Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcome 2010!


Thank you all for so much fun in 2009, and hears to looking ahead to a great 2010.

Hugs and Kisses


Part I

Part II

Fireworks from the 2009 New Year celebration in Sydney Harbor, Sydney, Australia.

Happy New Year

2009 is coming to an end, and 2010 is drawing near. Sometimes is amazes me how holidays and such have evolved for me through the years. When I was very young, I was excited to get to stay up late and watch Guy Lombardo ring in the new year with my parents. In my teens, I remember finding Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and claiming it as my own. Once I moved with Bill to Brooklyn in the 80s, we would venture out to Spectrum, a gay club in Brooklyn where they filmed Saturday Night Fever, complete with that dance floor. [I recently discovered that club was torn down in 2005]

1993 changed things a bit for me. After nearly 10 years in NYC, I decided to move back to Delaware from NYC in September. A few days after Christmas, I went into the hospital, and spent New Year's Eve and day there. I was eventually told I had colon cancer, and had surgery. This was followed by 50 of 52 weeks of chemotherapy, and the appropriate weekly blood tests. Following that period of being a pin-cushion, I wasn't really up for a whole lot of big partying. Pretty much from that point on, I preferred a quieter celebration for New Year, whether I was in Delaware, Rhodes Island, or Vermont. But I do tend to be somewhat introspective, and very grateful for each new year I can welcome.

And while some might be remembering Michael Jackson or Patrick Swayze, I will be thinking of my dear Timon, my moody teenaged feline son, who I lost in June after nearly 15 years together. He was born on the farm in Delaware, and had been with me from the time he was a few months old. He moved with me to Rhodes Island, and again later to Vermont. When I was sick, he was there to comfort me, and I him.

And I will be listening to a traditional song by Daniel J. Cartier. He does a particularly haunting and beautiful version of Auld Lang Syne which I find irresistible. Here it is.

Happy New Year.

Favorite New Artists - Eric & the Adams

This is an odd one for me. I have been a fan of Eric Himan's for many years. My niece had a picture of her and Eric on her desk at work, and some people thought it was her and her boyfriend. We try to catch every show we can, although I missed the last one as I was babysitting in New Jersey, and can't believe the fates did that to me! Oh, not about me, it is about Eric, Angel & Jimmy. OK then. I won't whine it has been over a year since I've last seen him live...

Photos from the last time I saw Eric live in 2008. With Eric in the bottom shot is my sister Kathy and niece Mandy.

That said [or whined as the case may be made], earlier this month, Eric teamed up with Angel Adams and Jimmy Adams, the talented sister/brother musicians, and released the eponymous Eric & the Adams, new music that is made me positively giddy. I haven't seen them live - hell, I haven't really met Angel or Jimmy, although I have Tweeted [Twittered? Tweed? Twatted?] with them, and they seem smart and funny, and their music rocks. Angel was even sweet enough to comment on an earlier post. But the reason I am so excited? The music itself. All five songs are fantastic and in constant rotation on my iPod. The debut video for Every Move was a great one, and they have made me promises I will be seeing them sometime soon.

So, you can venture to their website here and order the EP or the great new t-shirt they have for sale. And check out the tour schedule and see when they are playing near you. If it is before I see them, don't tell me, cause I'll just be jealous and all ugly.

Favorite New Artists - Archy & Mehitabel, Aaron Beaumont & Belkins

I thought I might take a look at the favorite new performers I mentioned on this blog this year. These would be the artists who released a debut CD/EP and I just discovered them. In the first post, I covered Mikey Wax, Theo Tams, Syd, Dave Patten, Toby Madigan, Chris Keys, Erik Hassle, Matt Fishel and Billy Dortch while in this one I will choose my favorite video for Archy & Mehitabel, Aaron Beaumont, Angela Leo and Belkins.

Archy & Mehitabel

Alexander Horwitz and Lee Waters make up Archy & Mehitabel, a new duo with a fantastic sound. Their first EP, Lamentations, was released just before Christmas, and was the perfect present I gave myself. I am listening to it all the time, and love all the songs. Alexander's work on the keyboards is outta this world, and Lee's vocals are so touching, so emotive. I can't wait to see them performing live at some point, and getting my picture taken with these sexy men. Until then I will appease myself with visits to their website here. This is a song for a future project.

Aaron Beaumont

Aaron Beaumont sent me a note on MySpace, and asked me to check out his music. So I did. I didn't know what to expect, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Aaron's keyboard-driven pop has elements of ragtime and other era music, and the adorkable str8 boy can play the crap outta his piano. He is based out West, so I haven't had the chance to see him live, but if I did, I would so be there. To find out more about Aaron, his touring schedule and where to purchase his CD, go to his official website here. Although Julia is my favorite song, I think Where You Lost Yourself also shows some great work on the piano, so here it is.

Angela Leo

Angela Leo is a beautiful woman, one who can really communicate with her guitar. Her music celebrates the joy and love you can find in life, rooted firmly in the elements, making for very organic folk/rock. Her songs You'd Be Here [featured below] and The One were picked up to be used on Public Service Announcements called Weddings Matter, for Marriage Equality. I would have to think they had plenty to chose from on her album Cognitive Dissonance. You can find more about Angela and buying her album on her website here.


Belkins are a group of str8 boys with a gay-friendly attitude and a great sound. Led by singer/guitarist Ariel Belkin, drummer Luis Briones, guitarist Charlie Patnoe and bassist Nico Staub are a California band with a great funky sound, sort of John Mayer meets Dave Matthews, without the self-importance. This band is all about the fun jam, the joy of playing music. The Better Days EP lives on my iPod. I really dig them, and their music. And when I got the CD, there was also a nice note from Ariel thanking me for the post. That was awfully nice! Anyway, you can find out how to order the EP at their website here.

Favorite New Artists - Erik Hassle, Matt Fishel & Billy Dortch

I thought I might take a look at the favorite new performers I mentioned on this blog this year. These would be the artists who released a debut CD/EP and I just discovered them. In the first post, I covered Mikey Wax, Theo Tams, Syd, Dave Patten, Toby Madigan & Chris Keys while in this one I will choose my favorite video for Erik Hassle, Matt Fishel and Billy Dortch.

Erik Hassle

I discovered Erik Hassle by reading XOLondon's blog, XO's Middle Eight. Hassle is a pop singer hailing from the epicenter of modern pop music, Sweden. His striking looks and brilliant red hair has a surprising voice; bold, strong and emotion-packed. Hurtful is a great song, and a record produced perfectly.

Matt Fishel

London-based singer/songwriter Matt Fishel was another one I stumbled across and am oh-so-grateful I did. When I first saw the Football Song, I knew it was over for me. The song is funny, ironic, and oozing with charm. It is well cast, with beautiful football lads, and an adorable gay teen. I was hooked, and had to buy the Coming Out EP, as well as the Superfishel Experience collection. I am so glad I did. You can find out more about this out performer here. And here is the Football Song.

Billy Dortch

As you can tell from the picture, Billy Dortch is not just a talented singer/songwriter, he is also a gorgeous model and openly gay. I had seen his video on a LOGO, and looked him up. He seems to be putting together music for a full-release, but until then, Breathe will have to do. You can find out more about Billy on his MySpace page here.

REPOST: Worth Another Listen - The Alarm

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

the alarm

Back in the day [as the kids say], I wanted nothing more than to rock out with some sanitation-challenged Brits. Yes, a dirty Brit-boy with a guitar made me stop in my tracks. A group of those would be The Alarm, with lead singer Mike Peters. They played flat out stadium Rock, anthems for the ages. These days, I feel like it might be more 'anthems for the aged.'

mike peters,the alarm

Yes, back in the days of big hair and a bigger selection of products, I wanted nothing more than to follow those bands, and work my hair up into a frenzy. Gels, mousse, and Spritz sprays, you name it, it was in my bathroom. And they rocked the music as hard as they rocked the hair. I loved The Alarm. When I saw the video for 68 Guns and for The Stand, I loved them. When I saw Strength, I knew I was in love. My own hair, cut at the Astor Place Barbers, did some wild things.

Last fall, The Alarm put out a new CD, Guerilla Tactics. Old habits die hard, so I had to buy it. I like it, and the boys can still rock it out. I will say when I saw pictures of Mike Peters, I was sorta depressed. He is just a year older than me, and he looked old. Damn the passage of time! Anyway, for the release of the CD, Peters showed up at Times Square in NYC with an acoustic guitar and a videocam, and played some of the songs. I happen to like Love, Hope and Understanding.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorite New Artists - Dave Patten, Toby Madigan & Chris Keys

I thought I might take a look at the favorite new performers I mentioned on this blog this year. These would be the artists who released a debut CD/EP and I just discovered them. In the first post, I covered Mikey Wax, Theo Tams and Syd, while in this one I will choose my favorite video for Dave Patten, Toby Madigan & Chris Keys.

Dave Patten

Philly's own Dave Patten is a multi-dimensional artist, having his had as a singer/songwriter in many genres, as well as taking an active role in his videos. His gritty vocals have just the right mix of tone and throaty fullness to pull off rock or mix it up with a little hip-hop. He hasn't made a video for my favorite song, Back To School, yet, but I hope that will happen at some point. But you can here it on his website here.

Toby Madigan

I found Toby Madigan this summer, and was amused as hell with his first video, Chatroom Romance. I also thought he was a sexy man, and that hasn't changed either. I found his website, and downloaded his Left Brain/Right Brain CD, and it has been a part of my musical rotation since. He combines some heartfelt emotions with a great sense of humor into really sweet pop songs. For more info on Toby, you can go to his website here. An out performer, Toby also was a featured artist at the recent March on Washington.

Chris Keys

Next comes my friend from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Chris Keys. I happened across his music on MySpace, and it was instant love. His voice has beautiful tone, but also contains just a light smokey quality that adds depth to each song. I immediately thought Shooting Star was my favorite, but I am a fan and love them all. He has some mp3's you can download, and you can find out about them on his website here. And the handsome lad has a kind of James Dean quality to him, so I can't believe we don't see him in his first music video, but since he wrote and performed the music, shot and edited the video, I can't complain too much.

Favorite New Artists - Mikey Wax, Theo Tams & Syd

I thought I might take a look at the favorite new performers I mentioned on this blog this year. These would be the artists who released a debut CD/EP and I just discovered them. They would be, in no particular order, Archie & Mehitabel, Aaron Beaumont, Angela Leo, Belkins, Billy Dortch, Matt Fishel, Erik Hassle, Chris Keys, Toby Madigan, Dave Patten, Syd, Theo Tams, and Mikey Wax. I will just say I enjoy them all, and it would take a far more analytical mind than my own to put them in any order other than alphabetical. So I will choose my favorite video for each, and make a couple of posts out of it.

Mikey Wax

I will start with str8 boy Mikey Wax, the cute guy from New York with the sweet and soft tone. I discovered his debut, Change Again, and was just charmed by the work of this singer/songwriter. You can find him here, get tour dates and also find a couple of free downloads. Here is the video for his single, In Case I Go Again.

Theo Tams

Next is Theo Tams, the sexy winner of Canadian Idol who put out a great debut in Giving It All Away. Theo is an out man, and does a lot of touring in Canada, although I still have hopes there will come a time I get to see him perform live myself. His first single was Lazy Lovers, and was the first song I heard and it just made me a fan of the man! His smooth voice and interesting phrasing are quite good. To get more info on Theo, check out his website here.


And there is Syd, who is not necessarily a new artist, but new to me. He hails from Vermont, but now makes his home in NYC. This str8 boy was suggested to me by a couple of my favorite artists, and it turned out to be a good thing. His EP Upswing is a great listen, and I look forward to more from him. His rock fuses elements of the 80s music of Elvis Costello with a current sound that is very 'Syd.' Catch up with Syd on his website here.

REPOST: Ahmet is My Family

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

It can be said that life is short, but sometimes it is short because of hate, the hate of those who are supposed to love you. Sometimes even family. That is when you have to remember that you might be luckier than some, and need to open your arms to those not as fortunate.

That is why Ahmet is my family.

REPOST: Worth Another Listen - Paul Lekakis

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

From Soundtrack to my Day

Back in 1987, a song hit the clubs that had everyone dancing. The song was Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room) and it was impossible not to run to the dance floor. It was sung by Paul Lekakis, the stunningly handsome Nordic God. I ran out and bought the single, but had to wait to buy the CD, Tattoo It. But I did buy it first chance I got. I still listen from time to time, grooving to the sound of My House, One Step Closer, and others. From the coy You Blow Me Away to vibrantly sexy You Know You Want It, not to mention the beat-driven Are You Man Enough and Tattoo It On Me. This CD was meant to put a party in your pants - an easy feat if you took one look at the cover shots.

Paul Lekakis Paul Lekakis

Paul went on to do movies - like Circuit and Sex, Politics & Cocktails - and a variety of shows in regional theater and Pride events around the world. And he still does music, having the singles Let It Out, Assume The Position and (I Need A) Vacation, all of which are in my collection. Just last year, I purchased a video collection of his songs, including a video shot to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Boom Boom. I also received a couple of signed photographs with the package, warming the cockles of, among other places, my heart.

Never particularly in the closet, Lekakis talked openly in the 90s about being HIV Positive, and continues to do work in that community. He has certainly kept himself in top shape, and looks even hotter now than he did when he first come on the scene.

From Soundtrack to my Day

You can find more pictures and information at Paul's website.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

REPOST: A Busy Fortnight

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

From Blogger Pictures
My last 14 days have been rather like a whirlwind. Two weeks ago, my dear sweet cat, Timon, had to be put down. He has been with me since he was a few months old, for the last 14 years. For the last few years, he has been living with Feline Diabetes, following a special diet. At first I was told he had about 6 months to live, but that was 3 ½ years ago. Oddly, when I took him to the vet, it was not the FD that got him. He had tumors and was failing. So in the end, he had beaten the diabetes.
From Blogger Pictures
Needless to say, I was a bit of a mess. Timon was my cranky teenaged son, and had been with me in moves to Rhode Island, Vermont and back to Delaware. Every night, he jumped up in bed with me, to get some scratching before going to sleep. He would have conversations with me, although I would often think he was rolling his eyes at me. When I called, he came to me. When he called to me, I would always give him a pet. I played ‘Back To Love’ by Tom Goss, and it helped a bit. It reminded me to remember the good times, and there certainly were many.

That weekend, I was already scheduled to go on a trip to NYC to see friends, both old and new. I had a good time, but have to admit I was still a bit numb. But I got in on Friday, saw David, and met lots of new friends. We talked and drank, but I know I wasn’t really at my best form, more like riding at 80%. The weekend was a good one, and certainly the distraction I was looking for, only with the benefit of being a distraction with great people.

I came home, only to find myself still expecting to see Timon waiting. He wasn’t. But I had much on the schedule – my niece had a dance recital, and she had asked me to take pictures during the dress rehearsals, so Wednesday and Thursday nights were booked.
From Blogger Pictures
And there was the wedding reception of another niece on Saturday, and the baptism/birthday party for my nephew’s son. I enjoyed myself, but still was feeling a bit outside myself.

Since Timon left me, I have not been sleeping so well. I lay awake in bed, not getting to sleep. I know I am waiting for him to jump up on the bed and get his scratches, but it isn’t going to happen. I keep hoping it will get better. Perhaps it has – I haven’t really noticed yet.

REPOST: Pictures I Have Taken

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

In preparation for the Tom Goss show I am attending this coming weekend, I revisited some of the pictures I have taken over the last few years. I tend to bring my camera, and for the most part have had no problem getting it to the shows. I love taking the pictures, and they certainly bring back some memories of fantastic shows.

Aiden James


Eric Himan

Tom Goss

Ace Young

REPOST: Old Music - Worth Another Listen - Pansy Division

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

In 1991, The Pansy Division got together and began a movement in music known as 'Queercore.' Those boys have rocked since the beginning, bringing new views and topics to hardcore music. They brought humor to their music, as well as an honesty that was so refreshing. In the mid 90s, they toured with Greenday, exposing their music to a much larger audience.

They are touring again, hitting the East Coast June 17-28. With songs like Son of a Preacher Man, Who Treats You Right, Groovy Underwear, He Whipped My Ass In Tennis, Luv Luv Luv, Bad Boyfriend, Political Asshole, Negative Queen, James Bondage, and The Summer You Let Your Hair Grow Out, as well as a new CD out, That's So Gay, that I just ordered, as well as the DVD Pansy Division: Life In A Gay Rock Band. Can't wait to get either!

You can find them at their website.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dark Monday - Happy New Year

A clip from from the final performance of of the hit Broadway musical Rent on the closing night of the Broadway production, with Seasons of Love and New Year's Eve.

REPOST: A King Remembered - Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Michael Jackson

As part of a year-end review, I will be putting up an occasional repost of the first 6 months of Soundtrack to my Day this week.

Michael Jackson was an incredible talent, and his talent as a singer, dancer and writer will live on for generations. While he is the antithesis of what I am covering here, the King of Pop versus the indie folk/pop/rock singers. But I have heard many of them covering his music live, and can hear their respect for his gift.

One of my favorite covers has been Chris Cornell's version of Billie Jean. It is the performances of Jackson's music by others that will prove to be his true legacy, the celebration of his talent by others.

Casey Stratton put out a tribute via his podcasts. It is wonderful.

Christopher Dallman very quickly set up a camera and did a very simple and beautiful cover of Human Nature on YouTube.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Movie Moments - Life of Brian

Monty Python. Life of Brian. Always Look On The Bright Side of Life. Do I need to say more? I didn't think so.

Sunday Worship - Every Sperm is Sacred

God bless Monty Python, you know?! This is a musical number from the second act of Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life". Please keep in mind the Catholic who is singing the lead does not believe in contraception... and neither do his many, many children, who are singing the backup.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jim Cantiello - 2009 in 60 Seconds

jim cantiello Pictures, Images and Photos

Jim Cantiello, my favorite personality on MTV, put together this recap of the year to date, and released it on the MTV website. So take a minute and remember the year as we prepare for 2010!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve Pictures

The decorations were in place on Christmas Eve, and the presents placed in piles.

The tree was well lit, with ornaments old and new. Snow is still on the ground, and the tree adds to the warmth of the home.

While we weren't looking, Santa must have come and gone, lickety split! So the stockings hung by the chimney with care were suddenly full. I am sure the kids will be excited when they hit the living room in the morning.

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Music - Josh Groban - Hymns

He's cute, but damn can he sing. His voice can give me goose-bumps, and often does. I posted about his carols, which are very good, but it is tough to top him on the hymns. Between him and Anthony Callea, I would hate to decide who I'd rather listen to, and just be incredibly happy I can listen to both. I hope to hear Josh sing live - I really hope Chess comes to Broadway sometime soon. All I can say is sit back and enjoy this voice. It is magical.

O Come All Ye Faithful

Silent Night


For more about Josh, check out his official website here.


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