Quantcast

« February 2016 | Main | April 2016 »

March 2016

Celebrating the Producers: The High Priests of the Classic Disco Era

Bionicboogie Ginosoccio

 

 

After writing a post about Giorgio Moroder last year, in celebration of his first CD/LP in 25 years, I was inspired to write one about other acclaimed producers of Classic Disco.  Like fashion designers, each with their own unique style, every producer has his distinct "sound".  I've chosen a dozen dance maestros (including Moroder).  They range in age from 60 to 78; nine are still alive (interestingly, the three who've died were all born in the same year).  Half of them were born in the US.  Their hits include classics such as Risky Changes, One More Minute; Supernature; Dancer; and Relight My Fire.  And although their lush orchestrations or frenetic electronic beats made these songs mainstays at gay clubs, only one is (was) openly gay.

 

Boris Midney

Boris.midney.disco
At 83, Midney is the elder statesman of disco producers. With a background in jazz, he was looking to blend it with symphonic music, and disco gave him the opportunity. The creative force behind the groups Beautiful Bend and USA-European Connection, he is probably best known for the "Disco Evita" concept album.

 

Giorgio Moroder

Giorgio.moroder.1970s
Born in 1940, the king of techno began his career in Munich during the 1960s. His name is synonymous with Donna Summer when she shot to superstardom in the late 1970s with smashes such as "I Feel Love", "McCarthur Park Suite" and her double album, "Bad Girls".

 

Rinder & Lewis

Rinderandlewis
Lauren Rinder and W. Michael Lewis are both from LA. They had a background in Jazz and were embarrassed by their production of disco music - but they were very good at it.  R&L are best known for producing the groups St. Tropez, Le Pamplemousse and El Coco.

 

 Alec Costandinos

Alec.costandinos
Cairo born (1944), Costandinos is best known for his production of albums for the group Love & Kisses and his concept album "Romeo & Juliet".

 

Simon Soussan

Simon.soussan.discomusic
Soussan, of French-Moroccan ancestry, got his start in the UK in the early '70s with dance music known as Northern Soul. He produced disco hits by Patti Brooks ("After Dark"), Jessica Williams ("Queen of Fools"), Shalamar ("Uptown Fesitval") and Arpeggio ("Love and Desire").

 

Patrick Cowley

Patrick.cowley.dance.producer
Cowley is the one openly-gay producer on my list. His High-NRG style was epitomized by tracks such as "Time Warp" and "Menergy". He also produced popular collaborations with Sylvester and Paul Parker. His was an all too brief career as he died of AIDS at the beginning of the crisis, in November 1982, one month after turning 32.

 

Gregg Diamond

Gregg.diamond
Diamond is another producer who came from a jazz background. The group Bionic Boogie put him on the disco map, with their dance smashes, "Risky Changes", "Dance Little Dreamer" and "Chains". He also met with some success producing an album for the group Star Cruiser.  Diamond died in 1989 at the age of 49.

 

Dan Hartman

Dan.hartman
You can't get more middle-America as Hartman, who was from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Perhaps it was his birthplace that gave his  music a distinct American sound. His "Vertigo/Relight My Fire" was probably the most popular disco hit of 1980. And the year before he first came to attention with the peppy "Instant Replay". He died in 1994 at the age of 44 from AIDS but led a closeted life.

 

Cerrone

Cerrone
Born in Paris, his first name is Marc but he went by his last name. He had a symphonic style and early in his career worked with Alec Costandinos. In 1978 he was named Billboard Music's 'Disco Artist of the Year'. His most popular song was "Supernature".

 

Nile Rodgers

Nile.rodgers.chic
If his output was limited to his group Chic, Nile Rodgers would still have a spot on this list, but he also produced hit albums for Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna and countless other top acts.

 

Gino Soccio

Gino.soccio.discoproducer
At 65, Soccio is the baby of the bunch. Best known for the smash "Dancer", he more or less left the industry after the backlash to disco music in the early '80s, a development he contends was purposely caused by record companies at the behest of rock musicians, who felt threatened by the genre and its appeal to hedonistic blacks and gays.

 

 DiscoProducers

 


Caitlyn Jenner Confronts A Reality Star's Biggest Fear - Viewer Apathy

Caitlyn.jenner2Caitlyn Jenner is unhappy.  Only 750,000 viewers tuned in for the first episode of the second season of her E! reality show I Am Cait.  Last summer the show debuted to an audience of 2.5 million, but by the end of the season it was drawing half that number.  After Diane Sawyer's interview with Jenner drew an audience of 17 million last May and her pin-up girl Vanity Fair cover attracted worldwide attention, she probably expected the public's fascination to continue unabated.  But was it fascination or just rubber necking?  She blamed the E! network for not promoting her show enough, but perhaps the public's attention has been scattered by the oversaturation of shows about transgendered individuals.  Or perhaps she should blame Donald Trump's political campaign for diverting the public's attention.

 

Caitlyn.jennerAn apathetic public is anathema to a reality star.  In their mind, criticism, even ridicule, is preferred over a lack of interest.  In Caitlyn's case it appears that her biggest challenge isn't acceptance by the public but, rather, their dwindling interest.  Her unhappiness belies her boasting that her transition is a personal journey.   It's as if she feels we have an obligation to go on the journey with her.  (However, she still has six million followers on Instagram, and 3.8 million on Twitter.)  Yet, for a population estimated at less than 1 million, there's been an overload of media coverage about the transgender experience, e.g., The Netflix show Transparent, Laverne Cox on Orange is the New Black, and her appearance on the cover of TIME Magazine, the reality series Becoming Us on ABC Family and I Am Jazz on TLC, and the Oscar-nominated movie The Danish Girl.  Who knows, because of her need for attention, perhaps Jenner will decide to go back to being a he just for the headlines it would create.

 

Bruce.caitlyn.jennerAnd then there's the issue of Cait's sexual orientation.  Living as Bruce she claim's he was straight, and now as a woman she wants us to believe that she continues to be heterosexual.  I'm not buying it.  Sexual orientation doesn't simply change because of hormone treatment, some reconstructive surgery, changing into a dress and wearing makeup.  She should still retain Bruce's  attraction to women, and, therefore, now be a lesbian.  Speculation, however, is that Bruce was closeted and his homophobia ran so deep that he went the transgendered route so that he could be with a man.  And although she wants to be treated like a "normal" woman, what normal woman has a penis?  If she actually was a heterosexual male in her former life how is she planning to deal with a man's heterosexual urges?  Now, that would be very interesting to watch!

 

 

 

 

    


2016 Academy Awards - #OscarsSoTedious

Chris.rock.2016oscarhostThe show was tedious, the "not enough black representation in Hollywood" guilt trip tested my patience, Chris Rock's nervous laugh after each of his quips was annoying, and Lady Gaga's overwrought performance of the song from the movie about campus rape (which few saw) had me rolling my eyes.  However, despite this litany of annoyances, there were bright spots.  And, the world demands gay commentary about our Super Bowl (even if it's a week late - but a true connoisseur of the Oscars needs time for contemplation).

 

 

 

THE AUDIENCE REACTS REACTS TO CHRIS ROCK ...

 

Brie.larson.laughing.oscars
It appears Brie Larson might be reacting to a photo of puppies, but this was her reaction to the the opening monologue.

 

Indianactress.laughing.oscars
Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra

 

Leonardo.laughing.2016oscars
Leo, laughing and scrubbed clean.
 
 
 
Mark.ruffalo.2016oscars
It was refreshing to catch Mark Ruffalo laughing (something his onscreen roles rarely call for).  Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra was still giggling in the background.

 

Unsmiling.blackguy.2016oscars
Not everyone was amused.  Chadwick Boseman (who's portrayed Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens) was shown on camera a number of times and he was never smiling.

 

CHRIS ROCK CONDUCTS 'MAN ON THE STREETS' WITH SEXY BLACK MOVIEGOERS ...

 

Blackguy.yellowhat.oscars
Mr. Snazzy Hat

 

Blackstud.oscars
Mr. Cleavage

 

Blackguy.chrisrock
Mr. Contemplative

 

Blackguy.hoodie.oscars
Mr. Hoodie

 

Blackguy.backwardbaseballcap.oscars
Mr. Jock

 

AND THE NOMINEES FOR MOST CRINGE WORTHY MOMENT AT THE PODIUM ...

 

Ryan-gosling-russell-crowe-oscars
This was a great bit of acting by Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, who kept their humiliation over the idiotic patter they had to read from the cue cards undetected.

 

Sarah.silverman
Sarah Silverman looked like linebacker ... or Margaret Dumont. Never a class act, what she talked about was on par with the maturity level of recent Republican debates.

 

Sacha.baron.cohen.oscars
I'm sure the movie studio that distributed "Room" was thrilled by Sacha Baron Cohen's crass commentary (thru his 'Ali G' character) that had nothing to do with the movie clip that followed.

 

JACOB TREMBLAY

 

Sweetphoto
In a sweet moment, Bree Larson immediately turned around and hugged her co-star upon winning the Oscar for Best Actress for "Room"

 

Jacobtremblay

 

Brie.larsons.two.men
As Brie Larson pointed out in her acceptance speech, Jacob was her partner in the movie and Alex Greenfeld (who reminds me of Adam Scott) is her partner in real life.

 

AND THE NOMINEES FOR CUTEST COUPLE AT THE PODIUM ...

 

Johnlegend.common.2016oscars
Common and John Legend
 
Jacobtremblay.abrahamattah
Jacob Tremblay and Abraham Attah
 
Samsmith.oscarwinner
Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith
 
Bearstory.patoescala.gabrielosorio
Pato Escala and Gabriel Osorio Vargas from Chile were winners of Best Animated Short for "Bear Story".
 
Lee.byung.hun_sophia.vergara
Perhaps more sexy than cute were South Korean movie star, Lee Byung-hun, and Sofia Vergara, who announced the winner of Best Foreign Film.

 

THERE'S ALWAYS ONE ..

 

Katewinslet.oscars
Kate Winslet looked more like a weary housewife from Tarzana than Hollywood royalty.

 

Devpatel.oscars
One the male side, Dev Patel was the most unkempt at the podium.

 

HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY (WHEN BRAD & ANGELINA, GEORGE CLOONEY, MERYL STREEP AND TOM HANKS AREN'T IN ATTENDANCE)

 

Reese.hollywoodroyalty

 Leo.hollywoodroyalty

 

TOM HARDY, TAMED

 

Tomhardy

 

OOPS ...

 

Sofia.vergara.sonofsaul
In announcing "Son of Saul" as winner of Best Foreign Film, Sofia Vergara pronounced Saul as "Sa-ool". (Just like she'd do on "Modern Family".)

 

THIS YEAR VERSUS LAST YEAR

 

CHRIS EVANS

Chris.pine.2016oscars
Chris Evans - 2016 Academy Awards
 
Chris.evans.2015oscars
And, I kid you not, at 2015's ceremony

 

LADY GAGA AND HER GENTLEMEN FRIENDS

 

Ladygaga.2016oscars
2016
 
Ladygaga.2015oscars
2015

 

AND THE OSCAR FOR BEST ADVERTISING DURING THE OSCARS GOES TO ....

KOHL's

 

Kohls.oscar.commercial
Kohl's aired at least four different commercials, each depicting a pleasant family moment (in this one big brother lets little sister have the front seat) and the grateful reaction, in which the family member reacts as if they've just won an Oscar, with an actual past Oscar acceptance speech dubbed in.

 

 BLING

 

Hollywood.royalty
Pharrell Williams

 

 THE WEEKND VS. SAM SMITH

 

The-Weeknd-Performs-Earned-It-At-Oscars-2016-VIDEO
Although I liked Sam Smith's nominated song, I was hoping "Earned It" by The Weeknd would win the Oscar for Best Song.
 
 
Sam.smith.2016oscars
Sam Smith has a great voice, but he needs to work on his tentative stage presence. His new hairstyle brought to mind George Michael, which is what Chris Rock alluded to when he commented that the George Michael hit "Father Figure" was a favorite of his.

 

 SEPARATED AT BIRTH ...

 

Costumedesignoscar
Best Costume Design Oscar winner - Jenny Bevan for "Mad Max: Fury Road"

 

Mrs.patmore.downtonabbey
Mrs. Patmore from "Downton Abbey"

 

And for recaps from previous Academy Awards ...

2015

2014

2013

2012


Andrew Sullivan Passes Torch to New Generation of Gay Intelligentsia

Andrewsullivan.bear At the start of 2015 political pundit Andrew Sullivan announced that he had stopped blogging, put an end to his social media presence and would no longer make appearances on current affairs shows, saying that the rigors of blogging nearly killed him (he felt working all day long, i.e. a full-time job, was too demanding).  The need to constantly produce content for the 40,000 readers of his blog, The Dish, wasn't worth sacrificing his health (physical and mental).  Reading this I pondered whether his "retirement" was more of a tacit admission by the 52-year-old Brit that he had been crowded off the stage by a new generation of young, smart, gay political pundits.

 

Andrewsullivan.young
The fair-haired boy, circa 1990

 

25 years ago, in a world that was non-digital and where being out in the workplace was rare, Sullivan pretty much had the stage to himself (activist Michelangelo Signorile, who wrote for Out Week, also drew attention).  As the youthful editor of The New Republic, he peppered his opinion pieces with lyrics from the Pet Shop Boys;   Sullivan also regularly wrote of the challenges he faced as a practicing Catholic trying to reconcile his sexual orientation with the Church's homophobic teachings.  His gay cachet likely drew Calvin Klein to the pages of the magazine as the company advertised on the back cover of the publication, with ads featuring sexy Antonio Sabato, Jr. (news/current affairs magazine weren't a typical place to see homoerotic underwear ads).  As part of an ad campaign by Gap featuring young movers and shakers, he was photographed by Annie Leibovitz.

 

Andrew.sullivan.gap.ad 

 Xnew_republic

 

And although he was pilloried by some in the gay community for his conservative political leanings, and for defending George W. Bush's policies, his legacy will likely be his foresight when it came to the issue of same-sex marriage.  Way back in 1989 he wrote a cover story for The New Republic in which he posited that same-sex marriage was a way for gay men and lesbians to gain mainstream acceptance, since the desire to "settle down" would please family values conservatives and put the lie to the religious right's contention that gay men were condemned to lives of  anonymous sex and AIDS.  (In 2009 Sullivan married his partner.)

 

Newrepublic.thecaseforgaymarriage 

 

Although there are more than a dozen gay pundits today, it was Josh Barro of the NY Times who was the inspiration for this post.  The 31-year-old Barro, who is gay, Harvard educated, cute and has conservative political leanings, brought to mind an Andrew Sullivan of the 21st century.  (And who knows, like Sullivan, perhaps he'll embrace "bear" culture when he gets older).

 

Josh.barro

 

Barro is the youngest of seventeen personalities I think of as today's gay "intelligentsia", providing thoughtful commentary to LGBT followers as well as the general public.  Their median age is 44.  The best-known are Rachel Maddow and Nate Silver, both of whom have more than one million Twitter followers.  (Despite no longer being active on Twitter, Andrew Sullivan still has 110,000 followers.)  However, Chris Geidner, despite having considerably less followers, has by far the most tweets, with 157,000.

 

Gay.intelligentsia