JR.’s Bar & Grill opens patio bar today

After seeing this teaser ad for a couple of weeks now, JR.’s finally opens up its brand-spankin’ new upstairs patio bar — or The Patio. They announced renovations back in February and while the downstairs also got a redo, the JR.’s vibe is still resonant. But the second-floor bar is now looking rather fabulous.

So if you’re not heading there for happy hour after work today, then take a peek of the bar with this pic posted on the bar’s Facebook page after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

You think you know meme? Meet Libby Serber

The word “meme” has recently itself become a meme. The word is more than a century old, but took root in the 1990s, but with the spread of Facebook and other social networking, it has become part of the culture itself.

It’s also been bastardized. Now, any YouTube video linked more than twice seems to call itself “viral;” short-term idiocy like “planking” gets the meme label, though it disappears as quickly as it arises.

You want to know a real meme, you want to know about Libby Serber.

If you are part of the North Texas theater community, or friends with anyone who is, chances are you have seen at least some reference to Libby. Her mother, Cara, is an actress in town, well-respected and even more well-liked.

About two weeks ago, Libby was just like and other 6-year-old kid. Now, she’s a cancer survivor and veteran of open-heart surgery. It all happened very quickly for Libby. Her parents Jeff and especially Cara were upfront about what was going on, and surprisingly frank and timely in their updates of Libby’s condition, which seemed, at time, to change hourly: Diagnosis, surgery, home, back to the hospital, more surgery, goofing with the other kids in the cancer ward. It was almost surreal what this beautiful little ginger-haired tyke was enduring. In not one picture, though, was she anything other than smiling.

It didn’t take long for the entire theater community to begin offering prayers and support. Soon, her photo (like the one above) was the profile picture of countless people — male, female, old and young, those who knew her and those who had only heard of her (Cara famously acted in a play, the camp musical Debbie Does Dallas, just a few weeks after Libby was born).

The word spread. Within the past few days, Libby has been profiled on NBC-5 and the Dallas Morning News. Everyone within six degrees of the Serbers know her as “our little rock star.” “Mom, I think I might be famous,” reported Cara on her Facebook page. If you want to experience the power of love, you just need to read the comments posted there.

Libby, of course, is not unique. Many kids — too many — endure such travails. But the sincerity with which the theater community (and now, the broader Metroplex, even nation) has rallied behind her is inspiring. Forget meme — Libby is part of the Zeitgeist, a child whose bravery has touched the better angels in many adults who perhaps don’t engage in the exchange of humanity as much as they should.

I’m rooting for you, Libby — everyone is.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

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