Archive for the ‘music’ Category

I had a great time visiting family in Wisconsin this weekend. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip but managed to get some ice fishing in with my brother out on the lake between Minnesota and Wisconsin. My brother set up a few tip-ups, which you can leave by the hole in the ice and the flag goes up when you get a bite:
tip-up
I also had my own hole and pole but we didn’t catch anything. But it was sunny out and I got some sunlight anyway. It’s been a warm winter there as well as in DC, and some parts of the river were free of ice.

On the drive to Wisconsin from the Minneapolis airport I spotted dozens of bald eagles, and many of their large nests. They’ve really made a comeback in the area.

There’s still stuff left over from our childhoods up in the closets of mom’s house. I found my brother’s old baseball card collection, and picked out my favorites:
baseball cards
Notice a trend? Most of my favorites were from 1978 or so. That was a good year for the ’stache, and clearly it made an impression. Jim Palmer was always a favorite of mine, especially his furry-chested Jockey ads.

I met up with a few high school classmates, my lovely host Woolgatherer, and some fellow Peace Corps volunteers before heading out to see The Revolution reunion at First Avenue in Minneapolis. It was good to catch up and a few of them had made the trek up to the Twin Cities with me way back in 1988 for the Lovesexy concert and joined us for the show.

While Prince didn’t show up, The Revolution played a very practiced performance and were a bunch of pros. They played a great set, with many songs from the “Parade” and “Around the World in a Day” albums, and some old skool numbers* as well. And Wendy was bandleader! They even did my favorite Prince song “Mountains” which was awesome.
Revolution reunion at First Avenue, 2/19/2012
Photo by Woolgatherer.

I was also impressed with the service at First Avenue. They had drink service for those on the floor, and also glass and bottle collectors so nobody would drop their glasses on the floor. Quite classy for Minneapolis. Here’s a review from the show, more news, photos, and yet more photos, and a video of the performance.
Ruckus
*Set List: Controversy/ Do It All Night/ Party Up/ Let’s Work/ Pop Life/ America/ two heart-health videos were shown and Bobby Z and his wife, Vicki Rivkin, gave brief speeches (“I want to thank Prince from the bottom of my repaired heart”); he presented the members of the Revolution with certificates for “Purple Rain” being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame/ “Revolution Theater,” with each member reciting a line or two from “Purple Rain”/ 1999/ Life Can Be So Nice/ Mountains/ anotherloverholenyohead/ Baby, I’m a Star/ Let’s Go Crazy ENCORE Purple Rain/ Uptown (G Sharp on lead vocals)

What a sad weekend. We knew Whitney was spiraling but it’s still sad that she passed on so young. It left me thinking, while Madonna may have Gollum arms and frog legs and tries way too hard to stay relevant, at least she seems to be sober and has some amount of her shit together. And at least we still have Prince (Mountains / Shake Your Body mashup) even though he’s lost the edge he once had. The fate of George Michael is still in question, despite his recent health scare.

By the way Robyn was ROBBED by some creature called Skrillex in the Best Dance Recording & Best Dance/Electronica Album Grammy categories. She was beat by some kind of alien from Deep Space Nine for chrissakes.

World's Largest Six-PackSpeaking of Prince, I’m going on a crazy Prince-related trip back home to the Wisconsin/Minneapolis region this weekend. Sean alerted me to the reunion of Prince’s former band – The Revolution – that he played with for the 1999, Purple Rain and Parade albums. It’s apparently a fundraiser to be held at First Avenue, where much of Purple Rain was filmed. Prince is unlikely to show up, but I have never seen The Revolution perform live, and have wanted to see Wendy & Lisa perform for a long time. They will be doing solo sets and then a set together. The last time I was at First Avenue was for a Living Color concert.

FYI Wendy & Lisa have been very busy lately, winning a Grammy last year for the Nurse Jackie score, and it looks like they’re working on the score for a new show on Fox.

Oh and of course I’ll be visiting the family back in my hometown too. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there in the winter. BECAUSE WISCONSIN IN THE WINTER SHOULD BE FUN, RIGHT!? I decided a while back to not go home in the winter on a regular basis, since the summers are much nicer there and there’s so much more to do. I’ll be packing my warm clothes for sure and will see the Mighty Mississippy fully frozen over. Don’t have much planned other than hanging out with the family and seeing the concert. Oh and I will eat some cheese curds too and search longingly for Aaron Rodgers.

Apparently Madonna cast a spell on all of us, bringing about an Age of Chaos.

Her track “Like a Prayer” has lyrics saying “I close my eyes and I think I’m falling out of the sky.” This track tells the story of Lucifer, the Fallen Angel.

The question is: would Stevie Nicks have been a better choice as a primary spellcaster? I’ll bet Stevie could have done it on her own without the help of Cee Lo, Minaj and MIA.

Speaking of twirling divas, here’s a compilation of all the twirling costume changes from season 3 of Wonder Woman:

Check out her deluxe motocross outfit!

The ski trip was fun and I believe I only heard “We Found Love” only about 6 times which was tolerable, but they did play that LMFAO song more than I wanted to hear. It’s still stuck in my brain like a malignant brain tumor. I missed the Madonna halftime live but did catch her later on the YouTubes. She was fun and I liked the guests except for that weird ginger afro dude tightrope walking. That was out of place. And Kylie would like her 2011 Aphrodite tour dancers and props back please, thanks. Here’s a review of the show from NPR.

The snow conditions on the slopes were to be expected for the warm winter we’ve had in the region, and there was only snow on the runs but nowhere else on the mountain. Knowing snowboarding would probably suck on icy manufactured snow, I checked out those newfangled parabolic skis which did make skiing a little easer. I think it’s been like 10 years since I skiied (rather than snowboard) but I didn’t forget a thing. But I was reminded of how much I still have to learn on the ‘board so I won’t be buying a pair of skis anytime soon. I still like the snowboarding.

Later that evening at the local gay bar (12 Penny Saloon in Moosic) I tried my smooth moves on two locals from the Wilkes-Barre area but didn’t get anywhere. I apparently no longer have game and don’t know how to successfully trick anymore. Perhaps it is because I am dead inside.

That reminds me about something I’ve wanted to discuss here. I see on a lot of the youngster profiles here and there on apps and sites where they state that they are strictly on a “NO HOOKUPS” policy which I find hard to believe. Now I’m old fashioned on a lot of gay things but I don’t believe in absinence, and I have a hard time believing these 20somethings aren’t having sex. I worry that their policies will blow up in their faces and they’ll suddenly binge on sex all at once, unsafely.

I remember back in the 90s there was this sex positive movement in response to the fear of sex during the AIDS crisis. Anyone remember that? It was about teaching and doing safe sex while still having a healthy, realistic attitude about having sex. I thought it was a good idea and wonder if the kids these days have a bad attitude about sex out of ignorance. But then again I also see HIV rates increasing in that demographic and wonder if maybe they just don’t care, or possibly don’t know enough about safe sex? The safer sex education and outreach isn’t as prevalent as it was when I came out. Anyway I worry that the kids don’t like the sex, which isn’t healthy either.

Or they’re growing up fucked up if they live in Michelle Bachmann’s congressional district where 9 kids committed suicide in 2 years. Read this Rolling Stone article for more details. It’s horrifying how the school board and citizen leaders deliberately chose to dampen any discussion on orientation. Kids are coming out far earlier than they used to, and they need affirmation and support, not gag orders and ignorance. It sounds like the leaders in the Anoka region are both soulless and spineless, and it’s the kids who are paying the price.

Then I watch this documentary “Kidnapped for Christ” on Joe.My.God, where a gay kid has been sent to what amounts to a concentration camp in the Dominican Republic for “reform.” This stuff is still happening!

Reading and watching stuff like this makes me think that despite all the openness, affirmation and exposure the gays have experienced recently, that it’s almost worse for young gays these days because our opposition has also become more organized and focused as well. Even though we can (sort of) serve openly in the military and get married in some states, it’s still shitty out there for gay youth.

I’m going to SNÖ Mountain again this weekend for some snowboarding up in Pennsylvania with the same group that really, really likes Rihanna. Last year they played Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In The World)” about 2,900 times on the trip. This year I expect they’ll play “We Found Love” ft. Calvin Harris about as much but this year I’ll try to keep count to be more exacting. It’s a fun tune but leave it to the gays to overkill a song. Perhaps keeping count will help keep me sane. I’m bringing earplugs too.

Sadly I’ll be on the bus ride back when Madonna plays the Superbowl on Sunday. A Facebook acquaintance said, “Why are they surrounding the Madonna concert on Sunday with three hours of baseball?” That made me chuckle.

But if you’re on Twitter or Facebook on Sunday be warned because it’s going to be all about [deep breath]:

“MUH-donna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna Madonna!”


Speaking of purple crayons, our favorite Sybil BrettCajun has decided to co-opt my use of the term autistic when describing inexplicable behavior by gay men. I decided to start abusing the term lately too, just as the media has the last couple of years to terrify expecting mothers. It’s become the morning show buzzword to boost parental viewership, but it’s such a convenient term I decided to start using it myself. Anyway, if anyone is autistic it’s certainly BrettCajun and her 13 different personalities (including Suzanne Sugarbakker and Darth Nutria).

This rat picture has nothing to do with the post but I think it's cuteI have noticed the gays don’t have their iPhones out obsessively checking Grindr all the time anymore. I’m guessing the craze is over and also people may have realized how rude and/or douchey they were looking checking their Grindr while in a gay bar. Or maybe they’re scared their dick pictures will get hacked. Oopsie!

Anyway, I’m happy to see people are experiencing others in a live setting without the use of a device. It was getting unsettling there for a while and I was starting to think SkyNet had taken over the gays.

A few people have sent me this link about a new phenomenon called “Phone Stacking.” Basically when a group of people are out at a restaurant or bar they all put their phones in a stack. The first person who compulsively grabs their phone to check a text or Grindr foots the bill. I like that since very few texts are really that important that you have to check it during a meal. You’re not a EMT or a CDC fatal disease outbreak epidemiologist, are you? No you’re not. But there are still plenty of self-important people in DC who will continue to do that. But for the most part I believe people are getting better with behavior and devices. Every new invention brings with it some social situation that could be negatively affected. At the advent of the toilet seat, we had to learn when to put it up or down when we were done, depending on the household. Similarly when we all got email for the first time, many learned not to forward every. single. joke. they received in their inbox. There are a few people who forward everything they receive to a mass e-mail list but they are so few they’re endearing at this point and I just hit ‘delete’.

Anyway, where’s some fun stuff for the weekend. First a fun not-electronica Robyn mashup:

And a flying dildo invades a Russian press conference!

This is kind of amazing because dildos are fairly heavy, so it takes a lot of lift to get that thing aloft and stay horizontal like that. I’m guessing they hollowed one out or used a lighter foam cast.

Adorkable beardy guy with a great voice sings a moving arrangement of “Gabriel’s Message”

You may recall Sting’s version featured on the first “A Very Special Christmas” album released in 1987 as a benefit for the Special Olympics.

Of course I must repost my favorite holiday song “The Closing of the Year” from the “Toys” motion picture soundtrack by Wendy and Lisa featuring Seal:

36 years ago the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. It was a real ship, not just a legendary song and is the largest shipwreck to occur in the Great Lakes.

The song has many references to geography I’m familiar with, and the artist Gordon Lightfoot has a history of being a bit of a broody fellow. But for a time he was quite the woofy ginger.

So earlier this week I had joined in on a Facebook discussion about the new Sound of Arrows album that’s out (it’s pretty good). And from the discussion I was accused of having a continued interest in “indie” music. I cringed at the tought, because whenever I hear someone espousing their love for “indie” music they usually smell bad and have a severe case of Smarty Pants. As in they’re usually irritating and insufferable music snobs. And I don’t want that label (because I’m so “indie” and we eschew labels).

That said, I do like a lot of acts on independent record labels, and like Sound of Arrows it just so happens that many of them are from Sweden. Not that I’m racist or anything. It should also be noted that “music” has been an archived category on this blog for almost a decade, and I did just fly to L.A. to see Robyn (well, and Dingo too). So maybe I am enthusiastic about music. But I vow to never don a pair of thick-rimmed hipster glasses no matter who I listen to.

That said my music has still got to have vocals, and it tends toward the pop-vibe in the Major chord. I still loves me some Janet, Sting and Madonna even though they’re all slowly transforming into Gollum independently of each other.

Anyway, I’m currently gushing over these two tracks which are on heavy rotation on my iPod:

Sound of Arrows – Wonder

M83 – Midnight City

I think the videos for both songs are very well done, even though telekinetic mutant kids don’t really have much to do with driving in the city.

La Brea Tar PitsMy first trip to Los Angeles, California was a blast due in great part to the lovely hosting of Dingo. He took me everywhere and then some. I had totally forgotten about the La Brea Tar Pits and I liked that the most – I’m totally into giant mammals and the Pleistocene era.

Dingo took me on a surprise visit to an estate sale of a falling star who was somehow related to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Let’s just say it was an eye-opener and a life lesson. I would take from that experience that most of us get a single golden moment in our lives, and it’s what you do with the rest of your life that eventually matters more.

I also enjoyed sipping fruity drinks at The Tonga Hut, L.A.’s Original Tiki Bar, established in 1958. I had to resist the urge to start doing the Haka after a few drinks, but that might have frightened Dingo and the other bar patrons. Congrats to the All-Blacks on their World Cup win by the way.

Another treat was dining from The Nom Nom Truck, a specialty food truck:
The Nom Nom Truck
We need more food trucks like this in DC.

I got my wish and we went to The Pan-Pacific Recreation Center, with a replica architectural feature from the Pan-Pacific Auditorium, where the epic motion picture Xanadu was filmed:
Pan-Pacific Recreation Center
I could feel the streamers of ambient radiance streaming from my behind as we left.

Later on we went to the Griffith Observatory which was recently remodeled for additional space. The guy giving our planetarium presentation was certainly well versed in orating with flair and drama. His delivery wasn’t dry like the usual museum presentation and kept us awake. I wonder if he wasn’t a former actor or maybe the planetarium interpretive staff gets drama training once in a while since it is L.A. after all. One of the exhibits showed you how gay you were on a rainbow scale:
You Are This Gay
The view from the observatory showed how bad the smog was that weekend:
Smog
I had to freebase decongestants the whole time I was there as I turned into a snot factory. Apparently I’m OK with the extreme pollen and mold here in the Mid-Atlantic, but not so good with smog.

The main reason for my trip was to go to the Robyn concert at the Hollywood Bowl, featuring Royskopp as the opening act. I wasn’t so keen on Royskopp, but Robyn didn’t disappoint, and the light show was pretty impressive too:
Hollywood Bowl
Does anyone remember Waremouse, a former DC blogger? He lives in the L.A. area now, and got the tickets and it was good to hang out with him too. He says hi. I met Waremouse and Dingo through this blog, and it was a reminder that while blogging may be going by the wayside, I’ve met a lot of cool people because of it.

On the way to a fine whiskey bar called Seven Grand we stopped at the Bradbury Building where the 1982 sci-fi film Blade Runner was filmed. Here I am pretending to be Harrison Ford hunting down replicants:
Rick Deckard
I must mention the flight to L.A. was pretty cool too, with stunning views of desert landforms in Colorado and Utah, and I think this was the Grand Canyon:
Grand Canyon
I also flew over Death Valley, and there was a whole lot of nothing out there, but still pretty spectacular in a barren way.

Next trip: Dallas, Texas for the Hellfest rugby tournament!

OMGOMGOMG ! ! ! SKWEEEEEE ! ! !

I’m flying out to Los Angeles this coming weekend to see Robyn and Röyksopp perform at the Hollywood Bowl. I’m expecting the venue to be like Wolf Trap but without the Virginia humidity. It should be fun and I’ve never been to L.A. before. I heard tha bitchazz out there don’t eat so I stopped eating a few weeks ago and now I can almost see my iliac furrow. Although all those dark chocolate M&Ms consumed at last night’s Dark Sun Dungeons and Dragons game may have hidden my belt again.

I’m also going to hang out with my lovely host Dingo the Aqua Pup and possibly go to a venue called Skakbar the night before the concert. Other bucket list items include visiting the Pan-Pacific Park where there is a replica of the legendary Pan-Pacific Auditorium where some parts of the epic motion picture Xanadu were filmed. Sadly, the original auditorium fell into decay and eventually burned down.

Dingo and I will also go shopping for men’s speciality underwear, and may also compete in a wicked voguing contest. But they just don’t do it out there on the West coast like we do over here in the east: