Razzle Dazzle Dallas distributes proceeds

Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund board, from left, D’wayne Teague, Tony Rox, David Hearn, Greg Wallace and John Cooper Lara

John Cooper Lara, chair of the Razzle Dazzle Dallas board, presented checks to beneficiaries of the June events at Sue Ellen’s on Monday evening.

The Metro Ball, which took place at S4 on June 8 and featured Taylor Dayne, raised $31,500 for the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund. GDMAF provides financial assistance for critical needs through local organizations when other sources are exhausted.

Funds from the Saturday night street party were split among nine beneficiaries. Those organizations were Resource Center Dallas, AIDS Arms, AIDS Interfaith Network, Turtle Creek Chorale, Cedar Springs Beautification Fund, Legacy Counseling Center and Founders Cottage, GLBT Leap, Uptown Players and Legal Hospice of Texas. That party raised $25,000.

Razzle Dazzle Dallas board, from left, Jimmy Bartlett, Johnny Humphrey, Chris Bengston, Thom Dance, John Cooper Lara, Kris Martin, Ron Adams and Howard Okon

—  David Taffet

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

This weekend is jam-packed full of events, several of them very worthy fundraisers to benefit AIDS charities around North Texas.

Hard to believe, but the Miss Leo Party is roaring ahead to its 25th annual event. A traditional fundraiser for the Daire Center and AIDS Interfaith Network, it gets underway at the Hidden Door on Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Expect to have a good time. Then on Sunday, scoot over to Bailey’s Prime Plus on Park Lane for a dinner, silent auction and music for the Be An Angel benefit for Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage. Best of all? It’s just 40 bucks! You’d spend more than that on a meal at Bailey’s (which serves excellent food, by the way).

The Elizabeth Trail’rs, the LifeWalk team for Dallas Voice, will host a happy hour at Two Corks and a Bottle in the Quadrangle on Friday from 5:30 to 8. Ten percent of all sales will go to the ETs, so all you have to do is drink like you normally would on a Friday after work and you’re making a donation. But beyond that, you can win CDs and other swag and buy tickets to a 50/50 raffle. Come support a good cause. And while we’re talkin’ about LifeWalk, the Miss LifeWalk Pageant takes place in the Rose Room on Sunday, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The London Olympics start tonight, and apparently the athletes are very gay. Gay people of faith who don’t mind a drive have two opportunities to see the gay Christian music of Jason & deMarco this weekend: They will perform at a Saturday evening event and again at Sunday morning services at the Celebration on the Lake Church in Mabank.

Newly out (and incredibly cute) hip-hopper Frank Ocean’s new CD, Channel Orange, has dropped, and our music critic says it will send shockwaves — not because it’s so outre, but because it’s so good. But Ocean’s not the only gay rapper with a great new disc: Bisexual Azealia Banks’ EP 1991 is just as impressive.

The Festival of Independent Theatres continues at the Bath House Cultural Center, including a play with a lesbian and one by gay scribe Edward Albee. This is also the final weekend to see the critically acclaimed hit drag comedy The Divine Sister, from Uptown Players, with Coy Covington, Kevin Moore and the entire cast mining great comedy out of an unlikely source: The perky nun movie.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Uptown’s hail Mary: “The Divine Sister” warrants prays

Charles Busch really deserves more credit as a master of playwrighting than he typically gets. Mamet steals the limelight for crafty dialogue, Stoppard is the king of intellectual wordplay, but in many ways, Busch has both of them beat. The difference is, Stoppard toys with Shakespeare, and Busch fools around with Debbie Reynolds musicals and Douglas Sirk films. It’s as if he’s being punished for having a gay sensibility.

Who needs acclaim, though, when a production as sassy as The Divine Sister, presented by Uptown Players at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, is doing what good theater should do: Make you laugh and think … although, granted, much of the thinking goes on between fart and dick jokes.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

The Thai lesbian film "Yes or No" screens Monday at AFFD.

The Asian Film Festival of Dallas launched last night at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre, and it continues through next week. Among the offerings are two gay films screening Monday: The Thai lesbian feature Yes or No, screening at 7:30 p.m., and the horror thriller I Am a Ghost from queer director H.P. Mendoza, screening at 9:45. There will even be a LGBT mixer (Mendoza in attendance) between both screenings on Monday night, at Malai Kitchen in the West Village. (We are giving away tickets to both show and the mixer, so stay tuned!)

Uptown Players is back in the Kalita after a long pause while the Dallas Theater Center used the space with Coy Covington again taking on one of Charles Busch’s drag roles in The Divine Sister. Two other outright farces are also continuing this weekend. Stage West is putting on the rarely-performed Joe Orton sex farce What the Butler Saw and Second Thought Theatre is just across the parking lot from Uptown with The Bomb-itty of Errors at Bryant Hall on the Kalita campus. Live The Divine Sister, both have tons of cross-dressing. That’s also true of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which continues until August, and Avenue Q at Theatre Three. Both are terrific summer shows with huge gay appeal.

Friday through Sunday is Taste of Dallas at Fair Park, with tons of vendors from La Madeleine to Tiff’s Treats to Pho Colonial, plus chef demos, beer and wine tastings and more. Once that’s over, Perry’s Steakhouse has a welcome way of celebrating the 4th of July all month — it’s called the 4 for 4 after 4 deal. Basically, there are four menu items that cover the waterfront: the Perry-tini lemon drop cocktail, a polish sausage app, an 8 oz. pork chop and a dessert … and each cost only $4 after 4 p.m., Mondays—Wednesdays. I mean, any time you can get something for four bucks at a restaurant, it’s a good deal, but Perry’s is a pretty high-end place with excellent food.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Uptown Players announces lineup for second Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival

Last year, Uptown Players launched its first-ever Pride Performing Arts Festival to coincide with the Dallas Pride celebration. It was a hit, and the festival is coming back for a 10-day series of gay plays and performances.

Already announced will be the regional premiere of 8, the play by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black based on the actual transcript of the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 law, banning same-sex marriage. Rene Moreno will direct the staged reading in the Kalita Humphreys main stage. (Sept. 6.)

Also on the main stage will be Songs for a New World, a song cycle by composer Jason Robert Brown, directed by Bruce Coleman and music directed by Kevin Gunther. (Sept. 9, 11 and 15.) [EDITOR'S NOTE: Uptown Players has announced that Songs for a New World has been removed from the schedule.]

The remaining shows will all be performed in Frank’s Place, the upstairs venue at the Kalita. Among the lineup:

Speech & Debate, about three teenaged misfits united by a town sex scandal. (Sept. 7, 8 and 10.)

The Madness of Lady Bright, starring Larry Randolph as a drag queen slowly going insane; it played last year at the Festival of Independent Theatres, winning Randolph awards for his performance. (Sept. 8, 9 and 15.)

Still Consummate, in which master comedienne Marisa Diotalevi, pictured, revisits her award-winning one-person show The Consummate Woman. It will be on a double bill with Paul J. Williams’ standup act Triple Crown Queen, about growing up gay. (Sept. 8, 11 and 14.)

A-GAYS, Stillwater, Oklahoma. Young performance artist John Michael Colgin reprises his one-man show about being gay at OSU, and the ptifalls of finding a boyfriend. (Sept. 8, 9 and 15.)

Why Am I Not Gay. Straight guy Jason Kane loves musical theater and looks like a bear on the prowl at a Hidden Door beer bush, but — gasp! — prefers girls. He pokes fun at the stereotypes of gay folks, and being on the other side of them. (Sept. 9, 12 and 15.)

I Google Myself, which played a few years back at WaterTower’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, will return. This comedy is about a man who finds he shares the same name with a porn star. Kookiness ensures. (Sept. 9, 13 and 15.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Column Award theater nominations announced

Uptown Players' 'Next to Normal' is a major nominee in the Column Awards.

The Dallas Theater Center and Uptown Players are head-to-head with the most Column Award nominations for Equity theater companies with 39 and 28 respectively. But that’s nothing compared to the Non-Equity winner, Artisan Center Theatre, with 52 nods. (As always, tons of gay folks are nominated.)

Now that the Dallas Theater League’s Leon Rabin Awards don’t exist, the Columns are the only non-critic awards in town for local theater. Eligible theater professionals (and, actually, me) will now vote in the final round. The  winners will be announced at the Column Awards gala on Feb. 27 at the Patty Granville Performing Arts Center in Garland.

The complete list after the jump.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Uptown Players is lookin’ for some guys to get nekkid

When Uptown Players announced last summer that their upcoming 2012 season would include the Tony Award winner Take Me Out, everyone familiar with the Broadway show knew immediate what they meant: Naked ballplayers.

The plot of Take Me Out deals with a (fictional) Derek Jeter-type who (hypothetically, Derek!) comes out, and throws his MLB team and the sport as a whole into a frenzy. As followers know, it includes a locker room scene loaded with clothing-free athletes engaged in good natured (and definitely homoerotic) horseplay.  Of the cast of 10 male roles, seven require nudity.

Which brings me to my point: Please, please, actors out there — audition if you look like a baseball player, not if you simply go to the gym and want to show off, or just liked to get naked and aren’t ashamed of your body. My biggest complaint with plays set in the sporting world is, the actors need to look like athletes. That does not mean (necessarily) pretty boys; hairless twinks may be nice to look at in a magazine, but just pick up Sports Illustrated (or review footage of the Rangers’ World Series appearance) and notice that baseballers come in a lot of sizes and styles. Some are kinda beefy (especially the power hitters) and don’t have Michael Phelps’ build. Don’t be afraid to audition just because you aren’t  sculpted good. Theatergoers (and sports fans) want realism, not abs.

Auditions begin Nov. 28 and continue through callbacks on Dec. 4; video submissions are accepted. Click here for more information, including sides.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

From screen to stage

Q Cinema veterans tackle live theater with the guerrilla-like QLive!

CURTAIN UP! | Producing partners Todd Camp and Kyle Trentham have theater backgrounds, but QLive! is a departure from the movie-focused work their organization, Q Cinema, has done for a dozen years.

MARK LOWRY  | Special Contributor
marklowry@theaterjones.com

………………..

QLIVE: NONE OF THE ABOVE
Trinity Bicycles patio,
207 S. Main St., Fort Worth.
Sept. 23–24 at 8 p.m.
$15, QCinema.org

…………………

Anyone who’s ever wanted to start a theater company will tell you that the biggest hurdle is finding the right space. It’s no different in DF-Dub, where the opportunities seem endless, but affordable spaces that can work for the demands of theater are limited.

QLive!, a new theater company based in Fort Worth, is finding ways to work around that. Its first full production, for instance, is None of the Above , a two-person drama by Jenny Lyn Bader. It opens Friday on the back patio of a bicycle shop just west of downtown Cowtown.

“One of the things we’ve talked about is the immersive experience, where it’s not just that you sit down and watch a show, but you experience a show,” says QLive’s Todd Camp, who founded Fort Worth’s LGBT film festival, Q Cinema. “The three shows that we have lend themselves quite well to that.”

Those three shows, which run this fall, begin with Above, which deals with a parochial school student and her teacher. In November, there’ll be Yasmina Reza’s oft-produced Art, which will hopefully happen in a gallery space (they’re still negotiating). It will close out the year with Terrence McNally’s controversial Corpus Christi, taking place in a machine shop near downtown Fort Worth.

QLive! has been a project three years in the making, and will be led by Camp’s Q Cinema cohort Kyle Trentham, as artistic director. The group has already launched a successful Tuesday night open mike comedy event at Percussions Lounge, and in February presented a staged reading of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play Spring Awakening, the day before the musical based on that play opened at Bass Performance Hall. They also brought Hollywood comedy writer Bruce Vilanch in for a one-night performance.

Like other arts groups with a large LGBT following that present works of interest to that community — including Uptown Players and the Turtle Creek Chorale — Trentham says QLive doesn’t want the label of “gay theater” … despite the big “Q” in its name.

“Young [audiences] don’t think in those terms anymore,” he says. “They just want to see theater they like.”

With Corpus Christi, Trentham says that creating an immersive experience will be crucial to the production. “It’s a working machine shop,” he says. “You walk in and the actors are working, getting their hands dirty. Then in the cleansing scene, they actually are cleaned.”

Camp, who has led Q Cinema for 13 years, is no stranger to controversy. He was a critical player in the late ‘90s “Labor of Love” project at the now-defunct Fort Worth Theatre. That group presented shows like Paul Rudnick’s Jeffrey and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, and Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band. A few times, there were protesters in front of the performance space, Orchestra Hall.

Considering the dust-up Corpus Christi caused in Texas last year when a Tarelton State University junior had his student production of it canceled, Camp is prepared for blowback.

“You are not going to tell me what I can and cannot do in my town, even if you’re the lieutenant governor,” he says. “This is an important work by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who’s from Texas. … It’s an incredibly pro-spiritual show. It’s not anti-religion or blasphemous. It takes organized religion, which has been used to club the gay and lesbian community for many years, and retells the story that makes it a little more compatible and open to them.”

For now, they’ll have to see how their audience deals with a show outside a bike shop.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

B.J. Cleveland: Tragedy to triumph in 24 hours

If you ever wondered whether the theatrical cliche “the show must go on!” was anything more than that — a cliche — you’d know for sure it isn’t if you were at the Kalita Humphreys on Sunday. Our friends at TheaterJones post this amazing story about B.J. Cleveland stepping in for an injured actor in Uptown Players’ production of Victor/Victoria (which I reviewed in this week’s edition). You can also read about it from Elaine Liner at the Dallas Observer blog. Facebook was flooded with comments and admiration for Cleveland, one of North Texas’ most notable and popular entertainers for more than 20 years.

I texted B.J. Sunday night to offer my condolences and congratulate him on his triumph just a few hours after his curtain call. He was in the middle of writing his father’s obituary.

That’s one dedicated theater queen, I’ll tell ya.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Uptown Players’ ‘Victor/Victoria’ opens tonight

Lady looks like a dude

What is poor Victoria thinking? Dressing up as a man who performs as a female entertainer? Clearly a struggling artist will do anything to get by. Uptown Players presents the musical Victor/Victoria where Victoria becomes the toast of Paris as Victor but now has to deal with the mobster who is getting a little too attached.

DEETS: Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. 8 p.m. $30–$40. UptownPlayers.org.

—  Rich Lopez