Movie Monday: “The Iron Lady” with Golden Globe winner Streep

Iron strikes gold

The Iron Lady does do a good job early on at portraying the then-prevailing political hierarchy of England as male-centric — a pond of fleshy-necked bullfrogs bloviating about how things need to be done. Maggie actually did things, not just talk about them, though you’ll learn more details of her politics watching Billy Elliot than this movie.

Still, the hype about Streep is deserved. She did win a Golden Globe last night for the movie. That’s because she’s excellent playing Margaret Thatcher from 40s to 80s, showing her micro-managing habits that drove even her children crazy. It’s a sympathetic portrayal not because she’s so nice, but because she’s so human. Iron Lady? No, she was, at heart, still flesh and bone.

Read the entire review here.

DEETS: Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave.105 min. PG-13.

—  Rich Lopez

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 • Barks & Wags

Holiday-Gift-Guide-2011-Header

 

>>Barks & Wags

MGBW-Dog-BEdsBEDTIME FOR FIDO

When it’s time to go to sleep, dogs can luxuriate in these comfortable and durable beds. Coming in an array of fabric choices, they let Fido be just as in style as his owners, if not more so. The beds come in a variety of sizes and start at $375.

Mitchell Gold Bob Williams,
4519 McKinney Ave.
214-753-8700. MGBWDallas.com.

Wizard-of-Oz-Swarovski-dog-collar

FRIENDS OF DOROTHY

Now every dog can be like Toto — or rather, Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz with this emerald red Swarovski dog collar. For the glam canine, the collar is red velvet with rhinestones on a sterling silver base and a Swarovski crystal bow centerpiece. The other dogs will be so jealous. The collar is priced at $75.

Available through
PoshPuppyBoutique.com.

olympic-stand-no-label-gold-bowl
BOWLED OVER

Platinum Pets continues to rework the dog feeder into something snazzy. These new Olympic dining bowls are made of stainless steel in a food safe powder coat and the stands are wrought iron and thus durable for both indoor and outdoor use. The bowls come in 16-, 32- and 64-ounce sizes and are priced from $23.99
to $26.99.

Available through  Amazon.com. Platinum Petsoffers a 20 percent coupon for Dallas Voice readers when ordering through Amazon.
Enter code HRPZZ06B during checkout for their products.

DogRaincoat

POILED TO THE BONE

Fashionista dogs likely have their own set of clothes, but do they have a wardrobe closet? Complete with hangers, this wardrobe is ideal for Spot to put away those sweaters for winter and hang up the raincoat after those not-so-sunny walks outside. The wardrobe is priced at $89.97; the raincoat starts at $55.

Available through
DazzleDogDelight.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

Lips together, legs apart

The ultimate stage mom gets her turn — and it’s a good one — at Lyric; a doctor rubs women the wrong way in Kitchen Dog’s ‘Vibrator Play’

EVERYBODY FLIRTS | A scientist (Max Hartman, left) treats hysteria in his wife (Martha Harms) and even a man (Austin Tindle) with a medieval dildo in scathing, hilarious ‘The Vibrator Play.’ (Photo by Matt Mrozek)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

……………………

ON THE BOARDS
IN THE NEXT ROOM at The MAC, 3120 McKinney Ave. Through Oct. 8. KitchenDogTheater.org
GYPSY at Irving Arts Center, 3333 MacArthur Blvd., Irving. Through Sept. 18. LyricStage.org.

…………………….

The puns for In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, now setting off sparks at The MAC courtesy of Kitchen Dog Theater, practically write themselves: “Stimulating!” “Probing!” “Certain to rub some people the wrong way.” But it’s the less-obvious appeal of the play, and its unexpected and abiding humor, that makes all of those jokes accurate descriptions of a naughty but thoughtful comedy of manners.

Oscar Wilde it ain’t — it is, rather, Sarah Ruhl, a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow who’s an acquired taste. Her brand of theatrical realism is difficult to pin down. The full title for this play sounds both ominous and dirty, but, at least in this version, it is neither. In fact, trying to pigeonhole it in any way is a fool’s errand. It’s a proudly feminist screed fulminating against male-dominated society while retaining nuance. It is sui generis: A woman-centric sex farce with lesbian overtones.

In the 1880s, after the Civil War and at the dawn of the age of Edison, women are still hemmed in by Victorian values even as modernity threatens to break them free. For Catherine Givings (Martha Harms), the electrification of her home, quite literally, turns a light on for her. She’s bored with her husband (Max Hartman), a scientist of some kind who becomes known around town for treating women suffering from “hysteria,” a blanket term for any female who seems remotely dissatisfied with her life. How could any girl in her 20s, married to a man in his 40s and living in comparative luxury be anything other than content? Marc Cherry didn’t invest desperate housewives; society did that generations ago.

CLEAR THE DECKS | Rose (Sue Mathys) dominates her kids in ‘Gypsy,’ getting a full-orchestra treatment at Lyric Stage. (Photo courtesy Michael C. Foster)

Dr. Givings’ treatment, discussed with clinical detachment, includes a new-fangled device made possible by electricity: It stimulates the vulva, releasing the “pent up juices” that “congest” the female body and mind.

Basically, he’s masturbating clients while their husbands wait in the next room, happily paying for a service they could perform for free if only they’d open their eyes.

A lot of the humor comes from the disconnect between Givings’ therapies and the ecstatic rapture he induces in his patients, none more dramatically than Mrs. Daldry (Catherine DuBord). A modern doctor would easily diagnose Mrs. Daldry with post-partum depression … at least until noticing that she seems to get her “juices” released better when Givings’ nurse Annie (Kristin McCollom) performs the service by hand.

The play takes its most raucous turn when Dr. Givings is visited by a Leo (Austin Tindle). Male hysterics are rare, the doc notes, though it is more common among Bohemian types. He then proceeds to treat his patient by “massaging the prostate” with a cigar-shaped version of the vibrator, which Leo enjoys more than the supporting cast in a Falcon video.

Such absurdism — can the men truly be so ignorant? — clicks alongside some potent observations about how women are made neurotic by well-intentioned oppression, and about how homosexuality basically among men and women is best dealt with by ignoring it. The style is both scathing and sexy, funny and poignant. Just as Mrs. Daldry explores her incipient lesbianism, she’s arrested in her burgeoning self-awareness by societal norms. (In some ways, not much has changed.)

Comedies about onanism in which people have onstage orgasms may seem like a hard sell, but director Jonathan Taylor makes it all work without digressing into lurid potty humor. He teases well-crafted performances from the entire cast, all of whom combine a modern perspective with a comfort level with the 19th century idiom … which is to say, not all that comfortable. That’s kind of the point.

There has probably never been a better book-musical written for the American musical theater than Gypsy, which Lyric Stage has mounted, as has been its wont in recent seasons, with a full 39-piece orchestra and magnificent sets and costumes (the clothes were actually bought from the recent Broadway revival with Patti LuPone).

Set in the world of Vaudeville, it’s the perfect meta-play: A show about show people for show people. Hard-driving stage mom Rose Hovick (Sue Mathys) pushes her daughters into show business as kids: One will eventually become B-movie actress June Havoc; one the legendary ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee. But until then, they were just Shirley Temple wannabes schlubbing around the Orpheum circuit during the last gasps of Vaudeville.

The songs, by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim, are classics: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Small World,” “Some People,” “Rose’s Turn.” Just the names can give a theater queen chills. Still, music director Jay Dias could add a little more tempo to some of the numbers. “All I Need is the Girl” needs to sparkle as lightly as champagne bubbles, and charming as the number is here, it could have more energy.

But who’s gonna complain too much, when you get to hear these gorgeous numbers as they are meant to be, by a stellar cast. Mary McElree makes a convincing transition from mousy Louise to sophisticated seductress Gypsy Rose, and Sara Shelby-Martin steals her scene as Miss Mazeppa. But this is largely Mathys’ show: She’s short but firm, with the low center of gravity shared by all great male movie heavies. Her pipes are powerful but her acting is even better. You believe her mania even as you hold her in contempt. There’s real magic in that.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Best Bets • 08.05.11

siaSunday 08.07

Strike it up
Bring out your bell bottoms and flared collars for this year’s Fruit Bowl as the Human Righs Campaign goes disco. The annual event raises funds for the HRC, but really, it puts our Wii talents to the test. But if you’re gonna dress up disco, reconsider those platforms for the slick lanes.

DEETS: 300 Dallas, 3805 Beltline Road,
Addison. Noon and 3 p.m.
Individuals $25–$30, teams $100–$160.
HRC.org/FruitBowl.

………………

Sunday 08.07

‘Clap your Hands’ and say yeah
Even though Sia hasn’t quite made into the big time on the pop charts, she’s developed a strong following. The lez singer recalls the vein of Robyn, with smart pop music that keeps us coming back. She’s sold out here, but the venue has been releasing tickets so keep an eye out.

DEETS: With Oh Land and Ximena Sarinana. Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. 8 p,m. $24.
GranadaTheater.com
.

………………

Thursday 08.11

Poetic license
Local poet and author Christopher Stephen Soden reads from his newest collection Closer that is touted as “an existential look at same-gender sexuality and queer virility.” A Q&A will follow.

DEETS: McKinney Avenue Contemporary, 3120 McKinney Ave.
7 p.m. The-Mac.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

 

—  Kevin Thomas

Power of the pyramid

Kitchen Dog debuts ‘Ponzi,’ a financial horror story

NOUVEAU POOR | An heiress (Christina Vela, left) flirts with a man (Max Hartman) and his wife (Diane Casey-Box) in the economic meltdown play ‘Ponzi.” (Photo by Matt Mrozek)

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

PONZI
The MAC, 3120 McKinney Ave. Through June 25. $15–$25.
KitchenDogTheater.org.

…………………….

“The rich are different from you and me,” Scott Fitzgerald waxed, to which Hemingway allegedly responded, “Yes — they have more money.” But they are different. Money is never a big deal to people who have it, so they stand above it all. They don’t talk about how much they have, or how much things cost because, at some point, what difference does it make? If you don’t have to work to earn it, its value is fungible.

Then again, losing money — losing a great deal of it — is something everyone can understand. It becomes a source of ego, of pride. How would you feel if you pissed away $20 mil you didn’t deserve in the first place?

That is the situation posed to Catherine (Christina Vela), the regal heiress in Ponzi, the world premiere mainstage production at Kitchen Dog Theater’s New Works Festival. Catherine’s father was a legendary up-from-his-bootstraps self-made man who left Catherine two things: A solid fiscal philosophy and millions in cash to execute it.

She’s honored him by not being as showy and shallow as Allison (Diane Casey-Box), the quintessential nouveau riche Real Housewife, a woman with more cents than sense. Allison and hubby Bryce (Max Hartman) are enraptured by the get-rich-quick scheme of a flashy money manager, and their enthusiasm — plus Bryce’s unabashed flirtation with Catherine, driven in part by his lust for her balance sheet — leads to a series of bad mistakes.

Ponzi should frighten you more than it does, the way the Oscar winning documentary Inside Job did. There’s so much techno-talk — about the gold standard, how Social Security is a classic example of a Ponzi scheme that no one will touch, about how greed feeds pyramid schemes, about the lemming mentality that can cause sensible people to behave irrationally — that it needs to chill you. Like the financial meltdown, it’s not that some people didn’t see it coming; it’s that none of these so-called experts had any idea how reckless they were being. (The use of tarot cards to emphasize the randomness of life and fortune is a witty touch.)

Such horror is a ripe fruit that playwright Elaine Romero should have picked. Instead, she removes some of the universality of the tale by making it so specific to these characters.

That’s not entirely a bad thing. Instead of getting lost in the esoterica of money, she concentrates on the personality traits that drive people to make bad decisions. An undercurrent of sexual tension — between Catherine and Bryce, but just as electric (though more subtly expressed) between Catherine and Allison — makes the seductive power of the purse all the more visceral. Money is the new toy — and it’s a sex toy, at that.

Casey-Box plays the betrayed wife better than just about any actress in town; she’s always quick to turn on the ravenously uncensored switch in her characters’ brains, the one that makes people both pitiable and annoying. It’s delicious fun to watch. Vela is good as Catherine, but her final arc strikes a false note; it seems literary, not realistic.

Even still, the actors ply all these twists in one the KDT’s best-looking plays in years, with lush costumes from Tina Parker and a sleek set by Bryan Wofford. Amid such glam, the seduction of money begins to work on us, too. Maybe more is more, even if we hate to admit it.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 3, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

2011 Readers Voice Awards: Pets

<<<BACK TO CATEGORIES

BEST PET SITTER
Call Me! Pet Sitter

214-613-5250
CallMePetSitter.com

If Call Me! Pet Sitter were to win another award, it would most likely be “Best Business To Get A Blondie Song Stuck In Your Head.” (See, you’re quietly singing Debbie Harry lyrics to yourself right now.) Owner Dana Ball left the dog-eat-dog business world behind two years ago to start this dog-sniff-dog company. Failing to spay or neuter her business model, it’s been growing ever since catering primarily to areas like Rockwall, Rowlett, Garland, Richardson, Sachse and Wylie. Her services range from daily walks and poop pick-up to watering houseplants and even nightly status e-mails for those who are canine co-dependent. As an added bonus, she’ll even play locksmith with her spare key should you lock yourself out. It’s a small extra fee, but better than sleeping in the doghouse.

— Jef Tingley


BEST VETERINARIAN
City Vet

2727 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-219-2838
3101 McKinney Ave.
214-953-1001
CityVet.com

A trip to the doctor can be traumatic for any child, especially our furry ones. They can’t tell you where it hurts, or when they started feeling bad, or even finish the hidden picture game inside Highlights for Children from the stack of magazines in the lobby. That’s why it takes an experienced team of professional veterinarians to figure out exactly why your pooch is dog-tired or your kitty has a case of cat-scratch fever. Whether you’re taking your pets in for routine exams and care or have a life-threatening emergency, City Vet, with multiple convenient Uptown and Oak Lawn offices that makes it especially popular in the gay community where pets are especially prized as household members, is head and paws above the rest. They’ve got more than just your pet’s medical needs at heart. Grooming, boarding, daycare and food supplies are all offered, too. That’s enough to make even a human’s tail wag.

— Steven Lindsey


BEST PLACE TO GET A PET THAT DOESN’T HAVE FOUR LEGS
Water Gardens Galore

2530 Butler St.
214-956-7382
WGGalore.com

They say the world is divided into dog people and cat people, but that’s as narrow minded as saying marriage should only be between a man and a woman. Maybe there are fish people, too! If you are one, there’s no need to be koi about it. Let your fish flag fly free. Water Gardens Galore is the place for getting started on soothing ponds or water features that transform any space into a private oasis. They provide plants, fish, filters, know-how and everything else you need to get your Zen on. Projects can be DIY or Water Gardens Galore will even install your own loon-worthy custom Golden Pond. (Warbly Katharine Hepburn impression sold separately.)

— Jef Tingley

DIVA DOG WALKER
Patrick Phelan

Pet Home Pal
Services available daily, 7 a.m.—­7 p.m.
214-418-8994
PetHomePal.com

 

DIVA DOG TRAINING
Bark Busters Home Dog Training

3109 Knox St.
Call for appointment
877-500-2275
BarkBusters.com

 

BEST PET GROOMING
Petropolitan

408 S. Harwood St.
Open Monday­–Saturday
214-741-4100
ThePetropolitanDallas.com

 

BEST ANIMAL ADOPTION
SPCA of Texas

362 Riverfront Blvd.
Open daily
214-742-7722
SPCA.org

 

BEST BOARDING / KENNELING
Petropoliitan

408 S. Harwood St.
Open Monday­–Saturday
214-741-4100
ThePetropolitanDallas.com

<<<BACK TO CATEGORIES

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

—  John Wright

Weekly Best Bets • 03.11.11

Friday 03.11

Grown up to be cowboys
The rodeo is back in town, or close by, at least. TGRA’s A Texas Tradition Rodeo fills the weekend up with barrel racing, bull riding and breakaway roping and a whole lot more action for the LGBT cowboys and cowgirls heading out to Alvarado to compete. James Allen and Weldon Henson provide the music along the way.

DEETS: Diamond W Arena, 8901 E. Highway 67
Alvarado. Through March 13. TGRA.org.

Monday 03.14

Third time is a charm
Maybe it’s just us, but the buzz doesn’t seem as loud for this week’s return of Lady Gaga. And we’re certain the gays haven’t forgotgaga about it. She returns to Dallas after two sold-out shows last year, but this time she’s armed with a new number one hit ,“Born This Way,” and the Scissor Sisters as openers. OK, now we hear the buzz.

DEETS: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. 8 p.m. $52–$178. Ticketmaster.com.

Thursday 03.17

Mother always knows best
In this Outtakes Dallas screening of You Should Meet My Son, a mother discovers her son is gay and then decides he needs to have a hubby and her fabulous adventures begin. Way to go, Mom!

DEETS: Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave. 7 p.m. $10. OuttakesDallas.org.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Body & Fitness: Gym Roundup

Below is a list of some of the larger gyms in the area that are popular within the community. Along with their contact information, we’ve included observations made while gathering our information for you. You’re welcome.

Club Dallas
Has been exclusively serving gay men for more than 30 years. They are open 24 hours.
2616 Swiss Ave.
214-821-1990
TheClubs.com

LA Fitness
Has locations around the Metroplex. Their Oak Lawn facility is near Love Field.
4540 W. Mockingbird Lane
214-453-4899
LAFitness.com

Diesel Fitness
Located on the third floor of the Centrum in what was once the area’s most popular gym.
3102 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 300
214-219-6400
DieselFitness214.com

Gold’s Gym
Locations throughout the city with one location in Uptown. Not as popular as it once was since the chain’s owner made a major contribution to an anti-gay cause.
2425 McKinney Ave.
214-306-9000
GoldsGym.com

Trophy Fitness Club
Four locations in Dallas with one on Mockingbird Lane near Central Expressway and another in Uptown.
2812 Vine St., Ste. 300
214-999-2826
TrophyFitnessClub.com

Equinox
They’re located on Oak Lawn but call it their Highland Park location, so we’re not sure who they’re trying to attract or distract from membership.
4023 Oak Lawn Ave.
214-443-9009
Equinox.com

24 Hour Fitness
When you Google the Downtown location, this quote pops up: “Beware there are lots of bisexuals and perverts that go there.” Might be a reason to try this location … or a reason to call their management to get it changed.
700 N. Harwood St.
214-220-2423
24HourFitness.com

— David Taffet

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

—  John Wright

Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Dallas Voice Holiday Gift Guide • 2010

>> home & hearth

CHAISE IT DOWN

Sometimes you just have to opt for cool in living rooms and Cantoni’s Fly Chaise Lounge delivers just that. The futuristic piece comes in black or red leather. The sleek lines make it versatile for both traditional and modern decors. Just prepare for those clamoring around it trying to hog all the cool comfort. The lounge is priced at $5,889.

Cantoni, 4800 Alpha Road
972-934-9191. Cantoni.com.


GET FLOORED

Perhaps the best gift is that which does away with housework. The looks of relief and happiness when you give the Mint Automatic Floor Cleaner will make the holiday season worthwhile. The robotic floor cleaner will rid the linoleum and tile and wood of dirt and grime — and all on its own. By using Swifter and similar products, it will dust and wet mop those floors too and the built-in GPS unit keeps it on the go, never missing a spot. The item is priced at $199.

Available at Bed Bath and Beyond locations.
Evolution.com.


IT’S GONNA BE A LOVELY TRAY

Serving trays are often an afterthought, but this one will steal the show. In turquoise leather, Global Views makes these trays in large, shown, and small sizes. Think big for accenting items on display. Think small for doling out the fancy drinks. Well, perhaps there’s nothing wrong with loading up the cocktails on the larger one. Just don’t spill. The large tray is priced at $375, the smaller is priced at $225.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, 4519 McKinney Ave.
214-753-8700. MGBWDallas.com.


GOING ORNAMENTAL

Whoever started the idea of ornament exchanges must have had one too many aluminum balls hanging from the tree. If the exchange comes up this year, the people of Jonathan Adler have it covered. Their line of handcrafted holiday ornaments in delightful animal shapes will trump any decoupaged tree decoration, but they are so cute that it might be hard to give it up. Prices range from $27.50 to $55.

NUVO, 3900 Cedar Springs Road.
214-522-6886. NUVODallas.com.


STAR LIGHT STAR BRIGHT

These hand-crafted free trade Christmas ornaments will not only make a spectacular addition to the tree, but 100% of the proceeds from the purchase supports the Cathedral of Hope’s Child of Hope program.  Hundreds of poor children near Reynosa, Mexico are able to attend school in one of the 11 school buildings built by Child of Hope, and receive at least one nutritious meal a day because of this program.  Everything about this is feel-good for both you and your gift recipient. The ornaments are $5.

Sources of Hope Books and Gifts.  5910 Cedar Springs Road
214-351-1901.  CathedralofHope.com.


MOVIE NIGHT

Watching movies on DVD is so… so…. 2007. Ugh. Who does that anymore, what with Netflix, streaming and IMAX? No, DVDs today are all about watching full TV shows in one popcorn-stuffed weekend. No commercials. No waiting for “The Man” to decide when you’re ready to watch.

Three great, gay-popular series are now available, and perfect for your on-the-move pals. Current hits Modern Family and Glee have their first seasons on DVD, but the one that thrills us is the massive 6-season collection of the entire series Nip/Tuck. Loaded with gazillions of extras, it’s some kind of Holy Grail of guilty-pleasure fabulosity — and there’s enough footage to keep you occupied all through the holidays with your partner’s family. Trust us: We’ve been there, and elective unnecessary surgery is a salve to making small-talk with them.

Available at Borders Uptown, 3600 McKinney Ave. (in West Village)
214.219.0512 or online at Borders.com.


NO TEARS ON THESE PILLOWS

These Bholu pillows will add significant flair to any spot. The rich heritage they come with isn’t too easy to miss either. Each pillow is traditionally handmade and embroidered by skilled artisans in India. The super soft cushions are made from lush and plush Australian wool felt. The pillows are priced at $159.

Iota Gallery, 3107 Knox St.
214-522-2999. IotaDallas.com.


A KINDER GENTLER ALARM

Bedside clocks can be charming gifts, but when the alarm blares a jarring buzz, then you might want to rethink. Step it up with the Duo-i Plus from Boston Acoustics. This machine comes loaded with an am/fm radio, a docking station for an iPod or iPhone, an easy-to-read display and BassTrac, which provides undistorted bass. But the clincher here is the 360-degree snooze bar which means touch it anywhere and its back to dreamland. Available in black and white and priced at $250.

Available at Best Buy locations.
BostonAcoustics.com.


>> barks & wags


RESERVATION FOR TWO

Spot’s love for you may be unconditional, but he’s gonna give you extra licks for this. The Elevated Double Bowl Diner Stand and Bowls by Platinum Pets USA will first relieve his aching back, it will also add some fancy décor to his eating experience. The bowls come in seven colors and in 24 ounce and 32 ounce sizes. The diner stands come in large and small sizes to fit the bowls. Prices start at $42.95.

Sold online at Amazon.com.


THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON SCOOPING

Dog owners will rejoice when you give them this stylish but practical present. The PoopPac remedies that problem of what to do when people have to, um, follow through on their dog’s actions on the grass. The Pac lets them put it out of site by providing a handy place to store those plastic bags until coming to a proper trash stop. The PoopPac comes in a variety of colors with an ultra-cute paw print. Plus, it can be clipped onto a belt or used as a backpack. Prices start at $29.95.

Sold online at PoopPac.com.


A TREAT FOR TREATS

Sometimes those big, bland plastic containers make dog and cat treats less of a treat. But these vibrant stainless steel canisters, also by Platinum Pets USA, will brighten any dog’s day. The clear lid lets you see just what type of treat Fido and Fluffy deserve — which is most likely all of them. Prices start at $14.25.

Sold online at Amazon.com.


>> body & soul


MAKE LUNCH MORE FUN

That inner child in everyone screams for an old-school lunch box. Give the gift of retro with these metal lunchboxes that recall elementary school cafeterias and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. The quirky gift can appeal to many types, with old TV shows, comic book heroes and even the king of rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe even throw in a can of soup for that Thermos inside. Prices start at $6.95.

Antiques Gallery, 3330 N. Galloway Road, Suite. 225, Mesquite.
972-270-7700. AntiqueGalleryMesquite.com.


THAT SMOOTH FEELING

Billy Jealousy makes skin care products for bad boys — and good ones too. This Men’s Skin and Shave Gift Set will not only battle the effects of daily skin damage from edgy living, but also gets that skin nice and smooth for the holiday season. Better yet, Billy Jealousy donates a portion of sales to nonprofits supporting the arts environment and social needs. This gift gives both ways. The set is priced at $200.

M Image Center, 3303 Lee Parkway, Suite 100.
214-443-5197. MImageCenter.com.


HIGH-TECH SHAVE

What guy doesn’t like a new electric gadget? Braun’s Series 7 760CC shaver looks less like a grooming tool than a laser gun. Loaded with high-tech options like an automatic cleaner and charger, OptiFoil ergonomic design, flexing head for facial conformity and Pulsonic technology to zap that hair right out, the only thing it doesn’t do is open the garage door or turn on the TV.  Series 7 shaver prices start at $229.

Available at Sears locations and Sears.com.


SUPREME BEING

The classic diva Diana Ross is heading to Dallas, so why not consider giving seats to a once-in-a-lifetime concert? OK, she might be back again, but rarely has Big D seen Ross come this way. She brings her legendary R&B to the Majestic Theatre on March 2 as part of her Greatest Hits tour. Tickets are priced at $75–$135.

Tickets on sale Dec. 3 at Ticketmaster.com.


OUTSIDE THE BOX

Dude Sweet delivers chocolate like no other. Working with only dark chocolate, they mix it with any and all flavors for that perfect taste. In this artisans box of chocolates, they go savory, mixing with yellow curry and pineapple, and then sweet with coconut milk, lime and basil.They even get local, mixing it with roasted beets and Texas olive oil. Yeah, definitely chocolate out of a different box. Priced at $20.

Dude Sweet Chocolate, 408 W. 8th St.
214-943-5943. DudeSweetChocolate.com.


THE PERFECT FIT

Astor and Black have become the premiere custom clothiers for men and offer suit packages with opulent quality. The clothiers will head to either home or office to work with clients on sizing him up and creating a suit perfect to fit. Their packages vary from bronze to platinum and come with custom made suits, shirts and silk ties. Prices begin at $2,200.

Visit AstorandBlack.com for more information.


JUST IN CASE

Leave it to the people at Diaper Dude, who make trendy diaper bags for parents, to hit up the electronics market. Their Digi Dude offshoot has come out with a new eco-friendly laptop bag that looks less like Neoprene luggage and more like a sturdy, rugged case with loads of pockets and inserts for handling business on the go. Their iPad case has easy access and closure with a microfleece interior for added protection. Perfect for that go-go gadget guy — or gal. The laptop bag is priced at $148; the iPad case is priced at $25.

Available at TheDigiDude.com.


GLAM FOR REAL

Purses aren’t just for drag queens. These bags by Bo’s Art will make any event special. From the Opera Collection, the purses are made with stainless steel wire mesh but give the appearance and feel of silk. Add to that the 24K gold plating, 23K gold leafs, copper or brass mesh color accents and this becomes on clutch no one will let go of. Prices range from $200 to $325.

NUVO, 3900 Cedar Springs Road
214-522-6886. NUVODallas.com.


HIGHLY ADAPTABLE

Alta Mere says it’s time to step away from the cigarette lighter output. For the person who has all that great music on their iPhone or iPod, but no way to play it in the car, consider this nifty gift. The USA Spec interface can be installed to turn that manufacturer’s stereo into a mp3 jukebox. The interface will also charge up the i-gadget and lets the driver control the songs via the original stereo. Prices start at $289 including installation for most vehicles.

Alta Mere, 4302 Lemmon Ave.
214-521-7477. AltaMereDallas.com.


STYLE RIDE

Bike riders might appreciate the style these Chrome cycling shoes will add to their adventures. They come in a variety of colors and could easily dress up any daily wear as well. Now that’s versatile. Prices start at $70.

Blitz Mopeds, 2924 Main St., Suite 102
214-749-0095. Driveblitz.com.


BY THE HORNS

Wallets don’t get their proper attention and that’s because they are designed without much thought. Brighton doesn’t make that mistake with their Bull Wallet. Made of leather, it is available in five styles and colors with inlays. This checkbook wallet is durable enough to withstand pocket action and stylish enough to grab all the attention. Prices start at $46.

Union Jack, 3920 Cedar Springs Road.
214-528-9600. UnionJackDallas.com.


GUN SHOW

What’s Christmas without a little bit of leather? Santa has that big belt and those boots, right? Indulge the leather man in your life with Leather Masters’ new uniform short sleeve shirt. Made of leather (of course), the shirt comes in a variety of piping for dramatic impacts. Available in red, blue, yellow and gray, the shirt is a must for any leather wardrobe and think how those beefy arms will look coming out of those sleeves. The shirt is priced at $185.95.

Leather Masters, 3000 Main St.
214-528-3865. LeatherMasters.com.


OFF THE CUFF

Express your feelings with these leather bracelets and cuffs by local artist Rebecca Ramos. Her per•so•na accessories come in different widths each with silver badges featuring different phrases, words or symbols. She will even create an original work for that one of a kind gift. Prices start at $38.

Available at ChickeeBoom.com.


BRIEF MOMENTS

Forgive us for presuming, but underwear makes, simply, the best-ever Christmas gift. Here’s why: You give it to your boyfriend — maybe a jock strap, maybe a package-defining bikini cut, maybe a silky, clingy pair of boxer briefs — and when he wears them for you, you get hot and can’t wait to pull them off. But you can also give them to yourself and it’s still a gift for him: Seeing you look hot and sexy is the ultimate turn-on. And with the selection of brands, styles, fits and sizes at Skivvies, it’s a gift that, literally, can keep on giving.
Skivvies, 4001 Cedar Springs Road

214-559-4955. SkivviesDallas.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 19, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Fat girls aren’t easy: ‘Charm’ works its magic

The MAC, 3120 McKinney Ave. Through Dec. 11. KitchenDogTheater.com.

……………………..

Margaret Fuller (Tina Parker) was a real person who seemed unreal to the society of her day. She was educated, opinionated, frank and kinda ugly — she hated corsets and the sexual repression of women. By the time she died, at age 40, she had had a child (probably out of wedlock), dated (probably gay) author Henry David Thoreau (Michael Federic0), and dabbled (probably) with lesbianism, all while breaking into the Good Ol’ Boys’ Club of the mid-19th century Transcendentalist Movement.

At least that what Kathleen Cahill suggests in her new play Charm, getting its Texas premiere from Kitchen Dog Theater. The title is ironic, as Margaret, despite her many talents, was totally lacking in charm. She dared challenge Ralph Waldo Emerson (Jeffrey Schmidt, a dead-ringer) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (Brian Witkowicz, hilarious), and irked a traditionalist like Orestes Brownson (John M. Flores). She was a woman outside her time.

KDT’s production — a fun, witty 90 minutes — captures the fairy-tale-like silliness of some very serious matters, especially feminism and sexual liberation of other kinds. Like Circle Theatre’s recent Bach at Leipzig, it tells historical facts with the freedom to turn  into a comedy. Hawthorne is a rabbity weirdo; Thoreau a bug-loving sickly nerd — a repressed closet case who moved to Walden Pond as a way of sublimating his sexual anxiety; Margaret lusts after a boyhood crush by the lake — a vast, blue parachute of rippling water. And the idioms are mostly modern, at once taking us out of its time and reinforcing how contemporary the ideas are (Margaret high-fives one of her friends).

The set, by Chase Floyd Devries, could have been designed for children’s theater: A serious of steps that resemble the books written by the literati that populate the play, in bright, colorful pastels. Just as interesting, though, is Parker as Margaret. Like her performance in Mr. Marmalade, Parker takes a childlike petulance and turns it into high tragedy. Things appear so simple to her — why can’t they really be that way? As with Dawn Weiner in Welcome to the Dollhouse, you sympathize with her even as you want to shake her. She may not have had any charm, byt the play has loads.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones