Archive for the 'Music' Category


Nothing addictive about MDNA

MDNA might stand for "most definitely not awesome."

Since my first listen on Monday, I have been dying to kvetch about Madonna’s new album MDNA. I’ve been listening all week, and I am having a hard time with it.

Don’t let the title or the parental warning label fool you. There is nothing subversive or edgy about this album.

The allusion to party drug MDMA made me hope this would at least be a solid dance album, a Confessions on the Dance Floor mark II.


I think of two things now when I listen to her new stuff:
1.) What would it be like recording this song? Would it be embarrassing to be in the studio? Before all the production, is the song just empty and meaningless and dumb?

2.) What would Kylie do? How would Kylie Minogue have done this song? Would she have done it?

For most of this album, Madonna fails or comes close to failing.

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tweedle-dee, tweedle-douche

It has been a long day. I need a little sit-down where everybody knows your name. Funny enough, I know none of the names of the half-dozen or so fellas scattered around the bar, and I suspect none of them knows mine. So I figure I’ll make it a quick one and head home.

I’m sitting there with a lager, and a guy down the bar gets into an impassioned discussion with his companion about ’90s music. It’s ’90s music, I think. Why bother?

His friend pushes out from the bar to throw some money in the jukebox.

He calls out to the bartender to get his attention. “Hey, Vince. I have two problems,” he says, loud enough for everyone to hear. “We need a couple more drinks. And … all I have are large bills.”

He ceremoniously hands over a 50, slowly. I can see Grant’s stern, almost reproachful, gaze from six seats away. I think he must want me to see it.

Oh, Jesus, I think. What a problem. Oh, you poor thing and your burdensome cash flow. Please, honey. A 50 is not so huge.

Continue reading ‘tweedle-dee, tweedle-douche’


Madonna’s ‘Celebration’ (of abs)

Madonna released her newest video, for the title single from her forthcoming retrospective album Celebration, today for free on iTunes.

The song itself is kind of a yawn, even in this remixed form, but the video features several shirtless dancers whose perky nipples and ripped abs make it all so very worthwhile.

Par exemple:

Madonna - Celebration - 1

Madonna - Celebration - 2

Madonna - Celebration - 3

They must be so cold in the winter!


You Better Work

Start with a strong-woman ensemble piece like the 1980 film 9 to 5. Add music written by gay-fave country diva Dolly Parton. Throw in an orchestra, some sequins and a bit of razzle-dazzle, and you should have a recipe for a little slice of gay heaven.

9 to 5: The Musical,” which opened at New York’s Marriott Marquis Theater last night, comes pretty close.



If “Space Invaders” Was Real

Who knows what this is supposed to mean. But it sure is fun!


Water Pressure

“I’ll tell you something for nothing,” the bartender said. “You want to buy water.”

“Water,” I said.

“It’s the cheapest thing we sell. And you don’t have to finish it here. You can take it with you.”

I considered what he was saying, fingering the label on my $6 beer. “Water counts?”

“Sure. I tell you what. Towards the end of this competition, people are buying whole cases of water and taking them home with them.”

A friend of mine is competing in an American Idol-style singing competition at the venerable old, historic Stonewall Inn. It’s a little silly. A little shabby. The sound goes out at intervals. The lighting is bad. But it’s precisely that silliness, that shabbiness, that gives those West Village gay bars their charm.

Each week, someone gets eliminated based on the previous week’s voting. It’s all very democratic. Everyone in the audience can vote. And you get a ballot for every drink you buy. Every drink. So the trick, it would seem, is to round up all the drunks you can find. Finally they’ll do you some good!

The competition is real, and the contestants are talented. By and by, they reveal their strengths and their personalities. There’s a different theme every week, so everyone’s bound to expose some weaknesses, too. Over time, the competitors become friends. The same folks who come every week in support become familiar. It’s a little Wednesday night community.

So the water trick seems a little cynical to me. (Almost worse than exploiting your friends’ alcoholism!) Whole cases of water, really? Can’t we trust ourselves to suss out the winner based on talent? And do we have so little faith in our friends that we’d rather stack the deck to be safe?

These things can’t always be based on merit, can they? Sometimes a real stinker gets the votes. Sometimes the person who gets cut wasn’t the worst one. Sometimes the judges say useful, thoughtful things; and sometimes they’re more interested in getting a laugh. In the end, no matter who gets cut, it’s a love fest every time.

The closer we get to the end, I feel the heightened sense of danger that the person who ultimately wins may not actually “deserve” it. Boo-hoo. I guess in that way the competition is a very good representation of reality indeed.


Half-Pint Lives! Little House on the Prairie — The Musical!

Here’s something I wrote for someone else.

the untallied hours