Music, Television, Film, Food, and Life Served Up Daily, Pits & All!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fav 5 Celebrity Relatives!

Maybe I was inspired by Memorial Day weekend as families gather together for barbeque's, maybe I was just thinking about my brother because today's his birthday or maybe I just needed a reason to post a video of Jackie Stallone eating jumbo shrimp. Whatever the reason, here's my Fav 5 Celebrity Relatives!

1.) La Toya Jackson: You might think that your wacked out uncle who used to belong to a cult and  now repos cars is the craziest family member anyone could ever have but you're wrong! La Toya Jackson wins that title by a landslide. From salacious tell-all books and nude photo shoots with reptiles, to an awful acting career and a vomit inducing music career, La Toya is the one to beat. So, as the lady herself says, "Roll up your sleeves and give me some respect!"

2.) Jackie Stallone: Rambo's mom is one big bucket of extra crispy crazy! Don't believe me? Well check out her appearance on the UK's Celebrity Big Brother. She looks like Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid. Except melted. And drunk. Like the lovely La Toya, Jackie also loves headbands as well as  wrestling, rapping, rumpology, and yes, jumbo shrimp. Mama Stallone is a mutha like no otha' and for that we should all be grateful.

3.)Jimmy Osmond: I really don't know what to say about the toothiest and youngest member of the Osmond clan. If Marie was a little bit country and Donnie was a little bit rock and roll, then Jimmy was what? A little bit scary? A little bit dorky? Like I said I'm at a loss so I'll let this clip from Fame do the talking.

4) Liz & Jean Sagal:  I loved Double Trouble, a sitcom about a pair of trouble making twins from 1984. I'm sure it's totally unwatchable now but as a kid I thought it was the bomb. Liz and Jean's more famous sister Katey Sagal went on to play Peg Bundy for a billion years and the twins went on to little else. Still, they were in Grease 2 and Howard the Duck so that's why they make the list.

5.)Hoku Ho: Don Ho's daughter had some minor hit songs like "Perfect Day" which was in Legally Blonde and commercials for JC Penny clearance sales. Gee, I didn't mean to make that sound so sad but looking at it now really depresses me. Well, she was also in a movie called Arizona Summer with Greg Evigan and Morgan Fairchild too. Okay I'm making things worse. But Hoko has a special place in my heart simply because of her name. I love it. I love saying it. If I was a Thundercat or ninja, I would yell "HOKU HO"  as my battle cry and then I'd kick some serious ass. 

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mrs. Huxtable's Funky Little Secret.

I love hidden disco gems and I love television stars who sing (Joey Lawrence, anyone?). So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Josephine Superstar by Phylicia Allen. 

Apparently, Mrs Huxtable threw her hat into the disco ring with this concept record that told the life story of Josephine Baker all set to a funky beat! No, I'm not making this up. There's a hilarious blog about it here if you don't believe me!
Phylicia was married to the original lead singer of The Village People, Victor Willis who wrote much of the tracks on the album. Released on the legendary disco label Casablanca Records in 1978, Josephine Superstar is a big bag of campy disco just waiting to be rediscovered! Sadly, I couldn't find clip of "Don't Cry Mommy" that features a children's choir (again, not kidding) but I think this little nugget will wet your appetite nicely.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Fav 5 Songs of the Week! Super Gay Edition!

It's Fav 5 time again, darlings. This homolicious list won't make you more gay than you already are but hopefully it makes you shake your ass.

1.) "Spotlight", Jennifer Hudson- What could be gayer than a song sung by the star of a hit musical? "Spotlight" invokes the soul sounds of retro R&B divas like Tina Turner and Phyllis Hyman with it's "ooh, ooh, ooh" backing vocals and smooth drumbeats. Fierce!

2.) "Give it to Me", Madonna- Since my review of her newest album, I've actually grown to really love some of the songs like "Give it to Me". Great for housecleaning and private dance parties.

3.) "Into the Nightlife", Cyndi Lauper- Taking a page from the Cher handbook, La Lauper's newest album is a big gay dance record. Working with Max Martin, Scrumfrog, and Basement Jaxx, Bring Ya to the Brink is an electro-filled goodie bag and this song is one of the best.

4.)"You Know Me Better", Roisin Murphy- I'm tired of telling people how amazing this album is but the world still doesn't listen so I guess I'll have to keep preaching. Hopefully, this single, the third from the brilliant Overpowered, will finally make the doubters take notice.

5.)"Cheap and Cheerful", The Kills- A fucking awesome track with great lyrics from one of the best bands in the world. What queer guy or gal wouldn't love The Kills' brand of in your face art-rock?

Have a gay ole weekend!


Saint Cyndi

It's hard for me to not get a little emotional when I talk about Cyndi Lauper. Seriously.  My history with the singer is a layered and deep one, child.

I was 11 years old when I rode my bike down to Peaches Records & Tapes (the real name of the chain, by the way) in Denver and bought my own copy of  She's So Unusual on vinyl. It was the first record I purchased with my own money that I earned from baby sitting. More than that, it was my record. It wasn't my sister's English Beat albums, that I was forbidden to touch unless supervised but this belonged to me. I listened to over and over again not just because it was the only one in my collection but because I genuinely loved it. I read the liner notes repeatedly and memorized every lyric to every song. Something about this crazy girl from Queens with the Betty Boop voice and Skittle colored hair just spoke to me. 

Cyndi was unafraid to be herself and relished being unique and different. Even crazier, the world embraced her for it! Looking back, it was clearly a message I needed to hear. I was a femmine kid with a high pitched voice and an awkward demeanor. I spent a lot of time feeling bad that I wasn't like other kids. On some level, I must have soaked up Cyndi's mission statement of individuality somewhere along the way. Performers like her, Boy George, and Debbie Harry weren't like everybody else and I strived to be cool and weird like them, not wanting to fit in. Cyndi and her contemporaries literally saved my life and I'm eternally grateful.

25 years later, Cyndi's message is more powerful than anyone would have ever imagined. Her True Colors Tour is in it's second year and bigger than ever. Her work for the Human Rights Campaign and her support for gay marriage is tireless and never ending. Cyndi is also regarded as an icon of modern feminism. She's still reinventing her sound as an artist (more on that later) and somehow remains relevant, puffy skirts and wacky hair notwithstanding. She continues to be honored by the music community as well as the gay community.

I can't be sure if Cyndi Lauper set out to provide hope to kids like me decades ago. And I don't know if she knows how important she is or if anybody else feels the same way. But, I do know this- if this was your intention Cyndi, then mission accomplished and thank you from the bottom of my big gay heart. 

Super Gay Friday Music Day!

Since I already posted a blog about Donna Summer, I decided to go titties to the wind and just do a super Gay edition of Friday Music Day! After all, June is Gay Pride month and yours truly is feeling all pink and fuzzy these days what with marriage finally being legal here in California.

What better way to get things started than a music video by NYC's The Dazzle Dancers? A club version of The Love Boat theme sung by what sounds like a German transsexual filled with glitter covered dancers is about the gayest thing I've ever seen. And this is coming from the guy who used to throw fashion shows for his My Little Ponies as a small child. 

So are The Dazzle Dancers frightening or fabulous? Personally, I think it's a little of both but you decide! 

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Toot! Toot! Ah. Beep, Beep!

After 17 years, Donna Summer, the queen of disco is back with her new album Crayons and you know what? It's not half bad. Sure, some of the tracks will magically transport you to gay bar happy hour filled with go-go dancers in banana hammocks and half priced vodka tonics but the woman is no dummy and she knows her audience. 

Surprisingly, Donna does some more "urban" sounding tracks that are pretty good. The first single "Stamp Your Feet" is a bumping warm weather anthem which although not terribly original manages to sound modern and catchy. Her voice sounds still sounds amazing and that was always her secret weapon.

Sure, the name Donna Summer is synonymous with poppers and platform shoes but it's her voice that always set her apart. She cowrote most of  new the record in addition to all of her previous songs, most of which were about prostitution.  Seriously, her contributions to music are worth noting and if Crayons helps get her a little more respect than I say good for her. 

Dear Carrie Underwood,

First off, let me say I love you. I do. Your brand of country pop isn't exactly my cup of tea but you've got some killer pipes and you seem like a nice person which makes what I'm about to say all the more painful. 

Last night's outfit on the American Idol finale was the last straw. I've put up with your never ending love of dressy shorts and sparkly tops because you're a country star and your fashion rules are different from the rest of us.  But honey, forgetting your pants and draping yourself in Charmin Ultra Soft is where I draw the line. Less of a fashion statement and more of a cry for help, this ensemble actually made me sad. 
It brings a tear to my I when I think of a star like yourself being unable to find the right homosexual to make these choices for you. I emphasize the word "right" because assuming that one is a style guru just based on their sexual preference is foolish.  Just ask Paula Abdul, who surrounds herself with gays and still winds up looking like a cake topper at a quinceanera most of the time. A no-nonsense hip homo could have prevented this confounding stripper-meets-televangelist nightmare from ever happening.

 Also, it concerns me that the people around you aren't being honest with you. Is there no one in your life to look you in the eye and say "No, Carrie. That's hideous"? Everyone, famous or not, requires an inner circle of confidants to tell us no on a regular basis. Without folks like this, how would we ever know if we had spinach in our teeth or if our jeans made us look fat? Carrie, I'd be that person for you, no questions asked. Just say the word and I'll tell you to not wear a side ponytail with a dress that looks like a doily.  Not because I judge you but because I care.

In closing, I'd like to add that your not the only Idol in need of help, so don't feel bad. Poor Jordin Sparks looked like a Wurther's Original last night in her gold mumu and orange nail polish. And the less said about Fantasia's pink hair, the better. Even my beloved Kelly Clarkson has made some fashion belly flops. 
Point is, Carrie your gorgeous and you deserve better. Leave the toilet paper at home next time, remember to put on your pants, and you always have the red carpets at the Grammys or a billion country awards shows to redeem yourself. 

Love ya,


Friday, May 16, 2008

Fav 5 Songs of the Week

Here's this weeks "Fav 5". Be warned it's a happy bunch of songs.

1.) "You, Me, & the Bourgeoisie", The Submarines- In the spirit of my new found optimism, this track is head-bopping ditty with great vocals and lyrics by one of my favorite neighborhood bands.

2.) "The LSB", Make Model- A rebellious song with a hook by one of the cutest bands going.

3.) "Right as Rain", Adele- The latest in a string of 60's sounding divas from Great Britain, Adele knocks it out of the park with this saucy, sassy song.

4.) "Who's Gonna Sing", The Prototypes- How this super-fun French group escaped me back in 2006, I'll never know. But I'm thrilled I found this booty-shaking number. Listen for the fierce way she says "banjo". Priceless.

5.) "As Long As It's Not You", Astrid Swan- In need of some cynicism and bitterness, this deceptively catchy song did the trick nicely. Plus, the video is way clever!

No Country for Old Gay Men?

As a little kid, I spent my hours in the backseat of the family van listening to 8 track tapes of George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Marty Robbins. It was Colorado in the 1970's, so it was pretty much the law. My sister and I bitched and moaned about it but we didn't have a choice so we began to learn  and even sort of enjoy those songs. To this day, I can't remember if that van even had seat belts but you know I can remember all the lyrics to "Mama Tried" and "When Country Wasn't Cool". Other than an obsession with Dolly Parton and a love for Patsy Cline, those days were the extent of my country music education. 
In an effort to extend my knowledge of the genre, I decided to listen to Billboard's Hot Country Singles.
 Here's what I came up with:

Country was little shinier the last time I paid attention to it. Pretty people like Faith Hill and Shania Twain whose videos looked like perfume commercials were all the rage. Now it's cool again to be a little heavy set and not very attractive, well as long as your a man like James Otto who's "Just Got Started Loving You" is currently number 1. And the music is a little more basic too, shedding the gloss in favor of the old country sounds and subject matter. Honestly, I was expecting to hate a lot more than I did but it wasn't terrible. It's kind of bluesy without getting all Black Crows. The video is pretty ridiculous as it perpetuates the myth that fat white guys who look like Meatloaf can land a supermodel but all in all it's not too bad.

 Further proving that today's country music is very much a man's world, is "I'm Still A Guy" by Brad Paisely at number 2. A tongue-in-cheek ode to masculinity, this song unabashedly  exploits every country music cliche. Like "My eyebrows ain't plucked, there's a gun in my truck. Oh thank God, I'm still a guy". Given the fact that Paisley himself looks like a male model, the song could be interpreted as a "No really. I'm a badass even though I wore a sparkly shirt to the CMA's" defensive tactic. No matter he's hot and the song is destined to be a beer drinking classic for years to come. Personally, the lyrics were clever but I have trouble identifying with the "it rules to be a straight white dude" message.

Somebody in Nashville was really thinking when the went out searching for a cross between Avril Lavinge and Carrie Underwood. They hit the jackpot with Taylor Swift, the only woman in the top five with "Picture to Burn". Whoa. What a flaming pile of crap this song is! The ex-girlfriend scorned lyrics were done better in Underwood's "Before he Cheats" and the less said about her singing the better. Oh and her acting in the video is atrocious. This whole pre-packaged tween sensation thing has trickled over to country music and I fear the wrath of Tammy Wynette will envelope Nashville and suck the entire city into the depths of hell. Really. The song is that bad.

Elsewhere on the list was something with God in the title and something performed by a guys with blond highlights that I couldn't make it through so I assumed this little experiment of mine was pretty much over. But then I found "Love Don't Live Here" by Lady Antebellum. Sadly, it wasn't a ho-down version of the Rose Royce classic. From what I was able to gather from the video, this group is kind of like country's version of the Black Eyed Peas but without the scary ninja guy. The girl even has a Fergie-esque quality about her. The guys have hip hairstyles and perfectly trimmed beards. The song itself was pretty good. I don't know if I'd buy it but it did entice me to listen other songs by the group some of which I really enjoyed. 

So what did I learn? Well, country is no different than anything else in American pop culture right now. It's energy has been zapped by consumerism and it's creativity is hanging on to a thread due to over-saturation. But sifting through the mainstream garbage is rewarding and the messages of country music are still relevant, regardless of how silly they may seem. Granted, I'm not uploading any of these tunes on my Ipod but I can appreciate them for what they are. Most of them, anyway. Yeah I'm talking to you, Taylor Swift.

It's Either Friday Music Day or the End of the World.

Tornadoes, cyclones, earthquakes, Mel & Britney flying to Costa Rica together, and yours truly loving a Natasha Bedingfield song? What in the hell is going on?!?

Yes, it's true. I love Natasha Bedingfield's "Pocketful of Sunshine" and I'm not proud of myself. Previously, I've successfully avoided the singer and her uplifting "you go girl" type of anthems. In fact, "Unwritten" was one of those songs that was meant to be inspiring but the only thing it ever inspired me to do was bash my head up against a wall every time I heard it. And the freaking song would not go away! Just when you thought it was safe to take a leisurely stroll down the aisles of your local Rite-Aid, the darn song would seep out of the speakers like some oozing sore and ruin your whole experience. Nearly three years later, the plunking opening chords can still make me run for the hills.

And yet here I am addicted to her new single. I've given in to it and it's sort of freeing, I suppose. So I like an unapologetic, upbeat pop song. So what?  It's got a great hook and it's perfect for warm weather. 
I'm sure when it's being used on a douche commercial six months from now, I'll regret ever admitting to loving it.  But for right now, I'll take comfort in it and all of it's sunny optimism. After all, the world is a pretty screwed up place right and we should all take the time to enjoy the silly little things around us that make us happy.
 Regardless of how shameful they are.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Everybody Else's Genius

High on a mountaintop of empty coffee cups and advanced copies of the latest Death Cab release, jaded music critics sit and wait for the next musical act to anoint “Genius of the Moment”. It's usually an "alternative" artist or group who causes such collective drooling that they stay "alternative" for about another 30 seconds. In other words, today’s Dangermouse was yesterday’s Radiohead and the day before that’s Patti Smith.

I’m always suspicious of such fanfare for several reasons. First off, time has proven when everybody loves somebody, I’m naturally put off. After all, the entire world thinks they’re amazing and in general, I just don’t trust what the entire world says. Secondly, by the time any artist has been zeroed in on by critics they usually already have a loyal following so the “critics darling” title always feels a little redundant. Mary J Blige is a good example of this. It took her having a drug problem to make the world stop and realize that she was a true musical icon even though her longtime fans recognized this with records like the brilliant My Life years ago. But my main problem with coronations such as these is ,that more often than not, they are awarded to artists I simply don’t get.

Take Radiohead for example. I think “Creep” is a classic and I was able to sink my teeth into Kid A but beyond that, I’m left feeling “Meh?”. Am I an idiot because I don’t run wild in the streets every time that Thom Yorke and company step into the studio? Maybe and I’m okay with that. In the end, I’d rather be a simpleton than listen to obtuse albums that drip with pretension and consist of little else.
Neil Young is another one who’s appeal utterly escapes me. Everybody from Emmylou Harris to Eddie Vedder and beyond have cited Young as one of the best singer/songwriters in American music so I feel like I should like him. Honestly, I even feel bad that I don’t like him but I just don’t. The weird Muppet-like vocals and dour arrangements are truly off putting to me. As a serious music fan, it troubles me that I’m clearly missing something where Young is concerned but do I feel compelled to dive face first into his entire back catalogue in hopes of enlightenment? No, not so much. While I’m coming out of the musical moron closet here, I might as well go for broke and mention that I also do not understand the never-ending adoration of Pink Floyd, The Who, Green Day, Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Lucinda Williams or The Velvet Underground. If you’ve gasped and thrown your laptop out of sheer horror at this statement, I apologize. And if said statement renders me a fool who knows nothing about music in your eyes, then so be it.

On the bright side, I don’t really think these artist care if little old me doesn’t get their particular brand of genius. Everybody else already loves them so I’m sure they’ll survive if I don’t purchase their next album. After all, I’m just a guy who thinks Bjork’s Vespertine was a monumental record. And few people care that I believe that Tasty by Kelis is far better than anything that Justin Timberlake or Beyonce has ever produced. Obviously, I have let go of any dreams of being one of the chosen who gets to take their place on Music Snob Mountain. That being said, I'll take the free coffee and CDs if you're handing them out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Where's Her Fucking Biopic?

If you only watched movies and never listened to music, then you would honestly believe that Tina Turner, Patsy Cline, June Carter Cash, Billie Holiday, and Loretta Lynne were the only female artists to ever exist in popular music. That's a bit of an exaggeration, true but it's not too far off from the reality. And no, Made-For-TV movies about Karen Carpenter and Dottie West do not count, so don't even go there. And while your at it save your "What about The Rose?" rebuttal for someone doesn't know that the brilliant Bette Midler film was only loosely based on Janis Joplin's life and not an actual biopic. 

So why the lack of love for the lives of women in music? It's not as if there's a shortage of material to draw from. Films about Stevie Nicks, Nina Simone, Tammy Wynette, or Ella Fitzgerald could be at least as interesting as those about Ray Charles or Buddy Holly. Proposed movies about The Go-Gos, Sarah Vaughn, and Aretha Franklin have never seen the light of day but I think it's high time to get the ball rolling.

In my mind, the life story of Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde would be the perfect place to start. Think of the plot: Small town Ohio girl moves to London, works at Vivenne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's clothing store SEX with members of punk bands like The Sex Pistols, starts her own band, has a daughter with Kinks lead singer Ray Davies, tops the charts even though a few of her bandmates die,  marries Simple Minds' front man Jim Kerr, starts shit as an animal rights activist, and moves to Brazil to find herself! Hynde's perseverance and unlikely hero status are the things great biographical films are made of. Chrissie herself has said her lyrics really tell the story of her life, so the movie could be packed with awesome Pretenders songs. Hell, it could even be a musical! I think Talk of the Town or Precious would make great titles. Brilliant, right? 

There you go Hollywood. Make it happen and your welcome, by the way. When your finished with that, call me. I have a fabulous idea for a Wendy O. Williams film but don't even think about asking for my Grace Jones pitch. I'm afraid you'd really screw that up.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This Place is SO Never Again. Or is it?

Donna Martin may have graduated but it turns out that Kelly Taylor never left West Beverly High.
 I just read this morning that Jennie Garth has singed on to do the CW's Beverly Hills 90210 spinoff reprising her role as  Kelly Taylor who's now a guidance counselor at her old high school. Sounds pretty terrible right?

Listen, I'm no hater of the original. In fact, I referenced the infamous rave episode on our way to a downtown nightclub just last night. And I was a fan of  Garth's back in the day. I even went to a signing of her workout tape at a Wal-Mart in Colorado, an event so shameful and tragic that few close to me even know of it's existence. I've seen nearly every episode of 90210 and a few of them are classics in my opinion. But a new version seems a little Peach Pitiful, if you ask me.

The CW already has a hot teen show in the brilliantly campy Gossip Girl so another high school drama seems a little pointless. And I'm worried that without the presence of Aaron Spelling, the show just won't have that same "gotta watch it" quality that only he could master. It's also worrisome that Rob Thomas, of Veronica Mars fame and writer of the new pilot has been replaced. Add to it the casting of Lori Laughlin and the weak premise and you've got yourself one big "9021-0h-Hell-No". 
I'm not too thrilled about Kelly as a guidance counselor either. I never really bought "nice Kelly". I always preferred the original bitchy version who never met a hot guy or velvet choker that she didn't like. Andrea Zuckerman would have been better suited for the job but I suppose she's retired by now and her hips wouldn't hold up during the strenuous shooting schedule.

All of my bitching aside, I'm sure I'll end up watching it out of curiosity. If it's fabulous then I'll be pleasantly surprised. If it sucks, then I'll have something to snicker at. Now if I could be guaranteed cameos by Kari Wuhrer and Cathy Dennis, I'd be on board faster than you can say 
"Mrs. Teasley"! 

Happy Birthday, Tootie!

I've been so busy entertaining my gal pal Vanessa who's here in LA celebrating her birthday, that I nearly forgot another important birthday. Kim Fields of Facts of Life fame turns 39 today. Yup, little Tootie is almost 40!
To celebrate, I was watching some of Kim's finer clips on YouTube and let me tell you they did not disappoint. 

First up, was a couple of songs. Who knew in addition to being a roller skating actress, Kim Fields was also an accomplished singer? "Dear Michael" is a syrupy ballad written about Michael Jackson and it's cute in a very 1983 kind of way. But the real gem here is "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not". It's about 4 minutes to long and definitely overstays it's welcome. Still, it has "guilty pleasure" written all over it and definitely worth the listen.

Next, I enjoyed some vintage Facts of Life clips. It's been a long time since I've seen this show and unlike Kim herself ,it did not age well. It's so melodramatic and the acting is hilarious. My favorite has to be this little nugget of goodness where Tootie and Natalie buy a bag full of bongs! It is so funny on so many levels. I totally forgot that the acting stylings of Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett) were such a treasure to behold. The woman is completely over-the-top and seems like she's always on the brink of a mental meltdown (Example: Watch for the way she says the girl's name "Tumpy").  Oh and that writing! It's sheer genius. The kids are cute though and they deliver their lines sufficiently, in a very PSA meets school play kind of way. Plus, Kim looks adorable.

Finally, I suffered through some tedious Living Single clips which showcased Kim's comedic ability  but seriously had me wishing for my own bag full of bongs. Luckily, I found a performance from the Def Poetry Jam that was a tad more inspirational. True, Jill Scott has nothing to worry about but Ms. Fields does a good job and it's nice to see that she's still working.

 In closing, I'd just like to say Happy Birthday to Kim and Vanessa and all of my other strong, Taurus sisters out there. You kids definitely make my life more entertaining.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Fav 5 Songs of the Week

Once again, here's a little list of songs that I heart.

1.)"Black Cat", Ladytron- A dark, industiral flavored new single from the band that never stops amazing me. Also amazing- you can get it for free on their website!

2.)"Carnies", Martina Topley-Bird- So nice to have her back since I played her first album into the ground. "Carnies" is a fun little taste of new things to come.

3.)"We Won't Break", Zoot Woman- Another act whose presence has been missed, Zoot Woman comes back with a vengence with this dancey and defiant track. 

4.) "Kittin is High", Miss Kittin- More sexy, tongue in cheek dance music from the first lady of electro! It's a must for mixed tapes and tranny dance-offs alike.

5.) "Working Class Hero", Cyndi Lauper- This John Lennon cover isn't exactly Marianne Faithful. But Cyndi kills it, as usual and she looks awesome!

Enjoy your weekend!

For the Birds

I'm an animal lover but I just don't get birds. I don't. Sure they're beautiful when they fly and they're used to symbolize everything from God to automobiles. Whatever. They still kind of freak me out. I mean they have these weird beady eyes and they're always moving around like some meth addict looking for a VCR to reassemble. And being surrounded by birds is the most uncomfortable feeling in the world.  Like when I was eating coffee cake and reading the paper downtown LA Starbucks a few years ago and I looked up and my table was filled with dozens of tiny little birds just staring at me. Eww. I shrieked like a girl and nearly scalded my crouch with hot coffee.

 So songs about birds are even more baffling to me. For every one decent ditty about the winged creatures, there are like  40 really horrible ones. These songs inevitably feature rhymes about "fly,sky, high, cry, eye" and are usually meant to be uplifting. Instead they just end up sounding stupid or really campy.

Take for example, Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado. Please. Granted this song had it's moment in pop culture but have you heard it recently? Yeesh. It didn't age well and you realize that Furtado made a wise move by currently singing about "Promiscuous Girl's and the like. All this mumbo jumbo about not knowing where her home is and flying away would make anybody put on some booty shorts and hook-up with Timbaland.
 Worse yet is "White Dove" by The Scorpions. Yes, those Scorpions. Lyrics like "white dove fly with the wind" are bad enough but the children's choir in the middle is totally unforgivable.Oh yeah and there's this "I Wanna Know What Love Is"-type of solo that comes out of nowhere. However, lead singer Klaus Meine's thick German accent still makes me chuckle. 
 The funniest song about birds, in my book, has to be "Fly, Robin, Fly" by the Silver Convention. This repetitive disco jam is just goofy. Other than "up, up, up to the sky!" it consists solely of repeating the title and a porno baseline. I've often thought about performing this in karaoke just to drive people nuts but as you can tell from the video, I could never live up to such a riveting performance. 

Another winged guilty pleasure is Anne Murray's "Snowbird". Sounding like the bastard child of a Christmas song and something they'd play on a log ride, "Snowbird" was a dentist's office staple back in the day. And this dusty, chestnut just gets cornier with time. I'm not really sure if she's talking to an actual bird or using it as a metaphor but whatever the hell it is, it sure is funny!
Leave it to ABBA to knock  out the competition with "Eagle". There's all the Swedish sugar you'd expect from an ABBA jam plus it contains 40% more cliches than the other songs about birds! Not only do the ESL lyricists meet the requisite "fly, high, sky" quota but they manage to incorporate other aspects of nature like "Over mountains and forests and seas
and to go anywhere that I please."Nicely done, Benny & Bjorn but you're not the worst.

No, that honor goes to James Taylor and Carly Simon's "Mockingbird". This is the rare type of duet that really makes the listener wish they could have ears ripped off by a crazed seagull. Truthfully, this song could end up on other lists like "worst songs by white people pretending to have soul"  or "worst songs by couples who've since divorced. But I think it's also the worst bird song ever. Much like that fine feathered friend who sits outside your window and squawks endlessly, "Mockingbird" seems to go on forever and it's might make you crazy. I've had to hear it three times while writing this and I'm about to lose my shit.

I'm sure there's dozens more but all this bird talk is starting to wig me out. I mean, what if one them reads this, rallies the troops and wants more than just coffee cake this time?
 And I thought James Taylor's moustache was scary!

It's Friday Music Day, Bitch!

It's Music Day here at Bruised Peaches. Sorry I've been a tad buried this week. You know- life, work, guest coming in from out of town, and other mundane tasks to boring to even discuss. 

So to get the party started, I invite you to listen to this excellent Rick James track. After all, nothing kicks off your weekend like a spicy funk jam by a man who once burned a woman with his crack pipe. Seriously though, this song is far superior to some of his more well know hits and deserves new life. I'm not the only one to think this apparently, as Shivaree covered it on her last album. It's so easy to remember the crazy things about Rick James (like this lovely picture, which I'm sorry about by the way) that I often forget that he was an amazing producer and purveyor of infectious funk. His albums, in addition to the stellar work he did for Teena Marie  and the Mary Jane Girls dominated R&B in the early 80's and he's since been copied by nearly every producer under the sun. 

So Rick, I raise my glass (pipe?) and salute you! 

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco De Mayo, kids! In celebration, I thought I'd share some of my favorite videos that are  muy caliente!

1.) "Love Will Keep Us Together", Charo- Uhm. What is there to say really except this is one of the hottest yet silliest covers in musical history! Makes me wish I had the entire special, though.

2.) "Karma Chameleon" en Espanol- And this might be the second silliest. Swig back another margarita and enjoy.

3.) "Office Boy", Bonde Do Role- This spicy Brazilian group delivers another rocking party tune perfect for your fiesta. 

4.)Funny Lady on Cinco de Mayo- Ever wonder what your old volleyball coach looks like wasted dancing? Wonder no more. What makes it even cheesier is the fact that she knows how "hilarious" she is.

5.) "Van Nuys(Es Very Nice), Los Abandoned- An awesome track that's a few years old but still damn catchy. Her eyeshadow and the dance team are just added bonuses!

Rest In Peace, Men in Trees.

It was bound to happen. After being moved around ABC's schedule like a billion times and generally treated like a bastard at a family reunion, Men in Trees has been cancelled.  I'm pissed as I was a big fan of the show but I can't say I'm surprised. This is after all, the same network that gave Once and Again the axe, a move I'm still bitter about. 

The past season wasn't it's finest but I really blame the quality decline on the network's inability to properly promote the show leaving the show directionless and scrambling for viewers. The main thing I'll cherish about Men in Trees is my reintroduction to Anne Heche, the actress. Aside from the being Ellen's crazy ex-girlfriend, Heche is one hell of an actress. Men in Trees gave Heche the opportunity to shine comically while giving her some of the best dramatic scenes of her career. Fragile, strong, funny, and heartbroken Heche made Marin Frist a true television heroine to root for. I'll miss her and I'll miss seeing such a performance every week.

At it's heart, Men in Trees was a show about finding yourself and finding your own family. While it wasn't always brimming over with original ideas, this message was always sincere and real. Jenny Bicks, the shows creator, and the stellar cast should be proud of making it's viewers (regardless of how few) feel like they too were part of the family.  And that's no small feat.
Elmo, Alaska, we shall miss you.

It's Happened to Heidi

Remember when Heidi Klum was just another cold German supermodel who just showed up looked curvy and that was the end of it? Remember when Heidi would be pleasant on Project Runway without pushing her own agenda?

Well times have changed, honey. She's recording an album now. She has her own jewelry line. And as announced last week, she'll be moving Project Runway to LA(?!?) to accomodate her busy career and family life, which is HUGE mistake if you ask me because Project Runway without Bryant Park is like a cheeseburger without french fries! Not to mention the fact that LA, while it's many wonderful things, is NOT  a fashion capital. Never will be.

The bigger issue here is the Tyra-fication of Heidi. I mean can't you just host a reality show and be a model? Isn't that enough? Is an album really necessary? I'm all for turning yourself into a brand but what if it's a brand that nobody really wants to buy? I love Heidi and wish I could help her but it's too late. Once you've crossed over to the Celebrity Mogul Dark Side, it's impossible to come back. Personally, I think it's okay to just be an actor or just be a model without producing a line of fragrances or bath towels. Call me crazy.

 Oh well. Good for her, I guess, but I can't help wondering if Linda Evangelista is out there somewhere smoking and shaking her head in disgust.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Of Cyrus & Shields

By the time Brooke Shields was Miley Cyrus’ age, she had already played a child growing up in a whorehouse, appeared topless in Calvin Klein ads, and frolicked in the nude in The Blue Lagoon. So it boggles my mind that 30 years later we even care about Hannah Montana being wrapped in a sheet. True, it was the late 1970's when Brooke hit it big and the mindset regarding sexuality was pretty much one of "Who cares? Give me another bump of coke and turn that Sister Sledge record up!"Still, I can't help wondering if our uptight attitude regarding nudity hasn't set us back and that the real issue here is more sinister than we'd like to believe.

My issue of Vanity Fair arrived in my mailbox over the weekend and naturally I flipped to the pages with the infamous photos. Honestly, they are so not a big deal and I think Cyrus looks pretty for once,with all of her mall-rat glitter makeup and acid wash skirts stripped away. Moreover, the pictures are not in poor taste and  are tastefully done.

Still people are upset because they think these photos make this child look like a whore. Well, to paraphrase Cristal Connors from Showgirls “She is a whore, darling. We’re all whores.” The Cyrus family drained the “Achy Breaky” bank account years ago and found a gold mine in their daughter. People do what they have to do to pay the bills and in celebrity land photo shoots for magazines are just another means to an end. So I ain’t mad at them. The apologies piss me off, though. Even rednecks like the Cyrus clan have seen an Annie Leibovitz photo before so I’m not buying this whole “we didn’t know no better” b.s. They should have had the balls to either stick by the pictures or scrap the shoot in the first place. Instead, a fifteen year old is left taking a bullet for a decision that wasn't hers to make in the first place.

More offensive than the photos, in my mind, is allowing your child to take part in an insipidly written franchise that unabashedly dumbs down it’s audience. At least Pretty Baby was directed by Louis Malle and starred Susan Sarandon. My nieces love Hannah Montana but truly it’s because there are no other options for young girls. Boys get to follow the adventures of a wizard and girls are left watching a tween in a bad wig sing lame pop songs? Hardly seems fair. But at the risk of sounding like the love child of  Ed Anger and Naomi Wolf, I’ll leave that alone.

Bubbling underneath all of this, is our society's neverending enjoyment of dragging young women through the dirt. The article, and yes there is one, that accompanies the photos states that the tabloids have now started gunning for Cyrus. Personally, my paranoid ass believes the media wants us to obsess over things like Paris going to jail so we don’t stop and actually realize how messed up the country is. It’s like “Hey I was just looking at pictures of Britney’s cooter coming out of a limousine for six months and now all of the sudden we’re in a recession? What the Hell?” Also, I find it suspicious that it’s always female celebrities offered up to the public for slaughter. Other than Officer Sugartits herself, nobody even remembers what Mel Gibson did but if Lindsay Lohan runs into a tree, we demand that she be publicly beheaded and that she never work again. But like I said I’m paranoid.

Brooke Shields has been a successful actress, written a bestselling book, and even won a battle with Tom Cruise so I'm not worried about Miley Cyrus. She'll be fine. If pop culture has taught us anything it's that everybody loves a survivor and I'm sure she'll be crying on Oprah's couch soon enough. In the meantime while we wait for her to screw up again, there's always the Spears sisters, Paris and Amy Winehouse. 

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Importance of Being Bozzio.

When it comes to 80's female musical icons, Missing Persons lead singer Dale Bozzio seems to get the short end of the stick. 

Debbie Harry, is rightfully remembered as the Godmother of the punk and New Wave movement. Cyndi Lauper is remembered for being a unique voice of feminism whose signature style made her an international superstar. Madonna is remembered for being, well, Madonna. Other than being a former Playboy model with BombPop colored hair, Bozzio is rarely remembered at all, which I think is a shame.

 Sure she didn't reinvent the wheel but her contributions are worth noticing.
Before her plastic bikini days, Dale performed with Frank Zappa and even appears on Joe's Garage, his now classic rock opera. She cowrote some of Missing Persons best songs like "Destination Unknown","Tears" and " I Like Boys". But it's Dale's unforgettable look and quirky vocals that continue to be copied by current artists. Take Gwen Stefani, for example, who clearly found both a personal vocal and style icon in Dale Bozzio. Other artists like Sweden's The Sounds have tweaked The Missing Persons formula to sound fresh.  And most recently, Ashlee Simpson shamelessly aped Bozzio on tracks from her new album.
Not just an influence, I'd go as far as to say that Bozio darn near created "Bimbo Electro" the genre that consists of a trampy blonde girl singing along to synthed out tracks.

About 10 years ago, I was working at an edgy clothing/record store here in LA and Dale stopped in to do some shopping. Her sons we're helping her pick out clothes for a club appearance. One of the boys approached her with a large, lacy Gothic dress and she replied in her thick East Coast accent "Oh no honey. I'm not Stevie Fricking Nicks. Put that back and find something sexy." No she's not Stevie Nicks and yeah she has to play smaller gigs these days and she can't pull off the plastic bikinis anymore.
But she is Dale Bozzio and somehow that's enough.

Fav 5 Songs of the Week

1.) Modern World- Anouk: Disenchanted with the current state of the world? Then this is the anthem for you. Soulful yet cynical, play Modern World at maximum volume and you might just find yourself shouting "Amen, sister!

 2.)Back of the Van- Ladyhawke: A hot rock track that would feel right at home in an 80's movie like Vision Quest yet still manages to sound current and fresh. Plus the Stevie Nicks-like video totally rules.

3.) Divine- Sebastien Tellier: I defy you not to feel happy while listening to this sunny little electro delight. Great for springtime walks around the neighborhood, "Divine" is precisely that.

4.)Strangers- Van She: Moody, layered and even danceable, "Strangers" is destined to be heard on commercials and movies. So get into it now before Apple steals it!

5.)The Journey Continues-Mark Brown Featuring Sarah Cracknell: Saint Etienne songstress Sarah Cracknell has one of those voices that feels like an old friend and it sounds positively radiant on this track. It's very 90's after-hours and I'm in love!