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It’s Pete Burns’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Ringo + Dead or Alive

Early in the career of the group Dead or Alive, UK music magazine Melody Maker described their lead singer Pete Burns as “a cross between Bette Midler and Jim Morrison.” Sure.

At the time Burns was sharing a home and a bed with his wife Lynne and his lover Steve. His marriage with Lynne dissolved in 2006, the year he announced his engagement to a man named Michael.

Today Burns celebrates his 57th birthday. Tunes du Jour kicks off its weekly dance party with Dead or Alive’s “Brand New Lover,” with lead vocals by the man Melody Maker called a “transvestite sex symbol.” Sure.


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It’s National Cell Phone Courtesy Month And I Need To Dance!

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. Seriously. I didn’t make that up.

The fact that we need a National Cell Phone Courtesy Month says a lot about our country. Cell phones are ubiquitous. People are self-centered sphincters. You need to be courteous for only one month per year.

We use cell phones to text people we don’t feel like talking to. We use them to show the world what food looks like. We use them to film police officers murdering unarmed black citizens. Sometimes we use them as phones. Naomi Campbell has been known to use hers as a weapon.

Here are some cell phone courtesy tips:
Don’t use your cell phone during business meetings! Those meetings are set by executives who need their egos stroked by having people gather in a room to hear them bloviate and accomplish nothing. How can they adequately waste your time if you’re getting things done on your cell phone? That’s cheating. Put the phone away, unless you’re one of the senior execs who need the ego stroking. Then by all means check your phone while people sit in the conference room waiting for the meeting to be over. They already think you’re rude, so why not take that as far as you can? Sphincter!

Reply to your text messages promptly! Don’t keep someone in suspense who needs to know what you think of their alleged witticism. Send an emoji. They’ll probably then respond with a different emoji, meaning you’ll have to answer that as well. Next thing you know, the whole day is shot, you got nothing done, but the insecure person who initiated the text conversation feels a little bit better about themselves, so it’s all worth it. If you’re at a meeting when a text message comes in, don’t respond right away! Wait until the egomaniacal sphincter who called the meeting isn’t looking at you, which will be most of the meeting as his only concern is the sound of his own voice. Hold your phone under the table and reply. That works every time.

Don’t use your phone while on a date! That is so rude! Someone is taking the time to get to know you and try to enjoy a meal with you. Not paying attention to them demonstrates your complete lack of manners. There are exceptions to this rule. If the person bores you to tears, text your best friend and tell him to call you with a made-up emergency. If your best friend doesn’t reply promptly (rude!) and your date is droning on and on about how “all lives matter” or how great the band Chicago is, break the monotony of his or her blather by photographing your food and showing the pic to your date. He or she will be astonished at how much the food in the photo looks like the food on the table in front of him or her, and for a moment, will cease his or her otherwise endless babble. If that doesn’t work, just run out of the restaurant. What do you care? You have no intention of seeing him/her again anyway. Don’t forget to block them on your phone so they can’t text or call you again.

Set your phone to silent or vibrate while in a movie theater, a Broadway show, or a house of worship on your wedding day. Do the same thing if you die. It’s so awkward to be at a funeral and hear “Thong Song” emanate from the deceased. Mourners won’t know if it’s okay to laugh, and that song will be stuck in everyone’s head for the rest of the day, just like it will be stuck in yours for the next few hours. That thong-th-thong-thong-thong.

Don’t be staring at your cellular device while walking on a crowded sidewalk or while in a shopping mall with a large fountain. I take that back. Stare at it in the mall. I can never get enough of that video of that woman who fell into the mall fountain while staring at her device. Remember her? Then she sued the mall! LOL! If you see someone at the mall who is so busy staring at their device that they’re about to fall into the fountain, PLEASE, take out your phone and film it! Post it on the Internet. Humiliate them so they learn proper cell phone etiquette, but only do so if it is July.

I hope these tips help you avoid being a complete sphincter while out in public.

Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Our weekly dance party kicks off with the Lady Gaga/Beyoncé collaboration, “Telephone.”


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It’s LGBT Pride Month And I Need To Dance!

Because there are millions of people who tell us we shouldn’t be who we are because it doesn’t conform to who they think we should be;

Because this “government of the people, by the people and for the people” often isn’t for all the people;

Because “All men are created equal” doesn’t include those in the LGBT populations per many politicians and their constituents;

Because our Pride parades are attended not only by LGBT peoples are their allies, but by “counter protestors” who shout hateful rhetoric through megaphones in the name of religion, as these self-proclaimed Christians have no place better to be on a Sunday morning;

Because LGBT youth represent 7% of the youth population, while LGBT homeless youth make up 40% of the homeless youth population;

Because LGB and questioning youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-LGB youth;

Because queer youth need to see there are many people like them;

Because if we don’t celebrate who we are, then we tacitly say we are not worthy of celebration and things are fine as they are, neither of which is true;

Because there is strength in numbers;

Because in many parts of the world one is killed for the suspicion of being gay or lesbian;

Because in many parts of the world it is illegal and/or dangerous to show your LGBT pride;

Because nobody should live in fear of expressing their authentic self, including the asshats who attempt to intimidate us from doing so;

Because it is empowering to be able to express one’s sexuality or gender identity in a supportive environment;

Because coming together brings about positive change;

Because while marrying someone of the opposite gender has been legal throughout US history, the right to marry someone of the same gender is coming on just one year;

Because we still have a ways to get to before we reach true equality, and we’ve come too far to stop now;

Because it’s fun!;

Because diversity should be celebrated;

Because pride is respect for yourself and you deserve respect;

Because men in Speedos;

Because despite all of the bull feces, we persevere. That is why

We still need LGBT Pride Month celebrations.

Here is your expanded soundtrack:


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It’s Cher’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In the early 1990s a demo of a song written by four men circulated through Warner Bros. Records. Though people at the label appreciated the song’s chorus, nobody wanted to record it.

Thinking that with some work the song may be good for Cher, whose last top ten pop hit was 1989’s “Just Like Jesse James,” Warner sent the demo to London’s Metro Studio, where two additional songwriters took a stab at improving the composition. Producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling created a dance track for the revised song, which they presented to Cher. She liked it.

She recorded the song. She and her producers played with a new technology called Auto-Tune, which added a robotic sound effect to her voice. When Warner heard that, they asked that it be removed, but Cher was adamant it stay.

In October of 1998, more than a half-decade after the composition’s original incarnation, Warner released Cher’s recording of “Believe.” On March 13, 1999, the song, the first pop tune to feature Auto-Tune, became Cher’s fifth #1 single in the United States, making her, then age 52, the oldest woman to top the US charts. It was her first #1 single since “Dark Lady” in 1974, the longest span ever between #1 records. It was the biggest-selling single stateside of 1999.

The record hit #1 in the UK, where it became the best-selling single of all-time by a female artist. It also topped the charts in Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand and Ireland.

Today the woman born Cherilyn Sarkisian turns 70 years old. Our weekly dance party kicks off with “Believe.” Have a superb weekend!


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It’s Samantha Fox’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

In 1982, Carole Ann Wilken of London sent photos she took of her 16-year-old daughter wearing lingerie to the newspaper The Sunday People as part of an amateur modeling contest. The girl, Samantha, placed second. Newspaper The Sun took note of the pics and, with her parents’ permission, soon published topless photos of the teenager on page three of the paper. News. England.

Before long Samantha Fox became a household name in the United Kingdom. In 1986 she released the single “Touch Me (I Want Your Body),” which went to #1 in 17 countries. In the U.S. it peaked at #4.

Her music career graced us with four top 40 hits stateside and nine in her home country. England.

For my money, her best single is easily 1989’s “I Wanna Have Some Fun,” which hit #8 in the U.S., but only reached #63 in the U.K. It was her last solo single to chart there.

In 2009, Fox announced her engagement to her longtime girlfriend/manager, Myra Stratton. Stratton lost her battle with cancer last summer.

Ringo + Sam Fox
Today Tunes du Jour celebrates the 50th birthday of Samantha Fox. Our party playlist should kick off with her best track, “I Wanna Have Some Fun.” However, that track is not on Spotify. Spotify. England. Sheesh.


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It’s Falco’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Actually, I need to rest, as I have a cold. You go on and dance.


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It’s Michael Hutchence’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

There’s a dead bird on my balcony. I don’t know the bird. I don’t know how he or she died. I raised the shades on Tuesday morning and saw the bird underneath one of the two lounge chairs I bought at Ikea ten years ago.

I don’t know what to do with the dead bird. I’d like to alert his or her family, who for all I know are keeping a vigil, hoping to see their loved one come home to roost, or whatever non-chicken birds do when they return home. More so, I’d like the dead bird off my balcony, as it makes me sad to see him or her whenever I have the shades up. Dead bird aside, I like to have the shades up.

It would be great if a huge breeze came along and blew the dead bird off of my balcony and into a neighbor’s backyard, where he or she would no longer be my problem, but that seems unlikely. We were promised that El Niño would hit Los Angeles in mid-January and wreak havoc through mid-May, also bringing about some much-needed rain to our drought-ridden state, but our hopes for miserable weather have been dashed. Yesterday was sunny and in the mid-seventies with nary a breeze in sight (in feel?), and today is a mere five degrees cooler.

If I were still living on the east coast, I’d be preparing for a huge blizzard right now, one in which dead birds are blown far away, or at the very least covered in snow, where they can’t be seen when one raises their shades. Count your blessings, east coasters. Each and every morning I’m forced to face a dead bird, and by extension my own mortality, while you get to lock yourselves up inside your tiny apartments, never to again set foot outdoors. Lucky.

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the late Michael Hutchence, who was born on this date in 1960. I’ll tell you. Michael Hutchence was the original lead singer of INXS, and New York is expecting INXS of ten inches of snow over the next twenty-four or so hours.

If you’re in New York, or elsewhere on the east coast where blizzards are expected, stay inside and dance. If you’re on the west coast, where dead birds mysteriously show up on your balcony beneath one of the two lounge chairs you bought at Ikea ten years ago, stay inside and dance. Everyone else should stay inside and dance. Here is your Michael Hutchence-inspired Friday dance playlist.


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It’s Sting’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

“Turn on my VCR, same one I’ve had for years”

beta
I still have my beta player. It’s not a Betamax, which is a Sony brand, but rather a Sanyo. I haven’t used it since I moved to LA in 2003, because it isn’t working. I don’t want to get rid of it, though, as I have a lot of great stuff on beta tapes. Stuff that is irreplaceable.

beta tapesThere are plenty more where these came from!

Some of the recordings I have on beta tapes can be found on YouTube – The Making of “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” for example. Others, such as Purple Rain and The Flamingo Kid, are available on a host of formats that have hit the market since beta. I’m sure I could find Madonna’s pre-fame feature A Certain Sacrifice on-line if I bothered to look for it.

I used to always keep a recordable beta tape in the machine. You never know if while channel surfing you’ll come across Chaka Khan being interviewed on a Spanish talk show on UHF. (UHF pre-dates cable TV. It pre-dates beta tapes. Look it up.) I have several dozen tapes filled with television performances from artists I was obsessed with during my beta machine’s lifetime. Not that it’s dead. I refuse to believe it is. Perhaps I’m still in the denial stage of Dr. Kübler-Ross seven stages of grieving, but I believe the beta machine can easily be fixed. It probably needs a new band. Getting the machine fixed is on my To Do list. I can’t wait to dig in to those old tapes. I look forward to watching the one I labelled “Highlights from The Late Show With Joan Rivers.” It contains her interview with the late great disco queen Sylvester in which he accidentally outed his boyfriend. It also contains several appearances by The Bangles, as I was obsessed with both the Bangles and Joan Rivers. Sometimes I miss the 80s, but then I remember Duran Duran.

Might any of my LA readers be able to recommend a beta machine repair person?

The lyric that opens this post is from The Police’s song “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.” I have some of the band’s TV appearances on those beta tapes.

Today is the 64th birthday of that band’s usual lead singer, Sting. Our weekly dance party kicks off with the song with the longest title of any in the trio’s recorded repertoire.


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Throwback Thursday – 1987

This week’s Throwback Thursday playlist is comprised of hits from 1987, a pretty nondescript year for pop music. The new wave music that dented the US charts earlier in the decade faded in popularity, while rap and alternative had yet to cross over in a major way. What we had was some good mainstream rock and pop. Here are twenty of that year’s biggest:


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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

While performing stand-up comedy in the late 1990s/early 2000s I appeared in several contests. More often than not I scored very well. In a contest at the club StandUp NY to find New York’s funniest gay man, I came in second. First place went to Seth Rudetsky. Around that same time both of us were entrants in another stand-up contest. Again, I came in second to Seth’s first.

Our acts were similar. Both of us were (are) thin New York gay Jews who mocked silly pop song lyrics in our sets. Seth talked about Sheena Easton’s “Morning Train” while I discussed Air Supply’s “All Out of Love.” I don’t begrudge him his first place winnings – he was great.

Seth went on to write for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which garnered him several Emmy nominations. He has written for the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards. He hosts a radio show on SiriusXM about Broadway musicals.

This past Tuesday my friend Scott and I attended Seth’s one-person show at Largo. His opening act was Judd Apatow. In the audience were Barbra Streisand, Sean Hayes, and the guy who played Valerie Cherish’s PR person on The Comeback. Also in the audience was me, the runner-up. Was I jealous? Was I bitter? You bet I was!

On the positive tip, I was inspired as well. It was a very fun show and gave me some ideas as to how to structure the one-person show I’ve been saying I will write for the past fourteen years. Destiny is calling me – open up my eager eyes, ‘cause I’m Mr. Brightside.

Our weekly dance party kicks off with The Killers.


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