Friday, May 26, 2006

She sells synth-pop by the seashore

I'm currently making a mix CD of early 80s synth-pop and new wave songs and more recent songs that feature that retro-sound (like Rihanna's "SOS" with its sample of Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love"), which I plan to listen to for my drive down to Ocean City, MD and Rehoboth Beach, DE this weekend. I guess that reason why I listen to that kind of music when I'm down there is that my family started to go down to Ocean City in 1982. (Before that we would go to the Jersey shore.) My parents were sharing a condo and we spent quite a bit of time down there that summer. I remember New Wave acts that were starting getting airplay on the Top 40 radio stations like Soft Cell and the Human League that summer. Also MTV was beginning and were giving a lot of Brit-wave pop acts exposure, which tended to be more colorful than a lot of the mainstream US rock bands at that time. The newness of both Ocean City and all the shiny new pop groups of 1982-3 were joined together in my mind. To me The Go-Go's were total beach music. And A Flock Of Seagulls are a no-brainer for that as well. So I cannot imagine not taking at least a few of my new wave CDs when I go to Rehoboth or OC.

Anyhow here's a list of songs from the top of my head that IMHO that no decent New Wave/beach mix-tape should be without. Most of these are from that time period of 1982-3:

A Flock Of Seagulls - I Ran (So Far Away)
Kim WIlde - Kids In America
Human League - Don't You Want Me
Human League - Sound Of The Crowd
Duran Duran - Girls On Film (Night Version)
Duran Duran - Hold Back The Rain (12" Re-Mix)
Duran Duran - Is There Something I Should Know?
Duran Duran - The Reflex
The Flirts - Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime)
The Go-Go's - Vacation
The Go-Go's - Tonight
The Go-Go's - You Thought
Toni Basil - Mickey
Depeche Mode - Get The Balance Right (Combination Mix)
Berlin - Sex (I'm A) (Extended Version)
Yaz - Don't Go
Yaz - Situation
Psychedelic Furs - Love My Way
Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough (Schizo Mix)
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Josie Cotton - He Could Be The One
Josie Cotton - Johnny Are You Queer?
Culture Club - I'll Tumble 4 Ya
Missing Persons - Words
Berlin - Now It's My Turn
Sparks and Jane Wiedlin - Cool Places
Spandau Ballet - Chant No.1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)
Spandau Ballet - To Cut A Long Story Short
Real Life - Send Me An Angel
Billy Idol - Catch My Fall (Remix Fix)
Soft Cell- Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go?
Soft Cell - Memorabilia
Antimotion - Obsession

Amber, Chris and Ben

Wednesday night I went to check out on BEN 95.7's Birthday Bash (Philly's "Jack" format station) which was held at World Cafe Live (which usually just does WXPN events but they're not above lending the venue to another station for an evening.) Anyhow this was my first time at the venue, which looked really nice. Here is a photo of me posing with Amber, who performed at the event with Jody Watley and C&C Music Factory.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Madonna says take a number and stand in line!

Looks like Madonna has gotten a bit too obsessed with the "You would like to cruficy me, wouldn't you?" line from the movie Mommie Dearest as she starts her latest worldwide tour.

The Dixie Chicks: hot new gay icons?

It seems like 2006 will be the year the Dixie Chicks are going to officially become Hot New Gay Icons (like Kathy Griffin had become last year). Lots of reviews of their new album Taking The Long Way in the gay press. A good deal of coverage on gay blogs recently as well. Gay bars like the Edge in Boston and Woody's in Philadelphia are holding record release parties for the album. They also contributed "I Believe In Love" to the compilation album Love Rocks, which benefits the Human Rights Campaign Fund. This type of outreach and promotion hasn't been done with their previous albums before. I don't how much of this is decided by the Chicks themselves or by their record company Sony.

I can see the Dixie Chicks going over well in the gay community. The majority of gay people are pissed off at Bush for dissing gay marriage (pardon the expression) left and right. Gay people are often persecuted, attacked and abandoned for who they are--even by friends and family--so they identify with the Dixies's struggles and clashes in the past three years, resulting from lead singer Natalie Maines (who's from Texas herself) saying onstage in London that "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (As a result they lost of lot of airplay from country radio stations, received death threats, had their records burned in public and were ripped a new asshole by rival country artists like Toby Keith.) From Bette Davis and Judy Garland on, gays--to the point of stereotype-- traditionally have identified with famous women's struggles, actresses and singers in particular. I wouldn't be surprised if the DCs do a cover story for the Advocate or Out magazine before the year is through.

Of course there will be a few Log Cabin-type gays like this loser who are so desperate to impress the straight boys in the Republican Party that they are all too willing to join in a witch-burning. A word to guys like them: George W. Bush doesn't like your gay ass and never will regardless how much you trash the Dixie Chicks or Hilary Clinton or whoever you target-du-jour is. Dissing Natalie is not giving to save your gay ass when the Republican moral nazis come for you.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rip It Up And Start Again

In a nutshell I love Simon Reynolds's new book, Rip It Up and Start Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984. It covers the musical period of post-punk music, which wasn't written as much as the previous period of 1976-78 punk rock, but it was a furtile period that created and nutured a vast array of bands from Throbbing Gristle to the B-52s and DEVO to the Raincoats to the Human League.

The book starts off with John Lydon leaving the Sex Pistols in 1978 and starting up the more avant-garde Public Image Ltd., which gave us such memorable records such as the "Public Image" single (with its guitar figure that U2's the Edge would later use a lot) and the Metal Box/Second Edition album. Record labels such as Rough Trade and Factory were set up to document the new bands that wanted to beyond punk rock's simple 1-2-3-4 stance. Jagged, angular guitar riffs and cold, affected vocals often were present in the genre. Post-punk acts formed not just in London, but in Manchester (Joy Divison and the Fall), Leeds (Gang Of Four, Delta 5), New York (the No Wave acts like Lydia Lunch and James Chance) and San Francisco (Flipper). Looking for the next big thing following punk, the British press covered the post-punk acts with enthusiasm and DJs like the BBC's John Peel gave them radio exposure. But by around 1981 some people were getting tired of it, when more copycat bands were forming, and the doom the genre seemed to represent (which was at its zenith/nadir when Ian Curtis of Joy Division killed himself). So people started looking for altenatives such as ska/2-Tone, synth-pop, Adam Ant, and "Mutant Disco" acts like Grace Jones and Pulsallama. Then there was the "New Pop" era of 1982 which bands like ABC (whose Lexicon of Love album had a lot more substance to it than one would expect with its high gloss sheen) that had big colorful manifestos and would make it big on the pop charts, as well as the rise of MTV in America which would give a lot of British bands exposure in the early 80s. Then finally there was the rise of the label ZTT, best known for giving the world Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

This book is so rich in detail covering a lot of different bands that I just couldn't put it down. And when I was able to put it down, I wanted to find out more about these bands. (Did you know that Scritti Polliti started as a raw post-punk band/collective, which was a fry cry away from the smooth snyth-pop of "A Perfect Way" several years later?) It's no wonder that the British music paper the New Musicial Express would name this the best book of last year. And this is just the shorter American edition of this book, which has 432 pages (the UK edition has 556; I'll have to check that edition out as well). And considering that post-punk has been going through a big revival in the past few years (with Franz Ferdinand at the head of the current pack), this book gives an excellent view of the original musical movement.

Be afraid Satan-torum, be very afraid

This past Tuesday, Andrew Dinniman was the first Democrat in Chester County in 115 years to be elected to Pennsylvania State Senate. He won over the Republican candidate Carol Aichele in the special election for Pennsylvania’s 19th Senatorial District seat. He got nearly 21,000 votes while she only got 16,000 plus. What was more amazing is that register Republicans outnumber Democrats two to one in Chester County. More than 22,000 registered Republicans cast ballots in the election while less than 13,000 Democrats voted.

Dinniman and Aichele, both county commissioners of the county, battled for who will serve out the last two years of the late state Sen. Robert Thompson’s term, who died earlier this year.

Dinniman will be representing Chester and Montgomery counties. The last time a Chester County Democrat was voted into the position of State Senator was Septimus Nivin way back in 1891.

Why did some of the Republicans decided to cross party lines and voted for Dinniman? Some of them were familiar with and liked his ability to govern, such as his 15 year stint as county commisioner. It could be backlash against the state legislature (that had a Republican majority) voting for a pay raise. And some are just getting tired of the arrogance and ignorance of the right-wing Republicans ruling the party like George W. Bush and Rick Santorum. (BTW Carol Aichele is Santorum's campaign chair in Chester County.)

Could this be a sign of what could happen in the upcoming November election in Pennsylvania? If some Republicans in the most Republican county can vote for a certain Democratic candidate, then Santorum's position as US Senator is not as sturdy as it seems.

So be afraid Satan-torum, be very afraid.

Friday, May 19, 2006


This week I have been feeling pretty drained due to a couple of reasons. My allergies are still acting up; it's been a really bad year for them so far. Plus I've been doing some extra hours at my day job. I sure could use the money but it's been whatever energy I had left went toward my work. So I've let my housework and other projects slide. Hopefully things will return to normal soon.

This past Sunday morning I helped out the Philadelphians with an eye-opener social held at the William Way Center as part of the Bears on Liberty Weekend. Overall it went well. A small crowd trickled in but I think the majority who attended the run decided to opt this out and headed straight to Woody's for brunch instead. After that I stopped over at Giovanni's Room and bought a DVD and went home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The song I'd strip to...

Your Stripper Song Is

Master and Servant by Depeche Mode

"There's a new game
We like to play you see
A game with added reality
You treat me like a dog
Get me down on my knees"

Yawn, dancing is so boring without a little spice.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Things I did at Equality Forum weekend

Sorry I haven't posted anything this past week. It's been a combination of my allergies acting up and having a bad case of post-Equlaity Forum weekend depression. I had a great time in Philadelphia at a few different events over the past weekend, and now that they're over and I'm back in West Chester. I know that I'm not having a good time where I'm living right now, it kind of feels like I'm being stifled here. Hence the depression.

Anyhow, here's a recap that went down. The Dumpsta Players's 100 Proof show at Tyz on Saturday May 6 was fun. Lots of people turned up with a few well-known faces in the crowd. Some of the highlights IMHO included a piss-take on Wilson's Phillips' "Hold On," with Carnie Wilson walking on stage stuffing her face with cheese popcorn and drinking Diet Coke straight from a two-liter bottle, and the other two members trying to grab the food away, resulting in soda being sprayed all over the stage. The big balcony scene from Evita was re-created, but in Evita's place a guy in a straightjacket was brought onstage, perched up on a stool and loopily lip-synched "Don't Cry For Me Argentina." (Now why I didn't think of that myself?) Quite a few Eurovision tribute numbers in there, and the performance of Gary Numan's "Cars" was a hoot with the record being interupted with some crazy hip-hop scratching! All in all a great re-cap of the troupe's performances in the past decade. And this was the first time I was in Club Tyz, a cozy afterhours place I've heard a bit about but never was there until now.

Earlier that evening around 7:00pm I had driven into the city and stopped at a barbecue held in Kahn Park on 11th and Pine Streets which was sponsored by Q102. Considering the crowd was mainly twentysomethings that were into the current (mostly R&B/rap) chart music, I stayed only about 10-15 minutes and left to kill some time at the Westbury until it was time to go see the Dumpstas's show (which started at 9:00pm).

Drove back into Philly the following afternoon around 2:00pm, parked at the corner of 12th and Walnut and walked over to the Old City section for the SundayOUT! Street festival, which was held on Market Street between Second and Fifth Streets. It was sunny and pretty warm that afternoon, but I had my little London Fog jacket in my backpack because I knew it was going to get cooler this evening. Until two years ago this would be held in the heart of the Gayborhood, but last year it was moved to its current location. At least it made it easier to get to the Equality LIVE! concert, which was held at the Geat Plaza at Penn's Landing. (This location was where Philly's Gay Pride festival was held up until 1999 when it just got too big.) Got to the gate around 4:50pm, which was supposed to open at 5:00pm but didn't until 5:50pm due to some prolonged soundchecking. The show started at 6:10 with the energetic Brazilian dance troupe Alo Brasil. Then some band featuring four grrls that looked and sounded like they spent lots of time at the Hot Topic store at the local mall. Some DJ rap-rock stuff? Check. The lead singer's liberal use of the F-word? Check. Throwing the damning digit a couple of times? Check. Someone sarcasticly shouted out "We want Madonna!" The lead singer went on to say they were going to be on the Warped Tour, the band performed one more number and left. Whatever. It was getting cool and a breeze was coming from the Delaware River, so I took my jacket out of my backpack and put it on, glad for having the sense to carry it with me.

Jade Starling and Pretty Poison came onstage next and performed six songs, including the new single "Take Me I'm Yours." When they closed the set with "Catch Me I'm Falling," Jade reached from the stage to shake hands with members of the crowd. As she was shaking my hand, I noticed that the guy next to me--who looked like a young version of Kramer from Seinfield--was groping her butt. I thought "Well that's pretty nervy of him!" Well Jade was just cool and professional, brushing him off like he was just some annoying fruit fly and kept singing like nothing had happened. After the performance she and keyboardist Whey Cooler sold some posters and CDs and signed them. I took a moment to say hello to Jade, who thanked me for the interview I did with her a few days prior. Gina G., best known for England's entry for the 1996 Eurovision Song Contest where she performed her big hit "Ooh Ah Just A Little Bit" (which was pumping out of radios in the summer of that year here in Philly), came on with her backing dancers who had on T-shirts done up in the Katherine Hamnett agitprop style that sported slogans such as "FRANKIE SAY" and "CHOOSE LIFE." Since Kylie Minogue isn't going to be coming to perform in Philly anytime soon (or elsewhere in America as a matter of fact), the crowd settled for Gina instead and was happy. Taylor Dayne came on last with two backing singers and performed eight songs (no band, just a backing tape, like Gina) and the crowd ate it up. When she performed "I'll Be Your Shelter," she walked into the crowd as she belted the song. I was standing about ten feet away when she finished it. When she did the Thunderpuss mix of "Naked Without You" (just the radio version, not the longer club version with that exaggerated prolonged note) a few crowd members were saying "Finally!" She did her signature tune "Tell It To My Heart," and then it was over. She came out afterwards to sell some autographs (ten dollars each) and some CDs (twenty-five) and a crowd was swarming around her. I instead decided to walk on over to the Bike Stop to see if I could catch the end of the Liberty Bears's social, but it was winding down when I got there--after all the concert ended around 9:45pm--it went on longer than I had expected-- so I wasn't able to get there until 10. So I decided to just go home. After that the next few days would be dull in comparison.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Interview with Jade Starling of Pretty Poison

Jade Starling, the lead singer and siren for the band Pretty Poison, has been a longtime fixture on the Philadelphia music scene. She's best known for her hit song "Catch Me I'm Falling." It first was released on the indie Svengali label in April 1987 and became a hit on the local radio stations like Hot Hits! 98 and Power 99 during that summer. Virgin Records took notice of the song's success and signed the band and re-released "Catch Me," which would climb to #8 on the Billboard pop chart in December 1987, as well as top the dance charts. In addition she's had an array of club and pop hits including "Nightime," "Let Freedom Ring," "Safe Keeping," and "Expiration."

The other night I had a nice fun chat with Jade, who was rehearsing with Pretty Poison, who is on the bill (along with Taylor Dayne and Gina G.) for the Equality LIVE! Concert at Penn's Landing on Sunday, May 7. Pretty Poison also has a brand new single coming out called "Take Me I'm Yours" later this month. You can hear a hot remix of that song by the remix team the Klubjumpers on her MySpace page.

How did you hook up with the Klubjumpers?

I know Daniel through the Winter Music Conference. I was hanging out with him in the lobby this year--we went to see Paul Oakenfold spin and it was sick! And I asked him if they would like to remix our new song "Take Me I'm Yours". So he wound up doing it and it turned out great.

And you haven't heard the original version as's very 80s progressive, it's got that New Order "Blue Monday" sample from it.

Any other remixes of the song?

There's also be a remix from DJ Brian Howe from Capp Records. Peter Presta is doing a remix of Catch Me I'm Falling as well...I'm going to be cutting a new vocal for it next week. It's been a blur!

"Catch Me" has been your calling card. How did the inspiration for the song come about?

When Whey [Cooler, the keyboardist and other songwriting half of Pretty Poison] and I started the band, we were devoted to the New Wave scene, especially the British bands. We went from poppy to very underground al a Souixsie and the Banshees. At the time this music was gaining bigtime in the clubs and we started dancifying our sound. One thing led to another, we got together with producer Kae Williams Jr. and recorded "Catch Me I'm Falling," which was originally meant for another artist.

When you and Whey started the band in the eighties, did you imanige how the band would turn out and have the success that it has had?

You know, it's been what I've dreamed of since I've been a little girl; When I was three I won a baby pagent. My mom was sending me to pagents and I was enjoying it. My mom and I bonded over feminine things like make-up...I'm a spokeperson for Lancome makeup.

One more thing...there's going to be a new album out this fall. But for now there's the new single, "Take Me I'm Yours". It's starting to get played all over the place.

Will it be available on iTunes or any of the usual download outlets?

Right now it's just on the player [on my MySpace page]. In regards to digital distribution, it'll be available at all of the usual outlets from iTunes to Rhapsody.

Any final words for the fans?

Have you heard the new name for my tour? It's "The Comeback Tour: You Came Back, I Never Left!" It's like all my fans are coming back!

Thanks to Jade for taking the time to do this interview! Hope that you'll knock 'em dead at Equality LIVE! this Sunday!

100 Proof Dumpsta Saturday

The Dumpsta Players, Philly's finest drag, sketch and parody troupe will be holding "100 Proof, A Reunion Celebration! Ten Years, 100 Shows!" this Saturday night (May 6) at 9PM. Celebrate 10 years of Dumpsta shows with old and new members. It will be held at Tyz 1418 Rodman (near 15th and South, (215)546-4195). Admission is $7.00 and benefits The Bryson Institute of the Attic Youth Center for L/G/B/T/Q Youth and SMART, Inc (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS-HIV Research & Treatment). I'll try to be there myself!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

What a time to get sick

My allergies acted up with a vengence when I went to Philly last evening--when I got to the Prince Music Theater to watch the two Equality Forum discussion panels, my head felt really kind of cloudy. Fortuneately I had taken a couple of diet Red Bulls and a couple of iced coffees during the course of the evening. Plus I felt really constipated as well. The National Media panel on blogs went well. It was kind of hard to concentrate though due to how I felt. When that ended I went to get a Red Bull and went to the bathroom to relieve myself, and I felt a bit better. However, during the second panel--"Beyond Barebacking: Young Men's Health"--I wound up leaving only after around ten to fifteen minutes; as much I hated to leave that early, I felt that I should just go home and rest. So I drove back home with no problems--just took it easy with my driving-- and just vegged out on the TV.

I think it's really time for me to move to Philly. I am so sick of the commute between there and West Chester.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

''Who's going to share their drugs with me?''

So said Madonna jokingly when she performed at the Coachella festival this past Sunday. This was her first festival appearance. Entertainment Weekly's gave its highlights including this:

She then tore through Confessions tracks ''Get Together'' and ''I Love New York,'' strapping on a guitar for the latter and bending into the amp with her ax to generate some feedback. The singer also took aim at the president when she altered some lyrics to say, ''If you don't like my attitude, then you can fuck off/ Just go to Texas, and suck George Bush's dick.'' Her feisty, rocker-grrrl persona continued when she screamed to the crowd, ''Don't throw water on my stage, motherfuckers!'' to a roar of applause. A slightly slower, electroclashy ''Ray of Light'' followed, with six male dancers in white surgeon masks and windbreaker suits shadowing her as she noodled on guitar. After striking an angry, pseudo-drunk dance pose throughout the pulsating robot-groove ''Let It Will Be,'' Madonna teased some more, stripping down to her leotard (shocking!) and asking if her ass looked good. As if she really needed that question answered by any of us.

Oh Madge! also gave an account on this and the festival in general through one of their blogs.