Winners at Big D Talent contest

IMG_2276This week’s cover story is about the MetroBall and its headliner, Belinda Carlisle (whom I interviewed here), but she’s not the only person who will be performing at the fundraiser next week at Station 4. Last night, I was one of the judges who selected the top two finishers in the second annual Big D Talent contest at The Brick. It was a terrific event, because not all the performers were singers: Three were singer-songwriters (including two who played guitar) , there was a drag performance and a stand-up comic. And honestly, all were extremely talented — it was difficult to rate one against the other.

IMG_2285But that’s why there were five judges, and why two winners walked away with cash and the honor of opening for Belinda. Michael Duane, pictured right, who sang soulful R&B; and Aaron Soto, pictured left, who redefined the skill of pole dancing, placed first and second in the competition. You can see them both next Friday at the MetroBall, but you can get a preview if you want with the QuickTime movie of Michael Duane, below.

Congrats to everyone!

M Duane

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Drag Race’ starts 7th season tonight

0630 flashSeason 7 of RuPaul’s Drag Race starts tonight at 8 p.m., and Dallas drag queen Kennedy Davenport will be working her fierceness on the runway. For how many weeks, we can’t say, but you can meet Kennedy tonight at The Brick, where they will have a viewing party at 8, followed by a personal appearance by Kennedy at 9 p.m. And you can read an interview with her right now here.

Start your engines, and may the best woman … win!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Bianca del Rio at The Brick Saturday

IMG_8896She didn’t go on til nearly 1 a.m. and her set lasted just half an hour, but Drag Race winner Bianca del Rio nailed her comedy set at The Brick last night, with help from fellow Drag Racer Alyssa Edwards and others. She brought a number of locals onstage with her (including Dallas Voice contributor and goofy fangirl Chaka Cumberbatch) but her quick wit was what sold the set. (You can download and watch a brief clip below.)

Also on hand was Dallas designer Rey Ortiz (whom we profiled recently here) who presented del Rio with his “tip” — a custom-designed dress.
BiancaBrick

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dancer of the Month: Matt Vassar

IMG_8975

Although he was born in the relatively small town of Hillsboro, there is nothing small about Matt Vassar. He’s 6 feet tall, and has blond hair and blue eyes. Matt is 21 and has six brothers and sisters. He plans to be an engineer and is studying at ITT Technical Institute. During high school, Matt enjoyed football and soccer but has little time for it now between work and school. In his free time he enjoys curling up on the couch or lounge chair to watch a good movie, especially 3D. next time you see Matt, and he hopes you will, ask him if he liked the movie Lawless. You can find him performing at The Brick. More photos below.

—  C Marcelo

Gay bars dump Russian Vodka across U.S., Canada — but not yet in Dallas

dumprussianvodkalogoLGBT advocates are calling for a boycott of Russian goods in light of the recent anti-gay laws the country’s leadership has championed.

Recent violence highlighted by BuzzFeed and the arrests under the gay propaganda ban have also spurred activists to push for a boycott of the Winter Games scheduled to take place in Russia in 2014.

But instead of boycotting the games, others called for a boycott on products, mainly Stolichnaya Vodka.

Dan Savage wrote an article urging gay bars to stop serving the alcohol. Several Chicago gay bars have already said they won’t serve it anymore, along with bars in San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto.

Howard Okon, owner of The Brick and Joes’s, said he’s heard about the boycott but isn’t ready to make a decision about the bar carrying it.

“We will be looking into it today and remove it if that’s what people are doing across the nation,” he said.

—  Dallasvoice

The Brick reopens for New Year’s Eve after fire causes damage to strip center

Recovery trucks are parked outside Sal’s Pizza Restaurant, which is hoping to reopen Friday after a fire at Oishii caused damage. The Brick was closed Sunday but reopened for New Year’s Eve. (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Wycliff Avenue gay bar The Brick reopened for New Year’s Eve after a fire caused major damage to nearby Oishii Sushi on Dec. 30, according to Brick spokesman Jimmy Bartlett.

Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Lavender said the cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no injuries.

Sal’s Pizza Restaurant and a dental office, which are next to Oishii, suffered water and smoke damage. Sal’s representatives said they are hoping to reopen Friday.

Bartlett said the Brick had only minor smoke damage. Electricity was restored to the bar on Monday morning but as of this morning, the office, situated between the bar and a bank, was still without power.

“Somehow they skipped us when they turned the power back on,” Bartlett said, adding that the gas also was still off.

The two-alarm fire was reported at 6:37 a.m. About 40 firefighters responded.

“Our biggest concern was extension of the fire,” Lavender said.

The Hondo Park apartments are directly behind the shopping center and firefighters were concerned the fire might spread to the residential units.

—  David Taffet

DFW Sisters stuffing the turkeys for charity

Members of the DFW Sisters will be out in force on Cedar Springs Wednesday night, Nov. 23, making their rounds with their turkey banks to raise funds to benefit “DFW Sisters’ mission towards safe sex education, community fundraising and sharing some LOVE!”

They will be out between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., hitting all the bars along the Cedar Springs Strip before heading over to The Brick/Joe’s and Dallas Eagle. Then, if time permits, they’ll head back to the Strip.

So when keep your change handy and when you see a Sister on Wednesday night, stuff that turkey!

—  admin

Troy Sands Remembrance Party at Dallas Eagle with Tony Moran

And the beat goes on

Earlier this year, DJ Troy Sands passed away due to cancer. Through the years, he made both an impact and an impression with his music and DJ skills at The Brick in its former location on Maple. He grew his name by being one of the first DJs to headline parties and events outside of Dallas. DJs such as Blaine Soileau and Chris Cox have seen him as their inspiration for their musical perspectives. Before passing on, Sands deejay-ed at the Dallas Eagle. In honor of his life and his musical gifts to the club scene, the Eagle  hosts the DJ Troy Sands Remembrance Party which also benefits some of his favorite organizations. DJ Tony Moran steps in to headline the night, but this is truly Sands’ night.

DEETS: Dallas Eagle, 5740 Maple Ave. 10 p.m. $10. DallasEagle.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Chick Happy Hour at the Brick tonight

Oh yes, it’s ladies’ night

Each week, the Brick gives it up to the women with Chick Happy Hour every Tuesday. OK, it’s a little later than your usual happy, but DJ C Wade makes you forget that it’s a school night. So have a cocktail or two before heading back to the grind on Wednesday. You’ll feel so much more relaxed.

DEETS: The Brick, 2525 Wycliff. 9 p.m. BrickDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Dallas Eagle DJ Troy Sands passes away

DJ Troy Sands

We were sad to learn that Troy Sands passed away Sunday morning. He was a resident DJ at the Dallas Eagle. Sands built his reputation playing the old Brick on Maple Avenue and made a name for himself as a headlining DJ not only in Dallas, but throughout the country. I had the pleasure of writing this story on him as he made his return to the scene after a tough struggle with cancer.

This was posted by two of the Dallas Eagle’s managers on Facebook on Sunday:

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that a very beloved member of our family has left us today. DJ Troy Sands passed away this morning. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Troy’s family and loved ones. The DJ booth at the Dallas Eagle will never be the same without his smile and laugh. You will be missed greatly Troy. We will post additional information concerning any service or memorial as we receive it.

Mark [Frazier] and Cully [Johnson]

Upon the news, people began posting their condolences on Sands’ Facebook page.

—  Rich Lopez