You know all that commotion that started when Indiana Republican senator candidate Richard Mourdock said he didn't believe in abortion for rape victims because it was something that God intended to happen?"
Well now Newt Gingrich has put in his two cents, telling Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter that she's all kinds of wrong for calling out Republicans for saying well...getting raped and subsequently pregnant is the Almighty's intent. Watch and gag below.
*Pictures are a mix of my own and press photos. It should easy to tell the difference:).
I went, I saw and now I will review. As even the most casual reader of this blog probably knows, I love Madonna, gay cliche or not. But up until last night, I'd never had the awe-inspiring pleasure of seeing her in the flesh. There are different reasons for this; I wasn't exactly old enough to beg my parents to get tickets for The Girlie Show, Blond Ambition or Who's That Girl, and was barely a zygote during The Virgin Tour, which was the last time she came down to New Orleans. Which brings up the other reason--location, as her more recent tours have skipped over us Pelican state residents.
Finally the time, the place and my money were right and I journeyed to the Big Easy to see my Grand Diva dance, sing, get up and do her thing. The ride down was fun and smooth, as I drove most of the way singing her songs at the top of my lungs. Things turned momentarily frantic when I made a wrong turn--I have a horrible sense of direction, and somehow the fact the arena was two steps away from the Superdome went over my head--but eventually got to a parking garage and followed the crowd toward the arena.
Getting a piece of her luvin ain't cheap.
Speaking of the crowd, it was pretty diverse; a mix of old and young fans, straight guys with wives/girlfriends, and gays of all shapes, sizes and races. And though it was colder than a witch's teat--I've always wanted to say that--that didn't stop the girls, and of course, more than a few of the boys, from recreating of some Madge's iconic incarnations. Most opted for the Desperately Seeking Susan/Boy Toy look, while others slapped on cone bras and magic hair ponytails, leather, PVC wedding dresses, nun outfits and general New Orleans zaniness.
The merchandise and concession stands were hella expensive ($4 for water?), though my clutching the pearls at the prices probably says more about me; I haven't been to many concerts that didn't include dollar drinks or take place in a hole in the wall, so it took a minute for me to adjust. After wolfing down a kids' meal (hey a hot dog, popcorn and soda go a long way), and taking in the surroundings, I took a seat (the first of several until I found the right one) and waited for the festivities to begin.
Unfortunately, that would take about two and half hours. I'm not sure what the holdup was, but a majority of the crowd seemed hip to the game, as most folks didn't start filing in until around ten. The wait was helped somewhat by a DJ's set and the venue throwing on some old school Diana Ross--though "I'm Coming Out" definitely took on a new meaning given the circumstances.
At about 10:30, the lights dimmed and the show began. Here's the blow-by-blow: Kill Bill/Religious Section
The moment before I lost my gay mind.
A "religious chant" started things off as two robed monks rung a massive bell, causing a humongous censer to sway back and forth over fans in the triangle section. Other ominous figures emerged from the bottom of the stage while Madonna was shrouded behind a scrim, reciting the act of contrition as "Girl Gone Wild" kicked off. Then she burst through and emerged in a tight black outfit. She looked gorgeous: blond hair laid perfectly, face beat to perfection, the twins sitting like two scoops of french vanilla inside a leopard print bra.
I always thought I'd jump up and down and scream to high heaven with queenly delight when I saw Madonna on stage. But I could barely utter a sound. I was actually trembling, covering my mouth with my hands as she started dancing, beaming at the crowd. I may have been in the cheap seats, but for a moment it felt like we were the only two in the whole arena.
Okay, on with the show. After "Girl Gone Wild"and "Revolver" (appropriate since it features Lil' Wayne, a Nawlins native) got the party started, she conjured up her best Beatrix Kiddo for "Gang Bang" The dingy hotel room, the stylized fighting and the arty, seductive approach to violence all reek of Tarantino, though using a cross as step ladder was pure Madge. It was breath taking to watch. A shortened version of "Papa Don't Preach," came next, though Madonna did mess up a few lines and said "shit shit" in response, adding some unintended humor to was the evening's darkest segment.
Even "Hung Up," the purest of pop songs, got blackened up a bit, with a bound and gagged Madonna being pushed and pulled while dancers bounced up and down on thin wires, a.k.a slackliing, while she lay perilously underneath. "I Don't Give A..." featured a flat-screen Nicki Minaj and Madonna strumming her guitar. There wasn't much going on onstage, but it ended with Madonna laying on a platform, being lifted to the heavens behind a backdrop of a massive cross as the crowd roared. She may be going straight to hell, but she'll definitely have a lot of friends there.
The first section ended with the show's first interlude, featuring a few gas-masked dancers. Continuing the S&M theme, they contorted their bodies into poses that were thrilling and painful to watch, as a mashup of Hard Candy's "Heartbeat" and MDNA's "Best Friend" played. The circus tricks were too much for two girls behind me, as one said to the other "She's a weird girl." To which I thought Chile please. Where have you been for the last 100 years? Madge has been putting off-the-wall stunts in her shows for eons now. But let's move on.
After all the tension and the darkness (wink wink:) of the first act, the cowbells of "Express Yourself" were just what the crowd, particularly casual fans hungering for the hits, needed. Madonna looked like a combination of 40's siren-meets-grown up cheerleader, giving us a cute, flirty wink and salute as she launched into the song. Much has been made of Madonna incorporating Gaga's "Born This Way" and her own "She's Not Me," but for me it came across less as a "stop swagger jackin' my shit bitch" salvo than as a nod from one provocative pop starlet to another. Of course, she has cited for throwing shade at previous gigs, so maybe it varies from city to city.
The whole drumline remix of "Give Me All Your Luvin'"--complete with drummers drumming in mid-air!--was great as well, featuring plenty of batons, pom poms and booty poppin'. The good times continued when Madonna strapped back on the guitar and tore through "Turn Up The Radio," another crowd pleaser.
The "Beret"/Dita Section
Sauntering back onstage with a beret (hence the name of this section), Madonna did a great, bare bones version of "Open Your Heart," during which she did her patented deep knee bends. Taking time to speak, she attempted a little Cajun, asking if we were ready to "laissez bon temp rouler" (let the good times roll for the uninitiated). The one bizarre note came when she told us it was her birthday. Girl what? Last time I checked it was August 16! But I'll chalk it up to the rigors of the road and wanting to get the audience more riled up.
Things hit a little snag when Madge brought up Romney vs. Obama
Things hit a bump in road when she touched on politics. I was worried for her (like she needs my help:), when she brought up the presidential race. Of course we Democrats exist in Louisiana, but this is clearly Romney country.
It was the only moment I feared the crowd would turn on her, and when she encouraged us all to vote, then quipped "for Obama," sure enough a large portion of folks booed her. Undeterred, she lifted up her skirt, tapped her booty and told the haters to kiss her ass--with love of course. She then went on to encourage all of us to vote--no matter who we vote for--and to recognize how lucky we are to live in a democratic society.
Crowd firmly back in her pocket, she thanked us for sticking by her "for the last 300 years" and performed "Masterpiece," which she sang beautifully. The "Justify My Love" interlude came afterward, and while the video was fantastic, the clown routine paled next to the earlier contortion fest. "Vogue" was next, and though it was clearly lip-synched, she still gave a good face, sashaying and strutting across the stage in the destined-to-be iconic metal bustier. "Candy Shop" definitely is not and will never be one of my favorite songs, but it was given new life in the show, with touches of "Erotica" thrown in for good measure. "Human Nature" followed, with Madonna facing walls of moving mirrors as she declared "I'm not sorry." I can see why some don't like the song--it's the kind of defensive, woe-is-me complaint that doesn't exactly endear the rich and famous to everyday folks--but for me, the record's attitude, not to mention the beat, sells it.
Stripping down to her corset and exposing dollar bills (among other things) in her trousers, she dedicated "Like A Virgin" to Pussy Riot and all courageous artists, before performing a slow, dramatic version of her signature hit. How the lyrics relate to Pussy Riot is a little unclear; perhaps she meant seeing other artists willing to sacrifice their personal freedom for their art reawakened her need to provoke and take risks? I'm not sure. While not my favorite reworking of the song--Blond Ambition's harem version still slays them all--it worked for me, especially as a segue way into a ballad version of "Love Spent" one of MNDA's standout cuts.
The slower tempo definitely brought out the hurt and betrayal hidden in the money metaphors. Splayed out on the stage, clutching dollar bills as a dancer tightened what looked liked a faint-inducing corset, the effect was somber and devastating. The interlude that followed used "Nobody Knows Me," and featured images of Muslim women and a swastika imposed on Marie Le Pen, a French conservative, who apparently is no friend of Madge. The most arresting image though was Madonna herself, rapidly running through her many guises until wrinkles and lines appear, then deteriorating until there was nothing but skeleton. A sharp, wicked middle finger to those who think she's too old for pop music.
I couldn't up come with a proper name for the final segment, though feel good would be appropriate, since it kicked off with a thunderous version of "I'm Addicted," definitely one of MDNA's best tracks. Though while it's a great dance track, it didn't pump up the crowd quite like I expected. "I'm A Sinner" followed, along with a little Hawaiian-esque medley, which, when compared with how the show opened, is a pretty big 180 tone wise.
"Like A Prayer" is what really brought the house down, or more accurately, got everyone on their feet. It shouldn't come as a shock though, as it's such an uplifting song. Though it would be really interesting to hear the original version, with its rock guitars and isane bassline, performed live. It would have certainly fit the mood of the show. But I digress. Madonna clearly enjoyed the love, holding out the mike for the those in the triangle section to sing along--damn those triangle bitches. A pumped up rendition of "Celebration" closed things out, and just like that "Holiday" began poring out of the speakers and the arena lights came on. Show over.
Though I was disappointed she didn't include "Holiday" in the set list, especially since she's been doing snippets of it at other gigs, it was a great show. The dancers, interludes and sets were captivating, and Madonna's voice was consistently strong. She really seemed to be enjoying herself, reveling in her latest spectacle and having fun. I always thought I'd never have more fun with anyone else. Now I know it.
“I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”
That's what Mitt Romney said to Julie Goodridge, when she and other gays and lesbians met with the-then governor of Massachusetts in an attempt to get him to come around to the pro side of marriage equality in 2004. A harsh, flippant statement made all the worse by the fact that had he bothered to listen to Goodridge's story, he would have known she was the biological mother of her daughter Annie, and that her then- partner Hillary had been denied hospital visitation. Which of course, is partly why she and the other plaintiffs wanted marriage equality and were standing in front of him in the first place.
But such was life for the gays under the leadership of Romney. Save for Log Cabin Republicans (maybe that's why they're convinced Mitt will honor his back alley deal and do right by them), who, according to aBoston Spirit piece chronicling his time as governor, he felt comfortable around because "leadership positions are often held by white males who could 'pass' as straight in casual social settings."
Though before those gals celebrate, they should think of Romney's remarks about gays who dare to raise children. "Some gays are actually having children. It's not right on paper. It's not right in fact." Log Cabin Republicans, this is where your faith is.
I realize I'm a bit late in my gushing--The Man With Iron Fists comes out on November 2nd--but RZA's directorial debut looks fucking amazing. Lucy Lui in particular is serving all types of Mortal Kombat Kitana fabulousness, while the fight scenes seem stacked with a plethora of "oh snap!" moments you'll rewind over and over again once the DVD drops.
Of course it could turn out to be one big ol' mess; clearly RZA was inspired by old school kung fu flicks as well as Kill Bill's winking, comedic spin on the genre. But is there a real plot underneath it all? Guess we'll have to wait and see. Though if it is a hot mess, at least, like 300, it will be a visually stunning one. Watch the trailer below.
Doug Spearman, a.k.a. Chance, penned a wonderful op-ed for The Advocate in which he talks about his life, love, lover and upcoming directorial debut. And the gnawing fear that he'll screw it all up royally. An excerpt:
"I know my life is amazing. I’m an openly gay black man who has a career in Hollywood as a writer, actor, and now a director. I’m in a stable relationship with a man who supports and loves me, and I’m surrounded by friends. And I’m also about to direct a movie — a gay action-comedy-thriller called Hot Guys With Guns with a remarkable cast and an enviable crew — all of whom are working for basically peanuts and straw. "And I’m terrified I’m going to screw it all up...Let’s face it: Gay movies are really thin on the ground these days, so making one is not for sissies. People try to talk you out of it all the time."
"Well, I am certainly hoping our president stays put...If you're a woman, you should be very, very scared of that, for many reasons. And obviously as a gay person he doesn't believe in me having the same rights, so of course I'm not happy about that."
Ellen on the possibility of a Romney presidency
*Warning: Uber geeky Madonna fan post. Proceed if you're as crazy for Madge as I am. Which if you caught that song reference, you probably are. Anyway, on to the post!*
Today marks 20 years since Madonna released her fifth album Erotica, a work which I personally feel is an underrated masterpiece. Most casual listeners, and quite a few superfans, often cite either Like A Prayer or Ray of Light as the ultimate Madonna album, and with good reason. Like A Prayer was a turning point artistically. With songs that tackled religion, death, domestic violence strained parental relationships, and AIDS, Madonna brought her personal life into her art like never before, shedding the glossy Material Girl image. The music was also a sonic 180 from the synthesized dance pop of her previous albums, incorporating classical instruments and a live band to create a more organic feel. Uptempo tracks like "Express Yourself" and "Keep It Together" still had killer grooves, but were clearly a step up composition wise. It revealed a Madonna who had grown up a bit, but was still willing to stir up shit. Ray of Light also marked a new chapter, one thatsaw her deconstructing her blond ambition, sex-lioness persona as she embraced Earth mother realness. Motherhood and Kabbalah set her off on a different path. The songs talked about the emptiness of fame, the emotional consequences of selfish or immature behavior, a search for spirituality/a human connection, and the realization you can't control or change a lover. Her mother's death was explored even more viscerally this time around in closing track "Mer Girl," but was now tempered by the healing power of giving birth to new life on "Little Star." The album was also her most radical sonic shift ever: electronica was still mostly an underground phenomenon in the late 90's. R&B and hip hop dominated American radio. The mix of techno rhythms, ambient soundscapes, Euro-pop ballads and alternative-rock guitars was truly left-of-center for mainstream pop.
Erotica deserves to sit alongside those two masterworks. Many fans link Ray of Light to Like A Prayer, and while both albums are highly personal works that deal with spiritual exploration, I feel Erotica is the yin to Ray of Light's yang. The latter details the thrill of discovery, of gaining new knowledge and wisdom, while the former mines the personal wreckage of one's own desires, fears and frustrations, be they sexual or romantic. In fact, only three songs --the title track, "Where Life Begins," and "Did You Do It?"--deal with sex, contrary to the popular belief the album is a porn soundtrack. Of course, Madonna is partly responsible for said belief; the backlash that began brewing with Truth or Dare grew intoa "fuck you bitch" firestorm after the infamous SEX book and Body of Evidence were released before and after the album.
But Erotica is so much more than that. The icy, confrontational tone and Madonna's dry vocal delivery may lead a listener to think of it as an impersonal concept record. But though there's a definite thematic element, soul-searching and emotion are not skimped on. It's there in "Bad Girl," a tale of a neurotic woman burying herself in alcohol, cigarettes and lovers she doesn't care about. Or "Waiting," an indictment of falling for the wrong man laced with resentment and bitter sarcasm. Or in "Thief Of Hearts," "Words" and "Why's It So Hard," ferocious lyrical swipes aimed at man stealers, shady friends and/or critics and the world at large. Underneath all the anger, confusion and heartbreak though, is lingering sadness over friends and mentors lost to AIDS, laid bare on "In This Life."
The music, a moody cocktail of thumping house beats, jazzy R&B and East coast rap--along with the occasional flamenco guitar solo--matched the heavy subject matter. The darker tone may be another reason why Erotica wasn't a blockbuster--people were used to the warm, cheeky come-ons of "Into The Groove" or "Like A Prayer," not grimy tracks with couplets like "I'll hit you like a truck/I'll teach you how to f*ck." Sweetness and light, the album is not. But with the final track "Secret Garden," with its aching desire for "A petal that isn't torn" and "A heart that will not harden," Madonna offers a glimmer of optimism. That while she may never feel quite like a virgin again, the inner resolve to make it through the wilderness remains.
Of course, Bedtime Stories often gets lost in the album shuffle too, but that's a whole other post. Experience Erotica for yourself below.
Romnesia? No, it's not your BFF's baby cousin's name. It's a condition where a political candidate forgets key positions in his platform, side steps them when confronted, repeatedly tells a rival candidate they're mistaken about their plans, or just pretends previous statements were never in fact stated. Case in point: Mitt Romney. Watch President Obama lay out the symptoms below.
Or lack thereof--less than 30 days until the election and Romney and Co. still want spill any tea on their tax plan. But former president Bill Clinton breaks down the mathematical impossibility that Mitt's 20 percent tax cut won't raises taxes on the middle class. Watch below.
Talk about laying holy hands. For one Iowa pastor, that means wanting to slap a woman when she raises questions about the church's anti-gay pamphlets. According to The Advocate, the fliers in question are urging voters to oust Justice David Wiggins, the last of three judges to vote for marriage equality in the state.
When the woman, who attends City Church in Burlington, Iowa, told a pastor that she thought it was unlawful for a church to dispense politically charged material, fellow pastor Steve Youngblood said not only should she be slapped, but that her husband should "correct" her. After you finish rolling your eyes, continue: "What makes me madder is that this person's husband won't correct them," he said in his October 7 sermon, according to the report. "I don't like rebellious women. I don't like rebellious men either. They're even worse."
Yes, thinking discrimination and legislating morality are things that should be questioned should be labeled rebellious and worthy of a smackdown. According to Youngblood, the church isn't breaking any laws by having the pamphlets, which is probably true. But that doesn't make him sound any less idiotic. I fear for the woman who comes to him spouting that birth control, pro-choice mumbo jumbo.
An online video campaign has been launched support Marriage Equality USA. It's an unofficial response to the lack of LGBT people featured in ads where gay marriage is on the ballot--Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington.
As the description says, the videos feature "Four couples. Four love stories. One commitment." Watch below.
In case you missed/opted out of watching last night's vice presidential debate, a short video clearly lays out a few of the potholes in the Romney/Ryan plan that the latter tried to gloss over between sips of what must have been the most delicious water ever.
In today's edition of "this is some hot mess," members of nonprofit God Said (funny how the Almighty suddenly becomes so vocal when folks feel the need to broadcast their prejudices), PO'd at President Obama's support of marriage equality, have launched a million dollar campaign against him.
According to The Advocate, the group wants black voters to sit out November 6, aiming to strip the president of 25 percent of his African American base. Most egregiously, they want voters not to cast a ballot according to party, or to you know, critical thinking/common sense, but to "biblical values."
"The black community is among the most religious in America," founder Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani told The Daily Caller in a statement. "We are offended that President Obama has announced his support of same-sex marriage, that the NAACP has blindly supported the secular views of the Democratic Party, and that their national platform plainly supports same-sex marriage. I am confident this message will be well received and acted upon on Election Day."
The group, which include members like former Miss America Day Gardner and Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, also hopes to bring "notable, nonpartisan support of natural marriage and natural family life in the African American community."
The level of cognitive dissonance is astounding. Kamau-Imani must have forgotten that 200 years ago, she and the other black folks in God Said would have only been considered three fifths of a person, let alone something "natural" enough to get married and have a family. Or that 50 years ago the only "natural" families recognized by the government would've been couples of the same race. In both scenarios, societal progress was slowed down by those claiming to know exactly what God said.
Sadly ironic a group of African Americans is actively encouraging folks not to vote; especially when those same folks would likely cite "the dogs and the fire hoses" when spouting their "don't compare your skin to my sin" crap.
With National Coming Out Day almost upon us--I guess that makes today Coming Out Eve. Both feet out of the closets boys and girls!--what better time to talk about Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay, a new book by DJ/blogger Paul Vitagliano.
As you probably guessed, the book features childhood photos of people who grew up to be proud gay adults, accompanied by first person stories. The picture above is of Marco at age six. "This photo was taken at a cafe in an Italian spa town. My mom, dad, brother and I all sat down in these modern 1960s chrome chairs: however, I was the only one who crossed my legs in such a flirtatious way! As children, we almost never censor ourselves."
Vitagliano told The Advocate he wanted the book to document the cultural experience of coming out and growing up gay from the 50's to the present day.
"I wanted the larger message to be: I faced the same adversity you do today, and I ended up as a happy, loved and proud gay adult," said Vitagliano. "I omitted particularly brutal memories simply because I wanted this book to be appropriate reading material for kids as well as adults."
The book is out now. View a few more photos in a slideshow HERE.
Solange's new single "Losing You," is an 80's throwback in all the best ways. Warm, layered synthesizers, tom tom drums, kooky sound effects--one brings to mind a kitten getting its tail yanked, in a cool, WTF is that kind of way--and oodles of handclaps.
Meanwhile the stacked harmonies and lovelorn lyrics that could've sprung from Supremes-era Diana Ross's lips ("I gave you everything and now there's nothing left of me/I'm not the one you should be makin' your enemy") recall her Motown-inspired Sol-Angel And The Hadley Street Dreams days. I could so see Jody Whatley, Lisa Lisa, Janet or Neh Neh Cherry singing this back in the day. Watch the video for "Losing You" and decide for yourself below.
The deconstruction of President Obama's debate performance continues. While appearing on MSNBC's NOW, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson stated that, in his opinion, the reason why Obama behavior was so subdued compared to Romney's was because he was worried he may come off as an “angry black man.” Watch a short clip below:
I'm usually sitting in the amen corner whenever Dr. Dyson speaks, but this time I have to raise my church finger. While he's dead on in saying Mitt Romney had the least to lose going into the debate--basically since everyone thought he'd suck balls--I'm not sure fear of being the angry black man was the reason behind Obama's aloofness . No doubt President Obama, like 99.99 percent of all black man, has thought/feared/confronted the idea of coming off like an angry black man, but I don't feel this was one of those times.
The five-year old Obama clip Fox News jumped up and down about and that Dr. Dyson cites has already been dissed and dismissed, both then and now, as inconsequential. As it should be. Outside of easily swayed swing voters and the Tea Party choir Fox News already preaches to, I doubt most rational adults will watch a video of the president speaking out about the government's handling of Katrina and investing in black-owned businesses and think "dem darkies 'bout to rise up!"
My personal opinion is Obama's detailed rebuttals, note writing and looking down while Mitt was doing his "see I'm not an android after all" routine was a psychological trick. Perhaps Obama and his team thought that by appearing extremely detached and "above it all," Romney in turn would grow more and more animated and irritated, thus throwing him off his game. Unfortunately for the president, that approach, if that's hat they were going for, backfired, at least in terms of media reaction.
I think the president stayed true to both the facts and to his talking points; he just did it in a way that came off as listless and disengaged. However, failing to mention the 47 percent video was a bad call all around. There was just too much meat on that bone not to take a bite.
In the end though, debates boil down to words and visuals. And someone raising their voice and gesturing all over the place--lest they wade into Howard Dean territory--is a flashier, more compelling visual image, than someone calmly explaining their position. That is why most folks came away thinking Romney won the debate. It sure wasn't for telling the truth.
What do you think? Is Dr. Dyson right? I'd really like to know what you guys think.
Sigh. Who else is so not surprised at this turn of events? Last month it looked like Chick-Fil-A had a glimmer of common sense when the company pledged to no longer donate to anti-gay organizations. Since then though it's been revealed the dispenser of Waffle Fries (which you can buy at any Wal-Mart in the continental US if you're really hard up for a fix) is still funneling coins to anti-gay groups.
Now CEO Dan Cathy has once again come along to throw and rub salt in the wound with his latest interview. "Families are very important to our country," Cathy said. "We're concerned about it being able to hang onto the heritage we have. We're supporting biblical families. We've always been a part of that."
See what goodness Magic Mike hath wroth? In addition to teasing the girls--and who are we kidding, the boys as well--with a sequel and a Broadway musical, the film's star (and it's loosely based source material) Channing Tatum is now on the cusp of opening up a establishment called Saints and Sinners. The club, based in New Orleans, promises to channel MM vibes in its concept.
The grand opening is this weekend, and will reportedly be attended by co-stars Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello. Alcide in the Big Easy? I may have to shoot on down to the N.O. come Friday.