We look at the pop culture, sports and arts events that defined 2015 for us
We like to refer to “the LGBT community,” but we’re all part of a larger collective of many communities: Dallasites, Texans, Americans, earthlings … consumers of media and patrons of the arts and the things that make life interesting. In the global age, that’s an all-encompassing range of experiences, so boiling all of that down to a collective handful representing an entire year is no easy task. But we took it on anyway, assembling this list of one dozen things that happened in Dallas — or affected us in some way — in the arts, the world of sports, pop culture and media. What about life in Dallas in 2015 resonates for you? Continue the discussion online, and let’s look forward to what 2016 holds.
Trans Jenner. Bruce Jenner formally announces he’s a transgender woman in a widely-watched ABC interview special, comes out on the cover of Vanity Fair as Caitlyn Jenner, gets her own reality TV show (I Am Cait) … and completely alienates the LGBT community by proudly supporting Republican candidates and giving only half-hearted support for marriage equality. Meanwhile, folks like Laverne Cox continue to portray the trans community with dignity and seriousness.
Tallywackers gives equal time to objectifying men. Ever since word broke about Tallywackers — the male equivalent to breastaurants like Hooters, Burger Girl or Twin Peaks … call it a junkyard? — its campy appeal and sexy waitstaff have shown the straight world at large what gay men have always known: A little man candy never hurt anyone. And we even enjoyed the food.
Dallas Opera’s three world premieres. Starting with the multimedia sensation that was Everest last winter, and continuing up to the gobsmacking season premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s magnificent instant classic Great Scott (and, to a lesser degree, the well-intentioned failure of Mark Adamo’s Becoming Santa Claus) the Dallas Opera showed the community that the art form is alive and well, and can be as contemporary and relevant as anything Broadway can do.
Hamilton hype. Speaking of Broadway, the hit musical Hamilton — Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop take on American history with a racially and ethnically diverse cast representin’ the Founding Fathers (and Brothers) gave theater queens a new star to latch onto. History never seemed so fun.
Dallas: Drag Racer haven. Since Bianca Del Rio performed at the start of January last year, about a dozen recent former contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race have debuted or returned to Dallas (often through programming at The Brick). Among them: Pearl, Adore Delano, Miss Fame, Trixie Mattel, Trinity K. Bonet, Morgan McMichaels and our own Kennedy Davenport, Alyssa Edwards and Shangela and more.
Michael Sam foxtrots onto TV, side-steps a pro football career. After becoming the first openly gay college football player drafted by a pro team in 2014, Sam appeared on the hit competition show Dancing with the Stars, lasting several weeks before getting voted off. Meanwhile, his attempt to compete in the NFL combine fails, and his drafting by the Canadian Football League ends quickly when he succumbs to so much pressure. We still admire the guy, though.
Maxwell Anderson makes a speedy departure from the Dallas Museum of Art. After helping increase attendance and overseeing several important exhibitions, acquisitions and expansions, the DMA’s director announces his departure for a new job in New York, less than four years after arriving in Dallas.
LifeWalk celebrates 25 years.
Wedding bells are still ringing in our ears. We’re pleased as punch about marriage equality, but just as delighted by the highly successful launch of our inaugural Wedding Expo, as well as the disdain heaped upon haters like Kim Davis and even the clerk in Denton County, who resisted issuing same-sex licenses for a few days before submitting to the rule of law.
Nationally and internationally, gay “leaders” suffer from serious bouts of foot-in-mouth disease. It wasn’t enough the gay fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana disparaged gay adoption and primly advocated for “traditional” family relations in an Italian magazine. Right here on American shores, the gay owners of the Out NY hotel host a fundraiser for homophobic Canadian-born Texas Sen. Rafael “Ted” Cruz … then make catty comments about gay clientele in New York magazine. (They repeat the blunder with another anti-gay GOP hopeful several months later.)
TITAS goes all-dance. After decades of importing music and dance acts, TITAS officially becomes North Texas’ premiere exclusive presenter of dance, with nine Dallas debuts (two world premieres!) in a rangy 10-show season.
Nerd alert! The in-person shows — the Marvel Universe Live and Marvel Experience Tour — come to North Texas months before the return of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Gay fantasy/sci-fi junkies go into hyperdrive.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 1, 2016.