Heart and beat

David Guetta delivers the same ol’ dance shtick while Chad D surprises

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

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1 out of 5 stars
NOTHING BUT THE BEAT
David Guetta
Capitol Records

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DJ and producer David Guetta is smart at handling hip-hop and rap artists on top of dance beats. He creates a flow that is easy to dance to and the songs aren’t anything more than a party in the space of three to four minutes. But that formula repeats itself in Nothing But The Beat, which shows no real imagination.

Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida bring their talents to the opener, “Where Them Girls At.” The beat is distinctly Guetta but that formula is already showing. Minaj comes up short here, ripping off a TLC flow and playing more as an accessory.

That changes with “Turn Me On.” Minaj goes into Rihanna territory, singing and rapping. There’s no surprise that she can carry a note, but she proves she can hang with any singer out there. This ends up being one of the better tracks.

With “Sweat,” Guetta re-imagines Snoop’s “Wet” single against a sampled beat to amazing effect. Guetta shines here — not with hip-hop generics over a disco beat, but working magic with Minaj and Snoop to create something exciting. His innovation is off the charts.

It’s too much for the last track to save the album, but it’s a glorious attempt. Guetta teams with Sia on “Titanium.” Collaborative lyrics elevate this song to a higher level than any previous track, as Sia brings her clever writing to the table and ends up with as much a voice in this song as Guetta does.

But so much is wrong with Beat that it ends up being a beat down. What Guetta is good at is producing listenable disco. It’s never too obscure or techno, but it’s always the right sound to get a good jog to or sweat it up on the dance floor.

His collabs with Taio Cruz, Chris Brown and Usher are fine but forgettable. He handles Cruz and Ludacris well in “Little Bad Girl,” and Brown and Lil’ Wayne’s skills make “I Can Only Imagine” work as a song and not just a mix. Although Guetta did help Usher lose a lot of R&B cred on “Without You,” it’s embarrassing to hear Usher reduced to this Coldplay/Keane/OneRepublic styled track. This is where Guetta’s mistakes happen. He keeps masturbating to hip-hop and R&B stars, and he’s missing vital aspects that would make his own songs sound better.

He remembers his gay boy listeners with equally unimpressive diva-esque tracks save for Sia. You would think that wouldn’t happen with Jennifer Hudson on “Night of Your Life,” but the song is amateurish and never lives up to her talent. Guetta gives Jessie J the chance to shine in “Repeat;” she doesn’t.

When Guetta isn’t embarrassing himself, he goes way obnoxious on the Will. I. Am track “Nothing Really Matters,” which is more of a yawner than the Black Eyed Peas’ last album. And “I Just Wanna F” with Timbaland and Dev is an exercise in stupidity.

Even with the stronger tracks, this Beat is a dud.

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2.5 out of 5 stars
THE HUMAN LINK
Chad D
Independent

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Chad D is an indie musician based out of New York who’s 2011 release The Human Link garnered him two OutMusic Award nominations. He’s party pop and rap with a message — a whole lot of them. But his ambition makes up for the rough edges.

In the first four tracks, D lays down energetic beats with different stories. “The Story Begins” opens the album in high-energy synth mode with one of the deepest bass beats. The lyrics could graduate a level, but D throws in surprises such as a guitar solo that comes out of nowhere.

“The Human Link” and “Ask and Tell” lean more to his rap stylings, which need some fine-tuning. In “Link,” he’s choppy, but gets more fluid with “Ask.” I don’t even think he’s trying to be Eminem, but he’s clearly the white-guy rapper and a much better singer. “Ask” seems to be the epitome of his intentions with an in-your-face tune about gay issues. But the platitudes are a bit obvious which makes the song miss its mark.

It would be easy to dismiss “T.G.A. (The Gay Anthem)” as drivel. He raps quickly over what sounds like a sampled “Under the Boardwalk” beat. His Michael Jackson “whooos” are misguided and yet he creates a reliable hook and runs with it.

He hits his stride in “Ocean Blue Love.” The song is crazy catchy and his vocals overlap with note maturity. While I don’t mind his rapping so much, “Ocean” is proof that vocalizing is a better forte for him. He could still refine his voice, but he’s more emotive when singing.

D lost me at the title of “Life is a Ride,” which reminded me too much of “Life is a Highway,” a song I loathe. I muddled through rap stanzas like dance with me/ touch my body/ getting’ naughty but OK, my head bopped along. The chorus burst in and Chad D pulled me in. I don’t get into intentionally cheerful songs but the chorus earwormed its way into my head and I was fine with that.

Chad D isn’t afraid to give his strong queer perspective. As he matures, his songwriting should become more refined, but it’s his heart that drives The Human Link and he’s put all of it here.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Whistlin’ Dixie

RESEAL THE DEAL | Drag Tupperware guru Dixie Longate keeps Fort Worth fresh with her show … which also functions as a real Tupperware party.

Dixie Longate peddles plastic as America’s funniest Tupperware Lady

STEVEN LINDSEY | Contributing Writer
stevencraiglindsey@me.com

Someone at Amway is very jealous, because fast-talkin’, Southern drawlin’ Dixie Longate (né Kris Andersson) has turned catalog sales into a small empire. It’s mostly thanks to some hilarious shtick, the mouth of a sailor and a surprisingly thorough product knowledge in her plastic extravaganza, Dixie’s Tupperware Party.

In her one-woman interactive comedy show, starting Wednesday in Fort Worth’s McDavid Studio, Dixie reveals her sordid past, what with three dead ex-husbands and three children home alone in a trailer in Mobile, Ala. Stints in and out of prison keep her grounded and streetwise. But it’s her genuine passion for those burpable bowls that has made the Tupperware HQ take notice since she began selling nearly a decade ago. After her first year, she landed in the top 20 of national sales and hasn’t ever dropped out of it. Twice, she was the No. 1 Tupppersalesperson in the nation.

“I work real hard,” she says. “When I was No. 1, I was doing buttloads of home parties. I don’t sell as much at my shows because people are coming to be entertained — buyin’ Tupperware is not always on their minds. But I’m not going to take that away. What sort of lady would I be if I showed all this fine-quality plastic crap and then forbid you the opportunity to purchase it? That would just make me sad.”

Even though her show is wildly entertaining, it is an elaborate sales pitch. Tupperware is indeed available for purchase and what she started in small home shows translates just fine to bigger venues because she’s confident in what she does. Becoming Tupperware’s top sales diva has been motivating, but Longate acknowledges that there are other things in life.

“I have tasted sweet victory; now I want to taste other kinds of things,” she laughs. “You have to keep puttin’ stuff in your mouth to keep tastin’ ’em. Victory tastes good. But you know what? So does a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader!”

Longate is stoked to be returning to Texas, if only to experience our hospitality: “Everybody’s so neighborly. People want to have sex with me and I have to say, ‘Not everybody!’ Because I’m busy,” she says. “I didn’t get my chance to ride a mechanical bull, and that makes me happy, so I need to find one when I’m in Fort Worth. There’s nothin’ more fun than gettin’ on mechanical bull and ridin’ more than eight seconds, diggin’ your heels in and just havin’ a cocktail in a Tupperware tumbler in one hand and ridin’ it like a Christian.”

Longate is serious about her Tupperware sippy cup, always in-hand during her parties.

“Oh hell yes, I don’t want to spill my drink. Riding is so much exercise, you need to make sure you’re hydrated.”

Longate takes a dragtastic approach to sales that shocks suburbia. “There are a couple fun gals that are now selling Tupperware, making sure your food storage needs are being met. But you know how some Tupperware ladies just suck ass?” she asks. “They just sit there and they’re boring as hell. You don’t want someone sittin’ there talkin’ to your face about some bowl. You want to get up and have fun and do something crazy. That’s why it’s called a party, after all.”

And it’s one hell of a party. She’s taken it on the road all over the U.S., and even out to sea on several Atlantis gay cruises. It’s there she first came to love and accept the homosexuals — even if she can’t say the word.

“Oh you know what? At first I was a little scurred of the homosectionals because in the Bible they say things like don’t touch tongues with another man because that’s filthy and all that. But I was like, well wait, I touch tongues with other men and they’re so nice,” Longate says. “And then I met some of them homosectionals, and at first I clutched my Bible and said, you’re not supposed to be like that. But let me tell you somethin’. Homoesectionals always smell good and they travel in packs so you don’t want to mess with one because another one’s gonna come up and throw glitter at your head and that’s gonna get in your eye and sting.”

There are also other benefits to hanging out with the homosexual set.

“They are just such nice people, please and thank you and oh-ma’am-you-look-so-pretty-today. They’re never trying to rub up on your leg when they buy you a drink. They just buy you a drink and that’s that. And for that the Bible says I’m supposed to burn them? I don’t believe in that part of the Bible.”

As for her three dead ex-husbands, Longate swears there won’t be a fourth.

“It’s like they say: You can take the milk out of the cow, but you can’t have sex twice in the same room without losing the camcorder. Or something like that,” she says. “I’m gonna have some fun and meet some people behind the dumpster and lift my leg up just enough to put a smile on my face, but I’m not gonna get in a serious relationship again.”

After all, she’s got her job. Tupperware has been very good to her. Her bestsellers continue to be her Jell-O Shot Caddy (for takin’ to church, of course), her safe-edge can opener and a new product that she swears the gays are going to love.

“I know you all go to the gym all the time and work out. We have this little shaker that you put all your protein shakes and stuff in and you shake it up real quick and it blends it without all those big lumps,” she explains. “You don’t want a big lump in your mouth when you’re at the gym. Maybe afterward in the locker room, but that’s different.”

Look for that and plenty of other products to be demonstrated like never before at her party. And because she says the “homosectionals” like beautiful things, she promises you’ll be happy just to sit and stare at her on stage.

“I’m just lucky Jesus made me pretty. I have nice legs and can have sex like a trucker for a month. I might not be able to cook real well and I might not be able to add stuff together without a really big calculator, but that’s what Asian people are for,” she says. “Everybody has their niche.”

And Dixie’s niche is one that can’t be filled by just anyone.

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

—  John Wright

It’s alive!!

‘Young Frankenstein’ musical improves on original B’way version with great cast, classic shtick

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | jones@dallasvoice.com

yf1_196
TRANSYLVANIA MANIA | A mad scientist (Christopher Ryan, center) creates a monster with the help of Inga (Synthia Link), Igor (Cory English) and Frau Blucher (Joanna Glushak) in a hilarious ‘Frankenstein.’

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN
Winspear Opera House,
2403 Flora St. Through Jan. 23.
ATTPAC.org.

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The danger with stage-musical adaptations of revered comic movies is that they can seem like retreads a familiar material … unless they go entirely in another direction, where they risk alienating the core fans who loved the original. Which is it: Rerun or square one?

The consensus over the last dozen or more years has been to play it safe: Spamalot kept most of the Monty Python shtick, The Producers recreates “Springtime for Hitler,” Hairspray (probably the least well-known of the sources) tweaked the plot but retained the man in drag lead.

Young Frankenstein, which is settling in for a three-week stint at the Winspear Opera House, was adapted by Mel Brooks from his best film, and his signature Borscht Belt humor remains intact: The double entendres (lots of boob jokes and suggestive allusions to penis size), the one-liners, the well-worn gags (whenever the crone Frau Blucher’s name is spoken, horses whinny). But somehow, these don’t seem tired but timeless. It’s almost as funny as watching the film, with new songs that give it a polished theatricality.

Frederick (“it’s pronounced ‘Fronk-en-shteen’”) is the grandson of the notorious ghoul Victor, who unleashed a monster nearly a century earlier on torch-wielding villages in Central Europe. Frederick is a respected surgeon in the U.S., but returns to claim his grandfather’s estate. Instead, Frederick is seduced by Victor’s genius, and starts the whole process over, with a green, tap-dancing creature who’s very popular with the ladies.

As Frederick (or is it Froederick?), Christopher Ryan makes for a rubbery, bright-eyed hero. A cross between Ben Stiller (before he sold out to Fockerdom) and SNL’s Bill Hader, he has more charisma and comic chops than Roger Bart, who created the role on Broadway. Limber physically and lyrically, on “The Brain” he doffs a litany of scientists’ names more trippingly than a Gilbert & Sullivan specialist.

Ryan doesn’t steal the show, though; no one does. The entire cast is tight, all with superb comic sensibilities. The most outrageous performance comes from Cory English as Igor, Frederick’s stooge. Marty Feldman, who created the role in the film, was a singular talent, bug-eyed and fearless, so English’s ability to make Igor his own while still honoring Feldman is surprising. (Young Frankenstein is less gay than Brooks’ other “monster,” the wildly successful The Producers, but English camps it up.)

Joanna Glushak’s Frau Blucher — pulled tighter than Faye Dunaway at a Botox convention — captures Cloris Leachman’s startled, repressed spinster with grand delight, especially on her solo “He Vas My Boyfriend.” Janine Divita — playing the Madeline Kahn role originated by Megan Mullally in the Broadway version — brings her own energy to a part hand-crafted for two indelible stars.

Not all of the gimmicks played well with a slightly tame Winspear audience this week; the repeated lyric “tits, tits, tits” led to uncomfortable tittering, and a joke about a gay bar fell flat. But director/choreographer Susan Stroman has a light touch with the material, at once cheekily ironic and spot-on old-school flash: “Puttin’ on the Ritz” becomes a production number worthy of Busby Berkeley. Now that’s a show to see.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Mister clean

We get down and dirty about great gay uses of household items with home products guru Joey Green

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

TASK MASTER  |  Green is G-rated on TV, but offers us tips for gays armed with risque household items.
TASK MASTER | Green is G-rated on TV, but offers us tips for gays armed with risque household items.

HOME & GARDEN SHOW
Dallas Market Hall
2200 N. Stemmons Freeway
Sept. 11–12. $9.
See site for schedule. HomeandGardenMarket.com

He’s been on The View, Good Morning America and The Tonight Show and has published dozens of books, but you might not recognize Joey Green if you saw him on the streets. He’s more in the “OK, I know who you’re talking about” vein of celebrity.

Green is famous for applying useful but unusual uses for everyday products. Did you know Spam makes a great furniture polisher, or that lemon Kool-Aid is ideal for rust removal? Those are the kind of crazy but engaging tips he’ll bring to this weekend’s Home and Garden Market Show at Dallas Market Hall.

Although married with kids, Green has a gay man’s sense of camp (one of his books, which deconstructs The Wizard of Oz, posits that the

Cowardly Lion was a friend of Dorothy in more ways than one). Some of his advice is especially useful to gay people for their, let’s say, intimate reasons —or sometimes just great for a drag queen’s makeup case. In these economical times, it’s better to take items in the house than going to the store for a specific cleaner.

Despite his mild-mannered tone, Green is fine discussing his shtick with risqué bravado — his uses for contraceptives and tampons are usually redlined by his editors. Take, for instance, the simple condom. Playing safe is still in, but Green says they have multiple uses.

“Condoms are good if you’re hit in the nose or have a sore back,” he says. “Just fill it with water, freeze and [you have an] instant ice pack.  You can also put them on top a straight wooden handle shovel or mop or similar item — they work like a pencil eraser and keep it from sliding down and keep scruff marks off the walls.”

Makeup and beauty tips are abundant in Green’s books — many handy for a drag queen. In his newest, Joey Green’s Cleaning Magic, he puts nail polish remover, petroleum jelly and hair dryers to work beyond their original uses. But panty hose are a big item with Green.

“They are expensive,” he says. ”A lot of money is going down the drain. Save ‘em, ball ‘em up and they are great for polishing furniture. The nylon acts as a mild abrasive. They are great for cleaning car windshields and strainers, like for paint — just pour it through. Also, if a drag queen is late to a show because her fan belt gave out in her car, pantyhose can be tied in a knot and looped to replace it and get back on the road.”

Green doesn’t miss a beat when we mention what else Crisco can be used for other than cooking and … well, we left it at that.

“There are many uses for that. Crisco is all-natural made of soybean and cottonseed oils. It’s a great moisturizer. Just rub a dab on your skin. Keep some in the garage because it takes off oil and grease. And it gets lipstick stains out of clothes. “

Kinky and erotic does not escape Green. He could write an entire book with this angle alone, although instead he’s working on a project that gives tips and cures for pets. But he’s more willing to talk up the positives of a large roll of Saran Wrap in the house.  Whether it’s covering food, or the significant other, it’s a godsend.

“Well, don’t use it as a condom,” he orders. “Saran Wrap is great for holding screws in position. [Ed. note: Yes!] If a small screw is hard to hold, put it through the wrap to hold.  Putting it over a used tin of paint keeps it from hardening and it can cover small holes in windows.”

Finally, he breaks a bit. Food has its place in fun romps, but he tells us what else a cucumber is good for.

“Well,” he chuckles, “I know you can eat those.”

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

—  Kevin Thomas

Memories of the Gulf

Ted Kincaid’s digital art recalls a landscape before the environmental catastrophe

PIXEL SHTICK | Ted Kincaid, above, produced two works, right, for an exhibit celebrating the Gulf of Mexico before the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Ted Kincaid is in a somber mood.

The Dallas-based digital artist has for 20 years been recognizable for his uplifting, vibrantly colorful digital cloudscapes (one of his “thunderhead” clouds was shown earlier this year at the Dallas Museum of Art). But his latest exhibition, on display through July 17 at the Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, resonates with a profound sense of loss and melancholy.

And no wonder. The images currently on display are based on the artist’s memories of the Gulf of Mexico before the BP oil spill.

Kincaid’s contribution, which consists of two hypnotically beautiful seascapes, is part of a 30-piece mixed media group exhibition that focuses on pre-Deepwater Horizon disaster representations of the Gulf Coast region. The exhibit celebrates but also mourns a world and way of life that are rapidly disappearing.

Kincaid, whose partner is local activist and Human Rights Campaign honoree Steve Atkinson, spoke about his art and the tragedy of the spill.

— M.M. Adjarian

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Dallas Voice: A genuine passion for nature clearly underlies your work. But why did you specifically want to take part in an exhibition about the gulf before the BP disaster? Kincaid: Arthur [Roger] organized this exhibit as a protest of the tragedy that’s going on in the Gulf and invited me to participate because of the nature of my work.


Did your environmentalism play any role in your decision to be part of this protest show?
Absolutely. I think what’s going on down there is a tragedy like we’ve never seen in our lifetime and it will affect probably all us for the rest of our lives.


Do you remembe
r when and how you become aware of the artistic possibilities the Gulf had for your work? It’s part of a trajectory that’s been happening in my work over the past 15 or so years that involves the veracity of the photograph. So those images, though printed and presented as photographs, are in fact entirely digitally constructed pixel by pixel on my computer. For all practical purposes, they are digital paintings presented as photographs.

But you have traveled to the Gulf. Oh yes, extensively. That’s why it was so important to be involved in this. The two images that are included in the exhibit are directly influenced by the area at the mouth of the Mississippi.

The name of the series from which you chose the images is called The Only Joke God Ever Played On Me. Do you find that title ironic in context of the current exhibition? Absolutely. The title referred more to the sense that images such as cloudscapes and seascapes are fleeting. They’re never static and they’re never repeated. And by the time you’re able to turn someone around and get them to look at what you’re looking at, it’s changed. And it is almost like a joke being played on you.

Only in this case, the joke isn’t divine. It’s more a terrible joke that humanity has played on itself. Yes.

Your images are haunting, disturbing … It’s much like looking at photographs of someone that you love who’s recently died. It’s the memory of what’s not there anymore.

You’ve said that your work documents things that “exist or not… and can be seen or not.” That’s a chilling statement, given that what your images depict no longer exists. Has the oil spill impacted any part of your artistic vision? My work for a number of years has tended to focus on a yearning for what we are losing. And the new work that is currently being produced in the studio has much more of an acute awareness of this than before. It doesn’t have an arrow pointing to it saying “environmental disaster;” it’s more a sense of loss and memory, a sense of something that doesn’t exist anymore. And I think that this oil spill particularly is going to impact my work for the rest of my life.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.


—  Kevin Thomas