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

EXCLUSIVE: Uptown Players’ Pride Fest line-up

Two world premiere musicals (one written locally), a stage version of a beloved gay film, a Bruce Coleman original and the return of a fan favorite are among the shows debuting in September during Uptown Players’ inaugural Pride Performing Arts Festival.

In its 10 seasons, Uptown Players has moved from producing four shows a year in the 120-seat KD Theatre to being the resident company in the famed 440-seat Kalita Humphreys Theater (producing local premieres of hits like Next to Normal), in addition to mounting bonus shows in places like The Rose Room. Last year, the gay-run company announced that it would premiere its first festival of plays during Dallas Pride in September.

Check out the line-up for the festival below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Uptown Players’ ‘Broadway Our Way’ is underway

A theater queen’s heaven

Uptown Players is begging for money again, but that’s good news because it means the return of Broadway Our Way. A star-studded night of local theater peeps combine their talents to bring an evening of fab showtunes, but with some major twists. Because we all know Uptown Players isn’t gonna play it straight — and that’s a good thing.

DEETS: Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. Through May 15. $40. UptownPlayers.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Uptown Players announces its 2011 season

On Tuesday night, Uptown Players hosted a nice turnout at the Kalita Humphreys Theater where they announced the roster for their 2011 season. They held off on announcing one production due to contractual reasons, but if it fits in with the rest, it should make quite a season — especially for the LGBT community. Joining Players producers Jeff Rane and Craig Lynch onstage was the cast of the upcoming show Closer to Heaven, the Pet Shop Boys musical which opens Oct. 1.

• Uptown Players will start the season with Thank You For Being a Friend, The Musical, a Golden Girls parody by Nick Brennan. Expect camp overdrive as the “women” aren’t too thrilled about a certain gay celebrity moving in next door. Who knew Lance Bass could be such a problem? The show runs Feb. 4–27 at the Rose Room inside Station 4.

• As part of the upcoming Foote Festival celebrating playwright Horton Foote, Uptown Players joins in with the regional premiere of his Pulitzer prize winning play, Young Man from Atlanta. The show runs April 1–17 at the Kalita.

• UP brings back Broadway Our Way in which local actors switch-hit showtunes. Men sing the women’s parts, vice versa and it’s a gay ol’ time. BOW runs May 6–15.

• The Twilight Zone theme played when they didn‘t announce their next show, which will run June 10–July 2. We know it’s a musical at least, but the official announcement will be made Feb.1.

• Victor/Victoria, the musical based on the Julie Andrews/James Garner 1982 film, will run July 29–Aug. 2.

• Personally, I thought their announcement of the Dallas Pride Performing Arts Festival was the most exciting. The fest will feature cabaret sets, performances and plays with the musical Crazy, Just Like Me by Louis Sacco and Drew Gasparini as the centerpiece. The fest coincides with Dallas Pride and runs Sep. 9–17. The full schedule will also be announced Feb. 1.

• Finishing off the season will be The Temperamentals, a new play by Jon Marans which opened this year off-Broadway. The site notes that the play “‘tells the story of two men – the communist Harry Hay and the Viennese refugee and designer Rudi Gernreich — as they fall in love while building the first gay rights organization in the pre-Stonewall United States.”

—  Rich Lopez