, Parker and Wise Counties. Anyone coming in from outside those counties gets in for free!

Go to the Fall Frolick website to get a complete schedule, and you can also read up on the North Texas Council of Clubs while you’re there. Now in its fourth year, the council comprises a variety of  leather, bear, cowboy and drag groups from around DFW primarily to “foster brotherhood, sisterhood and camaraderie among member organizations and other organizations, associations, courts, local bars and businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth community.” The council’s second main effort is its Community Calendar, created to help council members keep track of what’s happening around the Metroplex and avoid conflict schedules so that each members of each organization are more easily able to attend and participate in events planned by other organizations.

NTCC currently has 22 member organizations, and you can see who they are — and link to their individual websites — here.

—  admin

Queer Bingo at GLBT Community Center

Tanya Hyde

The fabulous Ms. Tanya Hyde

The Houston GLBT Community Center hosts its Queer Bingo on the first Saturday of each month. Hosting this month’s festivities is self proclaimed living legend, and queen of all Montrose, drag performer Tanya Hyde. Queer Bingo benefits the Center’s John Lawrence and Tyrone Garner Scholarship Fund (that’s John Lawrence, of Lawrence v. Texas fame) and other center programs.

Doors open at 4 pm, with games kicking off at 4:30.  In addition to cash prizes for Bingo, the event features fabulous door prizes,  a raffle, and bar service courtesy of Capital Beverage.

“We invite all our community friends to join us for First Saturday Queer Bingo, have fun playing games with their friends, and support scholarships for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender scholars,” Center president Tim Brookover says.  “We have a great time every month as we benefit our scholarship fund and other Center programs.”

Queer Bingo takes place at the GLBT Community Center’s headquarters at the historic Dow School (1900 Kane).

—  admin

What’s Shakin’ – ‘Our Time in Eden’ at EVO Lounge, voter turnout still weak

Our Time in Eden

It's Ava and Eve, not Adam and Eve.

1. Say “Garden of Eden” and most people will conjure an image of a naked (white) man and woman frolicking in a surprisingly well-tended arboretum,  but the people at Ultraviolet Productions envision an Eden where the strict binary of Adam and Eve is smeared across a blazing tableau of gender, sexuality and race. “Our Time in Eden,” a variety/drag show exploring what paradise means in a world free of labels, struts the stage tonight at 8 pm at EVO Lounge, 2707 Milam.  For a $5 cover you can check out the best drag kings, queens and gender performance artists Houston has to offer.

2. Early voting in Harris County continues through Nov 3 at all early voting locations. Voter turnout continues to be low. On Tuesday, 2,599 people voted in person, versus 4,206 who voted on the second day of early voting during the last municipal election in 2009.  Overall, there’s been a 24% decrease in voter turnout from 2009.  The upshot of which is that each vote is 24% more powerful. So grab three friends and get to the polls, together the four of you almost get an extra vote.

3. Rev. Pat “God-sends-hurricanes-to-punish-gay-people” Robinson, founder of the Christian Coalition and former Republican Presidential hopeful, warned his 700 Club audience that pushing the current crop of GOP frontrunners too far to the extreme right will hurt their chances in the 2012 general election. When the man who said that the Haiti earthquake was caused because the nation made a pact with the devil thinks you’ve gotten too extreme that’s saying something!  Right Wing Watch has more.

—  admin