By Arnold Wayne Jones

Drag divas kick up their heels for the Resource Center of Dallas

DRAG-A-LICIOUS: Emcees Cassie Nova, left, and Edna Jean Robinson will be donating their time and tips.

Thanksgiving is about gratitude for having enough to eat. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made the fourth Thursday in November an official holiday to brighten the spirits of the American people, who were then in the thick of the Civil War. Now, 145 years later, Dallas’ finest drag entertainers are carrying on the tradition by helping others who have less.

On Sunday, Edna Jean Robinson and Cassie Nova emcee the fourth annual "Something To Be Thankful For," charity drag-show fundraiser that benefits the Resource Center of Dallas. In previous years, "Something To Be Thankful For" specifically went towards funding Thanksgiving turkey spreads for RCD clients. This year, however, the auction will benefit the holiday food drive as well as other RCD programs.

Some items up for auction include: a round-trip ticket on American Airlines; works by local artist Robb Conover; Advanced Skin Fitness gift certificates and products; and a GayBingo gift basket.

Over the last three years, "Something To Be Thankful For" has raised more than $18,000 for Resource Center of Dallas.

— D. A. K.

JR’s Bar and Grill, 3923 Cedar Springs Rd. Nov. 9, from 7 pm. to 10 p.m. For more info about RCD, call 214-528-0144.


HBO has always produced quality original programming, often (incidentally) with gay content (the closeted mafioso late in the run of "The Sopranos," the gay mobster in "The Wire," and of course "Six Feet Under" and "Sex and the City"). But for the most part, it’s been Showtime that has been the gayest premium cable network, with "Queer As Folk," "The L Word" and the like.

This season, something changed.

First, "Six Feet" creator Alan Ball returned to the network with "True Blood," which features pansexual bloodsuckers and a flamboyantly gay short-order cook and a straight guy who gets naked at least twice an episode. But even gayer have been two imported series.

"Little Britain USA," a retooled version of the BBC America hit, ended its six-episode run last week, although reruns continue this month. The comedy duo (including openly gay Matt Lucas) are Monty Python-esque, cross-dressing and mincing their way through a series of short skits featuring a collection of queer characters and just average nuts.

Taking over "Little Britain’s" Sunday timeslot this week is "Summer Heights High," which arrives from the opposite side of the globe. Stealing liberally from Christopher Guest’s "Waiting for Guffman," "Hamlet 2" and Tracey Ullman, Australian comedian Chris Lilley has fashioned a mockumentary reality TV show that purports to follow three members of a Down Under high school: trouble Maori hoodlum Jonah, stuck-up junior Ja’ime and Mr. G, the gay drama teacher, pictured … all of whom are played by Lilley himself.

"Summer Heights" combines the best in campy improv with some well-trod cliches, such as the quirky, downright bizarre teacher who behaves entirely inappropriately around his students. Amusing? You bet. Never been done before? Hardly.

Occasionally, Lilley skirts the line or outright crosses it, such as the teasing scene with actual mentally and physically challenged kids getting a fruitless dance lesson. But every episode is exactly what it needs to be: laugh-out-loud funny.

Lilley’s trio of performances are all convincing, and better yet, capture the reality of the mini fiefdom of high school, complete with the jealousies and personalities that make it both memorable and painful.

Over on Bravo — the gayest of all basic cable channels (and we’re including Logo in that) — season 5 of "Top Chef" kicks off Wednesday with 17 new contestants, including an unprecedented three gay cooks: Richard, a big, cute bear from San Diego; Patrick, a twink from New York; and Jamie, a lesbian from San Francisco. There are so many gays (mixed in with some adorable straights) that the three join forces in the season opener as "Team Rainbow," although how long that alliance lasts isn’t clear.

"I am feeling nervous about being back on the bottom," Patrick whines. I highly doubt that.

"Summer Heights High," airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. on HBO. Grade: B+

"Top Chef: New York," airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo. Grade: A-

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 7, 2008.
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