Queen Extravaganza tribute show tonight at Verizon

Queen jubilee

Cover bands get a bad rap and frankly, most should, but the Queen Extravaganza is more than four guys playing Freddie Mercury and company’s catalog. We miss one of our the early queer icons of music, but the extravaganza encapsulates that raucous spirit of Mercury not to mention the equally talents of May, Taylor and Deacon. The tribute show is an throwback experience and dare we say, the band is hotter.

DEETS: Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. $32.50–$49.50. Ticketmaster.com

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Adam Lambert named Queen’s new frontman for 2012 tour

May and Lambert. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty

Rolling Stone reported this afternoon that Adam Lambert is now the new lead singer for Queen, replacing Paul Rodgers. Rodgers stepped in for the late Freddie Mercury in the band’s 2005 reunion tour. Lambert, whose second album, Trespassing, is set for release in March, will join the band for a 2012 tour.

NME noted last year that Queen would be releasing a new album of demos with Freddie Mercury’s vocals. Interestingly, guitarist Brian May had told the London Evening Standard that Mercury had recorded duets with Michael Jackson and worked with his estate to release those sometime in 2012.

But for now, Lambert is the new frontman for Queen’s new tour. He had joined May and drummer Roger Taylor in a performance last November on the MTV European Music Awards which should have been a big hint. You can listen to a medley of that performance below.

—  Rich Lopez

LISTEN: Top 10 Christmas songs by LGBT artists

Yes, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole will likely make appearances today singing their famous Christmas tunes, but queer artists have their signature contributions as well. I mean, Fred Schneider’s ridiculous humor may not compare with traditional carols, but he proves we need a little disco year round. And Pink Martini can croon just like the best of them.

Here’s a rundown of my top queer Christmas tunes for the day to add your to mix. Bing and Nat won’t mind the company.

10.  The Superions — “Christmas Disco” This album is a pure exercise in the absurd, but Fred Schneider’s side project turns the reverent holiday into a flat out house party.

—  Rich Lopez

Ink monster

tube-1
MERCURY RISING | Although Robear claims not to see it, the heavily tattooed gay reality star says many in the gay community say he looks like Freddie Mercury.

‘NY Ink’s’ Robear adds a queer twist to the straight tattoo universe

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

When Robear, the manager of the tattoo parlor at the center of the TLC series NY Ink, began to be recognized as a reality TV star, the first thing his friends noticed was that he didn’t use his last name.

“Who do you think you are, using one name — Cher?” he says in a heavy Noo Yawk accent, repeating the allegation leveled good-naturedly at him. “It wasn’t that, I just didn’t want to use it!”

But the man born Robert Chinosi (“Robear” was a nickname given to him by a girlfriend 20 years ago, reflecting his furry body) doesn’t have much to hide. As one of the employees on the show, which aired its season finale Thursday, Robear stands out for being a contradiction of stereotypes — as he puts it: “A big, burly, masculine but slightly feminine gay guy, heavily tattooed in the straight culture.”

Robear came to tattoo culture fairly recently. He held jobs in the corporate world in design and construction until 2007, when he was laid off. A girlfriend who owned a tattoo parlor on Long Island “did me a favor and asked me to run her shop,” he says. He got his first tattoo at 17, so it wasn’t wholly new to him, though immersing himself in the culture was eye-opening.

“Tattoo art is a small niche in the art community, but they are so famous in this world!” he says incredulously of his co-workers.

Robear ended up on the TV show almost by accident. His employer heard about the casting call and wanted to audition for NY Ink; he agreed to come along for moral support only.

“The casting agent loved my looks, and took my hand and threw me in the [audition] room. I had no head shots or applications filled out but they didn’t care. It was destined to happen in a weird, funky way.”

A few weeks later, TLC showed up at his doorstep. Before long, he found himself filming 14 hours a day.

“I never watched reality TV, even Miami Ink or L.A. Ink, so I thought, ‘How could this possibly be real?’ But it’s not scripted — you’re spending so much time with these people, more even than your own family, every day for three months. I’ve had a lot of positive responses, though I really am just being who I am. My parents and friends watch it and when I say something, they say, ‘That’s you.’”

The gay community, he says, has been especially supportive: He’s been recognized at Gay Pride events in New York, and was recently asked to do an appearance at a Chelsea gay bar. Oddly, he doesn’t understand fully why gays are attracted to him … though he has a few theories.

“I’ve been more embraced by the gay demographic because people say I look like Freddie Mercury, though I don’t see,” he says. (They’re right — he’s a dead ringer.) “Maybe it’s because I’m breaking some stereotypes. I’m a secondary character [on the show], but a rarity in this straight, macho world:  I’m 6-foot, 245 lbs. and heavily tattooed but I have a swish in my walk. Some of the [straight men on the show] test me emotionally and physically, because straight men still think since you carry a man-bag and talk with a higher voice that that’s a type of weakness. But I grew up with two older brothers and a dad right off the boat from Italy, so I was surrounded with a lot of testosterone. I have a high tolerance of pain and I won’t take shit from anybody.”

Trust us, Robear — you’re the last gay we wanna meet in a dark alley — man-bag or not.

………………………..

tube-2‘Diva’ goes gay with lesbian prom-isode

Lifetime’s series Drop Dead Diva — a body-switching comedy where a zaftig female lawyer Jane (Brooke Elliott) secretly holds the soul of a hot bottle blonde — already enjoys a strong gay following, what with Margaret Cho in a supporting role. But it’s aiming for even deeper appeal with the upcoming episode “Prom.” In it, Jane agrees to represent two teenaged lesbians whose high school refuses to let them attend prom as a couple.

The episode (airing Sunday) pulls out all the stops, with a guest cast that includes Clay Aiken, Wanda Sykes and Lance Bass, pictured left, as well as a subplot about modeling that includes some beefcake. In typical Drop Dead Diva fashion, though, the plotting is two dimensional and the storyline fairly tamed down (the lesbians may love each other but they never kiss). Nevertheless, it’s great to see a show on the “Network for Women and Gay Men” get political about gay issues in a (serious-for-them) way.
— A.W.J.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 22, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Queen for a day

DOING THE FAN-DANGO | Gary Mullen was a huge fan of Queen before filling in as the legendary bisexual frontman Freddie Mercury in the tribute show coming to Music Hall.

Gary Mullen, frontman for cover band One Night of Queen, fills Mercury’s tight pants just fine

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Cover bands get no respect. You can’t help but wonder why they play other people’s music, never their own. They have the musicianship, so why not the song catalogue?

It’s a tough argument to make. But when it gets to the level of world tours and actually paying the bills, well, Gary Mullen might have a little something to say about what he does.

“We have side projects, but this takes up most of our year,” says the lead singer for the group The Works. “We’re all creating music and have other bands. Music is in all of our lifeblood, but we have fun with this.”

“This” would be Mullen and his band, the guys behind One Night of Queen, a show of Queen hits that stops in Dallas on Saturday. Yes, Mullen fills in for perhaps the frontman of all frontmen, Freddie Mercury. The band is convincing enough that it’s been turned into a concert experience and takes them on the road worldwide. Fortunately, Mullen doesn’t get swept up in false ideas of whom he plays and who he is.

“I have to approach it with a bit of caution,” he says in a charming, thick Scottish accent. “I’m not Freddie, but I do want it to be convincing. I try to treat him in a way that’s the guy onstage, but I’m the guy offstage. I have to do that with a bit of caution.”

Life changed for the former computer salesman when he won an American Idol-like TV contest, Stars in Their Eyes, in 2000. Using that boost, he and his band took their Queen act on the road, selling out venues and growing it into an entirely higher level. The show replicates a Queen concert at their most successful period, touching mostly on the mid-’80s Magic Tour. Adding flavors of the band in the ‘70s and ‘90s, One Night of Queen has garnered the attention of original Queen member Brian May and even “massive Queen fan” Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

The bisexual Mercury, of course, is legendary to the LGBT continuum and Mullen, who is straight, and his band have found their gay fans along the way.

“We’ve played a gay Pride festival in Scotland and they showed us a damn good time,” he says. “Although one couple wanted me to come home with them.”

No doubt they got caught up in the moment as Mullen says the fans do. But he admits that he’s not like Mercury in one way that might have disappointed those boys.

“Well, I’m more phallically challenged,” he confesses.

Gotcha. So long as the music is killer, we will let you rock us.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

‘One Night of Queen’ to rock Fair Park in March

With all the attention focused on the Super Bowl and groups like Prince coming to play that weekend, you may have missed the fact that in March, you can see Queen.

Of course, that’s kinda hard since lead singer Freddie Mercury died of AIDS nearly 20 years ago. But it is the next best thing, as the above photo can attest.

Gary Mullen and the Works perform the show One Night of Queen, re-creating the flamboyant musical style of one of the signature bands of the rock era. In the vein of Beatlemania, the concert is a tribute mirror of the original.

The performance takes place March 27 at Fair Park Music Hall. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster.com.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Adam Lambert brings the glam to the Palladium Ballroom tonight

Glamberts unite!

Adam LambertWe’ve decided that if any of us go on American Idol, we’re shooting for second place. That’s where the real stardom is. Especially for the gays. Clay Aiken started it, but Adam Lambert ran with the runner-up fame and turned into one surprising showman. Whether he’s this generation’s Freddie Mercury remains to be seen, but he’s going to have a blast trying.

And his Glamberts are a force to be reckoned with. You don’t ever want to say a bad thing about Lambert — ever. They will cut you.

DEETS: Palladium Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar Road. Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. $39. Ticketmaster.com

—  Rich Lopez

Last man standing?

As Adam Lambert rises the pop ranks, he joins a long line of musical frontmen who can really show out

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Adam Lambert
TAKE IT EASY | Lambert will prove if he’s a worthy performer when he comes to Dallas on Tuesday.

ADAM LAMBERT
Palladium Ballroom,
1135 S. Lamar Road.
Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. $39.
Ticketmaster.com

Recently, Adam Lambert sang the praises of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Much of Lambert’s stylings and persona are reminiscent of the late bisexual singer, but when he asked NPR recently where are today’s flamboyant showmen, I was perplexed. If by flamboyant, he means gay, well, then perhaps I can see that. But pop and rock music today is not lacking for outrageousness in male personalities.

Lambert doesn’t have to look too far to see that the musical landscape is filled with exciting onstage personas that can equal Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. Lest he thinks he’s the only one on the radar doing up an extravaganza show, he’d be sorely mistaken. I picked out a few worthwhile singers and performers that should answer Lambert’s question.

Mika — I’m sorry to tell Lambert that Brit pop singer Mika fits the Freddie Mercury prototype like a glove, much more than Lambert does. With bouncy pop that’s also smart, Mika is exciting to watch as he rules his stage and flutters with some crazy vocal gymnastics. To add to that, he can throw down big time on a piano.  He can wear the audience out even when he’s doing all the work.

Kele Okereke — The Bloc Party gay frontman woos his audience like a lover. He has that magic that is both hypnotic and thrilling. Okereke drips sex appeal the way Lenny Kravitz used to, only he keeps it approachable enough to not make him look like a douche. Others usually miss that mark.

Brandon Flowers — When Flowers takes the mike during his band’s show, he not only sings, he leads like a conductor. The Killers pop rock drives forward with heavy guitars and drums, but Flowers owns the stage with the slightly off-kilter-ness of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter but makes up for it with squeaky clean good looks and guy-liner.

Justin Timberlake — It’s hard to believe I live in a world where Justin T. is a music veteran. Not only that, he’s become a respectable musician and artist. But first, he was the breakout guy from N*Sync. You could see his potential then that he was going to be big, but when he matured into pop music hotness, he proved that outrageousness and flamboyance isn’t all that’ s needed to be a great showmen. J.T.’s got the moves, the looks and also works his sex appeal to no end.

There are countless others, but Lambert can’t rule out these contemporaries just because he’ll kiss a guy onstage or wear outlandish costumes. Flamboyant showmanship is of varying degree. Glam rock hasn’t yet made its comeback, but Lambert is at least spearheading the movement and in a few years, he’ll be the next veteran that up and comers will cite as an influence.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas