Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Am I a media whore now?

The OUTSpoken Project segment that I was interviewed for went well as part of the Q'zine radio program Sunday night. I don't know if you can hear it via podcast on their website as of yet. Hopefully I'll post a MP3 of the interview sometime in the future. Thanks a lot again to Robert Drake (who sat with me in this photo, which was taken in the WXPN studios last month) and Jenny Brennan for taping this.

The latest edition of my PhillyGayCalendar column came out earlier today, which I cover the local TV talk show In Bed With Butch and talk with the host Butch Cordora.

Somthing scary for Halloween #2

"I'll get you my 9-11 widow pretty, and your little liberal dog too!"

Something scary for Halloween

Friday, October 27, 2006

I'll be on the radio this Sunday!

This coming Sunday evening (October 29) at 11:30pm EST I'm going to be on the radio program Q'zine, a "weekly queer arts and culture magazine,” on WXPN-FM. I will be speaking during the OUTSpoken Project segment, where I will be telling about my coming-out experience. The OUTSpoken Project is a new audio series that features interviews of people from different walks of life telling their coming-out stories in the first person. Producer Robert Drake and Associate Producer Jenny Brennan are producing this series. The OUTspoken project will broadcast both regionally within the Greater Philadelphia area as well as globally as a podcast via the station's new media website, http://www.xponentialmusic.org/. This Sunday will mark the debut of the new segments on Q'zine, and the producers have decided to kick it off by airing my interview first!

As you can tell by the above photo, I was at the WXPN studios last month to record my interview which was about a half an hour long. It will edited down to a three-minute segment. Robert and Jenny had recorded a few previous interviews but they were done over the phone, so this was the first in-studio interview for the new series.

I took this picture outside the WXPN studios, which is on the 3100 block of Walnut Street. It also houses the live music venue World Cafe Live.

The OUTSpoken Project and Q'zine can be heard on 11:30pm Sunday nights at 88.5FM in the Philly area, as well as on the web at http://xpn.org/listen.php. So tune in and listen this Sunday to hear me tell my coming-out story!

Friday Video #4: Blue Peanuts

Blue Peanuts - Blue Velvet parody

In celebration of tonight's 40th anniversary showing of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, here is a Peanuts parody where clips from the Peanuts cartoons are dubbed over with dialogue from the David Lynch movie Blue Velvet.

In other Peanuts news, the soundtrack album A Charlie Brown Christmas has just been reissued. Not only it has been remastered for better sound, it has four additional tracks featuring alternate takes and the original album cover artwork.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

What the NJ gay marriage ruling means to PA

Yesterday the New Jersey Supreme Court said that gay couples are entitled to civil unions under the state's equal protections guarantees. But the court also said that same-sex couples do not have the right to marry. In its ruling that whether that status would be called civil unions, marriage, or whatever, β€œis a matter left to the democratic process.” That means that it's now up to the New Jersey state legislature to enact civil unions or it could pass a bill allowing same-sex couples to wed.

But that doesn't mean much to those living in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania like I do, where we have to deal with the 1996 Pennsylvania Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which says that same-sex couples can't marry in in this state. That legislation also states that Pennsylvania won't recognize same-sex marriages from other states. In other words, a lot of gay couples's lives are still being negatively affected just so a few smug Christain supremacist hets can go around feeling entitled.

Also the news can also have an affect on the US senatorial and governor's election campaigns here in Pennsylvania. There could last-minute political ads that slam gay people like the "homosexual agenda" ads that are currently running in Indiana.

Elsewhere eight states have a referendum on some sort of constitutional ban on gay marriage in the upcoming elections. Arizona looks like it might be the first state to defeat such a constitutional ban; a recent Arizona poll stated that 56% of Arizona voters oppose the constitutional ban on domestic partnerships. (Of course people can lie in polls not to appear mean; in the end the only poll that really counts is on November 7.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

New Amber single "Melt With the Sun"

Amber will be releasing a new single with the production team of Sweet Rains (who did a great New Order-sounding remix of her last single "Just Like That") titled "Melt With the Sun." It features remixes by Tracy Young, Pathos V2, Hex Hector, AM Corona, Lance Jordan and Al B. Rich. The single will be released on November 14, which features ten mixes. It will be availble on all legal download outlets like iTunes. She will also be selling limited amounts of the CD maxi-single on her website as well as certain online stores like Perfect Beat. A second set of additional remixes will also be coming out at a future date.

Amber is also working on a music video of the song, her first one since "Love One Another" back in 2000. Check out this behind-the-scenes clip, her red dress blowing in the "wind" kind of reminds me of that picture sleeve she did for her "Yes!" single. A sort of "back to nature" theme here?

You can hear clips of "Melt With the Sun" on Amber's website, as well as on her MySpace page.

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Back in the first half of third grade I was involved in an after-school bowling league (this was when I lived in Cleveland, Ohio). Every Friday afternoon a school bus would take us to a local bowling alley and we'd spend a couple of hours bowling for a few games. There'd be no big game-plan for how to get non-stop strikes; I'd basically wing it, just following the list of which group I'd bowl with that particalar day and I'd try to keep the ball from rolling into the gutter. I didn't care about getting a high score. I wanted to have a good time. Still I was confused about where I was, I'd didn't seem to fit in that well. So after several months I'd stop going there. Actually one of my biggest memories from that time was hearing the local 40 radio station playing ABBA's "Honey Honey" as I got on the bus.

Yesterday the Philadelphians MC had their 32nd anniversary celebration held at the Laurel Lanes Bowling Emporium in Maple Shade New Jersey, where about 20 of us did three games of bowling. We were set up in five teams. The last time I bowled was back in college. So needless to say I wasn't that great--I didn't break a hundred for my score, though somehow I did get a strike in the first game and a spare in the second. I was basically winging it--for a moment it was like I was back in first grade. Again there was no real big game plan, just try to roll the bowling ball down the lane without it going into the gutter. Which happened a few times. There was a lot of deep-fried finger food for us--pizza, chicken fingers and wings, mozzarella sticks, etc.--one had to be careful not to get our fingers too greasy so the ball would accidentally slip off our fingers. I think that I ate too much there because my stomach was upset later that evening. But hey I had a great there with my fellow Philadelphians that afternoon. We all did. Though a few of us were kind of hurting since we hadn't bowled in years including myself, where my tailbone was hurting from all that bending over to throw the ball down the lane. (It went away in a few hours after I took some ibuprofen.)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday video #3: Dead Or Alive

That's The Way - Dead Or Alive

This week's YouTube dose is Dead Or Alive covering KC and the Sunshine Band's "That's the Way (I Like It)." It's from their debut album Sophiscated Boom Boom, which came out in 1984. This song would be the band's first appearance on the UK pop charts, which got to #22. In America this made Billboard's Dance Music/Club Play chart but the band wouldn't cross over onto the pop chart until the following year with "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)." But the video did get some airplay on MTV. It's a great bit of sleazy camp with lead singer Pete Burns strutting like a peacock with some female bodybuilders in a gym.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Catching up on a couple of things

The main event this past weekend was me and about ten members of the Philadelphians MC volunteering at AIDS Walk Philly early Sunday morning, where we had process the money pledges that the walkers were bringing in. We had to be there at 7am that morning and stay there until eleven. It was a bit chilly and windy there. We were quite busy and shivering a little bit but we had a good time. Afterwards a bunch of us went to the Midtown restaurant in the Gayborhood for brunch.

SInce we had to be at the Art Museum section very early that morning, I stayed over at my friend Bill's place in Jeffersonville/Norristown the night before. We wound up watching a movie that I haven't seen in a while, Desperately Seeking Susan. (I'll have to post a bit more about that film later this month.) We had to wake up at 5:30am and we left about 45 minutes later,when it was still pitch black and took the Schuykill Expressway into the city.

A US senator has been outed yesterday, Larry Craig the Republican from Idaho. He has received a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign for things like voting againist expanding hate crimes to include gays and against prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. Earlier this year he also voted for the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have banned gay marriage nationwide if it had passed (but didn't thank G*d). Meanwhile he would have same-sex encounters with other men in places like the men's room of Washington DC's Union Station, which is a Capitol Hill area train station. Talk about him screwing over his follow gay men over in more way than one!

The latest installment of my PhillyGayCalendar online column has just been posted up on their website. In it I talk about HX Philadelphia, the new gay nightlife magazine that's about to hit this city. Their first official issue will out at Halloween.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Madonna - Jump

Lost in Translation meets the "Hung Up" video. Obviously this was taken during downtime when Madonna was touring Japan. Pretty nice, though IMHO it would have been better if Madonna had shot her scenes out in the Tokyo streets like the rest of her dancers were. Her scenes in the studio kind of clash with the other shots.

Anyhow I will be looking forward to the new remixes of this great single. The CD-maxi will be coming out November 7.


Tower Records R.I.P.

Back in the late 80s to mid-90s the couple of times each year I'd shop at the Tower Records on South Street, it was an event to me. I remember the purchases I made when I first went there in the summer of 1987: the Substance compilation by New Order, "What's the Colour Of Money" Hollywood Beyond 45, and the Pressure Points LP by Anne Clark. When the Tower Record stores were built in both King of Prussia (opened 1994) and the Avenue of the Arts in Center City Philly (1999), I'd go there as well. Of course these days Tower has become a slighty hipper version of a coporate chain record store--album prices are high (at least they still bothered to have deep catalog). Still I'd occasionally go there to take in some of the ambiance of the Avenue of the Arts store and buy CD maxi-singles there (quite cheap actually--domestic maxi-singles were $5.99 where other stores were $6.99-$7.99). Even with their faults in the past few years, I'm still sad to hear that the Tower chain will be closing its doors. Record stores have been closing for the past few years no thanks to the rise of MP3 technology and the competitive prices of "big box" stores like Curcuit City and Best Buy, but this turn of events really drives the point home. With them going out of the picture it looks like there won't be any big record stores in Philly, just a number of indie shops like Repo, Philadelphia Record Exchange and A/K/A Music, as well as those bogus mall chain stores like FYE. When the last record store in the area closes, don't forget to turn off the light when you exit. Even with the remaining record stores, Tower will be missed.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My favorite song this moment

Scissor Sisters Kiss You Off 4 Music

Things are looking up for Scissor Sisters in their natve country; first week's sales of their new album Ta-Dah in the US was about 42,000 copies, in which they cracked the top twenty of the Billboard's album chart at #19. While it stills dwarfs in comparison to Europe (nearly 300,000 copies were sold in its first week in England), it's a definte improvement to their first album, which only got to #102 on that same US Billboard charts. It's even more amazing considering the Transworld stores like FYE and Sam Goody's still won't carry the album for petty reasons, and also that radio airplay for the band here in America is an uphill battle (it sounds quite eccentric in comparison to the other American chart fare that gets played).

To celebrate I thought I'd show a clip of them performing "Kiss You Off" on 4 music in Europe. Here Ana Mantronic sings lead vocal and displays the right attitude. Donna Summer or Deborah Harry would have killed for a song like this. Not only it's my favorite songs from Ta-Dah, it's my favorite song of this moment.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Writing a new column!

I just started writing a column for Philly Gay Calendar. I'll be covering the various goings on in music, media and culture in the Philadelphia area, but with a gay-centric view. My first column is up, which covers the upcoming OUTspoken Project segments on WXPN's radio show "Q'zine."

BTW the photo above, which is used for my column, was taken by the pool at the Raven in New Hope, PA last month.

A Philly skyline shot

A shot taken from the 3100 block of Walnut Street last month.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bunnydrums, North Star Bar 8-30-2006

Last night I saw Bunnydrums perform at the North Star Bar. First time I've been in that bar; it's located near the Art Museum section of Philly. This was the second time the band performed since re-forming earlier this year; they played at the World Cafe Live back in July but I had to miss that show. King of Siam (another lost Philly new-music band from the 80s) and Northern Liberties opened for them and Robert Drake DJed between sets.

Bunnydrums went on stage after midnight and opened with "Crawl," an instrumental from their 1983 album PKD. Original group members David Geork (vocalist/guitarist) and Frank Marr (lead guitar) were joined by new members Howard Harrison (guitar), Marc Laurick (bass) and Howard Mongiello (drums). They didn't have much banter with the crowd but they put on an intense show musically with their snaky post-punk. They performed their classic material as well as a couple of covers during the encore--Link Wray's "Switchblade" and the Stooges "T.V. Eye." Glad to have finally the chance to see this band live...the original band had dissolved by the time I was starting to get into them in the late 80s.

(BTW a funny thing happened when I arrived at the North Star around nine PM. Robert Drake, Marc, and Howard were hanging outside the door talking and I said hello to Robert. Marc said that he had recognized me from MySpace. Strange that people know you through places like that when they haven't meet you physical before, LOL.)