Cocktail Friday: Vodka drinks for Pride!

Stolichnaya vodka has swung back from a public relations disaster to spirited sponsor of Dallas Pride events from Razzle Dazzle to Black Tie to this weekend’s parade. (We have a story about it in this week’d edition.) They have a few recipes they’ve shared with us. Cheers!

RazLemonade

Stoli Raz Lemonade

One of a handful of flavored vodkas in the Stoli stable, the Razberi adds a fruity flavor with a kick.

1 part Stoli Razberi

2 parts favorite lemonade

Fresh raspberries and mint to garnish

Making it: Muddle fresh raspberries and mint (or simply add to a skewer). Pour in vodka and lemonade. Shake well. Pour into a tall tumbler over ice.

Stoli O Rouge

A citrusy take on a Cape Cod.

1 part Stoli Oranj

1 part cranberry juice

Club soda

Orange slice.

Making it: Shake equal portions of vodka and cranberry. Pour into a highball glass. Splash with club soda. Garnish with an orange wheel.

Mule

Moscow Mule

The popular Moscow Mule gets a real kick from Moscow with this creation, which includes an all-new Stoli-brand ginger beer.

1 part Stoli Elit

2 parts Stoli ginger beer

Lime

Making it: Squeeze lime into a copper cup with ice. Pour over vodka and top with ginger beer. Still. Garnish with lime wedges.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Are you one of Dallas’ ‘best dressed’? Here’s your chance to prove it

Steve Kemble 2On Sept. 26, DFW Style Daily and the Galleria will hold a big fashion event naming Dallas’ “best dressed” men and women. So far, everyone has been picked (though we won’t learn all the names until the event). But there’s still one slot left. And that’s where you come in.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend, from noon to 4 p.m., fashion scouts for the event will be trolling the Galleria, looking for anyone with style who makes an impression and thinks they may have what it takes can get their photo taken and, if a finalist, invited to attend the big reveal on the 26th (which will, of course, be hosted by Steve Kemble, pictured), in a runway show produced by Jan Strimple. So if you have to shop anyway, throw on some hot threads and try to get discovered!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Perot Museum: A different perspective

I just got back from a media tour of the Perot Museum of Science and Nature, the Borg Cube-ish structure fronting Woodall Rodgers, and I’ll tell you, the building is impressive. The external escalator will be a hit, and the fourth floor dinosaur room is gonna wow people. There’ll even be a cafe operated by Wolfgang Puck, and a separate entrance for schoolchildren to keep them segregated from those of us who don’t scream and sneeze on our sleeves. (Anymore.)

But what made the tour especially interesting was, I was one of only two gay men (I know of) in the press corps. And since the other was style diva Steve Kemble, it naturally follows I would ask him the most important question of the day: How do you dress for a construction site tour and remain fabulous.

Steve managed it. And here’s what he said:

Steve Kemble's construction site chic look

In vest. “I wore a Louis Vuitton scarf to counteract the attention from this awful reflective vest,” he said. The neck wrap was subtle, but added a stylish flare around the neck.

You can’t avoid hat head. Attendees were required to wear hard hats, so a smash up-do wasn’t possible. But there was an upside. “I have to give props to the Perot people for adding color to the hats, Kemble said, “instead of those dreadful, boring white ones.” Also, the hats weren’t visibly scuffed. We considered stealing them.

These boots were made for walking. The pre-tour press info was very specific: Long pants and no open-toe shoes or heels. Ugh, said Kemble. “I hate not being in heels,” he sighed. But not to worry: He made up for it with a pair of Gucci chocolate leather boots worn over the jean so everyone could see fashion and recognize it. “I was not going to wear those boring work boots!” he insisted. (P.S. I was wearing Timberland boots … pretty much what Kemble pooh-poohed.)

Have a belt. Finally, a studded stacked leather belt from Versace completed the ensemble. “I can hang tools from this!” Kemble said. Yeah, Steve, we’re not sure a crimping iron counts as a tool…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Back to the Drawing Board

 

NOT IN THE EYE! | The Dallas Collection will include some denim jackets and hot models, below, but co-creative director Jan Strimple and event director Steve Kemble, above, promise even more eye candy from a variety of disciplines.

DIFFA Dallas starts over with a new attitude and a new concept — but some experienced talent behind the scenes

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor | jones@dallasvoice.com
MARK STOKES  | Illustrator | mark@markdrawsfunny.com

2010 was a strange year for the Dallas chapter of DIFFA, the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.

On the heels of its 25 anniversary blowout, the group decided to bifurcate the main event last year: A collection of soft goods and accessories (pillows, hats, even doghouses) at a bash at Union Station, followed about a month later by the famed Collection, a runway show of denim jackets at a pricey gala to take place at the new Winspear Opera House, hosted by Queen Latifah.

Only Queen Latifah canceled. “We’ll reschedule,” DIFFA said.

Nothing.

No collection event took place that year, which may have been a good thing. With 2011 here, DIFFA is regrouping.

This is a rebuilding year, for sure, but also one with lots of promise. With co-creative director Jan Strimple back in charge, and Dallas doyen of style Steve Kemble serving as event director of DIFFA 2011 — branded Dramatically Different — there’s some starpower behind the scenes. And that promises to make for a spectacular, if unusual, show.

For one thing, the I in DIFFA represents a plural word: Industries. It’s not just about clothes. Yes, the event will take place at the Anatole; yes, there will be a cocktail reception where attendees can inspect the collection. But there will not be a runway show; instead, a sit-down dinner with live auction. The event used to end there; now it will transition into a lounge where people can enjoy one another and the various other fashion specialties making a contribution, from art to architecture to music.

It’s a great challenge for Strimple, one of the founders of DIFFA who returns to a management role.

“While [the] Dallas Collection is an astounding amount of work and takes a massive coordinated team effort, it’s also creatively rewarding because the non-commercial format allows my imagination to go wild,” says Strimple. “I have a lot of fun with what I call a ‘take no prisoners attitude’ towards designing the fashion components: kill them with glamour, seduce them with beauty, rock it out with the unexpected and leave ‘em begging for more!”

“I could not be more thrilled to be producing this year’s event,” adds Kemble. “DIFFA is such an important part of the fight against HIV/AIDS, and I know this fabulous event will bring even more attention and support to a worthy cause.”

Strimple sees the change in keeping with the development of AIDS research and treatment over the years, which this summer marks 30 years since its designation as a disease.

“DIFFA was on the forefront of funding services to the earliest victims as well as funding prevention education once the disease was fully understood. As AIDS reaches newer audiences, they are being caught unprepared. DIFFA’s stance on prevention education, combined with continued service funding, make it a key combatant in the new war on AIDS,” she says.

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

—  John Wright

A lot of balls in the air

ATTENTION, SPORTS FANS | Despite his reputation for flamboyance, Steve Kemble is a huge sports fan and expects a lot of other gay people are, too.

How a straight guy decided the gay community deserves a Super Bowl party to rival the biggest mainstream events

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

Jason Hutchins has attended the last eight Super Bowls with his limo business, so he’s had the opportunity to see a lot of successes — and failures — in how events centered around the big game are staged. So when he decided to put on a weekend of parties, he had some very specific ideas about how to do it right.

But one thing he hadn’t seen enough of was huge parties targeting the gay community.

“There wasn’t one, and I thought there needed to be,” he says. “I felt it would be a good way to get the [gay] community involved in the Super Bowl without it being centered on the clubs. Or all about sports.”

Maybe most straight guys wouldn’t expect to see a gay sports-centered event, but Hutchins isn’t most straight guys. He was sure that there are plenty of gay sports fans … and plenty more who would simply get caught up in the excitement of having the Super Bowl in their hometown and wanna party during Super Week.

Certainly Steve Kemble numbers himself among them. You might not expect Dallas’ most flamboyant style maven to be a beer guzzling gridiron junkie. But you’d be wrong (well, OK, he probably sips more cosmotinis, but you get the idea).

“I come from a family of seven football coaches … then me!” he says with characteristic enthusiasm. “I told my dad, ‘OK, I’m older now, you can tell me the truth: I’m adopted.’ He said, ‘No, you’re one of us.’ But I do love sports, so I guess that proves it.”

It’s also what made Kemble, the self-described “Hostess with the Mostest,” a natural choice to emcee the event, manning the red carpet and introducing all the acts. And Kemble agrees that gay sports fans are an underserved market. After all, you can love touchdowns and upswept hair in equal parts.

“There are a lot of gay people who love sports, don’t you think?” Kemble asks. “I probably go on ESPN once or twice a month now, and after the first time, this producer came up to me and said, ‘That was a fabulous segment, but quit trying to butch it up. We want you gay — you play to that demographic. We have a lot of gay men and women who watch.”

(Try to get the image of Kemble “butching it up” out of your head.)

Coordinating the concerts has been a staggering undertaking — one Hutchins has built up to over his years in the entertainment field.

“I started with small parties — 75 to 200 people, growing to 500 to 1,000,” he says. But the weekend of the Super Bowl, he’s throwing three parties, all on the field of the Cotton Bowl, and he expects 5,000 to 7,000 attendees for each of them. And only one is targeted to a niche community (which probably has the best line-up of any of the parties).

Jason Hutchins

Hutchins has been thinking of the event ever since the Metroplex was announced as home of Super Bowl XLV, and has been devoted to it 24/7 since last March. He mirrored the event after the after-party at the Phoenix Super Bowl, which he deemed to best he’d attended. The field of the Cotton Bowl is being covered by a floor and covered in a climate controlled tent.

“The best parties are all tent parties,” he says. And while he always wants live music, he says DJs are essential to keeping the attendees dancing.

Hutchins researched a lineup that would appeal to a wide spectrum of gay fans, as well as straight people who like to party with us. That necessarily included Hector Fonseca, the No. 1 gay DJ internationally last year, and Cazwell, whose infectious “Ice Cream” song became a sensation last summer. T.a.T.u. singer Lena Katina has also proven to be a popular choice. Then there are the more established groups.

“I’m so excited about seeing the Village People!” exclaims Kemble. “Didn’t you have a fantasy about one of them? I love them all. And I love love love Lady Bunny! She is just amazing. I use her for parties all over the country.”

You can even vote to put Kemble in a Village People costume.

Hutchins and Kemble both think, though, that the Thursday concert will attract people outside the gay community.

“I think we’re gonna attract a huge demographic that draws everyone together,” says Kemble. “That’s one of the things that’s so cool about Dallas — I think this event is gonna be great. Fair Park is gonna be abuzz — P. Diddy is having his party there, too, which makes it a hotbed of activity.”

The all-inclusive Feb. 3 party runs from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.; a portion of ticket sales and proceeds from the silent auction above the minimum bid benefit DIFFA. For tickets, visit XLVParty.com.

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

—  John Wright