Fall has set in. Crops have been harvested, and it’s time for hunting. At least that’s how it’s traditionally been done for centuries. In subsistence cultures, at this period of the year, the deer have fattened themselves up on summer grasses. It makes them more desirable to hunters preparing for the long winter, hence the name, Hunter’s Moon. Continue Reading
This week I was reminded of how irrelevant albums have become. Back in the day, they were kind of shoved down our throats and albums were the only way to get certain cuts by favorite artists.
There are relatively few albums that I would never fast forward less than two or three songs. So out of all the albums I’ve purchased over the years, the skip-to-listen ratios were always quite high. Continue Reading
I can sum up my twenty-five years with the Wicked crew with the old adage that, “time flies when you’re having fun.” As a founding member of the Wicked Sound System, I feel really blessed. I’ve been to the vast majority of events produced by the crew. I’m really proud of what we have accomplished over the years. Many of our all-nighters are legendary. They’re the kind of events that people still talk about decades later. Our monthly “Full Moon Massive” events have become an iconic part of San Francisco’s cultural history. Continue Reading
I love running into Boy George in random spots. Despite his reputation as an acerbic wit, I’ve always found him to be quite lovely, personable and genuinely friendly.
I caught some of his acoustic set on the main stage at last October’s Halloween Carnival in West Hollywood and even with just a guitar and stripped down accompaniment, he sounded amazing.
Best known for his soulful voice and androgynous appearance, the thing I’ve always admired most about him is the way he’s remained true to himself and his personal journey through life.
These days he is releasing fewer musical recordings instead splitting his time between songwriting, DJing, writing books, designing clothes, and photography. It’s been great to see him on tellie again recently as one of the celebrity judges on the UK version of the Voice. Look out for him on American TV as well as he has some new projects in development that I’m really excited to see.
As many Americans prepare for the Memorial Day holiday next weekend, I think it’s safe to say that many of us will be preparing for a great bit of BBQ. After all, barbecue is deeply entrenched in not only many regional cuisines but it’s also deeply embedded within the American culinary cannon.
Barbecue, like so much of the dance music we love, is laced with the ideas and inspirations of black folk. When Memorial Day invites us to remember our country’s heroic, it is crucial to include African Americans because, since before America was even a thing, BBQ was seasoned and flavored by Africans in the Americas.
I hope you’ll do something to honor them this weekend, even it’s it’s just a tip of your favorite barbecued food.
Florence Nightingale, born on May 12, 1820. She became a nurse at a time when the profession was considered a degrading occupation. Hospitals back then were cesspools of disease. Basic operations, though common could be a death sentence. Nightingale changed all of that. In addition to her nursing duties, she was also a talented author. Her writing changed hearts and minds to solidify her lasting legacy on the healing industry. Continue Reading
Like many people, I’m still coming to grips with the passing of Prince. Dave Chappell called it “The Black 9/11” and it certainly feels like the same kind of earth shattering occasion with such a poignant sense of loss that touches every aspect of my world. Music means so much to me, and to many people #SoundtrackToMyLife Continue Reading
Prince, the musical megastar is dead at 57. It’s an unbelievable shock to think of a world without his light, love, truth and beauty. He brought so much joy to the lives of so many and it seems like the whole world is mourning his passing. Continue Reading
Even if you only know her as a songwriter for Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Katy Perry or one of the Pop Idols, Cathy Dennis is pretty amazing.
She was a moderately successful pop act in her own right with an international solo career that featured a number of US Dance Club chart-toppers. Eventually she veered away from dance music to Britpop and then Adult Contemporary but overall, she’s had 8 singles on the Hot 100 Chart.
Of course, she’s really made her mark as a songwriter though. She’s scored 8 UK number ones and five Ivor Novello Awards in that country. She won a grammy for her work on Kylie’s “Come into my world.”
Whether you’re celebrating Persian New Year (Norouz? Nowruz? Nouruz? Nouroz?) or Wiccan New Year (Ostara)… Or just the Spring/Vernal Equinox (Northern Hemisphere) today is the day we mark the season of new beginnings. All of these celebrations are centered on a flowering sense of fertility, a reborn sense of abundance, re-growth, new growth and light. Continue Reading
A Readability Analysis of Campaign Speeches from the 2016 US Presidential Campaign by the Language Technologies Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA found that the grammatical usage of Donald Trump scored the lowest of any other candidate. Continue Reading
Creation and innovation are driving forces in our society and consequently we are, for the most part focused squarely upon the new. Jane Smiley wrote in her forward to a novel resurrected from the ‘out of print’ back catalog, “Most novelists, no matter how popular, fall into obscurity.” The same could be said for musical works as well. I’ve spent countless hours digging for treasures among the stacks of long out of print records.
The promise of digital formats is that nothing need go out of print ever again. Of course that reality is a fair ways off at this point but it’s an amazing goal to strive for. Continue Reading
Many people have suggested doing away with Daylight Savings Time as irrelevant and anachronistic. The same case can be made against Time Zones. They were basically invented for train travel and now that most people travel by air and Internet, I think we should do away with them entirely. Continue Reading
It explores the ways society used to be more private and as our ways of being private and social have changed, technology and the ways we listen to music have changed as well.
I’ve been to many silent discos and found them to be kinda cool but also kinda weird as well. It’s definitely a way to redefine what it means to have a ‘shared experience’ and refocuses the life elements of dancing back to the dancers themselves.
The BBC calls New Order’s Blue Monday, “a crucial link between Seventies disco and the dance/house boom that took off at the end of the Eighties.” If you frequented a dance club during the 1980s, you almost certainly know this song.
It seems the Orkestra Obsolete, a group of musicians specializing in antiquated and obsolete instrumentation, wondered what Blue Monday would have sounded like if it had been made decades earlier.
They gathered together instruments available in the 1930s – from the theremin and musical saw to the harmonium and prepared piano – to present their re-interpretation of this dance classic. Continue Reading
It’s hard to believe that the Honey Soundsystem is turning ten this month. For many of us, this is definitely a case of “time flies when you’re having fun.”
Honey Soundsystem is a collective of disc jockeys, musicians, performers and designers. Co-founders Ken Woodard and Jacob Sperber formed the group in January 2006. Pivotal gay underground parties, who offered a unique take on dance music, provided inspiration. The collective coalesced around a shared love of timeless sounds and iconic imagery. Their bonds solidified with the complete look, indulgent behavior, and most of all, attractive men. Continue Reading
I appreciate the new style of Vogueing and I love to see how each House interprets the genre in their own style. I applaud today’s Children & Future Legends for living their dreams – it warms my heart to see them respecting the history of House Balls and the culture they have inherited. Continue Reading
Sylvester James known as a one-name artist, Sylvester, was an American disco and soul singer, and a gay drag performer. He was sometimes known as the “Queen of Disco,” although that moniker has also been bestowed on some of the best known women of the disco era (i.e. Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer).
He’s probably best known for his exploits in the milieu at the I-Beam Disco and his many collaborations with Patrick Cowley. His most significant works are the songs “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, “Dance (Disco Heat)” (both 1978) and “Do You Wanna Funk” (1982).
Sadly Sylvester made his transition in December of 1988 and I never got to meet him but I have met many of his friends and I-Beam family and I’ve always loved hearing stories about his fabulous life and amazing music.
I just saw this fascinating BBC documentary on synth music in the UK. It features appearances by quite a few synth music pioneers. They include Philip Oakey, Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, Bernard Sumner, Gary Numan and Neil Tennant. If you are into synth music, this is a must watch.
Here is a description of the documentary from BBC:
Synth Britannia is a documentary following a generation of post-punk musicians who took the synthesizer from the experimental fringes to the centre of the pop stage.
In the late 1970s, small pockets of electronic artists including the Human League, Daniel Miller and Cabaret Voltaire were inspired by Kraftwerk and JG Ballard. They dreamt of the sound of the future against the backdrop of bleak, high-rise Britain. Continue Reading
On August 1, 1981, at 12:01 a.m., MTV launched with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll,” spoken by John Lack. They were so obviously committed to the rock format that they leaned heavily on Hard Rock, Classic Rock and Heavy Metal. The channel only begrudgingly featured the New Wave of rock and Synth Pop and virtually ignored all music made by black people beyond tokenism until Michael Jackson’s label threatened to yank all their content and MTV was forced to feature the video for Jackson’s song, “Billie Jean” in heavy rotation.
Hard to believe our little baby is four. Honey came together through a shared love for similar sounds and influences. We met through the gay club scene here in San Francisco and the hive now includes a collective of disc jockeys, musicians, performers and designers creating a vibe not scene in SF for years.
The thing I love most about HNY is its mix of alterna-queers, burners, gypsies, faeries, underground celebrities, future legends, and full frontal faggotry with a few gipsters (Gay Hipsters) and a range of bearish types thrown in with an ever growing straight crowd hungry for cutting edge dance music.
Last night I watched the 80’s teen movie, “Revenge of the Nerds.” I’ve seen it before and I’ve always remembered really loving it. What I didn’t remember was how much they stretch the nerd hating and bullying. It’s awesome that they never devolve beyond that, especially when taunting Lamar, the gay black character. IRL the word “Faggot” would have been used quite a bit not just for Lamar but I’m sure for all of them.
Also missing were other nerd related epithets like, geek, spaz, dweeb, dork, etc. It made the antagonism a bit one-dimensional and more than a little bit corny but maybe that’s part of the appeal.