Local rapper DPhil Spanglishman in touch with his femme side

Hip-Hop Wired pointed us to this CW33 tidbit from last week about one local rapper who’s pushing, what he calls, the XY Movement in which straight guys can wear clothes made for women. Daryll Duane Philips II, or DPhil Spanglishman, is opting for lipstick as part of his daily image and says it’s all about expression. Giselle Phelps reported the story.

In the piece, he said, “A lot of people feel like a lot of colors or tight clothes is homosexual. I feel like it’s more of an expression of me.”

For his girlfriend, it’s kind of a win-win. She comments on the benefit of sharing lipstick as well as enduring gay comments from friends and family.

This isn’t all that new. And actually, Phelps has done a piece on this before back in September which also pointed to another local rapper feeling his femme side.

Trend or not, I have to say “bravo” to the guys for taking a risk within their music, which is historically homophobic, and blurring the gender lines. If it’s nothing more than for grabbing attention, well, the 19-year-old has succeeded. He’s all over the interwebs just like a Kardashian.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Robyn last night at South Side Music Hall

Robyn escaped the machinations of other pop divas by giving all to her songs instead of distracting with over-abundant choreography and gimmicky tricks. Of course, South Side Music Hall is a smaller venue and likely no pop performer there will have that much trickery behind their show, but nonetheless. She thrusted her voice and body into every song turning her concert into a cardio workout and a ferociously unforgettable experience.

Tearing through hits like “Dancing on My Own” and “Fembot,” Robyn was spot on with attitude and moxie. Her voice at times was thin, but this audience didn’t care as the crowded house pumped their arms in the air and danced completely out of their personal spaces. Robyn commanded the way many veteran divas do. But don’t think Madonna, think Janis Joplin.

The gays were en masse and so were the gals while the straight guys tweeted about being the only ones in the audience. But with everyone dancing and grooving as one cohesive unit, none of that mattered. She finished her just-shy-of-two-hour set with a couple of encores including “Hang with Me” and ultimately. a sort of deconstructed “Show Me Love.” With her hands in the air forming a heart  and mouthing “I love you,” clearly she felt the love this audience gave her all night. She earned it.

Diamond Rings performed a solid set despite a shaky start. Sound issues kept popping his mike but he pretty much shrugged it off and continued his almost hourlong set. Finally catching his groove, he rocked the guitar, keyboards and strange dance performance art schtick. The tall, lanky Canadian won big time with the crowd giving a show with the panache of a veteran. Plus, as small of an act as he is, it was nice to see many in the audience singing along to his pop-rock sound.

We walked into Natalia Kills performing her dance pop which filled the South Side Music Hall with pounding bass any dance club should be jealous of. With some staged choreography and drive to be a bigger star, Natalia Kills worked the stage and growing crowd like a headlining drag queen.

Video shot by Greg Hoover.

—  Rich Lopez

A perfect ten(or)

SING OUT, LOUISE! | Keane Fletcher, front, is one of the openly gay members of the popera dectet The Ten Tenors.

Getting down with Down Under’s Keane Fletcher, one of the gay singers in the Ten Tenors

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer
stevencraiglindsey@me.com

There are Ten Tenors, but one who we find totally swoon-worthy: Keane Fletcher, a gay 25-year-old Aussie who sings like an angel. And the Ten Tenors is a great place to be a gay man.

“I read an article where it said that 30 percent of the group is gay. Does that mean three out of the 10 tenors are gay, or just bits and pieces of us all — like my toes, someone else’s neck, an armpit or two? That would make sense. Some of the straight guys in the group are the campiest ones of the lot,” Fletcher jokes.

For as long as Fletcher can remember, being in front of an audience was all he wanted to do, even though singing itself came much later.

“I was always into performing. I did all the school plays, I was on the debating team — very Glee,” he says. ”Anything I could do to get some stage time. I didn’t start singing, though, until my drama teacher at high school made me audition for The King & I. I got the part and haven’t stopped singing since.”

Before joining the Ten Tenors in early 2010, Fletcher had a starring role in Altar Boyz and the musical Buddy, about Buddy Holly, back in Australia. That’s as close as he’s ever been to Texas — and, he admits, about all he knows about the Lone Star State. But after a year on the road with his nine brethren, he’s looking forward to his Texas debut — and sharing what the group has been famous for since forming Down Under in the mid ‘90s.

“It’s been a very challenging experience. The Tenors have really allowed me to go further with my vocals and have opened me up to different styles of singing that I wouldn’t normally have pursued. That, and touring the world. I’ve visited nearly every continent in the last year. We’ve yet to book a show in Antarctica, but I’ve got my fingers crossed!”

Perhaps even bigger than Antarctica is Oprah — metaphorically speaking. Fletcher says appearing on her show was surreal — the media queen is just as popular Down Under as she is in the states.

“She’s definitely a big deal in Australia!” he exclaims. “She almost seems mythological to some of my friends back home. I’m sure there’s an Oprah religion forming as we speak.”

But what can really be surreal is life on the road.

“The first year with the group I tried to explore every town we visited. Now that I’m older and wiser I’ve learned to pick and choose what I want to see. We got to visit the Teotihuacan pyramids in Mexico City a week ago; that was incredible,” he says. “I’ve had a couple of good nights out on the road, too. In Toronto last December, we ran into some of the cast of Priscilla the Musical and they kept getting us to talk so they could study our accents. Apparently we say ‘no’ really strangely, so it sounds more like ‘noi.’ Who knew?”

The Tenors’ accents may not come through when they sing, but that’s just fine by their legions of fans.

“People can expect to see 10 guys belting their guts out. The biggest misconception is that all we sing is classical repertoire. I would say our show is more like a rock concert with suits. Or a classical concert with electric guitars. It’s classo-rock. Or maybe just cl’ock,” Fletcher says.

Perhaps most of all, he wants the LGBT community to come makes some noise.

“We love our gay fans, except they tend to be a little quiet,” he says. “It’s not until they get to the [autograph] signing line that they go berserk. I want to see people dancing in the aisles. And screaming, there is definitely not enough screaming.”

Consider the challenge accepted.

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

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: GLAAD slams SNL commercial; UT study on gay cheating; civil unions in Illinois

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. GLAAD is outraged over a Saturday Night Live spoof commercial for “Estro-Maxxx,” which the organization says mocked the lives of transgender people. If the commercial were the least bit funny, we’d accuse GLAAD of not having a sense of humor. GLAAD is demanding that the commercial be pulled from Hulu and all future airings of the show. At the same time, the controversy ensures that thousands of smart people who don’t watch SNL because it’s not funny will see the commercial, which is above.

2. Half of men would forgive their female partner for cheating with another woman, while only 21 percent of women would forgive their male partner for cheating with another man, according to a study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. This could mean  straight guys are more forgiving and tolerant of homosexuality than straight women, or it could mean they’re just pigs who see a lesbian affair as an opportunity for a three-way.

3. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a civil unions bill today, in a ceremony that’s expected to draw a capacity crowd of about 900 gays. Meanwhile, a Wyoming House committee voted down a civil unions bill on Friday.

—  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

A chance to welcome back 2 straight guys who just pedaled to Austin and back for your rights

Justin Snider, left, and Chris Linville, during their first training ride to Austin.

The other day we told you about two straight allies from Dallas, Chris Linville and Justin Snider, who are training for a cross-country bicycle ride next year to raise money for the Human Rights Campaign.

Linville and Snider are currently wrapping up their first training ride, a four-day, 400-mile trek from Dallas to Austin and back.

Carl Andrews, of HRC’s DFW Federal Club, informs us that there will be a brief ceremony to welcome the pair back at 7:45 p.m. today at the Vendome, at Lemmon Avenue and Turtle Creek Boulevard. But if you can’t make it, you can at least send them an e-mail thanking them. For more info, go here.

—  John Wright

Anti-gay TX GOP platform inspires 2 straight guys from Dallas to bike across the country for HRC

Chris Linville, left, and Justin Snider

Chris Linville and Justin Snider set out Friday morning on a training ride that will take them to Austin and back by Monday night, according to an e-mail we received from Carl L. Andrews of HRC’s DFW Federal Club this morning.

Linville and Snider, both straight Dallas residents, are training for Bike For Equality 2011, a 5,000 mile cross-country tour beginning in March to promote awareness of the fight for LGBT equality. The tour, part of HRC’s “Athletes for Equality” Program, aims to raise $100,000 for the organization.

According to the video below, Chris was raised by lesbian parents and was inspired to do the ride in part by the anti-gay Texas GOP platform.

“I recently read the Texas GOP’s platform and in that I read a lot of things that set me off,” he says. “They want to make it illegal for gay and lesbian couples to have children and have custody of children. Obviously that would have had a huge effect on me personally growing up. If that were the case my parents couldn’t have had custody of me. … When I read the Texas GOP platform it set me into a place where I felt this was what I needed to do, and if I could bring my message or bring attention and awareness to as many people as possible, that’s what I needed to do. In order to bring attention to it, you’ve got to do something that’s a little over the top. You have to really step out there and show that you believe in it, and that’s what I think we’re trying to do.”

To donate to the ride, go here.

—  John Wright