Inspired by the January 24 birthdays of Neil Diamond, Warren Zevon, Aaron Neville, Ray Stevens, John Belushi, clipping.’s Daveed Diggs, Matthew Wilder and Jools Holland.
Tag Archives: Deee-Lite
Take a DJ from the Ukraine, a style icon from Ohio, a graphic arts student from Tokyo, three legendary funk musicians from James Brown’s band, a homophobic rapper named after a personal hygiene implement, and a reference to a Dr. Seuss book, and you have the single that was named the best of 1990 by the Village Voice and New Music Express and the second best dance record of all-time (after Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”) by Slant magazine.
The song is “Groove is in the Heart,” and it kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, in which we’ll hear twenty of the best hits of 1990.
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Here’s the thing…I started writing today’s blog entry about mishaps I’ve recently encountered in on-line dating, specifically with an app I downloaded last week that despite my creating a profile that says I’m a man looking for a man, keeps trying to set me up with straight guys. I tied that into today’s birthday, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, by saying he’s one straight guy who wouldn’t date me. I quoted lyrics from Tribe’s song “Georgy Porgy.” While I was typing those lyrics, my stomach turned. I had trouble finding the humor in a song that refers to a gay guy as gross, ill, a fag, wounded, weak, a fucking faggot, and then some. The post started out funny but when I got to Q-Tip’s lyric “You can call me homophobic but I know it and you know it/ you’re filthy and funny to the utmost,” I decided I may be funny, but he isn’t, nor is he worth celebrating.
Odd that such a hateful bigot should appear on a record by Deee-Lite, a trio of gay and gay-friendly performers. Q-Tip appears on a lot of good records.
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. Today’s playlist doesn’t celebrate the loathsome Q-Tip, but rather twenty great club tracks, a few of which feature Q-Tip. I’ll fill you in on my dating app experiences later.
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There was an article on the site Gawker yesterday about a woman named Zoe Fennessy who, when she hears the music of Ne-Yo, “freezes up and begins vomiting uncontrollably.” You may say the same thing happens to you when you listen to Nickelback, but Ms. Fennessy’s reaction to Ne-Yo’s music is due to a rare medical condition called musicogenic epilepsy.
Some of you may be saying “Who’s Ne-Yo? Is he/she/they someone whose music gets played a lot?” The answer is, apparently. Since his first hit in 2006 (“So Sick,” which went to #1 on the US and UK pop charts), Ne-Yo has had 17 top forty hits on the US pop chart and a half-dozen more on the r&b chart. He has had just as many hits in the UK, where Fennessy lives.
Ne-Yo isn’t the only artist to cause seizures in people with this condition. Around ten years ago there was a report of a six-month-old who had seizures when she heard The Beatles. The Beatles! That shit ain’t right, yo. One may get a reaction from all classical music, another from the lower notes played on a brass instrument.
The reactions people with the condition have vary as well. Some have convulsions, others become incontinent, and others become incredibly sleepy.
Ms. Fennessy had part of her brain removed to try and cure the problem, but the operation was not a success. She still needs to steer clear of Ne-Yo’s music.
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, and if Ms. Fennessy is reading, she’ll be happy to know there is no Ne-Yo on today’s playlist, which kicks off with the Jason Nevins remix of “It’s Like That” by Run-D.M.C., whose Joseph “Run” Simmons turns 50 today.
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The new season of American Horror Story features a character named Twisty the Clown. Twisty the Clown is a psychopath who murders people with scissors and imprisons children in a school bus. The character is getting professional clowns’ knickers in a twisty.
Glenn Kohlberger, president of Clowns of America International, is quoted in The Hollywood Reporter as saying “Hollywood makes money sensationalizing the norm. They can take any situation no matter how good or pure and turn it into a nightmare.”
His sentiments are echoed by the United States’ second largest clown trade group, the Society of Clowns for the Advancement of Realistic Expression (SCARE). “Business was going great for me until the autumn of 2001,” said that organization’s president, Slappy bin Laden. “You have to ask yourself ‘Why would business suddenly drop off?’ The answer must be the media’s portrayal of clowns.” Bin Laden points to The Simpsons’ Krusty the Clown as an example. “[Krusty the Clown] is a buffoon masquerading as a clown. He’s not a real clown.”
“Things have not improved since then,” bin Laden continues. “We got a Batman movie in which a clown called The Joker is a sociopath. We got a sitcom called Modern Family in which a clown is actually a homosexual. These portrayals give clowns a bad name.”
“Hollywood is not going to change unless it is pressured to do so.” That is why bin Laden pitched a new sitcom that portrays clowns in a positive, and per bin Laden, more truthful light. Everybody Loves Slappy will premiere on the FX network in January 2015. In the show, bin Laden plays Slappy Hussein, a sportswriter living with his family in Lynbrook, NY. “The show is good clean entertainment. It’s about a clown who works hard and loves his family, though he’s an alcoholic who beats his wife, because all clowns do that.”
Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour. You can vogue, hustle or do the twisty. Put on your dancing shoes (or big clown shoes) and hit the floor!
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I’m at a place in my life where I very much wish to try new things. To enter into places not completely familiar. I’ve accomplished a lot utilizing my knowledge of popular music and negotiation skills. From college graduation until last September I’ve always worked at record companies. Is there somewhere else where I can use these attributes?
Figuring out the next step on one’s own can be challenging. Having a career coach is helpful. Better yet would be meeting someone who sees what you (or, in this case, I) have to offer and gives you (me) a job, or, optimally, collaborates with you (me) on a new venture.
I think about this fairly often. This morning it occurred to me that it came to be for me a couple of weeks ago, though not directly related to my record company jobs.
When I lived I New York I performed and-up comedy at night. I did well with it. I won contests, had an agent, and played to sold-out theaters. I understand comedy structure, know how to formulate a joke, and have good timing.
Two weeks ago a friend and I started working together on a TV sitcom pilot. I can write relatable characters and punchlines. My friend, who has a terrific sense of humor as well, can take what I do and add in his knowledge of script formatting and sitcom structure. I’m enthusiastic about our new venture.
In 1987, singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega scored a huge hit with “Luka,” from her album Solitude Standing. Her biggest hit to date, the song went to #3 on the United States pop charts, and also hit the Top 40 in countries such as The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Austria, and Ireland.
Vega can write great lyrics and catchy hooks. ”Luka” also performed well on the Rock chart. Vega is like me in this story, and the British production duo who called themselves D.N.A. are my friend with whom I am writing the television script.
D.N.A. took Suzanne’s skills, in particular the a capella track that opens the Solitude Standing album, and added a dance beat to it. The result was another top ten pop hit, this one credited to D.N.A. featuring Suzanne Vega. The song, “Tom’s Diner,” also brought Vega to the top 15 of the Dance Club chart, the Modern Rock chart, and the R&B chart.
Vega didn’t plan this success. By chance D.N.A. entered her life and together each reached new heights. Hopefully our sitcom pilot will have the same success.
Today Suzanne Vega turns 55. We’ll kick off our Friday dance party with the DNA mix of “Tom’s Diner.”
Today is the 27th of June. Only three more days of Gay Pride month and then I can go back to my self-loathing. Phew!
New York has their big Pride celebration this weekend. While I enjoy Pride here in West Hollywood, it’s nothing compared to the revelry in my former home of Manhattan.
The Los Angeles Pride parade here in WeHo goes for around two miles and lasts a couple of hours. If memory serves, New York’s parade is five or so miles long and lasts for around 168 hours. WeHo’s parade consists of a handful of politicians, floats for clubs I never heard of, some folks who are legends in their own minds, and a lot of lesbians on motorcycles. NYC’s parade consists of many political groups, many religious organizations, important social clubs such as Lesbians for Patsy Cline and Queens Against Brunch, and a hell of a lot of lesbians on motorcycles.
The list of Grand Marshals of NYC’s parade over the past ten years includes Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of the Academy Award-wining film Milk; Lt. Dan Choi, a member of the US Army who served in Iraq, came out a gay, and challenged the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy; Dan Savage, creator of the It Gets Better Project, designed to dissuade LGBT youth from suicide as the answer to school bullying; Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the United States v Windsor Supreme Court case which led to part of the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act being struck down as unconstitutional, paving the way for the legalization of same-sex nuptials; Cleve Jones, the LGBT and AIDS activist who, among other things, conceived of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983; Constance McMillen, the high school student who sued her school in Mississippi when they refused to allow her to bring her girlfriend to the school prom; and Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, whose murder for being gay led to expanded hate crimes legislation to cover sexual orientation.
The list of LA’s Grand Marshals over the past ten years includes Paris Hilton, who is very wealthy and said “Gay guys are the horniest people in the world. Most of them probably have AIDS … I would be so scared if I was a gay guy … you’ll like die of AIDS;” Sharon Osbourne, who is very wealthy; Chelsea Handler, the television personality who dated 50 Cent, the grammatically-challenged former superstar who tweeted “If you a man and your over 25 and you don’t eat pussy just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol;” and Demi Lovato, who had a gay grandfather. In 2007 we found an actual gay to be our Grand Marshall – John Amaechi, the first openly-gay former professional basketball player. In 2011 we found another one – Johnny Weir, the celebrated figure skater who smashed all the macho stereotypes of that profession. To be fair, I know how difficult it is to select the appropriate person to be our Grand Marshal. It’s not easy to find an openly gay person in Los Angeles; that’s why I’m still single.
As the organizers of LA’s Pride Parade begin their search for next year’s Grand Marshal (may I suggest Vladimir Putin?), lock the doors, lower the blinds, fire up the smoke machine and put on your heels, because we’re gonna have a kiki. Dive, turn, werk.
In 2003, Rhino Entertainment moved me from New York City to Los Angeles to head up their Licensing department. I miss Manhattan’s energy and fashion sense and anything-at-any-hour way of life, but most of all, I miss my friends. And I miss our Bad Movie Days.
Not only do I love a good bad song; I also enjoy a good bad movie, as do a core group of my friends. We would meet at either my place or Kathy’s place every few Sundays and stay in, even if it was beautiful outside, and enjoy Glitter or Staying Alive or Body of Evidence, followed by a second feature, usually Showgirls.
Unlike a bad song, which I can enjoy in my solitude, a bad movie usually is more enjoyable with company. I’m not sure I would be able to sit through Skyscaper, in which Anna Nicole Smith starred as a hostage negotiator, if I didn’t have my friends with me to razz the screen, particularly during the scenes where Anna Nicole walked past an office and the film would dissolve to a flashback sequence of the time she had sex on that office’s desk.
I can enjoy a bad musical on my own. While my friends enjoyed Grease 2, with its extended production number about bowling, they were not as enamored as I am of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Still, when I watched Mamma Mia on HBO alone in my Los Angeles condo, I knew my friends would share my joy at this amazing cinematic feat, particularly when Pierce Brosnan sang “S.O.S.”
One of my favorite bad movies is Can’t Stop the Music. It stars the Village People. I’ll let that sink in before I go on. Ready? It also stars Bruce Jenner, in a cropped t-shirt and Daisy Dukes. And Steve Guttenberg and Valerie Perrine, with “special guests” (as they are billed in the credits) The Ritchie Family. The Ritchie Family, whose hits were “Best Disco in Town” and “Brazil,” get “special guest” billing. That’s how amazing this movie is. But wait, there’s more! The film was directed by Nancy Walker. Ida Morgenstern. Rosie, the Bounty Paper Towel shill. That Nancy Walker. Now you know you’re in for a treat.
Before I get into the movie, let me make clear that I LOVE The Village People, and not in a I love bad music way. I unabashedly enjoy their music. Not just the hits singles; there are Village People album cuts that have five stars in my iTunes library. I love this movie’s theme song.
As for the rest of the movie, well…. It’s sort of about the formation of the Village People, though 90 minutes into it you may ask “Will there be a plot anytime soon?” Then you’ll ask “Why is a Village People movie more than 90 minutes long?” We see the group’s auditions. I would have hired the guy in the blue jumpsuit who sang “Macho Man.” That said, I can’t deny the leatherman, whose profession we learn is toll collector at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (talk about a macho man!), sings a mean “Danny Boy.” We see the guys shoot a commercial for milk. We see..I’m going to lift a line from this movie’s Wikipedia entry – “Initially reluctant, Helen seduces Steve with her kreplach and before long they’re negotiating the T-shirt merchandising for the Japanese market.” We see them perform for an ecstatic crowd in San Francisco (oh, um, spoiler alert. That’s how it ends.) Best of all, we see a “Y.M.C.A.” production number as envisioned by Busby Berkeley and Esther Williams while vacationing on Fire Island.
Every Friday is dance music day on Tunes du Jour. Today we kick off the playlist with the timeless “Y.M.C.A.” Because it is still LGBT Pride Month, I made our dance party extra gay. Twirl!