Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Divine Is So Beautiful


Before RuPaul was the Supermodel of the World, it was only because of trailblazers like Jim Bailey, Charles Pierce and Divine. Baltimore resident Harris Glenn Milstead became known to the world through his work in cult films by John Waters, better known as drag queen Divine. In addition to working both in movies and on stage, Divine also made several records, performing Hi N-R-G dance songs for the clubs. When you have an icon like Divine, once described by People magazine as the 'Drag Queen of the [20th] Century,' there will be no lip-synching for anyone's life. Give a listen to the 1982 hit, Native Love (Step By Step).

That song was followed up in 1983 with the catchy Love Reaction. Once again, you can clearly see the character of Divine, the large-living wife with more self-confidence than self-awareness. She would only vary the economic range of the woman, from trailer trash to middle-aged soccer mom.

In 1984, Divine once again proved that self-confidence is indeed intoxicating. When she sings I'm So Beautiful, it is tough not to smile and feel good.

In 1985, Divine had a feature role in the Paul Bartel's Western melodrama, Lust In The Dust. The film reunited Divine with costar Tab Hunter, a major heartthrob in the 50s and 60s. Hunter, who openly acknowledged his homosexuality in a 2005 autobiography, also shared the screen with Divine in Polyester, a John Waters film. Coincidentally while working on that Western, Divine released a remake of the song Walk Like A Man, also featuring the Western motif.

Unfortunately, Divine passed away in 1988, a week after the opening of Hairspary, for which he received great praise. But he certainly left a legacy of great films and some fun music, and is still remembered today.

Happy Hump Day

Young Frankenstein

Well, this is just a cute clip I will post because it makes me laugh, and I am still catching up after being offline for a couple of days due to Hurricane Irene. So enjoy This delightful clip, supplied by the Broadway production of Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, The Musical. The show ran for over a year on Broadway, but closed in January of 1009.

Happy Hump Day! But while we are here, I'll remind everyone of Megan Mullally and Shuler Hensley's performance on the 2008 Tony Award broadcast. They performed the show-stopping Deep Love, written by Mel Brooks.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Darren Hayes • Black Out The Sun video

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Australian Magician Darren Hayes has always had a way to weave a spell on the audience, enchanting them with his R&B-dipped pop. Whether he is delivering a song that is dark and moody, or sweet and touching, Darren never steps away from the music. This October, he is set to release a new collection, his first in four years.

Proves that Hayes has not only kept on top of his game, he still has so much more to offer. The song is beautiful and lush, and perfectly complemented by the richness of the video. I certainly looking forward to Secret Codes and Battleships, due out on October 2nd.


And it doesn't hurt he is looking so handsome! For more about Darren, check out his official website here. You can also find him on FaceBook here, or Twitter here. You can visit his official online store here.

Kenny Chesney • Somewhere With You

Kenny Chesney Shane Mack

OK, I will admit that normally, Kenny Chesney is not on the top of my playing list. However, I just heard him sing this on the radio, and I was completely blown away. You see, I recognized the song. One of the co-writers is someone I love, and can't understand why I still don't have an album by him in my collection. But first, I'll let you hear what I did, Kenny singing an absolutely gorgeous song, Somewhere With You.

Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, I am talking about the brilliant Shane Mack. You might remember him as the man who wrote and performed by several songs on the soundtrack for the amazing movie, Shelter. So I am thrilled the out singer/songwriter is getting songs picked upby other artists, and hope this means I will finally be getting that album I have wanted since I found his music on Myspace so very long ago. Yeah, remember Myspace? Well, remember this song? It is Lie To Me from Shelter.

And here is another album from Shane, Wreckage. Superstar Kelly Clarkson sang it live at concerts. But I still love Shane's version.

And here is Shane performing with Ashley Arrison, in Nashville. He is singing If I Stay, an exquisite song. I love the song, his performance, and Ashley's perfect backing vocals. Put this on a record, and I would be near giddy.

Well, to find more about Shane, you can check out his Facebook page here, or his Myspace page here. You know, the fifth post I wrote on this blog was about Shane, begging for a CD here. Guess what? I am still waiting!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Simulover • Tourniquet

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Simulover, the project of Alex Lauterstein and SIRPAUL™, has found a new outlet for all their creative juices, as it were. They debuted the first videofrom the self-titled album. Tourniquet, the second cut, is their ode to some fetish behavior, set to the driving beat of electro-dance. But is it about fetishes, or is it more about how we look at them, both in ourselves and in others? .

The video was directed by Andreas Anastasis, who was at the helm of the SIRPAUL videos. Anastasis has often toyed with the idea of reality, and what lurks just beneath the surface of people. He composes the images using the two stunning men, contrasting and blending them at will, with a startling ease. Whether they are using plastic, latex, hemp or some other artifice as a second skin, the video studies human sexuality.

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For more about Simulover, visit Alex and SIRPAUL on their official website here. You can also find them at their FAceBook page here, and Twitter here. You can find Simulover's debut album on iTunes here, and on Amazon here.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jazz Takes On Irene

Jazz Storms
Clockwise: Ella Fitzgerald; Mandy Patinkin; The Association; and Phylis Hyman.

By the time this posts, we could very well be in the thick of things in the Mid-Atlantic area, being pummeled by Hurricane Irene. If so, I can think of no better post than to have some talented Jazz & Pop artists take on the atmosphere. First up is the incredible Ella Fitzgerald singing a song most associate with Lena Horne, Stormy Weather. I love Ella's version!

The Association are not Jazz, but are Pop, and do have a song that occurred to me while thinking of this post. They had a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Windy.

Well, it is hard to beat the smooth and strong voice of the amazing Phylis Hyman, and I was happy to include her in this mix. Here is Phylis singing Here's That Rainy Day.

Looking for the storm to end, I wanted to have a great 'rainbow' song. While I was looking, I came across this version of Mandy Patinkin singing I'm Always Chasing Rainbows, and knew it had to be included.

Hope everyone is staying safe!

Stormy • For My Fellow Easterners

Classics IV
Classics IV Classics IV

The Classics IV pioneered a sound known as "soft southern rock" back in the 1960s and early 70s. The sound as rock infused with jazz, and singer Denis Yosts' smooth, textured vocals. They had two hits in 1968 that seemed perfect for this hurricane weekend, Stormy and Spooky. In 1967, the band recorded Spooky but didn't release it until 1968. The song had a kinda lazy feeling that was tending more toward sexy than sloth. And like Hurricane Irene, Yosts' girl was unpredictable and scary. The song made it to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the band was awarded a gold record for the sales.

They followed it up with a favorite of mine, Stormy. This one always makes me want to snap my fingers and sway, bringing almost a samba-ish feel. The Rough edge to Yosts' vocals just make it feel that much sexier. And could you think of a more perfect song to greet Irene?

I am not sure how much posting I am going to get done in advance of Hurricane Irene, for during it, my computer will most likely be unplugged. But I thought I definitely was ready to let the Classics IV speak for many of us on the East Coast...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Rocks Out at Irene

Rock Storms
Clockwise: Jimi Hendrix; The Doors; REO Speedwagon; and The Alarm.

Rocking out while preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, I was thinking I would try to rock her out to sea. So while racking my brain about songs, this is the weather-intensive rockers I came up with. I will lead off with one of the grand-daddies of them all, Riders On The Storm by The Doors. The song was released in 1971, and made it to #14 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

While Jimi Hendrix never released In From The Storm as a single. In fact, it didn't make it on to an album while he was alive, although he did play it in concert. But the Guitar God has had the song included on many of the posthumous collections. Here is a clip of In From The Storm.

Well, REO Speedwagon released their second single in 1973. Ridin' The Storm Out was the title cut from the album of the same name, and was so characteristic of the Midwest rock songs of the era. Check it out.

In 1984, one of my favorite bands were the hard-rocking Welsh group The Alarm. Always riding the fine line between Punk, Rock and Alternative Rock, they never failed to disappoint me. Check out there hard-rocking Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke, which seems so perfect for this weekend!

Be strong, East Coasters, and stay safe!

Doctor Who • Let's Kill Hitler

Let's Kill Hitler
Doctor Who

Doctor Who returns tonight, on BBC America, and I am so damn excited! After a summer without my lovelies Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill, I am so glad to see them return. And they kick off the second half of the season with Don't Kill Hitler!

Tonight on BBC America, catch the latest episode of Doctor Who. Let's Kill Hitler airs at 9PM/8PM Central. You can check out the official website here. And here are some spoilers for the rest of the season!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dancing Up A Storm

Dancing Up A Storm
Clockwise: Weather Girls; Panic At The Disco; Eurythmics; and Boyzone.

Well, I had to think about Irene when coming up with the posts, didn't I? I'll start with the obvious, to be sure. I couldn't possibly even consider doing this post without the amazing Weather Girls, Martha Wash and Izora Armstead. Twenty-nine years ago, they had the #1 Dance song in the country when they sang It's Raining Men.

Just two years later, in 1984, the Eurythmics released the third single off the album Touch, Here Comes The Rain Again. The song made it to #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #4 on the Dance/Club Play chart. Here is Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart with Here Comes The Rain Again.

In 2010, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham, and Shane Lynch were still recovering from the surprising death of Stephen Gately. They had released a new album, and the first included Gately's vocal track. So when Boyzone released Love Is A Hurricane, it was the first song without Gately. While I still miss Stephen, I have to say Ronan, Keith, Mikey and Shane are looking damn good in the video.

Certainly much has been written, theorized, and categorized about the final group in the post tonight. Original members Spencer Smith and Brendon Urie still make up the nucleus of Panic At The Disco, a few years ago having lost three other members. But the Pop/Punk/Emo band from Las Vegas was not prepared to call it a day, and put out Vices & Virtues earlier this year, and excellent album. Here is their song, Hurricane.

So, having listened to all those songs, I now feel ready to face Irene! Two about rain, and the other two with hurricane in their title... Hope you enjoyed!

Torchwood • Miracle Day • End Of The Road

Torchwood - Miracle Day

It is time to remind everyone that tonight at 10PM on STARZ, the next episode of Torchwood is airing. End Of The Road looks to be filled with all the excitement we have come to expect from the series.

Last week, we got to see a very sweet and loving relationship Jack had with Angelo Colasanto, a young Italian immigrant he met on Ellis Island. They had some really hot scenes, and I hope we see more of Angelo... You can watch a fan tribute to Jack and Angelo from the last episode, Immortal Sins. There are some nice scenes, although the insipid song does nothing for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tom Goss • It's All Over Video Shoot

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Clockwise: Tom gets his groove on with Sophia & others; Tom & Mandy practice the steps; and Eboné & Angel between takes.

Last weekend, I ventured to Washington, DC, with my sister Kathy and my niece Mandy to be a part of the making of the next music video from one of our very favorite people, Tom Goss. Of course, I had to take pictures and take videos, for it is a compulsion for me at this point. After having been at the CD Release Party, it was great to be a part of the first video as well.

Who knew 'Spaz, spaz, spaz' would become an endearing phrase? We got in early, which was fine. Despite a break for rain, the shoot finished early! There was great planning from Production team of Director Michael Patrick Key, Director of Photography Dylan Comstock and Editor Aram Vartian, and the day ran so smoothly. I had a delightful time at the table with Flo and Sophia. Really, it was a fantastic group of people, and a diverse one as well. I met some amazing people, had far too many laughs to even remember, and a day I will never forget.

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Clockwise: Tom chatting with the police; Wrap party fun with Flo Anito; Aram, Michael & Dylan celebrate the end of a well-planned shoot; Joey getting his lip on; cast and crew keeping dry; Michael, Ann and Jim get their Vanna on!

RIP Jerry Leiber

Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller with Elvis Presley

On Monday we lost another notable songwriter, Jerry Leiber. Writing with his professional partner Mike Stoller, they became one of the top teams of the 50s, 60s,and 70s. For the last decade, their music has become a staple on shows like American Idol, which dedicated a week to them on a few different occasions. The duo are perhaps best known for their song Stand By Me, which they co-wrote with Ben E. King who also recorded the most iconic version in 1961.

Hound Dog was first released in 1953 by Big Mama Thorton, to much critical praise. But it was brought into Pop History by a relative newcomer to the music industry, Elvis Presley. Here is Elvis singing it on Milton Berle's television show in 1956.

In 1963, Leiber and Stoller collaborated with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, another hugely successful team. There result was On Broadway, a Top 10 hit for The Drifters. It has since been covered by countless people, including by George Benson in a jazz-flavored version featured in the movie All That Jazz. But here is the original, sung by The Drifters.

In 1969, Miss Peggy Lee had what I would call an unlikely hit with another of their songs, Is That All There Is. The song is essentially an existential musing on the meaning of life.

Rest In Peace, Mr. Leiber.

RIP Nickolas Ashford

Ashford & Simpson
Ashford & Simpson

Nickolas Ashford met Valerie Simpson in 1963 when both attended the same church in Harlem. They joined forces, both in their professional and personal lives, and the world was a better place for it. They bucked the odds, and had an a successful life, filled with both love and success. That is until this past Monday, when Nick Ashford passed away following a battle with cancer. He leaves Valerie Simpson and two daughters.

Nickolas Ashford

Together as a songwriting team, they gave the world some truly memorable songs. That list included Ronnie Milsap's Never Had It So Good, Maxine Brown's (and the Shirelles and Chuck Jackson) One Step At A Time, Ray Charles' number one hit, Let's Go Get Stoned. Here is a clip of Joe Cocker singing that song at Woodstock.

As part of the Motown stable of writers, Ashford & Simpson wrote some of their best-known songs included Ain't No Mountain High Enough. Here are Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell singing the Top Twenty hit from 1067.

As if that wasn't enough, they continued their successful career at Motown, and wrote great songs like You're All I Need To Get By", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand). Reach Out And Touch became a hit for Ross, the first of her solo career. It is a staple of her career to this day. But here is a version by Ashford & Simpson at Live Aid, featuring the first appearance by Teddy Pendergrass following his recovery from a paralyzing car accident. This was especially moving as it was in Teddy's hometown of Philadelphia.

But the song for which the duo is best known could be the song they wrote and sang, Solid. The song went to #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. It was a song everyone was singing back them.

Rest In Peace, Nick Ashford. Your talent, love, and grace will be misssed.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

B.Slade™ • Sequel Video

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I just finished watching the official video for Sequel, from latest album by the incredible B.Slade™. Diesel is a fantastic Primer for R&B music, from start to finish. The album is teeming with groove lines, seemingly inspired by some of the greats of the genre, channeling decades of music into a full collection of 18 songs. The release of this video brings forth an amazing song, one of my favorites from Diesel. Sultry, suggestive, and smouldering, B. Slade brings the heat and the heart like he was channeling the great Marvin Gaye, preaching to an aroused choir.

Good Lord, after watching that, I felt like I needed a cigarette, or maybe a nap, or perhaps a shower... It is an amazing combination of the sensual and the sexual, romance with a leer. It is truly a wonderful and amazingly balanced performance.


To get a veritable R&B feast, you can purchase your copy of Diesel on iTunes here, with the explicit version here. You can find it on Amazon here, and the explicit version here. To keep up with B.Slade, you can visit his official website here, his Twitter here, and his Tumblr here.

Early Sci-Fi Theme Songs

In preparation for the return of Doctor Who on BBC America this Saturday night, I thought I would post about some of my earliest memories of TV Science Fiction. I've been a fan of the genre for almost as long as I can remember, and the following were some of my earliest experiences.

The Addams Family TV

Although The Addams Family ran for only two seasons, from 1964 to 1966, I still get a rush when I hear the opening bars of the theme song. With the harpsichord and the finger snaps, all things seemed possible. In many ways, I think Morticia was the first Gothic Princess, and Gomez was the first to combine the suave with the dork. The series celebrated the outsiders, with a magical, mystical quality.

Bewitched TV

The the opening bars of the theme, you knew Bewitched was on, and a good time would be had by all. The show also premiered in 1964, but ran for 8 seasons, finishing out in 1972. The show ranged from heartwarming family drama to high camp, with Paul Lynde, Dick Sargent, Alice Ghostley, and the biggest drag queen ever on TV, Agnes Moorehead. And, of course, the gorgeous Elizabeth Montgomery in the bewitching lead, as well as playing the campy cousin. Oh, what a show this was!

The Munsters TV

The Munsters also debuted in 1964, and like The Addams Family, only lasted 2 seasons. There were other similarities as well. Many thought of the Munsters as the working-class versions of the Addams family. People on this one worked for a living, despite the fact they were witches, warlocks, vampires, Frankenstein monsters, well, you get the idea. While Morticia Addams was a bit of a sexy siren, Lily Munster was a Mom, a real caretaker. And the outsider in this family was niece Marilyn, the blond beauty seen as having unfortunate looks by the Munsters.

Lost In Space TV

Well, I think that Lost In Space was my first real Sci-Fi show, with the space travel, robots, and the out-of-control computers. And, of course, it had the gayest man on TV this side of Paul Lynde, Dr. Smith. (Well, except for the fact the actor playing the role was not gay) But the Robinson family traveled through space with the cool robot, Dr. Smith, and hunky Major West! I was ready to sign up!

Hope you enjoyed another trip down memory lane, I know I did! And don't forget, Doctor Who returns this Saturday night on BBC America!


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