Finding George

WITHOUT BATON AN EYE | Film composer George Fenton is best known for his Oscar-nominated work on ‘Gandhi.’ He joins to DSO this weekend.

Oscar-nominated composer George Fenton gets Dallas ready for the ‘Gay Super Bowl’

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

You might never think that a grand epic movie like Gandhi would have anything in common with the Kate Hudson rom-com Fool’s Gold. Dangerous Liaisons and Hitch? But from drama to comedy, the baton of Oscar-nominated film composer George Fenton has touched those films and many varied others. He’s definitely the versatile type.

“As a composer, you always project yourself into what meager little project you’re working on into a higher echelon,” Fenton says with a laugh.

This weekend, Fenton performs with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for the Masters of Film Music concert, which features a selection of scores he has composed for films throughout the years. But after years of creating music and getting sizeable acclaim for it, he hints at some slight insecurity. The British composer is really just concerned if the audience is going to have a good time. Or he’s just a very humble guy.

“What I’ve tried to do is make a program that works sort of as a variety show,” he says. “I hope it makes a good evening. You never can quite tell what the dynamic of evening will be.”

Fenton has been nominated for five Oscars since 1983, for his original scores to Gandhi, Cry Freedom, Dangerous Liaisons and The Fisher King, as well as original song for Cry Freedom. With such illustrious cred, he’d likely have an opinion on this year’s crop of music nominees going into this weekend’s Gay Super Bowl, aka the Oscar ceremony. Maybe. But he’s not sharing.

“I’m not going to predict who wins. They are all worthy,” he says diplomatically. Fenton is more excited about the direction film scores are going. From the innovative modern tone of The Social Network to A.R. Rahman’s follow-up nomination for 127 Hours from his prior win for Slumdog Millionaire, Fenton sounds refreshed by “new” composers and basically those with balls to do something different.

“There hasn’t been enough courage to just take a shot at something different so I welcome this approach to movie music,” he says. “One of the great problems faced by people writing movie music is being employed to write to such a large expectation. Scores have generally been slightly stark for a while.”

In addition to the music performed with the DSO, film director Andy Tennant will provide guest narration. Known mostly for romantic comedies, Tennant has collaborated with Fenton on five movies, including Hitch, Fool’s Gold and Sweet Home Alabama. Fenton knows the films are “quite light,” but he figured on one thing.

“Well, since I asked him to come down and introduce things, I thought I’d better include some music from his films,” he laughs. “So I’ll likely have some music from Ever After and Anna and the King along with other films like Liaisons and Stage Beauty.”

He’ll also be introducing a new work for the show that strays away from the world of film. Fenton scored the popular mini-series Planet Earth and Blue Planet and in similar fashion, he’ll be playing parts from his latest work, “From a Disappearing World” inspired by the Arctic. Thinking it was from a newfound fascination with the nature work he had been doing, the four-part piece was merely representative of a trip he took there. Either that, or he was just figuring what to write for this performance.

“I was asked to write something for this show but I was like what kind of piece do I write?” he says.

He either underestimates himself or delivers that cheeky humor as only a Brit can do.

“When I came away from the trip, I thought I could write about its aspects so it’s four sketches that convey what it actually is,” he says. “I can’t imagine why I would do that.”

Since he wouldn’t predict which music Oscar nominee would win, he did deliberate on which of his nominations he should have won for.

“Well, in my humble opinion, all of them.”


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

Gay Pride events for Saturday

The parade and festival are only a day a way, and here’s a list of Pride-sanctioned events for Saturday from the Dallas Tavern Guild:

Gay Day @ Six Flags
Once again the “queer” community descends on the largest theme park in the Southwest for a day of food, fun, rides and community. This is a really special outing and should not be missed.
Six Flags Over Texas is located in Arlington, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth at the intersection of Interstate 30 and Highway 360 (Angus Wynne Jr. Freeway).
10:00 am until park closes.

A Gay-ther Homecoming Concert
This event brings together LGBT artists from all across the country for a night of gospel music. Concert will benefit programs of the Interfaith Peace Chapel. Celebrate with LGBT Musicians and Allies as they gather for an evening of Joy, Praise and Musical Memories.
Cathedral of Hope Sanctuary
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
8:00 pm
Tickets: $15
For more information or tickets, go to:

Gay Bingo at The Rose Room
“Gay Bingo Glam” Fierce, Fiery and Fashionable
One of the highlights of Pride Week is Gay Bingo. Lots of guest stars, surprises, great prizes and loads of laughs with Jenna Skyy and her cohorts. Reserve your tickets early because this one is always sold out well in advance of the date.
The Rose Room @ Station 4
3911 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
Doors open @ 5:00 pm Bingo starts @ 6:00 pm

Gay Pride Celebration Party
Round up Saloon
Open at noon with Drink Specials all day
3912 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219

The Annual “High Drag” Ball
It’s not a “Stonewall Riot” but it will be a “fashion and laugh riot” as the gang gathers to model, perform and raise money for charity.
Barbara’s Pavilion
315 Centre Street
Dallas, TX 75208

‘EQUINOX’ – A Celebration of Dallas Pride
The Brick/Joe’s
Featuring superstar DJ/Producer Chris Cox
Doors open at 9pm. Dance ‘til 4am.
Advance $15 tickets on sale.
2525 Wycliff
Dallas, Texas 75219

Pride Night Karaoke, hosted by Totally Twisted Karaoke
Our Saturday night is filled with “Pride” as we sing karaoke and pay tribute to all the great music that made the GLBT community sing and dance through the years.
2615 Oaklawn Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Hot Music Night at Exklusive
Come and enjoy the best top 80’s, 90’s / top 40 music mixed by DJ Style
Strippers starting at midnight (12am)
Drink Specials – $2 wells / $2 domestic from 9pm – 10pm
No cover
4207 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75219

Glow Pride Party & Glow Dance
Dallas Eagle
10:00 pm
5740 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75235

Dance Night @ Kaliente
Come and enjoy the best Latino and top 40 music mixed by DJ Puma
Drink Specials – $2 wells / $2 domestic from 9pm – 10pm
No cover 9pm – 11pm
4350 Maple Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75219

Hear our Pride sponsored by the Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc.
Radisson Hotel and Suites, Mockingbird (off of I-35)
Dinner with entertainment provided by renowned comedian, Paul J. Williams. Tyler McCormick, International Mr. Leather 2010 is our special guest. The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to raise funds to provide hearing aids for hearing-impaired individuals and provide grants to organizations for ASL interpreting services for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
45 – Individual Tickets or $100 for VIP Tickets
7 p.m. until 10 p.m.
More information can be found at

—  John Wright