Applause: Stage pink

Queer highlights from the upcoming theater season

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Anticipation should be strong for the upcoming theater season in general. Ambitious shows like Giant, The Tempest, West Side Story and Hairspray all dot the stage horizon.
But we also like to see some of our own up there. As we look over the upcoming offerings from local theater companies, we always ask, “Where’s the gay?”  In addition to Uptown Players’ first  Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival, here are some of the others.

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Fall

Although the Dallas Opera canceled the opera she was set to star in, lesbian soprano Patricia Racette will still perform at a TDO gala. (Photo Devon Cass)

Singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik gave an indie music flair to the musical adaptation of the 1891 play Spring Awakening. Set in 19th century Germany, Awakening follows a group of youths as they discover more about themselves and their rapidly developing sexuality.

The original Frank Wedekind play was controversial in its day, depicting abortion, homosexuality, rape and suicide. Now the show just has an added rock ‘n’ roll score. Along with Sheik’s musical perspective, Steven Slater wrote the book and lyrics in this updated version which debuted in 2006 on Broadway and won the Tony for Best Musical. Terry Martin directs.

WaterTower Theater, 15650 Addison Road., Addison. Sept. 30–Oct. 23. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

It’s almost un-Texan if you’re gay and not familiar with Del Shores’ tales of Southern discomfort.  Southern Baptist Sissies and Sordid Lives are pretty much part of the queer vernacular in these parts, but Shores got his start way back in 1987.

How will those northern folks take to Shores work (And by north, we mean past Central Expressway past LBJ)? Jeni Helms directs Daddy’s Dyin’: Who’s Got the Will for McKinney Repertory Theatre this fall. As the family patriarch suffers a stroke, the Turnover family gathers as they wait for his death. This family may just put the fun in dysfunctional.

McKinney Performing Arts Center, 111 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. Sept. 30–Oct. 7. McKinneyRep.org.

WingSpan Theatre Co. will produce one of the greater comedies of theater-dom this fall: Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with Nancy Sherrard sparring over the gay wit’s price bon mots as Lady Bracknell.

Bath House Cultural Center, 521 E. Lawther Drive. Oct. 6–22. WingSpanTheatre.com.

Although A Catered Affair might sound a bit like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, it has the added flair of Harvey Fierstein’s wit. That’s because he wrote the book for the show alongside John Bucchino’s music and lyrics. The play is based on the Gore Vidal-penned 1956 film The Catered Affair starring Bette Davis.

When Jane and Ralph decide to get married, Jane’s mom Agnes wants to put on an elaborate spectacle of a wedding. The truth is, she can’t afford it and Jane isn’t all too thrilled about a huge affair. As in most cases, the wedding planning is more about the mom than the daughter and Agnes soon realizes the fact. Jane’s Uncle Winston — the proverbial gay uncle — is left off the guest list and is rightfully pissed. But as most gay characters, he rallies to be the voice of reason and support.

Theatre Three, 2800 Routh Street, Ste.168. Oct. 13–Nov. 12. Theatre3Dallas.com.

Lesbian soprano Patricia Racette was going to be featured in the production of Katya Kabanová but unfortunately the show was canceled by the Dallas Opera. But fear not. Dallas will still get to bask in the greatness that is her voice as Racette will perform An Evening with Patricia Racette, a cabaret show with classics from the Great American Songbook for a patron recital.

Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Nov. 9. DallasOpera.org

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Spring

Nancy Sherrard will star as Lady Bracknell in WIngSpan Theater Co.’s fall production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest,’ perhaps the greatest comedy ever written by theaterdom’s gayest wit.

Kevin Moriarty directs Next Fall for the Dallas Theater Center next spring. Written by Geoffrey Nauffts, the play centers on Luke and Adam, a couple with some unusual issues. What’s new about that in gay couplehood? Not much, but when Adam’s an absolute atheist and Luke’s a devout Christian, the two have been doing their best to make it work.
The comedy played on Broadway in 2010, garnering Tony and Drama Desk nominations. And now Dallas gets to see how, as DTC puts it, “relationships can be a beautiful mess.”
Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. April 13–May 6. DallasTheaterCenter.org.

Perhaps the most surprising queer offering this next season is Theatre Arlington’s production of The Laramie Project. The show usually creates quite a stir — at least it did in Tyler, thanks to Trinity Wheeler — so how will this suburban audience handle it? Doesn’t matter. Props to T.A. for taking Moises Kaufman’s play about the tragic bashing and death of Matthew Shepard to its community.

Theatre Arlington, 305 W. Main St., Arlington. May 18–June 3. TheatreArlington.org.

Usually the question with MBS Productions is “what’s not gay?” Founder Mark-Brian Sonna has consistently delivered tales of gay woe and love that are sometimes silly and sometimes sweet, but always a laugh.

This season is no different. Playwright Alejandro de la Costa brings back drag queen Lovely Uranus in The Importance of Being Lovely. The last time we saw Uranus, Sonna wore the stilettos and pink wig in last season’s Outrageous, Sexy, (nekkid) Romp.  This time around, Uranus graduates to leading lady status as the show is all about her as audiences follow her through the changes she makes in her make-up, wigs and men.

Stone Cottage Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. July 16–Aug. 11, 2012. MBSProductions.net.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Concert Notice: Joan as Police Woman to play Club Dada in April

The last time I wrote about Joan as Police Woman, she opened for Rufus Wainwright back in November 2009. I can’t say she impressed me much, but whatevs. I will say that I’ve gone to listen to some of her recordings and am quickly getting on board. Just in time too because the indie music lady comes to Dallas on her own playing at the thankfully reborn Club Dada in Deep Ellum. And come to find out, she plays for our team — we think.

Trish Bendix over at AfterEllen wrote up this piece last month where Joan Wasser (yes, the same Joan) apparently told Bendix she’s bi:

It might not surprise you, then, that Joan is queer. “Surprise” only because you might know she famously dated Jeff Buckley before he tragically drowned in 1997, a fact that likely haunts her in every discussion of her musical career. But there is no trace of her discussing her sexuality, which she once told me a few years ago was not-so-straight.

After she’d written me (via MySpace, remember that?) to let me know she was bisexual (after I’d inquired, mind you — gaydar in action), she gave me her publicist’s contact information so that I could set up an interview. I was denied, unfortunately, which is (also unfortunately) part of the job when it comes to being from the gay press. But upon hearing some music from Joan’s new album, I knew I had to try again. And this time, she had a new publicist, who, like Joan, wasn’t going to position her as something she’s not.

We’re used to that game of nebulous orientation. It’s just something we like to point out. Really, I’m just hoping she brings along her entourage from “The Magic” video to the show. Right??

Spune presents Joan as Police Woman at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St. April 29 at 10 p.m. $10. Click here for tickets.

—  Rich Lopez

Cazwell brings his ‘Ice Cream Truck’ to Station 4

Cazwell is serious about his music … even if he is a club diva

CazwellIn this week’s issue, Cazwell talked with the Dallas Voice about his approach to music. Just because he’s all about beefcake and sexy, funny lyrics doesn’t mean you should take him less seriously as a musician. He’ll tell you why.

The last time we saw Cazwell in town was at the now-defunct minc in Exposition Park. Then he was first touted as the gay Eminem, but he’s really in his own league layering outrageous raps over dance music. He’s more fun than Eminem with songs like “I Seen Beyonce at Burger King” and “All Over Your Face” from his 2009 album Watch My Mouth. The rapper-singer’s newest hit, “Ice Cream Truck,” is big on the dance floor which I’m sure has nothing to do with the video.

He performs an 18-and-up show at S4 on Sept. 30 at midnight. After his performance, he’s gonna stick around for a Meet and Greet. Maybe he’ll have a Bomb Pop just for you.

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. Sept. 30 at midnight. Doors at 9 p.m. $15. Caven.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Gay couple separated by immigration law as one fights cancer; congressman won’t help

Aurelio Tolentino, left, and his partner, Roi Whaley

Roi Whaley and Aurelio Tolentino, both HIV-positive, met in 2004 through a support group for people living with AIDS. Roi is a native of Gulfport, Miss., and Tolentino, a registered nurse, had come to the U.S. on a work visa from his home in the Philipines.

Then, during the process of applying for his green card, authorities discovered Tolentino’s HIV-positive status, and immigration officials informed him he would have to leave the country. That was back in 2006, before President Barack Obama rescinded the policy prohibiting HIV-positive people from entering the U.S., either as immigrants or tourists.

Tolentino wasn’t too keen on going back to the Philipines. For one thing, it would mean leaving his partner, Whaley. On top of that, he had already been attacked and beaten for being gay in his home country, and if he were to return, it would likely happen again.

So Tolentino applied for asylum in the U.S. That application was denied because he had been in this country already for more than a year, and U.S. policy says anyone seeking asylum must apply within one year of entering the country.

Left with no other option, Tolention moved to Canada to live with his mother, who already has legal status as a permanent resident. He applied for asylum there and, once again, was denied. Now he may have no other choice than to return to the Philipines where he would possibly face harassment, violence and even death.

To make matters, Whaley was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. He left for Seattle on Friday, Sept. 3, for a visit to his oncologist, after which he planned to fly on to Canada to spend the month of September with Tolentino and his mother. It will likely be the last time the partners see each other, since Tolentino faces deportation to the Phillipines, and Whaley’s deteriorating health rules out the possibility of him visiting Tolentino there.

There is one hope: a plea to the Department of Homeland Security to grant Tolentino a humanitarian parole that would allow him to return to the U.S temporarily to be with his dying partner. But that’s not likely to happen, either, especially without intervention from Whaley’s congressman, Rep. Gene Taylor, a Democrat from Bay St. Louis, Miss.

With the help of Immigration Equality, based in Washington, D.C., Whaley and Tolentino have already asked once for Taylor’s help. An aide in Taylor’s office told Whaley no, the congressman wasn’t going to intervene. And Taylor’s office has failed so far to even return calls from Immigration Equality.

But Steve Ralls, director of communications for Immigration Equality, said Friday that neither the couple nor Immigration Equality is ready to give up yet. They are asking for the public’s help in lobbying Congressman Taylor to intervene and get Homeland Security to grant the humanitarian parole that will let Whaley spend his final days with the man he loves.

“Were Roi and Aurelio a married heterosexual couple, Roi would be eligible to apply to sponsor Aurelio for residency in the United States. Because they are a gay couple, however, that option is not open to them,” Ralls said in a press release sent out Friday. “Now, with Roi’s health deteriorating and Aurelio facing a move to the Philipines — where it would be nearly impossible for Roi to travel and be with him — the couple face impending separation. They are one of 36,000 such couples, according to an analysis of the 2000 Census data, facing this kind of situation.

“Despite having followed every immigration rule and voluntarily leaving the U.S. when immigration asked him to do so, Aurelio is now being punished under the law for following the law,” Ralls said.

If you want to help Immigration Equality fight for Roi and Aurelio, or if you are yourself part of an international same-sex couple trying to negotiate immigration law, contact the organization at 202-347-7007.

If you want to contact Congressman Taylor and encourage him to intervene on behalf of this couple, go to his website here to find addresses and phone numbers for his office in Washington, D.C., and all five of his offices in his district.

—  admin

Texas has 5th-highest percentage of uncut penises in the U.S., according to Manhunt

This map of showing percentages of uncut Manhunt users is one on which Texas is a blue state.

DFW may have the smallest average penis size of any of the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, but we certainly have our share of foreskin.

According to data from Manhunt users, Texas has the fifth-highest ratio of uncut penises in the nation, at 19.58 percent. This figure puts us behind only Florida, California, New York and New Mexico.

Based on our experience, we’re not buying Condomania’s recent report about penis size — and if anything a bunch of straight guys skewed the results. These latest statistics from Manhunt, on the other hand, we can definitely vouch for.

—  John Wright

Letters • 07.02.10

Working tirelessly isn’t ‘too pretty’

I feel that I must respond to the article “Have we made the face of AIDS too pretty?” by David Webb in the June 11 issue of Dallas Voice.

Twenty-two years ago, my partner and I started a variety troupe for no other reason than because we sat many days and nights with friends in our bowling community as they were dying of this dreadful disease, making a difference by changing their briefs, bathing them or cleaning them up after a sick episode. Later, we would cry our eyes out, wishing we were able to help them more.

We started our group to help raise money in any way we could so those friends could have some chance at a quality life amid all the “toil and trouble.”

To say that in doing benefit shows we are glamorizing the face of AIDS, quite honestly, is crap. We, along with many of our friends, have seen the angry head of the “face of AIDS” rise up and take down far too soon so many of those whom we loved and cared for.

Did you know that 90 percent of money raised in our community is raised by men and women who donate their time and talents to entertain in some shape, form or fashion just to try and make a difference? Heaven knows, the government cares very little about the population that is faced with this dreaded disease every single day.

There have been many weekends I wanted to just stay home and watch movies with my partner and spend time with my animals. But my partner and I both believe we have a job to do. You may call it glamorizing the face of AIDS, but we do this with a heartfelt passion that should give hope to many that we are trying to make a difference in their lives somehow, someway, now.

So the next time you hear that someone has gone to get food from the food pantry, or that someone has gotten assistance with their rent so they didn’t have to live on the streets, or that someone who is at a critical stage in their disease and wants to visit their family one last time and they got the plane ticket they needed; remember it is because of all the many wonderful men and women of our community who spend their free time trying to help those in need.

Let me finish by challenging you to come watch us as we tirelessly work our butts off every weekend trying to raise money, one dollar at a time, for those brothers and sisters in need.

If you think what we do “glamorizes” AIDS, then get up off your sofa or bar stool and do your part by working as hard as we do.

I pray to God that the men and women who work so hard and care so much will always stand together, because, heaven knows, if it wasn’t for us, it wouldn’t get done.

Just know there are many organizations that stand with us and know what goes into the things we do, and why we do them.

Home for The Holidays Texas Inc., Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage, Cedar Creek Lake Meals on Wheels, Fort Worth AIDS Food Pantry and AIDS LifeWalk are but a few.

Glamour is about guts — remember that!

Linze Serell, aka Bill Lindsey
Miss Charity America 2010


Hardy, don’t get so worked up

Re: “A platform of ideas — bad ideas” by Hardy Haberman (Dallas Voice, June 25)

Every convention cycle, the apparatchiks within the Texas GOP outdo themselves by passing increasingly bizarre, and unfortunately offensive, party platforms. Why get worked up over these manifestos, which are ground out by a roomful of tools, who are accountable to no one?

It’s an election year, so this is the time to talk to candidates and officeholders who are running under both party labels about the virtue of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and not give credibility to these documents which under our system of government maintain the same force of law as the most recent issue of Tiger Beat magazine.

Steve Labinski
Austin

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas