Starvoice • 07.15.11

By Jack Fertigstarvoice

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Simon Rex turns 37 on Wednesday. The actor has had quite the varied career as an actor in the TV series Felicity and Scary Movie 3 and then as a rap artist under the moniker Dirt Nasty. He also VJ’d for MTV in 1995. But most gay men might remember him for his role in Young, Hard & Solo II and the sequel.

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THIS WEEK

Relationships aren’t a competitive sport. Venus in Cancer aspecting Mars in Gemini should be good for whispering sweet nothings, but Eris aspects both, and Mars is right on the South Node. Resist temptations to be assertive and clever. Go for chocolates and exotic love poetry.

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CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Venus in your sign enhances your charm and beauty. Don’t be shy. Use your charm to promote charitable works. That also helps your career, but it’s no substitute for good hard work.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Hide out in a creative retreat with a few friends who really stimulate your talents and productivity. Put your minds together. You and they will accomplish a lot.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Rally your friends toward a goal. This exercise in leadership will be good for you socially and professionally. Remember it’s all about achieving the goal, not about your ability to run the show.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
You’re rising to the top like cream, but staying sweet is a challenge. Keep your eye on the details and the basics. Remember who’s on your side. Avoid arguments and other distractions.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Speaking up for what you want will work. Word will get around. New ideas for teamwork can transform your workplace. At both work and play, stay focused on your long-range priorities.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Verbal or not, playful teasing of your partner might easily get out of hand. A little is good, but it goes a long way. Always keep the Golden Rule in mind.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Flirtations at work need to be mild. Co-workers are not family, but a homey spirit can help build teamwork. Bring in some homemade goodies or arrange a potluck lunch for morale.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Working out is fun and creative at some level. Explore new ideas to stay engaged in your fitness regimen. Friends should have helpful suggestions. Don’t be shy to ask.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
It’s all about the home cooking! Old family recipes save you money and inspire you to economic perspectives that can help your career. Thrifty initiatives get you noticed.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
You are effective in defending your family and community, but responses to insults or attacks are short-sighted. Understand the history and context of any conflicts, to address them better.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Romantic and sensual as you are, you could be sexier. Challenge your values and old hang-ups. Examine inner conflicts with someone you trust. Push yourself out of your comfort zone.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Harness your current surge of constructive energy. Resist the urge to outspend your pals, or fritter resources on mindless indulgences. Work with your partner toward a common goal.

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

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 15, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Bradford Cox aka Atlas Sound aka Deerhunter frontman releases free music download

Yesterday, Bradford Cox posted practically a whole album on his website available for free download. Under his moniker Atlas Sound, he offers Bedroom Databank Vol. 1, 11 tracks of work recorded at home and on his computer. Of the 11, there are two covers: Dylan and the Band’s “This Wheel’s on Fire,” which you might know as the theme from Absolutely Fabulous recorded by Julie Driscoll and Adrian Edmondson, and Kurt Vile’s “Freak Train.”

Sure he didn’t do an interview with us when he was last in town, but all is forgiven since we’re getting all this free music now. Funny how that works.

—  Rich Lopez

Steven Daigle hospitalized, arrested

Things could be going better for North Texas’ Steven Daigle. After he was booted from Big Brother in 2008, he told me that he tried to live by his grandmother’s advice while he was in the house: Never do anything you wouldn’t want to read about on the front page of the New York Times.

So much for that.

Daigle parlayed his quasi-fame into a quasi-career, going from reality TV footnote to hardcore gay porn actor — perhaps the only one ever to use his full, legal name as his porn name.

Now, he’s got another dubious moniker: Jail bird. JRL Charts, which touts itself as the “official” gay adult film industry publication, reports that Daigle and his boyfriend, fellow porn actor Trent Locke, were involved in a fight Monday that sent both to the hospital an landed Daigle in jail on $20,000 bond.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

500 days of Samir

Male dancer Samir breaks the chains of Cirque du Soleil to blossom as ‘the guy’ with Bellydance Superstars

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Samir
GRACE LAND | Samir adds a different flair to bellydancing as Bellydance Superstars’ first and only male dancer.

BELLYDANCE SUPERSTARS
Palladium Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar St. Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. $20–$39.
BellydanceSuperstars.com

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Going by a single name is a ballsy move that usually works more in favor of women: Madonna and Cher. Pink. Charo.

Then throw in Bono. There’s always one guy willing to go against the grain.

Samir is no singer; he’s a dancer. But the solo moniker isn’t the only thing about him that defies convention. He also seeks to prove that a dance traditionally performed by women has room for at least one guy. Samir is part of the harem of Bellydance Superstars, which is in Dallas this week. Just don’t box him into the male label — or even gay. He sees himself in a more primal fashion.

“I don’t identify as a male dancer or female dancer,” he says. “I’m more like a creature and I never had people criticize that. That’s what’s unique about it because audiences are confused and I think they like that.”

Samir is the first male dancer onstage for the Bellydance Superstars show, but it’s also one of the first times in his professional life that he’s felt like his art is blossoming. He first burst onto the public scene as part of Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. That experience looked great on his resume, but Samir wasn’t thrilled come curtain time each night.

“To get to Cirque, I felt something was different,” he says. “It was totally new for me but I was also never a backup dancer. For three years, I basically went out every night to just do these beautiful poses.”

For Samir, Cirque was a grueling process that left little for the Tajikistan-born dancer to be inspired by. He could recognize the art and technique that went with the show, but he says it was not a place for people who create.

“I found myself killing my talent and my time,” he says. “It was just a regular job doing the same thing every night. It was good exposure, being in Vegas at the Bellagio, but Cirque is only for dancers who are retired. They can enjoy their life there until they go to heaven.”

Samir discovered early that this wasn’t where he was supposed to be. Regardless of his excitement, the marriage was doomed from the moment he signed the contract.

“They told me all the good things, but changed it once I started,” he says. “The rehearsal part was all love and sex but the honeymoon ended right after I signed with them.

He applauds Bellydance Superstars producer and creative director Miles Copeland for stepping away from the norm to see the dance as an art. The show gives him the creative outlet he has been searching for.

“[Copeland] doesn’t want to keep you locked away,” he says. “Here you can show your stuff and if he likes it enough, it will be in the show. He respects your talent and that make me want to give more. I feel great here.”

Unlike Cirque, this show offers Samir a family of like-minded individuals — not a mishmash of athletes and artists. For him, everybody here talks the same language and has become one family. Plus, the touring has allowed him to see more of the world. The different places, people and even different dressing rooms each night are a longshot from his former routine.

Samir’s desire for creation is in his blood. Both his parents were involved in the arts: his mother a famous folk dancer, his father a musician. Samir has been dancing since he was 2 and had already tasted fame when he traveled the country with his parents. He fits in naturally to the whirlwind of touring and bringing bellydancing to the masses — even if his audiences are aficionados more than curious onlookers.

“The show is all about bellydancing and Indian and Oriental tradition dance. Only people who are into it and understand it usually come to see the show. But I hope some new people will see how beautiful it is,” he says.

Samir is coy about a few things. He won’t reveal his age but says he’s young enough to finish the tour. However, once the tour wraps up (for now) in February 2011, he teases about his next career move.

“It’s going to be a big surprise,” he says with a likely smile. “Contact me in a year.”

Just like a bellydancer to coyly leave one veil hanging.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 8, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

The accidental DJ

Trying to establish himself as a musician, Micah Banes ended up behind the turntables as ‘MicahB.’ And that’s not a bad place to be

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

FROM BLACK TIE TO GOSPEL TO HAPPY B-DAY! Micah Banes cut his musical teeth with his group  Foreign Trade, but now wows audiences as DJ  MicahB, and as a producer of gospel-cum-dance music. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
FROM BLACK TIE TO GOSPEL TO HAPPY B-DAY! Micah Banes cut his musical teeth with his group Foreign Trade, but now wows audiences as DJ  MicahB, and as a producer of gospel-cum-dance music. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

BIRTHDAY PRIDE BASH
The Bank, 1313 Main St.
Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Free.
MySpace.com/MicahBMusic.com.

When Micah Banes blows out the candles on his 32nd birthday cake, he may have only a split second to make a wish and down a piece. That night, he’s also DJing at his own b-day bash under the moniker MicahB (his preferred calling card). And if those beats don’t match up, then there might be blood on the dancefloor.

But really, the last thing MicahB would have ever thought of is providing the entertainment at his own party.

“I kinda fell into [DJing] accidentally,” he says. “But I like the idea of liberating genres and mixing music together. To me, that’s what music is all about.”

Initially, this philosophy was translated into his band (perhaps better described as a “music project”) Foreign Trade. He described the group as electro-funk in which he layered computer-generated sounds against the music of live instruments. Foreign Trade garnered some good local attention; MicahB booked gigs in the underground house scene at venues like Zubar, minc and Alexandre’s. But when he was asked to perform at Black Tie Dinner in 2007, the doors swung wide open.

Foreign Trade eventually dissipated, so MicahB pushed his solo work. Owing to his involvement with Black Tie, he found himself working the fundraiser circuit, a move that has exploded his DJing career over the past year. It has also positioned him for making an impression on the LGBT community.

“With gay crowds, you can definitely feel the music working the energy,” he says. “Especially with the nonprofit work, I can feel like I’m giving back but also put positive energy into my community and of course, the bash itself.”

MicahB got his musical tentacles into other high profile projects, like providing music samples for filmmaker Israel Luna’s controversial movie Ticked Off Trannies With Knives, DJing mixers for the likes of Youth First Texas, Lambda Legal, DIFFA and BTD, and spinning tunes at Margaret Cho’s concert at the Verizon Theatre last week. On top of all that, he’s booked the fall with a gay cruise to Hawaii that includes local comedian Paul J. Williams on the bill.

MicahB, like it or not, is becoming a big deal.

“I love the charity work because it’s easier to control,” he says. “Yeah, I’m young to the DJ world, but I also think that my background in music works to my advantage. I can maybe hear some things in music that DJs without that background wouldn’t hear.”

That’s a bold statement from the likes of a self-proclaimed newbie. But MicahB also isn’t shy about the work he does. He’ll brag, but in a careful, even polite way. But that doesn’t hold him back from admitting his musical plans are grand.

“Well, it’s all about time and the resources, but I’m planning for world domination,” he says with a crooked smirk. “It’s all a hustle but it’s that and the passion that has helped me keep things going. And now, my five-year plan includes hitting up other cities.”

In turn, he has some superstition about totally discussing the future. While he certainly has his goals and is happy with how the career is unfolding, he doesn’t want to jinx anything.

Banes is fine with the baby steps he’s now taking, and if world domination means by his music, that means more production as well. Along with his own music and DJ work, MicahB has five albums under his belt as a producer and some apparently obscure recordings floating around Italy.

MicahB worked with former Dallas musician Dan Paul (who moved on to New York as part of the trio She-Dick) on some tracks from Paul’s latest album. Along with producing credits on other minor releases, it’s his work with a local gospel singer that could put a feather in his producing cap.

“It was awesome working with Marvin [Matthews],” he says. “He’s such a glowing person who uses his national resources to create the project. He would do a studio recording in L.A. that I worked on the audio streams of. Someone else would mix and then would be mastered by someone else. It was wild.”

The resulting CD, Now, was released this year under Matthews’ pseudonym M. Francis. The album stretched Matthews beyond his usual gospel sound into realms of pop and dance. More importantly, for MicahB at least, the album’s potential distribution by EMI puts his name out there on a bigger scale — and ups his game.

“This is a big step for me,” he says. “The album has been sent to radio stations across the country. That’s something!  I’m just growing with it all, man.”

For now, he’s got a birthday to worry about — which always coincides with Dallas Pride. Even though he’s booked other DJs to entertain his guests, he couldn’t resist getting up there himself. For now, it’s about MicahB and he’s all about the music. That is, until he admits the real truth.

“I’m a DJ,” he says with a laugh. “We’re all divas!”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Leader of anti-gay group in Amarillo plans to publicly burn Quran on 9/11 anniversary

A Florida pastor may have called off his plan to burn Qurans on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But David Grisham, the leader of a militant evangelical group in Amarillo, tells the local CBS affiliate that he plans to publicly burn the Muslim holy book on Saturday. Grisham is the leader of Repent Amarillo, which gained attention in January when it launched a boycott of Houston after the city elected on openly gay mayor, Annise Parker:

According to Grisham, he has questioned why he should go through with his plan, but in the end, he feels it is right.

“Terrorism was seeded by the ideas in the Quran. It’s the Quran that has put our troops in danger. Burning one isn’t going to put our troops in danger. It’s the ideas contained in that book that put them in danger,” said Grisham.

Grisham is a security guard at a nuclear-bomb facility called Pantex, according to media reports. Repent Amarillo goes by the moniker “Army of God” and refers to itself as the “special forces of spiritual warfare.” The group has also gained attention for a campaign to shut down a local swingers club, as well as a “warfare map” posted on its website identifying its enemies in Amarillo.

—  John Wright