GIVEAWAY: Tix to Of Montreal tonight at Trees

The guys over at Tactics Productions have offered Dallas Voice readers the chance to win tickets to tonight’s Of Montreal show at Trees in Deep Ellum. Did you miss them at the Granada? Chose Kylie over them at South Side Music Hall? Well, you get another chance to catch the alterna-popsters in major action tonight.

We have four pairs of tickets to tonight’s show, but how well do you know your Of Montreal? Well, if I were traveling to Norway, what two towns would the band recommend I visit? Hint: both answers are on one album. Email me here with your responses and full name and four winner with the right answers will be selected to see the band tonight.

And while you’re at it, give Tactics a like on Facebook. They’ve been quite generous to the community and DV readers.

Good luck!

 

—  Rich Lopez

CONCERT NOTICE (that you’re likely not going to): Adam Lambert at Mix 102.9 on Monday

If you listen to Mix 102.9 and jumped on the station’s contest, then you might be seeing Adam Lambert up close. And how jealous are we? The artist is working a promotional radio tour and he is scheduled to stop by Monday at the station to play an acoustic set in their Mazda Music Lounge. Listeners had until yesterday to enter the contest to attend the show.

According to Travis (just Travis) in promotions at Clear Channel, the response was outstanding, which doesn’t surprise. There’s nothing that can stop a devoted Glambert.

I found out about the promotion only through musician Susan Carson‘s Facebook page. She and her Bandmates partner (in life and music), Kimberly Castrellon, will be joining friends to see Lambert.

—  Rich Lopez

Artist Cathey Miller’s work to be featured on ABC’S “Good Christian Belles”

Last month, Cathey Miller had a stellar showing at the Webb Art Gallery in Waxahachie. Her fun with colors and very lesbian themes never fail to delight and impress. I was fortunate to catch it on its last day. Whew! The truth is, I’m a fan of her work and excited to see her notices when a show is coming up.

But I was particularly taken aback by today’s newsletter. First, she mentions she’ll have work priced to sell at Saturday’s For The Love of Artists event at Kettle Art.

And then, as if she’s only sneaking in the info, I read this:

Be on the lookout for my 7′ tall painting of Annie Pott’s character in the premiere of “GCB” on ABC this Sunday at 9 p.m. She’s wearing a red dress, and is posing with her two dobermans. Campy good fun!

I had to look at it again, just to be sure I read it right. Cathey Miller’s work was going to be on Good Christian Belles? And to be doubly sure, I emailed her with the simple question, “How did that happen?”

“Haha. Yeah, I got the call to bid on this from a production designer at ABC last year. I painted big oil derrick paintings for the Lone Star pilot for Fox the year before so I was on their radar,” she replied. “They wanted a giant portrait in this insane turnaround time, like in 10 days, from our first meeting to dropping it at the framer. I did this in March 2011 and [GCB] was supposed to go on that fall, but they held it, I think, to piggyback on the last season of Desperate Housewives. I have a process pictures album up on Facebook fan page.”

Her painting depicts Annie Potts’ character Gigi Stopper. Set in Dallas, the series is based on the novel Good Christian Bitches by Kim Gatlin and premieres March 4 on ABC at 9 p.m.

—  Rich Lopez

GIVEAWAY: Tickets to “Pluck the Day”

The cast of Second Thought's 'Pluck the Day'

The peeps at Second Thought Theatre offered Dallas Voice readers a a pair of tickets to their new play, Pluck the Day now playing at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in the Bryant Hall space.

So what’s the show about? Read 2TT’s write-up on their show.

THE STORY:  It’s kinda like therapy, only with guns and booze.  Duck’s drunk.  Fred’s been eatin’ peyote again.  And Bill might not be as gay as they originally thought he was.  Three guys sittin’ on a porch in West Texas lookin’ for somethin’:  Enter April.   

We have two tickets for the show (one pair) and can be redeemed on any performance in the show’s last weekend. Pluck the Day runs through Feb. 26. All you have to do is comment on this posting when it links to our Dallas Voice Facebook page, but we’re gonna look for creative ways you use the word “pluck.”

Watch for our review of the show in Friday’s issue.

—  Rich Lopez

Saying goodbye to Friends

Nationally known Cedar Creek Lake bar closes after 15 years

Friends-001

BUSINESS DRIES UP | Owner Leo Bartlett said low lake levels caused by the ongoing drought resulted in fewer visitors to the area, forcing him to shut down his club for good. (David Webb/Dallas Voice)

DAVID WEBB  |  Contributing Writer
davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com

GUN BARREL CITY — For 15 years Friends was the little gay bar that did it all in the most unlikely of settings, but it came to a sad end just before Christmas.
Friends owner Leo Bartlett sent out a message on Facebook Dec. 20 saying he was closing the iconic gay bar, and he never unlocked the doors for business again. Situated in the middle of one of the most conservative areas of the state, the humble little private club had featured charity drag shows and raised many tens of thousands of dollars — benefiting homeless animals, the elderly, the poor and HIV patients — for years.

Known not only throughout Texas but literally around the world, Friends often saw visitors from far away who had read or heard about the bar. Reporters for major mainstream U.S. newspapers like the Washington Post contacted the bar’s management for comments on LGBT issues. In 2007, Out magazine named Friends one of the top 50 gay bars in the world, saying the atmosphere was the friendliest in the state, the fish tank was filled with well water and the drag queens’ hairdos tended to be big, much like they were.

In a clever complement to the drag shows, a local theater group known as Friends Players put on variety shows that were well attended by the lake’s gay and straight residents alike. The entire cast, including performers in full drag, traveled down the road to the American Legion Club a couple of times each year to put on performances.

But now, the music, acting, dancing and laughing are just memories for Bartlett, who opened the bar door late one afternoon this month to allow a few customers to retrieve several pieces of personal property. The walls that once were covered with pictures of bewigged drag queens wearing tiaras are now bare.

“It’s all over,” Bartlett said as he stood in the sunlight flowing through the open door into the dark bar. “I said my goodbyes on Facebook. It’s all there to read. I’ve thanked everyone. There’s really nothing else to say.”

Bartlett said sending out the Facebook message was painful for him, and he didn’t want to have one last party in the bar to mark its closing, although many former customers had hoped he would.

Bartlett.Leo

Leo Bartlett

“It would just be a funeral for me,” said Bartlett, who noted the bar’s net revenue had been on the decline for about three years, just as with many other lake businesses. “I didn’t see any point in that. I’ve already said my goodbyes.”
Bartlett said economic conditions on the lake led to Friend’s closing, and he didn’t blame it on the competition from a new gay bar, Garlow’s, that opened nearby two years ago.

He disputed the popular opinion among some members of the lake’s LGBT community that there weren’t enough customers on the lake for two gay bars, and that the newer, more attractive Garlow’s had stolen his customers.

“There were enough customers,” Bartlett said. “There just wasn’t enough participation. If you talk to the owners of the straight bars, you will hear the same thing from them. Everybody is having trouble.”

The lake has a sizable LGBT community made up of retirees, Dallas commuters and natives, but many just don’t enjoy the bar scene. The gay and lesbian population increases greatly on weekends, holidays and during the summers when LGBT second-home owners are in residence, but many of them also prefer not to go out to the nightclubs.

Last summer’s drought — which caused the lake to drop almost 8 feet, leaving boat docks sitting in sand and beaches where water once stood — finished Friends off, Bartlett said. People avoided the lake, and that made all of the lake’s businesses suffer, resulting in several businesses shutting down in 2011, he said.

“It was time for me to close,” said Bartlett, who also separated this year from his longtime life partner who had helped him run the bar. “It was 15 good years. That’s what is important.”

For many customers though, the closing has left a void, and some seem almost resentful about it. Many of Bartlett’s customers would not go to Garlow’s out of loyalty to Friends, but others who went to both bars are also disappointed. And some who didn’t go to Friends at all also expressed dismay.

Friends’ closing is a loss to the lake’s LGBT community, said Troy Luethe, who with his life partner owns a bed and breakfast in nearby Ben Wheeler. The couple once participated in the Friends Players productions and visited the bar socially as well.

“I think it is sad,” Luethe said. “I never like to see a business fail, and it was part of the history of the area and held a lot of memories for me and others.”

For Jennie Morris, another former member of Friends Players, it is more personal. She also went there socially to meet with her friends.

“I feel like I lost a good friend, really, and one of my major connections to the community,” Morris said. “As a member of Friends Players it has left a pretty big hole there, too.

Friends was my Cheers, I guess — a place where everybody knows your name. Friends was safe, comfortable and like an old flannel shirt — just home.”

Several former customers of Friends declined to comment for the story, saying they had mixed emotions. Some people complained that Bartlett ran the bar too much like a nonprofit organization rather than a business, and blamed its closing on that.

Michael Slingerland, owner of Garlow’s, said he was shocked when he first heard about Bartlett announcing the closing of Friends. Slingerland formerly worked part time at Friends as a bartender before opening his own business, which appears to be doing well.

“We’ve talked about it a lot here,” Slingerland said. “It’s really sad.”

Slingerland said he had hoped for a cooperative effort between the two bars that would have helped both prosper, but that never happened.

“We could have helped each other out a lot,” said Slingerland, who envisioned back-and-forth traffic between the two clubs.
Regardless of what factors led to the closing of Friends, it is now a reality that the bar is gone for good. Although Bartlett has said he has no plans to return to his nativeArkansas, he is exploring other options for his future life in the Cedar Creek area.

“I’m thinking about a number of things,” said Bartlett, who acknowledged being a “hermit” since he announced the closing.

In the meantime Bartlett has listed the building for sale or lease with a gay Cedar Creek Lake real estate agent. The ad might run something like this: “Little private club with an unusually intriguing past available for new operator and members.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 20, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Inaugural Open Mic Night at BJ’s

Trial by fire

Local musician Rusty Johnson has been handling the live entertainment offerings at BJ’s (and no, not the dancers), but tonight he does it a little bit different. He’s hosting the club’s inaugural Open Mic Night tonight and with a full on backup band. How’s that for a kicker? So bring your original music, spoken word or even your favorite cover song. Johnson is calling tonight the trial version, but by the enthusiasm of his Facebook invite, we think he wants it to be a lasting thing. Hey, we’re down.

DEETS: BJ’s NXS!, 3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave. 8 p.m. BJsNXS.com

—  Rich Lopez

Mac daddy

BearDance guest DJ Sean Mac keeps the big boys moving

seanmacface_HCB

BEAR NECESSITIES | Atlanta-based DJ Sean Mac mixes movie scores with tribal beats for his Dallas debut at BearDance Friday.

The men at BearDance are building a solid reputation for bringing in marquee DJs for their events, as their inaugural 2012 dance proves. Atlanta DJ Sean Mac comes to Dallas with his mix of house music, classic disco and even movie scores.

For someone who got his first (unofficial) gig at a gentlemen’s club at the age of 15, Mac has come a long way — playing the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, New Year’s Eve in Sydney and even for Lady Gaga for Wonder World weekend at DisneyWorld. He now tells us what Dallas bears can look forward to as he helms the turntables and assures us that he won’t be distracted by his smartphone while spinning — maybe.

— Rich Lopez

The Loft
1135 S. Lamar St. Jan. 13. 9 p.m. $15.
BearDance.org.

Dallas Voice:  Have you played Dallas before?  Mac: No, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful guys from there on Facebook and BigMuscleBears.com and I attended Texas Bear Round Up in 2007, so I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be a fun time!

What are you looking forward to here?  I hear they grow ’em big in Texas!  Seriously, though, I’m looking forward to spinning a really good set. The year started off very well in Denver, where I followed Tony Moran with a set on New Year’s Eve. The guys had the energy turned up to 11 and, knowing the guys with BearDance, I’m sure this event will be awesome.

How did you hook up with BearDance?  Through Facebook. BearDance started with me seeing pictures of friends at one of their events and the conversation started.

Werq it! So what can Dallas bears expect from a Sean Mac set?  My goal is to become one with a dancefloor, so I keep the energy up with stuff that we all want to dance to. I’m also pretty animated. It’s kind of a joke, but I have to dance while I’m DJing. Laugh if you must — it works!

Oh we will laugh … but with you, not at you. What’s this about movie scores in your mix?  Vocal, tribal and disco house are my main genres, but my flavor is cinematic. I collected film scores when I was younger and that seeps into my sets literally and figuratively. My latest Podcast opens with a recent remix of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka, for instance. That’s very much a nerd response, so please print “fun and slutty” instead.

You got it. All right, we have some songs we’ll want you to play…  That’s a tricky one. It’s like flying an airplane with a backseat driver. I take requests under consideration, but I have to worry about keeping everyone happy, not just the person making the request.

Fine. We’ll slip in a phat cash tip. What’s your magic track?  I have a few songs that work particularly well, but it depends on the event as to which one might get played.  There’s a sort of magic associated with the Almighty version of “Perfect Day,” and mine and Bryan Reyes’ remix of Leona Lewis & Avicii’s “Collide” is an audience favorite.

The real question is, do you check your Scruff while DJing?  I try to keep the phone off while DJing. But if you see a hot guy on the floor, there’s that inescapable urge to look him up and message him instantly, so you won’t forget.

You are so right about that.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Takei, Aiken adding gay fabulosity to new “Celebrity Apprentice”

George Takei

I have sincerely admired George Takei ever since 2005 when he publicly came out as a gay man. And I have been a real fan for the last several months, ever since I “liked” his Facebook page and got the chance to see and appreciate his unique sense of humor.

But I am not a big enough fan to watch George in his new gig, because his new gig is being a cast member of the new season of Donald Trump‘s Celebrity Apprentice. And I hate Donald Trump and I hate Celebrity Apprentice way to much to ever watch the show, even for George T. I made myself a promise after listening to Trump’s “presidential campaign” tripe that I would never watch this show, because I never want to do anything that might even remotely put money in his bigoted pockets.

So, love ya George, but I just can’t watch that show.

There will be at least one other gay in the cast to keep George company: Clay Aiken of American Idol and Spamalot fame. And other “gay interest’ cast members are ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson and equal-opportunity-insult comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

I’m not gonna list the whole cast here. You can go over to FoxNews.com to get that (where, by the way, the describe Takei as “Star Wars actor George Takei”). Let it suffice to say that the cast does include Mafia princess Victoria Gotti and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider.

—  admin

Arson spree in L.A. narrowly misses “Bite Marks” actor and SMU alum Benjamin Lutz

Lutz on the set of 'Bite Marks'

After director Mark Bessenger posted on Facebook that Benjamin Lutz was almost a victim of the recent arson attacks in Los Angeles, I contacted the former Plano resident and SMU alum to see just what happened. He responded with the good news that he’s OK, but described how it went down.

“Yes, my parking garage was one of the ones hit by the arsonist,” he said. “It was on New Year’s Eve and I was at my apartment getting ready for a dinner party.  I heard people yelling ‘fire,’ and sure enough the car next to mine was set on fire. I was lucky enough to move my car in time and the fire didn’t spread to my apartment. Sadly, three other cars and the side of the building didn’t make it. It was a weird holiday and I couldn’t get back in my apartment for a long while. I did not lose my car, but some of my friends mistook the info as my car being blown up.”

Lutz starred in the 2011 indie horror flick Bite Marks which we featured in our coverage of the Fears for Queers film festival and its recent DVD release. The perp was arrested on Monday and will appear in court today.

Scary stuff.

UPDATE: Soon after posting this, I learned that former Dallas Voice writer Alonso Duralde and his partner Dave White were directly affected by the arsonist as their two cars were firebombed at their West Hollywood complex. A fund has been set up to help cover repairs and replacement of their vehicles (one was not insured). To contribute, click here.

—  Rich Lopez

Activist’s exposé on Perry hits the market

Former legislator Glen Maxey says he was motivated to write about governor’s alleged gay affairs by Perry’s hypocrisy; that he has moved to a ‘safe house’ following threats

TELLING THE TALE | After a story planned for the Huffington Post on Rick Perry’s alleged same-sex affairs was nixed, gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey decided to tell the story himself. (Associated Press)

David Webb  |  Contributing Writer
davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com

AUSTIN — Life is changing quickly for gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey since the publication last week of his memoir chronicling a five-month investigation of Gov. Rick Perry’s alleged homosexual liaisons with a subordinate, steady boyfriends, anonymous sex partners, a hustler and others.

Prior to the book’s debut Maxey, who returned to activism after leaving the Legislature, had stocked his Austin apartment with food and other supplies, anticipating a period of time when he might want to stay out of sight.

But after his exposé attracted national media attention and outrage from Perry’s conservative religious supporters, Maxey decided to go further underground.

“Got some death threats of the crank level, but have moved to a safe house until it calms down,” Maxey told Dallas Voice in a message via Facebook following a telephone interview over the weekend.

Maxey, who is the only openly gay politician to have ever served in the Texas Legislature, sent the message as he prepared for a Univision interview Monday morning, Dec. 19, and a KLBJ drive-time radio interview that afternoon.

Perry.Rick

Gov. Rick Perry

The “calm before the storm” that Maxey had talked about in the telephone interview apparently has now erupted into a major disturbance.

Head Figure Head – The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry is the product of Maxey’s work with a reporter from The Huffington Post and the frustration he felt when publisher Arianna Huffington killed what the former legislator claims was a completed story approved by editors and ready for publication.

When it became clear the story would never be published, Maxey started writing his book.

In his book Maxey does not name any of the sources he cites that claim knowledge of Perry’s alleged sexual escapades, nor does he
name the Huffington Post reporter, whom he refers to only as the national journalist.

The book was at first only available online, but now is available as a paperback through Amazon.com.

Maxey said other publications were interested in talking to him and his sources about the allegations of extramarital homosexual pursuits by Perry, but both he and the men who claimed to know the governor in the biblical sense were reluctant to start over with a new reporter.

“That was a mountain I couldn’t climb again, and the other folks had the same reaction,” Maxey said. “It’s difficult to get people to talk about sex in general, it’s more difficult to get them to tell their story to a reporter, and it’s an even bigger climb when it’s Rick Perry they are talking about.”

Maxey disputes Huffington’s claim to Politico that the story was never ready for publication, and that there was no real story. The activist claims the publisher killed the story after Perry’s campaign hired famed libel lawyer Lin Wood, and the lawyer wrote a letter to the Huffington Post threatening to sue if the story was published.

Huffington denied that the lawyer’s letter had anything to do with her decision.

But, Maxey said, “Arianna Huffington told a bald-faced lie.”

No response has been received to an e-mail sent by the Dallas Voice to Huffington Post’s media relations department seeking comment on Maxey’s claim.

Maxey concedes a high-priced call boy who claimed to have engaged in sex with Perry and another man for hire in hotel rooms several times never went on the record, even though celebrity attorney Gloria Allred reportedly was signed on to represent him when the story hit. An affidavit signed by the prostitute — whom

Maxey said was feeling “traumatized” by the prospect of going public with his allegations — might have convinced Huffington to go with the story. But the activist maintained there was already enough documentation to justify publication.

Maxey claimed Huffington exercised a “double standard” when she decided against publication of the Perry story, probably on the advice of AOL parent company corporate attorneys. If the story had involved extramarital heterosexual activities, the story would have run, he claimed.

In late August, the Huffington Post reporter, who made several trips to Austin and had contacted the Dallas Voice for information earlier in the investigation, wrote in an e-mail seeking clarification that he was putting finishing touches on the story before it ran.

Some political observers have speculated Perry’s drastic drop in the national opinion polls from frontrunner status might have contributed to Huffington’s decision to kill the story.

Another source familiar with the investigation said it appeared the publisher — for reasons only she knows — was never interested in outing Perry, and the story will never be published. The Huffington Post scribe reportedly indicated he had no problem with Maxey’s book, and that he thought Maxey needed to write it.

For his part, Maxey said that he is not worried about Gov. Perry filing a lawsuit against him, and he doubts anyone from Perry’s camp
will ever contact him. The former legislator also  doubts that he would lose a lawsuit if Perry filed one against him.

“Everything I said in this book is my opinion,” Maxey said. “I believe Rick Perry is homosexual or had relations with gay men. The evidence points to that conclusion.”

Maxey said it is unlikely Perry would file a lawsuit against him because if he did, the governor and his wife, Anita, would be forced to answer questions under oath about the widespread rumor that she caught Perry and another man having sex in the governor’s mansion six years ago.

At the time, a story was widely circulated that the governor’s wife had checked into the luxurious Driskill Hotel in Austin and hired a prominent divorce attorney.

The story became so widespread that Perry and his wife — who typically avoid one-on-one media interviews — sat down with an Austin American-Statesman reporter to refute the tale.

“If Perry was bold or stupid enough to file any action against me, my lawyers would welcome the opportunity,” Maxey said. “I don’t think Perry would take that risk.”

There has been no response to a telephone request by the Dallas Voice for comment from the  Perry campaign.

Maxey said that although he is gaining widespread attention for the book, his only motive in writing it was to expose the alleged hypocrisy of Gov. Perry, who is recognized as the most virulently outspoken anti-gay governor to ever hold office in Texas. The governor’s claim to conservative religious leaders after he announced for the presidency in August that there was nothing in his personal background to embarrass them rankled him, the Maxey said.

“How amazingly hypocritical he was, claiming there would be no scandal,” Maxey said. “It was astonishing to me. That was the impetus for writing the book.”

Maxey said at the time he wrote the book there were only a dozen men known who had claimed to have had sex with Perry. Now, there are twice that many, and new tips come in daily, he said.

“I went into publishing this with no real expectations,” Maxey said. “The story may get retold in a more comprehensive way, and people can make their own decisions about it. I think the rest of this will play out in the public discussion.”

Maxey said one thing is for certain: Perry will be a bigger enemy to the state’s LGBT community than he ever has before if his bid for the presidency continues on its failure track and he returns to Texas. The activist said he wouldn’t be surprised if Perry attempted to call the Texas Legislature into emergency session on an anti-LGBT initiative to pacify his conservative religious supporters.

“When you see a snake in the grass, you chop off its head,” Maxey said. “I believe this snake is coming back to Texas. He is going to be a meaner snake. He will have something to prove. He will take it out on gay people.”

And that threat is likely to keep Maxey, the author and the activist, busy on his anti-Perry campaign for a very long time.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas