In defense of Chik-Fil-A (sort of)

Drag Racer and my former roommate Willam Belli was kicked off by RuPaul this week for still mysterious reasons related to a rule violation (Adderall addiction? Improper phone use?) but he turned lemons into lemonade by releasing at the same time this hysterical music video parody that asks: Is it still an endorsement if drag queens like your product? Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

RuPaul, Girl in a Coma among this year’s queer Independent Music Award nominees

Earlier this month, the nominees were announced for the 11th Annual  Independent Music Awards and a few queer artists were among the 300-plus artists and bands nominated. The awards celebrate self-published musicians and independent labels. The winners will be determined by an esteemed panel of judges that includes Keith Richards, Tom Waits, Suzanne Vega, Tori Amos, Shelby Lynne and Ozzy Osbourne among the mix and will be announced in April.

Singer-songwriter Melissa Ferrick made the cut with two nominations. Her Still Right Here release from 2011 was nominated for best folk/singer-songwriter album and best acoustic song for “Singing in the Wind.”

—  Rich Lopez

“Drag Race” casting all-stars — and you can vote

Some former Drag Racers, on a visit to Dallas in 2010.

Despite the recent announcement that Logo no longer considers itself a “gay network,” its tentpole series, RuPaul’s Drag Race, continues to perform … so well, in fact, that the fifth season will be a six-episode “all-star” arc, with returning queens competing to be “America’s next drag superstar.” The line-up will be announced on the network’s NewNowNext site, but until then, you can vote by “like”ing the series’ Facebook page and casting your ballot.

Among those in contention are Pandora Boxx, Jessica Wild and Tatianna, pictured above, as well as Dallas-tied Mystique and Sahara Davenport. You can vote every 24 hours, so go often.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dixie’s Tupperware Party at McDavid Studio

Plastic all the way

Tupperware parties may evoke images of shag carpets, Ambrosia salad and avocado decor of the 1970s, but it’s just as popular as it ever was. Some of that is likely owed to Dixie Longate, the drag queen who took her party on the road and turned it into a show. That doesn’t mean she’s not selling it, but at least you can have a good time while pondering your selection(s). It’s not one of those awkward situations where you’re just kind of there to help a friend out but you really don’t want to spend the money.

DEETS: Bass Hall’s McDavid Studio, 301 E. Fifth St., Fort Worth. 7:30 p.m. Through Feb. 26. $22–$38.50. BassHall.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Super Bowl goes gay with ads, halftime show

The NFL might want to consider changing the name of the Super Bowl to the Faaabulous Bowl. At least if last night’s game was any indicator.

It’s not enough that it featured hunky QBs Tom Brady and Eli Manning (and could have Drew Brees or Tim Tebow), running around in Spandex with other muscle bears. And there was of course Madonna’s mega-gay halftime show with scantily clad gladiators and cross-dressing scruffy guys and Nikki Minaj, who kinda-sorta seems like a drag queen to me. Even the first half recap was set to “Edge of Glory” by Gaga.

No, the real gayness was in the commercials. Watch a few of them below  …

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to Dixie Longate’s Tupperware Party at Bass’ McDavid Studio

Tupperware parties may evoke images of shag carpets, Ambrosia salad and avocado decor of the 1970s, but it’s just as popular as it ever was. Some of that is likely owed to Dixie Longate, the drag queen who took her party on the road and turned it into a show. That doesn’t mean she’s not selling it, but at least you can have a good time while pondering your selection(s). It’s not one of those awkward situations where you’re just kind of there to help a friend out but you really don’t want to spend the money.

Longate will turn up the fabulosity on Tupperware when she comes to Fort Worth Feb. 14–26 at Bass Hall’s McDavid Studio. And you could win a pair of tickets to the show. Here’s what you gotta do. We wanna know what’s been your most inventive use of T-ware. Do you use it as a cake mold? Maybe a planter? As part of your Halloween costume? We need to know. Email us your unique Tupp-ish innovations here with your name and contact info and “Gimme some Dixie” in the subject line. Two winners will be selected and notified prior to the show.

Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Gallavin’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me”

Out jazz singer Gallavin has released his second single and video, a cover of Nina Simone’s classic “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” He’s keeping his buzz afloat as this single comes off Gallavin’s recent RightOut TV nomination for his first video, “Mad About the Boy” in the folk/roots/jazz category (the award went to Brett Every’s “Prince Charming.”). He posted “My Baby” Sunday on YouTube.

Gallavin turns up the pop sensibilities on the track but I’m still figuring out the video. Overall, it’s a romp through the streets celebrating romance, but the domestic abuse drag queen bit kind of stretches. Perhaps you can only do so much in just under three minutes. Otherwise, Gallavin has a commanding voice with personality to spare and pulls the song off ably and ultimately, the video resolves with relatively sweet charm.

Check it after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Nobody does it Eder

Broadway diva Linda Eder talks of her longevity … and her drag queen imitators

concert-1

CHRISTMAS ANGEL | Singer Linda Eder will bring Christmas magic to her holiday concert at the Winspear and she’s hoping her gay fans will turn out. Being a Broadway diva with that voice — they likely will.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

The earliest evidence of what Linda Eder would become is available, of course, on YouTube: A video of Eder, maybe 19 or 20, singing Melissa Manchester’s “Looking Through the Eyes of Love” at the 1980 Miss Minnesota pageant. (She didn’t win the title.)

But Eder doesn’t blanch with embarrassment when confronted with this relic of her past. Now a responsible adult, she offers that Linda Eder career advice.

“There’s a whole list of things I’d tell her not to do,” she insists. “My advice would be to save more money. Don’t spend so much because you don’t really need so much.”

Eder turned 50 this year, and the wisdom earned from the passage of time is clear in her tone. She’s relaxed, professional and unfazed discussing the range of her career, whether working with her ex-husband on her last album Now or the drag queens that perform her work. But she does seem to get jazzed about one thing — longevity.

“What makes me proud of this album is just the fact I am here at 50 and making records,” she says. “I’ve been most fortunate to have this kind of career and I have a real sense of accomplishment with this album.”

Now, her 13th that dropped in February, reunited her with longtime collaborate Frank Wildhorn, the man behind Jekyll and Hyde — the musical that put Eder on the Broadway map. But Wildhorn is also Eder’s ex-husband (they divorced in 2004). Still, she describes the experience as drama-free.

“You know, it worked out fine and it really was easy. We stay in contact,” she says. “For this album, we brought back some of the same people from before.

Things were slightly different now that I’m my own entity if you will. There was a little more freedom but it wasn’t he ever made me do anything I didn’t want.”
After 20 years since her first release, Eder knows she’s not radio fodder, but she also knows her audience.

“I certainly hoped for this kind of career. Making records is fun,” she says.

“Fortunately people enjoy my voice.”

That, of course, includes her large contingent of gay fans. She understands the territory that comes with being a Broadway diva. Eder even relishes it.

“I’ve been pretty lucky to have gay fans. They are my more lively audience and that’s why I love playing for them. I appreciate it so much,” she gushes.
Drag queens aren’t lost on her, either.

“Do you know that there is this drag show called Better than Eder? That’s so great,” she says.

She’ll likely introduce some of her new works when she returns to Dallas Sunday for her holiday concert at the Winspear. Eder helps ring in the season with The Linda Eder Holiday Show. Her Christmas Stays the Same CD from 2000 featured both original and traditional carols with that Eder touch; getting the chance to perform them on stage is what drives her at this time of year.

“You know, I’m an entertainer and doing these shows with talented people and musicians is just a fun hang,” she says. “It’s hard to believe still that I get to do this for a business.”

She’ll argue the celebrity label, but knows she is one in a certain sense. Eder doesn’t propose a false modesty either when asked about her past work. Instead, she actively strives for a sense of normalcy.

“I don’t think of myself [as a star],” she says. “I was driven early on and carved a niche career for myself but I found that I wanted to pull back to a level of success that was normal. I’m simply a musician. I might call myself a minor celebrity.”

Her fans might disagree.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Spirit of Giving: LGBT community gets into the holiday spirit

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the holiday season kicks into high gear, the LGBT community of North Texas once again is responding in a variety of ways to help out those who are less fortunate.

This week Dallas Voice profiles five events intended to raise funds or other donations for a number of different causes. But the community’s good will doesn’t end with these events.

If you know of an individual, business or organization that is holding or participating in a charitable holiday event or effort, email the information to editor@dallasvoice.com.

TGRA Dallas’ Hard Candy Christmas Show and Auction

Dan-and-Mark

Mark Gurrola, left, and Dan Nagel

While some local charities have experienced major declines in fundraising due to the bad economy, the Dallas chapter of the Texas Gay Rodeo Association has actually seen an increase, according to President Dan Nagel.

“When I was first elected to the board as the chapter’s state rep four years back, my partner Mark Gurrola and I knew there were opportunities for improvement in our organization that were greatly needed,” Nagel said. “With the condition of our economy, change had to occur. Our first goal was to partner with other organizations and businesses in the Dallas GLBT community. There really was no relationship at that time.

“Secondly, our events needed to be produced and promoted better than in the past. Third, the membership had shrunk and needed to grow,” Nagel said. “We have successfully done all three.”

The new and improved TGRA Dallas will again be on display Dec. 10, when the organization hosts its 25th annual Hard Candy Christmas Show and Auction. This year, TGRA Dallas will again team with the United Court of the Lone Star Empire for Hard Candy Christmas.

Nagel said Hard Candy Christmas was started by TGRA Dallas members Tom Davis and Michael Lee, who produced the first show in 1987. That night, a drag queen named “Boo-tee-La-Tits” took the stage and sang “Hardy Candy Christmas” by Dolly Parton, Nagel said.

This year, hosts and emcees will be Miss International Gay Rodeo Victoria Weston, Miss TGRA Trisha Davis and Empress XXIII Miss Donna Dumae.

“It’s very Christmas themed,” Nagel said. “Most of the entertainers will do Christmas numbers. There will be a lot of live singers. Not all of it is going to be live, but we try to fill this with 50 percent live vocal talents.”

In addition to 20-25 auction baskets, the event will feature a Christmas tree on which bulbs will be sold until it’s completely lit — and maybe even an elf or two, Nagel said.

“We produce this event basically cost-free,” he said. “Our members will, out of their own pockets, go out and buy stuff and put auction baskets
together, so there’s really no expense. I’d say about 99.9 percent of it will all go to charity. “

TGRA Dallas, part of the 29-year-old TGRA, hosts 10 fundraising events each year — or one every four to six weeks, Nagel said. Each year the chapter’s board votes on beneficiaries for the following year’s events.

For 2011, beneficiaries are Health Services of North Texas, Youth First Texas, Texas Legal Hospice, Legacy Counseling Center, Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Services of Dallas, the Sharon St. Cyr Fund and AIDS Interfaith Network.

TGRA is a nonprofit whose mission is to promote the Western lifestyle, produce rodeos and raise money for charity. And when it comes to the latter, Nagel said the Dallas chapter does it best.

“We’re the only chapter out of TGRA that has these big annual events that have a lot of longevity to them,” Nagel said. “I think here in Dallas we’ve been fortunate, because I’ve seen the other chapters fundraising go down the last three or four years, where ours has gone up.”

TGRA Dallas and the United Court of the Lone Star Empire team up for the Hard Candy Christmas Show and Auction at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave.

— John Wright

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas