Sunday, April 30, 2006

Last day in April

Allergies acting up this weekend, so I figured to lay low for the weekend. I might as well save my energy and money for now since this is going to be a busy week, with Equality Forum happening in Philly this week. I want to attend two of the discussion panels at the Prince Music Theater on Wednesday, "Media Panel: Blogs" and "Beyond Barebacking: Young Men's Health" (Freddy from the blog Mental Hopskotch will be among the panelists in the latter). I'm also planning to be at the SundayOUT! street festival (held in the Old City section) and the Equality LIVE! Concert at Penns Landing with Taylor Dayne and Pretty Poison on the bill.

Got an e-mail from The Pennsylvania Gay And Lesbian Alliance saying that the Anti-gay Marriage Amendment was not brought up in the PA State House for a vote this past week, but it could be brought up this week since the State House is scheduled until Wednesday May 3, which after that the House will be in recess until Monday, May 22 (which is after the Primary Election). PA-GALA goes on to say:
It is likely that the Amendment will not move until after the May 16th Primary Election. The leadership is protecting House members from having to make a controversial vote before the Primary. The bad news for lgbt voters is that we will not know who will actually vote for or against the amendment before we cast our ballots on May 16th.
I find that quite surprising, since the Republicans are orchestrating this in the first place because they are nervous about the recent public backlash over the State House and Senate voting for pay raises while programs were being slashed and that it might cause the incumbents to be voted out of office, in which the Republicans might lose their majority in the State House and Senate. So they are going to be whatever they can to stay in office and in power. If that means working up the anti-gay feelings of the mob and distracting them from other issues, damn right they'll do it. Anyway contact your State Representative and tell him or her to say NO! to this if you haven't already.

On a more lighter note, took part in Dining Out For Life this past Thursday by having dinner at the Astral Plane with a bunch of members from the Philadelphians MC. Never ate there before. Nice atmosphere (if a little cramped from where we sat on the second floor), good food. A fun evening.

One final thing: Congrats to Ms. Philadelphia Leather 2005 Dawn Marie for winning the title of American Leathergirl at American Brotherhood Weekend last week! Way to go for representing Philly!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I Exist!...and I have a new music blog as well

Just wanted let you know that I've started a second blog, only this one will be exclusively about music! Since I've gotten some great respones on my music-related posts on this blog here, I thought I'd do one just on music via my MySpace page! I'll be posting some stuff that I've originally written here (don't worry, I'll still be posting here as well), and I'll probably post some new stuff on there too. So check it out at!

Smug-Married-Hets-Rule Amendment PA update

Pennsylvania's anti-gay marriage Amendment is still on the State House of Representative's schedule for this week. So far it was not discussed in either the House Republican Caucus or the House Democratic Caucus yesterday. The Amendment may be discussed in these caucuses today, and the Amendment still could be voted on the House floor time sometime this week.

According to an e-mail sent from The Pennsylvania Gay And Lesbian Alliance today, State House Members are being flooded with phone calls from members of the Religious Right who support the amendment. These people were told to call their legislators during church on Sunday. (So much for separation between church and state!) I'm fucking pissed that all these people are quick to blame me for everying that's wrong with the "American Family." Obviously every gay person and free-thinking straight in this state needs to counter these calls with calls opposing the amendment ASAP!

So you want to impeach Bush?

Appearently there's been a lot of talk about Bush making big mistakes and that he should be impeached as punishment, yet no one wants to actually do anything about it. If the people want to impeach Bush, they would have to first vote more Democrats into Congress. Do you really think that with Republicans having the majority in the Senate and House of Representatives and are albe to set the agenda, would dare impeach their fellow RePigbilican Bush? As Whitney and Bobby Brown would say, HELL TO THE NO! If your Congressman and/or Senator is a Republican and is up for election (hello, Satan-torum!), vote them out of office. Then when the Democrats regain the majority we can talk about impeachment. It's as simple as that.

Thanks to Jimmi for passing this item onto me.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shopping in King of Prussia

Well the sun came out today this afternoon, after it rained a whole lot yesterday. I decided to drive to the King of Prussia area to do some shopping. I figured that it would make up for the night before. I originally was going to drive into Philly and do some bar-hopping Sautrday night. I drove in the city in the pouring rain, getting into the Gayborhood section around 7:30pm. Looked for some on-street parking for the next 45 minutes. Lots of police cars with their sirens going were blocking off intersections like at 12th and Pine Streets; what was going on, some kind of bomb threat or something? Anyway, traffic in the area was a mess. Needed to stop to use the bathroom, so I parked at the garage on 11th and South Streets and I walked to the Last Drop Coffeehouse on 13th and Pine and got some coffee. I could see traffic on Pine being directed up 13th. Seeing that, I had a hunch that it probably wouldn't be a good night to be in the area, so I went back to the garage (I paid $4 for that one hour in there) and drove back home in the rain and cut my losses. A bit of a waste of time and gas money, given that gas now around $3 per gallon, and it takes about a quarter of a tank to drive to Philly and back.

Anyhow today I first stopped at the Tower Records in King of Prussia. I remember when the first Tower in the Philly area opened on South Street in 1987, where my two or three per year visits were like events then. I just don't get that same feeling when I go to Tower these days, since in the past few years in the face of falling sales, they had to make cutbacks such as ceasing publication of their freebee Pulse! magazine (always good for finding out the latest rerleases and sales). The Tower in King Prussia is not as good as the ones at either South Street or the Avenue of the Arts (the later two stores have better singles section) but you can park right in front of the store without much effort and you don't have to pay the extra 1% sales tax like you do in the city. As I walked in the KoP store I heard what sounded like at first a cover of the Cure's "The Walk"--it turned out to be the Infusion Mix of that song, which was featured on Future Retro, a compilation of 80s New Wave classics given the contemporary remix treatment. As I went through the store I heard some more mixes from that album, such as the Richard X Remix of Yaz's "Situation." It sounded intersting indeed, though I didn't buy it (but I do plan to pick it up sometime soon). But I did buy a copy of the remastered Madonna CD (I still have the album on vinyl...and yes I do plan to see her in concert when she comes to Philly on July 12!) which was on sale, and a CD single of "Sick and Tired" by Anastacia for the Jason Nevins Funkrock Remix Edit.

Then I went over to the King of Prussia Mall and mostly just walked around and window shopped. You can get some good exercise by walking, since it's such as huge place. I did stop over at Sam Goody's which was having its closing out sale. Whatever CDs and DVDs were left in there were 90% off, but there wasn't much to choose from, since much of the store was picked clean. (I did pick up a limited edition copy of Maximo Park's A Cerain Trigger with a bonus CD of live tracks for only $1.39!) Stopped by Borders for some iced coffee and drove back home. All and all a good afternoon. Though I think that I won't be going to KoP as much as I did before, considering the price of gas and all that. Oh well at least I won't be tempted to spend my money as much anyway!

Thursday, April 20, 2006


A couple of weeks back I picked up a used import CD single of Mandy Moore's "In My Pocket" for cheap. My reason for getting this was for the Thunderpuss Club Mix of the song, after reading about it on a dance music discussion board. Being a fan of Thunderpuss remixes, it was surprising that I would pass on that track when it first came out in the summer of 2001. I guess I passed on it then was because it was by someone who represented post-Britney teen pop, which I didn't care much for. As I listen to that remix today, it has that big, expansive sound that charcterizes Thunderpuss dance remixes, that could fill up a huge dancefloor with no problems.

If you could compare a Thunderpuss remix to a cinematic style, it would one that's shot in thrity-five millimeter film and where the camera moves in a fluid and expansive shot over a huge scene or crowd. The remix/production duo's sound was a (pre-9-11 and pre-Bush) reflection of the American dancefloor from 1999 to 2002; optimistic and full of melody, yet with a edgy dark underside.

DJs Barry Harris and Chris Cox formed Thunderpuss in late 1997. Barry had been in a few dance acts over the previous decade, most famously in Kon Kan, which had a Top Twenty hit of "I Beg Your Pardon" in 1989. Chris Cox had done work with people such as Giorgio Moroder. Their first production would be a remake of Andy Gibb's "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" with former Snap! singer Thea Austin. In 1999 their remixes of Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right But It's Okay" and Amber's "Sexual (li da di)" would blow up both on the dancefloors and radios, putting them on the musical map. For the next four years they would be one of the most famous dance remixers in the industry. During their six-year run they would do 126 mixes and productions to their credit. 31 of their remixes would hit#1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music Club Play Chart!

In March 2002 there was a Thunderpuss mixed CD released on the Tommy Boy label simply titled Thunderpuss (the original title was supposed to be DJ's & Divas). Considering that the CD had a lot of commercial potential with Thunderpuss remixes of songs by the likes of Madonna and Britney Spears, as well as standard diva and circuit tracks, it was not widely promoted outside of the NYC area. (At that point Warner Brothers were no longer distributing Tommy Boy's records, thus Tommy Boy probably didn't have a lot of money to do a proper promotion of the compilation at that point.)

In addition to their remixes and production work, Thunderpuss released several singles, including "Stand Up" with Latanza Waters (actually a remix of the 1996 Love Tribe track of the same name) and a remake of Pigbag's "Poppa's Got A Brand New Pigbag," both in 2001. They also did a track with male vocalist Barnes, the Frankie Goes To Hollywood-sounding "Head", which was believed to be the first #1 single on the Billboard Dance Club Play Chart that was not signed to any label. They also did some solo production work at that time as well. Barry Harris teamed up with singer Pepper Mashay to record "Dive In The Pool," which was played so much at gay events (as well as on Queer As Folk) that the record became something of a gay cliche. Chris Cox hooked up with DJ Irene and vocalist Thea Austin to record "You're The Worst Thing For Me" under the moniker of Pusaka; that single would become a prime pissed-off-diva-done-wrong anthem.

By the time 2003 went around, things were getting difficult in the dance world in America. Radio stations and MTV were blantantly snubbing dance acts in favor of rap and R&B--even Madonna was having difficulty getting radio airplay. Gay circuit parties, which had reached its peak in the late 1990s, saw their attendences decline. Dance labels were closing shop and major labels were dropping their dance departments. Labels, feeling the financial pinch of declining sales, decided that paying up to $30,000 for a remixer to work on a track, only to have the finished result not to be released commercially--or in some cases, not even promotionally (such as the Thunderpuss remix of Britney's "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman," which was far better than the original ballad version IMHO)--was a waste of money and started having their remixes done on speculation instead. And Thunderpuss were having difficulty in keeping their sound fresh. By September Barry Harris decided to pull the plug on the partnership, citing "creative differences." He probably also was sensing that the big room sound by the likes of them and Hex Hector was falling out of favor. The duo's last remix ironically enough would be "So Yesterday" by Disney star Hilary Duff.

Since the split both have been concentrating on DJing and production work. Among Chris Cox's best-known post-Thunderpuss work is the remix of Kelly Osbourne's "One Word." Barry Harris recently announced that after two decades in the business he was retiring from it.

I thought I'd leave with a Top Ten list of my favorite Thunderpuss remixes. I first did a slightly different version two years ago at Hope that you'll enjoy the following:

  1. Whitney Houston - It's Not Right But It's Okay (The Thunderpuss 2000 Club Mix) - The track that put Thunderpuss on the musical radar for real. Fierce.
  2. Madonna - Don't Tell Me (Thunderpuss 2001 Hands In The Air Anthem) - Actually the second time that Thunderpuss would remix this track. Here Madonna get a circuit workout supreme.
  3. Whitney Houston - My Love Is Your Love (Thunderpuss 2000 Club Mix & Servere Dub) Not as well known as the Johnathan Peters' mixes, but they're just as divine. Featuring a sample of Raze's "Break 4 Luv" and a hot gospel choir.
  4. Kristine W - "Clubland (Thunderpuss Club Mix) - a Thunderpuss diva track done with sass and restraint.
  5. Amber - Sexual (li da di) (Thunderpuss 2000 edit & Club Mix) - Proof that Thunderpuss could handle Euro-dance artists just as well as diva tracks.
  6. Taylor Dayne - Naked Without You (Thunderpuss 2000 Club Anthem) - A great belter track. When Taylor hits that prolonged high note with "THE BEST MAN I'VE EVER HAAAAAAAAAAAD!!!"
  7. Whitney Houston - Whatchulookinat (Thunderpuss Club Mix & Anthem Mix) - Thunderpuss rescues this song. In its original form a limp R&B number where Whitney bitches how much fame is a bitch. But T-Puss remakes it into a slamming dance track that "strikes back."
  8. Mary J. Blige - No More Drama (Thunderpuss Club Mix) - A definitive diva track. Should have been called "Yes More Drama" instead.
  9. Tamia - Stranger In My House (Thunderpuss Club Mix & Radio Mix)
  10. Whitney Houston - Try It Own My Own (Thunderpuss Private Invite Mix) - Here T-Puss aimed for a more intimate mix with no effects to Whitney's vocals. Some people perfered the more standard big room sound of the Thunderpuss Club Mix instead, but I really think that this mix really works.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Constipation (blog, that is)

I know I haven't blogged a lot recently. I didn't have any problems finding material to write about; I've just been reluctant to post them. I guess that having to deal with my state Pennsylvania toying with adding anti-gay marriage language to the state constitution has given me a lot of anxiety, and my dragging my feet on posting about it was my way of trying not to get depressed over that whole mess. Having finally posted about it and gotten it out of the way, I'm quite motivated now, so fuck it. Love, Me.

Last night I had a good night bar-hopping in Philly. Wound up at my usual watering hole, where I ran into a couple of fellow bloggers. Quite a good crowd there. Hate the (45 minute-1 hour)long drive to the city and back, at least those mix tapes and CDs help the time. I hope that I'll be able to make the move to Philly later this year.

A new club for worshipping Italian men with huge mustaches?

Thanks to Philebrity for letting me onto the story about new Phillies catcher Sal Fasano and his fan club, whose members go to Phillies games with thick fu manchu mustaches as a tribute to him. Is it kind of like wearing KISS makeup to a KISS concert? Or just appreciation for Italian men with woofy facial hair?


"Backup catcher Sal Fasano first noticed them signing autographs before Game 1 of Sunday's doubleheader.

He did another double take while warming up Jon Lieber for Game 2. Suddenly, he was looking in a mirror and seeing nearly two-dozen reflections -- complete with long hair and fu manchu mustaches.

Sal's Pals have arrived at Citizens Bank Park and taken their place in the right-field bleachers. The newest fan club is a group of fans decked out in long hair and mustaches. Some were drawn on with magic marker, while others were acquired at a costume store.

One looked particularly authentic."

You can click here for the rest of the story at Shame he has to wear that catcher's mask. (And sorry guys, he married...and straight.)

Friday, April 14, 2006

The skinny on PA's anti-gay marriage amendment

Since I've posted on the efforts to add an anti-gay marraige amendment to Pennsylvania's constitution in the past, I thought it be proper to point out what would happen if this amendent is passed. In short, lots of lives will be ruined just so a few married straights can feel smug and entitled.

The following is from The Pennsylvania Gay And Lesbian Alliance:

"To become part of the Pennsylvania Constitution - the Anti-Marriage Amendment needs to pass the State House and the State Senate before the end of June 2006 and then pass the State House and the State Senate again before June 2008. The Amendment would then be placed on the ballot as a referendum in either November 2007 or November 2008. The amendment needs to receive a simple majority in the State House, State Senate and before the voters. Governor Rendell has no role in the Amendment process and cannot veto the amendment.

If the amendment passes that State House and State Senate - a vicious public election campaign will result. Commercials and flyers that demonized gay and lesbian people will fill the television airwaves and all voter's mailboxes.

If the Anti-Marriage Amendment is added to the PA Constitution - it could have the follow effects:

1. Prohibit same-sex marriages in PA forever - even if a majority of Pennsylvanians supported same-sex marriage.

2. Prohibit recognition of same-sex marriages performed other states.

3. Render Philadelphia's Life Partnership Ordinance invalid and unconstitutional.

4. Prohibit local goverments from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees. Currently Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montgomery County offer their employees domestic partnership benefits.

5. Prohibit universities from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees.

6. Prohibit protection from abuse orders from being issued to non married persons.

Pennsylvania law already prohibits gay and lesbian couples from marrying, so this amendment is not necessary.

This Amendment will affect all families, not just same-sex families. While supporters in other states have said these amendments are only about gay marriage, this is not true. In Ohio, prosecutions of Domestic Abuse cases involvning unmarried people, including unmarried heterosexual couples, have been altered. In Michigan, groups are challenging domestic partner benefits for employees. Virginia's recently enacted amendment is so broad that it may interfere with the rights of all Virginians to create wills, medical directives, powers of attorney, child custody and property arrangements, and even joint bank accounts."

The anti-marriage amendment is currently on the State House Agenda for a vote on Monday, April 24th, so if you live in Pennsylvania do contact your State Representative and tell him/her to stop this madness.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Allergies are a bitch

This morning I woke up with a huge headache. It must have been my allegry to all that pollen into the air this time of year, with springtime and all. It seems like I'm either at risk for getting a cold during the cold winter months or at risk for getting allergies during the warmer months. Fortuneately I did the things I needed to get done this morning and worked right through the headache. And I felt better when I left to go to Philly late the afternoon with the Philadelphians' Lemonade! Spring Social, and I wound up having a good time there. Lots of money was raised for Alex's Lemonade Stand, an organization that helps kids with cancer. Going to Philly for the social made me glad I went...I just had a big headache, not a broken spirit.

Just got back from the city. Now off to bed to get some restful rest.

Marriage woes in PA and elsewhere

The good news for the Pennsylvania LGBT community is that the State House did not vote on the Anti-Marriage Amendment (HB 2381) on April 4 as originally planned. It's been pushed back three weeks. The Anti-Marriage Amendment has now been placed on the State House agenda for a vote on Monday, April 24th.

Pennsylvania law already prohibits gay and lesbian couples from marrying, so why this amendment is being brought up? Maybe because the Republicans are nervous about a lot people being pissed that the State House and Senate voted for a pay raise and that might end up voting a lot of those politicans out of office and cause the Republicans to lose their majority in the State House and Senate. So the Republicians decide to use gay marriage to get the Religious Right folks to support them and keep the status quo, as well as to "keep those uppity homos in their place." Is it any wonder that the vote on the amendment has been pushed closer to the day of the state primaries, which is on May 16?

Meanwhile in Michigan rapper Eminem and his wife Kim Mathers have filed for divorce after being married for a second time for eighty-two days, and already there's mud being thrown on both sides. Note that Michigan's anti-gay marriage laws have done NOTHING to prevent this circus from happening. So much for those laws helping "the sanctity of marriage!" Maybe the Pennsylvania state legislature ought to rewrite the amendment--instead of banning gays, how about banning celebrities like Eminem from getting married instead?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lemonade this Sunday

In case you haven't got anything to do this Sunday...

I will be there!

LOGO TV rejects gay-positive church ad

LOGO TV, the gay cable channel owned by MTV and CBS, is among the growing number of television networks that are saying no to a television commercial from the United Church of Christ that features a gay couple. MTV issued a statement saying that it rejected the commercial on all of its networks because "our guidelines state we will not accept religious advertisements that may be deemed as disparaging to another religion."

In other words, gays are allowed to be the token gay housemate on the Real World as long as they don't insist that God doesn't think of them as being inferior to straights...that subversive idea might piss the Republicans and 50 Cent off!

Ron Buford, director of the UCC’s Stillspeaking Initiative, described the networks' rejection as "heartbreaking." Buford, who is African American, refers back to the 1950s when some television stations refused to run network news that positively portrayed the Civil Rights Movement: "This is 'sorry, cable trouble' all over again."

"There could not be a more concrete example of what happens when our media is in the hands of a few corporate elites who simply don’t agree with you. They can simply turn you off. Click, goodbye."

The pro-gay religious ad, called "Ejector Seat," the ad employs humor to underscore one of the campaign's central themes, "God doesn't reject people. Neither do we."

The 30-second commercial begins with a shot of an African-American mother trying to calm a crying baby. Sitting in a church pew, the mother fidgets anxiously, as she endures disapproving looks from fellow worshippers. Eventually, someone in the wings pushes an "ejector" button to rid the church of her - and her noisy baby. Into the air they go flying.

In similar fashion, a gay couple, an Arab-American, a person using a walker, among others, get "ejected." Finally, when a homeless person wanders in and takes a seat, nervous parishioners - expecting she'll get the boot for sure - scoot away from her.

The commercial ends with a mood shift, where shots of diverse, friendly people set the stage for the announcer's invitation: "The United Church of Christ - no matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I've got disco, who could ask for anything more?

In honor of April Fools Day, I'd like to present you with The Ethel Merman Disco Album! First released in 1979 when it seemed like everyone and their mother put out a disco record regardless if they were suited to the genre or not. This is a great piece of pure unintentional camp, featuring over-the-top disco versions of her signature songs like "I Got Rhythm." Word had it that she had recorded her vocals before the instrumental tracks were laid down. (BTW the album was produced Peter Matz, who helped put together Barbra Streisand's first albums.) She did give the song the damn-the-torpedos treatment, even if she really didn't care much for the genre. Appearently this was a desperate attempt to assure that she's hip to what "the kids" were listening to at the time; it's like Madonna rapping about soy lattes on "American Life."

I remember when this album first came out. Ethel was a judge on the TV show Dance Fever to promote the album. It also got some really bad reviews in the press, making the list of the ten worst records of 1979 in People magazine. And when people wanted to discuss the downfall of disco and the record company overkill of the genre, they would simple point to this record.

A few years ago I found a vinyl copy of the album in a thrift store for two dollars. Hearing about its cheesy reputation, I bought it and found it to be, conservatively speaking, a hoot. The album would also be re-issued on CD in 2003 on the Fynsworth Alley label with a bonus track of her version of Irving Berlin's "They Say It's Wonderful."

But judging from that album cover, Ethel looks like she's having a good time on the dance floor, doesn't she?