Laugh riot

Ellen cracks us up, on stage or page

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4 out of 5 stars
SERIOUSLY… I’M KIDDING
by Ellen DeGeneres
(Grand Central Publishing, 2011). $27; 241 pp.

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Sometimes it’s hard not to laugh. When your 4-year-old says something hilariously profound, you bite your lip, knowing that you’d be in trouble if you bust a gut.  If your beloved does something silly but well-meaning, you twist your lips to avoid the outburst you know is coming. When your great-aunt shows up at holiday dinner dressed like that, you know there’d better not be even one “Ha!” to escape your lips.

Yep, sometimes it’s hard not to laugh — but you’ll want to when you read this book. “As it turns out, writing a book is hard,” Ellen DeGeneres says.

This is her third book, each one sharing the ellipses-in-the-title feature. She didn’t think writing it would be difficult because, after all, she has a lot to say every day for at least an hour. There’s a lot of talking on a talk show, you know.

There’s a lot of listening, too, and daydreaming is not allowed. DeGeneres listens to many famous people — one of her favorites is her wife, Portia de Rossi, who is “beautiful and one of the nicest people [she has] ever met.” No, she tells nosy people, they aren’t planning on having a family because “there is far too much glass” in their house. Besides, first you have to give birth.

“I won’t go into specifics,” says DeGeneres, “but ouch and no thank you.”

In case you’re thinking that this book is all fluff, you’ll also find useful advice in its pages. DeGeneres gives readers hints on being a supermodel and how to know what clothes will come back in fashion. She writes about polls and why people shouldn’t put too much faith in them. She offers several ways to gamble in Las Vegas, gives kudos to funny women who’ve paved the way for people like her.

But will you find laughs? Yes … but.

Seriously… I’m Kidding is like having a 241-page monologue in your lap. DeGeneres’ wicked wit beams bright from almost each page. But there are times when she dives below silliness. An entire page devoted to sound effects? Four pages of drawings for your child to color? Jokes like these and a few go-nowhere “short stories” may leave readers scratching their heads.

But if you’re a fan of DeGeneres’ talk show or standup, you’ll find a treasure-trove of classic humor that you won’t want to be without. For you, Seriously… I’m Kidding will be a hard book to miss. And we’re not kidding.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 11, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

WATCH: Channel 5 shines a very favorable ‘Spotlight’ on the LGBT community in N. Texas

 

A while back Dallas Voice received a visit from some folks at NBC 5, who interviewed Publisher Robert Moore and Senior Editor Tammye Nash about the newspaper’s role in the LGBT community.

To be perfectly honest, no one around here was quite sure what the segment was for, but thanks to a tip from Rafael McDonnell at Resource Center Dallas, now we know: It’ll be part of a program called Spotlight, which airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on Channel 5. On Spotlight, “North Texas correspondents come together in order to spin narratives from real-life stories involving persons who contribute to their community,” according to the NBC 5 website.

We also found a site dedicated to the show, where they’ve posted several of the segments about the LGBT community. In addition to Dallas Voice,  there are segments on Youth First Texas, transgender Dallas Police Officer Deborah Grabowski, a Haltom City lesbian couple that adopted a child; the Dallas Diablos; three LGBT-affirming churches in Oak Cliff; gay filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs; and LULAC #4871 President Jesse Garcia.

We know, it seems like a lot, but each segment is only a few minutes long, and they’re all well done.

Major kudos to NBC 5 for putting these together, but you don’t have to wait till Sunday to see them. We’ve posted all of the segments, in the same order they’re listed above, after the jump.

—  John Wright

Weekly Best Bets • 01.14.11

Click here to view the full calendar.

Friday 01.14

Hunka hunka burnin’ love times 2
If you’re going to have a birthday party, the best idea is to have not one, but two hot men jump out of the cake. Or is that just us? The Tin Room celebrates 10 years this weekend with adult actors Diesel Washington and Cameron Adams making cameo appearances. No doubt, the bar staff will enjoy blowing those candles out.

DEETS: The Tin Room, 2514 Hudnall St. Through Saturday. TinRoom.net.

Friday 01.14

This comic takes his first steps
Life as a Southern gay man would be far less interesting if Del Shores hadn’t been around. He gave us close-to-home hilarity with Sordid Lives and Southern Baptist Sissies, but now he gives us a different kind of funny. We’ll see Shores like never before — as a stand-up comic. Easy enough because we already know he’s funny.

DEETS: The Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. $15.Caven.com.

Wednesday 01.19

Get twisted out this hump day
Twist GLBT is back and the lineup continues to open eyes to local out musicians. Kudos to the show for bringing these artists to light. Static Mind, pictured, Flash Mob, Junye, I.L.E. and Audacious star in this second edition of Twist while the night also features art by Laney Green. School night be damned.

DEETS: Lakewood Bar and Grill, 6340 Gaston Ave. 8 p.m. $10. TwistDallas.com.

To view the full Calendar, go here.

—  John Wright

Nice Nosh

Samuel’s replacement for Aurora re-invents the euro bistro with style

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | jones@dallasvoice.com

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HERE’S THE BEEF | Atop a pillow of coarse cheddar grits and crowned with frisee salad, the espresso short rib packs a flavorful wallop. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Nosh, with its well-stocked bar and dark woods, does resemble a Hyde Park tavern. But don’t pigeonhole the OakLawn restaurant, which bills itself as a “Euro Bistro,” in the gastropub genre. It has the look of it, but the feel of something more French. Think New York’s Pastis and Balthazar, or even Dallas’ own Café Toulouse with more polish. Or just think of it for what it really is: Arguably the best new restaurant in Dallas this year.

Such kudos are not new to Avner Samuel, Nosh’s chef-owner. Avner’s and Bistro A had great followings, as did his last restaurant, Aurora, which occupied the same space as Nosh for more than six years. An avatar of fine-dining,

Aurora had a rep (unjustified in my opinion) for being overpriced. It was expensive, but the execution, food quality, service and atmosphere were all exquisite. You got what you paid for.

But it was, admittedly, a tad fussy. It was a quiet restaurant, with padded, camel-colored suede walls and few tables.

You wore a coat and tie, even it they didn’t require it. Aurora was event dining, meant to impress.

Nosh is Aurora’s spoiled, rocker li’l brother. The dining room is bigger (they took over the space next door) and there are more tables. The wine list — a well-thought-out cross of reds and whites, bottles and judicious by-the-glass entries — is reasonably priced, as is the entire menu. The most expensive items (halibut and beef tenderloin) top out at $25 — and they are the only things over $19 aside from specials. The hum of diners fuels the experience without drowning out yours — it has buzz, from lunch to dinner.

The menu doesn’t change from lunch to dinner, either in selection of prices. I kinda like that; it means you can enjoy a croque-monsieur sandwich ($10) as a warm slice of Euro-comfort food during the day or as a casual dinner meal. (Either way, try it: crisp bread houses gooey gruyere cheese oozing over Bayonne ham with a béchamel sauce.)

Probably the best appetizer on the regular menu are miso Berkshire pork ribs (and at $6, a bargain). Two bones, crossed like lush little swords, hold the meat in place only until it touches your lips and falls into your mouth, the sweet-salty glaze of miso cutting the delicious fattiness of the pork.

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WARM WOOD | The dark wood and ample natural light imbue the dining room with cozy warmth.

The spiced beef “cigars” ($5) are more panatela than Churchill: thin tapered wands, like flauta straws, served with a pear-saffron marmalade — perfect for noshing on, which is exactly the point. Nosh’s Egyptian falafel ($6) presents a surprise when you cut into it: A breathtakingly vivid splash of parsley-green. That keeps the inside exceptionally moist, even as the crust of chickpeas is browned and crunch. Tahini sauce on top offsets the peppernata relish beneath.

A good chicken dish is foundational to a skilled chef, and aside from a excess of watercress obscuring its beautiful finish, the pan roasted “native” chicken ($17) could be the best evidence of Nosh’s bona fides are something more than an agreeable lunch spot. The bird could not have been more precisely cooked, with bacon jus and buttermilk potatoes turning a home cookin’ staple into a highlight of the menu.

Samuel bragged that his version of duck confit ($15) is the best in Dallas. If it’s not, it’s damned close: Pitch black cherries dot the bowl, their ripe sweetness working with the saltiness of the duck and a soothing a mash of cauliflower and leek. The roasted beet salad ($9) is delicious, as are the diver scallops ($19), served on large pearl couscous and intensely sweet oven-dried tomatoes and the espresso braised beef ribs ($17), with a pungent delight from coarse stone cheddar grits.

Samuel and his business partner, chef Jon Stevens, rotate specials every few days; I’ve been in three times when the Kobe meatballs were on the chalkboard, and should work their way onto the regular menu.

You can get some unannounced specials sitting at the chef’s table overlooking the kitchen. They float some unique dishes and works-in-progress to willing diners, such as chef Stevens’ version of a terrine, strata of foie gras and chicken in aspic — a rich but refreshing and not overly heavy protein bomb. One night, Samuel even experimented with unusual Japanese fish given to him by Tei An chef Teichii Sakurai. It was a discovery for both of us, with the crazy-fresh hobo fish’s soft flesh a wonder of flavor.

Desserts soar. My dining companion declared the apple tarte Tatin ($7) the best he’s ever had; it’s difficult to argue with that, as it arrived, bronzed and shiny, aloft on a disk of flaky pastry and topped with vanilla ice cream. The soufflé cake ($7) is atypical of the familiar molten lava concoction that has become as overused as crème brulee: It’s velvety, evaporating on the tongue. The financier ($7) gets points for a distinctly salty caramel amid the brittle crunch of hazelnut.

Service isn’t white-glove like Aurora, but it’s friendly and efficient. There’s a new energy in the space: Same chef, same address, new life. I can’t get eNosh.

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5 TOP TABLES

IMG_0954From a food standpoint, 2010 was the year of simple elegance.
When I do this “best of” list, I always steer clear of calling it “top new restaurants.” After all, restaurants change, experiences differ and eateries are hard to compare anyway. How do you rotate The French Room alongside an excellent taco stand? Is a sushi chef’s skill at cutting fish better or worse than a steakhouse’s selection and ageing of the right cuts of meat? Great service can’t make bad food good, but can bad service ruin an otherwise terrific meal?
Still, it’s unusual that the highest level of fine dining options did not stick out to me so much in 2010 as did genres that turned their styles into exquisite meals. I remember them all. (Some restaurants that opened after October are not considered for this list and will be eligible next year.)
So here are my 5 Top Tables of 2010:

1. Nosh. Handily the favorite. See review.

2. Saint Ann. This converted schoolhouse has personality to spare, with reasonably priced dishes, agreeable service and a slick, relaxed atmosphere. (Read the full review next month in the Voice.)

3. Urban Taco. The expanded menu at the new location on McKinney improves upon the original in every way, with spicy salsas, fast service and well-rounded entrees, all at good prices.

4. Maximo. This elegant updating of authentic Mexico City cuisine from the chef responsible for Trece improves up from that restaurant with exceptional dishes anda great wine list.

5. Seasons 52. Anyone who has experienced this Florida mainstay knows the specialty is tasty fare at controlled calories, and the first Texas opening continues the philosophy. Never miss the mini-indulgences, pictured — having three or more (which is easy to do) may bust the diet, but they are so worth it.
— A.W.J.

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Nosh-EuroNosh Euro Bistro
4216 Oak Lawn Ave.
Open for lunch and dinner Monday–Friday at 10 a.m., dinner only Saturday, 5 –10:30 p.m. 214-528-9400. NoshEuroBistro.com
Buzzy, fun, elegant and surprisingly buoyant, this take on the European cafe is just what Dallas’ dining scene needed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 31, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

GIVEAWAY: We have two pairs of tix to Jay Brannan and Eric Himan on Tuesday

The Loft has given us two pairs of tickets to Jay Brannan’s show on Tuesday to give away. It’s a double-bill of sexy. Not only does the pretty-faced indie folkster headline, the hunky and tatted Eric Himan, below, opens the show with his brand of folk-pop. Kudos to The Loft peeps for booking a perfectly matched pair of gay musicians.

E-mail us here by noon Monday with your first and last name and “I wanna get folked up” in the subject line for your chance to win. Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

Just to reiterate Today’s Best Bet — you should really stop by Lakewood Bar & Grill tonight

Twist Dallas is offering a different kind of night out. Stepping away from the gayborhood, Twist hosts a lineup of (mostly) local LGBT musicians playing a mini-fest at the Lakewood Bar & Grill tonight — and it’s ambitious. Things start rolling at 7 p.m. (early!) with a lineup of seven acts lasting till past midnight. We’ve featured a couple here in the pages of the Voice such as Immigrant Punk and Infidelix who both hail from Denton. They join SuZanne Kimbrell, a regular at Jack’s Backyard, Da’rell Cloudy from Longview and Gringo Soul from Chicago on the stage tonight for this month’s Twist session. Chasing the Muse, Jay Bean and artist Erica Felicella round out the roster.

Twist Dallas has the intention of doing something like this every month. The site states “Each month we will bring you something new from the GLBT community, whether it be music, art, comedy, theater or fire breathers.” Live music in the community is making some strides with Woody’s back patio series and TMC’s Patio space, but I appreciate Twist’s attention given to these musicians with original work. Twist Dallas has picked a fine selection that ranges from folk to rock to hip-hop. And kudos to LBG for opening its doors to the community.

I’m looking forward to more from these guys. And honestly, I would dare to say I’m begging you to go to this. It’s the perfect opp to support LGBT-created music that’s not getting enough notice. Seven bucks to get in and a free drink? Totally worthwhile. Plus, it’s gonna be a long night, so come up and say hi.

—  Rich Lopez

Marco Rodriguez scores onstage and on YouTube

This time last year, gay playwright-actor-comic Marco Antonio Rodriguez announced he was shutting down his local Martice Enterprises theatrical production and headed for Nuevo York to seek his fortune.

Well, things have gone pretty well for him.

Today, Rodriguez announced his latest play, the Spanish-language Dominican comedy La Luz de un Cigarillo, will be headed to off-Broadway for a production in the summer of 2011. That’s pretty big news — a step away from Broadway. Kudos to Marco!

And if you’re jonesing for a little of Marco since he left, well, check out these video for his Pico de Gallo comedy show, directed by our own Israel Luna. Funny stuff.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones