This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

After two weeks of “soft opening” service, last night Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge on Cedar Springs in the ilume had its “official” opening with open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. Monica told me there’s always a honeymoon phase where people love ya … it’s six months on when you know if you’re a hit. I’ve eaten there a few times already. A review will come next month, but you might wanna start making your reservations…

Over at the Winspear, Chicago (pictured) is back, and it’s surprisingly not stale, even after countless productions ever since the 1996 revival. And John O’Hurley can actually sing! And if you go on Tuesday — or even if you just have some free time — I’ll be doing my usually GLBT Broadway lecture at 7 p.m. in Hamon Hall before the show, pointing out ways you might enjoy the gay text and subtext better. Then on Thursday, Casa Manana puts on a local professional production of Greater Tuna — something of a coup, as authors-stars Jaston Williams and Joe Sears often guard licensing carefully in their home turf. But with David Coffee in many of the roles, it’s sure to be funny. And Sweeney Todd continues over at KD Studio Theatre.

The fourth annual Pink Party features tons of musicians and other acts (burlesque? Uh-huh) on both floors of the ladies’ club, all raising money for breast cancer research. It’s at Sue Ellen’s tonight. There will be fundraising as well with the men, ginning up bucks for Resource Center Dallas. Honey Pot II: Summer Chill is a Sunday afternoon beer bash at Dallas Eagle, with members of the Dallas Diablos in attendance.

There are also several drag opportunities this week. In addition to the shows at the Rose Room and other clubs, Cassie Nova hosts the “turnabout” show of Caven employees at JR.’s on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Celeste Martinez is M.C. of Miss Gay Highland Park at the Round-Up Saloon.

And at the movies, the last performance by Whitney Houston is preserved in the new release Sparkle, with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks sharing screen time.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TRAVEL DIARY: Color our world

It may well be the most famous gay bash in the world, and it’s not too late to book a quick trip to Palm Springs for the White Party, which is this weekend and features Robyn, who was recently in Dallas. But if you can’t make it there, you can at least enjoy a bit of Palm Springs here at the same time. On Monday,  Palm Springs is once again hosting its Summer Splash Cocktail Challenge, looking for the best bartender in the country. The winner in Dallas goes on to the desert ogaysis on June 2 to match mixology skills with other finalists from around the country. I was a judge at last year’s event, pictured above, and will be back again — trust me, it’s a blast. It takes place at the Round-Up Saloon on April 11, starting at 8 p.m.

Texas has its own AIDS fundraisers, but with Shreveport-Bossier City such a close drive, and the Pink Party such a hoot, it’s definitely worth a weekend trip, The huge event, benefiting Easter Seals and the Philadelphia Center (Northwest Louisiana’s version of the Resource Center)  is the largest annual event organized by the area’s gay and lesbian community. It starts with dinner on Thursday, May 12 and a pre-party fete on May 13, but the main event — more than 1,200 strong — takes place Saturday, May 14 … and costs only $10. For more information, visit PinkParty.org.

The Royal Palms, a 62-room hotel in Fort Lauderdale that bills itself as North America’s largest luxury gay resort, reopens this month after a huge renovation. Rooms starts at $159. RoyalPalms.com.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

Pink Party raises $6K to fight breast cancer

Rick Espaillat, media director for Caven Enterprises, reports that with the help of the Sue Ellen’s Walking Team (pictured), last Friday’s 3rd annual Pink Party raised $6,000 that will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. We’ve posted a full slideshow from the event here.

—  John Wright

3rd annual Pink Party at Sue Ellens Aug. 20

All photos by LisaMarie Martinez/Dallas Voice

—  John Wright