Sign of the times: Your bad grammer is the reason you suck

Far be it for me to critize someone else’s spelling or grammar. Over the years I’ve let slip my fair share of typos. Of course, none of them were in permanent foot-high lettering, so let the the criticism commence!

Found on Stanford betweeen Westheimer and Lovett

—  admin

Romancing the tune

Serenading a lover always works for out singer Nancy Beaudette

Nancy_Beaudette_color

ACOUSTIC DIVA | Beaudette blends her Celtic and folks sounds with some spirituality and compassion.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Nancy Beaudette is ahead of her time. Literally. Feb. 14 isn’t until next week, but Beaudette and her girlfriend have already celebrated Valentine’s Day: A gift exchange, a relaxed morning in the hot tub and a long walk on a gorgeous Massachusetts day.

“Oh and we had a wonderful Chinese dinner,” she adds.

That’s what happens when a working musician hits the road — you celebrate the Hallmark moments when you can. For Beaudette, right now there is no calendar other than her tour. She’ll be playing throughout the month, including a stopover in Fort Worth on Saturday. She’s fine with it. At 50, with a healthy discography under her belt dating back 30 years to 1982, Beaudette is finally doing the “musician thing.”

“This is the first time I’m doing music without having a full-time job,” she says. “I’m embarking on a lifelong dream of songwriting and performing.”

Romance isn’t lost in Beaudette’s brand of folk. Like any singer, she’ll croon about love, but she also sings her fair share of heartbreak songs. She’s quick to point out that love is not all fuzzies and wuzzies. There are layers of complex issues that she deals with through her music, including a split from her wife of 22 years and from her church. She covers both on the title track of her last album, Honestly.

“The song is the language of divorce, but it was really about my emotional connection between my church and me,” she says. “It was devastating.”

Having the benefit of legalized marriage in her native Canada, Beaudette and her wife were excommunicated by the Catholic Church after they exchanged vows. An active member and choir director for 25 years, the blow had devastating effects; she cites it as the reason her marriage failed, but she found therapy in music.

“I journal a lot and music has been helpful,” she says. “Those pages are a great place to get to my raw emotions.” (Ironically, her church still performs all of her music.)

Despite such drama, Beaudette hardly has a bitter tone. She’s ebullient and optimistic and clearly enlivened by her new relationship and perhaps by her nebulous future with music. Her smile is practically evident through the phone line.

“I left my town, fell in love, got a performance visa and now I’m living with Chris in Massachusetts,” she says. “The U.S. market is so much larger and much more competitive, but it’s been very positive and my trips to Nashville have been very inspiring.”

The last time Beaudette came to Texas was for a conference in Waco in the mid-‘90s. This time, she anticipates a proper introduction to the Lone Star State. As with any non-Texan, she’s banking on an epic experience.

“I think everyone says this, but I hear everything is bigger in Texas,” she quips. “I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’ve met some really delightful women from Houston who will be hosting a house concert when I’m there. And the Open Door people have been so kind. The glimpse I’ve seen so far is pretty welcoming.”

She’ll also perform at Agape MCC’s Sunday morning service. Despite being hurt by a religious institution, she’s determined to use it as a bolster to her spiritual and musical side. Besides, it goes hand-in-hand with her Charter for Compassion work, a movement with the mission to “restore compassion to the center of morality and religion.”

“I’m not the first gay person to be hurt by a church,” she says. “We are spiritual and looking for ways to express it. I get to talk about the charter I’m involved with. The movement is growing all around.”

Pursuing her dream and spreading her message, Beaudette should have a fulfilling tour, but with all that, she still wants to be with her lady and serenade her with a song — that is if Chris doesn’t beat her to it.

“She’s a singer-songwriter too so we have lots in common. She’ll sing to me,” she says. “I serenade her all the time. It always does the trick.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Dallas without the Ewings

After months of sniping, ‘A-List: Dallas’ debuts and, surprisingly, entertains

ALIST_DALLAS_GROUP_retouched_3

SPOT THE HOT SPOT | Real-life gay cowboy Levi Crocker, center, is the breakout star of ‘The A-List: Dallas,’ which finally debuts on Logo after a summer of controversy. (Photo Mike Ruiz/Logo)

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer
stevencraiglindsey@me.com

Lies, deception, cowboys, swimming pool fights and plenty of rich bitches (male and female): Sounds like a certain TV show we all know and love, right? Well, these are also the same ingredients for Dallas’ newest moment in the reality television spotlight. Taking the successful formula for The A-List: New York and creating a Dallas franchise may have been a head-scratcher for anyone who doesn’t live here, but for those of us that do, we know we have our fair share of camera-ready gays eager to bring on the drama.

I used to think that reality TV should be critiqued under different criteria than scripted shows, but then I realized that if a show wants to take up an hour of my time and valuable space on my DVR, it all comes down to one simple question I pose, whether million-dollar-per-episode comedy or a low-budget reality franchise: Am I entertained?

For The A-List: Dallas, the surprising answer is “yes.” Admittedly, I can barely squint my way through an episode of the New York version, so I had minimal expectations for Dallas. But by the time the first episode’s credits rolled and scenes from the entire season played out, I found myself hooked.

That’s in large part because of the casting. They’ve found a group of friends and frenemies with enough ready-made conflict to easily fill an entire season. Sure, much of it is exaggerated for effect, but give gays enough alcohol and stick them in front of a camera crew and how could sparks not fly?

At the center of most of the drama is Levi Crocker, the handsome cowboy that every guy wants to rope in. In the past, he’s dated Taylor Garret, a gay Christian Republican and now denies dating James Doyle, a trust-fund baby who remembers things a little differently. There’s also Chase Hutchison, a real estate investor whose hair becomes its very own character; Phillip Willis, a high-end stylist with a love for gossip; and Ashley Kelly, a female photographer who just loves her gays.

The good thing about this cast is their wicked sense of humor — and it appears that they’re in on the joke. I mean, who couldn’t be camping up a little saying catty things like,

“This is a genetic gift. Does it mean I’m superior? Maybe.” Or, “I’m one of Dallas’ hottest stylists.” Or maybe they’re just shallow jerks like most every other cast member of every single reality show ever created anywhere. Only time will tell, but for now, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Most of all, The A-List: Dallas is a fun watch just to see how many people you recognize and how many favorite restaurants and nightspots you can spot. If you’ve been to the same sushi bar and know a few of the same people, that makes you A-List by association. And that’s pretty much all it takes.

Premieres Monday on Logo at 10 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Men about towns

Jason Dottley and Del Shores are happy making Dallas their second home

POWER COUPLE | Dottley, left, pursues his music career with a show in Dallas Friday, while Shores has added standup comedy to a resume that includes challenging Republicans to debate gay issues.

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer
stevencraiglindsey@me.com

……………………..

NATION OF JASON
The Rose Room at Station 4,
3911 Cedar Springs Road.
June 17. Doors open at 9 p.m.

……………………..

Hollywood has had more than its fair share of powerful couples. Bennifer. Brangelina. Tomkat.

And now, Delson?

Yep, Del Shores and Jason Dottley are gay, they’re in love and they’re diversely talented. And they seem to have made Dallas almost a second home.

“I love Dallas so much, I listed it twice in an article on my favorite places in the South that I did for a gay travel site,” Dottley says.

“We have great friends here and always stay with our friends Patrick and Kevin. Texas will always be my home state and Dallas has adopted me and treated me like a star and a friend,” adds Shores, who grew up in Winters, Texas, and sets most of his plays in the Lone Star State.

Both stay incredibly busy. Between them, they have nearly every entertainment segment covered: singer, actor, dancer, playwright, producer, director, screenwriter, activist and standup comic. Throw in craft services and they’ll never want for work again.

Shores gave the world a comedy classic with Sordid Lives, a play-turned-movie-turned-TV-series-turned-live-comedy-show that has practically become the writer’s alter ego. Then there are his other plays and movies, like the upcoming 2012 release of the movie version of his tragicomedy The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, as well as plans to turn his latest critically acclaimed play, Yellow, into a film.

For husband Dottley — whom Shores married first in 2003 and then again (legally) in 2008 prior to passage of Proposition 8 — acting in Shores’ projects is only one of his occupations. Pop music is keeping him busier than ever; his first single, “Party Round the World” with Debby Holiday, brought him a Billboard Top 20 record. He followed up with “Hit Play!,” which broke into the Top 30. He’s performed both in Dallas.

Now, he’s making it a threefer. This week, his latest single, “Pop It,” dropped and will certainly be one of the songs he performs as part of his Nation of Jason tour at Station 4 on Friday.

Tonight is just the beginning of a full summer for Shores and Dottley, who will be touring again together: Shores with his new show, Del Shores Sordid Confessions (booked for July 8 in the Rose Room), and Dottley with Nation of Jason.

For anyone looking to catch either star while they’re in town, there’s a certain diner that is a pretty sure bet, as it’s on both of their short lists for favorite places to eat.

“Lucky’s, every time,” Dottley says. “Same dish: chicken fried chicken. I don’t even have to say it, they just know.”

For Shores, favorite hangouts include “The Rose Room and the Round-Up. And I like The Tin Room for a not-so-guilty pleasure. I gave up guilt,” he says. “Uptown [Players] is always a treat.”

“Oh, and anywhere Krystal Summers is performing,” Dottley adds.

If he’s lucky, he won’t have to go far, as Summers is a regular cast member at the Rose Room where Dottley performs tonight.

“My Nation of Jason tour is eye-candy mixed with hot music and a sense of old-school style that I think has been lost on club culture. It’s fun. It should make you feel good about life, to make you wanna dance!” he says.

Shores has been tap dancing a bit himself these days — only not onstage. First there was the bitter fight with the Logo network over residuals from the Sordid Lives series, which left heartbroken fans yearning for a second season that will never be. (There appears to be a happy ending though: He is already talking about doing more Sordid Lives movies, and the experience provided grist for his standup routine.)

He also engaged Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield (“What an asshole, right?” Shores says plainly), who sponsored a bill preventing the discussion of homosexuality in schools, in a war of words on Facebook, challenging the politician to a debate and calling him a coward when he tried to wiggle out. And he’s currently on a crusade against gay Republicans.

“Oh, and I can rant, can’t I?” Shores laughs. “Let’s just say that the Log Cabin Republicans and I are not loving each other lately. I challenged the [Dallas Chapter] president, Rob Schlein, to a debate here in Dallas. I wanted to charge and give all the money to the cause of our choice — mine was Youth First Texas. He would write nasty comments on my fan page, but was too chickenshit to debate me on the topic: ‘How Can You Support Gay Rights and be a Republican?’ It’s appalling the anti-gay rhetoric in the Texas GOP platform. I don’t get it.”

Rants aside, the meat and potatoes of his life is supporting Dottley, and vice versa. Dottley has booked the first date for his debut one-man show at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco: XXX: My First 30 Years … Get Your Mind Outta the Gutter (he hopes to bring it to Dallas eventually, too). And Shores has more irons in the fire beyond pissing off the political right wing in this country.

“I pursue my writing and directing, Jason his acting and singing and we work our asses off to make everything work!” Shores says. ”And we love it still.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Spanish fly

We’ve gotten pretty used to gay cinema after all these years, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s this: Gay Spaniards are hot. And while we tip our hat to Pedro Almodovar for starting us down the road of queer Latin loverboys, we appreciate the variety of outlets now available to us. You can’t have too many Hispanic guys getting it on, if you ask me.

Which probably explains my latest Internet obsession, Gayxample. Set in Barcelona’s gayborhood, the Eixample District (called Gayxample by queer locals), the web series launched last week by introducing us to a middle-aged bear couple (Rafael Tejada, Kikko Bomometti, pictured) who are visited by one of the men’s straight nephew who doesn’t know his uncle is gay. The plot rolls out in expected sitcom-y fashion, with lots of campy jokes and awkward confrontations and a sentimental resolution.

If the series owes a lot to the style of gay soaps like Queer as Folk and The L Word, it does so with more than its fair share of nudity and humor as well as a Mediterranean abandon

It also improves as the series progresses (three episodes were available for screening), with even more sexy guys and, reliably, Tejada, who never hesitates to take off his shirt (and pants for that matter).

It’s also an ideal show for Texas: Although mostly in Spanish, you can also watch a version subtitled in English. We like a little bilingualism with our campy queer comedy. Muy caliente!

— Arnold Wayne Jones

New episodes available weekly on Saturday on Gayxample.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Rex Reed introduces you to Ira Gershwin tonight at the Eisemann Center

Famous for his bitchy film criticism, Fort Worth-born Rex Reed  turns his eye (and his ear) to music with Ira Gershwin revue

Watching too many movies can be a bad thing. After years of deconstructing films and either ripping them apart or praising their genius, Rex Reed has finally had enough. For now at least.

“You have no idea of the crap I sit through. Movies today are ghastly,” Reed says. “I gotta get out of this rut. Everybody has to do something in life that’s a little bit of fun and I love this a million times more than reviewing.“

“This” refers to The Man that Got Away: Ira without George — The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, a show Reed created to celebrate the work of the lesser-known songwriting brother. The production makes its first stop outside of New York in North Texas Nov. 12 at the Eisemann Center.

“This show is a celebration of his genius,” he says. “I feel this kind of music is our culture; it’s America’s greatest gift to this world and it’s in danger of disappearing.”

Along for the ride with Reed are performers Tom Wopat, Marilyn Maye and Susan Mays, who sing songs from Gershwin’s catalog. They help Reed do his part in preserving a part of American culture, in which he gave preferential treatment to his favorite lyricist. He created this show to bring Ira from under his brother’s shadow, despite Ira having the longer career. But with George’s huge signature pieces, Reed still has to remind people that they aren’t going to get what they think they came for. Either that, or they don’t know the difference between the two siblings.

“George has always had his share of fame and praise even though he rarely made a move without his brother,” he says. “It was time he got his fair share. This is not about George. We’re not gonna have Rhapsody in Blue or Porgy and Bess. This is all Ira on his own.”

DEETS: The Man that Got Away: Ira without George — The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson. 8 p.m. $39–$72. EisemannCenter.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Rex in effect

Famous for his bitchy film criticism, Fort Worth-born Rex Reed  turns his eye (and his ear) to music with Ira Gershwin revue

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Film critic Rex Reed
GAGA FOR GERSHWIN | Film critic Rex Reed prefers his love of Ira Gershwin’s music to reviewing the ghastly movies coming out today.

THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY
Eisemann Center,
2351 Performance Drive, Richardson.
Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. $39–$72.
EisemannCenter.com.

…………………………………….

Watching too many movies can be a bad thing. After years of deconstructing films and either ripping them apart or praising their genius, Rex Reed has finally had enough. For now at least.

“You have no idea of the crap I sit through. Movies today are ghastly,” Reed says. “I gotta get out of this rut. Everybody has to do something in life that’s a little bit of fun and I love this a million times more than reviewing.“

“This” refers to The Man that Got Away: Ira without George — The Lyrics of Ira Gershwin, a show Reed created to celebrate the work of the lesser-known songwriting brother. The production makes its first stop outside of New York in North Texas Nov. 12 at the Eisemann Center.

“This show is a celebration of his genius,” he says. “I feel this kind of music is our culture; it’s America’s greatest gift to this world and it’s in danger of disappearing.”

Along for the ride with Reed are performers Tom Wopat, Marilyn Maye and Susan Mays, who sing songs from Gershwin’s catalog. They help Reed do his part in preserving a part of American culture, in which he gave preferential treatment to his favorite lyricist. He created this show to bring Ira from under his brother’s shadow, despite Ira having the longer career. But with George’s huge signature pieces, Reed still has to remind people that they aren’t going to get what they think they came for. Either that, or they don’t know the difference between the two siblings.

“George has always had his share of fame and praise even though he rarely made a move without his brother,” he says. “It was time he got his fair share. This is not about George. We’re not gonna have Rhapsody in Blue or Porgy and Bess. This is all Ira on his own.”

When Reed met younger sister Francis Gershwin, he discussed his plans for the show. As it turned out, she felt it was time.

“She gave me her full blessing,” he says. “When I met her she said, ‘This is what I’ve been praying for. I’m so glad you’re doing this.’ That was that; it was amen and here we go, after that. I’m really hoping people in Dallas will like it.”

This concerns Reed. He begins asking questions about the venue, knowing that it isn’t in Dallas proper — and he wonders if there is an appreciation for American standards. He senses a hunger for this music and figures it deserves to be exposed. He even challenges LGBT audiences, hoping they will break away from the usual listening pleasures.

“As a rule, gay people have always had better taste, they just need to be exposed to this,” he says. “It could expose LGBTs to something higher in quality than the stuff they are hearing in discos. That can just go so far. I don’t go to these places where I hear eardrum bursting second-rate music.”

The challenge though is to move people out of their musical comfort zone by heading to the past. Like Michael Feinstein, who comes to Dallas later this month, Reed finds it important to preserve this musical heritage of America. That’s his mission — besides reviewing films.

“I applaud Michael for what he’s doing. When people hear this, I hope a light bulb goes off,” he says. “If it’s not in top 40, they’re afraid to listen. I just need to get them to move beyond the fear of discovering the unknown.”

But he does give fair warning: Reed hosts the show but also sings one Gershwin tune.

“There is an awful lot of me in it! So if you don’t like me, don’t come.”
He’s kidding.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Lord, have mercy

David Vaughn got on his knees to nab a primo role in ‘Shrek’

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer stevencraiglindsey@me.com

Shrek the Musical
MINI ME | One of the comic highlights of ‘Shrek the Musical’ is the diminutive villain Lord Farquaad, played by recent tour addition David Vaughn.

SHREK THE MUSICAL
Fair Park Music Hall, 909 First Ave. Sept. 28–Oct. 17. Evenings 8 p.m., matinees at 2 p.m. 214-631-2787.
DallasSummerMusicals.org.

……………………………………

The most evil villains ever created are typically compensating for one shortcoming or another. For Shrek the Musical’s Lord Farquaad, the diminutive tyrant’s inadequacies are quite literal: His tiny legs are about as spindly as a sock monkey’s.
But for David F.M. Vaughn, it’s one of the greatest roles he’s ever played. And in Shrek alone, he’s played more than his fair share.

“I was a swing in the original Broadway company, so I understudied 19 different tracks in the show. It was a lot of work. I had to be able to go on in any role at any second. But I also understudied Lord Farquaad, which is the role I play now. It’s a new look at a show I’ve been playing for over two years,” he says.

Performing on Broadway is wonderful, according to Vaughn, but touring also has its perks.

“You get to kind of explore each of these great cities. You also get to perform as an actor for different audiences. They vary greatly by region. It’s fun to see which audiences like what, play that up and adjust the show for each audience,” he says. “Plus, there’s something to be said about having your room cleaned every day. Fresh towels, clean sheets … you really can’t beat that.”

This will be the actor’s first visit to Dallas and he’s excited to have family members in the audience, but almost equally thrilled to be performing at the State Fair of Texas.

“I live in New Jersey and I love, love, love the State Fair. The fried awfulness, the people watching. The touring company is so excited to go explore.”

Eating his way around Fair Park and seeing all the attractions will be a welcome break from the demanding schedule and an even more difficult role.

“The biggest challenge is the obvious physicality of playing an entire show on my knees. Not just performing it, but making it realistic and funny and making the whole joke work,” Vaughn says. “There’s also a section where I have a puppeteer controlling my legs for me. I have to trust that he will do what he was choreographed to do and I will do what I’m choreographed to do.”

Once on Broadway, in a different Shrek role, things didn’t work out so well. There’s proof in a backstage photo on his website where he can be seen sitting with an ice pack on his ankle and a tissue up his nose to stop the bleeding. Harrowing stuff.

“The set was so big and so complicated. There were so many lifts and turntables and flying things. It was very dangerous.

We’re all very safe, but anything can happen. And unfortunately, that’s one of those things that happened. I had to run really fast around the corner and one of the guys who runs props forgot that I was there and he slammed his forehead right into my nose. We were both knocked over.”

The touring set is just as complex, even if it is scaled back to accommodate various stage setups.

“It looks just as full and lush, even sometimes more saturated and colorful than I remember it. The show’s completely reconceived not only as a tour, but as a new production. They trimmed it and added stuff,” he says, “but the story’s more focused.”

The new dragon puppet is better than the one on Broadway. “Finally, DreamWorks’ commitment to getting it right paid off and they figured it out. Now it’s a full dragon from head to tail. His wings flap, it’s just wonderful. I can’t wait for you to see it.”

Everyone who’s seen the show or performed in the show seems to agree that gay audiences love the “Freak Flag” number, and Vaughn is no different.

“All the fairy tale creatures have been shunned and forced from their home because Lord Farquaad says they’re freaks.

They’re not like everyone else and everyone should be perfection and all the same. But the pigs are fat, and the wolf is hairy, and Pinocchio is not a real boy,” he says. “They all question themselves until Gingy, the gingerbread man, sets them straight and kind of says what makes us special makes us strong. It’s kind of an anthem of individuality and community and strength and celebrating differences, but using this platform they all gather together and nothing can stop them.”

“It’s that same old story,” Vaughn continues. “We may have been ashamed of ourselves because we were gay, until we finally banded together and realized that we’re awesome and we can do anything together. And, oh, there’s power in that. This number is almost like a Pride parade on stage.”

And if that’s not enough, he quickly jumps back in and exclaims, “We have a transsexual wolf in the show, too!”

Now you’re talking.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas