Tag Archives: Grace Jones

It’s Friday And We Need To Dance!

They came to dance. They came to celebrate. They came to enjoy life. They came to love.

They went to a place where they would feel comfortable. They went to a place where they would feel safe and supported. They went to a place where they could be themselves. They went to a place where they could be as gay as they truly are and wanted to be. They went to a place where they could escape the shitty world outside, with shitty jobs and shitty people with shitty views of those who are different than they are.

It was a Saturday night, and they needed to dance.

Children didn’t stop going to school, African Americans didn’t stop going to church, and we won’t stop going to clubs.

We will mourn. We will cry. We will persevere. We will win.

It’s Friday, and we need to dance. Don’t think you can stop us. Our Pulse is strong.


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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 Alison Goldfrapp’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Translated literally, the French expression “ooh la la” means “Oh there there.”

Per About.com, “ooh la la” is an interjection that “can indicate surprise, disappointment, commiseration, distress, annoyance… any moderately strong reaction to something that was just said or done. Note that there is no connotation of sexiness or impropriety in French.”

Per UrbanDictionary.com, “ooh la la” is “a universally understood way of saying ‘check out that hot piece of ass.’” I detect a slight connotation of sexiness and impropriety.

Per OxfordDictionaries.com, “ooh la la” is “used to express surprise or excitement” or “to convey a sexual innuendo.”

The music duo Goldfrapp, made up of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, released a single called “Ooh La La” in 2005. Written by the duo, the song tells of Alison’s lust for someone without a romantic component.

Goldfrapp’s “Ooh La La” became their first top ten pop single in the UK and their third #1 on the US dance chart. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording, and Rolling Stone magazine placed it at #10 on their list of the year’s best singles.

Today, Alison Goldfrapp turns 50 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party is heavy on her group’s music, kicking off with “Ooh La La.”


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It’s Earth Day And I Need To Dance!

“I remember writing ‘Earth Song’ when I was in Austria, in a hotel. And I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, this is Earth’s Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man’s mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the problems in the environment, I think earth feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it’s about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet. And this is ‘Earth Song.’ And that’s what inspired it. And it just suddenly dropped into my lap when I was on tour in Austria.”
– Michael Jackson

Ringo + MJ
Today is Earth Day. Our weekly dance party kicks off with Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song,” which spent six weeks at #1 in the UK beginning in December 1995, but didn’t chart on the US Hot 100.


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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 Friday And I Need To Dance!

I knew I was in trouble when the doctor walked into the examination room, looked at me, and said “Mrs. Garcia?”

Unfortunately, I was forced to change health care plans this year. By doing so, I could not longer see the doctor I’ve been going to for the past eleven years. Of those affiliated with my new insurance provider, I selected the doctor who was closest to my home.

I went to his office today because of my eyes. My eyelids are itchy and flaky, and beneath my eyes is swollen and red. I asked him how I should treat them, and he answered “I don’t know. I’m not a dermatologist.” Per the rules of the plan, I had to see him before I could go to a specialist, which seems to me to be a silly waste of time. He took a photograph of my eyes, instructing me to close my eyes for an effective photo. I didn’t go to medical school, but I could have figured out on my own that the best way to photograph my eyelids is for me to have my eyes shut. He’ll send the photos into headquarters, who will then contact me with the name of a dermatologist I can see. Until then, all I can do is scratch my eyelids until they bleed.

On the plus side, the doctor said I’m not pregnant. That calls for a dance.

Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with Neneh Cherry’s “Kisses on the Wind.”


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

On September 11 I was living in New York City, two miles from where the Twin Towers stood. I remember voting that morning, as it was Primary Election Day. I remember walking to work. I remember my boss coming in to my office to tell me the towers are falling and I should go home. I remember how crowded yet quiet the sidewalks were. I remember spending the rest of the day sitting on my bed crying. I remember thinking about dinner. I don’t know how to cook. I usually ordered in or went out. I regained some composure around 8 PM. I opened my apartment door to find the hallway full of smoke. A neighbor down the hall saw me and yelled “The building’s on fire. The fire department is here.” I went back inside. The only food I kept in my apartment was a can of soup for emergency colds. That night for dinner I had a can of soup.

I remember a lot more details about that day and the days that followed. I still cry when I think about them.

On September 12 I had dinner with my friend Jesse. As the police would not allow anyone below 14th Street who didn’t live in that area, as Jesse did, he came to my place on 16th Street. We figured we’d see if any restaurants in Chelsea were open.

Not only were almost all restaurants along Eighth Avenue open, they were packed. Music was playing. People were laughing. That may sound strange to people not there, but amidst all the horrendousness, amidst the postings of missing people that started to cover all available wall space, amidst the stench that worked its way uptown and permeated our neighborhood, people were celebrating life and friendship.

I’ll never forget what my city was like on September 11. I’ll never forget that night of September 12 either. Life is fleeting. Take advantage of being alive. Celebrate.

Every Friday Tunes du Jour celebrates life with a dance playlist. We kick off this week’s party with Moby, who turns 50 years old today.


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A Hint Of Mint Vol. 10: Disco (1974-1980)

Disco music was born in the early seventies in black, Hispanic and gay clubs. It really permeated the mainstream in 1977 with the release of the film Saturday Night Fever, whose soundtrack album became the biggest-selling album of all time in the United States.

As disco became a major commercial force, rockers, including The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and Kiss, turned to the genre to score some of the biggest hits of their careers.

In 1979, a Chicago rock radio station hosted an anti-disco demonstration at Comiskey Park. Tens of thousands of people brought disco records that were set ablaze while the crowd chanted “disco sucks.” I’d posit that anti-gay and anti-black sentiments played a part in the anti-disco movement.

After the Comiskey Park demonstration, disco retreated from the mainstream in the U.S. but remained popular in the U.K., Europe, and elsewhere in the world as well as in gay clubs stateside, evolving into house music and hi-nrg.

Despite the efforts of some folks, disco, while suffering some setbacks, didn’t die. Its influence can be heard on the pop charts today.

Similarly, despite the efforts of some folks, the LGB and T populations, while suffering some setbacks, continue to make great strides toward equality.


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It’s Barbra Streisand’s Birthday And I Need To Dance!

Around ten years ago I took up boxing. Not as a career, but as a form of exercise. I’d never watched a match on TV – too violent for my tastes. The idea to give it a try came from my trainer at Crunch Gym. Not my first trainer – he seldom showed up for our appointments. Not my second trainer, an asshole who ignored Crunch’s slogan “No judgments” and mocked my appearance throughout our sessions, while bragging about how he once made a female client of his cry. It was the idea of my third trainer at Crunch, the actor who often called me as I was five minutes from the gym to tell me he won’t make our session as he was still at an audition. Yes, that trainer. He showed up for our appointments around 60% of the time, which was better than my first Crunch trainer. He introduced me to boxing. I learned the upper cut, the cross, the jab, the duck, some other thing that involved me not getting punched in the face, and kicks. It was great exercise, especially on those days when I came to Crunch after a frustrating day at work. I’d punch that bag like I was seeing the face of one of the assholes with whom I worked. It got out the tension and got me into great physical shape.

I dumped that trainer once I decided a 60% show-up-for-your-job rate was inadequate for my aggression-releasing needs. I continued sparring with the fourth trainer Crunch assigned me, that is when he wasn’t flirting with the female clientele or taking weights from the floor and stuffing them in his duffle bag so as to build up his home gym.

When it came renewal time I left Crunch and their lot of unprofessional trainers and signed up at 24-Hour Fitness. Though it is literally a few steps from my home, I didn’t go to the location in West Hollywood, whose equipment, like its clientele, was old and decrepit. I went to the Hollywood location, where I was assigned a trainer who was so good, we worked out together for a few years. He introduced me to that hot actor who I later saw as a defendant on Judge Judy. He won his case. A few years later the West Hollywood location of 24-Hour Fitness closed for three and a half months. It reopened with fresh new equipment and fresh new customers, though oddly, it still was not open 24 hours, at least not in a single day.

Unfortunately, there was no boxing at 24-Hour Fitness. While at a local smoothie ship I saw a business card for a boxing coach who did private training at his home. He converted his unattached garage (is that the right word – unattached? I mean detached, right? Either way, you get my drift – his garage was not attached to his house.) into a boxing ring. He used to be a professional boxer and was a model as well. Our sessions were great, and not just because he’d say goodbye to me each week with a kiss on the lips, his heterosexuality be damned. Once he kissed me on the neck. Why did I stop seeing him? No recuerdo. Maybe it had something to do with a mental ward.

I’ve had one or two trainers and taken some boxing classes since then, but they weren’t as much fun. Something was missing, besides the kisses. Still, if one were to put me in a boxing ring today with Barbra Streisand, I think I could take her down. It’s not that I have a desire to punch Barbra Streisand, nor do we have a bout on the books. I’m saying this as a poor segue into mentioning her 1979 film The Main Event, in which she portrayed a boxer manager/perfume magnate.

The film re-teamed Barbra Streisand with Ryan O’Neal, seven years after their film What’s Up, Doc? What’s Up, Doc? is a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly suggest you do, even if you’re not a fan of Barbra Streisand. Especially if you’re not a fan of Barbra Streisand. You’ll see a whole other side of her in this movie. Ryan O’Neal is great. Madeline Kahn made her feature film debut in this movie. How can you go wrong with Madeline Kahn? Austin Pendleton is in it. Kenneth Mars is in it. A lot of people are in it. I think I’ll host a viewing of it at my condo. Let me know if you’re around and interested. You should be interested.

I never saw The Main Event. Critics panned it, but the public enjoyed it. I have the soundtrack album, which includes the hit single “The Main Event/Fight.” Three times – the 45 mix, the 12-inch mix, and as a ballad. The latter is solely the song “The Main Event.” “The Main Event/Fight” is a medley. “The Main Event” was written by Paul Jabara, whose writing credits also include Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” and The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men” (on a side note, does anybody know if Chaka Khan is okay?) and Bruce Roberts, whose writing credits also include Laura Branigan’s “The Lucky One” and that Jeffrey Osborne song that goes “Can you woo woo woo?”. “Fight” was written by Jabara and Bob Esty. Esty’s writing credits also include Cher’s “Take Me Home.”

Babs + Winston

“The Main Event/Fight” is, with the Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough),” my favorite Barbra Streisand single. I like my boxing coaches kissy and my Barbra Streisand songs peppy.

Today Barbra Streisand turns 73 years old. “The Main Event/Fight” kicks off Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party.

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It’s Friday And I Need To Dance!

Billboard magazine’s first disco chart was published in October of 1974. Its #1 song was “Never Can Say Goodbye” performed by Gloria Gaynor. That record stayed on top for four weeks, soon crossing over to the pop chart, where it peaked at #9.

An eighteen-plus minute medley of “Honey Bee,” “Never Can Say Goodbye” and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” reached #2 on the Disco chart in early 1975, leading to Gaynor being named “Queen of the Discos” by the National Association of Discotheque Disc Jockeys in March of that year.

Six more top ten disco hits followed in 1975 and 1976, but then her fortunes dried up. Her sole entry on the Disco chart in 1977 reached only #38. Her next charted disco single was over a year later, and peaked at #24. By this point, Donna Summer was the new Queen of Disco. Summer was also crossing over onto the pop chart, while Gaynor’s sole top 40 pop single was “Never Can Say Goodbye.” She failed to crack the Hot 100 in 1976 and 1977.

Her record company, Polydor, reached out to producer Dino Fekaris and asked him to produce for Gaynor a cover of the Righteous Brothers track “Substitute,” then a recent hit overseas for a group called Clout.

Fekaris was a staff songwriter at Motown Record for almost seven years before the company let him go. Determined not to let that career setback derail him, Fekaris got together with his songwriter and production partner Freddie Perren, who also had a stint at Motown, and wrote a song about getting over the fear of the unknown and surviving what life throws at you. They wanted a woman to record the track, but didn’t have anybody in mind. They decided to give the song to the next diva they work with. That’s when Polydor called with the Gaynor gig.

As requested by her label boss, Gaynor recorded “Substitute” to be the A-side of her next single, but the song about survival, which she recorded to be the record’s B-side, really resonated with her. Besides her career troubles, she recently lost her mother and fell on stage while performing, which required her to undergo spinal surgery and spend six months in the hospital. She recorded the tracks wearing a back brace.

“Substitute” was released in the fall of 1978. It failed to make the Hot 100.

One night around that time, Studio 54 DJ Ritchie Kaczor flipped over “Substitute” and played its B-side. The patrons ignored it that first time, but Kaczor kept playing it. Eventually, it became the club’s most popular cut. Soon, all New York City clubs were playing the track.

In November 1978 Vince Aletti wrote in Record World magazine that this song “is Gaynor’s very best work in years…delivered with such relish that one can’t help but get caught up in the emotion.”

In Boston, disco radio DJ Jack King played the single’s B-side and reported that “my listeners went nuts!” Seeing the response this song was getting, Polydor reissued the single with “Substitute” as the B-side. The A-side was now the anthem “I Will Survive.”

Winston + Gaynor
In January 1979, “I Will Survive” returned Gloria Gaynor to #1 on the Disco chart, where she remained for three weeks. In March of that year the record hit #1 on the Hot 100, where it also stayed for three weeks. It went on to become a smash around the world.

At the 22nd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony on February 27, 1980, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” won for Best Disco Recording, the only time that award has ever been given, over Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?,” Earth Wind & Fire with The Emotions’ “Boogie Wonderland,” and then Queen of Disco Donna Summer’s Bad Girls.

“I Will Survive” kicks off Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party.

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