This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

IMG_6695The Turtle Creek Chorale tips its hat to Broadway this weekend with its Kander & Ebb concert, a show featuring two dozen of the songwriting teams’ most memorable hits. It’s at the City Performance Hall through Sunday. Right next door, you can check out Val Kilmer in his one-man show, Citizen Twain, playing at the Wyly. And across the street, the Dallas Opera’s season winds up with alternating performances of Turandot and The Aspern Papers at the Winspear.

On Saturday, you can get the energy to go get all your other chores done by popping by Deep Ellum for the inaugural North Texas Taco Festival, sponsored by our good friend Jose Ralat-Maldonado of the Taco Trail blog. That evening, hop over to the Hilton Anatole for the annual Bloomin’ Ball fundraiser for AIN.

On Saturday and Sunday, there are plenty of activities (in Fair Park and in Oak Cliff) leading up to Earth Day, which is officially on Monday. Then later in the week, two film festival get going: The USA Film Festival kicks off Wednesday, and runs through the following Sunday. And over in Fort Worth, QCinema returns with its spring series with the one-night-only screening of Lesbian Shorts: The Best of the Fest.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

QCinema screens ‘How to Survive a Plague’ free Thursday night

QCinema kicks of its 2013 season with a free screening (not $10 as usual!) of the Oscar-nominated chronicle of the fight against AIDS, How to Survive a Plague. It’s an excellent film, you really should see it, so get over to the Four Day Weekend Theater in Fort Worth by 6:30 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Weekly Best Bets • 08.19.11

Saturday 08.20

Homecoming queenVial
This week’s cover story focuses on the reunion of Jane Doe, but let’s not forget that it’s a big night for Deborah Vial too. The singer returns to Dallas to host the CD release of Stages and Stones. It’s gonna be like a vintage night out at Sue Ellen’s in the ’90s but like huge. Yeah. They’re even playing the big room at HOB.

DEETS: House of Blues, 2200 N. Lamar St.
7:30 p.m. $10. HouseOfBlues.com.

………………..

Wednesday 08.24

‘Green’ screen
In The Green, Michael and David have the ideal suburban life in Connecticut. But an accusation turns their world around and Michael has to defend himself against suspicious coworkers and even his partner’s doubts. Q Cinema’s Fall Film Series returns with this drama starting Jason Butler Harner and Glee’s Cheyenne Jackson.

DEETS: Four Day Weekend Theater,
312 Houston St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $10.
QCinema.org

………………..

Thursday 08.25

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED.

How’s this for a cast party?
WaterTower Theatre hosts a launch party for its WTT Pride series of three shows geared to LGBT theater fans. Theater, dancing, cocktails and disco? Will wonders never cease?

DEETS: Station 4, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 9 p.m.
Email GPatterson@WaterTowerTheatre.org or call 972-450-6227.

 

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

—  Kevin Thomas

‘Get Lucky’ with Q Cinema and great drag talent

The 4th annual Miss QCinema Pageant — “a movie-themed drag pageant extraordinaire” — is being held tonight, beginning at 8 p.m., at Best Friends Club, 2620 E. Lancaster in Fort Worth.

Paul J. Williams

The event, benefiting Fort Worth’s top-notch, year-round LGBT film organization (QCinema — duh!), will feature local — and gay cruise circuit — favorite Paul J. Williams as host and emcee, along with performances by last year’s Miss QCinema Jessica Paige-Jennings and other former Miss QCinema titleholders. Plus, there will be some “sneak peeks” of the film line-up on tap for QCinema’s 13th annual film festival set for June 2-5.

Pageant coordinator Stuart Himmelstein says this ain’t gonna be your typical drag show: With our giant screen projecting each of the performers and contestants, amazing special guests and a terrifically funny host, this promises to be the best show in town.”

Admission to the pageant is free, but seating is limited. So you will want to get there early to get a good seat and enjoy the show in comfort.

—  admin

Comic wannabes line up for QLive’s weekly open mic — and some shouldn’t

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

I like to think I’m pretty hilarious. I don’t boast about being funny, but I’ve teased some guffaws out of unlikely listeners, so I have some humor cred. Clearly, I could translate that into a stand-up comic career, right?

Um, now that wasn’t supposed to make you laugh.

Actually, the idea of going in front of a live crowd and trying to make them chuckle sounds like the most traumatizing thing I could ever attempt. Being caught by my mom in a half-awake morning whack-off would be more pleasant than cracking people up who paid their two-drink minimum. The emotional scarring would be equivalent.

But QLive gives gays the chance to do just that.

A new spin-off of the LGBT film festival QCinema, QLive offers up live theater and performances — and a open mic comedy, which recently went from monthly to weekly at the new Fort Worth club Percussions. And for veteran yukmeisters, apparently that works.

“I have to say, this is the best room I’ve ever performed at,” says Alison Egert, a regular at the event who proves that lesbians can be funny. I enlisted Egert to give me advice before I contemplate either making an ass out of myself onstage — or staging the most brilliant comic debut ever (less likely).

Egert is fairly new to the scene herself. Her first standup set was at an open mic at the now-defunct Hyena’s last October. By the end of January, she had scored a paying gig. Cha-ching! Visions of my student loans dwindling floated in my head. Maybe I should give this funny business some serious thought. The challenge would be getting my nerve in the first place.

“You just have to remember that you’ll never be as terrible as that first night,” she advises. “It doesn’t get worse than that, so you just keep going. If you get a laugh that first time, that’s a good [start].”

Gay audiences are definitely the way to go. Perhaps because it’s not a comedy club per se, Percussions lend itself to a less intimidating environment. An audience is expecting to laugh at The Improv, and hecklers there are a given; gays in a club just want cocktails and if open mic comedy is on the menu, then bring it on. Can’t be worse than karaoke.

But then, they haven’t seen me yet.

“For whatever reason, the customers there can laugh at themselves,” Egert says. “We can get away with more and push the envelope. That’s good because it even some hetero comics like that they can do that there.”

Straights? Ewwww.

The rules at QLive’s open mic are simple: I get five minutes, max, to be hella-funny. But the QLive folks don’t make it easy to wanna get up to the mic. “These rules are in place to protect you, but more importantly, the audience, who bore easily and probably hate you.” Yikes! I’m not exactly giddy with excitement to put myself out there. Even their restrictions to make this a comedy-only night are deflating: This is comedy, people — no lip-syncing ladyboys, no poetry slamming hipsters, no guitar-strumming douchbags, unless you’re funny.

Or maybe I’m just finding excuses to psych myself out.

I hear that I should always just be myself and experiment with that to see what works. The thing is, I’m not sure being myself translates into becoming the next Adam Sandler. Comedians always seem to have the funniest personal stories. Even Egert has them — about being raped by a parrot, or funny things her mom says.

The closest I have is explaining email attachments to my dad. Hardee-har-blah.

What Egert unknowingly has taught me is you can be just as funny on Twitter. I see this as an ideal situation, of course. Why do standup when you can do sit-down?

She gives lovely gems on her feed at AlisonIsFunny such as: “Eharmony matched me w/uglies. Reason?” “Based on your personality these are only ppl w/self esteem low enough to put up with your crap.”

But she tells me otherwise. Dammit.

“Just get on stage as much as possible and maybe take a comedy class,” she suggests. “Pay attention around and notice the silly things. If you’re making other people laugh, use it. You don’t necessarily have to write a joke about something specific.”

I wholeheartedly want to believe this and so I’ll try my hand at it right here, right now.

“Knock-knock.…”

Hello? … Hello? Anybody?

—  John Wright

QLive’s Open Mic Night tonight in Fort Worth

Step on up to the microphone

You should be well aware of QCinema and their LGBT film festival out in Fort Worth. Well they’ve started an offshoot dedicated to live performances with QLive! And for the funny folk, tonight is all about them.

QLive’s Open Mic Night is for budding comedians and each one has five minutes to make an impression. It’s not like open mike for all kinds of entertainment, so don’t head there with your guitar, tambourine and dreams of becoming Bob Dylan. Not gonna happen this evening.

DEETS: Percussions,426 S. Jennings Ave., Fort Worth. 10 p.m. QCinema.org.

—  Rich Lopez

A different kind of ‘Band’ goes live

Today’s gay community may only know of The Boys in the Band as a landmark movie in the gay continuum, but the iconic piece was a stage play first. Mart Crowley’s play about a gathering of gay men to celebrate a friend’s birthday debuted 43 years ago on Broadway. Crowley followed up with the sequel The Men From the Boys, where the friends gather once again for a friend’s death.

For its inaugural season, QLive! shoots out of the gate with a staged reading of Crowley’s sequel. The QCinema spinoff touts live theater performances and for its first show, they probably couldn’t have picked a better start.

“Band has a long rich history in Fort Worth, having been staged in a gay discotheque in 1975 and again 25 years later at a church rehearsal hall,” artistic director Kyle Trentham says.
The production reunites the cast from the 2000 Fort Worth Theatre production of In the Band including Todd Camp, Robert Camina, Gary Payne, Lon Barrera, Brian Keith Rhodes and Keith Smith.

— Rich Lopez

Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., Fort Worth. April 20. 8 p.m. $10. QCinema.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 15, 2011.

—  John Wright

TCU hosts LGBT leadership conference

Students from other area schools will gather for workshops and speakers on Fort Worth campus

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

This weekend, Texas Christian University is hosting an LGBT leadership conference that started out as a response to bullying and bullying-related suicides, organizer Jamal King said.

Last fall, as news spread about the large number of gay teens who took their own lives in a short period of time, the TCU gay-straight alliance held a candlelight vigil on campus.

But King said they felt it wasn’t enough. “[We felt] there must be something more we could do,” he said.

In November, the GSA invited a speaker from the Trevor Project to come to campus in the spring. That speaking engagement quickly evolved into an all-day conference.
King said there was an overwhelming response, not only from his own campus but also from Texas Wesleyan University and University of Texas at Arlington. Students from campuses around the state and Oklahoma have registered.

In addition to the speaker from the Trevor Project, representatives from Youth First Texas, the AIDS Outreach Center, QCinema, PFLAG, GLSEN, Dallas Voice and Pride in the Truth, a religious group founded by members of LGBT-friendly Crossroads Community Church, will participate. “We had a surprising amount of support from the faculty and staff,” King said.

He was also happy with the corporate support the project received. Pepsico and Wells Fargo are the event’s main sponsors. Z’s Café, located at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and formed in partnership with Samaritan House, will provide lunch.

Eric Russell is a junior at TCU and vice president of the GSA. He is coordinating committees from check-in to food, entertainment and programming. “It surprised me how quickly we did this,” Russell said.

Russell said he knew they were on the right track when he heard from a psych professor that she was letting all of her students know about the conference. He said the diversity and acceptance on the TCU campus has surprised him.

Amanda Moten is president of her GSA at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, and she said she is “expecting to learn a lot” at the day-long conference.

She said that she’s been encouraging people from her campus and others in the area to attend. She said she’s been a member of a GSA since she was in high school and has opened her school’s group up as a safe space for high school students who don’t have a place in their own school. “People can come and talk,” she said. “No matter what other people have told you that you are, you’re accepted here.”

Moten said she is helping sponsor high school students who cannot afford to attend the conference. She also commented on the relationship her group has developed with TCU’s. “I love that our GSAs are becoming BFFs,” she said.

King said that it was important for TCU’s GSA to become more visible on campus. He said he hopes that students just coming to terms with coming out would be helped by just knowing the LGBT leadership conference was taking place on campus and that they are not alone.

The conference begins with a kick-off party on Friday, March 4, at 7 p.m. The $20 registration fee for the Saturday conference includes lunch. The party and conference will be held in TCU’s Brown Lupton University Union.

To register or for more information, contact gsa.tcu@gmail.com.

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

—  John Wright

Q Live! debuts with ‘Spring Awakening’ at McDavid Studio

Q Cinema branches out
Frank WederkindQ Cinema debuts their spinoff this week with some precision timing. QLive!, the new theater branch presents a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1893 play Spring Awakening: A Children’s Tragedy.  The show’s two teens struggle with homosexuality, suicide and rape. Wederkind’s work is a dark contrast to the the musical which opens on Tuesday.

DEETS: McDavid Studio, 301 E. Fifth St., Fort Worth. 8 p.m. $10. QCinema.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Bruce Villanch to appear at tonight's QCinema screening of 'Oy Vey! My Son is Gay!'

Don’t forget tonight, QCinema presents a very special screening of Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! at the Rose Marine Theater in Fort Worth. Along with the movie, cast member Bruce Villanch and director Evgeny Afineevsky will be present during the night’s festivities.  Tickets to the affair are $35 which includes the film, cocktail reception, awards, and after party. If you’re just up for the film only though, tickets go for $15.

The movie reminds me a bit of a mix between Mambo Italiano and My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but the latter may just be because Lanie Kazan is also in the film. Catch a glimpse of the film below with the trailer.

The film is also vying for an Academy Award nom for best original song with this eligible tune. They’ll find that out Tuesday.

—  Rich Lopez