WATCH: Trailer for the Billie Jean King-Bobby Riggs movie ‘Battle of the Sexes’

We’ve been excited about the film Battle of the Sexes ever since we saw the first stills of newly-minted Oscar winner Emma Stone and Steve Carell as dead-ringers for tennis greats Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, who fought a famous charity tennis match in Houston back in the early 1970s pitting the top female tennis player of the time against an older, more experienced and heavily delusional Riggs. The event really kick-started feminism, gave rise to the term “male chauvinist pig” and cemented King as an icon. Now the trailer is available for the film, which comes out in September. Take a look!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Moonlight’ is already a success; now it can become a hit

MoonlightOf the nine films that were nominated for the best picture Oscars this year — Arrival, La La Land, Hacksaw Ridge, Fences, Lion, Hell or High Water, Manchester by the Sea, Hidden Figures and Moonlight — the one that has made the least amount of money at the domestic box office is the winner: Moonlight. Before the awards, it had logged in about $22 million — nowhere near the frontrunner Hidden Figures (with $152 million), or La La Land ($130 mil) or even Arrival ($100 mil). It shared the same range as Hell or High Water ($27 mil), Manchester ($46 mil) and Lion ($42 mil).

But those facts don’t tell the full story. Hacksaw Ridge, which took in nearly three times as much as Moonlight ($66 million), also cost about $40 million to make — when you figure in marketing and distribution expenses, it probably hasn’t broken even yet. And while Hidden Figures was a bargain at only $25 mil to make, earning six times its production cost, even it doesn’t compare to Moonlight. That film cost only $1.5 million to make, so its gross is already 15 times its cost.

Profitability isn’t the only story, though. You want eyeballs on the screen as well. And so, the Ar-House-Queer-Black-Indie-Film That Could is expanding tomorrow to 1,500 screens. That’s an amazing roll-out, and shows a lot of hope that audiences will turn out for a movie because of the acclaim and the accessibility… even if the subject matter is on the edge.

Here’s to more people seeing the best film of the year.

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: First clip from ‘Freeheld’

Last week, I wrote about the upcoming Oscar-bait season of films, and chief among them is this one: Freeheld, from the author of Philadelphia and starring out actress Ellen Page and honorary lesbian (and newest Oscar winner) Julianne Moore in the true story of a lesbian couple’s fight for justice. Summit has just released the first extended scene from the film. Here it is. The film comes out Oct. 2.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Joel Grey comes out as gay, no one bats an eye

TCM-CABARET-2

Grey, in his Oscar-winning role alongside Liza Minnelli

It is perhaps the biggest piece of non-news of the year to date: Joel Grey, the Academy Award-winning star of Cabaret and a Broadway legend for roles such as the Wizard in Wicked, has, at age 82, finally comes out publicly as gay, in an interview with People magazine.

If you hear crickets chirping, I’m not surprised. Despite being the father of actress Jennifer Grey, Joel has frequently been at the fore of gay causes. So why hide it for so long? (As Nathan Lane noted when he came out years ago, “I’m single, I’m 40, I do musical theater …. you do the math!”)

The People interview sheds little light on that matter, other than the fact he grew up “in a different time.” But those times have long passed, and now in his ninth decade, you’d think he would have come out long ago. But no.

Ah, well. Better late than never. Welcome to the party, Joel! Your toaster oven is on its way.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Kathy Bates: The gay interview

L14A2832.DNGLong before dishing lesbian wisdom to Melissa McCarthy’s mess of a character in this summer’s road-trip comedy Tammy, which opens tomorrow, Kathy Bates had the gay community in shackles. It didn’t take a sledgehammer to maintain our obsession with her … it just took the Hollywood icon’s every turn on television (Six Feet Under, American Horror Story), Broadway (’Night, Mother) and the big screen (Titanic, Misery, which won her an Oscar).

Notably with Fried Green Tomatoes, her 1991 girl dramedy, and then with Dolores Claiborne and Primary Colors, the SMU alumna has kept us captivated for four decades, bound to her boundless greatness. Now, as one half of a lesbian couple in Tammy (Sandra Oh of Grey’s Anatomy plays her partner), she’s giving you one more reason to be her biggest fan. Our Chris Azzopardi sat down with her to discuss the gay boys she first met in Dallas, kissing girls and her drag impersonators.

Dallas Voice: I’ve never been to an all-lesbian party, but based on the one your character, Lenore, throws in Tammy, clearly I’ve been missing out.  Kathy Bates: You have. It was a lot of fun! It really was. And there was a scene that was cut out of the movie where all the lesbian women on the dock were singing “Fire,” the Bruce Springsteen song, which was pretty fun.

You really can’t go wrong with some lesbians and The Boss.  No, no, no. It’s a sure thing.

Tell me about the best lesbian party you’ve ever been to.  I don’t know if I’ve been to a lesbian party quite like the one we have in Tammy. I’ve known and loved many lesbians in my life … but I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten them all into the same room at the same time! I always imagined that my and Sandra’s characters lived in a very small town, so I think many of these lesbians they’ve known were shipped in and probably work in Lenore’s [pet] shops in other towns, that it’s an annual thing and they come in and hang out for the holiday.

Melissa said your chemistry with Sandra was instantly palpable. Who are some other women you could see yourself going lesbian for onscreen?  Let me think about that. I’m just absolutely in love with Sandra, and let me just say that she really brought our relationship to bloom. She brought a lot of love and warmth, and it was her idea to have wedding rings, which I hadn’t thought about, and also, really, to think that our relationship is the healthiest relationship in the movie.

You know, we’re non-judgmental, and [in] my scene on the dock with Melissa, it was important for me to be able to ad-lib how difficult it is — or was, especially 20, 25 years ago — for lesbian women to come out. I think almost more difficult than for men to come out as gay. She brought just so much love, and she really helped create the little bubble of our relationship, and now I have forgotten your question. Oh, whom else would I like to be with. Ahh, let’s see. Who do I love? Oh, I could totally see this: I shared a plane trip with Uma Thurman once and I thought she was pretty cool. I could see doing a movie with her and having a lesbian relationship — although I’m much too old for her!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Uptown Players among groups bringing “8” to a theater near you

Last fall, we reported on the star-studded reading of Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black’s new play 8, which features readings from the transcripts of the Prop 8 trial in California, the Mormon-backed initiative that sought to ban gay marriage in that state. It was a one-night-only event full of celebs; George Clooney announced he’d do a West Coast version. But other than that, it seemed like something most of America would have to wait for.

Well maybe most, but not Dallas. Sure, we don’t have Clooney or Morgan Freeman, but we will have Uptown Players doing a reading of it, as part of a nationwide program. So far, 17 states have signed on for about 40 readings, include Dallas’ gaycentric theater company.

The play concentrates on the actual oral arguments made by lawyers and unlikely allies David Boies and Ted Olsen in opposing implementation of the proposition.

Uptown has yet released any details — the date, the cast, etc. — but we will post report new information on the project as it is announced.

Black, pictured above, won an Oscar for his screenplay to Milk and has J. Edgar in theaters now.

UPDATE: According to Uptown Players cofounder Craig Lynch, the company will stage 8 in September, to coincide with Dallas Pride. “We are proud to be selected by Broadway Impact as the North Texas theatre company to present a staged reading” he said.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Starvoice • 09.09.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Jennifer Hudson turns 30 on Monday.
The Oscar winner has made headlines in the recent past mostly on her weight loss. She talks to Self magazine this month about losing over 80 pounds. This year, she returns to the big screen in Winnie, portraying Nelson Mandela’s wife, and in 2012’s The Three Stooges.

…………………..

THIS WEEK

Venus coming home to Libra normally helps us to be more gracious, social and polite. Opposing Uranus on the way in whips up some crazy ideas of what that might mean. Compassion and imagining yourself in the other’s position is usually the best way to start out.

…………………..

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
You find amazing deals at estate sales, perhaps even your true love. If you already have one, bring him or her along and you find some treasure that will become an emblematic keepsake.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
You’re looking especially gorgeous. The attention you get will surprise you. Of course you’re not just a pretty face; a new contact could prove very helpful as a colleague.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Hiding out from the social whirl may give you peace, but doesn’t do much for your anxieties. Hum the first tune that comes to mind. That song will offer insights to face your worries.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Party it up but don’t go overboard. Seek out new, interesting, unusual people at these events. Their perspectives can trigger new insights into your own roots.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
Career opportunities are looking good, but are you prepared? Know your strengths and the difference between reaching and overreaching. Work causes you to neglect issues at home.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Think a little harder before opening your mouth. Does it really need to be said? Your words carry more weight than you realize. Treat them like currency and don’t waste them.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Opportunities abound as Venus is flashing her goodies in your house of illicit pleasures. She offers a deeper challenge to re-
examine your priorities and values.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
You’re suddenly looking marriageable no matter what local laws allow. Let someone special see your inner wounds. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable shows confidence in both of you.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
A friend in need is a pain in the ass. You have your own problems. Even so, helping out your pal can not only get you out of your own problems for a bit, but help point you to a solution.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Your idea of social outreach is a little outré. One on one is fine for scaring off people you don’t want to deal with, but if you’re working with a group, behave accordingly.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
New recipes go better than you’d hoped for. Even if things screw up, you get points for trying. At work keep your boss up on any experiments, just in case.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
Advice is not necessarily appreciated, as you could find out the hard way. An earnest, soul-searching talk about sex can be more satisfying than actually doing it. Not that one rules out the other.

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

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Bergmaniac

Streisand dazzles (as usual) on new CD of songwriters’ lyrics

Bergmans_Barbra
THE WAY THEY WERE | Babs has sung the lyrics of Marilyn and Alan Bergman for decades; now she has an album dedicated to the songs she and others have made famous.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

For Barbra Streisand, releasing an album is old hat… especially when she returns to the familiar. Her new album (dropping Tuesday) — her 33rd, following 2009’s Love is the AnswerWhat Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, has been on her to-do list for some time: On it, she honors her frequent collaborators, who composed the lyrics to the Yentl soundtrack, “The Way We Were” and more.

It’s almost unfair to review Streisand anymore. Her production values are top-notch and there is no denying her voice still gorgeous after 50 years. For what she does, it’s perfection. Add to that her status as a music legend, especially among gay men, and nitpicks might seem blasphemous. But regardless of what the makers of Glee think, she’s still human, and while Matters works in the usual Streisand oeuvre, she also refrains in her tone.

On the opener, the Oscar winner “The Windmills of Your Mind,” Babs lets the construction shine more than her vocal interpretation, delivering drama but still holding back. Still, her voice is solid, like a perfect wine glass: delicate but sturdy. She continues such subtlety in subsequent tracks “Solitary Moon” and “Something New in My life” (where slight hints of grit in her voice are surprisingly refreshing).

She closes the 10-track album with songs that also rely on similar structure. Face it: She’s diva enough to not mind showing off. But her touches to “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” and the title track are exquisite.

Soon into the album, though, the impact is lessened. Covering Sinatra’s “Nice ‘n’ Easy” doesn’t fit her style. Streisand is not overly sexy, but this track needed to be flirty and sultry; instead she sounds like mom singing a silly “come hither” tune in front of all my friends. Awkward!

There is a downturn in the second half as “Alone in the World” and “So Many Stars” play on. They make less of an impression and she’s less engaged with the lyrics. An Academy Award-winning actress could put a little more emotion into it.

“The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye,” though, is a floating dream, and is easily a highlight, as is “That Face” performed jazzy and playfully. Streisand even sounds less on guard than her previous tracks, more relaxed.

For diehard fans, this is Streisand at her finest: Quality production, impeccable voice, timeless tunes. For the rest, this is the same over again. With nothing to prove, I wish she’d be more daring in her music the way she’s willing to be with her films (Little Fockers, anyone?).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 19, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

‘Milk’ screenwriter Dustin Lance Black hopes LGBT Texans respond to video challenge

Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black is trying to get the word out all over about his latest endeavor — especially to his one-time home state of Texas.

“I think this project is so important,” the Milk screenwriter told Dallas Voice this week. “People need to hear the stories of our LGBT brethren and straight allies from all areas. If you wanna change minds, you have to intro yourself and tell your story.”

Which is what he’s calling for people across America to do for the Courage Campaign’s Testimony initiative. And the former San Antonian hopes some Lone Star State peeps will get on board.

—  Rich Lopez

FREE STUFF: Wanna see Elton John and Leon Russell in Fort Worth? We got tickets

In case you missed the announcement on the DV’s Facebook page, we are giving away a pair of tickets everyday this week to the Elton John and Leon Russell show. The two perform Nov. 13 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena.

The two collaborated on the just-released album The Union, which was produced by Oscar-winner T. Bone Burnett. In the album, John delves into roots rock with Americana icon Russell. Now they are on the road together and the show makes its way here next weekend. In the video below, they discuss the making of the album.

To win your tickets, email “Elton John” in the subject line to Tickets for your chance to see the legends live. Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez