Gay Troubadour

Gary Lynn Floyd has a new name, a new CD and a new reality TV show

Screen-Shot-2011-10-04-at-9.45.55-AM

HAT TRICK | Floyd’s CD release party coincides with filming for his appearance on the new reality series ‘Troubador, TX.’

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

Gary Floyd has made a big decision: It’s time to use his middle name.

For years, if you Googled him, you’d be just as likely to get another gay Texas-based musician (he of the Butthole Surfers) as Dallas’ premier crooner. While he has “nothing against butthole surfing,” he says, it’s time to stake out his own identity.

May we introduce Gary Lynn Floyd.

People might not mistake them anymore anyway. This Floyd could set himself apart by being one of the musicians profiled on the new reality series Troubadour, Tx.

“They follow about 24 singer-songwriters — what we’re doing to make our way through the music business,” he explains. That means hauling his keyboard up the backstairs of Woody’s for a patio concert.

Piano? Gay bar? This ain’t no Logo show. The nationally syndicated series (available locally on KTXA Sundays at 10 p.m.) is about Texas musicians, most of whom are shit-kickin’ straight guitar-strummers, not gay pianists with a background in Christian music.

“I wasn’t really sure they knew what they were getting when they asked me,” Floyd says. He was recruited by a friend from the music business over the summer; he began filming in late August, and has shot for about four days so far.

Floyd hass been impressed by the production values, especially considering the quick turnaround — the series has already begun airing, even though production is still underway. Floyd is not sure when his profile will air — perhaps by the end of the month, perhaps early in 2012. But he’s still filming.

Screen shot 2011-11-03 at 7.04.21 PMIn fact, Floyd’s last planned segment shoots this Sunday at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of Hope. The event will also serves as the launch party for Floyd’s latest CD.

“The [disc] is called Then+Now — it’s sort of a retrospective of my songs,” he says. “It combines the best songwriting,” and includes a duet with Denise Lee that he had never recorded. It promises to be a great showcase for his talents as well as his appeal to a variety of audiences. (A portion of proceeds will benefit the chapel.)

“I hope people show up!” Floyd says. No worries: If there’s one thing Dallasites have shown themselves good at lately, it’s appearing on reality TV.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Postcards from Mexico: At the bookstore

The latest missive from our correspondent in Mexico, Jesus Chairez:

MÉXICO CITY — I love going into small bookstores to find treasures in the Big Enchilada. It’ll be a sad day when we go all-digital. For instance, I walked into Bodet, a small orderly bookstore located in Col. Santa Mara la Ribera, a bohemian, on-the-rise neighborhood. As I browsed, a book title glanced from the corner of my eye grabbed my attention: Cocina par Gays — Cooking for Gays. How did they mean it? A cookbook of recipes for gay people, or a way for heteros to prepare meals for their queer guests? Santa Maria added it first gay bar six months ago, so was Bodet preparing for the gays in the neighborhood?

I asked Bernardo Plasencia, Bodet’s owner, what it meant. He giggled and said, “I think gays know how to cook, so I thought, a gay cookbook for heterosexuals that have gay friends coming over for dinner — cool. Mexicans being helpful and thoughtful. I couldn’t help but think, ‘But where is the cookbook for lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals or even a cookbook for gay Latinos, something I could give as Christmas presents to my gringo friends?’”

One salad recipe in the book caught my attention: Ensalada de besos, or “salad of kisses.” It’s made with asparagus, strawberries, cubes of cheese — your choice. Yep, something I know I would just love to eat.

Among the other recipes, nothing seemed unusual, just regular graceful appetizers, salads, soups, entrées and desserts. And as the cover says, “Recetas fáciles y creativa (creative and easy recipes).”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘This is a country western bar, not a gay bar’

Three women say they were kicked out of a bar in Victoria, Texas, because of their sexual orientation. The women claim an employee asked them to leave the Cactus Canyon on Aug. 24 and told them, “This is a country western bar, not a gay bar.” The Victoria Advocate reports:

“I got kicked out of Cactus for no reason,” Victoria resident Estefana Diaz said. “We were holding hands — that’s it.”

One of Cactus Canyon’s owners, Roger Gearheart, of Odessa, denied the women were asked to leave because of their sexual orientation.

“Those people weren’t kicked out because they’re gay. They acted inappropriately to each other,” Gearheart said. “We don’t discriminate.”

He also said he wanted to be clear his bar does not discriminate and the women could return as long as their behavior is appropriate.

Gearheart was not in the bar at the time, but stands behind his employee’s decision that the women’s behavior was not in good taste.

“No one wants to see that whether you’re gay or straight” he said.

When the women called police to file a complaint they were told the bar has the right to refuse service. There is no state or federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations. The women say they may boycott the Cactus Canyon.

—  John Wright

REVIEW: Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW

I came to an epiphany on Tuesday night at Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale show at the AAC. She may not be the most artistic or profound artist out there, but she does serve a purpose. Much in the same way Transformers movies serve a purpose at the theater. You can’t expect a deeper meaning behind them. Spears’ music isn’t trying to change the world; it’s pop music that has fun and flirts and dances its way through the ears and body. If anything, and without knowing it, Spears might actually encourage people to live in the moment.

The cohesion of her show may have been applied with a Band-Aid as her costume and set changes were the femme fatale in various disguises, but her and her cadre of dancers churned out the energy like DJs at a gay bar in full swing. Nary a break was to be found in the high energy set list that thumped its way into the adulating fans as they roared with each song. The true fans knew all the words to even her non-hits from Fatale, while the rest fanatically pumped their fists and danced to the beat.

Each costume and set was threaded with a film narrative of a man tracking the “sexy assassin” down but to try to tell a story here didn’t add much to any theme or tone.

Gone are the strong line dances as she’s reduced her moves to patty-cake hand movements, cheap stripper-esque poses and a whole lot of hair whipping, but instead, this is who Britney Spears is and even if it lacked a certain panache, it still reduced fans to tears and screams. Unfortunately, lip-synching rumors were evident as her vocal tracks were crystal clear from the beginning with “Hold It Against Me” to almost the end. I could say I heard a breathier, realistic tone to her singing in the encore “Toxic” and it wasn’t bad.

—  Rich Lopez

Seasons of LOVE • Pride Weddings & Celebrations 2011

Couples who have been together a while celebrate anniversaries in many ways

ON HIGH SEAS | George Harris, left of the man in the New York City shirt, and his partner Jack Evans, flanking on the right, marked their golden anniversary with a week-long cruise to Mexico with more than a dozen close friends.

By Jef tingley

At the risk of sounding like a song from Rent: How does a couple measure a year? It’s the question many same-sex partners are faced with when they make it past 365 days together and seek to fix that elusive date they call their “anniversary.” Was it the first glance? First date? First, uhh, encounter? Or how about the day they loaded the cats in the U-Haul and moved in together?

The answer, it seems, is yes to all of the above. But whether grand or subtle, these couples had their own reasons and ways for making their anniversaries an affair to remember.

Jack Evans and George Harris met each other on Jan. 19, 1961 at the Taboo Room, a long-defunct gay bar located on Lomo Alto Drive off Lemmon Avenue. Earlier this year, they decided to mark their golden anniversary.

“Fifty years and still goin’ strong!” Harris crows.

To celebrate, they invited a group of 16 friends to fly to Los Angeles in early April. The couple spend a day touring the city, including a trip to the Getty Museum, before they all boarded the Princess Sapphire for a one-week Mexican Riviera cruise. The adventure included stopovers in Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo.

“It was wonderful,” says Evans. “A great, harmonious, no-drama group.”

Lakewood residents David Wood and Don Hendershot met 25 years ago at a tea dance at the infamous Parliament House in Orlando, Fla.; however, it was just this year that they took their relationship to the next level, getting legally married in Boston on March 25.

It was certainly a day they’ll never forget. Taking the marriage advice of “something blue” too literally, Hendershot fell from a ladder the day before the wedding, leaving him with a broken hand and bruised ribs going into the ceremony. Major body trauma aside, the intimate wedding came off without a hitch — “except for my unexpected explosion of tears when we exchanged vows,” says Wood.

The duo credit the wedding of a younger couple they are friends with for prompting them to make the move from longtime live-ins to actual husband status. “We had been discussing how we were going to celebrate 25 years and seeing such a young couple tie the knot actually inspired us to do the same,” Wood says.

Oak Cliff residents Kathy Jack and Susie Buck also celebrated one of their anniversaries (year seven) with a wedding. As a result, the couple, now together 15 years, claims two anniversary dates for their very own. “Our anniversary is Feb. 14, which was not planned,” says Jack of the Valentine’s Day milestone. “But our wedding anniversary is Feb. 15, which was planned.” The date change was apparently made to best accommodate the schedule of the couple and their friends as they traveled to Hawaii for a destination wedding.

It was a trip they will both remember for years to come. “Maui on your wedding night. Waves crashing. Champagne. How much better can it get?” says Buck. “[We are] hoping to get away for our 20th to Greece.”

For Oak Cliff couple Todd Johnson and Tom Caraway, who will celebrate their 12-year anniversary on Nov. 3, the special day wasn’t about rushing to the altar — it was about traveling the world together.

“For our 10-year anniversary, we wanted to go someplace special,” says Johnson. “Paris kept popping up, but it seemed like such a cliché. Surely, we could be more original than that. But neither of us had ever been and it was the best decision. Paris is a very special place, my favorite city on the planet. Just strolling the streets of St. Germain, the Marais. The beauty of the city is so inspiring. I now understand why you see people making out on practically every street corner.”

PARIS WHEN IT SIZZLES | Tom Caraway, pictured, and his partner Todd Johnson decided to mark their 10th anniversary with a trip to Paris, where neither had ever been. The trip included touristy things like visiting the Louvre, pictured, but also fine dining and a stop at Pere Lachaise cemetery to visit the grave of Oscar Wilde.

He’s quick to add that Parisian dining was equally as appealing a part of the trip for the self-proclaimed foodies. “[We] decided to eat our way across the city. All the bistros and patisseries offered one delicious bite after another. For our official anniversary dinner, we went to Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athenee, considered one of the finest restaurants in the world. It was like something out of a movie: crystal chandeliers, haute couture decor, formal service but happily not stuffy. We couldn’t get over the food: guinea fowl with truffle pie, steamed langoustines, asparagus with black truffles.”

However, it’s how the couple ended the anniversary excursion that really stands out. “We visited Pere Lachaise, the largest cemetery in Paris. It’s the one where Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried. I know. A cemetery? Romantic?” says Johnson. “But there we were in this perfectly still, quiet place amid the bustle of Paris. The sun was close to setting. The gravestones cast long shadows across the lawn. There was something about the moment that was magical. You focus on the beauty and fragility of life, and it makes you thankful for everything that you have  — especially the love that you have. We took each other’s hands and strolled along the cemetery. It’s my favorite moment of the trip.”

So perhaps the folks in Rent have it right. Maybe you do measure a year in cups of coffee and sunsets? Or, maybe it’s wedding rings and graveyard strolls? Regardless of what it takes, it seems each couple has their own way of making the phrase “happy anniversary” truly mean something.

— Additional reporting by David Taffet

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 6, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Arrestingly good

JAPW
GET CUFFED | Joan as Police Woman will show off her confident, new edge at Dada this Friday.

 

With queer cred to spare, Joan as Police Woman cops to experimental pop on her new album

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Cazwell isn’t the only artist who can put beefcake in his videos. Joan as Police Woman can do it just as fiercely … and she doesn’t even mind if the gay boys aren’t looking at her. In fact, she’s glad for it.

“Good!” she laughs when asked about the stable of muscle daddies in her music video “The Magic.” “Why would you want to?”

It is hard to concentrate on the singer in front of you when she’s flanked by hot studs working out and washing cars — that is, if you’re into that sort of thing. Joan Wasser (her everyday name) had no input on this concept, but loved the absurdist art of it against her song.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.03.18 PM“The person that did it obviously is a total genius,” she says. “They gave me a bunch of treatments for it that were kinda fashion-y or too involved, but when I got to that one, it was a no-brainer. Videos are so ridiculous anyway and I don’t think of the visual, just the music. But when I read that treatment, I thought, ‘How wonderful.’”

Anyway, she digs the irony of it: Scantily clad men surrounding a female lead are the antithesis of hip-hop. And although she didn’t think it would be overtly gay and didn’t know the bodybuilders would be wearing “tiny scraps of fabric” (for real, girl?), she cannot gush enough over the final product.

The video hasn’t been seen too much in local gay bars, but she had a tearful moment when it played in, of all places, Pontiac, Mich. After a gig in the drabby city, Wasser and her band went to eat at a bistro called Liberty Bar.

“We very quickly realized we were in a gay bar,” she recalls. “They were playing Gaga and Pink videos, so we explained that we just played a show and I have this video. I got to watch these guys appreciating the video and clapping. It was the most beautiful moment! I almost started crying.”

Joan as Police Woman plays Friday at c­lub Dada, bringing her indie sensibilities to town, but not without some major queer cred behind her. Having worked with Antony Hegarty in 1999 and then with Rufus Wainwright on his 2003 tour, she came out of her shell as a solo artist. Shattered by her boyfriend Jeff Buckley’s death in 1997, she and a new band tried to release an album, but it was a scary time for her and the songs were kept to themselves.

Then she joined Antony and the Johnsons. With some budding confidence, she eventually dipped her foot in the waters of going solo. Then Rufus happened.

“He had asked me to join his band to tour with and also open as a solo artist,” she says. “I had to take the chance at some point and opening in front of his crowd — a crowd of music lovers would be amazing.”

Four albums later, her latest release The Deep Field finds Wasser at her most confident. The package of experimental indie pop is challenging yet accessible. She’s mellow without being boring and she can rock without trying to prove something. But mostly Field reflects a newfound fortitude and poise.

“This record was like a declaration of freedom for myself,” she explains. “I spent a lot of my life up confused, fearful. Once I made the choice to be happy, things fell into place.  I hate to make it sound oversimplified, but if you wish to feel good, happy, and free from worry, you can if you just decide.”

But for the record — and despite her hanging around muscled men and queer artists like Hegarty and Wainwright (oh and living with Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis) — the one thing Wasser is not is a fag hag.

“Oh, I wouldn’t call myself that! I’m just comfortable around gay,” she laughs out loud. “I definitely cannot call myself straight, but I make no distinction. Those guys and I are all in the same game and get along. But I do appreciate anything homo. I heart gay.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 29, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

BOOKS: ‘Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in the 1950s’

Will Fellows and Helen P. Branson
University of Wisconsin Press (1957/ 2010), $26.95, 166 pp.

TGIF: Four little letters that, alone, have different meanings. One is a beverage. One, a gentle expletive. One a personal pronoun, and the last is… well, it’s a letter. Add them together, though, and they bring smiles to the faces of weary workers who’ve done their time for the week.

But what if your options for Friday night were limited? What if you couldn’t go out because you couldn’t come out? In Gay Bar, you can read about a woman who solved that problem when doing so was bold.

For most of her adult life, Helen Branson was interested in the occult and what we now call New Age subjects. Straight, married and a mother, Helen was also a woman ahead of her time: She was extremely interested in friendships with gay men.

Back in the 1950s, homosexuality was still considered an illness that could be “cured” with intensive therapy and classes. Gays and lesbians were degenerates shunned with horror by much of straight society. Some even considered gayness to be a threat comparable to Communism.

Helen didn’t care. Her “boys” were welcome in her establishment, as long as they behaved — and she wasn’t afraid to oust anyone who didn’t. She protected her clients from the police, roughnecks, haters, scammers and themselves. She fed them, gave them a safe place to congregate and became a surrogate mother to them. She also studied them, and encouraged their families to love them, too.

Will Fellows had seen a book that Branson wrote in the mid-’50s, and he thought the memoir/social commentary might make a good play. Fascinated, he began to dig into the life and thoughts of this progressive straight woman who embraced gay men.

If Fellows had just left well-enough alone, if he had just let that book stand on its own merits, this book might have been better. Gay Bar — the original version — had its charms. It offered a unique and honest vintage look at gay life from the perspective of a woman who genuinely loved them for who they were and who hated their persecution. Branson had some (very un-PC) theories on being gay, and she was obviously willing to discuss things with anyone who would listen, as evidenced by her friendship and correspondence with a sympathetic psychiatrist who also studied homosexuality.

But Fellows steps in and puts Branson’s words into today’s perspective. I thought his ideas were intelligent and well-considered, but against Branson’s bygone-era charm, they muddy the appeal of the original.

Read it only if you remember that this is more a gay academic history book than it is pleasure reading. If you’re looking for something fun, leave Gay Bar for another day.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 15, 2011.

—  John Wright

6 months later, owner Keith Lackie says Klub Wet will finally open on Maple Avenue next week

Keith Lackie

After six months of wrangling over parking requirements, the new gay bar Klub Wet is set to open on Maple Avenue next week, according to owner Keith Lackie.

Lackie initially planned to open the bar in late October, in the building that previously housed Illlusions, 4100 Maple. But at the last minute, the city refused to issue a certificate of occupancy, saying Lackie didn’t have sufficient parking.

What followed was a protracted dispute involving the city, Lackie and Crow Holdings, which owns property across Throckmorton Street where Lackie had two remote parking agreements. In the end, Lackie said he decided to build his own parking lot on a parcel behind the bar that’s owned by his landlord.

“We finally got it figured out,” Lackie told Instant Tea today. “Everybody’s very excited right now. … I don’t give up on anything. It takes a lot more than Crow Holdings to get me to give up.”

Lackie has said he spent $150,000 remodeling the inside of Klub Wet, which will fulfill a dream he had his with late partner, Andy Primm.

Lackie also plans to redo the outside of the building once the bar is open.

He said he expected to receive a permit today to begin grading the new parking lot, and hopes to be open by the middle of next week. But this time, he isn’t setting a firm date.

“With the city, you never know what they’re going to pull at the last minute,” he said. “I’m just going to hold off on announcing the actual opening date until I get final approval and get my CO [certificate of occupancy] in my hands.”

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Obama kicks off 2012 re-election campaign; police raid gay bar in Shanghai

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

President Barack Obama

1. President Barack Obama formally launched his 2012 re-election campaign this morning. Above is the video sent via email to supporters.

2. Police in Shanghai, China, raided a popular gay bar over the weekend and took more than 60 people into custody. Customers and staff members from Q Bar reportedly were detained for up to 12 hours in cold rooms with no food or water.

3. The military will be ready to implement the repeal “don’t ask don’t tell” by mid-summer, a Pentagon official told a House committee on Friday.

—  John Wright

Take 2

CASTING A WIDE NET | Paris, Texas’ Ash Christian scored a stellar comedic cast for his low-budget, North Texas-shot indie film that includes John Waters, Jennifer Coolidge, Leslie Jordan and Heather Matarazzo.

Gay Texas filmmaker Ash Christian’s second movie encountered death and cast changes on its way to its debut this week — in his home state

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE SET OF ‘MANGUS’

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

It is New Year’s Eve 2009, and Ash Christian is ready to unwind a bit — probably for the first time in a month. In a few hours, after a haircut and a disco nap, he will be out partying at Dish in the ilume. The wine will flow freely that night, and at midnight he will ring in 2010 to the strains of Black-Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.”

Ash Christian certainly is feeling something that day, and that is stressed. He had returned to North Texas a few weeks earlier for what was supposed to be a quick two-week trip to scout locations and raise money for his independent film, Mangus, which was supposed to finish filming before it had actually begun.

But as with a lot of what happens in Hollywood, things did not go as planned. Christian had an enthusiastic backer in Friley Davidson, a well-off Dallasite who had pledged a big chunk of the budget for Mangus. But Davidson died unexpectedly just before Christmas … and before he had cut the check for the film. (Several months later, Marty Hershner, owner of the Tin Room — Christian’s favorite gay bar in Dallas and the set for one of the climactic scenes — dies, devastating Christian.) It’s been a scramble ever since.

Christian is used to it by now. Although it’s only his second film, and he was only 24 when he started on it, Christian is already a veteran of the indie filmmaking scene and all the potholes that dot the road. He was 20 and about to shoot his first movie, Fat Girls, when civic leaders in the town of Canton, where photography was supposed to take place, pulled the permits a day before production was set to start because they didn’t like the gay content in the script.

ON THE SET | Jennifer Coolidge’s improvisation of a breadstick to look like a penis cracked up Heather Matarazzo during the last day of filming on ‘Mangus.’ (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

“I don’t know why we even wanted to film in Canton anyway,” he says years later. Christian found a replacement quickly in Waxahachie, and the final product became well-received on the festival circuit, praised for its quirky charm about a gay, musical-loving Texas boy and his chubby best friend (Ashley Fink, now on Glee).

Although not a financial hit, Fat Girls got Christian noticed in Hollywood. He “took a lot of meetings,” as they say, discussing big-budget projects studios wanted him to helm. But nothing seemed to fit. Whatever they wanted him to make isn’t what he wanted to make.

“You need to believe in your vision,” he said earlier this week over chicken flautas at Komali. “You have to be comfortable with your vision not being totally mainstream.”

That devotion has paid off in little ways. This week, Mangus gets its world premiere in Christian’s home state with two screenings at the Dallas International Film Festival.

“I’m happy it is premiering here, because so much of the crew was based here. It’s great for them,” says the Paris, Texas, native. “We already have some distribution offers, too, so we’re in a good place.”

It’s been a long journey from that day 15 months ago when I met Christian, one of his stars, actress Heather Matarazzo, and her girlfriend, Caroline Murphy, at Taco Diner in the West Village, where we discussed the film over fish tacos and quesadillas. There was a lot of excitement that day, as filming was about to start. They toasted with Diet Coke.

But things happen quickly and unpredictably in the universe of indie cinema: Sometimes things go smoothly and sometimes not. Christian was lucky to get Matarazzo to do the film — he wrote it with her in mind even though the two had never met.

(Originally, Christian had written a leading role for himself, until he got too old to play it. He doesn’t appear in the final version of the film at all.)

“I went to the premier of Saved [in which Matarazzo starred] and I came up to give you…” Christian begins, before Matarazzo interrupts.

“Was I nice?” she asks. Yes, he responds.

“I remember exactly where I was. He said I wrote this script for you — people say that all the time but this happened to be true,” Matarazzo said. He told her he wanted to film it in North Texas, which just happened to be where her girlfriend was from.

Murphy and her brother ended up writing music for the film. Then Matarazzo scored another coup for the film.

“Heather got Alan Cumming to take a part!” Christian gushes over his most recent casting decision. “She just sent him the script and he agreed to do it!” (The two had worked together on The L Word.)

But things are fluky. Within two weeks, Cumming will drop out, only to be replaced by Leslie Jordan. Jennifer Coolidge, who has been tapped to play the mother of the small-town kid Mangus, was still onboard though, as was Matarazzo, whose costume of Daisy Dukes, a blonde wig and hooker shoes “make you look like Jessica Simpson,” Christian observes. (That’s her character’s name in the film, too.)

Shooting was delayed, as was the fundraising to produce the damn thing, but it eventually proceeds. Even that, though, was not without its drama. It’s Feb. 10, 2010 — the last day of filming — and an unexpected snowstorm has all but ruined the final shots of the script. Overcast skies make the lighting all wrong for the scene, where Mangus’ mom welcomes him home. It doesn’t help matters that Christian is hopped up on antibiotics; he’s been fighting a losing battle against the flu all week. But there are no sick days when you’re making a movie in three weeks.

“This is my day, just sitting around,” Christian says with frustration on the set, waiting for his cast to get into costume. But a year later, he’s singing a different tune.

“Directing is my favorite part,” he says. “You learn a lot. [The final film] isn’t what I thought I was writing. Actors bring their own interpretations to it. Leslie is kind of amazing in the movie. Coolidge is great — she’s really, really funny. Some of the stuff they come up with is funnier than anything I could have written.” For instance, Coolidge suggests arranging the breadstick on a plate to resemble a penis; she keeps breaking up Matarazzo with her adlibs, necessitating numerous retakes.

Christian has learned some practical lessons as well to help him negotiate the minefield of moviemaking. He’s just wrapped on his third feature, Petunia, starring Oscar winner Christine Lahti and David Rasche, the movie he fully expects will usher him into “the next level” of filmmaking. And a new financial angel has just given him half a million dollars to put toward his next picture. (This time, he got the money in hand before something happened to the backer.)

And as always, things seem to work out. Eventually, John Waters even joined the cast of Mangus to play the part of — wait for it — Jesus Christ.

“I sent him word I would like him to be in my movie and a few minutes later I get this call, ‘Ash, this is John Waters. Can you send a script to my apartment?’ I wasn’t even sure if I needed to deliver it myself or send a courier or what. But he read it and quickly said, ‘I’ll do it; call my agent.’” They ended up shooting Waters’ scenes in Provincetown in front of a green-screen to be digitally inserted in the final product. He can’t wait for his local friends to see it.

Christian, who has lived in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan for years, says he fully expects to end up back in North Texas eventually. He likes Dallas, he says: The people and how much cheaper food is … and, presumably, the reaction he gets here to his movies. But until the screening, it’s across the street to drink sweet-tea vodka martinis and stare at the dick dancers at BJ’s. Hey, there’s a time for movies and a time to relax.

For additional information, visit MangusTheMovie.com.

Also of interest at DIFF:

In addition to Mangus!, some other films that came up on our radar at the Dallas International Film Festival include:

Boy Wonder — a psychological thriller about a comic book fan who witnesses the murder of his mother, becoming a vigilante by night as a super hero. Screens at AMC NorthPark on April 1 at 7 p.m. and April 2 at 10:15 p.m.

Lucky — A comedy about a fledgling serial killer (Colin Hanks), who wins the Iowa State Lottery, enabling him to pursue his hobby. Also stars screen legend Ann-Margret, who will receive an award from the festival. Screens at the Magnolia Theatre, April 1 at 7 p.m. and April 2 at 12:30 p.m.

More to Live For — A documentary about the quest for bone marrow donors (a procedure which holds the promise of becoming a cure for AIDS). Directed by Noah Hutton, the son of Debra Winger and Timothy Hutton. Screens at AMC NorthPark on April 3 at 9 p.m.

Rainbows End — This Texas-based documentary, which we profiled last week, tracks a kooky gay man from East Texas, pictured, as he sets off for L.A. to get Internet lessons from the gay and lesbian center there. Screens at the Magnolia Theatre April 1 at 10 p.m. and April 3 at noon.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 1, 2011.

—  John Wright