Inaugural Open Mic Night at BJ’s

Trial by fire

Local musician Rusty Johnson has been handling the live entertainment offerings at BJ’s (and no, not the dancers), but tonight he does it a little bit different. He’s hosting the club’s inaugural Open Mic Night tonight and with a full on backup band. How’s that for a kicker? So bring your original music, spoken word or even your favorite cover song. Johnson is calling tonight the trial version, but by the enthusiasm of his Facebook invite, we think he wants it to be a lasting thing. Hey, we’re down.

DEETS: BJ’s NXS!, 3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave. 8 p.m. BJsNXS.com

—  Rich Lopez

Driver’s Seat: Mark Trimble, Flutist

Name: Mark Trimble, 44.

Occupation: Musician (flute) and music educator.

How might we know you: My partner Ami Sadeh and I helped create the BearDance events.

Type of car: Blue 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe.

Best car memory? Driving my Nissan 350Z the first time with my partner around town with the top down!

Funniest road trip story: I don’t know if it’s funny or sad, but I had an audition in Tennessee and a drunk driver sliced off a big chunk of metal off the side of the trunk. It was my dad’s Oldsmobile Delta 88. I had to tie that chunk of metal back on the car as it flapped all the way back to Cincinnati where I lived.

Hmmm… we vote sad. OK, buy or lease? Lately I prefer leasing. I get the itch for something new or different about every three to four years. It doesn’t hurt that you can get a bit more car for less money per month!

You play the flute, but ever in the car? I think I’ve played it in my partner’s car while he’s been driving. It’s not at all practical for the driver and it doesn’t work well in the passenger seat either. There are better places to practice. Now I will practice finger patterns for music on the steering wheel from time to time though, and that’s a great way to practice without the instrument.

What do you jam out to? NPR or BPM on satellite radio. Sometimes it’s Beethoven or Lady Gaga.

Don’t you musclebear types drive Jeeps or big trucks usually? Am I really that now? Ha! Maybe I do need to get the requisite truck!  I’m not about all my image with my car, it’s more about the driving experience for me, and I like fun-to-drive cars usually as long as they are roomy enough for me.

Since it’s hot as hell out, how’s your A/C? It is fantastic! I’m lucky to have a garage to park in at home so that it’s not all heated up when I leave the house in the summer, but even when it’s been out in the sun, it cools down very quickly.

Sounds great. So, one last thing: flootist or flautist? Well, it can be both actually.

— Rich Lopez

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

—  Michael Stephens

Broken Mould

Queer punk pioneer Bob Mould turned an abusive childhood into a musical movement, but memoir targets hardcore fans

2.5 out of 5 stars
SEE A LITTLE LIGHT: THE TRAIL OF RAGE AND MELODY
By Bob Mould (with Michael
Azerrad). 2001 (Little, Brown)
$25; 404 pp.

………………………….
It all starts with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” It continues with the itsy-bitsy spider, the ABCs and being a little teapot. From there, you embrace whatever your older siblings are listening to until you develop your own musical tastes. Maybe you started with records, moved on to the cassette tapes, CD and now, your iPod is full.

The point is, you’ve never been without your tunes.

But what about the people who make the music you love?

When Mould was born in 1960 in the northernmost end of New York, he entered a family wracked with grief: Just before he was born, Mould’s elder brother died of kidney cancer. He surmises that the timing of his birth resulted in his being a “golden child,” the family peacekeeper who sidestepped his father’s physical and psychological abuse.

“As a child,” he writes, “music was my escape.”

Mould’s father, surprisingly indulgent, bought his son guitars and young Bob taught himself to play chords and create songs. By the time he entered high school, Mould knew that he had to get out of New York and away from his family. He also knew he was gay, which would be a problem in his small hometown.

He applied for and entered college in Minnesota, where he started taking serious guitar lessons and drinking heavily. His frustrations led him to launch a punk rock band that made a notable impact on American indie music.

Named after a children’s game, Hüsker Dü performed nationally and internationally, but Mould muses that perhaps youth was against them. He seemed to have a love-hate relationship with his bandmates, and though he had become the band’s leader, there were resentments and accusations until the band finally split.

HUSKER DON’T | Bob Mould turned his youthful rage and homosexuality into a music career. (Photo by Noah Kalina)

But there were other bands and there were other loves than music, as Mould grew and learned to channel the rage inside him and the anger that volcanoed from it.

“I spent two years rebuilding and reinventing myself,” writes Mould. “Now that I’ve integrated who I am and what I do, I finally feel whole.”

If you remember with fondness the ‘80s, with its angry lyrics and mosh pits, then you’ll love this book. For most readers, though, See a Little Light is going to be a struggle. Mould spends a lot of time on a litany of clubs, recording studios, and locales he played some 30 years ago — which is fine if you were a fellow musician or a rabid, hardcore fan. This part of the book goes on… and on… and on, relentlessness and relatively esoteric in nature.

Admittedly, Mould shines when writing about his personal life but even so, he’s strangely dismissive and abrupt with former loves, bandmates, and even family. I enjoyed the occasional private tale; unfortunately there were not enough.

Overall, See a Little Light is great for Mould fanboys and those were heavy into the punk scene. For most readers, though, this book is way out of tune.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

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

—  Michael Stephens

‘¡Gaytino!’ tonight at Latino Cultural Center

Latin flair

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing).

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

—  Rich Lopez

Latin flair

comedy
MUY FUNNY | Dan Guerrero works for laughs while being gay and Latino in his one-man show.

Before he could write ‘¡Gaytino!,’ Dan Guerrero first had to find his roots

rich lopez  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Growing up gay and Latino can be a tough hand to play. In a culture that revels in religion and machismo — hell, the word “machismo” is Latino — coming out poses pitfalls.

But Dan Guerrero lucked out. With some artsy upbringing by a musician dad and a not-so-practicing Catholic background, Guerrero’s closet was easy to open. In fact, it was harder for him just to be Hispanic.

“Los Angeles never made me feel like I was good enough,” he says. “I fell in love with musicals in junior high. I wanted to hear Julie Andrews in Camelot! Who gives a rat’s ass about mariachi?”

His dad might have given one. He was famed musician Lala Guerrero, the father of Chicano music who popularized the Pachuco sound in the 1940s (the beats most associated with Zoot suits and swing dancing). While Guerrero appreciated his father’s legacy, he established his own identity by moving to New York to become an actor. That didn’t work out so much, but becoming an agent did.

“It was kind of by accident, but I ended up being an agent for 15 years,” he says. “I got into producing and I loved it.”

Although he stepped away from performing, Guerrero finds himself back onstage Friday and Saturday at the Latino Cultural Center with ¡Gaytino! The autobiographical one-man show is part comedy, part cabaret, with Guerrero recounting in lyrics and punch lines his experiences growing up gay and Latino, life with father … and having to rediscover his roots after moving back to L.A.

“The main reason I did the show is, I wanted to know more about my dad and my best friend. I was already fabulous,” he laughs. “So I don’t think of this as my story. I wanted to embrace his legacy and celebrate him and our lives, but also tell of being a born-again Hispanic.”

In L.A., Guerrero rediscovered his heritage. While still working in entertainment, he noticed a lack of Latinos behind the scenes. He started a column in Dramalogue to change that, interviewing actors like Jimmy Smits and Salma Hayek and producing shows that spoke to Latin audiences.

And then came ¡Gaytino!

“Well, the word itself hit me first so I trademarked it. Then it was madness as I set about writing it,” he says.

When the show debuted in 2005, Guerrero hadn’t performed in 35 years. He was a different man, no longer a young buck with nothing to lose and untarnished optimism. He was a behind-the-scenes producer and casting agent. He was — gasp! — older.

“I remember thinking, ‘What am I gonna do? What if I forget my lines?’ I’m an old codger,” he says. “But I got onstage and it was like I had did it the day before. Performing is just part of who I am.”

With his successful day job (he once repped a young Sarah Jessica Parker), a healthy relationship (32 years this November) and irons in many other fires, why bother with the daunting task of writing a show and carrying it alone?

“It still feels like I’m breaking into show business. At least when you’ve been around as long as I have, you can get the main cheese by phone,” he answers. “But really, I had something I wanted to say and I love doing it. I’ve been lucky to stay in the game this long but it’s not by accident; it’s all been by design.”

What he loves isn’t just doing his show, but how it pushes positive gay Latino images. He’s dedicated this chapter in his life to that. Guerrero now feels parental toward the younger generation — maybe because he has no children of his own.

“I do feel a responsibility and not just to younger people, but to all,” he says. “For ¡Gaytino!, I first want them entertained, but I hope audiences will leave more educated about some Chicano culture and history and Gaytino history.”

……………………………………

QUEER CLIP: ‘BEGINNERS’

screen

 

Beginners is such a dreadfully forgettable and generic title for what is the year’s most engaging and heartfelt comedy, you feel like boycotting a review until the distributor gives it a title it deserves.

Certainly the movie itself — a quirky, humane and fantastical reverie about the nature of love and family, with Ewan McGregor as a doleful graphic artist who, six months after his mother dies, learns his 75-year-old dad (Christopher Plummer) is gay and wants to date — charts its own course (defiantly, respectfully, beautifully), navigating the minefield of relationships from lovers to parent/child with simple emotions. It’s not a movie that would presume to answer the Big Questions (when do you know you’ve met the right one? And if they aren’t, how much does that matter anyway?); it’s comfortable observing that we’re all in the same boat, and doing our best is good enough.

McGregor’s placid befuddlement over how he should react to things around him — both his father’s coming out and a flighty but delightful French actress (Melanie Laurent) who tries to pull him out of his shell — is one of the most understated and soulful performances of his career. (His relationship with Arthur, his father’s quasi-psychic Jack Russell, is winsome and winning without veering into Turner & Hooch idiocy.) But Plummer owns the film.

Plummer, best known for his blustery, villainous characters (even the heroic ones, like Capt. Von Trapp and Mike Wallace), exudes an aura of wonder and discovery as the septuagenarian with the hot younger boyfriend (Goran Visnjic, both exasperating as cuddly). As he learns about house music at a time when his contemporaries crave Lawrence Welk, you’re wowed by how the performance seethes with the lifeforce of someone coming out and into his own. His energy is almost shaming.

Writer/director Mike Mills’ semi-autobiographical film suffers only being underlit and over too quickly. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to spend more time with these folks.

—Arnold Wayne Jones

Rating: Four and half stars
Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 10, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Indie musician and Dallas native Lisa Loeb adds eyewear to her impressive resume

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Having a No. 1 hit right out of the gate can be a hell of a lot of pressure on a young musician, but Lisa Loeb hasn’t been overly fazed by her fame. She’s navigated a healthy career that expanded far beyond her signature indie song “Stay,” which caught on when it was picked for the film Reality Bites. Loeb is a singer, yes, but has also dabbled in acting and voiceover work. And she now adds eyewear designer to her resume.

Loeb returns to her native Dallas Thursday for an intimate concert at Jack’s Backyard, but the night will also mark the launch of her new eyewear line.

She has been pretty much identified by her plastic-framed cat-eye glasses, so this marriage would have seemed to be long in the works. Then again, these things take a while.

“Certain ideas take a long time to make happen,” she says. “I’ve been working on this for about three years. When I started slowing down musically, I could give my personal life some focus, and told myself, ‘I have to do this,’ but it took a long time to just to get the first round of styles.”

Loeb decided to go forward with designing after being recognized for so long by her signature spectacles — even being asked for advice on eyewear. Plus, she has some slightly selfish reasons for doing it.

“When I needed certain clothes that I had in mind, I had them made,” she says. “The same with glasses. It was hard to find ones that fit me. So it’s kind of selfish, but I’m like, this is an iconic look for anybody and I’m enjoying making the different varieties for people and myself!”

She’s sure that more than indie chicks and club kids will flock to her line.

“Hipsters, moms, little girls — I’m making glasses that make anybody feel comfortable,” she says. “They will only enhance somebody’s look but they don’t speak before the person does.”

This isn’t to say the music world has lost Loeb to fashion, but her approach to music and concerts has changed since she became a mother. Loeb recently performed an online concert and her enthusiasm over both the convenience and the interaction with her fans has convinced her to do more in the future.

“Oh, it was really cool and I just did it live from my kitchen,” she says. “It’s like this whole different version of tweeting and I can communicate with people writing comments as the show happens. I want to do early afternoon ones for kids and a lunchtime one. I think people who just wanna stay home appreciate it too. It makes sense.”
Still, the acoustic goddess isn’t ready to give in entirely to technology. Despite figuring out the best way to put out her upcoming album, she doesn’t want to stray too far from an actual connection with her audiences. Simply put, that’s her style of performing. But coming back to her hometown for a concert does make her nervous.

“It’s always fun to come home and see friends and family, but it can also be strange,” she laughs. “When you have white-haired relatives sitting on the side of the stage, that makes you nervous! But they are so supportive.”

GAZING AT THE GAYS | Guys can get in on the action for Loeb’s new eyewear line — three of her frame styles are unisex, meant for the men as well as the women.

At times, she recalls her younger days here: Sneaking into the clubs in Deep Ellum (Club Dada had a strict policy); Bill Wisener of Bill’s Records giving her albums from his store because she used to DJ in school; gigging at spots like Poor David’s Pub. She’s curious about the scene’s landscape now — each of the locales she mentions have had a rebirth in Dallas, with the latter two now neighbors in South Dallas and Dada having reopened earlier this year.

So Dallas for her will be different and the same. She does have great expectations for Jack’s Backyard.

“I think what sounds so great about Jack’s is that it’s this big outdoor space with music and has food,” she says with inordinate enthusiasm.

Fame may not have changed Loeb, but what has is her family. She married in early 2009 and later that year announced the birth of her daughter. Family life suits her. Although Loeb doesn’t turn overly gushy when talking about her family, there is no doubt that they are high priority, not only in life, but in her music, too.

“Because I represent my family now, it’s focused me on my music,” she says. “I want my daughter to be proud of what I do so I think more about the impact it will have on her if I’m going to work. On the other hand, I want my daughter to see me doing what I love. You have to pick and choose wisely.”

What her daughter has brought to Loeb is, of all things, more music. Having a child didn’t change the music Loeb was listening to, but rather increased it. Loeb is intent on having her daughter listen to all kinds of music like she did growing up listening to classical, disco, R&B. Plus, she wants to be “that kind of mother.”

“I can’t think while listening to music at home, but she needs to have it on,” she says. “I started taking some of my old CDs and I’ll play all kinds of stuff. Because of her, music is making our lives bigger. Plus, I want to show her cool things and be the cool, groovy mom.”

That should be a cinch for the cool, groovy artist.

—  John Wright

Sarah Jaffe and Bosque Brown tonight at the Wyly

Buzz surrounds local musician Sarah Jaffe, but she’s ready to move on

Going from playing smaller clubs like Dan’s Silverleaf and Club Dada, to selling out the Granada Theater last year, Sarah Jaffe’s star is on the rise. She gets a primo gig Saturday when she headlines at the Wyly Theatre in support of her 2010 full-length debut, Suburban Nature. After garnering attention for Nature locally and nationally (from the Dallas Observer to NPR), Jaffe wasn’t just a girl with a guitar — she unlocked yearning and pain with wisdom beyond her 25 years. Jaffe captures the poetry of life and love and sets it to music … even if she doesn’t mean to.

“I’ve never been a strategic writer and I’m thankful for that,” she says. “It comes out sporadically. There are those moment in life when I slow down and it’s just me being human and being alive and the writing is totally cathartic.”

Read the entire article here.

—  Rich Lopez

Well, it looks like Gary Floyd won’t be taking home an OutMusic award tonight

Not really sure how I missed this, but the OutMusic Awards which were scheduled for tonight (hump day? really?) aren’t happening — for now. OutMusic announced the awards will be postponed until Spring 2011 due to a sponsor abruptly pulling out of the ceremony. According to the letter on their website, proceeding with the awards would have been a strain on their budget. I’ve pasted the entire notice after the jump.

Unfortunately, this means we’ll have to wait on whether local musician Gary Floyd is a winner. We mentioned last month that he is up for three OutMusic awards.

I fail to see how this could have happened. The 2010 awards was to be the follow-up to an astounding success of a revival when the awards were brought back last year.  According to their site, “The 2009 OUTMUSIC Awards had a record breaking attendance of 2,000 attendees. Our OUTMUSIC Awards television media sponsor Logo TV of MTV Networks, helped the organization make history by airing the Best Moments of the 2009 OUTMUSIC Awards reaching 40 million viewers. We had a host of other media sponsors via online, radio, and live event producers across the nation, moving us one step closer to achieving Equality in the music industry and the world we live in!”

Talk about ramping up to a letdown. They aren’t revealing the sponsor’s name, but if you’re curious, you can check out the list of the 2010 OMA sponsors here and make your assumptions.

—  Rich Lopez

A note on gay Pride — in and out of the community

I had an annoying conversation this morning.

A publicist for a troupe we (let’s put it this way) “recently profiled” called to ask for a change online to the story: Seems like we referred in the headline to the person we interviewed as “gay.” She wanted it removed.

“I’m sorry — is that not true?” I asked.

“No, it’s true. He’s gay.  He would just prefer you not mention it.”

The conversation continued like this for a long time.

Now, I’m happy to correct errors, especially ones caused by us. But this person was pitched to me as the “gay head of this troupe,” and I assigned the story accordingly. If he had not been gay … well, let’s just say the troupe was not on my radar enough such that I would have been all that interested in the story without a hook, an angle. That was his.

Part of the mission of this newspaper is to draw our readers (many of whom are straight) to what’s going on in and by the gay community. Sometimes it’s homophobes attacking us and our rights. Sometimes it’s our allies who embrace us for who we are and treat up as equals. Sometimes it’s just celebrities who have an interesting perspective on their gay fans. Sometimes it’s openly gay people who are victimized by bigots, or leaders who step up to improve the lot of the community.

But a lot of the time, it’s just ordinary gay folks doing something out in the world we think people might want to know about. A trans woman who continues to be a personal trainer. A musician who wants to save the Great American Songbook. An auto mechanic who runs a garage and offers his gay clientele a friendly environment. An actor who steals the show in a national tour of a terrible musical. A museum curator who brings his unique perspective to a major art museum. Maybe being gay doesn’t directly affect what they do too much. But maybe it does. And it’s good to have a sense of pride knowing the vast landscape of opportunities out there — and that being openly gay, bi or trans is not a hindrance to success.

So when someone who is gay — and claims to be out — asks me to hide that fact … well, it angers me. You don’t need to do an interview with me. You don’t need to discuss your sexuality if you do agree to the interview. You don’t even need to be gay for me to write about you. But don’t come to me with the pitch that our readers might be interested in reading about you and then leap back in the closet. Because there are a lot of people out there proud to be called gay. I’m one of them.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Logo premieres local musician Sarah Jaffe on NewNowNext tonight

Local musician Sarah Jaffe keeps making the right moves into becoming the next big music thing. Logo channel’s NewNowNext Music will premiere her video “Clementine” tonight at 1 a.m. I know, it’s late, but she’s so worth it. The song is from her debut full-length, Suburban Nature, on local based label Kirtland Records.

And don’t go jumping to conclusions about Jaffe. The show features music from both gay and non-gay artists. All you need to know is that she’s pretty amazing.

Once you watch the video, catch her live on Friday when she plays at The Loft. Get tickets quick though. She sold out the Granada earlier this year.

—  Rich Lopez