Pulse

Michael Benjamin Washington takes the stage, the Dallas Morning News plays copycat, a white man sings the blues, and more.

{ THEATER }
ROLE REVERSAL

“It’s a total culture shock going from Plano to Manhattan,” MICHAEL BENJAMIN WASHINGTON says.
“But Plano is home. That’s my roots.” The 25-year-old Broadway star has
come a long way since he was student council president at Plano Senior
High and hung out at Collin Creek Mall. But he always seemed destined
to leave the suburbs for the Great White Way. He earned his Equity card
at the age of 11, did commercials and voice-overs for companies like
JCPenney and Frito-Lay, and made his stage debut in Theatre Three’s
production of Manchild in the Promised Land when he was only 15. He even appeared on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger,
though he can’t quite recall what he did. (One can only assume that
Walker either rescued him from the clutches of a drug cartel or punched
his lights out.) After high school, Washington headed off to NYU and
made his Broadway debut in 2001 in the smash Mamma Mia! Today he’s lighting up the stage in La Cage aux Folles, wearing a pound of makeup and a fabulous boa as the

scene-stealing

cross-dressing maid Jacob. “Knock on wood, things are
going as planned, and that rarely happens,” he says. If only Chuck
Norris could see him now. —BRIAN D. SWEANY

——————————

 
{ MEDIA }

PaperCopy
We were breathless when we spied the December issue of F!Dluxe, the second installment of the Dallas Morning News’ fashion and shopping supplement. Then it hit us: we’ve seen this before. So we snatched a copy of the December issue of PaperCity, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. But don’t take our word for it. See for yourself:

• Ribbon banners across the top
• Pouty blondes amid a sea of glittering lights
• Whites! Icy Blues! Grays!
• Love of alliteration

PLUS!
Convenient size!
F!Dluxe 12.5” x 21”
PaperCity 12.5” x 20.5”

Nearly identical paper stock and weight!

And they both looooove to PARTY!

 Photo: Papercity: Abel Sanchez

——————————

{ MUSIC }
Blues Brother
Edwin Holt isn’t just another ethnic wannabe. He’s a white guy who’s making it in a black man’s world.
by Stacey Yervasi

NOTE WORTHY: Holt once opened for blues great Johnnie Taylor.

Sporting closely clipped hair, a pressed plaid shirt,
blue jeans, and cowboy boots, Edwin Holt doesn’t look like a guy who
has an intimate knowledge of South Dallas juke joints. He definitely
doesn’t appear to be the type who can belt out a blues song and pepper
it with searing harmonica riffs. In fact, he stands out for one main
reason: he’s white.

“I never have been with a ‘white’ band,” the
37-year-old Holt says with a hint of pride. Instead, he has paid his
dues in South Dallas music halls, where his pale brethren rarely tread.
For nearly 15 years Holt has sharpened his talents at places like the
renowned R.L. Griffin’s Blues Palace—where, according to Holt, “you
find the best musicians”—all the while earning the crowd’s respect.

He
currently plays with a 12-piece group that formerly backed blues great
Johnnie Taylor, kind of a Dr. Dre to Holt’s Eminem. “If there was an
Elvis for the black community, it was Johnnie Taylor,” Holt says. He
still treasures the memory of opening up for Taylor before his death
four years ago. Another highlight included a recent invitation to
perform at a reunion for C.B. Dansby High School, a now-shuttered
school that once had an all-black population. That’s just another step
on the road toward Holt’s ultimate goal: “I want to be the first white
guy signed to an all-black label,” he says. “That would be the ultimate
affirmation.”

But he certainly doesn’t do it for the money. He
lives comfortably in Greenway Parks, not far from the Mockingbird
Station office of his design firm, which is a world away from his South
Dallas stomping grounds. Lately, though, it has become more difficult
to keep a full schedule. “I’m married. I have responsibilities. I go to
church on Sunday,” he says. “It’s really hard to say, ‘You know, honey,
I’m going to be out until 2 or 3 in the morning.’”

Now,
whenever he gets the itch to perform in a more authentic atmosphere,
Holt joins the gospel choir at the Bon Air Baptist Church in Oak Cliff.
“I can get my fix in the church just as well as in a juke joint,” he
says. “But every now and then, I’ve got to go down to the juke joint.”
When your religion is blues, the juke joint is your place of worship.

 

Photo: Holt: Randal Ford

——————————

THE BLACK WIDOW RETURNS (AGAIN AND AGAIN)
We were delighted to see Glenna Whitley’s recent cover story about Sandra Bridewell (pictured) in the Dallas Observer.
You remember Bridewell as the Black Widow, so named because the Park
Cities socialite had husbands and friends who kept dying under
mysterious circumstances. D Magazine first published a story
about her in May 1987. Whitley updated that story in these very pages
in May 1989. It was a good update. Then she updated the update with
another story in D that ran in November 1994. Very solid re-update. Whitley waited a decade to update the re-update with an Observer
cover story in January of last year. Tremendous re-re-update. And then
came the update to the re-re-update that we were so delighted to see on
the cover of the Observer in December. So now, when it comes to the whereabouts and doings of Sandra Bridewell, we feel pretty much up to date. —TIM ROGERS

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