Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Rocks with Skott Freedman

skott freedman

Several weeks ago I posted about the return of Skott Freedman, an artist I really like a heckuva lot! I have all his albums, and his singles, too. The bisexual singer/songwriter was on the West Coast getting a Masters degree, and is back in New York gainfully employed and ready to pick up with his music once again. That is good news for me, as I look forward to new music! Skott is my new YouTube friend, and I found he recently posted videos, and I was happy to watch them, and now share some with you.

skott freedman

I thought I would start off with the video for Until The Time, a beautiful song from his Some Company album, released in 2003. The emotive quality he has in his rich voice gets me every time, and his gorgeous piano playing puts me away. This particular video has some interesting visuals.

The first recording I heard Skott do was a cover of Walking In Memphis, and I was mighty impressed. Aside from the obvious grace his had on the keyboard, I really liked what he did with the phrasing, and his vocal choices. He has such a subtle style. It also appeared on his Some Company album, which I bought as soon as I was done listening to the song.

In 2001, he released an album named Anything Worth Mentioning, and I love that one. One of the fantastic songs on it was Dominos, a layered and textured song that is really special.

I was kinda excited to watch the next clip, recorded in 2000. It is an unreleased song, which is just rather exquisite. The song is called Letting It Go.

Over a year ago, I posted about an exceptional cover of The Cranberries Zombie, and you can check it out here. I hope he does a video or two from his latest release, The Cottage Sessions, because I love that album - you can find it on iTunes here. You can find his music on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, and several other music outlets. You can check out Skott's videos on YouTube here. You can find his official website here. You can find him on FaceBook here, and MySpace here.

Being Human - Season 2 Episode 2

being human,season 2,episode 2,bbc america

Saturday night at 10PM EST/9PM Central on BBC America, it is time to watch the second episode of the second season of Being Human. For those of you who have not yet watched the show, it features a werewolf, vampire and a ghost as the lead characters, all trying to live quiet lives in Brighton, England. That does not seem to work out for them, as quiet is the last thing the show offers.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

This episode starts out with Mitchell tied to a chair, put there by another vampire, Carl. Mitchell is all sweaty, nervous, jumpy, and gorgeously shirtless. He tries talking Carl out of whatever is about to happen, rather unsuccessfully. But Carl does play the piano rather nicely.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

Meanwhile, ghost Annie is working at his job in the pub run by Hugh, a rather cute blond. They are joined by a customer, a rather tall many named Saul. He and Annie are chatting away, while Hugh looks bored out of his mind. George walks in, supportive roommate that he is. He takes notice of Hugh checking out Annie and Saul before ordering his Coke.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

Mitchell is on the elevator, attempting to flirt with Lucy, the coroner at the hospital. He doesn't do it well, yet soon Lucy agrees to a date. But when they get to the ward, Mitchell recognizes the victim of a crime, and he is scared.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

Nina wakes up in the house, and soon George arrives to offer her breakfast in bed, well, more like brunch in bed. They chat a bit, trying to rediscover their affection, interrupted when George made Nina a werewolf in an earlier episode.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

When Saul gets home to his own apartment, he starts hearing the voice of a BBC Presenter, and starts talking to him. He is giving Saul hints as to how to get closer to Annie.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

As George and Mitchell talk about what is going on, we realize someone is bugging their home, but they do not have the same epiphany. Instead, Mitchell tells George about Carl, the man he lived with some time ago, and helped him come clean from blood.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

Back in the pub, Saul offers a revelation to Annie, who is truly moved. What she doesn't see is the Presenter on the TV in the pub is encouraging Saul.

being human,episode 2,season 2,bbc america

And we get an idea of who is bugging the house. And it is scary. What do Saul and the TV have planned for Annie? Will George and Nina be able to work out their problems, or will something keep them apart? Will Mitchell find his friend Carl, and will be be disappointed? You can find out more about Being Human online at their official website here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Night Party

Adam Joseph ari gold
guy b Photobucket
Clockwise: Adam Joseph, Ari Gold, Colton Ford & Guy B.

Been a little crazy around the farm, so I thought I would just toss together a couple of videos from a variety of artist and try to have a good time. And I am going to start off with Adam Joseph. I've run some of his videos before, but not this one. Until now. This is You're Mine, and if this doesn't get you in the mood, I don't know what will. By the way, you can buy his great album, How I Seem To Be, on iTunes here.

Next up is Ari Gold, the beautiful man with an amazing voice. This is a song from his eponymous first album, but I have them all, and love each and every one. To buy his latest album, Transport Systems, check it out on iTunes here.

Next on my little trip is Guy B, a stunning man to look at, and a gifted singer/songwriter. I have both his albums, Within Me and Coexist. I enjoy his music more than I can express, and more than I thought possible. You can check out Coexist on iTunes here. This is So What.

And, finally, here is Colton Ford, singing an unusual dance tune. If it wasn't enough that Colton is handsome as all get out, here here is singing R.E.M's Losing My Religion. you can get the EP with this song on iTunes here.

Light Posting Ahead

mary j blige

Going through a bit of a family thing at the moment, so posting over the next couple of days might be lighter than usual. Indeed, it have been effecting the posts for the last few days, but I hope things come back to normal soon. In the meantime, I truly hope my life starts heeding the words of the brilliant Mary J. Blige, and there is No More Drama.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Comedy with Ali Mafi

ali mafi,lgbt comic

Being an out gay Iranian can't have been easy, but it sure is funny, well, at least if comedian Ali Mafi is any indication. As is often the case with stand-up comics, some of his material might not be safe for the office or children, but I am posting it anyway! He does make me laugh. Check out this performance at The Clubhouse.

He also did a parody of the Real Housewives of Atlanta Kim Z's song, Tardy For The Party. He calls it Tired of Bein' A Bottom...

You can find out more about Ali on his website here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Covers from Daniel J. Cartier

Daniel Cartier

I have been a raging fan of Daniel J. Cartier for several years. I just love the guy; his voice and style just being all kinds of joy to my life. A couple of years ago, he did some cover songs he popped up on YouTube, and I still watch to suckers. HEre are a couple of them. The first is an acoustic cover of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' song Under The Bridge.I have to say, it is a great song, done just perfectly by the Peppers, but Daniel definitely adds his own something to the mix, and it is worth seeing again.

In 1982, the amazing voice of Martha Davis of The Motels rang out so clear and true on the song Only the Lonely, it was most amazing. I am shocked the song made it in to the Billboard Top 10, but barely, topping out at #9. Here Daniel gives it a go, and I am impressed.

The next song first appeared in the 1971 classic Harold & Maude, written by the incredible Cat Stevens. There was no soundtrack album, and Stevens didn't release a recorded version until his Greatest Hits Volume 2 album in 1984. The song might have faded into obscurity [except for die-hard Stevens fans] if it weren't for a T-Mobile commercial, and the incredibly catchy If you Want To Sing Out, Song Out. Again, I love Daniel's deft touch with this one.

For more information about Daniel, check out his official website here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Year Ago - Flying Lizards Repost

I am a bit under the weather at the moment - terrible allergies - so I thought I would revive something from a year ago today.

It is Monday morning, and most of us are getting back to work. Whether we love the job or hate it, we do it for one reason - the paycheck. To celebrate this, I ventured back to 1979 and The Flying Lizards. The song is Money (That's What I Want). While it was also recorded by The Beatles, it was not written by them, instead by Motown writers Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy Jr. in 1959 and recorded by The Beatles in 1963.

The Flying Lizards were an experimental British band, whose members included Robert Fripp. Fripp has an amazing resume, with his playing in King Crimson to working on albums with Peter Gabriel, David Bowie and many others. He did a couple of instrumental albums with The Police guitarist Andy Summers. The work of The Flying Lizards tended to be on the deconstructed, avant-garde side of life.

This was the one hit for The Flying Lizards. Enjoy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dark Monday - Red Hot + Blue

cole porter,red hot and blue,aids,90s
cole porter,red hot and blue,aids,90s

Twenty years ago, the album Red Hot + Blue was released. It featured the music of American musical theater legend Cole Porter and some of the top acts of the day, all to raise money and awareness for AIDS research. The album contained 20 cuts, and I found 17 videos for those cuts, and for the next several weeks, will be running them in this Monday night spot. The album was thought of as a fundraising tool, it also allowed the artists involved great freedom with their interpretation of Porter's music, making for a wide variety of styles on the album. We shall go through the album in the order that is on my CD, which I did purchase at the time.

cole porter,red hot and blue,aids,90s

Porter was an amazing talent, and some consider him one of the best LGBT songwriters, if not THE best. He started his Broadway career in 1915, when one of his songs appeared in a Broadway Revue. He was just 24 years old. He went on to write songs for the theater like Lets Do It, Let's Fall In Love, What Is This Thing Called Love, and Anything Goes. Despite having a whife of 35 years, most believed him to be gay, and the marriage one between two dear friends who gave one another space and freedom, while gaining both wider acceptance in the greater world at large.

I've Got You Under My Skin was written in 1936 for the MGM musical Born To Dance. Frank Sinatra had a hit with his version, as did the Four Seasons, better known today from Broadway's Jersey Boys. On the album, it was performed by the incredible Nenah Cherry, who retitled it Under My Skin. I loved her take on it, which was very new and fresh [at the time], and oh-so-appropriate for the song.

In The Still Of The Night was written for another MGM musical, this one named Rosalie. Originally published in 1937, the song was covered by countless artists, but the most well-known would be the Doo-Wop group Dion & the Belmonts. On the album, it was covered by The Neville Brothers, featuring the incredible voice of Aaron Neville.

You Do Something To Me was written in 1929 for the show Fifty Million Frenchmen, although more people know it from the cover versions. Everyone from Frank Sinatra to Ella Fitzgerald had sung the song, and on this album, it was the Irish singer Sinead O'Connor who did the duties, and her version is pretty amazing!

The next track was Begin The Beguine, covered by Salif Keita. While a video was made, I was unable to find it. The song was written in 1935, and appeared in the Broadway show Jubilee. Keita is an Afro-Pop singer/songwriter from Mali, and definitely put his own spin on the song. Love For Sale followed, a song that first appeared on the Broadway stage in 1930 in a show called The New Yorkers. It was covered by Billie Holiday in 1945, and Harvey Fierstein in the movie version of Torch Song Trilogy. Here it was covered by Fine Young Cannibals with a rather sultry version. Unfortunately, this is one of two songs that did not have a video.

Written in 1939 for the musical Du Barry Was A Lady and sung by pin-up girl Betty Grable, and later added to the 1956 film High Society, sung by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, Well, Have You Evah was classic Porter. On the album, it is performed to perfection by Debbie Harry & Iggy Pop.

Hope you enjoyed this, and I look forward to bringing you more in the coming weeks!

Worth Another Listen - Sam Cooke

sam cooke,1950s,1960s
sam cooke,1950s,1960s

He started out singing gospel music, singing professionally for many years, until he felt the pinch of the budget, and in 1957 moved to soul music. His first single was a new version of the Gershwin tune Summertime, which was nice. The B-side, however, was a song Cooke had written, You Send Me. It was that song that took the world by storm, taking the top spot on the Billboard Pop chart for three weeks, and spent six weeks atop the R&B chart.

Over the next several years, Cooke was making his own hits, with songs like Chain Gang, I'll Come Running Back to You, Only Sixteen, and, in 1959 Cooke co-wrote a song with Herb Albert and Lou Adler that was released in 1960, and became an instant staple. The song is Wonderful World. While it never hit #1 on the Billboard charts, it did score in the Top 20 for Cooke, and was covered by countless artists, from Bryan Ferry in 1974 to Herman & the Hermits in 1964.

Between his first single in 1957 and his last in 1964, Cooke had 29 Top-20 hits on the Billboard charts, an amazing thing. He was writing many of his own hits, as well as hits for others. Songs like Cupid, Twisting The Night Away, Bring It On Home To Me, and Another Saturday Night. In April of 1964, he performed on American Bandstand and was interviewed by Dick Clark. The song he sang was Ain't That Good News.

Just 8 months after that appearance, Sam Cooke was found dead at a hotel in Los Angeles, California. He was just 33 years old. He was shot by the hotel clerk,claiming self-defense. There were many suspicious details of the night, including the fact Cooke was shot wearing only a sports coat and shoes, and nothing else. He was shot and beaten. After an inquest, his death was ruled a justifiable homicide, although many who knew Cooke were never satisfied with the hearing. After he had died, there were still recordings available to release, including the great song, A Change Is Gonna Come. It is one of the great protest songs, and many consider it the best song Cooke ever wrote.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Rocks - Daughtry

daughtry,chris daughtry,american idol,rock band
daughtry,chris daughtry,american idol,rock band

As promised, I was planning to do a Saturday Rocks post on Daughtry , and was toying with giving it the title '4th Place My A$$' but decided to go with the traditional title instead. Back in May 2006, Chris Daughtry was the presumed front-runner to win the fifth season of the show. That left eventual winner Taylor Hicks, runner-up Katharine McPhee, and third-place singer Elliott Yamin in the competition. While many thought this was bad news for the rocker, history proves that to be far from the truth.


In November, the self-titled album was released by the band Daughtry, with front-man Chris Daughtry having been instrumental in picking the members. He chose Jeremy Brady,guitarist; Josh Steely, lead guitarist; Josh Paul, bassist who also played for Suicidal Tendencies; and Joey Barnes, drummer, who was the lead singer of Suicide Darlings. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 100 chart, finishing behind Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, also released that week. The album hung in the Top 10 for the first 8 weeks, and then secured the top spot in the 9th. It would return to the top spot in the 15th week, and stayed in the top 100 for an amazing 116 weeks, over 2 years. Sales in the US alone were quadruple Platinum, with more than 4.5 million sold.

daughtry,chris daughtry,american idol,rock band

The first single was released ahead of the album, and did extremely well. It's Not Over was written by Gregg Wattenberg and Mark Wilkerson, with some reworking done by Chris and his buddy from Idol, Ace Young, a favorite on this blog. The debut stormed up the charts, claiming the #4 spot on the Hot 100 chart, #3 on the Pop chart, and #1 on the Adult Pop chart. With the ridiculously catchy hook and harder-edged sound, the song clearly established Daughtry as an act to keep an eye on. The song went on to sell over 2 million copies.

The second single, Home, was a sweet ballad, written by Chris Daughtry. As the story was told, he wrote it as he sat on the sofa at home in North Carolina the day before he left to compete on Idol. It helped him express his love of his family, and the desire to not let music take that away from him. It was released in April of 2007, proving such a long life for the first single. It reached #5 on the Pop Chart, making Daughtry the first former Idol to score two top 5 songs off their debut album. The song also made it to #1 on the Adult Pop chart, lasting for ten weeks. It eventually sold just shy of 2 million copies.

The fourth main single, there were two 'rock' singles in addition (What I Want & Crashed), was a song that was tougher to categorize. Feels Like Tonight was thought of by many as ballad, but the uptempo rhythms made others think of it as anthemic pop. It was written by a team of American writers and a Swede, Dr. Luke, Martin Sandberg (aka Max Martin) and Sheppard Solomon, who had already had hits like Kelly Clarkson's Since U Been Gone. My theory, of course, is that much of popular music in the last 15 years has been done by the Swedes, and they practically own the music industry. Hell, Max Martin alone, really. But the song made it to #24 on the Top 100, #17 on the Pop Chart, and once again #1 on the Adult Pop chart, keeping a successful run for the band.

The 5/7th and final single from the album was written by Ben Moody, David Hodges and Josh Hartzler, two members of the band Evanescence, as well as the man married to lead singer Amy Lee. This song, along with the previous single, were the only two songs on the album not either written or co-written by Chris Daughtry. What About Now is one of those big, anthemic stadium ballads, and Daughtry certainly knew how to play them. The song went to #18 on the Top 100, #21 on the Pop chart, and #3 on the Adult Pop chart. It was release in July of 2008, almost 17 months after the release of the album. This album had such great legs, aided by a strong line of singles that kept Daughtry on the radio and being heard by the world.

Shortly after the release of the album, Jeremy Brady left the band. He was replaced by Brian Craddock. This past April, it was announced Joey Barnes was no longer a part of the band, replaced by Robin Diaz. For more about Daughtry, check out the official website here.

Being Human - Season 2 Premier

being human,season 2,episode 1
Left to right: Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey & Lenora Crichlow.

A vampire, a werewolf and a ghost go into a bar in Brighton... While that might make the beginning of a great joke, it isn't exactly how I might describe this show on BBC America. This is another great offering from the BBC, starring Aidan Turner, Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow as the aforementioned supernatural beings.While Crichlow is a delight, and Turner all sexy and tortured, it is out actor Tovey who charms the hell out of me, and steals my heart. At the end of Season 1, in an attempt to save his friend Mitchell, George took on Herrick, the leader of the vampires, and destroyed him. Nina, upset about her relationship with George, followed them and discovered George was a werewolf when she watched him change and kill. Annie, who had missed her chance to enter the door to the afterlife when Mitchell was attacked by Herrick, discovered an inner strength and was there for her flatmates.

being human,season 2,episode 1
being human,season 2,episode 1

As the new season opens, we find George and Mitchell in a bar [with no ghostly Annie in sight], with George discussing his relationship, but they separate on the way out. George goes to the aid of a woman, only to find it is a trap, set by Ivan and Daisy, vampires set on avenging Herrick's demise. Mitchell steps in to save his friend, and the attackers take flight. The boys pursue them.


Annie and Nina are at home, talking about things. Nina has gone from a nurse dating an orderly to a woman dating a werewolf, one who lives with a vampire and a ghost. It is overwhelming. The woman of science and study is now living in a world with magic, curses, and the supernatural. Nina takes a moment to show Annie her arm, and we see the scratches on her arm, from when George pushed her away as he was changing.

being human,season 2,episode 1
being human,season 2,episode 1 being human,season 2,episode 1

George and Mitchell continue to chase, with George pursuing Daisy, and George after Ivan. George takes on Ivan in a parking lot, telling him an attack on George is an attack on him. Meanwhile, George has found Daisy, and their confrontation goes a bit differently. Ivan explains as he and Daisy leave that there is unfinished business that needs to be handled.

being human,season 2,episode 1
being human,season 2,episode 1

At home, Nina tries to talk to George, but they just can't seem to communicate. She heads off to work, leaving Annie, to announce to George and Mitchell that she is applying for a job as a waitress at a pub. Mitchell seems to take issue with the disembodied spirit of a murdered woman working in the service industry. Go figure.

being human,season 2,episode 1

And that, my friends, is just the first 15 minutes of the show. Will George and Nina be able to work out their problems? Can Nina tell George she thinks she is a werewolf, too? Will Annie be able to get and hold a job? Will vampires continue to go after George, trying to either kill him or have sex? You can find out by tuning in to the premiere on BBC America tonight at 10 PM/9 Central, following the season finale of Doctor Who. You can find out more about Being Human online at their official website here. I hope to be previewing the episodes for you here each week, replacing the Doctor Who previews, since their season finale is this evening. You can also check out the trailer below.

Doctor Who - The Big Bang - Season Finale

doctor who,big bang,matt smith
doctor who,big bang,matt smith

Tonight, we get to see watch the season finale of Doctor Who when BBC America broadcasts the episode entitled The Big Bang. The pictures you will see and the storyline I mention will all fall in the first 20-some minutes of the show, so no big spoilers here. But first, I just want to say a few words about the show. Oh, my God [in the classic sense, not in overused internet parlance], this episode is fast-paced, exciting, and loads of fun. Second, Matt Smith was a brilliant piece of casting, so kudos for the production team. He has charm and wit, and just enough quirkiness that he puts the capital 'A' in adorkable. After watching David Tennant for so long I wasn't sure I could handle a new Doctor. Well, I can and just love his take on the iconic role. Karen Gillan portrays his companion, Amy Pond, with just the right enough of bite and brass, like a combination of Donna Noble and Martha Jones, I've grown quite fond of her as well. If they would only bring back [for a visit] the aforementioned Martha, Captain Jack, and Yanto Jones, and, while we are at it, Midshipman Alonso Frame, portrayed by the handsome Russell Tovey, I would be ecstatic.

doctor who,big bang,matt smith
doctor who,big bang,matt smith

Now that I have established myself to be a total Whovian geek, the episode starts out where the last episode ended - well, sort of, anyway. So, this episode is, for me, one of the cleverest episodes to date, toying with the time/space continuum in such smart and playful ways. The show starts with a young Amelia Pond is going to the museum to see the Pandorica, thanks to some notes of encouragement from the Doctor. The Doctor jumps back almost 2,000 years to find Amy and Centurion Rory, giving Rory instructions. After museum closing, the Pandorica opens up, revealing Amy is there. The Doctor joins them, but soon a display comes to life, as a Daleks joins the mix. The Doctor, with great elan, spends the next 30-some odd minutes popping hither and yon, leaving notes, post-its or verbal instructions, setting a master plan in motion.

doctor who,big bang,matt smith
doctor who,big bang,matt smith

There are flights of fancy with a fez, images of Rory being 'armed' like few others, match-making, and excitement, including an ingenious use for a dish antenna, all culminating on me never wanting this episode to end!

doctor who,big bang,matt smith
doctor who,big bang,matt smith
doctor who,big bang,matt smith

As I said in the beginning, after watching 13 episodes of the 11th Doctor, I give Matt Smith two enthusiastic thumbs up. His inherent charm, quirkiness, adorkability, and amazing energy kept the show moving forward all season long as it was in the process of finding its feet. Truthfully, the show struggled through fewer growing pains than I thought it would. I have greatly enjoyed the season. I will miss having new episodes to watch, but it will be softened by the return of Being Human on BBC America immediately following. To check out Doctor Who on the web, click here. And watch the trailer below.


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