Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Santa Saturday 2006 report

This past Saturday I spent the day in New Hope PA at Santa Saturday, a fundraising leather event that's held each Saturday following Thanksgiving. It's organized by the Bucks MC. The last time I went back in 2003 it was held at the Cartwheel, which was burned down in early 2005. Last year's Santa Sanurday was held at the smaller Raven (which I had to miss because of a nasty cold), which got surprising good reviews; reports were that it wasn't as crowded as it was expected to be.

I drove into New Hope at 11:15am and parked in the lot of the nearby fire station and walked to the Raven, which a crowd was already starting to gather for its noon opening. The doors wound up opening at ten minute of tweleve and we were let in. I was very impressed with how the place was set up. A huge tent was set up over the pool area, and there were some portable heaters (though the weather that day was pretty sunny and warm) and there was a big platform covering the pool itself. It looked way different than when I would see the place during the summer.

I wound up having a great time there. There was a stage where there items being auctioned off and a few performers, a lot of them drag performers. There was a bear dressed up as Santa which you can get your picture taken with. Saw several members from the Philadelphians MC there, including my follow pledgemates Marc and Ron. Quite a few friends and acquaintances there as well. The area did get crowded around 3-4pm but the crowd wasn't as oppressive as it had been at the Cartwheel back in 2003.

Around 4:30-5 pm the local police came in nand said that there were some complaints that it was too noisy, so the crowd to be told (several times) to quiet down (they threatened that it would be shut down if it didn't) and the sound to the stage area had to be turned down. The turndown in volume would affect the auction; the bids to the items that were auctioned off after it tended to be lower than the ones before it since the auctioneer couldn't be heard as well as before.

My only complaint was that no one seemed to know when the drawing for the 50/50 raffle would be held. I asked the guys who sold me some 50/50 tickets and they said that they didn't know the exact time. I wound up staying near the stage for an hour and a half waiting for the winning numbers to be called out. The drawing went on during one of the times when I had to leave the tent area to go to the men's room (which was a bit of a wait). I probably didn't win it anyway but still I wish that the staff had a better idea when it would go on.

By the time the event wound down around 6pm, I was starting to get tired and a bit chilly, so I decided to walk back to my car and drive home. I listened to my Santa Saturday mix-CD and and Liza Minnelli's Results on the drive back and I picked up a chicken sandwich at the local convenience store for dinner. Overall I had a great time and I look forward to the next Santa Saturday.

Labels: ,

PA House turns blue

An update on the election for state representative in the 156th Legislative District (where I live)--after the absentee votes were counted Democrat Barbara McIlvaine Smith has now won by 23 votes over Republican Shannon Royer. That victory means that the majority of the Pennsylvania state house of Representatives has now shifted to the Democrats. The last time the Democrats had the majority there was twelve years ago. Whether Royer will have demand a recount is not certain at this point. The fact that Smith has now won by only 23 votes is more proof that if you think your vote does not count, you're wrong.


Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Video #8 - Liza & the Pet Shop Boys

Here's a clip of Liza Minnelli performing "Losing My Mind" on the British TV show Top Of The Pops in 1989. I guess she hasn't lost it anymore here, it looks like the drugs are kicking in.

"Losing My Mind" is taken from her 1989 album Results, which was produced by the Pet Shop Boys. The single was a hit on the dancefloors in America when it came out, but it crossed over into the pop charts in England.

Results has been re-issued as an import last year as a CD/DVD set titled Results/Visible Results. It adds on three additional extended mixes and three promo videos. The Pet Shop Boys meanwhile have released their latest album Fundamental earlier this year to critical acclaim here and chart success in their native UK.

Labels: , , ,

Coffeehouses in Philly

Last week I received a $20 card for Starbucks Coffee as a birthday gift. When I went into Philly Monday night for my Philadelphians meeting, I could have used it at the new Starbucks on 12th and Walnut Streets. But I chose to go to the Village Coffee House instead. I figured that I could use that card at any Starbucks. It'd be better if when I go into Philly I'd patronize one of the local gayborhood indie coffeehouse like Village or Joe Coffee Bar instead. Village just makes better coffee than Starbucks. If Village isn't open (they've started closing earlier on weekdays for the winter), I'd go to Joe instead. Another thing: did they pass a law in Philly that there had to a be a Starbucks Coffee on every other block in the city? It feels like that to me. I see more Starbucks in Philly than I do back in West Chester, it's ridiculous. I've heard rumors that either Village or Joe might close their doors in the next few months. I hope not--Village has sort of taken the place of Millennium Coffee, which closed over a year ago, and Joe gives a lot back to the local community. I'd rather have that Starbucks on 12th and Walnut close instead!

Labels: ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Weekend Full of Dance Music

Friday night I listened to Vic Latino's last radio show for New York City's radio station WKTU via the web. For the past ten years the station was known as a dance station but for the past several months Clear Channel, which owns the station, has been dropping most of the on-air staff and has pretty much dropped most of the current dance songs from the playlist. They now considering themselves as a "rhythimic AC" station rather than a dance station by concentrating on "dance classics." I could feel that listening to the show that evening; though it was started out with a mix show that had some current tracks (Cascada's "Miracle" and DHT's "I Go Crazy"), much of that evening's show featured classic dance, R&B and pop tracks that has been played thousands of times. I think that dance classic do have a place on the radio but new dance material needs to get airtime as well--today's new song or artist can turn out to be tomorrow's "dance classic." In the past everytime I would be in the NYC I'd listen to KTU. It was one of the few commercial radio stations I made a point to listen to. With the way it's gone now I don't think that I'll be doing that anymore. It's insulting to dance artists like Madonna when the station will play, say, "Holiday" and "Like A Virgin" to death but won't consider playing her great new single "Jump." If you live in the NYC area and don't like Clear Channel's effort to gut out one of the prime dance stations in this country, check out the Metro NY Dance Radio Coalition via MySpace. Lots of luck to Vic Latino's new endavors; I heard that he's going to have a show on satilite XM radio early next year.

Oh and the last song that Vic played on his show was "What A Feeling" by Peter Luts and Dominico. I'm not going to listen to that song in the same way again. It's like Pearl Jam's "Alive" being the last song on Philly's commercial alternative stations (WDRE, Y100) before they "flipped" to another format.

Saturday night I attended WMPH's DANCEfest 2006 at Baxter's, which is a gay club in Wilmington, Delaware. I had fun that night. Ten acts on the bill. Got to talk with a couple of the station's staff members and to artist Drea (a great trance remix of her "Reincarnation" single has just been released). Gay porn star-turned-singer Fredrick Ford did a surprisingly fierce tribal remix of George Michael's "Too Funky." Topping the bill was Pepper Mashay (best known for "Dive In The Pool" with Barry Harris, which has been played in gay clubs to the point of cliche) and Georgie Porgie (who mentioned onstage that WMPH was now the only dance station left on the east coast, which wasn't accurate--there's also Party 105.3 in Long Island NY, however that station doesn't stream online like WMPH does). There was a good crowd turnout and hopefully some money was made for the fundraiser; all proceeds go to the station and the Broadcast Learning Center, which is a non-profit that gives Brandywine School District-area high-school students experience in broadcasting.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Video #7: Amber

Here is the video for the new Amber featuring Sweet Rains single "Melt With the Sun," which was directed by Sophia Leang. The single is now availible at iTunes and other legal download outlets. If you want a physical copy you can buy it through Amber's website.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Philly Leather Weekend Wrap-Up

The Mr. and Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contest this past Saturday was a blast. Great crowd. Ran into a couple of people I haven't seen in years. In my latest column I give a detailed account of what went on.

I had a bit of a cold over the weekend (post-nasal drip and sinus headaches) but I was there for the Philly Leather Weekend activities on Saturday and Sunday like a good little trouper. Tried to get little bits of rest while I could. Fortuneately I had Monday off so I could catch up on that rest.

Congrats to the new Mr. Philly Leather 2007 John Loesch, who's the captain of the Philadelphians MC. I know that he'll make a good titleholder.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Video #6: Leather

Hot Cup of Joe at the NYC Eagle

Since this is Philly Leather Weekend, I thought this segment would be appropriate. Actually this was taped at the Eagle in New York City last year for the now-defunct Q Network.

Labels: ,

Philadelphia Leather Weekend 2006

Today kicks off the Philadelphia Leather Weekend. Tomorrow the 2007 Mr. & Ms. Philadelphia Leather Contests will be held at the Mask and Wig Club at 7pm. Sunday the Philadelphians will be holding the Victory Party Social in the basement of the Bike Stop from 6 to 10pm. I certainly plan on joining the festivities. For more info about this weekend go to their website at


Democratic Party still third-party status in Chester County

In Chester County PA where I live, all the election races for state representative with a Democratic candidate have been won by Republicans in spite of the momentum of the Democratic Party nationwide. That means that they'll unfortuneately still be doing their annual 10K fag stomp, also known as efforts to write anti-gay marriage laws into the state constitution. I'm so sick and tired of having of local politians not giving a shit about my issues as a gay person. I want some politicans in this county to treat me with some fucking dignity.

At least Barbara Smith, the Democrat who ran for state representative in my district, will be not be taking her loss to the Republican by 19 votes lying down. She demands a recount. Go get him!

In spite of the increases of voters registering as Democrats in this county, the Republican Party still has a wide majority of registered voters--63,000 more than the Democrats. In other words, the Democratic Party still has third-party status in Chester County. Sadly the same as it ever was.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election recap

As I mentioned earlier, incumbent Rick Santorum lost his seat to Democrat Bob Casey in the election for US Senator last night. Pennsylvania got a little bit bluer today.

Syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage muses on Satan-torum getting the boot.

What's up with the face of Santorum's daughter? Did she get it from the same store Tammy Faye Baker and Tonya Harding got theirs, "The Store For Women Who Cry Every Which Way The Wind Blows?"

It was a pretty good election for Democrats in my area. Governor Ed Rendell got re-elected. In the election for US representative, Republican incumbent Curt Weldon (who held the office for ten terms, was defeated by Democrat Joe Sestak.

The only disappointing thing was the race for state representative in the 156th district. At press time Republican Shannon Royer edged Democrat Barbara Smith McIlvaine in a very close race--with a difference of nineteen votes! This is definte proof that if you think that your vote doesn't count, you are dead wrong! All results are unofficial until verified by the Chester County Board of Elections. The winner will be replacing state representative Elinor Z. Taylor of West Goshen, who announced earlier this year that she is stepping down. (To which I say good riddance; she supported the failed attempt to rewrite the state constitution to include language to prohibit gay marriage earlier this year, and for voting against including gays and lesbians into Pennsylvania's hate crimes law!)

In other election news, Arizona was the first state to defeat a constitutional ban on gay marriage by popular vote. Fifty-one percent of that state's voters voted against it. Another reason why every vote counts. Seven other states weren't so lucky, which means a lot of gay and lesbians will be negatively affected by this. At least the voters in one of those states, South Dakota, overturned on Tuesday a state abortion ban that supporters were hoping to use to undermine a 33-year-old U.S. Supreme Court decision making abortion legal.


PA voters kick Santorum to the curb

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kanye West behaves badly at the EMA's

Kanye West, please STFU.

In the past you've gotten a lot of liberal brownie points from people who normal don't listen to rap for your stances against homophobia in hip-hop and for speaking out against President Bush on a national Hurricane Katrina benefnit TV show. But your behavior on the European MTV Music Awards this past Thursday was downright boorish, where you crashed the stage when the award for Best Video was being presented to Justice Vs. Simian (actually the French DJ electro outfit/band was doing a mini-tour of the US at that moment, so they had a couple of representatives fill in for them) and with an array of expletives bitched that your video should have won that award. And that your video "Touch The Sky" should have won just because, among things, that it had Pamela Anderson in it? Please, if that was the criteria for something of quality, Baywatch would have won a shitload of Emmys and Tommy Lee would have gotten an Oscar! "If I don't win, the awards show loses credibility!" you rant. Please. And you did win a award for Best Hip-Hop earlier that evening, this temper-tantrum makes you look like a spoiled brat.

Besides when I watch the EUROPEAN MTV Music Awards, I'd like to see some acts that come from Europe, thank you. More Robbie Williams and less Justin Timberlake. More Kylie Minogue and less Britney or Jessica Simple Simpson. There has been enough concession to American acts in this year's line-up as it was--do you think it would really hurt if some airtime or an award was given to a European act? If I want to see the same tired-ass overexposed American acts like Justin Timberlake ("SexyBack" is this year's annoying phrase turned song/anthem a la "I'm Too Sexy" or "Livin' La Vida Loca", I wish he'd quickly fade away into obsurcity like the singers of those two last songs), The Killers, Diddy and Snoop Dogg, bad rap and tabloid-pop, I'd stay home and watch the American MTV Awards and not bother with the European version. In the past the European MTV Award line-ups tended to be more superior and diverse than the American counterpart--one minute it's some glamourously trashy pop act like the Spice Girls and the next its the sweeping orchestrial electronica musings of Bjork (both acts were in the 1997 EMAs). But in the past couple of years their line-up has been less stellar with the increase of (bad) American acts in the line-up, such as that scowling rapper from MTV's Pimp My Ride hosting the show two years ago. (Where are the good American acts this year? Madonna? Scissor Sisters?) Appearently the reason for this is that MTV USA must have laid down the proviso that they wouldn't air the EMAs in America unless it had more Americans in the line-up. And for what? It airs just once on MTV USA proper this Friday November 10, (MTV2 did show this live when it went on this past Thursday); while the American version gets countless repeats. (And I would have rather see Borat host this year's awards like he did last year, but he's busy promoting his movie in America. So for comedy this year, we have to settle for this year's host Justin Tinkertoy, a white suburban Mickey-Mouse club kid, trying to act like he's black and from the ghetto.)

Anyway Kanye with your giant-ass ego outburst you've come across to the world as just another Ugly American who thinks that the light shines out of your ass just because G*d blessed your American behind and that it's alright to foist your culture onto the rest the world with no respect of their own. Now through the eyes of the rest of the world you're no better than George W. Bush.

Kanye, as a "fuck you" gesture, I'm presenting the link to the European MTV award-winning video "We Are Your Friends" by Justice vs. Simian via YouTube. And the band's MySpace page. And the MySpace page of the band's record label. Plus I'm mentioning that you can download the song from US iTunes as well.

Oh and BTW that excuse for said outburst where you said that had too much "sippy sippy" sounds like you went through Anna Nicole Smith's TrimSpa stash.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday video #5: Betty Boop

1932 Betty Boop's Ups and Downs

I'm a fan of 1930's black and white cartoons, Max Fleischer in particular. This is a classic surreal Betty Boop cartoon that was released back in 1932. I wish there would be a proper reissue of all the Betty Boop cartoons on DVD.

Labels: , ,

I won't tumble for the new Culture Club

Culture Club is reforming. Well, sort of. Drummer Jon Moss and bassist Mikey Craig, as well as keyboard player Phil Pickett, will be doing a tour in the UK next month as Culture Club Reborn. The kicker is that Boy George won't be singing. They've hired a 29-year-old unknown named Sam Butcher to take his place. Apppearently there's been bad blood between the CCR and Boy George camps. Jon Moss, who was George's former boyfriend, criticized the former lead singer for accepting a songwriting award at the Q Music Awards for "Karma Chameleon" without telling the other former bandmembers (the song was credited to all the original band members), as well as for some very diva-ish behavior. Boy in turn said that he thought that the new singer Butcher was "dreadful" and that he didn't like the band's new sound at all.

Moss defended the new line-up saying "At the end of the day, Culture Club was very much ours as well as George's. He was the visual impact that everyone got, but there was a hell of a lot behind it."

Diva-ish behavior or not, Boy George was a big component of the band. To have the "new" Culture Club get another singer makes the band less than a sum of its parts

Well things could have been worse--Moss could have hired Boy's friend/rival Marilyn to take his place instead!