1 hit, a lot of balls

Though not a perfect game, ‘Take Me Out’ scores in the bottom of the 9th

TMO_Show_StillsArnold

DESIGNATED HOTTIES | The shower scenes are steamy, but the interpersonal dynamics between ballplayers (Kevin Moore and Lloyd Harvey) run the bases in ‘Take Me Out.’ (Photo by Mike Morgan)

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

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a first act can fool you.

Act 1 of Richard Greenberg’s play Take Me Out, is, quite simply, not very good. The exposition is lazy, the central conflict (intentionally kept close to the vest) twee, the dialogue on the stilted side. Aside from the much-hyped locker-room nudity — and this is not a comment on the actors’ bodies — there’s not much “there” there.

Then comes Act 2, and Take Me Out opens like a lily with the breaking dawn.

In Uptown Players’ current production, the second is nearly twice as long as the first, but it crackles with energy. Greenberg’s “floating narrator” device almost works, and the non-linear storytelling begins to make sense. And there’s more nudity. Nothin’ wrong with that.

Take Me Out is a buzz-worthy play, flesh aside: Set in 2002, it’s the story of Darren Lemming (Lloyd Harvey), a Major League Baseball player — the best in the pros (suggestively modeled on Derek Jeter back when there were rumors of his sexual orientation) — who at the height of his skills comes out. Putatively, the play deals with the fallout from that announcement, but really, it doesn’t. Almost all the characters are inside the clubhouse; we get only a faint sense of the public reaction (which, we all know, would be a shitstorm). Instead, being gay is used as a catalyst for the interpersonal dynamics within the dugout.

The societal element is a missed opportunity — Darren would be mobbed with talk-show requests; we’re owed at least one sit-down with Oprah — and the gay idea could be almost anything (he could have come out as atheist or Muslim or Communist, it hardly matters). But eventually, you get caught up in the story, especially the conflict between Darren and Shane Muggitt (Andrews Cope), an illiterate redneck brought up from the minors, and his financial advisor “Mars” (Art Kedzierski), a flamboyant gay man intoxicated by his newfound love of baseball.

Darren himself is a difficult character to parse; he’s arrogant though we are constantly reminded universally loved; that seems unlikely, especially for Mets fans. He’s, in turn, incredibly savvy and unbelievably naïve, smart then a dolt. Harvey eventually settles into a rhythm, though there are moments that waver.

There aren’t any with Kedzierski, who’s hilarious and touching, and really, the emotional touchstone for the audience. He’s the first person onstage who seems specific, not just a metaphor for some principle or a utility character serving a dramaturgical function. Kedzierski’s enthusiasm infects the play, carrying over to scenes he’s not even in. Cope’s take on Muggitt as more imbecile than bigot is a canny, almost daring one (as Tropic Thunder cautioned, “ya never go full retard”). Kevin Moore, as the principal narrator, adds depth to a sketchy character.

Andy Redmon’s set, suggestive of a baseball diamond, makes a great nod to an outdoor game set entirely in the confines of a locker room, and Michael Serrecchia’s direction makes the most of the weaker parts of Greenberg’s script.

Not every game has to be won on a home run, as long as you get a few hits and run the bases. Way to hustle, guys. Now hit the showers.

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To read more reviews of new local theater, visit
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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 10, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

January BearDance with DJ Sean Mac at The Loft

Beef it

The men at BearDance are building a solid reputation for bringing in marquee DJs for their events, as their inaugural 2012 dance proves. Atlanta DJ Sean Mac comes to Dallas tonight with his mix of house music, classic disco and even movie scores to play them for the boys and bears of Big D. You think it’s cold outside, but with all the body heat going on inside, you’ll be out of those thermals in no time. And that’s what they want.

DEETS: The Loft, 1135 S. Lamar St. Jan. 13. 9 p.m. $15. BearDance.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Seth Stambaugh Scores $75K After Losing Student Teaching Gig For Telling Kids He’s Gay

Seth Stambaugh, the 23-year-old student teacher booted from an Oregon elementary school in October after answering a student's question about whether he was married (and explaining that legally he couldn't marry another man), and then reinstated after threats of a lawsuit, has settled with Sexton Mountain Elementary School's school district for $ 75,000. Stambaugh, who will graduate from Lewis & Clark College in the summer, says he'll donate at least $ 10k to two youth-oriented local non-profits. The school will also "provide leadership training concerning issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression," according to the settlement details. Looks like Stambaugh's "professional judgment" — originally described by Beaverton School District officials as questionable when they transferred him to another school — was just fine, after all. Well not for Aaron Krikava, the father who originally complained about Stambaugh's in-classroom gayness; Krikava yanked his son out of Stambaugh's class.


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

Roy Ashburn Scores High With Equality California

Roy Ashburn's life has changed considerably since his arrest in Sacramento earlier this year.

Equality California has just ranked him a very respectable score on their legislative list – 86. That's much higher than his ranking last year, when it was zero. The California State Senator claims that it was his coming out that changed how he does his job these days.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f365b61d970b Sen. Roy Ashburn, who came out earlier this year after rumors surfaced that he was at a gay night club the night he was arrested for drunken driving, scored 86 percent in
Equality California's 2010 legislative scorecard — higher than some Democrats on the list.

The Bakersfield Republican was given a grade of zero percent from the group in 2009 , when he voted against or abstained on every single bill included in the ranking.

This year, he supported 12 out of 14 of the measures that factored into the Senate scores.

Ashburn defended his earlier record after publicly disclosing his sexual orientation earlier this year — saying his votes were aligned with the views of his district constituents — but soon changed his course by speaking out and voting for a handful of LGBT-supportive bills.

"I would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual orientation ever, prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months," Ashburn said on the floor this year, during a vote for a bill he ultimately did not support. "I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation, the rights of individuals and so I'm doing something that is quite different and foreign to me."

Click here to see how other politicians fared on Equality California's scorecard.

What else is Ashburn up to these days? Like most people these days he's working on a book which, according to the Bakersfield Californian, will be out "soon."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Remixer & Blowoff DJ Rich Morel Scores 15th Billboard #1 Dance Hit

Remix artist Rich Morel, also one-half of the Blowoff DJ team, notches his 15th Billboard dance chart topper this week with his reworking of Yoko Ono’s Wouldnit (I’m A Star). Morel has previously reached the dance summit with remixes for Pet Shop Boys, Seal, Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode, New Order, Vivian Green, and t.A.T.u. Morel is currently writing songs with Cyndi Lauper for a Broadway adaptation of the hit movie Kinky Boots.

RELATED: This is Yoko Ono’s fifth #1 Billboard dance hit and her third with Rich Morel. At age 77, she is by far the oldest person to reach the top of the dance chart.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright