RICH’S MIXTAPE: Valentine’s edition

Not a big Valentine’s person? Love got you down? Just broke up? Hey, no worries. Single people aren’t forgotten here on the Mixtape. Just turn it up and drink away.

“Skin” — Sade: The sultry singer pretty much drop-kicks that bastard right out of your life. And she does it in the sexiest way possible.

“Wish You’d Just Hate Me Like Everyone Else” — Patrick Boothe: Face it, sometimes you want people to leave you alone but they just don’t get it.

“Sex Robot” — Fritz Helder and the Phantoms, pictured: Perhaps it’s encouraging bad behavior, but yes, go out and have all kinds of sex. Hayyyyy!

“Goodbye Earl” — Dixie Chicks: OK, so you don’t wanna tuck that ex into the back of your trunk and dump the body, but you can pretend. Venting’s good.

“Sweet Tooth” — Otep. Heavy metal. Chocolate. Sure she sounds like Hades opened up and released a wrath, but sometimes that’s what you need.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright

SWEET TOOTH: Touring this time holds a lot less pressure for Sugar & Gold’s Philipp Minnig

SUGAR SHOCK | Minnig, left, and Dobbratz bring a different kind of sexy back to the men of Dallas.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

When Philipp Minnig finds downtime between shows on a tour, he mines YouTube. Sometimes the videos serve as a source of inspiration for his music, but mostly, he’s just enjoying his free time. His current obsession is in a video which title translates to “The Doctors.” This prepares him for the next day’s show.

“I’m taking a break today researching,” he laughs. “I do have a hard job: Watching videos. But yeah, when we have any kind of downtime, that’s pretty much it for me. “

The frontman for the duo Sugar and Gold has had a hectic 2011, coming off an already busy 2010. The band toured last year for the disc Get Wet, which garnered the dance-rockers some nice acclaim. They turned around to release the EP Bodyaches and are back on the road stopping at the Jack Daniel’s Saloon this Saturday. Only this time, the two-month tour is less of a job and more of a party.

“When we toured the record we had to do that whole promo push,” he says. “After you just finish a record, there is a lot to deal with. Personally I get sick of my face and the record that goes along with it. But this time, we’ve been having a ball so far.”

While Minnig and bandmate Nicolas Dobbratz emphasize fun in their music, there is work to be done. But with an EP that contains two new songs and remixes from Wet, S&G didn’t have that much pressure with promoting the disc. The tour schedule is short and they planned for the show to be free-flowing.

“This just hasn’t been as daunting,” Minnig says. “We’re having fun with the wardrobe and we’re just loose onstage. The music is still tight but the relaxed feeling allows giving better shows with lots of spontaneous energy. And we’re having more fun with the crowds.”

A lot of those crowds are primarily gay. S&G has come to be closely identified with LGBT audiences due to their electronic dance grooves and a nebulous masculine tone. S&G are in that some dance rock vein as other gay faves Scissor Sisters and Of Montreal. In fact, the band is closely associated with OM in that musically incestuous way. If members of S&G aren’t touring with OM, then members from both are working on their side project Yip Deceiver, which is incidentally the opener for this show.

Minnig, who is straight, can see why LGBT audiences have embraced his band — especially the boys.

“Oh it’s wonderful. We’re big on male sensuality,” he says.

“Our music is about softening the male image and reintroducing sexiness to males. Male doesn’t have to be tough and uptight. It feels freeing when males in the audience are responsive to what your doing.”

Musically, Minnig comes from that indie queer background. He calls that scene his own and he found his music very active in underground gay communities. And that affects how he writes his tunes.

“To some degree, I toy with side projects and play with other musicians, but S&G is its own beast,” he says. “The way we write our music puts an individual spin on things.”

Even though he’s been feeling good about the chill approach to this mini-tour, Minnig is surprisingly anxious to be done with it.

Despite being non-stop the past couple of years, it’s like a drug for him to keep going.

“These shows have affected us positively,” he says. “Just on this leg, it’s such a pleasure hanging out with like-minded, electronically geeky, socially open people and that opens up inspiration. I’m psyched to get to the end of the tour because I wanna write already.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright

LSR Journal: Because they still need us

ROBERT MOORE  Team Dallas Voice

Robert Moore Team Dallas Voice
ROBERT MOORE Team Dallas Voice

I left the office and went out for lunch today.  Not an uncommon occurrence. I go out almost every day. The biggest challenge I have before I leave the building is deciding where to eat. Dallas is a restaurant town, you know.

Where to eat? How much to spend? How far to travel? How much time do I have in my schedule today? So many decisions to be made just for a simple lunch.

Not today.

Today I had lunch with Jennifer Hurn, the client services manager for Resource Center Dallas, one of the beneficiaries of Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, along with AIDS Services of Dallas and AIDS Outreach Center of Tarrant County.

I had called Jennifer and told her I was riding Lone Star Ride this weekend and I wanted to meet some of the clients at the Hot Meals Program, which she oversees. Ultimately, when you are holding out your hand and asking people for money to support a cause, your cause, you want to know and see that the money they hand over to you is doing some good.

The RCD’s Hot Meals Program serves between 100 to 150 clients every weekday. Today’s menu was barbeque chicken, green beans with potatoes, garlic toast, a salad, plus cake for those, like me, that have a sweet tooth.

To be eligible for the meal, a client must be HIV-positive, have an income at or below 300 percent of the poverty level and fall under Ryan White funding.

“We see some people once a week and some every day,” Hurn explains. “The numbers always go up at the end of the month when the social security money starts to run out. Always. We have a total of over 900 clients who are eligible for the meal.

If they all showed up on a single day, I don’t know what we would do.”

Jennifer doesn’t want to face that prospect and I understand her fears. Most of the chairs are taken.

After going down the serving line, we sit down with Edward, a longtime client. Edward lives in Oak Cliff and takes the bus on his daily trip to RCD. The journey takes him an hour-and-a-half to two hours each way.

“I have been coming here for years. I’m an old-timer at this place. Plus I’m 60 years old,” he says, shaking his head with a grin, something of an acknowledgment he didn’t expect to be around this long. He notes that while the trip is onerous because he walks with a back brace and the help of a cane, he looks forward to it.

“If I don’t come here I may not see many people. I try to get to know people, especially the new folks who may not be comfortable at first.” Edward is the welcoming voice closest to the serving line.

While Edward holds court, Jennifer and I change tables to meet some of the other diners. Rick and Mike are longterm AIDS survivors.  Rick became positive in 1997, Mike in 1987.

They both were successful businessmen who held professional jobs and never expected to be clients of a non-profit like Resource Center, but HIV has taken its toll and neither are able to work. Now, they live together to look after each other, have some company and help with living expenses.

“This place is important to me,” Rick states firmly. “I take a lot of medication and, well, it can make me confused,” he confides. “I really like to cook. I used to cook all the time, but now, well, many times I start cooking but I can’t finish what

I’m cooking. I don’t remember what to do next so I just give up. But then the medicine makes you sick if you are not eating.

This lunch solves a lot of problems for me.”

Rick looks straight at me, and I realize that he is about to say something he hates to admit: “Plus this place gives me a reason to get up and get dressed and gets me out. If I didn’t come here I might never go outside.”

Mike nods his head in agreement. “The interaction at the table is very important. There are people going through what you are going through, or maybe you can help somebody with a problem that you had once. Maybe you can teach them about Social Security or how to make it through a day at Parkland. Living on charity is not an easy way to live.

“There are homeless people here. They can get groceries from the Food Pantry but if you have no place to cook, how are you going to eat a hot meal? At least the kids on the street can get one hot meal a day.”

Mike knows a few of the homeless kids who got sick and went back home to stay. Their parents thought they just had a sick kid, then they found out they had a gay kid too, so they just turned them out on the street. “Isn’t that wrong?” he asks in disgust.  “Is to me.”

Edward and Mike and Rick turn a few questions to me. Why are you here? Why are you taking notes? I explain that I am doing Lone Star Ride, writing this installment of LSR Journal and, most importantly, asking people for money to keep programs like Hot Meals going.

“The great thing about the ride is that it a very public statement,” Mike says. “You let people know that AIDS is still here. It’s still with me, that’s for sure.”

Jennifer asks how Lone Star Ride fundraising is going. She knows it is tough out there raising money. “Whatever you raise, we will make it go as far as possible,” she promises.

Indeed she does. For that thirty bucks I spend on a typical business lunch, Jennifer can feed an RCD client a hot lunch every weekday for a month. On thirty bucks. Amazing.

The crew and the riders who come together to make events like Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS work ultimately are there because they want to help people like Edward and Mike and Rick, and all the clients and the programs of the three beneficiaries.

We ride for those who cannot.  I am determined to ride every mile.

As I get up to leave, Rick stands up and shakes my hand, and invites me back. I accept. I tell him we’ll share a table again. Because like Rick says, “I like going out for lunch.”

Robert Moore is captain of Team Dallas Voice. Donate to him online at LoneStarRide.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas