This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

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It’s a busy, exciting weekend in Dallas — especially for the gays! First off, our Spring Sports Issue is on the stands, with cool stories about the lesbian tennis group Sets in the City and the newest gay rugby team. And that comes right on the heels of Mavs owner Mark Cuban giving the gays a shout-out on Fox Sports. Just after Magic Johnson endorsed the idea of an openly gay player in Los Angeles, Cuban said he’d be “honored” to have the first out player in Dallas. Read about it here.

That’s just some of the fun, though. At the premiere of the Dallas International Film Festival this week, artistic director James Faust bragged to me that he programmed this year’s seventh annual event with lots of gay content in mind. It starts this afternoon at 4:15 p.m. at the Angelika, with Del Shores in attendance for the screening of the film Cry, in which he has a featured acting role. It gets even gayer next week with the local debuts of Ash Christian’s gay rom-com Petunia with Michael Urie, Yen Tan’s Pit Stop and Laurence Anyways on Monday, and the David Sedaris comedy C.O.G. and the gay doc God Loves Uganda on Wednesday. Check out the full schedule here. And I’ll be blogging reviews during the fest, so come back! For music lovers, recording artist Frankie will be performing her new single three more times in Dallas this weekend, with appearances tonight at Plush at 11:30 p.m., then another an hour later at 12:30 a.m. at the Round-Up Saloon, plus another late-night performance on Saturday at 11:30 p.m. inside the Rose Room. Or you can check out gay artist Owen Pallett at the Palladium Saturday, with gay band Grizzly Bear, pictured, also on the bill.

In theater, you still have a chance to see John Michael and the Order of the Penix, a one-man performance piece at the Magnolia Lounge that’s pretty damn fearless. You also definitely need to catch Rx, the new hilarious comedy about love and other drugs courtesy of Kitchen Dog Theater. Once again, Tina Parker delivers a not-to-miss performance. And Uptown Players’ latest cross-dressing spoof, Re-Designing Women, opens for a seven-week run at the Rose Room, with author Jamie Morris in the role of Julia Sugarbaker.

The stage musical of Priscilla Queen of the Desert doesn’t open in Dallas until next month, but you can get a sneak peek of sorts. On Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Dallas Summer Musicals and the Cupcakery on McKinney Avenue team up for a taste competition with three local drag queens on hand for an event called Priscilla Queen of the Desserts. You can even win tickets to the show. And if you’re really interested in desserts on Saturday, there’s still time to attend the No Tie Dinner, a benefit for AIDS Services of Dallas, at the Frontiers of Flight Museum starting at 7 p.m.

A final option for foodies: Dishcrawl, a national movement where you get to know your culinary choices within a given neighborhood, debuts in Dallas with the Uptown Crawl on Sunday, with eight restaurants (among them, Meso Maya Uptown, Pop Diner and Momo’s) participating. Proceeds benefit the North Texas Food Bank. Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 on-site.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Twist Dallas on Thursday night at LBG

While Thursday night’s Twist Dallas music event had to compete with the Dallas Mavericks for attention, organizer SuZanne Kimbrell was nonetheless impressed with the show. A small turnout at Lakewood Bar & Grill didn’t take away from the fact that the talent was top notch.

Starting with Natalie Velasquez, a 19 year-old guitarist out of Denton, the night was destined for dive bar greatness. Her jazzy sound and smoky, deep voice exuded nice poise for such a young performer. At times, she recalled Meshell Ndegeocello. Her voice has a beautifully aged soul tone that belies her tiny build. Her backing band, which apparently was partly cobbled that day, was also a strong, solid package. Please, Velasquez, keep this lineup together.

Check out part of performance here.

I worried that follow-up Danny Siuba might underwhelm with just him and an electric piano. Even he told me later that he worried a tad about following up Velasquez’s performance, but he met the challenge. His work on the keys was so sharp and pristine that they tickled every nerve ending in my ear. He’s classically trained according to Kimbrell so this shouldn’t surprise, but he also played with great assertion that proved his confidence with his instrument. I heard traces of Rufus Wainwright and Owen Pallett in him, but his voice was a bit gravelly. Singer Sonya Jevette was there filming for SoundByte and tried to convince me he was a young Neil Diamond. I wasn’t hearing that so much. In certain registers, he sang well, and in louder ones, he just needed some polish. But he’s only 21 and his pop-piano tunes were well constructed. Plus, the guy, 21, drove here from Santa Fe to perform and handmade his own CD covers with handwritten lyrics. So it’s hard to fault the guy for much.

—  Rich Lopez

If you’re looking for the gay connection to Grammy winner Arcade Fire, here it is

Pallett, right, with Arcade Fire in New York.

When Arcade Fire won Record of the Year at the Grammys, my Facebook and Twitter filled with “Who is Arcade Fire?” posts (whose didn’t?). Despite the band’s album The Suburbs being on practically everyone’s best-of list at the end of the year, people clearly weren’t aware who the indie band was and weren’t afraid to let the world know. That’s fine. No snobbery about it here, but if it helps some readers to relate to the band (or open their minds beyond Top 40 radio), well, here ya go:

Owen Pallett is no stranger to gay audiences. Or shouldn’t be. But while he’s creating his own lush songs, he’s also had input on all of AF’s releases and has toured as a member. Pallett contributed string arrangements to each album and has played violin on the first two as well as on tour. The last we saw of Pallett here was as an opener for the band back in October. AF member Régine Chassagne and Pallett also composed the score for The Box with Cameron Diaz.

Feel any better? No? OK, well there’s always Katy Perry.

—  Rich Lopez

Free song download this week from Jeffree Star

Jeffree Star, Lollipop LuxuryLast week, Owen Pallett was giving away a downloadable EP for a limited time. We jumped on that pretty quick. And now, another gay artist gets on board.

Jeffree Star tweets that his “Lollipop Luxury” single is available as a gratis download all week long. We were a little hard on his album Beauty Killer late last year, but we’re never above hopping on the “free” bandwagon. Just click here, sidestep the pop-up ad and download away.

Fair warning — it’s explicit.

—  Rich Lopez

Free Owen Pallett download available for one week only

Owen Pallett, The National, Lewis Takes His Shirt Off, Heartland
Owen Pallett

I received a couple of tidbits about gay musician Owen Pallett. First, he’s coming back to town in October. I’m kinda stoked that he’s coming back to perform with The National at House of Blues Oct. 9. He’s on tour supporting Heartland and played here already at the Granada back in April. You might remember that.

Second, for a limited time, he’s got music for free! If you click here, you can download his EP “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt,” the lead single from Heartland. Four remixes of the song and two mixes of other tracks from the album can be all yours. Score! Even though I got the notice today, the page itself is dated July 9 and the download is available only for a week.

—  Rich Lopez

Owen Pallett and Snowblink at the Granada Theater last night

The crowd wasn’t a huge one for Owen Pallett but he does have a following. When openers Snowblink mentioned his name the small crowd whooped it up. They were ready for the violinist/vocalist to do his thing. After the opening set, Pallett walked out and the audience were in full applause mode.

—  Rich Lopez

Owen Pallett's newest video, 'Lewis Takes Off His Shirt,' is both WTF and addictive

I posted recently that Owen Pallett is making his way to Dallas. He’ll be playing the Granada in April. The vocalist and violinist adds to the impressive roster of gay musicians coming out of Canada.

But those Canucks and their music videos are something altogether different. Like the Hidden Cameras, Pallett goes way out there in his just released video for “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt.”  I didn’t quite get it, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop watching.

Now it’s your turn. And if the chick in there looks familiar, that’s Alison Pill who played Anne Kronenberg in Milk.

—  Rich Lopez

Concert notice: Owen Pallett comes to Granada Theater Apr. 29

Adding to my obsession of gay Canadian musicians, Owen Pallett will join the list when he stops in Dallas this spring. On paper, he sounds like a hard sell. A gay violinist and vocalist who used to go by the moniker Final Fantasy after the video game. But the things he does with a violin are pretty amazing without being too avant garde or plain weird. Basically, he’s a solid musician who’s taken the violin into innovative directions without alienating audiences. He has his own original material, it’s pretty great to see him cover big hits.

You know, why don’t I just show you? He kinda kills it here covering Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.”

Owen Pallett plays the Granada Theater, Apr. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12–$16.

—  Rich Lopez