Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Last Post in February

Okay, I did wind up watching the Oscars Sunday night. Ellen DeGeneres, who served as Oscar host for the first time, had a great quote: "If there weren't blacks, Jews and gays, there would no Oscars. Or anyone named Oscar, if you think about that."

The latest edition of my PhillyGayCalendar column is now up. It touches on a few things, including a brief rundown of YouTube and a brief interview with the local synth-pop rock duo The Divys.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscars tonight? Meh.

This past week the Oscars have been pretty much been overshadowed by the twin media circuses of Britney Spears shaving her head as she goes in and out of rehab and the final trainwreck of Anna Nicole Smith and the court battles over her estate and baby. Maybe the current slate of films up for the Oscars don't have the iconic aura as the previous year's line-ups. Or maybe the "gay mafia*" is still pissed over Brokeback Mountain getting snubbed the Best Picture award last year and have decided to retalite by taking time away from who's going to be wearing what on the red carpet that usually goes to the usual infotainment shows around this time of year and refocusing that time on Brit and Anna instead; I guess that having Ellen DeGeneres as the host of tonight's show and Jennifer Hudson/Dreamgirls were insufficent bait for them! Talk about karmic payback! I guess the gays will be singing Billy Joel's "Say Goodbye To Hollywood" tonight!


Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Video #20: Kylie

This coming Monday--February 26--will mark the fifth anniversary of Kylie Minogue's Fever album release in the United States, with "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" as the big hit single from that album. ("CGYOOMH" would peak at #7 on Billboard's Hot 100 charts.) Fever would debut at #3 on the US album charts and eventually go platinum (I million copies sold in the US), which would arguably be the biggest comeback of 2002 with Kylie leaving her "Loco-Motion" 80s kitsch stigma in the dust. It was a thrill to see Kylie reconquer the pop charts in America and radiate a sense of joy. It was almost like the first rush of falling in love.

Looking back, "Can't" would sadly be a last gasp of sorts for the dance-pop world in the US. As it was getting in the US Top Ten in early 2002, hip-hop and R&B was already starting to take over the US pop radio airwaves. By the following year they had pretty much pushed dance music off the Top 40, which would be a reflection of the post-9-11 and President Bush-led national mood of the country. A smiling Kylie seemed too frivolous to fit into America's long night of dispair with the US commercial disappointment of her following album Body Language, so she moved on and concentrated on Europe and Australia and left the American Kylie fans having to go to bed listening to the inferior likes of Britney and Jessica Simpson. May Kylie have another US comeback--her joie de vive is missed here.

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Fever's US release, here is a video of Kylie performing "Can't Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head" at the Brit Awards in 2002. This is a mash-up of "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and New Order's "Blue Monday."

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Barbara Gittings

Barbara Gittings, the prominent gay rights activist, died this past Sunday. She and a handful of gay men and lesbians held demonstrations outside the White House and Independence Hall seeking equal rights for gay people. I met her several times during the 90s. She was a big literary supporter as well--she was head of the American Library Association's Gay Task Force. She also had a active hand in persuading the American Psychiatric Association to drop its categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Video #19: "Grace Kelly" by Mika

"Too much melody to be a hit here," says someone from a music industry message board on the chances of "Grace Kelly" by Mika becoming a hit here in America. Which is a shame considering what you do see on the US "pop" charts these days are either scowling rent-a-rapper crap where everyone is getting all uptight John Wayne (even the women), or bland, ham-fisted rock bands without humor or wit like Nickelback or Daughtry. I'm sorry but I'd like my pop to have a sense of fantasia to dote on (and I'm not talking about Fantasia from American Idol either; she's too busy keeping in goosestep with the hip-hop nazis and doting on her "hood boy" and all that). IMHO the US needs to get some melody, eccentricity, and technicolor daydreaming into its pop charts. It's a shame much of the US music-buying public hasn't heard of the Scissor Sisters or the first Rufus Wainwright album. Is it any wonder that Americans are not buying as much music as they used to; all that plain-potato-ness and greyness in the US charts right now doesn't look all that appitizing.

Mika is a London-based singer whose parents (his mother is Lebanese and his father American) was forced to leave their war-torn hometown Lebanon when he was young, and they moved to Paris and then London. His first single "Relax, Take It Easy" (which samples Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight") created a buzz in the UK. His follow-up single, "Grace Kelly," hit #1 in the British single charts last month. His debut album Life In Cartoon Motion was released in the UK on Feburary 5, and will be released in America on March 27.

Now here's a British TV commercial for his Life In Cartoon Motion album. And I can safely assume that those pop stars that refuse to be just one color are taken far away as possible from Clear Channel.

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Procrasinating no more?

Right now I've been experiencing a creative block, and I haven't gotten much done in the past month. I guess it's due to the winter blahs and my frustrations over finding a new day job. But hopefully that is coming to an end. I finally finished my lastest column the other day, which is about the gay-friendly parties in suburban Philadelphia titled GayNiteOUT. Also I hope to blog more here...I'm shocked about how much less I've put stuff in since the Christmas/New Years holiday season.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Video #18: John Waters

Since Valentine's Day is around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to show you a clip of John Waters plugging his new album, A Date With John Waters, which is a twisted collection of offbeat, um, "love" songs.

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Village Voice Pazz & Jop 2006 Critics Poll

RIP Anna

Famous ex-Playboy model and reality-TV show goddess Anna Nicole Smith was found dead yesterday. She really raised the bar on what a celebrity trainwreck ought to be. (Check out the DVD of the first season of The Anna Nicole Show and see "reality" TV at its most bizarre.)

Here is a photo of Anna taken backstage at the Live 8 concert in Philly in July 2005.

Divine Ms. Jimmi muses about her.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Prince at Super Bowl

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Video #17: ABBA On Ice

Well you'll heard about "Disney On Ice" and those types of ice-skating shows, and you're heard about the ABBA-themed Mama Mia! on Broadway, so it'll only be a matter of time before you'll see the "ABBA On Ice" show hitting the nearest stadium near you. This is a clip of the members of ABBA skating to "Hole In Your Soul," which is from their 1978 album ABBA -The Album.