Starvoice • 08.05.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAY

Michael Urie turns 30 on Monday. The actor became a hallmark queer TV character as Mark St. James in Ugly Betty. The Plano High School and Julliard grad has kept up his theater roots. He received the Lucille Lortel Award for lead actor as Mattachine Society founder Rudi Gernreich in The Temperamentals.

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THIS WEEK

The sun makes hard aspects to Uranus and Pluto, bringing ego and power-struggles to a dangerous head; but Sol moves quickly into a grand trine with Eris and the North Node, offering routes to reconciliation.

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LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
A few well-chosen words stimulate discussions you’ll learn a lot from. Opening up to challenging new ideas can dramatically change the ways you work and play.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Creative angst is a good thing. You are trying too hard for something entirely new and different. Go back to your roots and see what neglected treasures inspire you to innovation.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Friendly advice about your home and relationship is malicious japery, but is there anything in it? Whatever the source, dissect it for seeds of truth and opportunities for self-improvement.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Speaking out of turn at work ruffles feathers. Open up new ideas. Irritating (or irritated) as your boss may be, keep calm, respectful and focused on your company’s success.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Your impulses for adventure tests your rresourcefulness. You’re clever enough to do what’s necessary more economically than it first appears. Trust your instincts and go it alone if you have to.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
If parental voices chime in at the worst times, relax. Take time to meditate and listen to those voices, if only to get where they’re coming from, to talk back and dismiss them.

AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
It’s no news that your mouth makes trouble. Just keep your brain ahead of it and do not reveal your partner’s secrets. Thinking ahead is what you do best. Apply that foresight in the present.

PISCES Feb 19-Mar 19
Worries about health and money are exaggerated. The future looks tough for everyone, but don’t let your imagination make it worse. You can still thrive. Hard work is the answer, but don’t burn out. Set a goal and do your best.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
What you think is brilliant and clever is threatening to authorities. Think ahead: What battles can you win? Who are your real friends? What do you need to learn to succeed?

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
Fights at home are displaced frustration. Be careful not to say something you’ll regret later. Whether to head off the fight or to heal the wounds, open up to your partner about your anxieties.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Dare to be shocking and bold, but don’t be surprised if you scare off friends. Are you stronger with fewer friends who agree with you or more friends with more diverse thoughts?

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Feeling underappreciated is more about you misunderstanding what your virtues really are. Job reviews and criticism from your partner hurt, but take them as cues to clarify your strengths.

Jack Fertig can be reached at 415-864-8302 or Starjack.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Golden opportunity

MENOPAUSE MAYHEM | Men in drag tackle the classic TV character from ‘The Golden Girls’ in a show almost too racy to produce. (Photo by Mike Morgan)

Director B.J. Cleveland goes from kids to kink with trashy parody

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

B.J. Cleveland is gay, and in the theater, so spending every waking hour at Station 4 for the past week shouldn’t seem out of the ordinary. Only he’s having a different kind of fun from what you might expect.

“Very, very odd to be in a bar that’s deserted — it’s like being a kid in a candy store with no money,” he says with a wink. “It’s an empty bar but fully stocked, and you can’t touch a thing.”

By night for the past three weeks, Cleveland has met his cast and crew in the off-hours of the Rose Room, readying the latest camp spectacle from Uptown Players, Thank You for Being a Friend. Like the company’s two past shows in the same space — The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode and Mommie Queerest — it’s a parody of a gay fave, performed by men in drag: The Golden Girls.

Because it’s an unofficial send-up of the classic sitcom, the names have been tweaked: Rose becomes Roz, Sophia becomes Sophie, etc. But, Cleveland insists, you’ll recognize all the characters and set-ups from the series.

“It takes place in the kitchen just like on the show, until the end where it moves to Shady Pines retirement center where the girls compete against Lance Bass to win a talent contest,” Cleveland says. “It’s basically a goofy 90-minute episode: Lance Bass has moved in next door and is having wild gay orgies. The girls take him a basket of dusty muffins to convince him to keep the noise down,” but things escalate.

Uh-huh.

You won’t just recognize the Golden moments, either — this is a musical, with some original songs and alterations of Broadway standards: There’s some Dreamgirls, Chicago, Gypsy and 9 to 5 thrown in for good measure — even a spoof of Madonna’s “Vogue” video. And all played by men in dresses.

Cleveland almost didn’t do the show. He was asked by producers Jeff Rane and Craig Lynch to read the original script and offer his insights.

“It was a lot raunchier,” he says. “It went just a little too far over the line, and some stuff that really would not work,” especially in a space where TABC has strict rules about what can happen in the presence of alcohol. But a few rewrites later, Cleveland had signed on.

It’s a far cry from his current day job. In addition to his teaching gig, Cleveland is huffing and puffing his way through a Three Little Pigs play at the Dallas Children’s Theater; when he’s done there, he high-tails it to Cedar Springs and the nastiest old ladies this side of Wasilla.

“It’s a chance to blow off steam and be show-trash,” he says. “It’s like uncorking the cheap champagne at night after the children have gone to bed. This is definitely a have-a-cocktail, come-see-a-show-in-a-different-environment theater. The show doesn’t end when the curtain comes down. You’re still at a bar.”

And maybe when the show opens, he’ll get that drink after all.

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

—  John Wright