Kitchen LTO is back… and you can be a part of it

CasieCaldwellheadshotIt was just last month that we announced that Kitchen LTO, Casie Caldwell’s permanent pop-up restaurant in Trinity Groves, was closing its doors (as we said) “for now.” Caldwell promised that it would return. And that’s now set to happen.

“Kitchen LTO is ‘popping up’ again!” she told me. “The support I received to keep the restaurant going was overwhelming, and now I have the opportunity to relocate.” Where to?

East Dallas, get ready: Deep Ellum!

The idea is to build the brand via a grassroots campaign, starting with a Kickstarter crowdfunding platform to raise $50,000 — not the cost to pay for the entire restaurant by any stretch, but to begin build-out, equipment, etc., at the space where Twenty Seven Restaurant is (2901 Elm St.).

If you wanna get involved, you have 26 days to contribute to the campaign by going here.

Caldwell continues to operate the popular Pink Magnolia in Oak Cliff with chef Blythe Beck.

And check out Dallas Voice on Friday for more of our food week Food Issue.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Comic book start-up wants funding for gay Mormon superhero mag

striplingwarriorHere’s something you don’t see every day … well, maybe you do.

Kickstarter has become the obligatory way folks raise money for their dream projects. I support dreams totally, and the site (as well as IndieGoGo and others) do awesome things. I get a lot of requests to let people know about their crowdfunding campaigns. The latest to get my attention, though, is a fledgling comic book called Stripling Warrior, who its creator, Brian Andersen, touts as “the world’s first gay Mormon superhero.” I have to say, I’m not exactly a comic book expert, but I wonder how many straight Mormon superheroes populate the nerdverse. Andersen himself is a geeky, out gay Mormon married to another out gay Mormon, and so he’s serious (it seems) about exploring actual mythology in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints through a devout LDS superhero. I haven’t detected the irony in the story at all, or the camp factor. And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

In any event, it is a thing, and so if you wan to support it (he only needs $5k, and is already a third of the way there will three weeks to go), you can click here. I’m not sure I want to read about the victories of Mormon gays over evil in the world, or any religious superhero for that matter, but the Warrior has a nice package. And that’s why comic books are all about, right?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Do you Peru?

Even as fans rallied to help Coco Peru get her next film off the ground, the drag goddess still likes her comedy live


RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Expect a lovefest when Coco Peru comes back to Dallas for Pride weekend. With memories of a responsive audience, shopping and beef jerky during her last go-round here nearly two years ago, the drag goddess is hoping for a repeat performance. Sort of. She’s back on the road with a new show, but that’s not all the legendary queen has going on.

“Well, we’ve filmed Girls Will Be Girls 2 already,” Peru (aka Clinton Leupp) says. “Right now the writer/director is busily editing. It’s just one of those things: You film it and hope for the best.”

Peru has garnered a significant amount of film work over the years, usually with notable cameos in films like as Trick, but occasionally as the star, as with Girls Will Be Girls. But she admits live performance is where she’s at her best.

“I like to think my show is like watching a theater piece,” she says. “I love film acting, but it’s exciting on a whole other level. There’s not that energy of a live audience and no feedback. So often, comic timing is how the audience is reacting to you. With acting, you mentally feel it out, try it and mostly trust the director. I find sometimes I rehearsed a line so much in my head, it takes me a few times to take direction on it.”

For Girls 2, Peru discovered just how much her fans appreciated her work. As a micro-mini indie, the film went on the website Kickstarter to raise funds. As word got out that the film was in production and that Peru was in it, the money rolled in.

“The movie was completely funded by fans,” she exclaims. “It was just incredible that they would want to pay money! And I must say, most of it came from my fans. I’m just putting that out there.”

Along with funds from Kickstarter, the crew itself was almost all-volunteer. People would just show up, willing to help out. It turned into an actual labor of love.

Along with donated help, the production even received a donated green screen. All the generosity reminded Peru that people are that genuinely kind and that it’s all right to ask for things, which usually embarrasses her. She saw this particular filmmaking experience as a good lesson on many levels.

“Let’s just hope the movie’s funny,” she laughs.

Dating back to the “early ‘90s” — that’s as specific as her website will get — Peru gives much credit to her fans along the way for the success of her career. Even if they come up to once again mention her role in the film Trick, Peru takes none of it for granted. Perhaps it’s cliché for any type of celebrity to appreciate their fans, but she  talks at length about how her fans have kept her driven.

“It’s so overwhelming, whether it’s a movie or my own shows, that they will take time to contact me to tell me whatever it is they are feeling,” she says. “I feel lucky and blessed when they reach out to me and I strive to answer every email. I remember those days that felt so lonely and sad. Growing up gay and feeling rejected doesn’t make a happy life. But when you get over 800 birthday messages on Facebook, it’s amazing!”

She’ll meet a new slew of fans on her current End of Summer Tour, as she’ll visit Tampa and Las Vegas for the first time as a performer. Even with her experience onstage, Peru is still daunted by a new audience, the same way she was before playing Dallas the first time early last year.

“The first time, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect,” she recalls. “I felt that audiences came wanting to have a great time. You go to certain cities and they have a bit of an edge, but in Texas, it was an immediate love fest on both ends.”

In her new show, There Comes a Time, Peru talks about getting older and reminiscing about her life. Fortunately, Dallas isn’t a punch line in her monologue. The city left a good impression on her and she only hopes to make another one of her own.

“Well, I’m happy to be coming back and they took such good care of me last time,” she says, “but I don’t wanna jinx myself. You never know.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Gay filmmakers need help funding films

Ash Christian, the Texas-bred filmmaker who recently debuted his latest underground comedy, Mangus!, at the Dallas International Film Festival, could use your help. His third film as a director is already in the can, but he has one as a producer that still needs help getting off the ground. Continental is a documentary about New York’s Continental Baths, the gay bathhouse where Better Midler and Barry Manilow got their starts. (You can see a video of Bette performing there in 1971 by clicking here.) The film is being directed by documentarian Malcolm Ingram, whom we have also written about.

“We are raising our modest production budget for the documentary via Kickstarter and private equity and I genuinely believe this is an important story to be told while the players are still alive and wanting to talk.” Christian says. “It is very important that we reach our goal in a timely fashion or we don’t get any of the funds already donated.” He’d also accept a bigger private equity investment from someone with the bucks, but even a $10 donation would be appreciated.

You can donate by clicking here.

Ash isn’t the only filmmaker trying to raise money this way for a documentary. Quentin Lee, whose charming romantic comedy The People I’ve Slept With played at the Asian Film Festival of Dallas last year, is trying to raise $3,800 to complete his documentary short,  A Woman Called Canyon Sam, about America’s first Asian American lesbian activist. He’s also using Kickstart to get the money flowing.

You can see the trailer below, or donate by going here.

A Woman Named Canyon Sam Kickstarter Campaign from People Pictures on Vimeo.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones