Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Music - Mikey Wax - Change Again



Mikey Wax is another artist I manage to run into on my time on the internet - indeed, I bet I spend too much time here. So I check out his music, and turns out I like it very much. Mikey is an independent singer/songwriter, and released his first CD Change Again to some great reviews. The Long Island-based Wax has been touring all over the country, gaining fans with each and every stop. One reason is the great songs, like his first video release, In Case I Go Again. Sure, he might be a Str8 boy, but I do believe they need love too. Especially if they are cute!



I downloaded the CD at CD Baby, and the 13-song effort charmed me on the first listen. Change Again opened up with Slow Motion, a mid-tempo song piano-driven song with just amazing lyrics. The song is about the end of relationship and letting go, and include these lines: "In a moment she will say these words, I can hear them just before she talks, By the way we stare I know it's going to hurt, And before she can explain, We share the pain." Wow.



That is followed by In Case I Go Again, the video above. I really love that song. Hourglass (Time Will Find A Way) is an excellent up-tempo song, and Change Your Mind is just sweet as a soft ballad. Actually, I really like all the songs, and find he really has a great way with his lyrics. And those lyrics are perfect for his emotive voice.



The music of Mikey Wax is available on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby. He also has several concert videos on YouTube found here.You can find more information about Mikey on his website, found here. On his website, I found a couple of free downloads, one of which is an incredible cover of La Vie En Rose, the Edith Piaf song. I find it breathtaking, so will end with the video.

New Music - SIRPAUL - Where The Wild Things Are

SIRPAUL
SIRPAUL

I really like SIRPAUL, and not just because he is so freakin' hot. I really like his music, even though it seems to go on a constant path of evolution. Listening to him involves twists and turns, and I am kinda likin' that. Anyway, in a quick one, this afternoon SIRPAUL posted a YouTube video with a new song, Where The Wild Things Are. The video is a slide show of some hot shots of SIRPAUL, doing there thing while the song plays. It is an electro-funk/dance song. And it was a great excuse to go through his pictures again, and make me a little warm...



You can find out more about SIRPAUL at his official website here.

Great TV - In The Life October



I think In The Life is a great television series, one that remains under-rated and under-viewed. It is a valuable source for the history and current issues facing the gay community. It runs on PBS, and you can check your local listings for the air dates for the current episode.



For the October episode, the have the following description:
40 years after the Stonewall uprising, the LGBT movement is more visible than ever. But many queer people who do not conform to the image of gender, race and class most pervasive in the media, remain largely invisible—even to the movement. This month, we look at how LGBT people living on the economic margins of our society are organizing themselves to find housing, improve their professional skills, and obtain employment and health care.



You can watch episodes online here. To find out when it will be broadcast in your area, click here. Please support this great show.

Worth Another Listen - The Guess Who



The Guess Who are a Canadian group perhaps best known for their song American Woman. Through the years, the roster of the bands changed often and quickly, but the particular section that interests me is the late 60s and late 70s. It was at that time Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman were leading the charge, writing together and Burton's voice so crystal clear and Bachman's guitar work so strong and driving.



I am the 5th out of 6 kids, so while I might be a bit young, I was listening to my sister's music, so feel some of that music was also mine. And The Guess Who are one of them. I listened to them in my preteen years, and still have a fondness. Burton Cummings went on to a solo career, his big hit being Stand Tall. Randy Bachman went on to form the Bachamn-Turner Overdrive or BTO, and had the hits You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet and Takin' Care of Business, both staples of rock radio.



Both have returned from time to time to the band, but never for a long haul. The Guess Who is still touring today, although without Bachman and Cummings.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Video - Angela Leo - You'd Be Here

angela leo

Angela Leo is an up and coming folk artist based out of Hollywood, California, and is starting out with quite a bang. Her first video, You'd Be Here, steps up and tells much about Angela as an artist. She is beautiful, strong, talented and bold. You'd Be Here is a song about longing for lover, yet doesn't succumb to the maudlin or morose.



Instead, it celebrates that love. And it just so happens in this case, the love is for another woman. Yep, Angela is a hot and out lesbian. She has a CD out, entitled Cognitive Dissonance, and I am liking it great deal. Listening to the CD, she reminds me of a cross between Melissa Etheridge and Joan Baez, with her strong folk roots and connection to her music.

angela leo angela leo

Her music and lyrics have an organic feel, very tied to natural sources. Trying, the fourth cut on the album, is an uptempo song about growth and self-realization. It is a great song. Spring is another hot one, a ballad celebrating life with the passage of the seasons. 'Spring comes down like sunny rain. Doesn't it feel so good to be alive.' Waves of the Tide returns to the uptempo, again finding love to be a source of so much good. The One sings of a great love, with an almost tropical bossa nova beat.

angela leo angela leo

You can find out more about Angela at her official website here, or can check out her MySpace page here.

Great TV - GLEE - Rhodes Not Taken promo




Pictures posted on FaceBook by the GLEE Team.

Kristin Chenoweth guest stars tomorrow night on GLEE, joining the glee club. I am so excited, I can't say! Kristin sings Maybe This Time from Cabaret. And she is gorgeous! The LA Times had this backstage video. Enjoy.

 

GLEE is on your Fox station, Wednesday evening 9PM/8PM Central.

New Video - Noisettes - Wild Young Hearts




The Noisettes are a London-based trio preforming what has been described as indie rock, garage-punk, rock, pop-rock, and everything in between. Guitarist Dan Smith, singer/bassist Shingai Shoniwa, and drummer Jamie Morrison were quite the sensation in the UK, and recently made the trip across the ocean to start their own British Invasion. They have been hard at work, touring with TV on the Radio, Bloc Party, Muse, and Lady Gaga. They have also logged performances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Wendy Williams Show, and The Late Show with David Letterman.

Wild Young Hearts (New Version)


Just last week, Noisettes released their latest album, Wild Young Hearts. I received a email about a promotion that makes it possible to buy the 10-song cd for just $5.00! Amazon is responsible, and you can download it by clicking here. Once I give it a couple of listens, I will visit Noisettes again with the review. So far, I can tell you I really love song and video for the title cut, Wild Young Hearts.



I would be remiss if I didn't point out lead singer/bassist Shingai is beautiful, and the boys adorable. Their sound is kinda Blondie meets the GoGos for the 21st Century, with infectious rhythms layered with lots of joy. You can find out more about Noisettes by checking them out on MySpace here.

New Release - Barbra Streisand - Love Is The Answer



Yeah, like there was a shot in hell I wasn't going to be writing about this today. Barbra Streisand releases her latest album today, Love Is The Answer. It is her 63rd, and is produced by Diana Krall, a noted singer of jazz standards, and also the wife of the amazing Elvis Costello. It is a collection of love songs, standards really. Reportedly, it has been in the recording process for the past year, starting in 2008. To celebrate the release, Streisand played a date at Village Vanguard in New York City, the club she debuted at some 48 years previously, in 1961.



I saw two Tweets from Andy Cohen (@BravoAndy), in which he discussed the guests and the performance.



Well, I have been waiting for this album for some time now. Yes, I am damn near giddy. I guess that earns me back my card, right? So, I will be buying my copy today, but because I am an impatient person, I went online and found a copy, and have been listening. All I can say is that it is immaculate! The album is 12 songs, with a bonus track available. There is also a Deluxe set available, with is a second disc with the same songs, only performed with a quartet, not a phalanx of studio musicians. One of the songs is Make Someone Happy, and you can see a performance Streisand did recently.



For me, that proves she still has it. She might be 67 years old, but the voice is strong, and the interpretation flawless. Andy was right in heaping the praise. After listening to the recording, perhaps he didn't heap enough. There is such an intimacy, such softness to Love Is The Answer. It is part going to the corner bar to see your favorite singer in a smoke-filled room, just a piano and a microphone singing jazz tunes, and part tribute to an amazing talent. Chances are good you won't be catching any of the songs on Top 40 radio - maybe on adult contemporary stations at best - but it will be playing on my iPod, leaving me wistful and wanting a fireplace and a drink, as well as someone to cuddle up with.



Some early favorites so far are Where Do You Start?, a song I have loved since I heard it on a CD by Michael Feinstein. There is also If You Go Away (Ne Me Quitte Pas), a song by the amazing Jaques Brel. And Comden, Green and Jules Styne classic, Make Someone Happy. And the wonderful Jerome Kern song, Smoke Get's In Your Eyes.


Barbra with son Jason, at a recent concert, and in the early 60s.

Barbra is the mother of a gay son, Jason Gould [pictured above]. When asked about it by The Advocate, she replied, 'I would never wish for my son to be anything but what he is. He is bright, kind, sensitive, caring, and a very conscientious and good person. He is a very gifted actor and filmmaker. What more could a parent ask for in their child? I have been truly blessed. Most parents feel that their child is particularly special, and I am no different. I have a wonderful son. My only wish for my son, Jason, is that he continues to experience a rich life of love, happiness, joy, and fulfillment, both creatively and personally.' She supports marriage equality.

I have long believed that The Way We Were album was just perfect. There is not a single thing wrong with it. It also contains one of my favorites, What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?



Love Is The Answer is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and at retailers. You can find more information at the official website, found here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dark Monday - Mikail Baryshnikov



Russian born Mikail Baryshnikov is considered by many to be one of the greatest ballet dancers ever, and was certainly someone who was great for dance. He headlined for Russia's premiere ballet company, the Kirov, astounding audiences the world over with his grace, good looks, and amazing athletic ability. His leaps were legendary, as were the tales of his womanizing. In 1974, while the Kirov was touring Canada, Baryshnikov, known as Misha to his friends, controlled the headlines throughout the world by defecting to Canada.




Once he had severed his ties to Mother Russia, he set out to make a name for himself, and fully embrace the freedoms and opportunities commercialism had to offer. He danced wherever he wanted, whatever style he wanted. He became a known figure in NYC nightlife, often seen in the company of Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger at places like Studio 54. He appeared in movies, including a brilliant turn as a former Russian ballet dancer in The Turning Point, as well in the movie White Nights.



Misha has been nominated for an Oscar, a Tony, and has won 3 Emmy Awards. One of those for a 1980 TV special, Baryshinkov on Broadway, co-starring good friend and party buddy, Liza Minnelli. The show had them performing together - dancing, playing the piano and singing - to many of the great Broadway show numbers of all times. This includes Too Darn Hot from the Cole Porter show, Kiss Me Kate.



Deciding he needs to have a big finale for the show, he finally decides on the most logical show for a dancer, A Chorus Line, and is joined by the Broadway cast of the show in the big number, One.



I think that I, like every other gay boy in the world at the time, had a massive crush [ie lust] for Baryshnikov, with his beautiful body and striking looks. But he boy was stridently str8, having a child with the gorgeous and talented Jessica Lange, and three more with former ballerina and current girlfriend Lisa Rinehart. In one of his latest acting roles, he played Aleksandr Petrovsky, the older love interest of Sarah Jessica Parker, in the series Sex and the City.

Great Movies - Maurice



Merchant & Ivory ruled the period dramas for about a decade, employing some of the great British actors of the time telling the stories of some great British writers. Amongst those writers were E.M. Forster, whose novels, A Room With A View, Howards End, and A Passage To India had been made into movies by the same production team with great success. Maurice was not published until a year after he had died, as the scandal of a novel in which the main character is uncategorically gay, something the writer himself fought in his own lifetime. Forster was born in 1879, at a time when homosexuality was the love that dare not speak its name. He remained steadfastly closeted until his death in 1970.



Maurice Hall & Clive Durham

But in Maurice, we follow the character of Maurice Hall, a privileged young man, from his time at school in Cambridge, where he meets and falls in love with his good friend, Clive Durham. Maurice, played incredibly by James Wilby, has an affair with Clive, played in classic stiff, bumbling style by Hugh Grant, until it is ended by Clive, who is fearful of the shame it would bring on him and his family if they were caught. Maurice is crushed, but manages to move on when he discovers real love with Alec Scudder, played brimming with sexuality by hot Rupert Graves, a groundkeeper on the family estate. Maurice and Scudder leave to find happiness elsewhere, while Clive remains in place, living a lie with his young and frightened wife.



Maurice & Alec Scudder

Maurice was released in 1987, one of very few mainstream movies to feature a gay character, let alone a protagonist. It was brave to make the movie. And, I will always remember for being a very special first date I had with a dear ex.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Music - Erik Hassle - Hurtful

Erik Hassle

There seems to be a new talent lighting up in the UK, and his name is Erik Hassle. He is Swedish, and it seems as though the Swedes are taking over the music world. For the last few years they have been writing most of the hits pop songs out there, but now they seem to want to sing them too.

Erik Hassle Erik Hassle

I don't know a whole lot about Hassle, except he is str8 and looks [to me] a bit like Lyle Lovett and, like Lovett, can sing the crap out of a song. Hurtful is Electro-Pop at it's finest.



I found this on Twitter, of all places, by following XOLondon [@xolondon] and checking out his block, Middle Eight. To find out more about Erik Hassle, check out his official website here.

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