New Fest 2014 (Part 2): Best Men, Wet Men, and a Tranny Chanteuse

Within the past week, two former gay students of mine texted to relate their agony at not having boyfriends and the inability to see any in their futures. All the potential Romeos they meet are just interested in one-night stands or are on the down-low. No love on balconies.  Read more »

Step Right Up!

Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic: More Tales of Sex and Death
Written and Performed by Dandy Darkly
Directed by Ian Bjorklund
Hot! Festival 2014: The NYC Celebration of Queer Culture
Dixon Place, NYC
July 11, 2014

Describing this deeply hypnotic, often horrifying, sometimes sentimental -- and in the end -- wildly entertaining performance piece is indeed a toughie. This task brings to mind what an academic might have been faced with if assigned to write a critique of T.S. Eliot, himself, doing a live recitation of The Wasteland. What could a scholar have written as a review of such a reading? Perhaps she/he might say “I was totally engaged and mesmerized by the presentation,” or “the listeners sat transfixed in pin-drop silence while Mr. Eliot discharged his words.” Later, our academic’s copiously annotated and footnoted analysis will appear in a university press journal, leaving those who see it only as dry “assigned reading” wondering what the big deal was. Dandy Darkly’s Pussy Panic is a totally engaging and mesmerizing show. The audience was in silence, pitched forward to catch every word. But if I were to quote the script out of the context of the whole work, you’d probably wonder why I was impressed too.  Read more »

Get Me A Guy!

Get Me a Guy
Directed by John Clancy
Written by Israela Margalit
Horse Trade Theater Group, in association with Moonlight Theatre Productions
UNDER St. Marks, 94 St. Marks Place, NYC
July 26 - August 4, 2014

A random, pheromone-induced hook-up at a gas station. A date arranged through a website cataloguing personal dislikes. An elderly couple debating whether cigarettes and sex can be fairly equated. Get Me a Guy , the new comic play by writer and concert pianist Israela Margalit, ranges through 80 minutes of vignettes exploring the nuances and neuroses of romantic relationships, not conceptually unlike the recent, longer, and more rapid-fire Love and Information. The discrete moments here form a loose progression from the parties and bars of youth, through jealous or baby-starved spouses and reunions of old lovers, to connections lost and (re)made in old age. The cast of seven actors, three women and four men led by Wei Yi Lin, Elizabeth Galalis, Brennan Lowey, and Paul Romano, are adept at the quick shifts required in a play that does not intend to develop their characters, variously performing and subverting stereotypes ranging from the women seeking “good husbands” to the men who think that they’re good husband material if only a woman could meet their requirements. Read more »

Seventies Supergroup's Stadium Tour Revisited

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: CSNY 1974 (Rhino)

In my youth, which was their prime, I thought CSNY was the greatest band in the world. Now I hear more to nitpick than I used to, but still, I knew I'd only be satisfied by the three-CD-plus-DVD edition of this release, which also includes a 188-page booklet (there's also a one-CD distillation available). It draws from nine concerts on their epochal 1974 stadium tour (plus a tenth, a December benefit appearance) to construct an ideal show of 40 songs, 21 with the full electric band on the first and third CDs and 19 acoustic (caveat: electric bass on a few) performances on the second CD. Read more »

NewFest 2014: Rubber, Leather, Hookers, and Cupcakes

If you still have an affinity for books, there can be few more choice summer reads than Edmund White's 2005 autobiography, My Lives. Divided into nonlinear sections devoted to his relationships with his parents, his hustlers, and his female entanglements, there's also a chapter entitled "My Europe." Herein White notes how while in the Paris of the 1980s, he became aware that petite green beans are tastier than their larger cousins. He also recounts how the social theorist Michel Foucault, a pal of his, noted that while "'gay philosophy' and 'gay paintings' were meaningless notions...writing gay fiction was legitimate since it enabled us to imagine how gay men should live together." Read more »

Video of the Week: Ásgeir - "King and Cross"

Some artists defy the odds, slowing building an audience until critical mass can be reached and a career can sustain itself. No easy feat in our dwindling music biz daze. All ready a star in his native Iceland, perhaps the indie folk singer-songwriter Ásgeir shall now conquer our vast expanse. From his exceptional album, In The Silence, here is "King and Cross" for your listening pleasure, certainly offering him a well-deserved advantage.

Dusty Wright - "29 Palms"

This is an unreleased bonus track for my solo album If We Never... It's a cover from former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant's 1993 Fate of Nations album. Cellist Matt Goeke lends his melodic playing throughout. Buy it today!

Song of the Week: Fierce Bad Rabbit - "Dreaming of Things To Be"

Don't know much about this American pop-rock quartet, but I'm sucker for a nice clean guitar hook and tight pop song structure. Apparently their lead vocalist Chris Anderson now makes Boston his home, moving from the band's homebase in Fort Collins, Colorado, but I couldn't tell if you if that will be an issue moving forward, Check out two stellar tracks from their forthcoming September release Living Asleep. Suffice it to say, if your into Band of Horses, The Shins, or Arcade Fire, Fierce Bad Rabbit will most certainly appeal to you.

Quote of the Week: Willem Dafoe

"You have to lose yourself to find yourself."

Willem Dafoe, (born 22 July 1955), Academy Award-nominated American film, stage, and voice actor, and a member of the experimental theater company The Wooster Group.

Johnny Winter R.I.P.

Song of the Week: Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas - "Caught Up"

Love the primal roots-rock Wanda Jackson-like flavor of Ms. Hernandez and her Deltas. "Caught Up" from her soon-to-be-released album Secret Evil. It's top shelf -- all big beats with no filler, no unnecessary bass moves, or guitar licks. And the black & white dance party antic adds to a terrific throwback vibe. This is on my weekend playlist. Play it loud & often.

Sex Tape or The World’s Longest iPad Commercial

Jake Kasdan is to directing comedy what Friedrich Nietzsche is to baking apple strudel. Not much.

As with his Bad Teacher (2011), which also stars Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal, Kasdan takes a promising concept and lays waste to it. The highly workable concept is a simple one: a sexually active couple, Jay (Segal) and Annie (Diaz), copulate like bunnies on ecstasy until they wed. Two precocious children later, the O in orgasms has moved on to the O on Cheerios boxes. He now is a music producer, I believe, and she blogs a column entitled "Who’s Yo Mommy?" Yes, copulation is no longer a spontaneous act for this duo. Instead, it has to be planned for ahead of time. Read more »

The Ramones - 1, 2, 3, 4!

Hard to believe that The Rolling Stones, half of The Beatles and The Who, and a dozen more bands that started a full decade before The Ramones (1974) have outlived them, and in many cases are still touring. They were one of my favorite punk bands ever... and with the recent death of Tommy Ramone (nee Thomas Erdelyi), all four original members of one of New York's finest bands ever, we are not "glad to see you go." The first three -- lead singer Joey (nee Jeffrey Hyman, died 2001), bass player Dee Dee (nee Douglas Colvin, died 2002), and guitarist Johnny (nee John Cummings, died 2004) -- all died only within six years after calling it quits. Read more »

Lorin Maazel, March 6, 1930 - July 13, 2014

Lorin Maazel, who died at age 84 on Sunday, from complications of pneumonia, was a true Renaissance man of music: a child prodigy as a conductor and violinist, and later a composer as well. Read more »

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