Kathy Griffin coming back to Dallas, tickets on sale Friday

Kathy-Griffin-Kathy Griffin, who stepped away from Fashion Police after a short run as lead host, probably has a lot to dish about, and you’ll get a chance to hear it all during, of course, Gay Pride Month. Griffin returns to Dallas for a show at the Majestic Theatre on June 25. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m., which you can get here. Let the fur fly!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

What’s brewing: D&G, Kathy G

dolcegabbanacampaign5Geez, what a weekend of gay drama. (Come to think of it, that’s pretty much every weekend.) TBRU concluded yesterday after causing the Growlr app to implode, but even before that, the gay world was abuzz about two big happenings.

First came word early Friday morning that Kathy Griffin was stepping away from hosting Fashion Police after barely two months on the job. This comes right on the heels of Kelly Osbourne quitting in a huff when she disagreed with a barb lobbed by Giuliana Rancic. Of course, what Giuliana said was tame compared to Joan’s one-liners. It seems like the show is imploding. Maybe it’s time to pull the plug.

Speaking of imploding fashion, gay style mavens Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana — who used to be a couple but now just run a multi-billion-dollar empire — got in hot acqua over the weekend for attacking not just same-sex marriage (they have been on record for disparaging that for years), but the rightness of gay families to raise children. “We oppose gay adoptions,” the Catholic Italians told a European news mag. “The only family is the traditional one.” (They went a lot further, attacking all forms of medically-assisted fertilization.)

Sir Elton John wasted no time shooting back, urging his followers on InstaGram to boycott D&G products — which, let’s face it, will be a challenge for a lot of label-conscious gays. But while I’m not personally a big fan of boycotts, this is one I can passively endorse: Screw these self-hating gays for going out of their way to alienate their base supporters.

Of course, D&G shot back at Sir Elton on Twitter, with Gabbana calling the singer a “fascist.” Hmmm… that’s the Italian calling the kettle Mussolini.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kathy Griffin on Cher emojis, gay ‘letters’ and already trying to get fired from ‘Fashion Police’

KathyG3Kathy Griffin isn’t kidding when she says, “If I can get serious for one second…” Putting aside her usual biting assault against all things celebrity, the comedian gets candid about her dear friend and idol Joan Rivers in our latest interview: Griffin’s frequent death-related conversations with the late comedy legend, “literally” getting Joan’s permission to succeed her on Fashion Police, and how Joan taught Kathy “not to give a fuck.” — Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: Hi Kathy, how are ya?  Kathy Griffin: Umm, this isn’t gonna go out to any, uh, gay people, right, Chris? Because, you know, you give those people an inch, they’ll take a mile.

Are you talking about penis size?  I’m talking about, when are we gonna end it with the letters and the numbers, Chris! LGBTQIA-2-3-4-5! Dammit! I’ve got a GLAAD Vanguard Award and an HRC Award and I still can’t keep up.

I’m gay myself and I can’t keep up. Which letter or number are you?

Just the G for now.  Look, Chris, you’ve gotta up your game. You’ve gotta stick in at least — can’t you be a Q? How hard is it to be a “questioning”?

For you, Kathy, I could be a Q. And I could be a number.  OK, good. I just wanted to get a little something out of you, because, you know, I gotta be up on the times with the LGBTQIA2s, and from what I understand you people are adding letters on a daily basis.

It’s really confusing you straight people, I know. Keep it simple for the breeders! We are simple people, dammit!

So, Kathy, congratulations on Fashion PoliceThank you! I am so-o-o-o excited! I mean, obviously I have the biggest shoes in the world to fill. But the fact that Joan and I were such good pals — and, in fact, discussed the show many, many times — it’s just, for me, if I can get serious for one second, actually meaningful. And I know it’s a silly show — we’re gonna make fun of silly celebrities and pictures — but Joan was such a good pal to me, but also an unrecognized pioneer in many ways.

I have to say, I really am getting a lot of gratification out of the fact that I believe posthumously she’s finally getting the respect that she so earned and so deserved, and that’s kind of a mission that I’ve assigned to myself. No one has assigned it to me, but it’s just important to me that her legacy is protected and honored, because it’s a legit legacy.

I mean, she was wild and outrageous, and I get it — with the sequin jackets and the feather boas and the saying crazy things to TMZ — but just as a female comedian, I mean, talk about a feminist, talk about a groundbreaker. I would never have this career without her, and I don’t mean just this job (on Fashion Police) — like, duh — but I mean everything from the beginning: what she did for women in comedy in such a male-dominated field, and for the LGBT community, and being down with the gays long before Stonewall, before it was cool. Anyway, it’s such an honor for me to sit in that chair.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

6 ways to fabulize your week

divineWe’re all about diversity in the gay community, and here’s how we prove it.

Let’s say you have a hankering to spend some time in the dark with gay Latinos this week. We got some suggestions. One is by seeing the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, a musical set in a South American prison. Another is checking out Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown at Teatro Dallas, which features nine comic monologues dealing with all aspects of the gay Latin experience in the U.S.

If you’re tastes fall more along the lines of WASPy gay humor, you can still try to scrounge up a seat to Kathy Griffin, who is performing tonight at the Verizon Theatre. She’ll certainly talk about Kardashians, Real Housewives and, of course, “her gays.”

If that’s not your style, perhaps a little drag is what you need. The Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff is screening a 35mm print of John Waters’ outrageous classic Polyester tonight at 9:30 p.m., followed by a John Waters-themed dance party at 11. Costumes are encouraged. (You know you wanna try out that Tracy Turnblad get-up you have!)

If you wanna up the fashion quotient, the DFashion Week runway show — an inaugural fundraiser benefiting AIDS Arms and LifeWalk — comes to the Rose Room on Saturday. You can get tickets here.

For those who prefer the whole smorgasbord of choices, and like to be entertained as well, Sunday night is the Voice of Pride finals at the Rose Room. Ten singers walk in, one walks out with the title, cash, plane tickets … and bragging rights.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Leslie Jordan finally gives me credit — sort of

I have a history with Leslie Jordan.

Back in September of 2006, I had a pre-arranged interview with him on the Monday between two big events: On the previous Saturday, he would be attending the “technical” Emmy Awards — what Kathy Griffin so derisively calls “The Schmemmys” — as a nominee for best guest actor in a comedy series for Will & Grace; the following Sunday would be the actual broadcast prime time ceremony.

The latter wouldn’t matter much if Jordan didn’t win; but if he won, it would be big: It meant that Jordan would personally present an award the following Sunday.

And he won.

So, it’s now Monday morning, and Jordan has been an Emmy winner all of 36 hours when we talk. I of course congratulate him. He’s ecstatic. “It hasn’t been out of my hand since I won!” he gushed. “I even take it to be with me.” “Is that the first woman you’ve ever slept with?” I asked. He laughed.

Imagine my surprise six days later, watching Jordan present with Cloris Leachman … and use my very line.

Jordan is an inveterate thief of other people’s material, which he owns up to in my interview, in the paper Friday. But I was most gratified by this exchange we had earlier this week:

One of the producers on Will & Grace — I’m not saying which one — was never quite a fan of Beverly Leslie [the character he played on the show]/ He didn’t think it was funny and was too effeminate — he’d always say “Butch it up!” but the direct said, “Less butch!” So after I won the Emmy, he was the only on the show who didn’t congratulate me. Instead, he said, “You stole my line.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Years ago, when I won my Emmy, I said ‘She’s the only woman who’ll even be in my bedroom.’ I got mad. I said, “I did not steal that line from you! I stole it from Arnold Wayne Jones of Dallas, Texas!

I guess we all have to take our credit where we can get it.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kathy Griffin at Verizon Theatre

Anything for a laugh

We wonder if famous D-lister Kathy Griffin will comment on those boys and gal from The A-List Dallas. We know she’ll snark on lots of other things when she returns to town. And yes, she’ll give appropriate shout outs to the Big D gays.

DEETS: Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 8 p.m. $35–$60. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Best Bets • 12.30.11

KG-02Saturday 12.31

Black and white all over
Harry Hunsacker is back to crack the case for  New Year’s Eve in The Frequency of Death!  But it could be trouble for Hunsacker as the villainous Dr. Big has revenge in sight for the bumbling detective. Done in brilliant black and white, Pegasus Theatre rings in the new year with an old-fashioned homage to detective films.

DEETS:
Eisemann Center,
2351 Performance Drive, Richardson.
8 p.m. $50.

PegasusTheatre.org.

……………………….

Tuesday 01.03

Church on time
Funny man and Emmy-winner Leslie Jordan is back for his Church Revival show. The evening benefits Legacy Counseling Center and features guest hostess Sister Helen Holy. And audiences benefit from Jordan’s sassy and sweet Southern musings revival style. Praise Brother Leslie!

DEETS:
Sara Ellen & Samuel Weisfeld Center,
1508 Cadiz St. 6 p.m.
$25–$100.
LegacyCounseling.org.

……………………….

Friday 01.06

Anything for a laugh
We wonder if famous D-lister Kathy Griffin will comment on those boys and gal from The A-List Dallas. We know she’ll snark on lots of other things when she returns to town. And yes, she’ll give appropriate shout outs to the Big D gays.

DEETS:
Verizon Theatre,
1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. 8 p.m.
$35–$60.
Ticketmaster.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Prints charming

‘A-List’ photographer Mike Ruiz stands above reality TV royalty

Fashion-4

RENAISSANCE MAN | Mike Ruiz, above, designed a collection for J. Cheikh, including men’s swimwear, opposite. (Photos courtesy QC Cong Photography)

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer
lifestyle@dallasvoice.com

Remember on sitcoms when the family pet would die, and the parents would break the news to the kids by saying that Sparky went to live on a farm somewhere? Well, that works in the world of reality TV, too. It’s not that all those fan-favorites or most-hated villains from the various seasons die, they just go to a different kind of “farm” after their 15 minutes of fame fade.

One such example is Celebrity Fashion Experience III, a one-night fashion show held recently at Lofty Spaces.

The roster for the event read like a TiVo lineup of guilty pleasure season passes:  M.C. Dawn Neufeld (from VH1’s Football Wives), guests Brig Van Osten (winner of Bravo’s Shear Genius, Season 3); Reco Chapple (Bravo’s The Fashion Show, Season 1); a collection from Nicholas D’Aurizio (Project Runway, Season 8, though he was a no-show due to a wedding conflict); and even pre-show nibbles from pastry chef Porsha Kimble, once an apprentice to Buddy Valastro of TLC’s Cake Boss. Add a catfight from the Bad Girls Club, it could have been a live version of The Soup.

Fashion-5Luckily, guests were instead treated to special celebrity appearance by Mike Ruiz, the hunky model/director/photographer/man of many talents: He’s made small screen appearances on The A-List: New York, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race. While his on-camera street cred would have been reason enough for his appearance at this show, Ruiz was actually there touting his newest title: fashion designer.

“It’s [J. Cheikh’s] fashion line, and I was a guest creative director for Spring 2012,” he explains. “My involvement sort of grew out of meeting their team at charitable events and borrowing outfits for the red carpet. Eventually we just found a way to partner.”

The collection, based on the Dakar Rally (a famous off-road auto race), mixes and matches Northern African influenced textures and colors with structured European tailoring.

But the J. Cheikh collection isn’t Ruiz’s first time working with runway looks. He also recently created a T-shirt line (MR by Mike Ruiz) featuring beefcake images of him styled in the likes of Tom of Finland. (Funds from the shirt sales benefit one of his favorite charities: The Ali Forney Center, an organization that assists in housing for LGBT youth in New York City.)

Adding to his creative streak, Ruiz is in the midst of a book launch for his coffee table pictorial Pretty Masculine, a collection of images that deconstruct perceived ideas about masculinity.

“I wanted to combine feminine and masculine. I did things like drape beautiful floral arrangements on rugged men. It’s not what you would expect a book on masculinity to be, it’s not homoerotic,” says Ruiz. “A lot of books for the gay community are explicit; that’s not my mindset. I wanted to create a beautiful, aspirational ideal of what masculinity should be. I don’t consider myself hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine; I think I am a combination of both, and wanted [the book] to manifest that.” (Proceeds from Pretty Masculine benefit New York’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis.)

While many in Ruiz’s position of being at the cusp of a burgeoning mini-empire get drunk on their own power and quest for stardom, he’s stayed humble, approachable and even philanthropic, encouraging people not only to give back, but also to love themselves. That sincerity has set him apart from so many of his flash-in-the-pan reality TV brethren — he seems like the only anchored, non-bitchy regular on The A-List.

“I had a rough childhood, and as a result I have worked really hard and, you know, made my dream come true,” he says. “When I see people struggling, I feel it’s my responsibility to help them empower themselves. I sort of tie that into everything I do these days to pass on the messaging and help the next generation be empowered, because it took me a while to find my footing.”

Footing…. Hmmm, maybe footwear will be his next world to conquer.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Starvoice • 09.23.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Olivia Newton-John turns 63 on Monday. The singer/actress reached queer iconicism as the muse Kira in the roller skating fantasy film Xanadu. She only helped that with her role as Bitsy Mae Harling in the Sordid Lives film and the television series. We think her guest appearances on Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List and Glee her well on queerdom’s radar.

……………….

THIS WEEK

Fresh into Libra, the sun and Mercury stimulate friendly conversation but they’re opposite Uranus and squaring Pluto; any dialogue can turn fiercely argumentative or deliciously wicked. Either way, secrets will be revealed!

………………

LIBRA  Sep 23-Oct 22
Getting older beats the hell out of the alternative. The trick is to celebrate maturity, not to try hiding your age. Staying active and fit is one thing; holding on to your adolescence is another.

SCORPIO  Oct 23-Nov 21
Your energy is high, perhaps hard to control. Worrying about that can turn it into nervous aggravation. Stay focused. Staying where you’re visible will help you stay on purpose.

SAGITTARIUS  Nov 22-Dec 20
If arguments with friends leave you irritated, it’s because they’re right. Be big enough to admit it. You’re in too much demand now to be in a cranky sulk. What you learn can prove helpful at work.

CAPRICORN  Dec 21-Jan 19
Rewards for your accomplishments are more spiritual than remunerative. If that disappoints you, take it in stride. Remember, you’re always being seen and attitude is key to further success.

AQUARIUS  Jan 20-Feb 18
Charm is more persuasive than facts. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your integrity, but you want to adjust your attitude. Especially with the one you love, remember to be kind.

PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Outstanding debts should wait. Focus on your sex life. What do you really want? Partnered: A long heart-to-heart talk is in order. Single: An adventure can open up amazing new possibilities.

ARIES  Mar 20-Apr 19
Accepting invitations to fun causes as much trouble as refusing them. Adventure and drama are inevitable, so embrace them consciously with eyes open or they will sneak up on you.

TAURUS  Apr 20-May 20
Don’t let work stress you out. Exercise shakes off the tension. Redistributing the workload among your co-workers can help. Staying focused on the goal is important, but don’t obsess on it.

GEMINI  May 21-Jun 20
Your efforts to include friends just annoy them. Let them be the audience when you’re done. If you find a good collaborator, though, it could become more than a working relationship.

CANCER  Jun 21-Jul 22
Make new contacts in your community. You’ll be surprised to discover how well known you are. Those new connections prove helpful in your career. When in doubt, stay close to home.

LEO  Jul 23-Aug 22
Some things need to be said and feathers have to be ruffled. Be tactful, but also be ready to deal with the fact that someone will be upset, and he or she will just have to hear it and adapt.

VIRGO  Aug 23-Sep 22
Be careful whom you contract with in financial undertakings. It could work out brilliantly, but is more likely to be a disaster. Sexual explorations can improve partnerships or help start one.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

What’s gay about this year’s Emmy noms

The Emmy nominations came out this morning, and there are, as usual, lots of gays in the mix.

The most obvious is the continued domination of Modern Family in the comedy category. Last year’s winner for best comedy series was nominated again for that, as well as the entire adult cast (pictured) in supporting categories, including out actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays half of a gay couple with straight actor Eric Stonestreet. Also up for best comedy series at the very gay (or gay-friendly) Glee (from gay creator Ryan Murphy), The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. The Modern Family men will be up against Chris Colfer, so touching as Kurt, on GleeBig Bang‘s out actor Jim Parsons competes with his castmate Johnny Galecki and prior winner Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock.

Last year’s winner for supporting actress in a comedy, out actress Jane Lynch from Glee, is nominated again, alongside Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen, Jane Krakowski (30 Rock), Betty White (Hot in Cleveland) and Kristen Wiig (SNL). Archie Panjabi, who won supporting actress in a drama last year for The Good Wife playing a bisexual lawyer, is also up again, going against Christina Hendricks from Mad Men.

There were big nominations for Emmy (and gay) favorites Mad Men and Dexter, and some real love for the Texas-filmed series Friday Night Lights, which finishes its series run tomorrow on NBC. The cult hit The Killing got several nominations, but best drama series was not among them.

Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D List was nominated for reality series, with gay hits American Idol, Top Chef, Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars are up for reality competition. Gay-ish comedy shows The Colbert Report and The Daily Show are frontrunners for variety/comedy series.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones