Best Bets • 08.12.16

Tuesday 08.16 — Sunday 08.28

GGLAM-Tour-7

Tony musical favorite ‘Gentleman’s Guide’ opens at Winspear

In 2014, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder beat the odds, winning the Tony for best musical against heavy-hitters like Aladdin and Beautiful. Certainly it won over voters with its plot, taken from the old Ealing Studios comedy Kind Hearts & Coronets, but also a jaunty score, lush sets and a showcase for versatile actors, including one who plays eight characters — all the intended victims of a social-climbing killer. But it’s all in good fun. The national tour debuts in Dallas this week, kicking off ATTPAC’s Broadway Series season.

DEETS:
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
ATTPAC.org

Friday 08.19

MultipleManiacs

Texas Theatre screens restoration of John Waters’ classic ‘Multiple Maniacs’

Many people know John Waters from his popular successes like Hairspray and Cry-Baby (and their musical adaptations), but he really put cult camp filmmaking on the map with micro-budget counterculture films including the rarely-seen Multiple Maniacs. Now, a restored version of this gloriously grotesque 1972 vehicle for Divine gets a proper theatrical showing. Prepare to be hilariously appalled.

DEETS:
The Texas Theatre
231 W. Jefferson Blvd.
10 p.m. $10.
TheTexasTheatre.com

Sunday 08.14

Lee-headshot
AIN marks 30 years of service with music and cupcakes

The AIDS Interfaith Network has been serving the HIV community for decades — 30 years to be exact. And this weekend, they will mark that anniversary with a little party, featuring snacks from the Original Cupcakery, champagne and live music courtesy of Denise Lee, above. Stop in and say “congrats!” … and also “thank you.”

DEETS:
Interfaith Peace Chapel
5910 Cedar Springs Road
4–7 p.m.
AINDallas.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Anthem for toilets

Former ‘Letterman’ writer Steve Young celebrates the weird, campy underground art of industrial musicals

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Humorist Steve Young explores the crazy world of forgotten musicals, written for trade shows and other avenues of corporate America, in his touring comedy show.

Lavish, costly, performed only once, industrial musicals were like Broadway shows written for boardrooms. Often starring top talent and written by folks (like the gay composing team Kander and Ebb) who’d later have Broadway hits, they sang of toilets and tractors, dog food and Dodge trucks.

Longtime Late Show with David Letterman and Maya & Marty comedy writer Steve Young has become an expert on and champion of vintage “industrials.” He’s collected more than 200 shows on LP, co-written a book (Everything’s Coming Up Profits, with fellow enthusiast Sport Murphy) and now is on a cross-country show-and-tell tour of stories, plus film and audio clips, titled The Lost World of Industrial Musicals, coming to the Texas Theatre Thursday.

It was in dusty bins of LPs at used record stores and then in listings on eBay that Young came across discarded gems issued as souvenir albums for sales meetings and trade shows. Ford-i-fy Your Future was a 1959 Ford tractor musical written by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, years before they hit big with Fiddler on the Roof. Go Fly a Kite, a recording of a 1966 GE employee extravaganza, was by John Kander and Fred Ebb, later famous for Cabaret and Chicago. (You can hear some of the tunes online at IndustrialMusicals.com.)

Broadway performers loved doing industrials, says Young, because they paid better than union minimum. Bob Fosse, Chita Rivera, Florence Henderson, Hal Linden, Sarah Jessica Parker and queer Texas legend Tommy Tune all did them, as did Adam Lambert in his pre-American Idol days. Linden has said income from gigs like Diesel Dazzle, done by GM in 1966, kept him from having to drive a cab or wait tables.

Before arriving in Dallas, Young took a break to preview what to expect in his appearance here and just how gay those old industrials were allowed to be.

— Elaine Liner

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Dallas Voice: Many of the performers in them were gay, but how campy could these industrial musicals be in the gray flannel Mad Men era?  Steve Young: The corporations were generally very conservative socially, though occasionally you see them being a bit progressive in casting people of color in the mid ’60s, or trying to portray women as more than wives or scantily-clad dancers. I don’t recall any gay overtones in any show… however, a performer once told me about a car company dress rehearsal in the ’60s attended by all the top company brass. During a demonstration of a truck’s lift gate, one cast member accidentally pinched another’s finger. The man was obviously in great pain, and the other guy, not knowing what else to do, kissed him. There was a sudden silence. Everyone thought, oh, now there’s going to be trouble with the executives. But it was never mentioned. I guess “show people” got a certain amount of leeway.

Mary Kay’s annual convention in Dallas still employs scads of performers for entertaining its sales force. Are any of those shows in your collection? I have a record album that was part of a 1972 Mary Kay training kit, which has a batch of popular songs rewritten to be about selling Mary Kay. “Gentle On My Mind,” “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” “When the Saints Go Marching In”… apparently Mary Kay folks were encouraged to sing along. There’s definitely a proud history of the direct sales companies like Mary Kay and Tupperware having fun conventions.

Steve-Young

Steve Young

Do you have a favorite industrial show? It’s a tie between Diesel Dazzle, the Detroit Diesel Engine show from 1966, and The Bathrooms Are Coming!, the American-Standard 1969 show about plumbing fixtures. Both have truly impressive, catchy music that juxtaposes wonderfully with the wildly improbable subject matter. The Bathrooms Are Coming!, or TBAC as insiders call it, had songs by the late Sid Siegel, who I got to meet and interview before he passed away last year at 88. Diesel Dazzle was by the great team of Hank Beebe and Bill Heyer. Beebe is 90 and I’ve gotten to know him quite well. There’s no film of Diesel Dazzle that I know of, but I will screen a film of another Beebe/Heyer project, the extremely entertaining 1973 General Electric silicones film. And I am thrilled to say that I will be screening The Bathrooms Are Coming! Quite often the material was very creative, even surreal. Many of the film clips I’ll be showing in Dallas are out-of-this-world strange, intentionally or not.

Your old boss, David Letterman, is executive producing a documentary based on your book. Was that your idea?
The film, which is in production, wasn’t my idea. Some talented filmmakers got interested after the book came out. In my show I’ll have a four-minute sample of the documentary. I’m delighted to mention it’s one of four documentaries selected by Sundance Producing Lab to mentor over the coming year.

Do you miss having a nightly show to write for with a target like Donald Trump to skewer? I have to admit, I was relieved that I didn’t need to think about Trump jokes during the past year. I don’t naturally gravitate toward political humor. I don’t know whether the best possible Trump jokes and bits from Dave would have made any difference in how things have played out. Almost all political humor seems to be preaching to the choir. I do miss being part of a nightly show, though, where a silly idea at 9 a.m. could be a fully-produced bit making an audience laugh later the same day

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 29, 2016.

—  Dallasvoice

Texas Theatre hosts month-long tribute to gay filmmaker

Fox-and-his-Friends-FassbinderRainer Werner Fassbinder was one of the most prolific filmmakers in history — he wrote and/or directed more than 20 features and documentaries, tons of TV movies and a mammoth miniseries, Berlin Alexanderplatz, and acted in a score of others. He was also openly gay — and very outre at that — in his life and films; at a time when gay cinema was consider underground, he was one of the most acclaimed international directors of his generation. He died, in 1982, of a drug overdose; he was only 37.

Oak Cliff’s Texas Theatre will spend the month of July looking back on Fassbender — first with a new documentary about his life, Fassbinder: To Love without Demands (showing July 7), followed by weekly screenings of three of his films: His uber-gay, full-frontal story of social climbing Fox and His Friends (1975); his most critically-lauded film, The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979), starring his muse, Hanna Schygulla; and a restored of Kamikaze ’89, in which he starred (his last film appearance) for director Wolf Gremm.

Each screening is on Wednesday and starts at 7 p.m.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Best Bets • 02.05.16

Friday 02.05

BowieHung2

Texas Theatre, Cine Wilde team for screening and party of ‘The Hunger,’ honoring David Bowie

The death of the pioneering artist David Bowie continues to resonate, and Cine Wilde — the monthly gay film fest — has paired up again with Texas Theatre to screen one of his most outrageous and stylish films, Tony Scott’s 1983 film The Hunger. Bowie and Catherine Deneuve play modern-day vampires in a cat-and-mouse pursuit of Susan Sarandon. The screening with be followed by a after-party featuring punkish DJ music. Come ready to dance.

DEETS:
The Texas Theatre
231 W. Jefferson Blvd.
9:20 p.m. screening;
11 p.m. after-party
thetexastheatre.com/movies-events/the-hunger

Friday 02.05 — Sunday 02.28

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Dallas Theater Center revisits the Bard with ‘Romeo & Juliet’

For the first four full seasons with Artistic Directed Kevin Moriarty, the Dallas Theater Center performed one of Shakespeare’s plays — a comedy, a history, a tragedy and a so-called romance — each season. The tradition dropped off, though, after King Lear. Well, it’s back, with another of the major tragedies, Romeo & Juliet. Unlike the last four, Moriarty isn’t directing this one (that role falls to the talented Joel Ferrell) and it moves from Downtown’s Wyly Theatre back to the DTC’s Uptown haunts at the Kalita Humphreys.

DEETS:
Kalita Humphreys Theater
3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
DallasTheaterCenter.org

Saturday 02.13

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BalletBoyz dance troupe makes its Dallas debut with graceful muscularity

With its innovative combination of weightless elegance and brute muscularity, the U.K.’s BalletBoyz is one of the most intensely exciting dance troupes in the world today. The company makes its Dallas debut on Feb. 13 with a sensual performance at the Winspear. This may be the most anticipated local premiere of TITAS’ all-dance season.

DEETS:
Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
8 p.m.
ATTPAC.org

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Meet Whit Stillman at 25th anniversary screening of ‘Metropolitan’ Wednesday

StillmanMy top film of 1990 was a quirky, intelligent romantic comedy about the idle rich called Metropolitan. It came out of nowhere to become an indie hit and win its first-time writer-director, Whit Stillman, an Oscar nomination for his screenplay. (He lost to the writing for Ghost; let that sink in for a second.) Stillman was initially heralded as the successor to Woody Allen, but with only four feature films to his credit (Barcelona, Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress), he’s been much more careful about his projects than the prolific Woodman. So getting a chance to parse his brain about the state of film is a rare opportunity. Which I will get on Wednesday night at the historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. That’s where, at 7:30 p.m., the USA Film Festival will be screening Metropolitan for its the 25th anniversary, with Stillman in attendance. And I will be conducting a post-screening Q&A with him. Hope to see you there (you can get advance tickets here)!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

John Waters: The gay interview

John Waters 2John Waters has taken many deviant turns during his influential career as a cult icon who’s constructed a legacy out of the poop-eating, mom-murdering outrageousness of his filmography. But he hasn’t stopped there.

Even in conversation one recent afternoon from his Baltimore home, Waters — who will appear live at the Texas Theatre on Sunday in his one-man show of hilariously inappropriate stories — is appropriately inappropriate as he considers a smorgasbord of provocative topics: his disdain for adult babies, the resurrection of Brad Renfro, how James Franco is too good looking to look at, and why, at 68, he may never make another film.

— Chris Azzopardi

Dallas Voice: I can’t imagine much shocks you, but these days, does anything?  John Waters: The things that I don’t like that I don’t wanna be shocked by — $40-million gross-out Hollywood movies. Really ugly porn — – like rape porn. Stuff I don’t wanna look at. I mean, we have to put up with that for the freedoms of free speech, but also, some romantic comedies I can’t take.

What’s the biggest limit you’ve overcome?  Maybe sploshers. You know, people who are sexually attracted to food. And I still have problems with feeders. I have real problems with adult babies. Lock those fuckers up.

How do you feel about the plushies movement?  I think it’s bullshit. I think Vanity Fair made that up [with a 2001 story called “Pleasures of the Fur”], and then once they did the article, people became them. I’m not sure I believe that’s true even.

And grown men obsessed with My Little Ponies — “bronies”?  They’re trying too hard to be kinky. Plushie sex holds no interest for me. If people are into it, I don’t wanna know more about their life, really. Do it in private or — as that expression that I hate goes — “get a room.” I think I feel that way about plushies and people that wanna fuck people in unicorn costumes.

Fans adore you — I adore you — because you’ve always been the voice of the voiceless. As a youngster coming into himself, I remember you introducing me to so much more than morning cartoons did.  [Laughs] Morning cartoons are a good start, though! There’s always insane puppeteers and fairy tales. You know, when I was young I loved Slovenly Peter. That was a great one. I loved him. I still have that up by my bed. And Chicken Little — liked that one, too!

Today we’re getting shock-value films like The Human Centipede and the 2013 German drama Wetlands, which features vegetable masturbation — did you see it?  I did see Wetlands. I enjoyed it! It was the only movie I’ve ever seen about hemorrhoids. It started its own genre.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Documentary short films

OUR_CURSE_stillIn the current issue of Dallas Voice, I preview the animated and live action short films, currently playing at Magnolia; the documentary shorts also screen this week, though for one-time-only showings at the Texas Theatre.

The shorts are divided into two programs — the first runs tonight at 7 p.m., and features two docs; the second on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and features the other three. That’s a shame, because the best of the lot are in separate programs. It’s a toss-up between Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (showing tonight) and Our Curse (showing Sunday) as to which is the best … and which will win the Oscar.

Crisis is a profile of the folks who work at the Veterans Administration’s call center for vets suffering from PTSD. With minimal explanation, we listen into the counselors’ sides of stressful calls from suicidal men and women suffering from depression and shock — sometimes from their war experiences, sometimes from adjustments as civilians afterward. These are serious, painful calls met with calm and care by ordinary folks who do their best to save lives.

It contrasts with Our Curse, a hand-held documentary from Poland made by a married couple whose young son suffers from a devastating and incurable disease where he cannot breathe a night without use a ventilator. The stress it puts on their marriage — and their even-still devotion to a child who will never get better — is chilling and hopeful, dark and tender in turn. Don’t mistake it for Joanna, another Polish doc about a woman dying and trying to make her life seem as normal as possible to her young son. It’s not nearly as good (and screens with Crisis anyway).

THE_REAPER_stillThe remaining two films — both about 20 minutes — deal with unusual jobs: In White Earth, folks in North Dakota talk about the stressful necessity of working in the oil fields; in The Reaper, a title person acts as the point man at an abattoir, having butchered 500 cattle a day for the last 25 years. Being surrounded by death has taken its toll.

Expect Crisis to nudge out Curse at the Oscars — unlike the divisive reaction to American Sniper, this shows the effect of war without any political controversy — with White Earth a possible spoiler. Or see them for yourself and decide.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Tennessee Queer’ holds Dallas premiere in Oak Cliff

Actor - Jerre Dye (Paul)“When I was writing Tennessee Queer in 2011, the governor of Tennessee was afraid to strongly rebuke some religious conservatives who introduced anti-gay legislation at the state level, and the mayor of Memphis wouldn’t publicly speak out in favor of LGBT rights for city workers,” said gay Presbyterian deacon and filmmaker Mark Goshorn Jones.

The main character in the film says, “You can’t pick and choose verses from the Bible and quote them like they’re the goddamn U.S. Constitution.”

Tennessee Queer, Jones new film, holds its Dallas premiere at the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff on March 31 at 7 p.m. A Q&A with the filmmaker follows the screening.

SYNOPSIS

After a few years in New York City, out and proud Jason Potts returns to his Tennessee hometown only to find things haven’t changed for LGBT teenagers. Being gay is still the worst thing to be in Smyth, Tennessee.

Wanting to help these gay teens and give them some hope, Jason hatches a plan while he’s home for the weekend. Things quickly spiral out of control as Jason is put in charge of the first-ever gay pride parade in this sleepy, small southern town.

Unknown to Jason, a scheming conservative city councilman and a holier-than-thou minister plan to round up Smyth’s gay teens after the parade and send them off to an ex-gay ministry camp to be cured of their sinful ways. Will Jason succeed with the parade? Will he be run out of town before the parade? Will the gay teenagers be sent away? Tune in as hilarity ensues in this heartwarming comedy.

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—  David Taffet

6 ways to fabulize your week

divineWe’re all about diversity in the gay community, and here’s how we prove it.

Let’s say you have a hankering to spend some time in the dark with gay Latinos this week. We got some suggestions. One is by seeing the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, a musical set in a South American prison. Another is checking out Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown at Teatro Dallas, which features nine comic monologues dealing with all aspects of the gay Latin experience in the U.S.

If you’re tastes fall more along the lines of WASPy gay humor, you can still try to scrounge up a seat to Kathy Griffin, who is performing tonight at the Verizon Theatre. She’ll certainly talk about Kardashians, Real Housewives and, of course, “her gays.”

If that’s not your style, perhaps a little drag is what you need. The Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff is screening a 35mm print of John Waters’ outrageous classic Polyester tonight at 9:30 p.m., followed by a John Waters-themed dance party at 11. Costumes are encouraged. (You know you wanna try out that Tracy Turnblad get-up you have!)

If you wanna up the fashion quotient, the DFashion Week runway show — an inaugural fundraiser benefiting AIDS Arms and LifeWalk — comes to the Rose Room on Saturday. You can get tickets here.

For those who prefer the whole smorgasbord of choices, and like to be entertained as well, Sunday night is the Voice of Pride finals at the Rose Room. Ten singers walk in, one walks out with the title, cash, plane tickets … and bragging rights.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Watch Tuesday’s debate with Stonewall Democrats or Log Cabin Republicans

Both Log Cabin Republicans and Stonewall Democrats are planning watch parties for the town hall-format presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Log Cabin will join Dallas County Young Republicans at Stoneleigh P, 2626 Maple Ave. at 8 p.m.

Stonewall Democrats begin the evening with their general meeting at Ojeda’s on Maple Avenue at 6 p.m. Dallas City Councilman Scott Griggs will speak on the upcoming bond election, and Denise Rodriguez will represent Planned Parenthood PAC.

At 7:30 p.m., the group moves to Woody’s on Cedar Springs Road for its debate watch party.

On Oct. 18, Stonewall is staffing an Obama phone bank at Dallas Democratic Party headquarters, 4209 Parry St.

Stonewall will host its third debate watch party at the Texas Theatre on Jefferson Avenue in Oak Cliff on Oct. 22, the day early voting begins.

The Texas Democratic Party announced a partnership with Stonewall Democrats of Texas called “Come Out and Vote.” Launched on National Coming Out Day, Come Out and Vote encourages members of the LGBT community to early-vote on Oct. 27.

“This is another way for the LGBT community and its allies to celebrate and exhibit their strength and pride by engaging in the voting process,” Jacob Limon, Texas Democratic Party deputy executive director, wrote in a press release.

 

—  David Taffet