Friday, December 14, 2007

CREATIVE INSPIRATION

When you take action in a spirit of positive achievement, your luck will be good even if the results are not what you expected or initially desired. Positive action always eventually creates positive results. -- Napoleon HIll

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Janet Returns with Feel Good "Feedback"


Yesterday I did my first public reading of an excerpt from my forthcoming memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay D.C.(Atria/Simon & Schuster). It was a chapter about one of my biggest career breaks, interviewing Janet Jackson for a March 2001 VIBE magazine cover story. (My second VIBE cover story on Janet from last year made international headlines.) So imagine my surprise – and intense feeling of serendipity – when I arrived home and saw that Janet's new single, "Feedback," had leaked on the internet. As a longtime Janet follower, I always have a bunch of questions running through my mind when I hear her new stuff: Do I like it? Will others like it? Will it make MTV stop buggin' and embrace her again? But about halfway through "Feedback," I just relaxed and started enjoying it.

The song -- an uptempo cut about, well, basically just being sexy -- is produced by Rodney Jerkins, but its electro-thump reminds me of classic Rockwilder joints like Method Man and Redman's "Da Rockwilder" and Rah Digga's underrated "Party and Bullshit 2003." What I like best about "Feedback," though, is that the feel is classic Janet. Miss Jackson has always separated herself from other pop provocateurs by the way she infuses her expressions of sexuality with warmth and fun. Even when singing lines like "these girls out here hatin' 'cause I'm sexy," she comes across more playful than arrogant, and it's nice to hear her having such a good time. The intense public scrutiny she's been under for the past few years had to have taken its toll, and it was hard not to hear that in the music. But "Feedback" makes it sound like she's ready to let go again, and it's high time that people stop making her pay for all of pop culture's ills and simply let her do her thing.

"Feedback" song:
Janet - Feedback - Single - Feedback

"Feedback" video:
Feedback


My two Janet cover stories:


DAILY INSPIRATION

"It is surprising how much one can produce in a year, whether of buns or books or pots or pictures, if one works hard and professionally for three and a half hours every day for 330 days." -- Leonard Woolf

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Big Momma's Back!!!!

Can't wait for this...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sex and the City trailer








looks hot...

HOT MAGAZINE COVER!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Will of the World


Will Smith on "60 Minutes" part 1


Will Smith on "60 Minutes" part 2

I never used to be a Will Smith fan, but I was won over by his performance as the dad in The Pursuit of Happyness. I also thought he had some interesting things to say on "60 Minutes" Sunday:

1) That he credits his success not just to talent but to an extreme work ethic.

2) That he stars in so many Sci-Fi flicks because he and his production partner looked at the list of the top grossing movies of all time and realized that most of them featured aliens, lots of special effects, etc...

3) That his tax problems were so bad early in his career that for about four years the I.R.S. nabbed the bulk of his "Fresh Prince" salary. This bit should be inspirational for creative types or anyone for that matter who feels burdened by debt or is struggling to make ends meet. Will's life shows that there might be a multi-million dollar crib at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, December 3, 2007

R.I.P. -- Tom Terrell

Just found out that music critic Tom Terrell died of prostate cancer. Apparently, he didn't have health insurance, which is another reason why practicing journalism sometimes sucks (see post below). I didn't really know him, but he wrote some reviews for me when I was an editor at Vibe. Anyway, here's an obit from Undercover Black Man, and an excerpt from his moving article "CAFÉ C'EST WHAT: Death and Music" from PopMatters:

See, all my life, vocalists have given me faith, hope, and charity, caressed me, comforted me, taught me, guided me, carried me, nurtured me, encouraged me, loved me, forgave me, sheltered me, touched me, influenced me, and reached me in the darkest hours far heavily than family, friends, and lovers ever have or could. When I was a baby, my Moms told me the only thing that would stop me bawling was Johnny Ace's "The Clock" and "Pledging My Love". David Ruffin proved to me that wearing thick black eyeglass frames was cool, not corny. Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and the Staple Singers taught me smart was the real hip, black was always beautiful, funk is spiritual, and to always love myself for myself.

Journos Get No Respect (Even From Other Journos)


Here's Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi's kinda sad, kinda funny, and kinda true take on the state of journalism:

You wrote a column in the New York Press a few years back referring to journalism as “shoveling coal for Satan.” I believe you also said that journalism as a career was worse than being a worker in a tampon factory. Should any sane young person consider a career in journalism?

If you have no real knowledge or skill set and you’re lazy and full of shit but you want to make a decent wage, then journalism’s not a bad career option. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to know anything. I mean this whole notion of journalism school—I can’t believe people actually go to journalism school. You can learn the entire thing in like three days. My advice is instead of going to journalism school, go to school for something concrete like medicine or some kind of science or something and then use the knowledge you get in that field as a wedge to get yourself into journalism.

What journalism really needs is more people who are reporting who actually know something. Instead of having a bunch of liberal arts grads who’ve read Siddhartha 50 times writing about health care, it would be really nice if some of the people who are writing about health care were doctors.

Source: Campus Progress

Sunday, December 2, 2007

WHEN MARY MET TAVIS...



Here are some great Mary moments from her recent interview with Tavis Smiley:

On "Work That," her hot new single & ipod commercial:
"...That song is basically saying, sometimes as women, we get tired of what we have. We get tired of our short hair, we get tired of - and we don't want to be happy with what we have. But what I'm saying is this is what we got. We got to make it. If our hair's short, if you want to go buy some hair, go buy some hair. Whatever you wanna do. But work what you have. If you're a big girl, make that big girl work and be hot as a big girl. If you're a small girl, be happy as the small chick. So basically what I'm just saying is just whatever your skin color is, if you're dark, light, whatever the case may be, work that."

On sharing personal info with the public (I'll be sure to heed these words once my "memoir comes out.):
"...Ever since I was a kid, like, a lot of embarrassing things have happened to me. So by the time I was a teenager, I was, like, just whatever, letting it all hang out. And so at some point I was like, you know what? Let me just not be ashamed of any of this. Because it is what it is, and if I don't share with people how we can get better from all of this or how we can feel better - it's the embarrassment that keeps us kind of pushed down. So I'm really, like, I'm not embarrassed any more about anything that people, that human beings are going through. We go through things. So I don't mind sharing with my people, because I am my people, and that's how I look at it."

On her "Oscar" experience with the Big "O":
"We were at an Oscar party during that whole Grammies, it was a big Mary J. Blige time, and I got a call from Oprah Winfrey. It was the weirdest thing, because she's amazing, and I know she cares about me, but I didn't know she would care enough to want to hang out with me like this, after Africa and all that. So she goes to the Oscars, she takes my husband and I to the Oscars - or my husband take her and I to the Oscars, we're on both of his arms. And we're at the party, and I'm sitting there, and out of nowhere comes Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, and they're all screaming and talking about how much they love me, and hugging me and kissing me and taking pictures with me. So in the middle of the night I sat there and I looked around and I said, "Am I good enough for all of this?" Like, "Me? Do they really like me?"

And something was, like, yes, they like you. Something in you, they like. And it was like I had to believe that. At that moment, I had to believe that I deserved that moment right there. They might like my talent or whatever the case may be, but it's something that came out of me that they liked. So I had to believe that, and that was my "Growing Pains" moment. That's when I went home and started writing."

On karma:
"I try not to talk about people, because I had this episode, this karma episode, and I was talking about this girl. And her leg was really, really ashy. And I go "Ah-ha-ha, she's ashy." The next day I had a photo shoot. Now, I know I put lotion on my entire body. I got to that photo shoot and I went to try on my clothes, my entire body was ashy. And I was, like, how did this happen? (Laughter)

So I looked at it like it was karma, so that was a lesson to never - like, just try not to, like, put negative things out there about people or even laugh at people, because you are people too, and things can happen to you."

Hmmm...maybe Mariah should rethink that "Them chickens is ash and I'm lotion" line.

"Just Fine"
Mary J. Blige - Just Fine - Single

"Work That"
Mary J. Blige - Work That - Single


MY DOLLY LOVEFEST CONTINUES...



Here's some wisdom dispensed by the Dolly Lama on CMT's "Top 20 Countdown:"

"I was born with a happy heart. But you have to work at being happy like some people work at being miserable."

"Better Get to Livin':
Dolly Parton - Better Get to Livin' - Single - Better Get to Livin'

Friday, November 30, 2007

YOU BETTA WORK!!!


DIVA MOVE OF THE WEEK: Celebrity hairstylist Ken Paves racing off the "Oprah" set mid-show so that he could tend to the locks of Jennifer Lopez, who was doing a concert later that night. Ya think Paves will be on hand in the delivery room when La Lopez gives birth?

Thursday, November 29, 2007



The ever-cool British bad girl Mutya Buena, who backed up his purple Princelyness on some of his UK dates, is back with a new single from her excellent solo debut Real Girl.

Snoop Gets Sensual



No, you're not having flashbacks of "Video Soul" circa 1984. It's the new Snoop video.

"Sensual Seduction"
Snoop Dogg - Sensual Seduction - Single

When Toni Met Kinny



I hadn't been paying much attention to Amazon's new Kindle reading device, but the fact that Toni Morrison totally hearts it makes me want to check it out. You can see her testimony here.

Stars Taking It Off



Here's a great EW photo gallery of stars who've played strippers. This image is of the adorable Christopher Atkins from A Night in Heaven, a flick that was a real knob-polisher for me back in my pre-coming out teenage days. My only beef with the photo gallery is the exclusion of Gregory Harrison in For Ladies Only. Both are mentioned as, ahem, seminal influences upon me in my book, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay D.C..

When Dolly Says "Get to Livin'," You Should Listen, Y'all



A bit of format-friendly uplift from the great, wise Dolly. Best lyric: "The day we're born/We start to die/Don't waste one minute of this life..."

"Better Get to Livin':
Dolly Parton - Better Get to Livin' - Single - Better Get to Livin'

Some classic Dolly:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mariah Watch


My favorite tidbit from the new Blender is the news that Mimi showed up at the VH1 Save the Music Foundation 10th Anniversary Gala with nine assistants, including a personal breast tape dispenser, someone equipped with a belt of brushes and hair spray (I suppose this is the hair dresser version of a superhero utility belt.), and a person armed with hot rollers. Wonder whatever happened to the woman hired to hold her water bottles?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Brad Paisley's "Letter To Me"



A sweet lullaby to a younger self, offering advice on braking at stop signs, minding daddy and having just a little more faith. Sure, it might have been fun if he'd included a lyric like "watch out for the homecoming skank who gives you the clap." But, even without this bit of advice, the song still shines.

"Letter to Me" -- song
Brad Paisley - 5th Gear - Letter to Me

"Letter to Me" -- video
Letter to Me


Thursday, November 8, 2007

READ IT AND REAP!!!


Because I'm a gay man, it's probably cliché for me to wish for the demise of a cute straight guy's girlfriend. But, still, I can't help wanting bad things for Andi (Missy Peregrym), the whiny, charm-less love interest on "Reaper." If you haven't heard, "Reaper" is the show about a slacker dude, Sam (Bret Harrison), whose parents sold his soul to the devil. In order to repay the debt, Sam has to work as a bounty hunter returning escaped souls to hell. (This is not to be confused with "Chuck," the much funnier -- but not as snarky -- show about the slacker dude who's forced to work as a spy after he's unwittingly exposed to a plethora of government secrets.) "Reaper" is still finding its voice, but it has a lot going for it with the likable Harrison as grumpy, put-upon Sam, Jack-Black-like Tyler Labine as his best pal Sock, and Ray Wise (remember Laura Palmer's pops from "Twin Peaks") as the original Hellraiser himself. But the show itself goes zombie-like with every appearance of Andi, who seems to serve no other purpose than to assure viewers that inseparable buddies Sam and Sock aren't fucking each other. The series' lowest moment was the entire episode devoted to whether or not Andi should return to college full time. With renegade hell-demons running around, who the fuck cares? If the show has any balls, it will take a page from its obvious horror/comedy ancestor "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" and have Andi eaten by hyenas or, at the very least, turned into a rat.

"Reaper"
Reaper


"Chuck"
Chuck

DOES "DIRTY, SEXY, MONEY" LIVE UP TO ITS NAME – NOT SO MUCH


I'm on my sixth week watching "Dirty, Sexy, Money," the soapy
comedy/drama about an absurdly rich family (the Darlings) and the
lawyer who takes care of them. So far, it's fine as a mildly
entertaining background to getting ready to go drinking on Wednesday
nights, but it's neither "dirty" nor "sexy" enough to command my full
attention. The plots about corrupt moneymen, bratty heiresses, and
philandering politicos aren't nearly as juicy as the headlines they're
ripped from, and the cast couldn't come off as less sexy. On "Six Feet
Under," Peter Krause was often erection-worthy in an aging pretty boy
kind of way, but as goody-goody lawyer, Nick George, the show's
conscience, he's not even giving me a "semi." And when the hell did
Billy Baldwin get so unfuckable? I remember paying full ticket price
to see his bare ass boning Sharon Stone in Sliver. But as a senate
candidate who's fallen for a chick-with-a-dick, he's somehow lost all
of his hotness. Both dudes seem in desperate need of a new wardrobe,
some bronzer, and maybe a little product. This may seem superficial,
but, hey, the show is calling itself "sexy." I'm gonna stick with it
for a few more episodes because, with Bryan Singer ("House") and Greg
Berlanti ("Everwood," "Brothers and Sisters") as producers, it has a
good pedigree. But right now, it's in desperate need of an Extreme
Show Makeover.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

IT'S ALL ABOUT "SOUTH PARK," ONCE AGAIN


It's official: The "Imaginationland" trilogy has entered the canon of
"South Park" classics, particularly the second installment featuring
the eyeball gouging death of Strawberry Shortcake, Cartman's vision of
his exploding "dry balls," and the cuddly yet homicidal bear who
suggested that he and his furry friends kill their victims before
raping them so that they can use the blood as lubricant. The third
episode – which turned out to be Comedy Central's most watched program
of the year -- was a bit of a letdown given the supremely sick
buildup, but the last scene of an imaginary Kyle gleefully giving head
to a faux Cartman ended things on an appropriately twisted note. The
only thing missing was a money shot.

Episode I
South Park - South Park: Uncensored, Season 11 - Imaginationland

Episode II
South Park - South Park: Uncensored, Season 11 - Imaginationland Episode II

Episode III
South Park - South Park: Uncensored, Season 11 - Imaginationland Episode III

Friday, November 2, 2007

Wattstax Review


Recently reviewed Wattstax for PASTE. I was largely disappointed, calling it "an uneven dispatch from the foot soliders of soul." But the Emotions "Peace Be Still," Louise McCord's “Better Get a Move On,” and both cuts by the Rance Allen Group are well worth itunes-ing. Check out the whole review here.

The Emotions - "Peace Be Still"
The Emotions - Wattstax - The Living Word - Peace Be Still

Louise McCord - "Better Get A Move On"
Louise McCord - Wattstax - The Living Word - Better Get a Move On

The Rance Allen Group - "Lying on the Truth"
The Rance Allen Group - Wattstax - The Living Word - Lying On the Truth

The Rance Allen Group - "Up Above My Head"
The Rance Allen Group - Wattstax - The Living Word - Up Above My Head


Saturday, October 27, 2007

My Pix in Scum Bag Fag Mag (NSFW)



Here are some of my photos featured in Scum Bag Fag Mag, a queer, sex-friendly, magazine based in NYC, SF, and Montreal.

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Noisettes @ the Knitting Factory



How can you not love a sista who fronts a rock band and screams such lyrics as "Scratch your name/Into the fabric of this world/Before you go...?"

The Noisettes - "Scratch Your Name"

song
Noisettes - What's the Time, Mr. Wolf? - Scratch Your Name


video
Scratch Your Name

Friday, June 1, 2007

Backstage with Lalah Hathaway @ Yoshi's

Lalah 3.JPG
Lalah 2.JPG
Lalah 7.JPG
Lalah 6.JPG
Lalah 11.JPG
Lalah 12.JPG
Lalah Live 1.JPG



Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the great Donny Hathaway, is one of my favorite vocalists, with her though thoughtful phrasing and warm, rich tones. I had the privilege of taking photos of her during her recent stint at Yoshi's in Oakland.

Here are my top five Lalah songs that are currently available on itunes:

1) "Forever, For Always, For Love" -- A heartfelt tribute to R&B's king of longing, Luther Vandross.
Lalah Hathaway - Forever, For Always, For Luther - Forever, for Always, for Love

2) "When Your Life Was Low" (with Joe Sample) -- A moving tale with a simple message: what goes around comes around.
Joe Sample & Lalah Hathaway - The Song Lives On - When Your Life Was Low

3) "I Gotta Move On" -- The early '90s track is dated, but Lalah's performance still feels fresh.
Lalah Hathaway - Lalah Hathaway - I Gotta Move On

4) "Don't Forget to Remember" (with Donald Lawrence) -- A wise reminder to count your blessings.
Donald Lawrence, Lalah Hathaway & Ramsey Lewis - I Speak Life - Don't Forget to Remember

5) "I'm Coming Back" -- An earnest declaration that some loves never die.
Lalah Hathaway - Lalah Hathaway - I'm Coming Back


Lalah albums: