Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Video #37: Rufus, Rules and Regulations

The video of the second single from Rufus Wainwright's Release the Stars album. It was directed by Petro Papahadjopoulos, who's best known for designing tour visuals for the likes of Madonna and Kelly Clarkson. The video is set in an Elizabethan men's club and employs moustached men in leotards doing synchronized dance moves around a gym. Very humorously well done.

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LOL 80s

I rencently came accros a website called LOL80's: A Picture Thread, which humorously adds captions to 80s music stars in the style of LOL cats. Here's a few of my favorites:

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Internet Radio (and Music) Is In Danger

I enjoy listening to internet radio because it exposes me to music that I wouldn't normally hear on a commercial FM station. For dance music I listen to WMPH (which airs on 91.7FM in Wilmington, Delaware) and The Rhythm Of The City (which airs through, and for "alternative" rock I listen to Y-Rock On XPN. Today these stations will be among the thousands of other internet stations that are signing off the air for 24 hours in a "Day of Silence" protest. This is in protest to royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling by the U.S Copyright Royalty Board back in March, and are due to go into effect on July 15. Webcasters have stated that the proposed rates would hike their payments and add an administrative fee of $500 for every channel. Webcasters say it would hike their payments from 300 percent to 1,200 percent. July 15 is also the due date for 17 months of retroactive payments at the new rates. That means that if these rules aren't changed by then, a lot of these web stations will be out-priced of staying on-air and only rich corporations, ones that have bean-counters instead of music fans, will be able to own and run them like they do with the FM and AM radio stations right now.

It pisses me off as a music fan that this might or would happen. I think the reason why the CPB are doing this is these are folks that are involved with the music industry that resents people (like me) who are looking for alternatives to commercial FM radio that plays a limited amonut of songs in tight formats with lots of commercials in between. They would be happy to shut down any alternative outlets and make it easier for them shove the latest Paris Hilton CD or the scowling rapper du jour or whatever acts they're pushing this week down the public's throat. And no, I don't want the new Paris CD. (And a lot of people would agree with me on this, considering her record label recently dropped her!) Does some suit from Clear Channel knows my musical tastes better than I do? I don't think so!

On June 28th The House Committee of Small Business will hold a hearing to look into the resulting effects of the March 2nd CRB ruling and it's impact on the Broadcasters. (My Congressman, Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, is on that committee.) And recently the Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007 has been introduced in Congress, which would overrule the board and put Internet radio on the same royalty rate as satellite radio, 7.5 percent of revenue if it becomes law.

I hope that the CRB ruling will be overturned and some other rate that's more reasonable and sensible in its place. I'd hate to see stations like WMPH or Y ROck On XPN either curtail their webcasting or drop it altogether and genres like dance and alternative rock (which aren't on many commerical FM stations in the US these days) lose more exposure (and having their sales go further down in the process). And I'm certainly not going to regular FM radio where they play the same 20 Paris Hilton, 50 Cent, and Nickelback songs over and over with lots of commercials in between. As a fan of music I demand more than that. And you'd agree with me if you're one too.

See for details on how you can get involved. And also, please sign the online petition (courtesy of WXPN) to urge your member of Congress to pass the Internet Radio Equality Act.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Video #36: Kevin Aviance

1999 music video for "Join In The Chant" by Kevin Aviance. The song was originally done by Nitzer Ebb in 1987. The theme for the video (I don't know who directed this) was inspired by the Matthew Shepard protest rally in New York City in 1998. Kevin himself would be a victim of a gay-bashing seven years later, which adds another level of poignancy to the video when watched today. Given that Kevin will be marching again in the New York Gay Pride parade this Sunday (actually he'll be on the HX magazine float and he won't have his mouth wired shut like last year), I thought that it would be appropriate to post this today.

Kevin's version of "Join In The Chant" is availible off his album Box Of Chocolates.

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Philly Gay Pride 2007 photos

Here are some photos I took at the Philadelphia Gay Pride parade back on June 10. Most of them features members of the Philadelphians MC, as well as other members of Philly's fetish community, on the Bike Stop float.

On 13th Street between Pine and Locust perparing the float that morning.

The Philly Roller Girls were marching (or is that skating?) right behind us in the parade.

A view from the float as it starts to take off.

Coming up to the intersection of 11th and Pine Streets.

Reaching our destination at the Pride Festival at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing.

Hanging out with John at the Gay Pride festival.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Folsom Street East 2007

This year's Folsom Street East fair in NYC on Sunday was a blast. Took the train up to NYC in the morning and arrived there around 12:45pm. Since I had a couple of hours to kill I walked down Eight Avenue to the heart of Cheslea's gay district (only a ten-minute walk from Penn Station!) and had a light lunch at one of the restaurants there and did some window shopping. (Also saw the most hilarious billboard as well on the corner of 8th and 28th.)

At 2 I walked over to FSE on West 28th Street from 10th to 11th Avenues and stayed there for nearly five hours. It got crowded very quickly--the attendance turned out to be around 10,000, which was an all-time high for the event. A sea of leather, fetish, and hot men. Walked around for a couple of hours glad that I had slapped on a couple of coats of sunscreen beforehand. Watched some of the onstage entertainment. Ran into John Loesch (Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2007) at four and we decided to go into the the Eagle to escape the heat. Went back out on the street at six and walked around some more. Had to leave at seven in order to catch my train ride back home (like I said last year, I had a three and a half-hour train ride from NYC to home). So I had to miss the Nasty Pig Porn Star Pie Eating Contest (NSFW), where three two-man porn teams took to the stage in jockstraps, one man on each team bent over with his ass facing the crowd, as his partner smashed a pie into his butt and then ate off it. Damnit, I have to either get a later train or stay overnight at a hotel. Talk about happy Daddy's Day!

Anyhow I took a few pictures of the event for your enjoyment. They might not do any justice for the event, but here they are:

The entrance to FSE on 10th Avenue and West 28th Street.

Amazing what a pair of silts can do.

The band Nekked performs onstage.


Porn star and singer Fredrick Ford performs onstage.

Crowd shot I took about 6:30pm. I was hoping it would turn out more like this, but it tuned out OK.

Beer garden section in front of the Eagle.

One of the flaggers by the performance stage.

Taken around 7:00pm.

And finally a shot to prove I was there!

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Village Voice Queer Issue 2007

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Video #35: Folsom Street East

Since this Sunday is Folsom Street East, NYC's smaller but almost as kinky version of the legendary San Francisco leather fair, which will be taking place on Chelsea's West 28th Street, here is a video of the FSE held back in 1999 (back when it was held on the intersection of West 13th and Washington Streets in the West Village). I'm definitely going to be there (this will be the fifth time I'll be at this block party).

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Philly Gay Pride 2007

Philadelphia's Gay Pride parades are usually shorter than other cities like New York. If you're watching them from the sidelines, Philly's usually takes around half an hour, while marching in it takes two hours. Compare that to New York's, where it takes two hours to watch it and up to five or six hours to march in it.

Considering this in mind, this year's Philly Pride pararde was unusally short. Only four or five floats this year, and it probably took about only fifteen minutes to sit through. I was on the Bike Stop float with several Philadelphians members. It took the usual two hours to go through the route. The ride for the most part was enjoyable. Weather was cloudy until 1:30pm when the sun came out. (BTW the Bike Stop float won an award for best bar float.) Stayed at the Gay Pride festival at Penns Landing for only an hour or so. Walked backed to the Gayborhood for a bite to eat and a drink before I headed back home. I did take some photos which I'll post on here later this month.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Video #34: Rufus Does Judy

Rufus Wainwright is a fan of Judy Garland--last year in New York he did two Carnegie Hall concerts in which he performed the entire Judy Garland concert album recorded there in 1961. A CD and DVD of the tribute concert will scheduled for release in September 2007.

But as you can tell from this clip, Rufus took his devotion to a new level last month in France, where he dressed up like Judy from the 1950 movie Summer Stock in a black suit jacket, fedora, and nylons, and performed "Get Happy" from the same film. (Thanks to Xolondon for tipping me off to this clip!)

BTW Rufus is currently performing four dates at the Gramercy in NYC, and you can tell from the photo below taken June 5 he's broken out that outfit again.

What better way to celebrate Gay Pride month than with this?

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Catching Up and Pride Happenings

Sorry for goofing off so much recently. Had some issues that interferred with my blogging, as well as some other things. I'll try to post more in the next couple of weeks.

Had a pretty good (if unspetactular) Memorial Day Weekend. Stayed at my parents's place in Ocean City Maryland. My youngest sister, her husband and three kids were staying there as well. I drove up to Rehoboth Beach on Saturday and did usual stops (Lambda Rising, Double L Bar).

Finally got around to picking up the Pet Shop Boys' most recent album Fundemental, after having friends rave about this for months. It's a really good effort. My favorite track would have to be "The Sodom And Gomorrah Show."

One year ago this month drag performer and singer Kevin Aviance was gay-bashed in New York. (Ironicly I first heard the news on my way to Philly Gay Pride.) Here's a new interview where he talks about the incident.

It's Gay Pride weekend here in Philly, so I've been prepping myself for that. This coming Saturday night (June 9), the Philadelphians MC will be holding their Pre-Pride Bar Social on the main floor of the Bike Stop, from 8PM to midnight. 50/50 raffle tickets (which I will be helping sell), Jello shots and lots of guys in leather. And on Sunday is the Philly Gay Pride Parade and Festival, where I will be marching with the Philadelphians as well. The parade kicks off at noon, and the festival will be held again at the Great Plaza section of Penn's Landing. Happy Gay Pride! (And thanks to Ryan for designing the above flyer.)

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Rufus Wainwright at Borders, 5-19-2007

Okay I'm finally getting around to this. Two and a half weeks ago (Saturday May 19) I caught Rufus Wainwright's appearance at Borders in Bryn Mawr PA, where he gave a short performance and signed copies of his new CD Release The Stars. His appearance was scheduled at 2:00pm and I had to work at my day job this morning, but I did get off at 1pm, so I went straight to Bryn Mawr from there, which took me about half an hour. I found Borders and was lucky to find a spot in their parking lot quickly, which was quite full. Got in through the back enterance at 1:30pm and found that the performance was to be on the first floor. I was told to go to the information desk to get a ticket to get my CD signed (which I had to buy in advance), but when I got there there was no one there, so I had to keep myself from going into total spazz mode. Fortuneatley I asked a nearby customer where to go and she said that the tickets were being given near the store's front enterance. So I got my ticket (I was number 161) and bought a CD and looked for a place to watch Rufus. I couldn't get up front since all the spots were taken up early. So I wound halfway pn the staits between the first and second floors, where I did get a decent view. The majority of the crowd was college/alternative rock kids and/or NPR types. Lots of people were there but it was not insanely overcrowded; you wouldn't have much trouble getting around store then.

Rufus walked into the room at 2:00 sharp to the glee of the crowd. He performed three songs. Fitst he did "The Art Teacher" (from his last album Want Two) on a Yamaha keyboard, then "Sanssouci" on acoustic guitar, and then back to the keyboard to close with "Going To A Town," the first single and video from the new album. He also said some humorous things between songs, such as his opening comment where he noticed the absestos ceiling of the first floor, as well as how much he liked his new clogs.

Then Rufus was then taken upstairs to the second floor where he signed copies of his CD. Unfortunately due to the size of the crowd and the tightness of Rufus's schedule he was not personalizing his signatures, nor could you pose with him for a photo (though you could take pictures of him from the line for autographs). At first people were taken in groups of 25 (hence the tickets the staff were giving out earlier), but after half an hour the staff just let the rest of the fans to go upstairs. I did go to the second floor but I lingered around there for a bit, where I could hear Rufus's distinguished laugh. A woman staff member was condesendingly directing the crowd and barking orders like a grade school teacher, much to the annoyance of at least a few fans as well as the slight embarassment of Rufus himself. (Appearently that certain Borders was not that familar with how to direct such an event like this before.) So I finally got into the line and it moved quite fast. In several minutes I did wind up meeting Rufus and he signed the CD I had. I told him that I loved his work and I hoped that the rest of the weekend went well for him and he thanked me. All in about 15 seconds, which was quite anti-climtic considering how much I was looking forward to this and yet I ended up feeling rushed through this. As I started walking out the store, the female staff member who considered herself as a traffic cop shouted out that it was last call to get their CD signed. It was about 3:30 when I left--which I was suprised, since I had originally expected a longer wait. I wished my meeting with Rufus wan't so brief. I wanted to savor that moment more. But hey, I did wind up getting a signed copy of his latest CD (my second copy to be exact--I bought my first copy the day it was released five days before) and did give him a few encouraging words. And Release The Stars has been getting played a lot on my stereo since then, it's so good.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Video #33: RuPaul

Since June is Gay Pride Month, I thought that it'd be appropriate to kick the month off with a video of the OrangeFuZzZ Emancipation remix of "Free To Be" by the legendary RuPaul. It mixes footage from the 2006 NYC Gay Pride Parade with footage from RuPaul's original "Free To Be" video, which was done for the soundtrack of the 1995 documentary Wigstock. The OrangeFuZzZ remix of "Free To Be" is availible as part of Ru's Reworked, a collection of dance remixes of his material.

BTW his new movie Starrbooty will be coming to a gay film festival to you this summer.

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