‘Mama’s Party’ cabaret at Tucker’s Blues

Get your cabaret fix to start off the week

Even if it is the beginning of the work week or the new year, Monday nights are a Dallas must thanks to Amy Stevenson who hosts Mama’s Party. Every Monday, local musicians and actors come together for a night of song and for a mere pittance. Where else could you get an array of major stage talents performing an ample night of music for cheap? Oh, oh, we know the answer!

DEETS: Tucker’s Blues, 2617 Commerce St. 7 p.m. $5. MamasParty.com or look them up on Facebook.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: George Michael to go way gay on new album, but with whom?

The word is out that our favorite former sometimes-Dallasite George Michael is working on an album collaborating with a specific group of musicians. NME reported that “The singer, who is due to tour the UK in the winter with a 41 piece symphonic orchestra, had previously revealed that his next studio album would be made with a collective of gay artists, in an effort to ‘correct the damage’ his recent behavior had caused in ‘letting young gay kids down.’”

Now I’m a fan of Michael, but you know, I was let down too by his behavior and I KNOW his music. Our 19 year-old intern didn’t know much about Michael post-Faith. Come on, George. Us older fans want some of your attention, too.

ANYWAY, with his new vow to work with “either gay or gay friendly artists – possibly unknown ones,” I wondered who would be a good match. Minus bigger queer stars, I went from mid-range down:

  • Uh Huh Her — Sort of like the Pet Shop Boys of the lesbian crowd, this duo has cool pop chops and bring their own brand of sexy to match Michael’s. Vocally, he’d probably own them, but altogether, I’d predict a hit.
  • Big Freedia — I’m not sure if Michael could handle Freedia’s big booty bounce, but it would be fun to see him try to keep up. Michael may be the veteran, but Freedia would shine more.
  • Adam Lambert — This might be an easy call, but I think these two could be phenomenal together. There are enough similarities and differences and each would boost each other to different levels. Lambert’s big but still not huge so I think he’d fit in fine.
  • Diamond Rings — I think Michael could win with Diamond Rings writing his songs. It would bring him to an edgier level. Michael could use that without going overboard and Diamond Rings would know how to do that.
  • Sia — As much as I’d want to say yes to this, I think any collab between them would be a little odd. He’s too polished, she’s too eclectic, but vocally, they could be nice together.

That’s just what I think. Who would you pick?

—  Rich Lopez

Classical Open Mic tonight at Buzzbrews

Dust off that violin and resin those strings

Bringing classical music back to the people, founded by musicians Michael Jackson (not that one) and Kristen Center, Classical Open Mic strive to perform their works in unconventional places. Like a 24-hour diner. Taking the classic out of typical venues, they work to get it closer to everyday people and encourage interaction and participation. Plus, you can have a sandwich to go with it. Sweet!

DEETS: Buzzbrews, 4334 Lemmon Ave. 7 p.m. Free. ClassicalOpenMic.com

—  Rich Lopez

Fishing with Juan

‘CRUSH’ ON YOU | Abe Vigoda ventured into electronica territory with its new album ‘Crush.’ Gay member Velasquez, second from right, hopes this might increase fans for the band — especially gay ones.

As indie band Abe Vigoda tours the country, lone gay bandmember Juan Velasquez sometimes just wants to settle down with a boyfriend

GREGG SHAPIRO  | Contributing Writer
gregg.shapiro@gmail.com

Juan Velasquez has been with Abe Vigoda since the beginning. No, he’s not the lover of venerable Fish and Godfather star Abe Vigoda, but the indie band that co-opted the actor’s name.

Velasquez is one of a growing number of out musicians who play in cool indie bands including Grizzly Bear, The Soft Pack and These Arms Are Snakes and Vampire Weekend. Crush, Abe Vigoda’s new disc, might take some of their existing fan-base by surprise, considering the (welcome) use of synthesizers and dance beats. At the same time, the band has definitely increased its potential for a larger LGBT audience.

Velasquez spoke about being the only gay in the vill… er, tour bus, and whether the actor knows about his eponymous rockers.

Dallas Voice: Were you and the other members of Abe Vigoda listening to different music than you ordinarily would have prior to recording Crush? Juan Velasquez: No, not really. It had been two years since we wrote music together. Influence-wise there’s different music that we like, stuff that we’re interested in and enjoy. I think it was a natural thing that happened. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We don’t all communally love one thing.

You said that it was a natural thing, so would you say that the sonic difference of Crush was a conscious decision or did it occur organically? Definitely organically, but it took a while. We write sporadically, usually when we’re practicing. Our drummer [Dane Chadwick] really likes dance music, so he introduced electronic elements to the band. We toyed around with them as a thing that we would be able to use and then we realized how much we liked it. It’s fun because you’re not restricted to guitars and drums. There are more things that you can use. I think we were finally more comfortable using synths.

How has the response to Crush been from longtime Abe Vigoda fans? It’s very varied. Some people just don’t get it. To me it sounds more “accessible” than other things we’ve done through the years. Some people are not so jazzed on it and some people like it. It’s not what they expected and because of that they like it. Sometimes we’ll play shows and mainly play songs from Crush and people will be like, “Why didn’t you play anything older?” I think people are still getting used to it. Even more important, people that didn’t like us before are maybe not getting into it because it’s a whole new thing and they didn’t know what we sounded like previous to this record. It’s a mixed thing, which is kind of what we expected. It never enters our mind when we’re writing what it’s going to be like on the other side of it. We just want to produce something that we like and then after that, it’s up to unknown forces whether people will be into it.

You run the risk of alienating some people, but you also stand the chance of reaching a whole new audience. Yes. For me it’s more exciting than just doing the same thing that people are going to like. I’m excited when bands change and evolve. We’ve never been a band that sticks to the exact same thing. It’s fun to try new things and push yourself.

The songwriting on Crush is credited to the band Abe Vigoda. How would you describe your role in the process of song creation in the group? It’s different for different songs. Sometimes Michael [Vidal] and I will have an idea or something we’re fiddling around with on the guitar and bring that to practice. Then everyone does their own thing on it. We generally jam together as a band. Everyone is in charge of their own instrument as far as what they contribute. Within the structure of the song, my main part is already there and we’ll work on it together. Sometimes I’m just adding something to what Michael has already laid out. We all edit each other and edit ourselves. It’s pretty democratic way of writing songs, I think.

What’s the best part of being the lone gay member of a band? [Laughs] What’s funny is that some people think everyone [in the band] is. Or they think there is one, and it’s Michael, the singer. When we’re on tour, the other guys in the band aren’t looking for girls. They’re really nice guys, which is awesome. If anyone, I’m probably the one who’s more like on the prowl [laughs]. I get really excited when I find someone else in a band who is gay because there aren’t that many of us in indie rock. Sometimes I’ll venture out (while on tour in a city) and check out the gay bars or if I have a friend in town we’ll go out and do our thing. In a way, I have a little freedom where I can go and do my own thing. I get some space away from the whole touring thing and being in close quarters with everybody.

Because they’re not going to tag along. Sometimes they do. Sometimes we’ll all go out to a gay bar. It’s a non-issue, obviously. I don’t think I could be in a band where it was an issue.

Are you aware of a contingent of LGBT fans among Abe Vigoda’s fans? I’m not aware of one if there is. Not to generalize, but we’re usually playing for kind of a straight crowd. Sometimes, someone will mention that, come up to me and say, “I’m gay, too.” But that’s rare. But I’m sure there are [gay people in the audience].

I’m not even sure people know that there’s a gay member of the band. It’s also not the focus of our music. There are some bands for whom that is the focus of their music, to be in a queer band to give voice to queer issues, even in a fun or punk way.

Like Scissor Sisters. Exactly. Or Hunx and His Punx. They definitely have a gay following, whereas we have a more mainstream indie rock following.

Does being in a touring band make it difficult to maintain a relationship? You betcha! If you would have asked me this at this time last year, I would have said, “No! I have an amazing boyfriend.” I never really until last year had a relationship or somebody that I was really excited about. It was the first time that I legitimately fell in love with someone. Before that it had been more casual. In January of last year, I was in love. We went out on tour with Vampire Weekend and then recorded Crush around this time last year. I was gone and missed him and talked to him on the phone. It felt like a relationship. It was great and exciting. Then I got home and soon after I got dumped. He didn’t enjoy that I was gone for so long. I never saw it that way. Being gone for a long time is rough on relationships, but I’d never really thought about it because I wasn’t in one. You only have a certain amount of time when you’re home to meet someone and once you get started then you have to leave again. Hopefully, I’ll meet someone who doesn’t mind that their significant other has to leave for a while. It’s definitely stressful. I don’t mean to sound like a cry-baby. I’m over it now. At the time, it was pretty shitty. Because it was something I couldn’t control. It’s my job. I’m not going to choose somebody over this.

Do you know if your namesake is aware you named your band after him? I have a pretty strong feeling that he does. One time somebody who wanted to interview us, instead of contacting [the band’s publicist], found his publicity person and messaged them. They got a response saying that it wasn’t the band’s publicist that they had reached, it was the actor’s. If his publicist knows, he knows. And he doesn’t seem to care, which is good.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

GIVEAWAY: We have two pairs of tix to Jay Brannan and Eric Himan on Tuesday

The Loft has given us two pairs of tickets to Jay Brannan’s show on Tuesday to give away. It’s a double-bill of sexy. Not only does the pretty-faced indie folkster headline, the hunky and tatted Eric Himan, below, opens the show with his brand of folk-pop. Kudos to The Loft peeps for booking a perfectly matched pair of gay musicians.

E-mail us here by noon Monday with your first and last name and “I wanna get folked up” in the subject line for your chance to win. Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

Super Bowl gets even queerer

Fergie

The other day we reported that Dallas will play host to what is being billed as the first-ever gay Super Bowl block party, the night before the big game in Arlington in February.

So perhaps it’s only fitting that the Black Eyed Peas, the band led by bisexual singer Fergie, have been selected as halftime performers. From The Dallas Morning News:

The Black Eyed Peas will play the Super Bowl XLV halftime show at Cowboys Stadium in February, a source confirmed to the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

A spot playing at the Super Bowl is considered a highly coveted gig for musicians. Last year’s Super Bowl averaged 106.5 million viewers and peaked at about 114 million, making it the most watched show in U.S. TV history.

Maybe Fergie, who’s also spoken in support of marriage equality, can stop by the Cedar Springs fiesta.

—  John Wright

Just to reiterate Today’s Best Bet — you should really stop by Lakewood Bar & Grill tonight

Twist Dallas is offering a different kind of night out. Stepping away from the gayborhood, Twist hosts a lineup of (mostly) local LGBT musicians playing a mini-fest at the Lakewood Bar & Grill tonight — and it’s ambitious. Things start rolling at 7 p.m. (early!) with a lineup of seven acts lasting till past midnight. We’ve featured a couple here in the pages of the Voice such as Immigrant Punk and Infidelix who both hail from Denton. They join SuZanne Kimbrell, a regular at Jack’s Backyard, Da’rell Cloudy from Longview and Gringo Soul from Chicago on the stage tonight for this month’s Twist session. Chasing the Muse, Jay Bean and artist Erica Felicella round out the roster.

Twist Dallas has the intention of doing something like this every month. The site states “Each month we will bring you something new from the GLBT community, whether it be music, art, comedy, theater or fire breathers.” Live music in the community is making some strides with Woody’s back patio series and TMC’s Patio space, but I appreciate Twist’s attention given to these musicians with original work. Twist Dallas has picked a fine selection that ranges from folk to rock to hip-hop. And kudos to LBG for opening its doors to the community.

I’m looking forward to more from these guys. And honestly, I would dare to say I’m begging you to go to this. It’s the perfect opp to support LGBT-created music that’s not getting enough notice. Seven bucks to get in and a free drink? Totally worthwhile. Plus, it’s gonna be a long night, so come up and say hi.

—  Rich Lopez

LGBT music showcase at LBG in East Dallas

Gay musicians hit up East Dalas

Immigrant Punk

Twist Dallas GLBT is pulling off a mini-palooza of LGBT musicians this week. A lineup of locals such as SuZanne Kimbrell, Infidelix and Immigrant Punk, pictured, are just some of the bands and musicians bringing the Pride vibe to old East Dallas. Twist calls it a music and art showcase. We call it awesome.

DEETS: Lakewood Bar and Grill, 6340 Gaston Ave.7 p.m. $7. TwistDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Show vs. Show • 03.26.10

By RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

Dallas doesn’t find itself too often in the middle of a gay live music dilemma. This weekend, two musicians might get to bring their sounds to the masses. That is, if LGBT Dallas heads out to support their own.

Tommy Hernandez was mostly on the local music scene as a solo artist but his latest venture takes him away from pop music into a trancey realm. As one half of Museum Creatures, he and Stephen Holmes go the electronica route.

Museum Creatures is part of the Mercy for Animals Benefit at the Cavern on Lower Greenville. They share a heavy bill with Soft Environmental Collapse, Division of Power and more for the Rockout for Animals show.

Patrick Boothe approaches music with a raw attitude. In his latest release, Jump In, a five song EP, he explores his darker side.

Boothe relocated from Dallas to Austin partly to be near the music industry there. A lonely spell set in and provided inspiration for his newest set of songs. But he’s confident his gay audience will relate.

“I do have a mostly gay audience and they don’t listen to just the poppy music at gay clubs and bars you always hear.”

He’s alt-rock with a piano but more in the vein of Tori Amos. Yet, maybe a bit louder.

“It’s just me and a piano but it’s gonna be loud. I sing pretty loud and I’m not a classically trained pianist so it can get intense at times.”

He’s alt-rock with a piano but more in the vein of Tori Amos. Yet, maybe a bit louder.

“It’s just me and a piano but it’s gonna be loud. I sing pretty loud and I’m not a classically trained pianist so it can get intense at times.


— Rich Lopez

 


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 26, 2010.


—  admin