African Americans Feed

Boy Crushes on Male Singing Stars of the 1960s & '70s

Dennis wilson beach boys

 

A number of years ago I wrote a post about male stars of TV shows in the 1960s and '70s who I fancied when I was a kid.  Now, in this post, male singers from that era who roused my innocent attention get the spotlight.  For the most part I watched these singers when they performed on popular variety shows such as Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams or American Bandstand.  As you'll see, I didn't have one type; some singers had masculine swagger, some possessed long-haired sexiness, while others exuded cool sophistication.

 

DENNIS EDWARDS (The Temptations)

The lasting memory I have of Edwards as lead singer of the Temptations was his performance of their hit song from 1969, I Can't Get Next to You, on the Andy Williams Show.

 

Dennis edwards_temptations

 

LEVI STUBBS (The Four Tops)

Stubbs' voice is strongest on hits of the Four Tops such as Bernadette, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Baby I Need Your Loving and Shake Me, Wake Me.

 

Levi stubbs four tops

 

CAT STEVENS

The ethereal Stevens was a prototype for the 21st century's metrosexual.  I was attracted more to his looks than to his songs.

 

Cat stevens

 

JIM MORRISON (The Doors)

Like Cat Stevens, I liked Morrison's mop of unruly hair and his feline sexiness (Mic Jagger of the Rolling Stones was very similar, but he just didn't do it for me).  Favorite songs of his are Love Her Madly, Touch Me and Riders on the Storm.

 

Jim morrison doors

 

KEITH POTGER (The Seekers)

Potger was one of the three musicians of the Australian group The Seekers (biggest hit was Georgie Girl) who backed up singer Judith Durham.  Unlike Jim Morrison's brooding presence, Keith had a sunny disposition.  

 

Keith potger guitar

  Keith potger_seekers

 

LARRY RAMOS (The Association)

Ramos always seemed to have a kind persona.  Born in Hawaii, he reminded me of a former boyfriend of mine who was from Ecuador.

 

Larry ramos the association

 

TED BLUECHEL (The Association)

Even before he grew his hair long and grew facial hair, Bluechel's clean cut was equally appealing.

 

Ted bluechel_the association

 

EDWIN STARR

Most famous for his anti-war song from 1969, War (What is it Good For?), Starr had a club hit during the disco era with Contact.  Other songs of his that I like include Headline News, Twenty-Five Miles and HAPPY Radio.

 

Edwin starr_war what is it good for

 

MARVIN GAYE

His duets with Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross were especially beautiful.  His cool persona brings to mind that of Barack Obama.  Sadly, he died the day before his 45th birthday (shot by his father).

 

Marving gaye smiling in suit

 

Marvin gaye

 

MIKE NESMITH (The Monkees)

Nesmith was goofy-cute rather than debonair or sexy.

 

Mike nesmith

 

TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Pendergrass exuded sex.  By far his best song as a solo artist, in my estimation, was Close the Door.  He also had great songs leading Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (Bad Luck, Wake Up Everybody, Satisfaction Guaranteed). 

 

Teddy pendergrass

 

SAM COOKE

Another cool and debonair act in the Marvin Gaye mold.  And like Gaye, his life, unfortunately, was cut short by a bullet (at the age of 33).

 

Sam cooke

 

DENNIS WILSON (Beach Boys)

Wilson turned crazy as the years went by and he died young (39).

 

Dennis wilson beach boys early years

 

Dennis wilson bare chested

 

JOHNNY MATHIS

He eventually came out, but like Barry Manilow, it was no great surprise.  Besides Chances Are, his holiday song Sleigh Ride is high on the list of my favorite songs of his.

 

Johnny mathis in a tux

 

Johnny mathis_sleigh ride

 

NINO TEMPO

Nino was paired up with April Stevens; their one hit song was Deep Purple from the early '60s.  His appearance reminds me of the Italian fathers who lived in the town I grew up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.

 

Nino tempo


ESPN Magazine's Body Issue - For Those of Us Who Love A Man OUT of Uniform

Espn body issue 2015_kevinlove

 

2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of ESPN Magazine's first Body Issue, which celebrates the musculature of athletes across the spectrum of professional sports (male as well as female).  Despite the athletes being photographed in the buff, these photos have more in common with Michelangelo's sculptures than Robert Mapplethorpe's images.  And although I would have preferred seeing more body hair, it's refreshing that a major sports magazine doesn't have any hang-ups about putting the bodies of athletes front and center for readers to admire.  (And kudos to the athletes who participate.)  Finally, both 2017's and 2018's edition included openly gay male athletes: skier Gus Kenworthy and figure skater Adam Rippon

 

Although there were hundreds of photos to choose from (a challenge I happily accepted) I managed to narrow them down to my two dozen favorite:

 

Espn body issue - giancarlo stanton
Baseball star Giancarlo Stanton (2013)
 
 
Espn body issue - julian edelman
NFL wide receiver Julian Edelman (2017)

 

Espn body issue - rugby star Malakai_Fekitoa20170629_ODV
Rugby star Malakai Fekitoa (2017)
 
 
Espn body issue - javier baez
Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs (2017)
 
 
Espn body issue 2018 _adamrippon_bodyissue1406
Figure skater Adam Rippon (2018)
 
 
Espn-body-issue - kolin kapernick
NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick (2013)
 
 
Espn body issue - Apolo-Ohno-Speed-Skating-2011
Speed skater Apolo Ohno (2011)
 
 
Espn body issue_tyler_seguin
Hockey player Tyler Seguin (2015)
 
 
Espn body issue - football player
Football player Julian Edelman (2017)

 

Espn body issue - matt harvey
Pitcher Matt Harvey (2013)

 

Espn body issue_TomasBerdych
Tennis player Tomas Berydch (2014)

 

Espn body issue - antonio brown 2016
NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown (2016)
 
 
Espn body issue-jake arrieta_013
Pitcher Jake Arrieta (2016)
 
 
Espn body issue - conor mcgregor
Mixed martial arts champion Conor McGregor (2016)
 
 
Espn body issue - YasielPuigESPNTheBodyIssue6
Baseball star Yasiel Puig (2018)

 

Espn-body-issue - ezekiel elliott
NFL rusher Ezekiel Elliott (2017)

 

Espn body issue - gus kenworthy 2017
Freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy (2017)
 
 
Espn body issue joffrey lupul
Hockey player Joffrey Lupul (2013)

 

Espn body issue - bryce harper
Baseball player Bryce Harper (2015)

 

Espn body issue - rob gronkowski
Football player Rob Gronkowski (2012)

 

Espn mag body issue - tennis player
Tennis player Stan Wawrinka (2015)

 

Espn body issue - omar gonzalez
Soccer player Omar Gonzalez (2014)
 
 
Espn body issue - ashton easton decathlete
Decathlete Ashton Eaton (2012)

 

Espn body issue - isaiah thomas
NBA star Isaiah Thomas (2017)

Introducing 'Chill', the Men's Magazine of "Label-Free Living"

Chill magazine

 

Last month (May 2018) I came across a magazine at my gym that I wasn't familiar with, Chill.  As I thumbed through it, a surfeit of photos showing sexy African American men got my attention.  And while the photo essays gave off a subtle gay vibe, I was uncertain about the publication's intended readership.  Upon further investigation I learned that Chill is a new quarterly published by Here Media, which is also the publisher of Out, The Advocate and Out Traveler.  The publisher's letter described the magazine's audience as men who are "empowered by label-free living".  (An updated version of the DL?)  And when I spoke to Here Media's business development manager and referred to Chill as the gay magazine for black men, he demurred and reiterated the "fluidity" of their orientation.  So I suppose this means we shouldn't expect to find the likes of Billy Porter, Titus Burgess or RuPaul on the cover. 

 

What makes the publication somewhat different from Out or The Advocate is that every article doesn't have a gay angle.  However, in the premiere issue there was a touching essay about a writer's experience as a gay teen feeling like an outsider in black barbershop culture.  There was also a review of a biography about gay author Alain Locke, an article about the show runner for Giant (which has addressed homophobia in the black community), a photo essay shot by a gay photographer, and an interview with a gay make-up artist from the VH-1 reality series Love & Hip-Hop Miami, who was subjected to gay conversion therapy as a teenager.  And on Chill's website its stories included one about one of the stars of the new FX show Pose, an event in California for gay/bi men of color called  Blatino Oasis, and a thought-provoking essay about the sexual objectification of black men by gay white men.  Interestingly, there was no listing of Chill on Here Media's website.

 

Finally, since the initial issue contained very little advertising (nine pages out of a total of 64) I'd like to give a shout-out to the few who did appear in the premiere issue: Absolut, Lexus, the pharmaceutical companies Gilead and Napo, and LA's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. 

 

 

Black Brazilians

  James brownIII

  Michael stiggers in chill magazine

  Terrell Clark

 

 

 

 


Shannon Sharpe Dazzles ESPN Viewers With NFL Bombast, Drag Queen Fierceness

Shannon sharpe cropped photo

 

The TV monitor mounted in the kitchen at my workplace is often tuned to ESPN's sports commentary show, Skip & Shannon Undisputed.  The show has drawn my attention because of Shannon Sharpe, a former wide receiver in the NFL Hall of Fame who's one of the show's hosts.  He's quite the "dandy", wearing bold, patterned shirts and vibrantly colored ties and bow ties.  These flashy shirt/tie combinations suit his bombastic persona perfectly.  And although another former NFL star with a broadcast career, Michael Strahan, may be better known, Sharpe is far more telegenic. 

 

Because of his strong facial features (a strong jaw and broad grin) and a confident, dramatic presence, along with a forceful speaking manner, every time I watch Sharpe I think to myself what a fabulous drag queen he'd be.  Give this man some lipstick!  He brings to mind Wesley Snipes' drag queen character in the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.  (And I've always thought that Arsenio Hall would be a natural for drag.)

 

Wesley snipes in To Wong Foo

Save

Save

 Shannon sharpe 

 Shannonsharpe

 Shannon sharpe

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save


2016 Tony Awards Air on Same Day as Homophobic Attack in Orlando (June 12, 2016)

James.corden.2016tonysWho could have imagined that the highlight of the Broadway season, the gay Super Bowl, would be held on the same day as the nation's deadliest attack against America's LGBT population?  Yet it did on June 12.  Before the opening of the telecast, master of ceremonies James Corden soberly yet compassionately addressed viewers at home with his back to those attending the awards ceremony.  With his brief commemoration completed, the coronation of Hamilton began.  During the telecast comments about the slaughter of 49 patrons at Orlando's gay club, Pulse, were made by Lin Manuel-Miranda, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella and Barbra Streisand (yes, Babs made her first appearance in 50 years).  And everyone was sporting a silver ribbon on their lapel or gown in a show of solidarity for the city of Orlando.

 

Of course, in this day and age of 24/7 news the coverage of the attack was continuous and unnerving.  This was in stark contrast to the indifference shown more than 40 years earlier after the previous deadliest attack against gays, in June 1973, when 32 patrons of the New Orleans bar Upstairs Lounge died in an arson fire.  Sadly, hate continues in the present day but this time it was publicized worldwide rather than ignored.      

 

NOW, ON WITH THE SHOW!

The lovable James Corden was wonderful - and such a relief from the silliness of last year's hosts, Alan Cumming and Kristen Chenoweth.  (Actually, Corden's love of Broadway is similar to that of another former host, Hugh Jackman.)  The introduction of Corden at the top of the show was genius, replicating the rap patter of Hamilton and sung by cast members.  It poked fun at Corden's relative unknown.  One excerpt:

CBS said, "This collision of theater and tele-vision needs a risk taker, it needs a rule breaker, it needs a troublemaker, a mover and a shaker - It needs that chubby dude from 'Into the Woods' who played the baker."    

 

Jame corden dancing tony awards  

 

PROUD PAPA

Lin-Manuel Miranda had plenty of opportunities to beam as Hamilton won 11 Tony's.  The widespread acclaim the show has received is no doubt the biggest reason the telecast's rating was the highest in 15 years.

 

Lin-manuel_miranda.tonys

Lin-manuel-tonys

Proud

 

CALLING THE FASHION POLICE!

There's always one and this year it was Cate Blanchett, resplendent in raccoon-eye makeup and an "outfit" that looked like it was made from a sweatshirt and leather harness.

 

Cate.blanchet.2016tonys

 

80+ NEVER LOOKED BETTER

At 83, the vibrant Chita Rivera introduced the In Memoriam tribute, a list she's not likely to appear on for many years.

 

Chita rivera 2016 tony awards

 

A COMEDIC TRIBUTE TO "LAW & ORDER"

There was a hilarious routine about various Broadway actors who may be better known for their roles on Law & Order than on Broadway (ending with six roles by Fiddler's Danny Burstein).

 

Billporter.lalaw
Billy Porter ("Shuffle Along")

 

Daveed.diggs.tonyawards
Daveed Diggs ("Hamilton")

 

Danny.burstein.tonyawards
Danny Burstein ("Fiddler on the Roof")

 

SKEWERING TRUMP

There were three swipes at Donald Trump.  In applauding the diversity of the Tony nominees, Corden said that Donald Trump had threatened to build a wall around the theater; Nathan Lane said he learned about the great importance of winning awards at Trump University; then, near the end of the show, in a real slap at him, there was a little routine about a show about Trump coming to Broadway in the fall titled "House of Moron".

 

Book.of.moron

 

HEY, HAVEN'T I SEEN THAT DRESS BEFORE?

 

Renee.elise.goldsberry
Renee Elise Goldsberry, 2016 Tony Winner

 

Alicia.vikander.justjared
Alicia Vikander, 2016 Oscar Winner

 

UNDERSTATED CHARM

I found myself enchanted by the number, If You Knew My Story, from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's nominated show Bright StarThe song had a countrfied charm and the stage setting's soft blue hues brought to mind a water color.

 

Bright.star

 

BECAUSE OUTRAGEOUS TICKET PRICES DON'T RAISE ENOUGH REVENUE 

New York senator Charles Schumer was applauded for passing legislation providing tax breaks for Broadway.  The cynical question in my mind - does that mean ticket prices will go down?

 

Charles.schumer 

 

CUTE, HORNY BOYS IN KNICKERS

The number from Spring Awakening had the cutest display of boys in knickers since the Tony ceremony from a few years ago that featured a number from Newsies.

 

Springawakening

 

EMILIO RUINED THE SURPRISE

In introducing a number from Get on Your Feet, Emilio Estefan spoiled a surprise when he mentioned that wife Gloria wasn't at the podium with him because she was appearing in the number.  I loved the two little boys dancing the rumba while playing maracas; the Ricky Martin-esque lead also got my attention.  One of the songs in the medley was Estefan's remake of Turn the Beat Around, but for me only Vicki Sue Robinson's original version will do.

 

Getonyourfeet  

 

THE REVIVAL THAT WON'T DIE

There was a special shout-out for the 20th anniversary of the revival of Chicago, but I found it odd that no mention was made of its original run 40 years ago.

 

Chicago

 

LOVE HIM, LOVE HIM, LOVE HIM!

Lin-Manuel Miranda gave a powerful, emotional acceptance speech upon accepting his Tony for Best Score.  The most memorable, emphatic line alluded to the day's tragedy in Orlando: "Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside" .

 

Lin_manuel miranda tony awards 

 

THE LIGHTS OF BROADWAY ARE SO BRIGHT SHE'S GOTTA WEAR SHADES

 

Anna.wintour.2016tonys
Anna Wintour, as always, showed up wearing sunglasses.  And, again, she went home without a Tony.

 

DIVERSITY, THY NAME IS THE TONYS

 

Asian.tonys
The night's much-touted "diversity" included presenter Daniel Dae Kim, starring in "The King & I"

 

THRILLED JUST TO BE NOMINATED

 

Janekrakowski
Jane Krakowski ("She Loves Me")
 
Jonathan.groff
Jonathan Groff ("Hamilton")
 
Shufflingalong.actor.tonys
Brandon Victor Dixon ("Shuffle Along")
 
Michelle.williams
Michelle Williams ("Blackbird")

 

PAYING TRIBUTE TO CLASSIC BROADWAY

During commercial breaks cast members of the nominated musicals would rush outside and do a quick verse from a classic Broadway show, for all of 10-15 seconds.  The giddy energy brought to mind young kids putting on a show, a la Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

 

Lin-manuel_miranda.beacon theater
At the end of the song from "Rent" sung by the cast of "Hamilton" it was amusing to hear Lin-Manuel Miranda doing light shilling for CBS, shouting, "The Tonys, only on CBS!"

 

LOVE THOSE CROWD SHOTS!

 

Audience.shot
Something must have been going on in the cheap seats ...

 

TWO MORE "HAMILTON" FANS

 

Barack.and.michelle.obama.tonyawards
The president and first lady briefly talked about, what else?, "Hamilton", offering an anecdote about seeing a version of the show in its embryonic stage at the White House a number of years ago.

 

"SHUFFLING" PAST 11:00

Unlike the Oscars, the Tonys have a reputation for ending on time but this year the telecast went until 11:15.  Perhaps it would have ended at 11:00 if it weren't for the need for presenters to say the official title of Shuffle Along ("Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed").  Because it received ten Tony nominations it was mentioned throughout the night.

 

Shuffling.along

 

THEN ... AND NOW, THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD!

If your DVR stopped recording at 11:00 you missed the uplifting closing few minutes, featuring a number from, no surprise, "Hamilton",  with lyrics that were so very apt on this day:

Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now ... we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world - in the greatest city in the world! 

 

Hamilton_2016tonyawards

 

Here are reviews of previous Tony Awards:

2015 Tony Awards

2014 Tony Awards

2013 Tony Awards

 


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


Three Time's A Charm: The Wiz Live! Delights

TheWizLive!They say three times is a charm and, happily, that was the case with NBC's ambitious undertaking of producing Broadway musicals on live TV each year at the beginning of December.  After striking out with the The Sound of Music Live! in 2013 and then Peter Pan Live! in 2014, 2015's The Wiz Live! was a triumph.  (If a gay man doesn't gush about a musical, does it even exist?)  A vibrant and colorful production, the sets, actors, costumes, musical numbers and choreography were all top notch.  I never made it through more than the first 30 minutes of SOM or PP, but I've watched The Wiz three times (the same number of times I saw the theatrical version of Into the Woods at the beginning of the year). 

 

The Wiz Live! had a supporting cast of well-known names, including Stephanie Mills, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Common, David Alan Grier and Elijah Kelley.  (My favorite was Ne-Yo as the Tin Man.)  Besides being a pleasure to watch, another difference this production had from its two predecessors was the casting of an unknown in the lead.  While the star power may have been the primary draw, Shanice Williams as Dorothy brought fresh energy, and even an occasional outburst of diva attitude.  (What a pity that her character was trying to get to ... Omaha!)

 

Shanice.williams


For me the musical's highlight was the middle portion when Dorothy and her buddies entered Emerald City and had their first encounter with the Wiz (played by Queen Latifah).  They first pass through a club in Emerald City that had a gay vibe.  Then there were the back-to-back numbers, the heart-tugging ballad What Would I Do If I Could Feel? sung by Ne-Yo's Tin Man and then a dance number Ne-Yo wrote for this TV production, We Got It.

 

Dorothy.emeraldcity

 

Tinman.whatwoulido

 

Wiz.wegotit

 

And here are some more favorite moments from the telecast ...

 

Goodwitch
Amber Riley as the Good Witch of the North

 

Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow
Elijah Kelley as the Scarecrow. Kelley also portrayed 'Seaweed' in the 2007 movie version of "Hairspray"

 

Crow.thewiz
One of the flock of crows who harassed the Scarecrow

 

Common.thewizlive
Common portrayed Emerald City's gatekeeper/bouncer

 

Clubemeraldcity
One of the oh-show-chic club-goers in Emerald City

 

Queen.latifah.closeup
Queen Latifah as the Wiz

 

Neyo.tinman
Ne-Yo as the good-natured Tin Man

 

Guard.nobadnews
One of the Wicked Witch of the West's courtiers

 

Mary.j.blige
Mary J. Blige as Evilene, the Wicked Witch of the West

 

Tinman.wiz
Upon their first encounter the Tin Man implored Dorothy to lube him up. And if oil wasn't available, Crisco would do!


 

Tinman.dancing
The Tin Man gets his groove on during the celebration after the death of Evilene ("A Brand New Day")

 

Glinda
Uzo Aduba as Glinda

 


Welcome Back, Giorgio Moroder!

Giorgio.moroder Giorgio.moroder.oldWhen I reminisce about the Classic Disco era it's sometimes a bittersweet experience because it brings to mind those stars who are no longer with us, such as Sylvester, Loleatta Holloway, Dan Hartman, Glenn Hughes (the Village People's leather man), Patrick Cowley, and Donna Summer.  (My parents likely experienced a similar sentiment when they thought back to the Big Band era.)  Happily, a legendary producer of the era, Giorgio Moroder, is still with us, and he recently released his first CD in more than 25 years, Deja Vu.  Now 75 years old, Moroder is a contemporary of Italy's other world-famous Giorgio, 81-year-old Giorgio Armani

 

I particularly like four tracks on this new CD (so much so that I bought them on iTunes):  Two of them, Right Here, Right Now (featuring Kylie Minogue) and Tempted are pop-oriented while Diamonds and Wildstar are dance-oriented.  Other artists who he collaborated with GM were Britney Spears, Sia  and Kelis.

 

Giorigo.moroder.dejavu

 

In my mind GM's name is forever linked with that of Donna Summer because he produced her string of double albums in the late 1970s.  However, he's also worked with a roster of other artists as well.  What follows are my favorites tracks that he's either had a hand in producing, writing or both.  Some were the biggest hits of their time while others are obscure gems (which somewhat adds to their appeal).

 

TROUBLEMAKER - Roberta Kelly (1976)

Moroder wrote this.  Great energy.

 

Roberta.kelly.troublemaker

 

TRY ME, I KNOW WE CAN MAKE IT - Donna Summer (1976)

18 minutes of languid disco without the moaning featured in Love to Love You Baby.

 

Donna.and.giorgio

I FEEL LOVE - Donna Summer (1977)

A song throbbing with the heat and ecstasy of sex.

 

Donnasummer.ifeellove

 

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY - Giorgio Moroder (1977)

The quintessential disco track.  With synthesized pulsing and swooping orchestral flourishes, this may be my favorite Moroder number.  And the song was further enhanced when hearing it play at The Saint.

 

Giorgio.moroder.fromheretoeternity

 

I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE - Giorgio Moroder (1977)

From the same album as From Here to Eternity, it has the catchiest title of any on this list, and also the most downbeat storyline.  Never has despair been so danceable.

 

Moroder.synthesizers

 

I LOVE YOU - Donna Summer (1978)

A beautiful, exhilarating song about two people experiencing love at first sight.

 

Donna.summer.i.love.you

 

THE CHASE - Giorgio Moroder (1978)

An electronic instrumental from the Moroder-produced soundtrack for the movie Midnight Express, it won the Oscar for Best Original Soundtrack.  Although it was ubiquitous on TV shows and sports programming of the time it rose no higher than #33 on Billboard's Hot 100. 

 

HARMONY - Suzy Lane (1979)

Brings back memories of prowling the corridors of the Club Baths where music from disco station WKTU was piped in.

 

Suzi.lane.harmony

 

 

LUCKY - Donna Summer (1979)

Recounts an experience many of us had on more than one occasion, i.e., the realization that the trick you thought might be the "one" was just a one-night stand.  This track is from Summer's Bad Girls double LP.

 

Newsweek.discotakesover

 

CALL ME - Deborah Harry (1980)

Moroder's biggest hit, this track (from the movie American Gigolo) made New Wave palatable to the masses.  It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and was ranked as the top song of 1980.

 

FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING) - Irene Cara (1983)

From the smash movie Flashdance, this was another huge hit, the third most popular song of 1983.  Moroder co-wrote it and won an Oscar for Best Song.

 

RUSH RUSH - Debbie Harry (1983)

This light and bouncy number belied the violence of the movie it was part of, Scarface.  It was released as a single but failed to make the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at an embarrassing 104.  I liked running to this song.

 

Debbie-Harry-Rush-Rush-182028

 

ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM METROPOLIS (1984)

The instrumental, Machines, and the songs Here She Comes (Bonnie Tyler) and Love Kills (Freddie Mercury) come from the soundtrack to Fritz Lang's remastered 1927 movie classic, Metropolis.  The melding of Moroder's musical style to a black & white silent film was largely met with derision. 

 

Metropolis

 

CARRY ON - Donna Summer (1992)

Returning to his dance roots, this won Giorgio and Donna won a Grammy for Best Dance Track - five years after it was first released in 1992.

 

Donna.summer.carry.on


Michael Sam - First the NFL, Then the Cover of GQ

Michael.sam.gqNot only does defensive end Michael Sam have the distinction of being the first openly gay player drafted by the National Football League, but later that same year (2014) he became the first openly gay person to appear on the cover of GQ.  In GQ's history there have been a handful of closeted cover subjects (e.g., Rock Hudson, Greg Louganis, Kevin Spacey) and NFL players have been well represented (including Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, and Tiki Barber), but never before had someone who was openly gay and an NFL member graced its cover until the 24-year-old University of Missouri graduate was chosen for the honor.  And although he, ultimately, was released by two teams and never clocked any playing time, Sam's appearance is still a milestone to salute.  (An honor not bestowed upon openly gay NBA player, Jason Collins, who came out a year before Sam and briefly played for the Brooklyn Nets in 2014 before retiring at the end of the season.)

 

Sam will garner more attention in March when he appears as a contestant on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, becoming the show's third LGBT participant (Lance Bass, Carson Kressley and Chaz Bono were the others).

 


Andre Braugher Plays the "Straight Man" in Gay Role on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

ImagesCA91N7Q2I'm not a big fan of Andy Samberg's, but I've been tuning in to his new Fox sitcom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, because one of its characters, captain Ray Holt, is gay.  Played by Emmy Award winning actor Andre Braugher, it's quite a departure from his usual dramatic roles (e.g., Homicide; Law & Order).  He serves as a great foil to the man-child played by Samberg.  Braugher joins a small list of African American actors who have played a regular character who's gay, including Michael Boatman in 90s sitcom Spin City (as Carter Heywood); Matthew St. Patrick in Six Feet Under (as Keith Charles); and Nelsan Ellis in True Blood (as Lafayette Reynolds).

 

Carter_heywood

David_keith_sixfeetunder

True-Blood-lafayette-reynolds-15663678-500-290

 

Brooklyn-nine-nine-andre-braugherAlthough the focus of the show is on Samberg, it is Braugher's captain Holt who gets my attention.  I'm captivated by his soulful gaze and the comedic gravity he brings to the role.  And although viewers have been told that his sexual orientation kept him from being promoted to captain back in the 1990s, his orientation is only occasionally referenced.  However, it has also been established that he has a partner, whose name is Kevin (I think Edris Elba would be perfect in that role.)        

 

And although chances are good that the show may not live past its first season, I enjoy the show because its silliness is nicely tempered by the adult presence provided by Braugher.