A Shade off

Throwing Shade podcasters Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi queer up the Internet… and now also Dallas

Erin&BryanAARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Executive Editor

It’s the morning after their first live show of a new tour, and Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson are jazzed. It was a sell-out — the first on a weeks-long, cross-country road show. It’s not that they haven’t performed live before, but their main gig — as co-hosts of the popular podcast Throwing Shade — is done in a studio, without the benefit of an audience.

And their own style of comic commentary, wherein they rail against the news of the day especially about close-to-the-heart liberal causes “relevant to women and gays,” as their motto goes, benefits from live interaction and instantaneous feedback. Indeed, what fuels a lot their humor is the “yes/and” format of the best improv sketches … even when things seem like they are about to go off the rails.

“Well, we trained at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in L.A., and that’s what’s drawn people to the podcast — ‘I’m gonna agree with you no matter what you say’ [shtick],” says Safi.

“We know mistakes are gifts, so why not make fun of them?” adds Gibson. “I think it’s a Southern thing too — Bryan has a kind of brassy you’re not-getting-away-with-nuthin’ attitude.”

That hold-your-feet-to-the-fire sticktoitiveness has served the podcast well, where once a week, the duo riff on the latest news stories with their unique, opinionated spins. Fully a third of each show, which can run as long as 90 minutes, comprises Safi and Gibson expressing indignation and resentment at right-wing homophobes, brain-dead politicians and hypocritical pundits. It’s serious opinion-comedy for those who don’t care about the Kardashians or what Real Housewife is getting divorced this week.

“The thiScreen Shot 2016-08-25 at 10.17.40 AMng is, the stuff Bryan and I talk about [isn’t all fluff],” Gibson says. “Some of pop culture needs to be laughed at, but there’s so many terrible things happening now I like to use it as only a small distraction. When [I consume] pop culture, I am looking at it as how women are being treated. I try to tread lightly unless it deserves to be treated more serious. I think there’s an unfairness that’s heavily skewed against women.”

It’s a good fit for the openly gay Safi because, “the marginalization is the same,” Gibson says. “You can’t really say there are women’s issues and [a different set of] LGBT issues, because there is definitely an overlap. And that’s sort of the reason why gay people and straight women get along.”

“It certainly is a mix of pop culture and politics,” says Safi. “We’re definitely not news readers. I always feel like we make good points but we wanna get there the dumbest way possible. I do think we have been really good that if we fuck up really badly we apologize. We don’t have researchers. But when we delve into our deeper issues, it is a conversation.”

“I read about six blogs a day for women’s issues and I go to the New York Times. Hard copies! We read newspapers!” Gibson says.

“Yea, we’re definitely the smartest people at brunch,” Safi adds.

And some of the savviest. Gibson was just nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on the Funny Or Die web-spoof Gay of Thrones. And Safi was part of one of last year’s most magnificent national hoaxes: The Will Ferrell-Kristen Wiig deadpan parody of Lifetime movies A Deadly Adoption … which ran as an actual Lifetime movie with no explanation. (“It was incredible — such a crazy experience to be in a meta-serious movie,” Safi says. “The reaction to it was exactly what they wanted — people loved it and people hated it. I liked that my character’s relationship with Kristen Wiig is solely based on coffee… At one point I said, ‘I cannot believe we are talking about organic food again.’”)


THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS | Combative but hilariously shady, Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi bring their podcast to the stage of Sons of Hermann Hall this week.

And together they will be venturing into new waters starting in January, when Throwing Shade expands from podcast to television… perhaps one of the first podcasts to make such a leap.

“TVLand came to us because they really loved our podcast,” Gibson says. “We want it to be like a John Oliver meets Amy Schumer. It will be topical but some segments will be more evergreen. It will sort of be the pinnacle of Throwing Shade.”

But until then, there’s still the tour and all that entails. Their current itinerary will take them from California across to the East Coast and up to Canada. But their three Texas shows — just-done Austin, Dallas on Aug. 26 and Houston on Aug. 27 — are a homecoming for the twosome: Safi is a native of El Paso, and Gibson grew up in the Houston area, and they bring a certain Lone Star spirit to their comedy. Gibson and Safi may be in California, but they are of Texas. But homecomings aren’t always pleasant, as any survivor of a Thanksgiving family reunion can attest.

“Houston is the most stressful city for me on the tour, because I have a lot of family there,” Gibson says. “I just get nervous, even though I think of Houston as the armpit of Texas.”

“Don’t put that in,” Safi quickly says. “We’re still trying to sell tickets. But really, Texas in general is the scariest part of the tour — not because of the people, who are wonderful, but because you wanna perform good for Mama.” (Safi’s family was mostly coming to the Austin show, meaning Dallas may be the least stressful of the local stops.)

“The live show is more of a standup — we don’t sit down as if we are recording, but we [perform]. About 80 percent is planned and written in advance, with some improv,” says Safi. “We kinda talk personally and integrate stuff that happens in town and anything exciting during that day.”

“And we do some live crank calls!” shouts Gibson, recalling a recurring gimmick from the podcast. “Crank calling is such a primal thing. We’re not mean, but we do call people, like organizations that aren’t cool to ladies and gays… you know … people who we don’t love.”

But who couldn’t love these two?

Listen to the Throwing Shade podcast weekly, available on iTunes and other platforms.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Best Bets • 08.19.16

Friday 08.26


Throwing Shade podcasters Erin and Bryan return to Texas

For a while now, Bryan Safi and Erin Gibson have gotten together once a week to share their insights into issues that affects women and gays and give them, as they say, “much less respect than they deserve.” The popular Throwing Shade podcast is one of the sassiest in pod-dom, and you can see the duo for their live show, which returns to Dallas’ on the 26th. It’s dishy, hilarious, up-to-the-minute … and very gay.

Sons of Hermann Hall
3414 Elm St.
Doors at 8 p.m., curtain at 9 p.m.

Sunday 08.21

Have your Summer Chill with the Honey Pot folks in this month’s mixer Escape to Bear Island

Honey Pot has been a recurring quarterly dance party and mixer for the gay community for a few years, and the latest might be the biggest yet, as the cute and hirsute gather for an afternoon of music (first from DJ Benson Wilder, then DJ Matt Effect), drinks, dancing and fun. It’s all part of the Bear Island Weekend of events at the Round-Up taking place Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Proceeds from Sunday’s event benefit the Resource Center.

The Round-Up Saloon
3912 Cedar Springs Road
3–8 p.m.
$5 suggested donation

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 19, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Bridget Everett’s ‘What I Gotta Do’

bridget on stoolIn the current edition, we have an interview with blowsy ‘hag comedian Bridget Everett, who’s as sex-obsessed as most gay men are portrayed to be. In the story, we mention her song “What I Gotta Do,” and if you haven’t heard (or seen) it, now’s your chance. Just have your earplugs in if you watch it at work.

And you can still get tickets to her show on Friday night at Sons of Hermann Hall.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Jay Brannan’s “Rob Me Blind”

Folkie gay Jay Brannan released the video for his third single which is also the title track of his latest album, Rob Me Blind. Brannan is looking for love in an elevator in this tender video that pits him and a handsome stranger in confined spaces. A five minute ride up to the eighth floor seems like forever (or at least feels like our building), but Brannan’s fantasies play out as people get off and on and the doors open to reveal a vignette of the happy couple.

Brannan will likely perform the tune when he returns to Dallas this August to play Sons of Hermann Hall.

Watch the video after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Concert Notice: Jay Brannan returns to play Sons of Hermann Hall this August

I had a hint of this already, but the official word is out that gay singer-songwriter Jay Brannan will make his return to Dallas this summer. Upon release of his latest album Rob Me Blind this week, the folkster will hit the road in July, making his way to town August 13. He’ll play at the Sons of Hermann Hall (yes!) in Deep Ellum and is another notch in Tactics Productions’ increasingly impressive roster of concert bookings with some LGBT-friendly approach on the side. Props to those guys.

The last time we saw Brannan here was at The Loft in late 2010.

Brannan posted this video on release day yesterday and even gave a live performance of the song “The State of Music.” Check it after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Tasting notes

Veggie Fair returns, Dish launches fall menu and you can win foodie swag!


A-HA, AHI! | Dish’s ahi pica is one of its best fall menu additions from new chef de cuisine Garreth Dickey.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

You can get deep fried bacon and fried butter and fried just-about-anything at the Texas State Fair, but this weekend, the fried foods are more animal friendly at the Texas State Veggie Fair, now in its second year. Sponsored by Jamey Scott with DallasVegan.com to celebrate and promote the health benefits and environmental impact of the vegan lifestyle, the festivities start on Saturday with the Texas premiere of the documentary Vegucated where, a la Morgan Spurlock, three meat-eating New Yorkers go vegan for six weeks. The screening will take place at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff on Saturday at 1 p.m., with the filmmaker in attendance.

That night, the animal rights group Mercy for Animals, founded by gay vegan Nathan Runkle, hosts the official kick-off party for the fair at Sons of Hermann Hall, starting at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday, you can enjoy the entirety of the fair — including a fried food competition (for which I will serve as a judge), music and speakers, as well as veggie food — at Winfrey Point on Lawther Drive on White Rock Lake. Admission is free to the fair and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit DallasVegan.com or TexasStateVeggieFair.com.

North Texas seemed to progress quickly from sweltering heat to autumnal cuddliness with almost no transition time at all. I’m not just talking about the weather, but about the food as well.

It certainly feels like fall already at Dish. The new chef de cuisine, Garreth Dickey, has retooled the menu at the three-year-old restaurant, editing some of the regular items and adding all new ones. The coolest tweaks to the menu: A “weekly specialties” list, which Dickey swaps out each Wednesday, and a $35 prix fixe menu which allows him the opportunity to experiment with new recipes and you to be the first to try out what’s new.

The tender flat iron steak, already a staple of the menu, is still there, as are the selection of flatbreads. But burgers have been deemphasized in favor of tacos (the sweet and tangy Carolina pork tacos, $12 as a dinner entrée or two bucks each in the bar at happy hour, are a special now; don’t miss ‘em), and Dickey’s new prosciutto flatbread is the best of them all.

Perhaps the standout of the new items, though, is the ahi pica appetizer. More flavorful than the usual tuna tartare, this version sings with the slow-rising heat of scotch bonnet chilis and the tropical wisp of coconut atop a large wonton disk.

Dish doesn’t have a pastry chef, so Dickey’s desserts are simple yet exceptional. The caramel pot de crème has the personality of creamy butterscotch, and the sweetness of the banana cake is softened with a hint of saltiness.

This month, Café Brazil re-released its seasonal coffee blend — always popular with longtime regulars — as well as a new menu that exudes the fall season. Among the offerings: cinnamon pumpkins pancakes and French toast a la bananas foster, two sweetly indulgent breakfast items designed to raise your blood sugar.

Not to be outdone, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop on Preston Road in Plano lists “the Bobbie” as one of its most popular offerings. It is nicknamed “Thanksgiving on a bun,” and that about sums in up: Sliced turkey, stuffing and a cranberry relish recreate the sensations of turkey day with the convenience of a sandwich. In fact, it’s the perfect day-after Thanksgiving meal without all the mess and lost refrigerator space.

This year, the annual Beaujolais & Beyond Wine Festival, sponsored by the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Dallas, moves to the brand new Omni Dallas Downtown on Nov. 18. You can check out the big new convention center hotel while sampling wines from France’s Beaujolais region as well as American Rhone style wines, all set to a hip ‘60s-inspired theme. Participating restaurants include Parigi, Hotel St. Germain, Bonnie Ruth’s Café and many more. Tickets are $60 in advance ($55 for four or more) and available at FACCDallas.com. 


online exclusive

Get some culinary swag! To win a pound of seasonal blend coffee from Cafe Brazil, a pint of Dickey’s barbecue sauce and more, email lifestyle@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Sons of Hermann Hall celebrates 100 years

Who can blow out a 100 candles?

The legendary venue Sons of Hermann Hall celebrates a century this weekend and as part of the vast music lineup, LGBT faves Patrice Pike and Kathy & Bella join in on the celebration. Two days of Texas music in this Dallas gem is pretty much the equivalent to heaven.

DEETS: SOHH, 3414 Elm St. $25­–$45. SonsOfHermann.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets: 07.08.11

Friday 07.08

What the Del?
Del Shores returns to Dallas with More Sordid Confessions, his one-man show that’s part comedy, part biography and we’re figuring, a whole lotta funny. His partner Jason Dottley performs later that night at BJ’s NXS! the same night. We’re sure that one won’t miss the other’s show. And you shouldn’t miss either of them.

DEETS: The Rose Room, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. 8 p.m. $15–$20. PartyAtTheBlock.com.


Friday 07.08

Who can blow out a 100 candles?
The legendary venue Sons of Hermann Hall celebrates a century this weekend and as part of the vast music lineup, LGBT faves Patrice Pike and Kathy & Bell join in on the celebration. Two days of Texas music in this Dallas gem is pretty much the equivalent to heaven.

DEETS: SOHH, 3414 Elm St. Through Saturday. $25­–$45. SonsOfHermann.org.


Thursday 07.14

Fake news the way you like it
When the real news gets to be too much, The Onion is a nice reprieve. But how will the writers and editors pull it off live? The staff comes to talk about its satire and place in today’s media.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. . $25­–$45. ATTPAC.org.

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

—  Michael Stephens

Local Briefs

KNON bringing Hightower to Dallas

KNON 89.3 FM, Dallas’ Community radio station presents national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author Jim Hightower in a speaking engagement and dinner on Saturday, March 26, at Historic Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St. Dinner will be catered by Cajun Alligator Café.

Dinner begins at 6 p.m. Hightower’s speech, followed by a question-and-answer session, begins at 8 p.m. For dinner and the speech, admission is $25. Admission for the speech and Q&A session only is $10. Tickets are available at Forever Young Records in Grand Prairie, Bill’s Records in Dallas and on KNON’s website, KNON.org, via PayPal.

For more information call 214-828-9500, ext. 222 or go online to KNON.org.

Ramirez named to national board

Ruben Ramirez, community health programs manager for Resource Center Dallas, has been named to the national board of cultural experts for the Mpowerment Project.

It is a program developed by the University of California-San Francisco’s Center for AIDS Prevention Studies.

Ramirez is attending his first meeting of the board this week in California.

In his job at the center, Ramirez works with program staff to create, develop and enhance innovative primary and secondary HIV prevention programs, syphilis elimination initiatives, and other efforts relating to sexually transmitted diseases. The programs target gay/bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, African-American, Latino and other at-risk populations.

The Mpowerment Project is an evidence-based, community-level HIV prevention intervention for young gay/bisexual men ages 18 to 29. CAPS developed Mpowerment, and it collaborates with organizations around the country to understand how it is being implemented in diverse communities.

Ramirez has been involved in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts since the 1990s, first in the Austin area and later with the Center. He earned an associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force, and both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas-Austin.

GAIN presents real estate program

Resource Center Dallas’ GAIN program will hold a program titled “Keeping it ‘Real’ in Today’s ‘Senior’ Real Estate Market — finding out the truth about your real estate options” on Thursday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the resource center, 2701 Reagan.

Realtor Ed Abenante with Keller Williams Realty, Ron Watterson with Prime Lending and Alan Hopper with RE/MAX Associates will attend to discuss issues including how and when to sell, downsizing and reverse mortgages.

The event is free and open to the public.

Women’s History Month program set

Resource Center Dallas’ Phil Johnson Historic Archives & Research Library and JEWEL women’s group will honor Women’s History Month by hosting a talk  titled “Honoring and Preserving Women’s History: The Centrality of Labor and Feminist Activism,” presented by Clark A. Pomerleau, history professor at the University of North Texas. The lecture will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26 at the center, 2701 Reagan Street in Dallas.

Pomerleau is an assistant professor for U.S. women’s and gender history at University of North Texas. He specializes in sexuality studies, 20th century social movements and alternative education.

The event is free and open to the public.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright

Here's a peek at two out artists' works featured tonight at SEED in Deep Ellum

I’ll be making my way to SEED here in a couple of hours at the Sons of Hermann Hall but just wanted to give you a slight preview of what to expect. You can read about it in today’s issue or just by going here. The Art Conspiracy benefit can be a fun time and even offer up original art for cheap. Bidding starts at twenty bucks and if there are no other takers, you just scored.

Out artists Robb Conover and Erica Felicella join a slew of other artists auctioning off their works to benefit Art Con. Take a peek at some of the work after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez