True Blue is the third studio album by pop diva Madonna. It was released on June 30, 1986 so today is the album’s birthday.
I’ve been to over half of the Pride events ever held in San Francisco so for me, the parade lost its luster once it passed the two hour mark – it’s long because SF includes everyone if they’re based in the city or not because, hey, it’s their pride too…
An ever accelerating phenomenon of the SF Pride events is attendance by younger and more ethnically diverse people. While I think it’s great that 20 and under kids that are too young for bars are coming out and finding a place in our community, I think there needs to more of a place for them at the event. Women outnumbered men at least 3-to-1 in every area of the festival except maybe the Faerie Village but there was so much androgyny in that space that I can’t be certain.
What is certain is the organizers are out of touch with their demographics. Instead of courting alcohol vendors and airlines to underwrite the event with sponsorships, they should look to companies more in line with the folks who actually turn up.
It felt like they were selling 25-45 year-old Gay White Men to their sponsors and delivering 16-25 year-old Black, Hispanic and Asian Women.
When Ggreg Taylor and Gilbert Baker launched the Pink Saturday street party on the night before the big Freedom Day Parade & Festival, they asked me to help out with a few things. .
While I only helped produce the first three or four, I don’t think I’ve missed more than one in this event’s history. After this year’s Pink Saturday event, I think it’s safe to say that if I never go to another one, I’ll still have a really fun and interesting life.
The Dyke March wasn’t a huge priority for me this year. I love seeing the spectrum of female expression parading around the streets exuding a sense of empowerment and sometimes they take their tops off too…
I haven’t been to the Stud Bar’s anniversary party for at least 18 years. It used to be the hottest ticket in town and even though there are other priorities for the denizens of SF’s nightlife these days – it was a super fun party.
The guy who made the badges is dead.
Back in the 80’s my friends and I used to wear the commemorative badges from the Stud’s birthday party on our jackets so I asked the bartender if they still made them or the gift bags and he directed me to the guys at the front door. While I was a bit sad to hear there were no gift bags, it’s understandable in this economy. How utterly heart breaking to hear that the guy who made the badges moved on to the other side of life and took the tradition with him.
The food and free booze was nice and the show was just as good as it’s always been so it was nice to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Pride Parade with the cultural events & parties built around it is like a bit of grit or sand in the LGBT community oyster. Everyone adds their own layers around it to make the biggest pearl in the same-sex calendar. As my friend Steve calls it, “The highest of the High Homo-Holidays”
This year I attended the official Pride kick-off party at the Clift Hotel. It was a festive party to present the official Pride Weekend events to the media and public at large.
As an underground hero Virginia Ramos, a.k.a. the Tamale Lady roams the working-class environs of the Mission and the shirtless gay bars South of Market — an itinerant chef who peddles her homemade feasts out of plastic coolers.
She always seems to turn up at just the right time with super tasty treats.
Finding The Tamale Lady at a bar is one of those “Only In San Francisco” moments that makes living here so special.
A friend IM’ed me this morning asking how my day was going and I replied, “It’s a Hall and Oates kinda day”. Apparently unfamiliar with their body of work, my friend wanted an explanation…
SRSLY – it’s a mellow Saturday – do I really need to explain the finer nuances of Soft Rock and it’s place in the Adult Contemporary landscape?
When he asked what my ‘favorite’ song by the band is, I couldn’t decide. They have so many songs that I enjoy so I checked the play counts to see which songs I listen to most. Play counts don’t lie. Apparently it’s a tie between two songs that shocked me…
Ever since it was legal for me to do so, I have voted. Every year the people I vote for loose and every year I resent the older, deeply entrenched forces holding back progress, innovation and efficiency from not only the political process but from the machinations of government.
Ever since I began voting, I’ve often thought the establishment candidates promising change but delivering more of the same wouldn’t have a chance if they had to campaign shirtless.
Yes I have expressed this sentiment in a variety of settings over the years and usually as a toss-out laugh line in a bar. But honestly, deep down inside I truly believe the dinosaurs and their special interest pandering wouldn’t stand a chance if they had to campaign while showing only skin from the waist up.
Of course this policy might favor women – at first but I think it will also favor younger people with fresh ideas. They are the demographic that has to live the longest with the policy enacted by the current government so why shouldn’t they be better represented in the chambers of power?
On 27 January 2011 Boy George announced to the BBC that there will be a 30th anniversary Culture Club reunion tour sometime later in the year and that they would be releasing a new album in 2012.
I’ve loved Boy George since his days as a poser on the New Romantic scene in London. Our paths have crossed more than a few times over the last couple of decades and he’s always been super sweet to me even though his reputation has often led people to believe he’s anything but nice or sweet.
This song popped up from my library today in a compilation or playlist I haven’t heard in awhile and I really like it… I mean I really want to like it… or maybe I’m just a bit conflicted about it.
At first it seems like the guy singing has met someone he’s super into – like her light and beauty uplift him in a way that is sadly all too rare. The first couple of verses make it seem like they’re totally vibe-ing on each other – but this isn’t your standard issue dance flavored love song – though it might seem that way with the first iteration of the chorus:
My body’s moving into light
When I breathe and hold you in my sight
My body’s moving into light
I feel your inner light, I feel your inner love
I’m not a fan of Jack Black but it became clear to me this week that his 2003 movie, School of Rock has had quite a far reaching influence on the zeitgeist of popular culture. In the movie, Black portrays a wannabe rock star in need of cash who poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school. He then tries to turn his class into a rock band. Obviously the meme of learning to be a rocker in a formalized scholastic setting is a strong and sticky one.
This commercial featuring the meme is still playing in heavy rotation.
First man ‘functionally cured’ of HIV – This could mean the end of AIDS is sooner than anyone previously believed.
A man with leukemia and HIV had a bone marrow transplant in Germany in 2007 and now he seems to have no replicating virus that causes AIDS anywhere in his body anymore. He isn’t taking any medication. His doctors say he will now probably never have any problems with HIV or AIDS.
I’ve lost so many friends to this disease and it makes me so happy to finally hear this news confirmed from reputable sources. I’ve heard tell of it in bars and foreign news articles on the Web but now it looks like it’s really true. YAY
I wanted to check out the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles and see what it was all about. It was OK but just OK. I’ve been to other music oriented museums with the best being in Seattle. I expected less focus on Baby Boomer crap and more focus on what actually makes the Grammy’s so important to the music industry.
A maxim is more than just words to live by, it’s an expression of a general truth or principle or a rule of conduct. This is the second in a series of maxim’s I’ve found useful in my life.
When I first embraced this maxim the ideology of “inversion” was very popular. Younger LGBT folks like me were embracing words like “Queer” and ‘inverting’ them to polarize their meaning from something bad to good. The pink triangle was inverted from a symbol of discrimination and shame to one of pride and community.
Blacks and African Americans had been using the same technique with phrases like “Get Down” which inverted to mean “Get Up And Dance” among other things. Hip Hop and then Rap seemed to accelerate many inversions so that adjectives like ‘bad’ were used to describe things that were ‘good’ in the 1970’s and through the 80’s and 90’s there was a succession of such inverted adjectives with ‘dope’ ‘sick’ ‘ill’ and many others all finding favor for a time.
Originally this maxim was, “Everyone Needs To Have At Least One Slutty Friend.” Even back then it revealed the general truth that we can stretch our comfort zones more and maybe even live vicariously through the lives of others.
I’ve been friendly with the world famous photographer Danny Nicoletta for a couple of decades now. Last year he had a show called, ‘More Glitter – Less Bitter’ and it’s been one of my life Mottoes ever since I heard the phrase.
The show was a poignant romp through Danny’s vigilant documentation of San Francisco’s vibrant gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender communities.
In 1975 Dan Nicoletta was hired by Harvey Milk to work in Milk’s Castro Street camera store and there at age 19, Dan’s life path as documentarian for the emerging LGBT scene began. He was portrayed in Gus Van Sant’s Academy Award winning film MILK by actor Lucas Grabeel and he even got me in as an extra.
A maxim is more than just words to live by, it’s an expression of a general truth or principle or a rule of conduct. This is the first in a series of maxim’s I’ve found useful to remember.
Everyone Has Their Favorites – So Let Them Enjoy Them
It’s generous and magnanimous to allow everyone to enjoy the things they like and because we are all One in Spirit when you give others the freedom to enjoy their favorites without criticism and condemnation, you’re really offering yourself the same freedom to enjoy what you like too.
Now that the Rapture predicted for yesterday has proven to be more rupture than rapture, we can look forward to the next event in the terror monger’s calendar – Armageddon 2012.
Yes, the ancient Mayan calendar ends on the Winter Solstice in 2012. Yes, they are probably the most time obsessed culture our planet has ever known but they do have another calendar to use for the day after this one runs out.
My pal Mark Heley has written a book about the big transition/transformation/transubstantiation to occur in 2012.
If you’re still embroiled in fear and terror that 2012 will be more Armageddon than Apocalypse, you might want to check out this kit.
2012 Armageddon Survival Kit
Mark Kendall Bingham was an American public relations executive who founded his own company, the Bingham Group. More importantly, he was my friend.
I knew Mark for a number of years before he was murdered. He was 6-foot5 and always easy for me to spot in a crowd. He was outgoing and naturally gregarious and so much fun to be around.
The week before he died we were in New Orleans together and he would call random people over and encourage them to join our conversation. We met some sorority girls from Ohio that way. We had so much fun with those gals carrying on in the streets of the French Quarter.
It was such a blessing to have that time with him and to get to know his boyfriend Matt. It was a really great week away.
Summer officially begins on the Summer Solstice exactly a month from today. For many people though, summer unofficially begins next weekend with Memorial Day. The three day holiday bookends warm weather for most Americans between now and Labor Day weekend in September.
2011 has been an interesting mix of mayhem and music so far and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the summer season ahead. As with the past three summers, economic issues will be front-and-center so it could be a cruel summer monetarily for many. I hope it’s just cruelly hot as the song below suggests. I love San Francisco during a heat wave.
First sign of the Rapture? Iceland Volcano Erupts today.
Gabriel’s Trumpet To Signal The Rapture
Preacher and evangelical broadcaster Harold Camping has announced that Jesus Christ will return to Earth this Saturday, May 21, and many of his followers are traveling the country in preparation for the weekend Rapture.
WARNING: False Rapture Kills
With a strong 211 points, Azerbaijan’s plastic-pop duo Ell & Nicki were the surprise winners tonight at Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Dusseldorf. Cheesy pop sung in English has long been a staple of Eurovision so while it was a surprise it wasn’t much of a shock.
The Associated Press still won’t let it go. As if all the pre-wedding coverage wasn’t enough, they’re still wringing every last drop out of last week’s royal wedding. At least they’ve finally noticed that Kate Middleton is just the most recent in a long line of commoners to wed European royalty.
I was so happy to see the Dutch Princess Maxima mentioned in our local paper. Her royal wedding on 02/02/02 was all but ignored by the American media even though it had all the elements they seem to love: fairy tale love of a prince marrying a commoner, scandal and controversy with her family history and the couple’s ties to New York City where they began dating. She is now so popular in the Netherlands that there is already a retrospective on her first ten years in the country.
I’m lucky to have two mothers. Not in a lesbian way, just in a universe abhors a vacuum sort of way.
I didn’t always feel this way, in fact for most of my early years I felt that I only really had half a mother at most.
Great news about this year’s Bay To Breakers – Geographer is headling Footstock, the official party in the park at the end of the race!
If you’re not familiar with this B2B, it’s one of those “Only in SF” events where people dress up in silly costumes and get drunk in the streets. As much as the organizers try to downplay the debauchery the event will always be a sort of straight version of gay pride…
I’ve worked at a few Geographer shows over the last couple of years and I’m so happy for them. This gig will raise their profile considerably and I hope it introduces their music to a much wider audience coz they’re really nice guys and they do make some great music.
Bay 2 Breakers Finish Line Party
Sunday May 15th 2011
Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
FREE Admission to all, courtesy of Zazzle
It seems I’m not alone in having mixed emotions about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. The reactions I’ve seen online and reported in the media have been just as mixed. They’ve ranged the gamut from elation to ambivalence. From sadness at the loss of life to fear of reprisals.
I understand the government and military following Islamic protocol in disposing of the body and not wanting to release images of his dead body to avoid outrage and backlash from Muslims.
I do, I totally get it but I also think they can’t have it both ways. Either this guy wasn’t a true Muslim because he espoused a murderous ideology of hatred toward “infidels” that is anathema to ‘true’ Muslims or he was a proper Muslim who deserved a proper Muslim burial.
Not wanting to upset Bin Laden’s compatriots seems a specious argument because they hate us already and no matter what we do they will still do everything they can to recruit new members and to attack us at every chance they get.
It’s cool that we’ve closed a chapter in our nation’s history with Bin Laden’s death but the news for me feels bittersweet because it won’t bring back my friend Mark or anyone else that died on 9-11.
“I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” – Mark Twain
I pray that this event marks a real turning point in our confrontations with islamofascists and that we can move forward to increase the peace.
Every neighborhood in San Francisco has at least one street fair that reflects the area. South Of Market or SOMA hosts a number of Street Fairs throughout the year. The Howard Street Fair kicks off Street Fair season for me – officially it’s called the How Weird Street Faire and it celebrates SOMA’s enduring legacy as the epicenter of SF’s nightlife.
Foxgluv played at one of the first How Weird events and I’ve seen it evolve over the years from a Rave/New Age focus to get a bit more Hippy Trippy and then a bit more Night Clubby with its move to the eastern section of Howard Street where there are a number of night clubs to host official after parties.
Because the royal family’s surname is Orange-Nassau the whole country gets decked out in orange. It is also the only time of year that people are allowed to sell stuff without a retail license so the last weekend in April has something for everyone – yard sales all over the country and lots of drinking in the streets.
The American news media has jumped the shark – need proof? Review any/all of the air time devoted to coverage of the impending nuptials of Brittani’s Prince William & Kate Middleton.
Besides acting like an echo chamber for every rumour and innuendo about all the wedding related minutia, they’re acting like this is some important event with a global impact
The royal wedding is only really important to Americans because the American media makes it out to be and I for one, am utterly sick of it.
The subtle and inarticulate implication is that nothing else is as important – not the economy, rising costs of gasoline or health care or all four of Obama’s active military actions around the world.
Nothing is more important than organizing a royal wedding viewing party and every news outlet has some unique or tawdry angle to make their coverage hit us like water torture – each drop seems small and innocuous on its own but taken together its excruciating!
What a great party. For me, it was mostly all work but eventually I did get to dance which is how all of my club night experiences with Wicked played out over the last twenty years.
While it’s not really celebrated in the U.S. Easter Monday is a day off from work in most Christian countries.
This year, I was glad to take it easy today to relax and reflect on such a wonderful weekend.
In one of my favorite “Only In San Francisco” events, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence host an Easter Sunday party in the park. They have games and activities for little kids and the Sisters set up a stage in Dolores Park and local bands like Ejector perform and the people bring blankets and picknics.
The highlight of the afternoon for me is the Easter Bonnet Contest and the Hunky Jesus Contest. Both shows allow people to exhibit exuberant displays of creativity. You can tell some of these queens spend days working their hot glue guns assembiling their elaborate hats, helmets and head ornaments.
I look forward to the Hunky Jesus Contest to see what themes people will come up with. The best need little to no explanation – like the double cross Jesus with two guys on an H shaped cross – or this year’s Obviously Drunk Redneck Jesus. The video below features most of this year’s contestants and the winner…
As the Son rose, she rounded the corner
Seeing that the stoned had rolled their last spliff and the ravers had dispersed, she approached with trepidation.
Mistaking the DJ for a gardener because of the fresh blooms depicted on his shirt, she asked him, “Where has all the music gone?”
“To the after-party…”
He continued, “Don’t hang here coz I have not yet ascended, you can get a ride with your friends. Go and tell the others the good news.”
Good Friday, also known as Holy Friday or Great Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Jesus on my mind – DJ Pierre Feat Lavert
I’ll admit I used to care more about Earth Day but honestly Green Fatigue set in for me about a decade ago and now I just can’t be bothered to do anything all that special to mark the day.
I used to think that every little bit helps but as time progressed and things have gotten worse, my understanding has evolved. All the focus on recycling or planting trees feels too much like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Drastic times call for drastic measures and until we have free and fair publicly funded elections in the United States, I don’t think we’ll really see much substantive progress on environmental issues.
Today marks the anniversary of the 1906 Great Quake and Fire that ravaged San Francisco. There was also a small 3.8 earthquake on the peninsula just south of San Francisco today.
Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover holiday. In all four Gospels Jesus performs various healings and teaches by way of parables while in Jerusalem, until the Last Supper.
I chose today’s song, Pennies From Heaven by Inner City to represent Palm Sunday because it outlines a more expansive understanding of the Joy we began to cultivate last week. There are many gifts of Spirit and we can use them to reach out to those around us to help alleviate suffering.
Peace is one of the gifts specifically mentioned in this song as is faith and the loving understanding born of a heart-to-heart conversation.
I’ve seen this song become a catalyst for transformation where once people danced in their own separate expressions and halfway through this song hundreds of people join hands and sway with people lined up at bathroom and bar put their arms around each other and sing along.
Just reach out and help them do the best you can
No-one said we could solve every problem
I love how the lyrics portray a realistic and practical application of sharing our gifts of Spirit, our pennies from heaven. “No one said we could solve every problem” but we can still reach out and try.
This is the time in the Lenten seson when everything seems in flux. It’s warm then cold, sunny then raining… most buds are showing but not yet open while there are also more flowers around than just a few weeks ago…
With so much inconsistancy around us I can see why it’s all too easy for some to vascillate and waiver in our lenten commitment.
I chose today’s song to represent this point in our preparation for Easter because it reminds me that regardless of external conditions, my internal state is wholly determined by me and through the grace of God I can be happy and joyful no matter what is going on…
When darkness thinks that it’s outdone me,
I must remember that the greater love’s inside me
Joy is related to happiness, but it is a deeper experience. Happiness is fickle, shallow, and fleeting. As the word itself implies, happiness is associated with happenings, happenstance, luck, and fortune. If circumstances are favorable, you are happy; if not, you’re unhappy. It’s an outward focus to determine one’s inward state.
In the search for happiness a person focuses upon himself, but joy moves a person out of a self-centered preoccupation and into a wider experience of connection. Joy is an experience which connects us to that which is “Greater” than we are. It’s an inward state that bubbles up and overflows outward.
Everything you’ve heard is true… Wicked turns 20 this year, so for one night only we’re getting the crew back together!
WICKED 20 YEARS
OF DISCO GLORY!
Saturday April 23rd, 2011
@Mighty – 119 Utah Street in San Francisco
10pm to 7am
Presale tickets are sold out – look for a small selection of general admission tickets available at the door – arrive early to ensure entry.
If we allow it, love can wash over us like a flowing river taking with it all of the slights, hurts, pains and misunderstandings that keep us isolated from one another and from our true selves.
The song “River Of Love (Full Intention Club Mix)” by British act Roachford is so uplifting during the Lenten season because it reminds us of the cleansing, healing power of love. Jesus’ baptism foreshadows his resurrection and both occasions mark a step up to a new level of awareness and a higher consciousness. Our personal journey of preparation for Easter’s renewal must include a baptism of love that cleanses and forgives everything holding us back.
I’ve been lucky enough to see Lady Gaga everytime she’s been to the San Francisco Bay Area. I first saw her in a small club in New York – it was disjointed, jerky and frenzied but entirely earnest and barely unrehearsed in the way that art students throw a performance together.
Her SF debut at 330 Ritch was a little better, though not much – she was still a solidly underground art-fag type of act.
So simple, so pure and so basic… why don’t you believe?
Spring cleaning can happen on many levels. After sealing up our homes to keep warm all winter, early spring is a great time to air things out and clean things up for the summer fun that will soon be here.
Lent is the perfect time to do a mental, emotional and spiritual cleaning as well as a physical cleaning. To do this we have to examine our beliefs and the attitudes, actions and conditions they create.
“Belief is a beauty thing”
Faith is always active, always working because it’s a basic human faculty. Do you put your faith in the evening news and their opinions about a fear-based world? Or do you put your faith in the inner whispers of your heart that reflect the joy and love that surrounds you. Do you judge by outer appearances or do you trust in unseen forces… what do you believe?
I’ve been lucky to have met all the famous people I’ve ever want to, except for Cathy Dennis. Of course it helps that I was never fascinated with film stars and never cared to meet Hollywood A-Listers or people like that.
I’ve loved Cathy’s music since she first burst on to the nascent British House Music scene with D-Mob back in the 80’s. Since then I’ve become enthralled with her song writing ability – she’s had her finger on the pulse of dance pop for decades.
Today is not only the second Sunday of the Lenten season, it’s also the Vernal Equinox. Today the darkness and light are equally balanced and though it might be imperceptible to most people, tomorrow is the first day since last September where the light of day overtakes the darkness of night.
Someday by Ce Ce Rogers
I chose this song for this point in my Easter series because we’re still closer to the start than the end of Lent and Easter still seems a bit far-off and remote, like it will only happen, “Someday.”
In our Easter preparations, this is the point where faith has to kick in to maintain the momentum that our initial burst of enthusiasm began.
Our faith that someday Easter will arrive is mirrored in the song’s faith in a future day of equality. When Ce Ce sings, “I’ll go to South Africa and be called a man” we can rejoice because that is true now though it wasn’t true in 1987 when the song was first written.
We are still working on the other issues mentioned in the song but at least we can see progress and it bolsters our faith that we will achieve the rest of the goals set before us.
Hip House – 1990
I have always loved Hip House. It’s the first time producers tried to unify the urban musical landscape by bringing elements of Rap and House together. Breakbeat was more successful in this regard both globally and commercially but for me, Hip House will always hold a special place in my heart.
When my pal Gina P. posted the video to “Ring My Bell” on her Facebook page I was reminded how campy this subgenre could be. Hip Hop used to be a fun, upbeat style of dance music before it was bastardized and warped into a Rock clone called, “Rap.”
On Saturday, March 19, the moon’s expected to be about 350,000 kilometers from the Earth, — the nearest it will have come since 1992, according to NASA. And while the moon’s distance change is marginal, a “Supermoon” falling on a full-moon night has only happened 15 times in the last 400 years.
Previous “supermoons” occured around the time natural disasters – including the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and Cyclone Tracy which devastated the Australian city of Darwin in 1974 – but scientists say there is no evidence to suggest the phenomenon is a sign of impending doom. It’s helpful to remember that correlation does not indicate causation.
808 State’s Pacific State
Taking their name from the Roland TR-808 drum machine and the “state of mind” shared by the members. With this single the band also played with the other meaning of their name because the telephone area code 808 is assigned to the American state of Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
“Pacific” peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart and became a late-night anthem at Acid House parties all over the world. With it’s haunting sax and bird calls this song still evokes a wistful feeling in me. The synth pads add just the right amount of floating, ethereal presence and of course the rhythm track keeps the focus driving forward.
The band consisted of Graham Massey, Martin Price and Gerald Simpson who left to become A Guy Called Gerald.
This is one of my all-time favorite songs.
What an awesome night! All the more so considering how many people put so much time, energy and love into making this event happen.
The gallery presentation hit all the right notes in terms of showcasing five of the most significant venues from San Francisco’s gay dance club time-line: I Beam, End Up, Trocadero Transfer, Townsend, and The Box. With photos, fliers, ephemera and quotes from the people who were there, they presented the material in an easily digestible way that was perfect for the dance club environment. The gallery between the main dance area and the outside smoking area provided a nice buffer between the two spaces and gave people a chance to linger over the displays.
History is not confined to history books and museums. It flows everywhere and one of the great rivers of GLBT history is all that has been transmitted through queer parties, music and events.
It felt so awesome to hear people reminisce about Carefree Dancing and the other parties and events I produced so long ago. It’s an honor and a privilege to sponsor such warm memories and eternal happiness.
The first Sunday of Lent this year is also the start of Daylight Savings Time. So this year we are celebrating the joyful rebirth of the sun and the Son.
To begin the first full week of Lent, I turn again to Arnold Jarvis. His sultry yet soulful voice is so amazing and he always seems to choose spiritually uplifting material. I turn to this song in times of struggle or upset to remind me of the gifts of Spirit that are all ways available: peace, love and joy.
Arnold Jarvis – The Joy You Bring
With the song’s repetition of the Golden Rule to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” I think it does a great job of recalibrating my focus and that is what the Lenten season is all about really to discipline and focus ourselves for the rebirth of Spirit at Easter.
Lent in the Christian tradition covers the period leading up to the Easter holiday. Different denominations calculate lent differently and they all have their own way of celebrating it or not as each congregation stipulates.
Marked as a period of preparation, believers use prayer, penitence, alms-giving and self-denial to develop an appreciation of the Easter miracle which forms the basis of Christian faith.
This symbolic recreating of Jesus’ experiences in the desert always reminds me of Arnold Jarvis’ beautiful song, “Take Some Time Out.” Unlike the vast majority of gay men, I always seem to gravitate towards a male vocal. Sure, I love a diva wailing and riding those notes too but a strong male vocal like Arnold’s can always stir my soul. I’ve often considered him one of the most under rated voices to contribute to the dance music family.
Originally released in 1987, the vocals just sum up that incredible feeling and spirit of early House Music – spreading a universal message of sharing and loving, accompanied by a masterful soundtrack.
It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
While waiting in line for SF Soul club, Hard French to begin their birthday party at El Rio, five people cut in front of me. They were joining their friends directly in front of my friend Matt and I. We had a bit of a grumble about it and I just chalked it up to these kids being douchebags because they obviously planned to wait in line for their friends to go to the liquor store. I could tell this because the newcomers had beer, cigarettes and change for the couple in line.
They could have been cool and courteous about it by giving us a “head’s up” and explaining their plans to us so that when the group arrived from the store, no surprise and no hurt feelings.
Instead, they made it seem like they were taking advantage of their position to say to everyone behind them in line, “F-You suckers for not having friends like us.”
My friend Damon said that he waited in line for almost two hours and a fight broke out when some people tried to cut in the line a couple of groups ahead of him. So it’s not just the way that you do it, it’s also the time and place that you do it that determines the results you’ll get from your actions.
The LGBT Historical Society event next month, SPKR got me thinking about Sylvester’s legacy.
It is far too rare to find a drag queen that actually sings, Sylvester’s drag legacy can be seen most strongly in artists like RuPaul Charles, though even rockers like John Cameron Mitchel owe some of their success in part to pioneers like Sylvester.
Sylvester’s signature falcetto was echoed by the BeeGees who found an even greater success with the style. Men singing in the upper registers didn’t die with disco. British singer Jimmy Somerville, formerly of the bands Bronski Beat and Communards recorded a cover version of the song in 1989. Like the original, Jimmy’s version also received substantial club play, and it peaked at #5 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1990.
House legend Byron Stingily has had a great career singing falcetto first with his band, Ten City in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s then as a solo artist. Ten City has always been one of my all-time favorite bands and I was so thrilled to bring them to San Francisco to perform at Toon Town and Carefree Dancing. Continue Reading
The LGBT Historical Society is presenting a retrospective of Gay Dance Clubs and I’m honored to be a featured participant. To coincide with the show, the Honey Sound System is producing a benefit called
SPKR @ Public Works
Saturday March 12, 2011
161 Erie Street in San Francisco
10pm – 3am Public Dance Event & Gallery Show
Music by Bobby Viteritti (Trocadero Transfer) & Steve Fabus (I-Beam)
San Francisco, CA – the world’s gay Mecca where many counter cultures are born – has a rich history for creating legends. The city is known for late night dancing, where disc jockeys are regularly canonized into saints, and any ordinary queen can transform into drag royalty overnight. Like most social movements, it takes generations before their oral traditions and memories are committed to stone. San Francisco’s underground dance clubs of the 70s ,80s , and 90s is no exception.
This event will feature five significant venues from San Francisco’s gay dance club timeline: I Beam, End Up, Trocadero Transfer, Townsend, and The Box.
Jimi Polo – Better Days
This song was released in 1989 on the Urban record label. For me it represents one of the first “Piano House” style songs out of Chicago to become popular. Songs like this inspired the Italia House sub-genre which peaked globally in 1990-91.
Because the pianos are so upbeat – and we know they’ve been sampled more than a few times by now to capitalize on that – the pianos reinforce the positivity and optimism of the song’s chorus. The verses tell a story of heartbreak, of a love lost to an unspecified reason but packed with longing, regret and recrimination but also filled with love, joy, and optimism.
It’s such a simple yet complex song – exactly what House Music is all about.
This party took a turn for the Douche by Garfunkel and Oates
There’s so much about this song that works for me. It’s social and political references are smart and clever without pushing the shtick too far.
I think they frame their references in such a way that they’ll work for a long time. Roxanne Shante used a similar technique in her Old Skool hit, “Have a nice day” when she rhymes, “Like hurricane Annie I’ll blow you away.” You don’t have to know how destructive hurricane Annie was to understand it.
In much the same way, Garfunkel & Oates rap about Bernie Madoff – if you’re familiar with him you’ll get the reference to ripping off your shirt sleeves. If you don’t know anything about Bernie, the phrase’s meaning comes from the word “exposed” and using it as a corollary to a sleeveless shirt.
Phrases like this work on several levels and, to me, that makes for a great parody.
I first started blogging in 2002 and because this year began with a palindrome I thought it would be a good time to return to the medium after taking a few years’ hiatus. I’m using a different technology now so I can’t include all the older material so in many ways 2011 is a fresh start for me and for Quartknee.com