As for my background, I started writing professionally about 10 years ago. I've written for The Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, Vibe, and Spin, among other publications. Much of my journalistic work deals with music, and I've served as Pop Music Critic for the Buffalo News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I also wrote a biography of the late, great R&B singer, Luther Vandross: Luther: The Life and Longing of Luther Vandross.
I've spent a lot of my life in school (something I don't necessarily recommend, but it is what it is). I hold a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland in College Park, and am Associate Professor of Journalism at Northern Illinois University.
So, what's up with me now? I still write a lot (currently working on a novel), listen to lots of music (check out my DJ site for my music mixes), go to strip clubs (hit me up if u wanna "wing"), and love taking pictures.
My motto is: dream big and go for exactly what you want in life. Lots of crazy, cool shit will happen. Trust.
For the past few months, I’ve felt like the last holdout on Frozen. When the movie was in theaters,
I wasn’t about to pay 10 bucks to see a world covered in ice and snow; I could
look out the window of my Chicago apartment for free.
Then when Idin…,excuse me, Adele Dazeem, performed on the
Oscars, I had a hard time getting a handle on the song "Let It Go." I was like, “what is
she wailing about,” as I turned down the volume.
But there’s always a part of me that likes to understand why
things are popular. Plus, over the weekend, I heard a cute twink humming
“Let It Go” while sitting alone at Midway Airport. Since twinks are my type, I
figured that there might be some future seduction scenario where a strategic Frozen reference could come in handy.
So, earlier this week, I took to the couch, with a Solo cup
of Diet Coke and vodka in my hand, and rented Frozen on iTunes. When it was over, I was, to use fairytale
parlance, enchanted, and “Let It Go” went from being annoying (except when hummed
by twinks) to deeply thought-provoking.
I couldn’t believe how much the song made me reflect on my own
life, especially when Elsa, the Snow Queen, sang:
It’s time to see what
I can do
To test the limits
and break through
No right, no wrong,
no rules for me
It reminded me of the moment I decided to take a chance and
become a fully nude stripper. As I wrote in my memoir: “After years of
wondering what it would be like, I had done it—faced a fear, defied
expectation, embraced a taboo self.”
One of my favorite moments from the “Let It Go” sequence is when Elsa races over a canyon, creating an ice bridge as she goes. It brought
to mind a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I often turn to whenever I embark
on something new: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the
Overall, Frozen is
a smart, twisty tale that challenges the fairytale conventions that most of us
grew up on and have often unwittingly and unwisely applied to our own lives.
Through its two female leads, Frozen
deals with issues of love, romance, and redemption in such a way that it delivers
on the ultimate promise of Feminism. By offering empowering messages for women,
Frozen expands the possibilities for us
I caught rapper Lizzo at SubT on Wednesday (opening for the equally mind-blowing Marijuana Deathsquads) and I was floored by her energy and talent. You definitely want to be down with her, because she's seriously "on the verge." Her song "Paris" was featured this season on Girls, and she's just been signed to a major label.
Everything about Lizzo is cool. Born in DeTwa and raised in Houston, she decided to start writing music in the 5th grade, after she skipped school to see Destiny's Child perform at Wal-Mart. She can play the classical flute and has a degree from the University of Houston, but she turned down a scholarship at the Paris Conservatory in order to turn up her career in hip-hop.
She's gotten a lot of comparisons to Missy Elliott, but, to me, she brings to mind the grounded hip-hop queens of the '80s, who traded in fun and attitude more than flash and sex. Lizzo joints like "Be Still" remind me of the days when I used to choose my friends based on whether or not they knew the lyrics to "Wrath Of My Madness," "Live On Stage," "Feelin' Kinda Horny," and "Cha Cha Cha."
I also love how "Be Still" reflects Lizzo's upbringing on gospel music. The song references one of my all time fave gospel songs. (Check my review here if you want to read more about the song and the circumstances that brought this rendition into being.)
Mark 3/13/14 in history: Openly gay rapper Le1f made his network TV debut. #NeverThoughtGayHipHopWouldTakeItThisFar
2) Bill Cunningham's Facades
Facades is a project that legendary New York Times street style photographer Bill Cunningham worked on from 1968 - 1976. He teamed up with fellow photographer Editta Sherman, who died last November at the age of 101, and photographed her in vintage costumes in front of New York City landmarks. The photos, which are striking in their bold compositions, are on exhibit at the New-York Historical Society.
When RuPaul released his seventh album, Born Naked, he was ready for the illegal downloaders. He created--and uploaded to all of the major torrent sites--a bootleg version, where the songs start playing normally but then quickly fade to RuPaul chiding people for stealing and then educating them on the importance of supporting artists. The effort could've come off as self righteous, but instead it feels like Ru's take on a '70s party record by LaWanda Page or Rudy Ray Moore. My favorite of the bootleg tracks is "Modern Love," which is part hilariously profane rant, part social commentary, all Ru.
(The funny begins at 1:09)
2) This Wrigley's Spearmint Gum Boat from 1972
When I strike it rich, I'm totally building this and cruising around South Beach.
AMERICAN BOYS is a photo diary chronicling my adventures in gay strip clubs across the country from 2006 - 2009. It includes scenes from XL (Providence, RI), Tea Room Theatre (San Francisco, CA), Nob Hill (San Francisco, CA), Splash (New York, NY), Mr. Black (New York, NY), Hydrate (Chicago, IL), and Spin (Chicago, IL).