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

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Nightlife

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DICK DANCER DESTINATION
The Tin Room

2514 Hudnall St.
Open Sunday­–Thursday till 2 a.m.,
Friday–Saturday till 3 a.m.
214-526-6365
TinRoom.net

We could sit here and pretend that the reason the Tin Room won as the top Dick Dancer Destination has something to do with the atmosphere, or the bar service, or the variety of cocktail options. Yeah, and we read Inches magazine for the articles. But less just ‘fess up: The reason we love the Tin Room is because it has hot, fit, tattooed young men who shake like the San Andreas on a trampoline. And they’re friendly. And we’re certain they are good people. And there’s a cage. And a shower. Yeah, we definitely could use a drink.

— Arnold Wayne Jones


LESBIAN HOT SPOT
Sue Ellen’s

3014 Throckmorton St.
Open daily till 2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-559-0707
Caven.com

We love that Sue Ellen’s moved into the big digs once home to TMC a few years ago: Dallas’ long-running gal-pal spot feels right at home in its current location. There are plenty of spots to hear live music (a longtime selling point for female and male patrons), lots of nooks to get all cozy on handsome sofas and chairs, spacious dance floors, even dandy spots for daytime laptop work while enjoying a beverage. It’s geared for the ladies, but appeals to men, too.

— Mark Lowry


BEST NIGHTLIFE EVENT TO ATTEND IN THE MIDDLE OF DAY
Chill Sunday

House of Blues’ Foundation Room
2200 N. Lamar St.
2–6 p.m.
Facebook.com/SXSProductions

Truth be told, the gays cannot do a Sunday afternoon without a mimosa and a brunch menu. Thankfully, SxS Productions and Janus, the guys behind the monthly Chill Sunday, take it to a different level without the guilt of an overindulgent meal. Don’t worry. Lunch happens at Chill, but alongside the Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas, the music by a rotating lineup of DJs is always a downtempo beat, which makes for a cool way to bring the weekend to a close.

— Rich Lopez

 

ULTIMATE DALLAS CLUB
The Round-Up Saloon

3912 Cedar Springs Road
Daily 8 p.m.—2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com


ULTIMATE FORT WORTH CLUB
Rainbow Lounge

651 South Jennings Ave., Fort Worth
Open daily until 2 a.m.
817-870-2466
Facebook.com/RainbowLounge

 

BEST HAPPY HOUR
JR.’s Bar & Grill

3923 Cedar Springs Road
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-528-1004
Caven.com


BEST AFTER HOURS CLUB • TIE
TMC: The Mining Company

3903 Cedar Springs Road
Open Thursday–Sunday till 2 a.m.,
after hours dancing Friday–Sunday
214-521-4205
Caven.com

Station 4

3911 Cedar Springs Road
Open Wednesday-Sunday till 2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com


FRIENDLIEST CLUB STAFF
The Round-Up Saloon

3912 Cedar Springs Road
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

 

SEXIEST BARTENDER
Carter Young

JR.’s Bar & Grill
3923 Cedar Springs Road
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-528-1004
Caven.com

 

BEST CLUB DJ
Ronnie Bruno


TWINKY TOWN
Station 4

3911 Cedar Springs Road
Open Wednesday-Sunday till 2 a.m.
After-hours dancing till 4 a.m.
214-526-7171
Caven.com

 

DADDY DEPOT
The Dallas Eagle

5740 Maple Ave.
Open Sunday­–Thursday till 2 a.m.,
Friday–Saturday till 4 a.m.
214-357-4375
DallasEagle.com

 

BEST KARAOKE
The Round-Up Saloon

3912 Cedar Springs Road
Daily 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
214-522-9611
RoundUpSaloon.com

 

OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Jack’s Backyard

2303 Pittman Road
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-741-3131
JacksBackyardDallas.com

 

IT’S STRAIGHT BUT WE GO
The Grapevine Bar

3902 Maple Ave.
Open daily till 2 a.m.
214-522-8466
TheGrapevineBar.com

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

—  John Wright

Diego all the way

San Diego’s Hillcrest gayborhood gives off major charm and hot charisma

Tenille Taggert and  Josh San Julian Contributing Travel Writers | gaytravel.com

Hilcrest
HARD TO MISS | Hillcrest is home to a bustling LGBT community in San Diego.

Homo is where the heart is, and for San Diego’s gay and lesbian community that means Hillcrest. Spanning less than a mile’s walking distance, this easygoing neighborhood makes a perfect triangle appropriately enough. Three points and one magical means of transportation will get visitors from point A to B, and then C. Genius? We say yes. This is dubbed San Diego’s Gay Triangle, and unlike the Bermuda Triangle, you will not get lost.

Urban Mo’s, a well-known gay restaurant and bar in San Diego, offers rides on their Mo’s-Mobile to their sister locations Baja Betty’s and Gossip Grill. This comes in handy for extra exploring of the neighborhood. The Mo’s-Mobile is an open-air golf cart capable of seating six and ideal for some major bar hopping. Travelers will be in luck to get Nino as a driver. He plays classic Madonna via his iPod as the cart cruises down the avenues.

Adventures should be started at Urban Mo’s mostly for the frozen black lemonade — basically a Slurpee with booze.  Happy hour can’t come soon enough, and Baja Betty’s has figured that out. They have created the “Papi Hour” where 2 p.m. is the new 4 p.m. Affordable drinks and nibbles this early in the afternoon and the kind of deal that will assure Hillcrest newbies and visitors they will never go hungry or sober again. Betty’s is famous for their margaritas, welcoming atmosphere and cheese queso dip that has earned the not-so-attractive nickname “cheese crack” because it’s just as addictive. Just don’t smoke it.

The newest addition to Hillcrest is the Gossip Grill. This lesbian hot spot is gender friendly, but the ladies have called it home. For the obligatory cup of coffee outside, Filter Coffee House is  a must. Aside from shooting up espresso beans, a cup of joe from Filter turns out to be just as invigorating and potent and the best part — it’s open 24 hours a day every day of the year. Geared with free WI-FI and European-style seating outdoors, any homework assignment or break-up coffee date can be vanquished here.

If the dance floor is beckoning, make your way to Rich’s, the gay dance club of Hillcrest. DJs make love to their turntables, which is a good thing. The spot has an outdoor dance floor, beer garden and VIP booths. Thursdays at Rich’s is Repent night which translates into ladies night. Bacchus House caters mostly to the Latino crowd with Bear Night every Saturday. For a simple speakeasy environment, cruise the gents at Pecs bar, which was named one of the top 50 gay bars in the U.S. by Logo. Bourbon Street offers many options for men and women with club nights, live music and even dining options.

Much more than cereal at the Lei Lounge is on tap for Sunday brunch where the menu  includes petit filet mignon and eggs, stuffed French toast, an omelet bar and smoked salmon quesadillas to name a few. Also on hand will be an assortment of recovering gays from heavy weekend activities.

………………………..

LITTLE BLACK BOOK

NIGHTLIFE
Rich’s San Diego, 1051 University Ave. RichsSanDiego.com. Bourbon Street, 4612 Park Blvd. BourbonStreetSD.com. Pecs Bar, 2046 University Ave. PecsBar.com. Bacchus House, 3054 University Ave. BacchusHouse.com.

DINING
Urban Mo’s Bar & Grill, 308 University Ave.
UrbanMos.com. Baja Betty’s, 1421 University Ave. BajaBettysD.com. The Gossip Grill, 1440 University Ave. TheGossipGrill.com. Filter Coffee House, pictured, 4096 30th St. MySpace.com/FilterCoffeeHouse. Lei Lounge, 4622 Park Blvd. LeiLounge.com.

RESOURCES
San Diego Gay and Lesbian Travel Guide, SanDiego.org.

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

—  Michael Stephens