‘Sordid’ blowout tonight at Texas Theatre

Sordid-Wedding-4Since it opened in April at the Texas Theater to preview the USA Film Festival, A Very Sordid Wedding has been a big draw in Dallas. Tonight, it concludes its run at the historic Oak Cliff moviehouse with a blowout double feature. Festivities start at 7 p.m. with a screening of what started it all: The original 2000 film Sordid Lives. Then at 9:30 p.m., you get your final chance for a while to see A Very Sordid Wedding, with producer and co-star Emerson Collins introducing. (Tickets have to be purchased separately for each film.) Come laugh with those screwy, trashy folks from Winters, Texas!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Looking for something to do Sunday? How about a ‘Sordid’ pool party?

Del-Shores-32If you’re looking to enjoy the summer at a pool party and your a movie buff, have we got the party for you. Later this month, Del Shores and Emerson Collins will be in town filming A Very Sordid Wedding, the first-ever sequel to Shores’ cult classic play and movie Sordid Lives (his Logo TV series was a prequel). And if you wanna meet them (as well as WFAA anchor Ron Corning and drag queen Cassie Nova), and support the production, you can buy a ticket ($50) that goes toward the film’s budget and enjoy a beautiful day at an Uptown pool with drinks by Stoli and Sordid-themed ice cream. You can purchase your ticket here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

You can be part of a ‘Sordid Wedding!’

Del-Shores-32Del Shores — he of the snarky Texas-twanged rants against religious hypocrisy and homophobia, in works from Southern Baptist Sissies to Queer as Folk— is primed to begin filming his latest movie, the first official sequel to his signature hit Sordid Lives. A Very Sordid Wedding puts your favorite characters in the receiving line of a gay wedding — which, thanks to SCOTUS, is now just called “a wedding” — and will begin filming soon in the Metroplex. But the groundwork isn’t done yet. Shores and his producer (and Dallas Voice contributor) Emerson Collins will join Louise H. Beard for a fundraising and location scouting tour of North Texas this week. If you want to be part of the producing team, you can attend an investors’ informational meeting Friday in Fort Worth or Saturday in Dallas (both at private homes, starring at 7:30 p.m.). The minimum buy-in is $25,000, but if you don’t have that much cash in a drawer, you can always pool some money with your friends … and be on the cutting edge of the marriage equality movement.

To learn more, email Del at DelShores@me.com. And if you see him around town looking at sites, come up and say howdy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Del Shores will launch all-new show at the Rose Room in April

creditPaulBoulonoptionwaistup300dDel Shores aways remembers his texas roots — it’s why he’s forever coming back to Dallas with his one-man comedy shows. His newest one will launch here (at the Rose Room, natch) on April 17. Called Del Shores: SINgularly Sordid, in it he discusses life post divorce at getting back into date scene in the age of Tinder, Grindr and Scruff, as well as letters from haters and dishy Hollywood stories.

And it won’t be his only trip here. He’ll begin filming A Very Sordid Wedding as soon as he can, which will be shot in and around Dallas and prominently feature the Rose Room.

Tickets to SINgularly Sordid are available here ($10 standing room, $20 seated, $30 VIP).

 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas actor Nye Cooper has died

stage-1UPDATE: Funeral arrangements announced; click or see below.

Nye Cooper — for many years, a talented actor who stepped away from the spotlight several years ago after his health deteriorated — passed away last night from complications following a long illness. He was 41.

A Louisiana native, Cooper —  the fourth recipient of Dallas Voice’s Actor of the Year honors — had been in Hospice care in North Texas since last week, surrounded by his family.

“I’m devastated,” said Angela Wilson, a playwright, actress and director who worked with Cooper many times over the years, upon learning the news. “Over these past years, Nye would sometimes call me and say ‘I need a pretend mom right now — will you be my mom right now?’ He would be scared and sad because of his illness, but he loved his own mother so much that he didn’t want to bother her with his fears.”

Cooper grew up in DeQuincy, La., and graduated from McNeese State University in Lake Charles. After graduation, he performed in the long-running outdoor musical Texas in Palo Duro County. In the mid-1990s, he moved to Dallas, and quickly became known for his dry humor and acting talents.

As well known for his scathing wit in person as for his gifts onstage, Cooper was an early adopter of Facebook, and for years offering withering observations. Dallas Voice approached him about doing a story on his hilarious posts, but he demurred, and soon withdrew from Facebook altogether.

“He never drew attention to himself,” said Sue Loncar, a local actress and producer who was one of Cooper’s closest friends. “I was always convinced with his razor sharp humor he could have made it big, but he had no desire for such things.”

He stopped performing as well, though his friends in the theater will long recall his legacy.

“Nye did shows with Jeff [Rane] and me when we were both actors — before we formed Uptown Players,” says Craig Lynch, who co-produced Sordid Lives with Cooper during the company’s inaugural season. One of his co-stars was Wilson.

“The first time I saw him was when we were both auditioning for Sordid Lives — he was so gorgeous and so talented,” she said. She was so impressed, she cast Cooper to portray John Wilkes Booth in her play Perchance. Later, Wilson rewrote her play The Ladies Room, renaming it Dim All the Lights, with Cooper in mind. It was one of his singular achievements. “Nye’s friends and family came to see him and cried because the material was so close to home — a young man dying too soon, who still believed in falling in love.”

Cooper will long be remembered for performing the role of Crumpet in David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries at several theaters across North Texas, including WaterTower and Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. He was nominated for a Leon Rabin Award for his performance.

“His range, both dramatic and comic, was beyond anything I had seen in Dallas,” Wilson said. “His humanity and professionalism and devastating sense of humor gave me joy.”

Services are pending. We will advice when we learn anything. Until then, please post your reflections, memories and thoughts about Nye.

UPDATE: Funeral arrangement have been set for Nye Cooper, who died earlier this week after a prolonged illness.

Services will take place at Celebration Worship Center, 3231 Highway 27 South in Sulphur, La., on Friday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. Memorials in Nye’s honor can be made to the church or to the American Cancer Society.

Sue Loncar, one of Nye’s longtime friends and founder of the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, will hold a memorial locally for his friends later this month. The details for that service will be decided on Monday. 

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Del Shores set to make ‘Sordid Lives’ sequel, shoot it in Dallas

0600 flashDel Shores is finally following up his hit play/movie/TV series Sordid Lives with an official sequel. His next feature film will be A Very Sordid Wedding, picking up 16 years after the original. Castmembers Leslie Jordan, Bonnie Bedelia and Caroline Rhea are set to reprise their roles, and as the title suggests, there’ll be a wedding … and a same-sex one, at that.

And the above-named folks won’t be the only familiar names in the cast — one of the scenes will take place in the Rose Room, and Shores has even written parts for some of the ladies there.

“I never felt, like much of the Sordid Lives fan base, that I was done with the denizens of Winters, Texas,” Shores says.

The film will be produced by Shores’ business partner (and Dallas Voice contributor) Emerson Collins, and there’s even a IndieGoGo website if you want to contribute to the making of it. Click here for that.

Shores was just in North Texas for the screening at Q Cinema of Southern Baptist Sissies, another of his Texas-based riffs on conservative, religion and homosexuality.

Here’s a video of Shores talking about the project filming in Dallas.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The wit and wisdom of Leslie Jordan

IMG_3157In this week’s cover story, I interviewed Leslie Jordan, Del Shores and Emerson Collins about their upcoming appearances in Dallas at both a fundraiser for Al McAffrey and screenings of their film Southern Baptist Sissies. As with most interviews, your subjects say a lot more than you can use in the final story. Most of the time, you just let it go. But when Leslie Jordan is talkin’, there are just too many gems to let them be lost forever.

Here, then, are some of the great comments Leslie made during our talk that I didn’t have room for in the story. Enjoy!

On the scope of his fame: I was performing at the Leicester Square Playhouse in London — you know what’s really popular over there? Sordid Lives! Who knew? Anyway, I was walking down the street at Piccadilly Circus and this cab slows down and the cabbie shouts, “Can you see my pussy now?” Then he took off, laughing! But I got misty eyed. People are screaming my lines at me out of taxicabs — I’m an international star!

On interacting with his co-stars: I was doing a show with an actress who plays one of the maids on Downton Abbey, her name is Siobhan Finneran and she tells me, “Just call be Shiv.” “Shiv?!” I said. “In American, ‘Shiv’ is what they stab people with in prison!”

On his rent-boy obsession: I spent three weeks in Puerto Vallarta [recently]. The best part of being there are the beautiful brown boys who hang out in the square. They’re all married straight boys with children, and all you have to say is, “Do you need a little diaper money?”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Leslie Jordan’s “Fruit Fly”

Throughout the opening night performance of Leslie Jordan’s one-man show Fruit Fly, which runs through tomorrow at the Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, the flamboyant actor and comedian referred to his standup act; that’s not what this is. In fact, while hysterically funny in ways that print cannot do justice, Fruit Fly is, first and foremost, a performance: In the course of 90 minutes (it was only suppose to be about 70, but he was on a roll), Jordan spoke not only in his own voice but that of his still-living mother, a hard-drinking Southern lady, an antique drag queen, an obese speakeasy proprietress and too many more to count.

“I’ve always been a good mimic,” Jordan notes almost off-handedly.

No shit.

The show — basically a living room slide presentation tracing Jordan throughout his life of debauchery (“this is just the tip of the iceberg” he says after explaining how he contracted gonorrhea at age 13), his coming out (“Mama would laugh, then say, ‘Don’t tell daddy'”) and his relationship with his mother, father (who died tragically young) and his twin sisters — is surprisingly thin on Hollywood gossip. It barely even mentions his career, except to frame certain issues (going on a gay cruise as the entertainment, how London cabbies recognize him from Sordid Lives, etc.). But it doesn’t need any name-dropping: His life is so endlessly fascinating, you could sit and listen to him, in that squeaky Tennessee drawl, wax for hours more. (It’s amazing he survived this long.)

“You can’t make this shit up!” Jordan says, only half joking. He’s got that right. It’s an unmissibly dishy and touching performance, a real intimate night of theater that feels more like a dinner party with the best host you could imagine.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Shores, Dottley announce split

Shores and Dottley, in happier times

Del Shores announced via Facebook this weekend that he and husband Jason Dottley, his producing partner and one of the stars of his series Sordid Lives, have decided to divorce. They met 10 years ago and had a commitment ceremony seven years ago; they legally wed in 2008 in California before passage of Prop 8. No details were released about the reason for the breakup, though Shores expressed support for Dottley, who was step-father to Shores’ two daughters. He also stressed that splits like this are further evidence of the need for marriage equality — including divorce rights.

Shores has a deep connection to Texas and Dallas. He grew up in Winters, Texas, and has set several plays in North Texas, including Southern Baptist Sissies. They were last in Dallas this past June, with Dottley performing his music and Shores doing his one-man performance. Shores tells me he has not canceled a scheduled performance, scheduled to take place at the Rose Room in January, where he will film his show.

Shores’ next project, the film adaptation of The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife starring The Help‘s Octavia Spencer, comes out next year.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones