“Martini the Movie” celebrates DVD release with party at Tapelenders tonight

It’s been a three years since filmmaker Robert L. Camina took comedian Steven Jay Crabtree’s hilarious drag character Martini Glass and starred her in a short comedy, Martini The Movie. Well, the film — along with three other shorts by Camina — is now available on DVD.

Martini The Movie and Other Laughter Libations gets its formal release at a party tonight at Tapelenders on Cedar Springs. The event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with members of the cast and the director in attendance to sign any copies.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Glen Maxey to sign copies of Rick Perry book, appear on radio show in Dallas on Wednesday

If you haven’t read gay former Texas Rep. Glen Maxey’s memoir about his investigation of Gov. Rick Perry’s alleged homosexual escapades, you can hear the dirt on the Lambda Weekly Radio Show Wednesday morning, Dec. 28.

The radio show, which airs Wednesdays at 7 a.m. on 89.3 KNON-FM, will feature Maxey telling all about his tell-all, Head Figure Head: The Search for the Hidden Life of Rick Perry. Maxey plans to stay over in Dallas for a few hours after the radio show for an afternoon book signing that will be announced during the show. He will be signing copies of the book at TapeLenders, 3926 Cedar Springs Road in Dallas, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The book, which got its title from an offhand remark allegedly made by a hustler who claimed he serviced the governor, became available for reading about two weeks ago online through Amazon.com. Since then the paperback has become available, and interest seems to be running high in the LGBT community, which has long buzzed with rumors about Perry’s alleged sexual trysts with other men.

Maxey said a book signing he attended in Austin Dec. 23 at Progress Coffee on San Marcos Street grossed him about $1,600 in sales for the $19.99 book. That computes to the sale of about 80 books.

Since the publication of the book, Maxey said he has received several phone and e-mail messages from others who claim they have more information to share about Perry’s alleged secret life. About a couple of dozen people now claim to have the goods on Perry, the author said.

Maxey said that while his book has attracted a lot of interest from bloggers nationwide and the LGBT community, it has also attracted the ire of conservatives who support Perry. The author said he moved from his Austin apartment to a temporary “safe house” as a result of threatening messages he received.

Maxey, who is the only openly gay politician to ever have served in the Texas Legislature, wrote his book after assisting a reporter for The Huffington Post in researching the story. Huffington Post publisher Arianna Huffington reportedly killed the story after the reporter finished writing it and his editors approved it, according to the author.

Maxey said he believes the story was killed to avoid a lawsuit by Perry. The governor’s campaign for president reportedly hired a prominent libel lawyer to send a letter to Huffington threatening to sue if the story ran, according to Politico.

Huffington said she thought the story failed to rise to the standard for publication, an assertion Maxey called a “double standard.” The former legislator, who is now a gay activist, said he believes the story would have been published if it involved heterosexual trysts.

Maxey said his frustration about the book not being published after all his work and his desire to expose Perry’s alleged hypocrisy prompted him to write the book.

Perry is the most virulently outspoken anti-gay governor Texas has ever seen. Rumors about his alleged homosexuality activity led him and his wife to take the unusual step of sitting down with an Austin American Statesman reporter six years ago to refute the allegations.

—  admin

Slick move

Sex god Michael Brandon extends his porn empire


NAUGHTY SANTA | Michael Brandon returns to Dallas for the third time this year to launch his new lube line at Tapelenders.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Michael Brandon has been a big name in sex for decades. One of gay porn’s iconic stars, his DVDs, website and live performances have kept him in the public eye since the early 1990s — and his legendary prowess (and size) have kept young hearts fluttering for this now-46-year-old performer.

But lately, Brandon jokes, he’s feeling more like a vacuum cleaner salesman than a sex object. That’s because wherever he goes, Brandon always has his sample bag handy. It’s not Willie Loman, but big man’s Willie.

Michael Brandon has gone from porn star to lube seller.

Don’t feel too bad for him. It’s actually a good gig.

The gay-owned company Product 54 produces a wide variety of silicone-based consumer products, from a cuticle treatment to one that helps divers put on and take off their SCUBA suits. The latter is also popular in the fetish community, “helping men and women put on their rubber gear,” Brandon says. “But my expertise is lube.”

Of course it is. And the signature product of the company is its 9×6 Lube — a name that, while it sounds like it might have been named after Brandon specifically, was actually already in place before he became associated with it.

After 9×6 came into being, Brandon was approached about an endorsement deal for the start-up company. He rejected the idea.

“I was with ID Millennium and told them, I’m really not looking for anything new [to endorse]. But someone slipped a bottle in my pocket. I tried it and I liked it. And I loved the stain-free aspect — very few silicone based lubes that offer that.”

That’s when he agreed to help market the lube — mentioning it in his tweets, giving away the product at his shows, etc. But Brandon saw great potential in the product and took a bold move.

“I saw some opportunities there, so I came home from a trip and told the president I wanted to invest and benefit from what I saw as a company about to explode,” he says.

“That means I am both a vested partner and the face of the brand.”

That has its downsides, as he knows from years as a celebrity spokesperson.

“When you become the brand, any and all questions start coming to you — whether it be a shipping problem or uses or whatever,” he says. “Of course, when they have any positive feedback, I receive that, too. Usually you have to say [to fans], ‘I’m just endorsing it — you need to direct your questions to the inner office of the company.’ I can’t do that anymore. I’m the vice president… I have everything to do with the inner office!”

This isn’t the first time Brandon has made a foray into the business world. In addition to running his own career — including the brand that is his reputation and his marketable appeal — Brandon was a partner in the Raging Stallion adult video company, which produced his Monster Bang line of DVDs (named for his sizeable member).

“It’s a very similar situation: Everywhere Michael Brandon goes, so does my product. It’s a win-win,” he says.

Of course, it helps that Brandon makes for a great salesman in the gay market.

“When I walk into a store, there’s a 50-50 chance they’ll recognize me — that’s my foot in the door. Then I tell them, ‘I want to offer them a sample of my 9×6 — that’s my second foot in the door.” He laughs. “Then I come do launch parties in sexy get-ups. In West Hollywood, I dressed down in a construction belt.”

Brandon will host his launch party Saturday at Tapelenders, the first retail outlet in the Dallas market to carry 9×6, with a holiday themed costume: Naughty Santa, a sexified bit of fur and red that Brandon tried out last week at an event and turned out the be a huge hit.

He’s happy to be back in Dallas for the third time since the summer. Before this year, Brandon admits, he had written off Texas as a forum for his talents; he could never get a club to book his live show and thought he had priced himself out of the market. But he’s already thinking of Big D as a second home — he loves visiting.

So what accounts for his sudden popularity here?

“Dallas needs love!” he exclaims.

And love usually comes with a little lube.

Michael Brandon will be signing autographs and running a stocking-stuffer special (buy an 8 oz. bottle, received six 1 oz. bottles as gifts), but a “naughty and nice” gift bag with $75 purchase.   

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

BUSINESS: Skivvies goes wholesale

GENTLEMEN PREFER SKIVVIES | Dave Richardson shows off one of his new Skivvies designs that will soon be available in stores across the country. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Owner David Richardson has designed a line of men’s underwear that is now selling around the country

DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer

Dave Richardson not only sells underwear at his store Skivvies on Cedar Springs Road but now wholesales a line under the store’s name.

“I’ve always wanted to create some underwear styles of my own,” said Richardson.

This week he and his partner Todd Seaton are in Las Vegas at MAGIC, the largest men’s apparel wholesale market, looking for new lines for their store and selling the new Skivvies line to other stores.

When it opened, Skivvies was the first men’s fashion underwear store in the country, Richardson said. With its 5,000-square-foot space, it has remained the largest.

Richardson said that others have copied his idea and some individual brands have opened retail outlets. But his concept of selling underwear as fashion was new when he created the store.

About 30 years ago, Richardson began his retail career at TapeLenders with his partner, Steve Freeman. After Freeman’s death, Richardson took over the rental outlet and expanded with a store in Austin.

In 1994, he and Seaton, his new partner, opened OutLines and about five years later Skivvies. They have since sold the other stores while expanding Skivvies.

“I’ve learned what design aspects sell the best,” Richardson said. “So in my new line I’ve combined the colors, fabrications, fit, pouch design and waistband materials that our customers like best.”

Through a contact in the garment industry, he found a factory in Medellin, Columbia that is manufacturing the product in relatively small runs of 10,000 pieces at prices he can wholesale competitively.

After the first manufacturing run, Richardson and Seaton tested the brand in their own store.

“To my great surprise and pleasure, it’s been selling very well,” Richardson said.

Then they held their product launch party on the last Atlantis cruise and picked up a few retail accounts. Skivvies is now selling in stores such as LA Sporting Club in Los Angeles and Underwear Station in Miami.

For the Las Vegas market, they chose the top five models, counting on those models to catch on across the country.

Since “skivvies” is a military term, Richardson decided to use military terms for each of the designs in the line. “Rear admiral,” he said, has the butt cut out.

Richardson said that when he got into the business, most underwear lines had two or three styles and colors.

“Now we get new styles in constantly,” Todd said.

As for the wholesale line, Richardson said he’s hoping to grow slowly and steadily.

“We don’t want to be a flash in the pan,” he said.

He said he doesn’t want to overextend his company and would be delighted with about.

A slide show of men modeling the new Skivvies line is available on line.

—  John Wright

Razzle Dazzle Dallas gets off to a busy start

Razzle Dazzle Dallas kicked off with a Wine Walk on Wednesday and continues through the weekend.

A 25-year tradition returns to Cedar Springs with the Main Event on Saturday

DAVID TAFFET | StaffWriter

The five-day Razzle Dazzle Dallas revival began Wednesday, June 1, with a wine walk on Cedar Springs Road.

“I think last night went really well,” Chet Whisenant, owner of Subway at the Crossroads, said Thursday. “Foot traffic was way up. It was a great kickoff for Razzle Dazzle Dallas.”

Thom Dance, owner of the UPS Store on the other end of the strip said: “We had more people in our store than on any similar event. The street was alive.”

Skivvies owner David Richardson said: “Last night was great. For us, I haven’t seen that large a crowd for a wine walk event.”

Richardson, the former owner of TapeLenders and OutLines, has been a Cedar Springs merchant since the early 1980s. Several retailers said that although they stocked double the amount of wine they pour for other wine walks, they still ran out early.

Many people brought their dogs, and most retailers were allowing dogs into their stores throughout the evening.

Party express buses were scheduled to run Thursday night until 1 a.m. Friday, shuttling patrons to four clubs located off the main strip.

Metroball begins at 7 p.m. at Station 4 on Friday, June 3. Raffles and a silent auction as well as admission tickets benefit the Greg Dollinger Memorial AIDS Fund. Deborah Cox performs. VIP ticket holders are invited to a catered reception after the show to meet Cox.

On Saturday, the Cedar Springs Merchants Association will stage a sidewalk sale and classic car show during the day. More than 50 members of Classic Chassis Car Club plan to display their antique and classic cars along Cedar Springs Road.

Sale tents, food booths, an artist pavilion and activities will be set up along the sidewalk. The street will remain open to car traffic during the day.

The Main Event begins Saturday at 7 p.m. Cedar Springs Road will close to traffic at 4 p.m. to set up the stages and booths.

Sales from The Midway, community booths, art vendors and food and beer vendors all benefit Razzle Dazzle’s eight beneficiaries.

Jenna Skyy and Michael Doughman will host the live entertainment stage. Performers include Cazwell, Chaz Marie, Dallas Pride Cheer, Billy Halliday, The Bright, Uptown Players, the Gary Floyd Trio, Anton Shaw and Something Fabulous!!! On the dance stage near Cedar Springs Road and Knight Street, Dallas DJ Mickey Briggs will trade off with DJ Tim Pfleuger from Oz in New Orleans. BJ’s NXS will provide the go-go boys and girls.

For VIP ticket holders there will be two VIP-only areas. At the north area, Axiom and Dish will serve samplings. At the south area, Al Biernat and Doug Boster Catering will host a food tasting.

Free valet parking at ilume will be provided to VIP ticket holders on Saturday night.

Admission to the street party is free.

On Sunday, closing parties begin at TMC: The Mining Company with an afternoon tea dance.

The Mr. and Miss Razzle Dazzle Dallas contest takes pace at the Brick at 10 p.m.

Richardson said he was looking forward to the rest of the Razzle Dazzle weekend.

“It looks like we’re going to see a lot of new faces,” he said, “and a lot of people we haven’t seen around for awhile.”

He offered special recognition to Jimmy Bartlett, the Razzle Dazzle board member who first pulled the idea to revive the event together.

“I greatly appreciate Jimmy and all of his efforts to bring Razzle back,” Richardson said. “I think this is going to be a bigger and more exciting Razzle than any I remember.”

—  John Wright