T3, TITAS unveil 2014-15 seasons

Dallas’ Doug Wright

It’s art awareness week in Dallas (unofficially), with Theatre 3 and TITAS announcing their new seasons, and WaterTower’s due on Thursday.

Theatre 3′s mainstage season officially opens in August, with Candy Barr’s Last Dance, by local playwright Ronnie Claire Edwards. It tells the story of the colorful Dallas stripper of the 1940s and ’50s. (Aug. 7–31.) It’s followed in the fall by gay Dallas-bred playwright Doug Wright’s most recent Broadway show, the musical Hands on a Hard Body, based on the documentary set in Texas. (Sept. 25–Oct. 19.)

The holiday production will be a musical by lesbian playwright and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) called Civil War Christmas, set along the Potomac during the bitter winter of 1864. (Nov. 20–Dec. 14.)

Texas favorite Jaston Williams is on deck for the debut of Jay Presson Allen’s Tru, a one-man show about Truman Capote. Williams has performed the play elsewhere, to great acclaim. (Jan. 8–Feb. 8, 2015.)  That’s followed by Hot Mikado, an outlandish adaptation of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic. (March 12–April 5.)

The sixth show of the season (scheduled for May 2015) has not be announced, but the season closer will be The Liar, Corneille’s classic comedy adapted by David Ives. (June 25–July 19.) In addition, the black box Theatre Too space will, once again, bring back gay writer Joe DiPietro’s I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change in time for Valentine’s Day. (Jan. 15, 2015 with no set closing date.) You can see more about the season, including season tickets, at Theatre3Dallas.com.

Over in the Arts District, TITAS — which is recent seasons has cultivated a dance-centric program — brings back some old favorites and new groups.

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MOMIX

The season kicks off with the popular experimental dance troupe MOMIX for two shows Sept. 12–13. MOMIX will be quickly followed by the debut of Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour — a music, not a dance program — on Sept. 19, then as quickly followed by the debut of Spectrum Dance Company on Sept. 27. All of those performances will be at the Winspear Opera House.

TITAS moves across the street to City Performance Hall for another debut, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Nov. 21 and 22.  It’s back to the Winspear in January for Ronald K Brown/Evidence on Jan. 17 (at the Winspear), then two shows from debut music artist Maya Beiser on March 6 and 7 (at CPH).

The architectural movement of Diavolo returns (again at CPH) for two shows on March 27 and 28, and the popular Parsons Dance Company is back at the Winspear with its sexy choreography April 25.

The season wraps up in May with two shows from Malandain’s Ballet Biarritz (May 1 and 2, at CPH), and the local debut of Ballet West (May 29 and 30, at the Winspear). And as always, TITAS hosts its Command Performance Gala at the Winspear on May 16. Tickets and more information available at ATTPAC.org.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TITAS announces dance-centric season

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The Trocks.

The return of Pilobolus, Philip Glass and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo — “The Trocks,” a drag ballet troupe — mark the 2013-14 TITAS season, but it’s what’s new about the season that makes the biggest impact.

For decades, TITAS has programmed about 10 shows a year — five music, five dance — until the last two seasons when dance has predominated slightly. That domination is full-force now, with nine of the 11 performances (including the bonus Command Performance Gala) dance.

“We needed to stop thinking about what [TITAS] has done in the past and look to the future,” said Charles Santos, the arts organization’s executive director. “We need to be curatorial as part of ATTPAC.” The center, he noted, already programs music (the interview took place even as the music of Rodriguez wafted from Annette Strauss Square adjacent to the Winspear Opera House), but TITAS does dance “better than anyone.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

TITAS presents DanceBrazil tonight at the Wyly

Get the Brazilian

Think your butch boyfriend or girlfriend won’t like the DanceBrazil show by TITAS because it’s all arty? Just explain to them that this troupe not only moves gracefully with its Afro-Brazilian fusion of dance, but they mix it with the martial art of Capoeira used in the video game Street Fighter and the movie The Protector. Trust. They’ll change their minds and you win.

DEETS: Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St. 8 p.m. $19–$65. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

The good, the bad & the ‘A-List’

These arts, cultural & sports stories defined gay Dallas in 2011

FASHIONS AND FORWARD  |  The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

FASHIONS AND FORWARD | The Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA, above, was a highlight of the arts scene in 2011, while Dirk Nowitzki’s performance in the NBA playoffs gave the Mavs their first-ever — and much deserved — world title. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

A lot of eyes were focused on Dallas nationally in 2011 — for good and bad — but much of what made the city a fun place last year has specific queer appeal. CULTURE The rise of the reality TV star. 2011 was the year Dallas made a big splash across everyone’s television sets — and it had nothing to do with who shot J.R. (although that’s pending). From the culinary to the conniving, queer Dallasites were big on the small screen. On the positive side were generally good portrayals of gay Texans. Leslie Ezelle almost made it all the way in The Next Design Star, while The Cake Guys’ Chad Fitzgerald is still in contention on TLC’s The Next Great Baker. Lewisville’s Ben Starr was a standout on MasterChef. On the web, Andy Stark, Debbie Forth and Brent Paxton made strides with Internet shows Bear It All, LezBeProud and The Dallas Life,respectively.

‘A’ to Z  |  ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

‘A’ to Z | ‘The A-LIst: Dallas,’ above, had its detractors, but some reality TV stars from Big D, like Chad Fitzgerald, Leslie Ezelle and Ben Starr, represented us well.

There were downsides, though. Drew Ginsburg served as the token gay on Bravo’s teeth-clenching Most Eligible: Dallas, and the women on Big Rich Texas seemed a bit clichéd. But none were more polarizing than the cast of Logo’s The A-List: Dallas. Whether people loved or hated it, the six 20somethings (five gays, one girl) reflected stereotypes that made people cringe. Gaultier makes Dallas his runway. The Dallas Museum of Art scored a coup, thanks to couture. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk not only featured the work of the famed designer, but was presented the designs in an innovative manner. Nothing about it was stuffy. Seeing his iconic designs in person is almost a religious experience — especially when its Madonna’s cone bra. Gaultier reminded us that art is more than paintings on a wall. (A close runner-up: The Caravaggio exhibit in Fort Worth.) The Return of Razzle Dazzle. ­­There was speculation whether Razzle Dazzle could actually renew itself after a near-decade lull, but the five-day spectacular was a hallmark during National Pride Month in June, organized by the Cedar Springs Merchant Association. The event started slowly with the wine walk but ramped up to the main event street party headlined by rapper Cazwell. Folding in the MetroBall with Deborah Cox, the dazzle had returned with high-profile entertainment and more than 10,000 in attendance on the final night. A Gathering pulled it together. TITAS executive director Charles Santos took on the daunting task of producing A Gathering, a collective of area performance arts companies, commemorating 30 years of AIDS. Groups such as the Dallas Opera, Turtle Creek Chorale and Dallas Theater Center donated their time for this one-of-a-kind show with all proceeds benefiting Dallas’ leading AIDS services organizations. And it was worth it. A stirring night of song, dance and art culminated in an approximate 1,000 in attendance and $60,000 raised for local charities. Bravo, indeed. The Bronx closed after 35 years. Cedar Springs isn’t short on its institutions, but when it lost The Bronx, the gayborhood felt a real loss. For more than three decades, the restaurant was home to many Sunday brunches and date nights in the community. We were introduced to Stephan Pyles there, and ultimately, we just always figured on it being there as part of the fabric of the Strip. A sister company to the neighboring Warwick Melrose bought the property with rumors of expansion. But as yet, the restaurant stands steadfast in its place as a reminder of all those memories that happened within its walls and on its plates.  The Omni changed the Dallas skyline. In November, The Omni Dallas hotel opened the doors to its 23-story structure and waited to fill it’s 1,000 rooms to Dallas visitors and staycationers. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the ultra-modern hotel is expected to increase the city’s convention business which has the Dallas Visitors and Conventions Bureau salivating — as they should. The hotel brought modern flair to a booming Downtown and inside was no different. With quality eateries and a healthy collection of art, including some by gay artists Cathey Miller and Ted Kincaid, the Omni quickly became a go-to spot for those even from Dallas. SPORTS The Super Bowl came to town. Although seeing the Cowboys make Super Bowl XLV would have been nice for locals, the event itself caused a major stir, both good and bad. Ticketing issues caused a commotion with some disgruntled buyers and Jerry Jones got a bad rap for some disorganization surrounding the game. But the world’s eyes were on North Texas as not only the game was of a galactic measure, but the celebs were too. From Kardashians to Ke$ha to Kevin Costner, parties and concerts flooded the city and the streets. The gays even got in on the action. Despite crummy weather, the Super Street Party was billed as the “world’s first ever gay Super Bowl party.” The ice and snow had cleared out and the gays came out, (and went back in to the warmer clubs) to get their football on. The XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl included a misguided gay night with acts such as Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell that was ultimately canceled. The Mavericks won big. The Mavs are like the boyfriend you can’t let go of because you see how much potential there is despite his shortcomings. After making the playoffs with some just-misses, the team pulled through to win against championship rivals, Miami Heat, who beat them in 2006. In June, the team cooled the Heat in six games, taking home its first NBA Championship, with Dirk Nowitzki appropriately being named MVP. The Rangers gave us faith. Pro sports ruled big in these parts. The Mavericks got us in the mood for championships and the Texas Rangers almost pulled off a victory in the World Series. With a strong and consistent showing for the season, the Rangers went on to defend their AL West Division pennant. Hopes were high as they handily defeated the Detroit Tigers in game six, but lost the in the seventh game. Although it was a crushing loss, the Texas Rangers proved why we need to stand by our men.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 6, 2012.

—  Michael Stephens

“A Gathering — 30 Years of AIDS” tonight at the Winspear

Come together

The Dallas arts community is coming together for a spectacular One-Night-Only performance commemorating 30 Years of AIDS. An unprecedented collaboration between some of the finest arts organizations in Dallas, A Gathering: The Dallas Arts Community Reflects on 30 Years of AIDS will feature eleven Dallas cultural institutions coming together and sharing their talents to create a powerful evening of entertainment. With a cast of more than 200 singers, dancers and actors, A Gathering promises to be a soul-stirring performance, and a night to remember.

All the organizations involved are donating their time and talent for this unique performance. 100% of the proceeds will directly benefit four of Dallas’ leading AIDS service organizations. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to be a part of an extraordinary night of song, dance, hope and solidarity.

Participating organizations: AT&T Performing Arts Center, Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Bruce Wood Dance Project, CharlieUniformTango, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Texas Ballet Theater, TITAS and Turtle Creek Chorale

—AT&T Performing Arts Center

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 7 p.m. $12–$100. ATTPAC.org/Gathering

—  Rich Lopez

Spirit of Giving: A Gathering to remember

The benefit gala commemorates 30 years of AIDS and its impact on Dallas, North Texas

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RAISE YOUR VOICE | Gary Floyd, right, directs singers, from left, Damon K. Clark, Rachel Dupard and Denise Lee during a rehearsal for ‘A Gathering.’ (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Arnold Wayne Jones  |  Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

Charles Santos was having breakfast at Lucky’s with Jonathan Palant last summer when the now-former artistic director of the Turtle Creek Chorale mentioned that the chorale was born in the time of AIDS. This year, Palant told him, marks 30 years since the first cases of what was first known as

“Gay-Related Immune Deficiency,” or GRID, were reported.

The comment got Santos thinking how deeply the arts — in North Texas and across the world — had been affected by the pandemic.

Some people might have spent time reflecting on how their lives and the world have changed; others might have felt compelled to discuss it with friends.

Maybe some might have written an op-ed piece of the “lest we forget” variety.

But Santos had a different idea.

As executive director of TITAS, which has brought art and music performances to Dallas for decades, Santos was in a unique position. He had access to the Winspear Opera House and a Rolodex that included every major performing arts leader in the region.

More than that, he had a passion to produce a show. And he wanted everyone within earshot to participate.

Santos started by gathering a core group of area leaders, including the Dallas Theater Center’s Joel Ferrell and Kevin Moriarty and AT&T Performing Arts Center external affairs director Chris Heinbaugh. They and others came up with the beneficiaries, how to approach arts organizations, the structure of the show.

“We wrote it, and it’s pretty remarkable, unlike the other events I have done,” says Santos. “We talked about what the pieces were and what we wanted to concentrate on.”

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GETTING READY | Charles Santos, right, and Millicent Johnnie, assistant professor of dance at SMU’s Meadows School of The Arts, second from right, look on during a recent rehearsal for ‘A Gathering.’ (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

The idea of the staging will be like a deconstructed musical that lays out three emotional “arcs” to be covered in two acts: First, loss, heroism and fury; second, faith, family, friends and caring; finally, action and change.

Thus was formed A Gathering: The Dallas Arts Community Reflects on 30 Years of AIDS, a one-night-only concert and fundraiser being held at the Winspear Opera House on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Ultimately, about a dozen performing arts groups signed on, as well as many vocalists, musicians and other leaders. All told, more than 200 individuals will be taking part.

The ground rules for participation were simple: With the exception of certain unavoidable costs (unionized stage hands, licensing fees for music, etc.), everyone involved had to volunteer their time — every penny raised will benefit equally four local charities: AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Services of Dallas and Resource Center Dallas.

“Everyone’s been great,” Santos says. “ATTPAC donated the theater and waived all the ticket fees; a printer donated the programs and posters.

“I have been very clear that this is all being donated. When I was talking to one of the orchestras, they said they wanted to participate but couldn’t donate their time. I said, ‘I totally understand but I can’t use you.’ There are no comps — everyone is buying their own tickets. All the performers are buying tickets for their loved ones.”

The outpouring of support from the community has been reminiscent of the town of Bedford Falls helping out George Bailey at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life — a fitting metaphor during the holiday season. And while Santos has been grateful for the generosity, he says it really does not surprise him.

“One of the things the gay community learned during the early days of the AIDS crisis was that we had to take care of our own — we had to change the world. What a remarkable thing it was,” he says.

And it’s that spirit that has driven A Gathering.

“To my knowledge, this has never happened in this community, this many arts organizations collaborating on one event. Everyone has been so generous.

That’s why I’m interested to see what comes of it. I hope it generates more collaborative projects in our community. If these groups all say, ‘Let’s do another project, maybe in our own seasons,’ that would be excellent. In this economy, we are in a real period of wearing collaborative clothes.”

This kind of benefit wasn’t really new to Santos, though it had been a long time coming.

“When I was a dancer, I did shows like this,” he explains.

He put a performance fundraiser together in Austin that became an annual event. But since moving to Dallas in 2001, “I was focused on TITAS and didn’t do any more AIDS work. I haven’t done an AIDS benefit in years, so I’m really excited.”

It is perhaps for that reason that Santos threw himself head-long into producing this show with only three months of prep time.

“It’s a massive amount of work — I force myself to spend time on it every day,” he says. “Chris [Heinbaugh] has been great about keeping my thoughts grounded and relating it back to Dallas.”

Maintaining the focus on North Texas, in fact, was a key decision made early in the process.

“We all jointly made a decision to keep it local,” Santos says. “We all had the contacts to bring in headliners like Kristin Chenoweth and Bill T. Jones, but then that becomes a different animal. This is about our community.”
(The program will include a photo montage of locals who have died of AIDS.)

Nevertheless, Santos’ plan for A Gathering was a scope that extended beyond our borders — both Dallas’ and the gay community’s.

“One of the discussions I’ve had with everyone is that it doesn’t all have to be about the gay community and doesn’t have to be literal. We all know the impact on the gay community, but this is a global issue — gay, straight, single, married. It is a human issue.

“As we’re talking about a particular emotion, we noted that something taken out of context can be very helpful — it doesn’t all have to be Rent and The Normal Heart and Angels in America. There will be a microphone close to the audience where people [including former Mayor Laura Miller and various TV news anchors] will do readings.

“We include facts that deal with the impact of AIDS in Africa, so we have a piece of choreography that’s a tribute to [ composer and activist] Fela Kuti, who died of AIDS. We have a statement about discrimination. The opera is sending us a countertenor to sing for us. Some of the AIDS quilt panels will be flown in and be on display.”

While some tickets have been set aside for clients of the AIDS organizations served by the benefit, Santos’ great hope is that the entire community turns out to participate and reflect on AIDS.

“I hope the community comes out for it. It will be an amazing show, a real spectacular,” he said.

Participating organizations include the AT&T Performing Arts Center, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Bruce Wood Dance Project, CharlieUniformTango, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas Opera, Dallas Theater Center, SMU Meadows School for the Arts, Texas Ballet Theater, TITAS and the Turtle Creek Chorale. Vocalists include Gary Lynn Floyd, Damon K. Clark, Denise Lee, Patty Breckenridge, John Holiday, Rachel Dupard and Cory Cooper.

Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. $12–$200. 214-880-0202.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Santos celebrates 10 years at TITAS

Charles Santos has told the story many times — last in Dallas Voice here — about how, just days after accepting a job in Dallas, he dodged catastrophe, being near  the World Trade Center when the towers were attacked in New York.

That was 10 years ago last month. Which means that 10 years ago this month, Santos celebrated a decade as the executive director of TITAS. Thus, the board of TITAS, along with luminaries like Veletta Lill, Matrice Kirk, Chris Heinbaugh and city councilwoman Ann Margolin, noted the anniversary with a surprise party for Santos at Komali last night.

Santos was bestowed a sculpture, pictured, to mark his time here, and he indicated his desire to be around for another 10 years.

TITAS next brings the inventive dance troupe Pilobolus to the Winspear on Nov. 19.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas arts community marks AIDS anniversary with ‘A Gathering’ at the Winspear

A dozen cultural institutions around Dallas will mark the 30th anniversary of AIDS with a benefit performance, A Gathering, at the Winspear Opera House on Dec. 6.

The event will feature a cast of 200 volunteers from a variety of artistic disciplines, including opera, dance, music and theater. Among the participating groups announced are the Bruce Wood Dance Project, the Turtle Creek Chorale, the Texas Ballet Theater, the Dallas Opera and the Dallas Theater Center.

Proceeds go to Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network and AIDS Services of Dallas. Tickets go on sale Oct. 31 at 10 a.m.  Click here for tickets.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 05.13Vern_Yip-1

Both historic and modern
The dancers from the Complexions Contemporary Ballet are likely in good spirits. They embark on their Dallas residency for the next year working with TITAS on the commissioned work Testament, a new work based on Negro spiritual songs sung by actor Cedric Neal and new choreography by the company.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m.
$19–$125. ATTPAC.org.

 

Sunday 05.15

Time for some family bonding
LGBT families are more than welcome at this first Modern Family Fest. A full day of activities, entertainment and the most family bonding thing ever — food. With Off the Bone serving up barbecue and the Mister Cool Ice Cream truck, the adults might end up taking a nap before the kids do.

DEETS: Methodist Hospital Folsom Fitness Center Park, 262 West Greenbriar St. Noon.
$5 children, $10 adults. WedChild.org.

 

Thursday 05.19

Yip! Yip! Hooray
If you’re having a major interior design brain fart (and who hasn’t?), help is on the way. Vern Yip from Trading Spaces fame comes to town offering his expert advice on your design debacles. Now just comes the time to admit to them.

DEETS: I.O. Metro, # 5301 Alpha Road, Suite 34. 6:30 p.m. IO-Metro.com.

—  Kevin Thomas

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 02.11

She works hard for the money
How Kander and Ebb combined fashion, Communism, the Depression and relationships set to music in Lyric’s Flora the Red Menace is beyond us, but we’re curious. Kristin Dausch plays Flora, who juggles her career as an artist against the temptations of her new love Harry. All while trying to earn a buck. You go girl.

DEETS: Irving Arts Center, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd. Through Feb. 26. $18–$29. LyricStage.org.

Saturday 02.12

This Vanity project is worth it
Not to take away from their pop rock brand of music, but if there’s one reason to check out Vanity Theft, it’s because of the one-name bassist Lalaine. She’s says of the band, “We may have vaginas, but we’re not pussies.” Well, said. Now we hope that means they will kill it live, because their rock is pretty major.

DEETS: With Hunter Valentine. Sue Ellen’s, 3014 Throckmorton St. 9 p.m. Caven.com.

Thursday 02.17

Drums along the Winspear
TITAS brings in the famous Kodo drummers for a life-changing experience. The 24 drum masters take the instrument beyond its percussive musicality into a “heart-pounding, earth-shaking experience.” And it’s one night only — meaning don’t miss out.

DEETS: Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. Feb. 17. 8 p.m. $19–$75. ATTPAC.org.

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

—  John Wright