Gary Lynn Floyd’s “Troubadour, TX” airs Sunday

Last November, we reported how local singer Gary Lynn Floyd was one of two dozen Texas-based musicians tapped to appear on a new reality series, Troubadour, TX, which follows them on their quest to make music. At the time, Floyd didn’t know if his segment would be one of the last of the fall season, or early in the spring season.

Turns out the latter.

Floyd’s segment of the series, which airs locally in Channel 21, will finally debut this Sunday at 10 p.m. As Floyd says, go ahead and watch the Grammys … just be sure to switch over to KTXA at 10 to see him.

Not a problem.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Fire Island reality series seeks gays to audition

If you think reality TV has made gay Dallas look a little crazy lately, well, here’s you chance to bring a little Texas-crazy to New York.

You have until Friday to apply to become a cast member of the Fire Island Summer Project (a working title, we’re assuming), a new series from the producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race. And here’s the best part: You don’t need to be from the NYC area — they want folks from all over to apply!  Filming begins this summer, probably in a beach house the Pines (despite a fire recently that scorched parts of the island).

The application has some pretty straightforward questions, plus a few that indicate the casting agents’ interest in seeking diverse and charged action on the show, such as “What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?,” “What role do you play in your social circle?,” “Do you have any quirks or strange habits? and “What is your craziest Spring Break story?” And you never have to have vacationed on Fire Island before to be eligible.

If you think you might be interested, click here. And if you end up getting cast and turn out to be the asshole villain on the series, do us all a favor — say you’re from San Antonio!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gary Floyd, then and now

Gary Lynn Floyd killed a few birds with one stone last night. First, he helped celebrate the Interfaith Peace Chapel’s one-year anniversary. Second, he shot footage for his upcoming reality series slot on Troubadour, TX. Most importantly, though, he reminded us all why we love listening to him sing.

His concert Sunday night, which also served as a release party for his new CD Then+Now, featured Gary on piano, voice miked, singing solo: Songs from his long career, some from his days in Christian music (including his only No. 1 hit as a songwriter), moving up to his current output. He joked that people may still detect a bit of the church in his voice; ain’t that the truth. Listening to Gary is sort of like your own private sermon — he seemed to be connecting directly with me as he sang. (Of course, I was sitting behind his mother, so maybe he was just singing to her.)  But I bet all of the 80 or so attendees felt that same connection. That’s what good singing is all about.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gay Troubadour

Gary Lynn Floyd has a new name, a new CD and a new reality TV show

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HAT TRICK | Floyd’s CD release party coincides with filming for his appearance on the new reality series ‘Troubador, TX.’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Gary Floyd has made a big decision: It’s time to use his middle name.

For years, if you Googled him, you’d be just as likely to get another gay Texas-based musician (he of the Butthole Surfers) as Dallas’ premier crooner. While he has “nothing against butthole surfing,” he says, it’s time to stake out his own identity.

May we introduce Gary Lynn Floyd.

People might not mistake them anymore anyway. This Floyd could set himself apart by being one of the musicians profiled on the new reality series Troubadour, Tx.

“They follow about 24 singer-songwriters — what we’re doing to make our way through the music business,” he explains. That means hauling his keyboard up the backstairs of Woody’s for a patio concert.

Piano? Gay bar? This ain’t no Logo show. The nationally syndicated series (available locally on KTXA Sundays at 10 p.m.) is about Texas musicians, most of whom are shit-kickin’ straight guitar-strummers, not gay pianists with a background in Christian music.

“I wasn’t really sure they knew what they were getting when they asked me,” Floyd says. He was recruited by a friend from the music business over the summer; he began filming in late August, and has shot for about four days so far.

Floyd hass been impressed by the production values, especially considering the quick turnaround — the series has already begun airing, even though production is still underway. Floyd is not sure when his profile will air — perhaps by the end of the month, perhaps early in 2012. But he’s still filming.

Screen shot 2011-11-03 at 7.04.21 PMIn fact, Floyd’s last planned segment shoots this Sunday at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of Hope. The event will also serves as the launch party for Floyd’s latest CD.

“The [disc] is called Then+Now — it’s sort of a retrospective of my songs,” he says. “It combines the best songwriting,” and includes a duet with Denise Lee that he had never recorded. It promises to be a great showcase for his talents as well as his appeal to a variety of audiences. (A portion of proceeds will benefit the chapel.)

“I hope people show up!” Floyd says. No worries: If there’s one thing Dallasites have shown themselves good at lately, it’s appearing on reality TV.

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Tube review: Logo’s ‘Pretty Hurts’

Watching the opening sequence of Pretty Hurts, the new Logo reality series, with needles injecting Botox and collagen into eyebrows and lips nearly made me pass out. And that’s basically the entire show for 30 minutes: Injectibles being hypodermically inserted into tightly pulled faces by Rand Rusher, a gay registered nurse (not a doctor) who has been called the Mr. Fix-It of Hollywood.

Only it’s not clear what he’s fixing. Because it’s set in L.A., virtually everyone on the show (including Rusher) seems to be, literally, made of plastic. True enough, they don’t look old — then again, they don’t look wholly human, either. They are youthful fakes.

There’s only so much of that, plus the dishy refusal to actually dish (suggestions of celeb clients masked behind the veil of patient confidentiality), that I can put up with, though Rusher’s personality grows on you  — he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously. And you shouldn’t take the show too seriously.

Two stars.

Premieres Saturday at 7 p.m. on Logo

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Snap shots: ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ turns the camera on fashion’s most influential paparazzo

LENS ME A SHOE | The Times photographer documents foot fashion in ‘Bill Cunningham New York.’

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Maybe Project Runway’s to blame, maybe The Devil Wears Prada, but for the past few years there has been a surplus of documentaries about the fashion industry, with profiles of designers like Valentino (Valentino: The Last Emperor), Yves Saint-Laurent (several in fact), even young designers (Seamless) and Vogue magazine’s editor (The September Issue). (By contrast, I can only recall one fashion doc from the 1990s: Unzipped, about a young designer named Isaac Mizrahi.) Is there really that much to say about dressmaking?

Maybe not, but while Bill Cunningham New York fits broadly within the category of fashion documentaries, its subject is unusual because he eschews the trappings of haute couture even as he’s inextricably a part of it — a huge part, really.

If you don’t read the New York Times, you might not recognize Cunningham’s name, and even if you do read it, it may not have registered with you. For about, well, maybe 1,000 years, Cunningham has chronicled New York society with his candid photos of the glitterati on the Evening Hours page. At the same time, however, he has documented real fashion — how New Yorkers dress in their daily lives — with his page On the Street, where he teases out trends (from hats to men in skirts to hip-hoppers allowing their jeans to dangle around their knees). Anna Wintour may tell us what we should wear; Cunningham shows us what we do.

“We all get dressed for Bill,” Wintour observes.

What makes Cunningham such an interesting character is how impervious he seems to the responsibility he effortlessly wields. He loves fashion, yes, but he’s not a slave to it himself. He scurries around Manhattan (even in his 80s) on his bicycle (he’s had dozens; they are frequently stolen), sometimes in a nondescript tux but mostly in jeans, a ratty blue smock and duck shoes, looking more like a homeless shoeshiner than the arbiter of great fashion. He flits through the city like a pixie with his 35mm camera (film-loaded, not digital), a vacant, toothy smile peaking out behind the lens, snapping the denizens of Babylon whether they want it or not.

One of the funniest moments is when strangers shoo him away as some lunatic paparazzo, unaware how all the well-heeled doyens on the Upper East would trade a nut to have Cunningham photograph them for inclusion in the Times. Patrick McDonald, the weirdly superficial modern dandy (he competed as a wannabe designer on the flop reality series Launch My Line a few seasons back), seems to exist with the hope that Cunningham will shoot him. And shoot him he does.

Many artists are idiosyncratic, even eccentric, but Cunningham is supremely odd by any standards. He lives in a tiny studio near Carnegie Hall filled with filing cabinets cluttered with decades of film negatives on the same floor as a crazy old woman, a kind of urban variation on Grey Gardens. He knows tons of people but most of them seem to know very little about him. By the time near the end when the filmmaker, director Richard Press, finally comes out and ask him outright whether he’s gay, Cunningham arches in that prickly New England way, never really answering outright, though he says he’s never — never — had a romantic relationship. Things like that were simply not discussed by men of his generation.

In some ways, we never really know any more about Cunningham at the end than any of his friends do, and perhaps even him. Cunningham comes across as defiantly non-self-reflective. He lets his work do all the talking for him. And that work has a lot to say on its own.

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

—  John Wright

Boy-on-girl action

Two of Sundance Channel’s stars of a new queer reality show open up about girl-boy friendships — and how they hate the term ‘fag hag’

STEVEN LINDSEY  | stevencraiglindsey@me.com

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A REAL WILL & GRACE | Sarah Rose, a straight woman, and Joel Derfner, her gay best friend, are two of the stars of Sundance’s new reality series ‘Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys.’

No matter what your opinion is on unscripted television, anyone opening up his or her life for a camera crew — and potentially millions of viewers — has some balls: Maybe that comment will be taken out of context, or unflattering moments will be exaggerated or distorted, or a “character” will be created in the editing room to fill any number of pre-determined role: hero, villain, diva, token gay.

Sarah Rose and Joel Derfner knew this going into Sundance Channel’s new reality series Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, which premiered this week, focusing on the lives of four couples (each consisting of one straight woman and one gay man). Luckily for them, the experience was positive, with only minor exaggerations implied in the final edits — so far.

Still, Rose insists she is not nearly as jealous of Derfner’s pending nuptials as the show makes it seem.

“They were hammering hard on how jealous I am and I’m not, for the record,” she says, having seen the first two episodes. “But I think one thing the show really does get right with us and the other three couples is the way we relate to each other. The sort of kind of friendship we have, the kind of bond there is.”

Their particular connection has certainly stood the test of time.

“We met in the dining hall at Harvard where we both shared a love for fried things and chocolate things. They supplied us amply with both and we’ve been the best of friends for the past 18 or 19 years,” Rose says.

“Oh my God, has it been 18 or 19 years?” Derfner exclaims with a laugh.

Derfner became involved when one of the producers, who knew him from musical theater writing circles, suggested he audition for the show; Rose was his natural partner in prime time. What attracted them to the premise is that for once, the relationship of gay men and straight women would be presented a little differently than is typical for Hollywood.

“The gay best friend is typically framed as a kind of sidekick. When Stanford Blanch is off-screen, he doesn’t seem to have a life on Sex and the City — he exists only in order to be Carrie’s friend. And my relationship with Joel isn’t a sidekick situation at all. He’s primary,” Rose says.

Before the show even aired, the duo were still getting used to glimpses of fame, like seeing their faces everywhere in Manhattan.

“We’re being chased by our own buses and I’m in this really unflattering wedding dress,” Rose says. “I have this idea that the entire Metro Transportation Authority is making fun of me.”

Perhaps that’s a downside of being associated with these shows, but there are plenty of positives even if the ratings aren’t huge. Both Rose and Derfner are writers and hope that any exposure from the show will widen the audience for their books. But it’s their friendship, and Derfner’s marriage, that ultimately benefited the most.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but Sarah and I have ended up spending more time together than we often do or are often unable to,” Derfner says.

“Joel works in his underwear. I’ve seen it,” adds Rose. “What I’ve discovered is the joy of collaborating with Joel. It’s a whole element to our friendship that wasn’t really present. We were sort of each other’s cheerleaders, but we weren’t each other partners in a business venture the way this feels. And it’s extraordinary. I’m falling for him all over again. It’s like being 18.”

A series of family tragedies and other obstacles had prolonged Derfner’s engagement to Michael Combs, but the reality show actually changed things for the better.

“The reality show was really the kick in the pants they needed to actually get that done,” says Rose, who was the official witness at both the legal and ceremonial weddings.

“We were on the verge of becoming the perpetually engaged couple,” Derfner says.

Instead, they now have a very detailed record of every challenging moment, every triumph, every smile and tear. Derfner hopes in some small way, his role in all of this will be to further the argument to legalize gay marriage.

They both also expect that people better understand the relationships at the focus of this show — and that the term “fag hag” be retired for good; “friend” is descriptive enough.

“From my perspective gay men and straight women often see the world the same way and we want the same things: chocolates, boys, to be thin. She wants boys and I want boys, but not the same boys,” Derfner says. “We understand each other and we recognize how we’re in sync, but there’s no competition so we can be completely 100 percent supportive of each other without worrying that somebody’s going to encroach on somebody’s territory.”

“I get all that, plus technical support,” Rose says. “I have somebody with the same plumbing and wiring and I can ask detailed technical questions [to help understand men].”

It’s a win-win for both of them — and a lot of fun to watch for us.

Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Sundance Channel.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

America’s next top (role) model?

‘A List Dallas’ casting stuts out one gay couch potato even before getting started. You might be luckier

RICH LOPEZ  | lopez@dallasvoice.com

cpj
GETTING DOUCHEY WITH IT Wanna know how to go from d-bag to A-list? This writer may not know, but he’ll get you started. (Arnold Wayne Jones Dallas Voice)

Using my connections, I could get into most snazzy events in Dallas if I, you know, tried. I know enough highfalutin’ types to be able to drop a few names. This all comes with the territory of working for a newspaper — kinda A-list, right?

Maybe not so much. Along with all that comes a journalist’s salary, a nine-year old Ford Escape without a radio and a gym membership that rarely gets used. I might call it more D-list, though even Kathy Griffin is a rung up from me.

So when I heard The A List, Logo’s new reality series, was casting in Dallas, it was without question I’d need to apply. TV stardom could be my way to the big time, and since I can’t find a reliable Amazing Race partner, this could be my ticket. Already, thoughts of an auto-tuned dance album filled my head.

The first step was the online application, where I saw these words in the intro: “…presents the unprecedented invitation to the ‘A List’ in the age range of 20–mid 30s…” At 38, I might already be out of the game before filling in the first blank. But audacity is an A-list quality, so I proceeded. But I was gonna need help.

“Anyone can apply online, and if you fit what the network’s looking for, we’ll interview you,” said Chad Patterson, casting agent for the Dallas version of the show. “It’s my job to make each applicant an individual and stand out on their own.”

Patterson is in town this week through Dec. 19 doing follow-up interviews after an initial cut, but don’t think you can crash the sessions. Only those with stellar applications are invited to meet. (But you can still apply after he’s gone.)

As I filled in my name, occupation, etc., I halted at the blank for a MySpace/website address. Um, MySpace was A-list like five years ago. Hello! Maybe this is a list I don’t wanna be on.

The inevitable body image complex came up. The app asks for height and weight, which I get. Then it asked for my body type and waist size. Despite what Patterson told me, there seemed to be a specific response needed here.

“There are no wrong answers when applying to a reality show. This is all to uncover the reality of you,” he said. Yeah, but I needed more convincing that anything above a 31 inch waist wasn’t an immediate cut.

The app went on to ask about my relationship and if I have children; my personality type and why I think I’m fabulous — all easy enough. Then it listed celebs like Brad Pitt, Anderson Cooper, Madonna and Rachel Maddow as “dream date” choices. For some reason, Stone Cold Steve Austin wasn’t an option. This actually excited Patterson and he kinda made me believe I could be on the show. He’s that good.

“See? This is where your unique personality shines through,” he said. “You might be what we’re looking for, this anti-establishment guy who doesn’t buy into all the bullshit.” It was like he was looking into my soul over the phone.

What he doesn’t want, he said, is the self-entitled queen who thinks he’s fabulous just because. Patterson is looking for specifics as to what makes an applicant A-list material. A heavy helping of personality goes a long way, though he admitted he wouldn’t mind stereotypes.

“We do want to make it specific to Dallas so I’d love to find a gay boy who’s parents are in the oil business or even a gay cowboy. Stereotypes in certain regions will make it unique.”

Oh, that’s another thing: Patterson used the term “boy” a lot. This worried me.

“Yeah, it’ll be fun to have a few boys that are actually A-list, but we’re not ruling people out if you’re a go-go boy who’s broke but knows how to work it,” he said.

He wanted to offer one piece of advice to all the Dallas men (er, boys) who apply. Because there isn’t a guarantee the show will be cast like New York, there’s no telling the direction it could go.

“You shouldn’t decide it’s not for you before applying,” he said. “Just be open to it. There are no points off for anything.”

Until they read my application; which, at that point, it’s back to finding that Amazing Race partner.

To apply online, visit TheAList Casting.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 10, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Logo announces 3 new gay shows

Johnny Weir

Logo, the LGBT entertainment network from MTV Networks, has announced three new original series for 2011.

Be Good Johnny Weir explores the life of one of America’s most outspoken and colorful sports figures, three-time U.S. National Figure Skating Champion and World Medalist Johnny Weir.

Pretty Hurts is a comedic reality series that follows the staff and clients of a high-end Beverly Hills medical office that specializes in “liquid face lifts.”

The third series is Setup Squad, a workplace docu-soap focused on a Manhattan-based matchmaking service that pairs up professional “wing people” with those who are unlucky in love. Setup Squad will follow the hard-working angels who make the dating world a better place, whether you’re gay or straight.

Logo also acquired Nip/Tuck, which started airing on Logo this month and Will & Grace, which will begin running in 2013.

—  David Taffet

Real(ity) estate • Defining Homes

A Dallas couple’s adventure in house selling becomes an episode of HGTV’s ‘My First Sale’

By Arnold Wayne Jones

Keith Yonick, left, turned Dallas couple Troy and Cindy Hughes on to the idea of being on TV. But their youngest child, opposite, might steal every scene.

Although they live cosmopolitan lives — she’s a lawyer; he works for FM 105.3 with Chris Jagger — and count many gay neighbors in their gate East Dallas community among their friends, Cindy and Troy Hughes both grew up in small towns and craved the pace and benefits of the suburbs: lower taxes, good schools, safe streets. With a 4-year-old and a new baby, they figured next year would be a good time to look for a new home.

But the house-hunting started earlier than they expected. And more dramatically.

The Hugheses got a call from their real estate agent, Keith Yonick, with a proposition: Would they be interested in trying to sell their house now and have their experience filmed for the HGTV series My First Sale?

“When Keith called us and told us about the show, we went for it,” Cindy says.

“I think it’s great they chose Dallas for the show,” Yonick says. “I asked them why and they said because the houses are so different — they could film a townhouse in the city and a farmhouse in Forney or a suburban house.”

Yonick submitted four applications, and the network jumped at following the Hugheses. Still, it wasn’t the couple’s first foray into a reality series.

When Troy worked with Kidd Kraddick, he was recruited to be the “bachelor” in a radio rip-off of The Bachelor TV series. He was just supposed to chronicle his dates with several dozen women and invite one to a gala event. The one he selected was Cindy; they married three years later.

Still, a radio date is one thing; having yourself photographed 24/7 during a stressful process — the first sale of your home — was more pressure. Cindy even knows that on one day of filming, she came across as bitchy. (She’s hoping they edit that out, but Troy has forgiven her in any event.)
“We never treated it like a reality show but as a way to document this part of our lives,” Cindy says. “It was like making a home video.”

Knowing that “most houses take a year or more to sell” — Yonick says 370 days on the market is not unusual — they expected the process to stretch on for months, just in time for the next school year. So they were astonished that their house sold so quickly. In less than two months, they had a buyer.

Even so, the sale caught them so by surprise that they hadn’t even decided for certain where they would move.

“Our friends have all moved on to their next chapters — they were moving to Frisco and Rockwall.  They were always saying to us, ‘You have to move to Frisco!’ But we started looking in Wylie.”

It isn’t as far as it may seem. Troy leaves for work at 3 a.m. for his radio show (“I share the road with cops, construction workers and drunks,” he says) and Cindy’s job in Arlington meant she had a hike anywhere east of I-35.

“We thought we would move to Rockwall, but Wylie reminds me of what McKinney looked like when I came here in 1999,” Troy says. “We get more for our money out there, and there’s still a mall within four miles.”

Rather than buying an old house or going with a foreclosed property, they decided to build. Since the house won’t actually be ready until after they close on their sale, they’ll have to rent back their current house for a month. But as far as hardships go in real estate, that’s one they can live with.
“We got really lucky,” Troy says.

The Hugheses close on their sale on Oct. 29; their episode of My First Sale will air in the spring.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of Defining Homes Magazine October 8, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens