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

Tasting notes

Addison casts a ‘Queer Eye’ on food (again); Axiom spins for charity

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

Ted-Allen-bottle-shot
DRINK UP | Ted Allen returns to Taste of Addison to deliver a presentation on wine.

With summer basically here (on the thermometer if not the calendar), restaurants and bars are revamping their menus. At Fearing’s, that means complimentary two-bite mini tacos and three new cocktails, including a sangria and gin drink, for midweek (Wednesday and Thursday) happy hour from 5:30 to 7 p.m.  inside at the Rattlesnake Bar or al fresco at the Live Oak Bar.

Scott Gottlich and J Chastain have launched a new menu at their Second Floor restaurant inside the Galleria. Among the entrees are now a croque madame pizza, day boat scallops and a Meyer lemon meringue cake. Gottlich’s other restaurant, the fabulous Bijoux at the Inwood Village, will present a showcase of classic dishes during May and June. From May 17–20, then June 17–18, you can enjoy a five-course meal with time-honored dishes like oysters Rockefeller and beef Wellington. Cost is $68 ($95 with wine pairing).

Fin Sushi — now officially Axiom Sushi — holds the “Spin 4 a Cause” event  twice monthly on Wednesdays. Each time, the restaurant will choose a local celebrity to serve as guest DJ, who selects a non-profit of his or her choice as beneficiary. Money raised from 6 to 8 p.m. directly benefits that charity.

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IS THAT REALLY EDIBLE? | You bet your last taste bud you can feast on the raspberry and vanilla cheesecake ‘surprise’ from The Mansion’s new pastry chef, Nicolas Blouin.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek has named Nicolas Blouin as its new pastry chef, and just a quick look at some of his architectural creations, pictured, will set your mouth watering.

Tiff’s Treats, which could single-handedly undo all my exercise gains, has opened its third Dallas location, at Hillcrest and Northwest Highway. To celebrate, on May 14 it will sell boxes of fresh-made (and still warm!) cookies and brownies, proceeds of which will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

When we think of pizza meccas, Grapevine doesn’t pop quickly to mind, but that changes for a bit this weekend. The burb’s Main Street Days festival in its historic downtown celebrates pizza for three days putting it on a most deserving pedestal. Napoli’s, Farina’s Winery and Café and Gepetto’s Pizza are just some of the restaurants making an appearance. We hear the latter’s medium pizza is a hefty five pounds. While pepperoni is the stuff dreams are made of, think a step up with some of the offerings from Farina’s Scorcher pizza with chicken and jalapenos to Napoli’s s’mores pizza.

Speaking of, the Uptown pizzeria Coal Vines has opened a branch at The Shops at Legacy. That joins the latest branch of Deep Ellum’s Twisted Root Burger Co. which also opened there, making The Shops — with a Kent Rathbun restaurant (Jasper’s), an Angelika Film Center and other shops — is really becoming the Uptown of Plano.

Addison’s annual Taste of Addison food extravaganza starts Friday, May 20 and runs through May 22, not only with samplings from dozens of restaurants, but also music from Third Eye Blind and others. Queer Eye food expert Ted Allen and Robert Mondavi spokesperson returns to give a wine seminar for eager palates. Learn more at AddisonTexas.net.

Dickey’s Pit Barbecue has made the first permanent change to its menu in 50 years. The spicy cheddar sausage, a special item in recent months, will now be a fixture on the menu.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Vegetarian Times has nominated Dallas’ Hail Merry for a Foodie Award, recognizing its raw-vegan blond macaroons. You can vote for it at
VegetarianTimes.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 13, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Spin 4 a Cause at Axiom Sushi tonight benefits Kidd’s Kids

Hey Mr. DJ

Don’t say music can’t bring people together. That’s the weekly goal of Spin 4 a Cause with DJ Jose G. Every Wednesday S4AC is intent on “bringing together community leaders, music and food to raise awareness and funds for local nonprofit chapters and organizations.” This week’s guest DJ is Derrick Brown and the night benefits Kidd’s Kids. So all that and happy hour drink specials? Umm, yes, please.

DEETS: Axiom Sushi Lounge,4123 Cedar Springs Road. 6 p.m. No cover.

—  Rich Lopez

After debilitating fight with cancer, DJ Troy Sands is staging a comeback on the local club scene

COMPLETELY REMASTERED  |  Sands found strength in his partner, Morgan, and his colleagues to make a return to DJing after fighting cancer, and he found a residence at the Dallas Eagle. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

After performing for thousands of people, you wouldn’t expect DJ Troy Sands to get nervous easily. But his nerves are a jumble as he gets ready for his close-up.

Back in the day, he was quick to shed his shirt for a little beefcake snapshot. Not so much anymore. Sands is re-learning to be comfortable in from of the camera after a bout with cancer that affected his mouth and face, including a complete bone replacement of his jaw. But Sands compensates with a renewed vigor that is about to put him back in the game after a five-year absence.

“I really was about to throw in the towel,” Sands says. “But the things that are happening now tell me it’s for a reason. I’ve been given a gift and I’d be foolish to waste it.”

For most of the last decade, Sands has been virtually invisible in the club DJ scene. He built a name in Dallas spinning regularly at the old Brick and had high-profile gigs such as opening for legendary DJ Junior Vasquez at Club One and hosting T-dances at Liquid. He developed a reputation as a guest DJ nationally before that trend had really taken off, remixing and producing music for the Hot Tracks and Direct Hit labels. In dance music circles, the Dallas-based spin doctor was a pretty damn big deal.

Sands’ DJ career had hit its stride by 2005, with him on the cusp of achieving his personal goals. Working with high profile artists and keeping his nationwide gigs regular, Sands was getting the name recognition he wanted and even needed for a long career as a DJ — it was also wearing him down.

Then came Christmas 2006.

Sands felt something inside his mouth that seemed off. He dismissed it, but his partner, Morgan Millican, ended up taking him to get it checked out.

HEY MR. DJ | ‘I wanted to make sure I left a mark so people can say I was here,’ he says about his music. With a new lease on life, Sands is anxious to take audiences on musical journeys again.

“The day after Christmas, I got news that squamous cell carcinoma showed up on my biopsy [in his mouth]. It was devastating,” he says. He had had two previous cancer diagnoses, but that was 10 years earlier. And this was a lot more serious. (It is similar to the cancer than has afflicted Roger Ebert, though Ebert’s is more severe, Sands says.)
Sands was in good physical shape and health, despite being HIV-positive, but with his compromised immune system, this cancer was back with a vengeance.

“I knew something was wrong and I had to do something,” he says. “I hadn’t been taking any antivirals and I didn’t have insurance, so I got scared. I didn’t think I had any choices, but Morgan kicked me in the ass to look into it.”

Initially, doctors at Baylor Hospital decided severing his tongue to eliminate the cancer was the only option — and even with that, they gave Sands only a 25 percent survival rate. But the doctors who had treated him for cancer in 1997 stepped in and moved him to Parkland.

“I was hesitant to get into their system, but I found out that people shouldn’t be afraid of Parkland,” he says. “I didn’t have any choices. They became my saviors. I almost died in 2007. I normally weigh about 165 and had lost 45 pounds. But if you look at me today, it’s thanks to Parkland.”

Still, it was the hardest road he has ever taken.

Sands worked his last gig in February 2007 in Akron, Ohio, at the Hearts on Fire circuit party before undergoing chemo and radiation treatment on his face and neck throughout that spring. Although he kept his day job at the Knox-Henderson branch of the Apple store through November 2008, the radiation took its toll — and was also liquefying his jawbone.

“I worked through my treatment, and I was very happy at Apple,” he says. “But I had to leave to get focused on my health. It wasn’t until almost a year later, that I was diagnosed with osteoradionecrosis, where the jaw bone is dead.”
Sands had jaw replacement surgery in May 2009. You could literally say his leg bone’s connected to his head bone: A medical team connected a portion of his fibula to replace the missing mandible. Then he learned that the cancer had been incubating in his lungs.

“I thought I was cancer free, but it was found in the upper left lobe of the lung and I had to have that removed [last] October,” he says.

Sands had a long tenure at the Brick when it was located on Maple Avenue, building up his name there. When the club was closing and regular DJs returned for a big farewell bash, it broke his heart that he could not attend. He did return eventually to the club in the new space last September, but his optimism was outweighed by self-imposed pressure.

“I was depressed not to be part of the closing party, but I look back and it would have been foolish to do it,” he says. “When I played the Brick this last time, I had mentally gone to a dark place. My skill was rusty and I was nervous. I was trying to be what they remembered and tried too hard.”

Local DJ Blaine Soileau stepped in to help get Sands back on track, but in his eyes, he was merely returning a favor.

“Troy was my inspiration to move forward with my DJ/production career and into the circuit realm,” Soileau says. “The face of music and touring has changed dramatically since his departure from the scene.”

Sands was there helping Soileau get his career off the ground and he credits him with lighting a fire under him to now get back into the game. Soileau loaned him equipment to tinker with and pushed to have him play at the Dallas Eagle, only this time, Sands feels ready.

“Blain told me that the Eagle was interested in talking to me,” Sands says. “I used to be the one trying to help people and now Blaine was working to help me get back. The crowd and staff seem excited and [owner] Mark Frazier has been awesome. What they are going to hear from me is not your typical circuit fare, but definitely appropriate for the club. This is giving me my life back and I have Blaine and Chris to thank for that.”

Chris refers to famed DJ Chris Cox, who owned the Hot Tracks label Sands worked on and who has now gone on to international fame. To Sands, Cox has been an inspiration and hero. That was reaffirmed when Cox performed at the 2010 Austin Pride in front of thousands and requested Sands as the opener.

“I think his passion for music is partially responsible for his fight to live,” Cox says. “I knew he still had it in him but he needed to be sure. When he was on at Pride, he totally nailed it. I’m so happy to see he’s come back. This is beyond surviving the cancer. He’s living again.”

Sands now finds himself with a resident gig at the Dallas Eagle twice a month, calling the night “Troy Built.” He loves the name, but is more in tune with the shirt he has on from Apple. Across his chest is blazoned the motto: “Completely remastered.”

“It’s a magical feeling when you connect to the crowd and Dallas has allowed me to take them on a musical journey,” he says. “I’m lit again and figuratively and physically, I do feel remastered.”

As only a DJ would say.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 21, 2011.

—  John Wright

Concert Notice: Prince to perform charity show during Super Bowl weekend

Wow. This show might trump all others. I just received this media advisory announcing Prince will be performing at theEvent on Feb. 4. The concert will benefit the Goss-Michael Foundation. What was known as Reunion Arena will be theEvent Tent Complex. Here’s what Black Book Ink says:

PRINCE TO PERFORM AT theEvent BENEFITING THE GOSS-MICHAEL FOUNDATION DURING THE BIGGEST WEEKEND IN FOOTBALL
WHEN: Friday, February 4, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: theEvent Tent Complex at the site formerly known as Reunion Arena, Reunion Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75207

WHAT: theEvent, is an all-inclusive evening of music and culture with an intimate performance with legendary songwriter, musician, producer, actor and performer – the one and only Prince, benefiting The Goss-Michael Foundation.

This all-inclusive soiree boasts music, art, food, spirits and more. Along with the rare performance by Prince, entertainment will include music from The Goss-Michael Foundation scholarship winners, guest DJ’s, a silent auction, as well as additional special guests to be announced.

theEvent will be held in Downtown Dallas at the site formerly known as Reunion Arena on Reunion Boulevard in an exclusive custom designed climate-controlled performance tent.

Arts and Culture supporters can experience theEvent with those who are as invested in the community as they are through ticket and table donations benefitting The Goss-Michael Foundation. “One of The Goss-Michael Foundation’s missions has been to encourage the talents of young artists, both visual and performing, through our statewide high school scholarship programs. With the funds raised at this one-of-a-kind event, students will be able to reach for their dreams. Prince is an artist that hundreds of millions of people around the world admire. Our scholarship winners and all of us are honored that Prince has selected The Goss-Michael-Foundation as the beneficiary” says Joyce Goss of The Goss-Michael Foundation

“Single Ticket $1500 Contribution” includes general admission, open bar and food stations.
“VIP Nest for Six $12,000 Contribution” includes VIP admission, reserved lounge style seating for six, dedicated server for drinks and food.
“Head Table for Ten $25,000 Contribution” includes VIP admission, plush stage side seating for 10 and dedicated server for food and bottle service.

Reservation Opportunities to be announced Stay Tuned to www.Twitter.com/theEventDallas

WHO: A music legend, Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label, writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of the instruments on his recordings. He has won seven Grammy™ Awards, a Golden Globe™ and an Academy Award™. In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In that same year Rolling Stone ranked Prince #28 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. According to Robert Larsen in his book, History of Rock and Roll, Prince is “one of the most talented and commercially successful pop musicians of the last 20 years”. On February 4th, 2007, he performed for the Super Bowl XLI Halftime show, Billboard.com called it the greatest Super Bowl performance ever.

That’s pretty major, but $1,500 a pop? Well, that ticket price probably trumps all the other shows too in addition to ruling out a whole lot of people to this supposedly all-inclusive event.

—  Rich Lopez