This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

After two weeks of “soft opening” service, last night Monica’s Nueva Cocina and ME Lounge on Cedar Springs in the ilume had its “official” opening with open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. Monica told me there’s always a honeymoon phase where people love ya … it’s six months on when you know if you’re a hit. I’ve eaten there a few times already. A review will come next month, but you might wanna start making your reservations…

Over at the Winspear, Chicago (pictured) is back, and it’s surprisingly not stale, even after countless productions ever since the 1996 revival. And John O’Hurley can actually sing! And if you go on Tuesday — or even if you just have some free time — I’ll be doing my usually GLBT Broadway lecture at 7 p.m. in Hamon Hall before the show, pointing out ways you might enjoy the gay text and subtext better. Then on Thursday, Casa Manana puts on a local professional production of Greater Tuna — something of a coup, as authors-stars Jaston Williams and Joe Sears often guard licensing carefully in their home turf. But with David Coffee in many of the roles, it’s sure to be funny. And Sweeney Todd continues over at KD Studio Theatre.

The fourth annual Pink Party features tons of musicians and other acts (burlesque? Uh-huh) on both floors of the ladies’ club, all raising money for breast cancer research. It’s at Sue Ellen’s tonight. There will be fundraising as well with the men, ginning up bucks for Resource Center Dallas. Honey Pot II: Summer Chill is a Sunday afternoon beer bash at Dallas Eagle, with members of the Dallas Diablos in attendance.

There are also several drag opportunities this week. In addition to the shows at the Rose Room and other clubs, Cassie Nova hosts the “turnabout” show of Caven employees at JR.’s on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Celeste Martinez is M.C. of Miss Gay Highland Park at the Round-Up Saloon.

And at the movies, the last performance by Whitney Houston is preserved in the new release Sparkle, with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks sharing screen time.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The gay interview: Jordin Sparks

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks’ first feature film — Sparkle co-starring the late gay icon Whitney Houston — opens tomorrow, and earlier this month she spoke frankly with our celeb correspondent Chris Azzopardi about working with Whitney Houston, their affection for their gay fan bases and how her Christian background taught her to love, not hate.

Jordin sparkles

Whitney Houston’s starring role — the last before her tragic death earlier this year — isn’t the only reason Sparkle has “gay” written all over it: There’s the flamboyant style of the ’60s, an all-girl singing group and, well, the movie’s name.

Seated in a hotel suite outside Detroit, where the film was shot, American Idol winner Jordin Sparks lights up knowing how many of her gay fans will see her on the big screen in her movie debut.

Sparks’ return to Motown in early August was even more appropriate when Aretha Franklin, who sang on the soundtrack for the 1976 original film, showed up to walk the red carpet with the remake’s star. Even though she lost a nail, the 22-year-old said having the Queen of Soul there was “absolutely incredible.”

About the finger fiasco: “I was freaking out because I looked at the picture of Aretha and me and the nail is gone.” That’s not a problem today, however. “I made sure I glued these suckers on like nobody’s business!”

After the jump, ever so bubbly Sparks chats about Whitney’s mutual adoration for the gay community, addressed “mean” rumors of her anti-gay upbringing and recalled her first time at a drag club — in Dallas!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Enter the “Sparkle” singing competition

Whitney Houston’s last film appearance was in the movie Sparkle, which hits theaters next month, but you can have a little part in celebrating the great diva with a song competition. On Saturday at Valley View Mall, amateur singers (ages 13 to 40) can register to sing a 60-second version of “Celebration” or “Something He Can Feel.” The winner locally gets not only $500 in cash and a $25 bebe gift card, but also gets entered in the grand prize: A trip to New York City and an appearance on BET, plus more. Registration is at noon, with the contest promptly beginning at to 1 p.m. You can go here to see clips of the songs you can sing, and pre-register your slot by emailing DallasSingingChallenge@moroch.com. Complete rules are here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LISTEN: Whitney Houston’s final recording “Celebrate” with Jordin Sparks for upcoming film


The late Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks teamed up for the upcoming film Sparkle which also marked Houston’s last on-screen appearance and recorded songs. “Celebrate,” a duet between the two, was posted on YouTube today. Listen to Houston’s last known recording after the jump and and the trailer for the film set to be released this August.

—  Rich Lopez

Perry Twins post high energy Houston tribute

While we may continue to honor Whitney Houston’s legacy, I think it’s fair to say we could be a little Whitney-ed out by the constant playing of her cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” in every tribute since last week’s tragic news. Heck, even Aretha couldn’t come up with another idea at her Radio City Music Hall concert Saturday night. But this just came on my radar. The Perry Twins, who performed at Station 4 in 2009, offer their tribute to the singer with this hour-long mix of deep cuts and big hits. It’s a welcome reprieve from the overuse of ballads used to remember her by, but also a reminder of her contribution to the dance floor. She was the Queen of the Night, remember?

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Love Train show at AAC

Chaka Khan at Love Train. (OldSchool45.com.)

Last night, radio station Old School. 94.5 pulled off an impressive first outing as their rebranded self. The station turned the American Airlines Center into a party, a church and even a Soul Train line with a strong roster of classic R&B and soul artists from The O’Jays to Chaka Khan. The show had its ups and downs, but there was no doubt, they brought the funk.

For the show to start almost an hour late was not cool. They were still sound checking and 6 p.m. when it was supposed to start. Most concerts rarely start on time, but this kind of delay was ridiculous and mind you, this was a six-hour event. All was forgotten when Confunkshun took the stage and brought the house down quick. Soulful vocals, rich horns and a few choreographed steps helped the band show music doesn’t need a lot of accessorizing to be awesome. If there was anything to be said for that long-ass sound check, it was the wonderfully lush, layered sounds of the band. The Mary Jane Girls hopped onstage to perform “In My House” adding to the bustling energy. The BarKays threw in some gimmicky quick pyros and a live anaconda and Slave held their own with a spirited performance, but it was the Ohio Players who killed inthe first half. That intro bass line from “Skin Tight” sent a nuclear reaction through the arena and “Love Rollercoaster” was a jam best enjoyed live and at loud volumes. The audience was whipped into a frenzy all before the first break.

—  Rich Lopez

“Love Train” R&B legends concert tonight at AAC

Time to get funked up

While the late Whitney Houston recharged one of Chaka Khan’s biggest hits, there’s no denying the funk queen’s own style. Khan comes to Dallas for a night of some legendary R&B with The O’Jays, Jeffrey Osborne, The Mary Jane Girls and Ohio Players as part of the Love Train show. What’s better — that’s not even the entire roster.

DEETS: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. 6 p.m. $24.50–$79.50. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

BREAKING: Singer Whitney Houston dead at 48

It has just been reported that singer Whitney Houston has died. According to the Associated Press, no further details are known at this time. From ABC News.

Houston’s publicist, Kristen Foster, said Saturday that the singer had died, but the cause and the location of her death were unknown.

News of Houston’s death came on the eve of music’s biggest night — the Grammy Awards. It’s a showcase where she once reigned, and her death was sure to case a heavy pall on Sunday’s ceremony. Houston’s longtime mentor Clive Davis was to hold his annual concert and dinner Saturday; it was unclear if it was going to go forward.

—  Rich Lopez

Shabby Shriek of the Week: Nicole Scherzinger

This week, we look at singer Nicole Scherzinger. We’ve received remixes for her songs “Right There” and “Don’t Hold Your Breath.” These two singles come from her debut album Killer Love slated for a December release. How does she fare? Read on.

WTF is Nicole Scherzinger?

The bio on her site is way too long. Seriously, chick? Below are some of the more precious bits from her bio.

“when Hawaiian-born Nicole Scherzinger was growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, she received a Christmas gift of a tiny purple boombox and a cassette of Whitney Houston’s chart-topping 1985 self-titled debut album. ‘That was it for me. Her voice was so powerful; every note she sang just felt like the truth.’”

“…a multifaceted career that has enabled her to lead the multi-platinum pop group The Pussycat Dolls , take home the mirror ball trophy as the tenth season winner of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars and act on How I Met Your Mother and the musical Rent. [Simon Cowell] tapped Scherzinger to serve as a judge on the American version of The X Factor…

“All I’ve ever really wanted to do was sing,” she says. “I didn’t care about being famous. Whitney Houston really touched me and changed my life. She drew me into her world and that’s what I hope to do with Killer Love. I want to create a world inside of the music like my favorite performers did. I want to play in that realm artistically and creatively and see where it takes me, then put it onstage and share it with people. That’s what it’s about for me.”

More after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Meet our Spring 2011 intern, Jefferson Johnson

Hello, and allow me to introduce myself: My name is Jefferson W. Johnson and I’m the new Spring 2011 intern for the Dallas Voice.

For starters, I’m a Southern Methodist University junior. My major is journalism with an emphasis in broadcast. However, as I begin to finish the curriculum I find my focus torn among many new journalism avenues, such as photojournalism and multimedia journalism — with my favorite quickly becoming blogging.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook and check out my YouTube channel, and find out what it takes to be an intern and a full-time university student while maintaining a grade-point average above 3.0!

It is a great honor to be a part of the Dallas Voice team. I hope to earn the respect and readership of the community and reach new people.

Last, three things about me:

One, I am a military veteran and yes, I had a gay ol’ time.

Two, I actually have a sense of humor — LOL.

And three, the “W” stands for Whitney, as in Whitney Houston.

Keep your eyes peeled. You never know where I’ll turn up.

—  admin