Thursday, December 5, 2013
It happens every year, so I'm used to it, I guess...I finish uploading my Queer Music Heritage Xmas Special, around December 1st, and like clockwork, a few artists come out with smokin' xmas songs, too late to be included. So far the one that really makes me wish I had it a couple weeks sooner is by Antigone Rising.
They've had a good year, their last CD, called "23 Red," is still riding high, and they have a terrific new single, "That Was the Whiskey," and, oh yeah, that's founding member Kristin Ellis-Henderson and her wife Sarah on the October 8th cover of Time Magazine...
And, that song I told you about...well, it even has same sex lyrics in one verse:
I want a take vacation for the rest of my life
sipping salty margaritas with my beautiful wife
I want a whole lotta naughty and a little less nice
Santa, you owe me that
So, here's "Santa, You Owe Me"
Posted by JD Doyle at 8:09 PM
Who were those wild women? Well, they are on the cover of one of the very rarest lesbian 45 rpm recordings. It took me years to track down my own copy, so of course I want to share the story. The music admittedly (at least to me) is not the type to grab a listener, but its use was really intended for a soundtrack of a film. In 1975 Donna Deitch....wait, you know that name....she was the Director of the 1986 classic lesbian film "Dessert Hearts." Anyway, back in 1975 she produced her first film, a 48-minute documentary called "Woman to Woman" (see review) and the soundtrack included two songs that became the single above.
Historically, the "Common Woman" side is of more interest, as it is based on a poem by iconic lesbian poet Judy Grahn. In the band itself was one name I know, Virginia Rubino, as she was in the group BeBe K'Roche, and their eponymous 1976 album was the third released by Olivia Records. And their most known song was "Kahlua Mama." Olivia's first release was in 1974, so again, this was early in the Women's Music Movement.
Here's a side trivia note only I would care about...Olivia Records distributed many releases by artists not actually on the label, and the 45 above was the very first one that the label distributed, in 1975. Here's the back cover and a close up.
You can stream both songs at the links...
"Degradation" is the side I prefer, the more political side, and I know of no other release by this quartet (Virginia Rubino, Sandi Ajida, Cyndy Mason and Bobi Jackson).
And, back to my original question...who were those wild women...:) The EP only credits the work as "Painting by Max," but a google image search found that the artist was Max Dashu, who has a long history of preserving women's history, and has the website Suppressed Histories, which is worth a visit.
Posted by JD Doyle at 3:50 PM
Sunday, December 1, 2013
When you look at the NAMES Quilt in a larger perspective, it is a stunning contribution to our history, and just my talking about it or sending you to some internet links cannot remotely touch the impact, personal and global, of seeing it in person. I saw the entire display in Washington DC in 1988, and...here's the personal...I could not tear myself away from the block of panels that included one for my then-recently departed partner. I sat there for hours.
I've often visited the website of the NAMES Quilt and while it's a wonderful effort, I was left wanting to see larger images of the individual panels. On that site it's difficult to read any but the largest writing on them. In 2012 a project by Microsoft was announced, as a different website set up like a google earth approach. You can see the entire "field" of thousands and thousands of blocks....
And then zoom in on a much closer view....
And finally, zoom closer to the image shown at the top of this page. It's for some of the customers of the Houston bar Mary's Naturally.
What was missing from the Microsoft display is any search ability, but there IS a way to find a particular panel. It's a bit tedious, but it IS possible. It uses BOTH websites and I am sharing the instructions in this blog entry.
First go to the NAMES Project site, to their search page
And, for example, find the matches for "Mary's Naturally" (there are three relevant ones). One of them is block #134. Now visit the Microsoft site
At the Microsoft site there are 103 blocks in a row, so the Mary's #134 would be in row 2.
Row 2 begins with #104, count over to #134, about a third of the way over. Yes, this gets quite tedious if you want something in the vast middle, but the point is, it's doable.
In the Mary's block above, the blue areas are hard to read, but the names are: Rod Ezio, David Oleson, Bill Warren, Dennis Dunwoody, Rusty Virgen, Garry Christofoletti, Joe Bob Law and Shorty Harris.
One more example, Michael McAdory, who died in 1984, was a driving force in Houston in those early years of the crisis in AIDS education and he helped found the KS/AIDS Foundation. An AIDS residence center was named after him, McAdory House. From the NAMES site I found his panel in block 226, and on the map navigated to find it.
Let me indulge in my own personal AIDS memorial. Of course I've experienced the loss of many more friends than shown below, but I want to honor those closest to me, including my partner Wes, who died in 1988.
Posted by JD Doyle at 11:27 AM
Monday, November 18, 2013
JD: Hello, my name is JD Doyle and I am addicted to the music of Matt Fishel.
Everyone: Hello, JD.
Okay, no, it's not an addiction meeting, but I freely admit I AM addicted to Matt's music, and have been for many years. I've been playing him on my shows for several years now, and in the last couple he began releasing singles from what would become his (terrific) debut album...they all made my personal hit parade and when I knew he was working on that album I got him to promise me the very first interview about it, which you can hear on my April 2013 OutRadio Show. That CD is called "Not Thinking Straight."
But this blog entry is not about that album, but about his special Xmas Single, and again, well, I think it's wonderful. It's a cover of Mariah Carey's "Oh, Santa!" and he wraps around it his usual perfect power pop arrangement, and of course, her lyrics now become (gasp) male-on-male ones...love, Love!
Posted by JD Doyle at 9:09 AM
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Garry Novikoff likes men, there, I've said it.....or, actually HE said it, and sings it a lot in his new video. Check it out here...
He has other fun songs in his bag of tricks...ask him about "Friend for Christmas," which I'm playing on my December Queer Xmas Music Special (available around December 1st). And I spotted a couple celebrity cameos in the video, like Richard Barone...(as the cruisy guy, which may be typecasting)
and Tym Moss...celebrating in the crowd scene.
Posted by JD Doyle at 1:24 PM
Friday, November 1, 2013
I love the genesis of this project, and the resulting CD....and I'm pleased that one of the folks involved, Brett Lock, shared it with me....he wrote me:
I'd like to tell you about an album by 'The Vinyl Closet' which is a re-recording in a modern style of blues songs with LGBT themes.
A brief background of how we came to record this: My musical partner, Ted Brown, and I started off being invited to do a talk for the Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association in the UK on the subject of LGBT representation in early popular music. We played some recording of Bessie Smith and Kokomo Arnold and others, and - to make the talk more lively, since I play guitar and Ted sings - we decided to perform a few of the songs as a novelty. What we found was that people remarked that the old recordings were a little hard to follow because they were so crackly and predated hi-fi recording. The audience preferred it when we performed the songs, so we found ourselves adding more songs to our repertoire and phasing out the playing of the recordings.
The talk soon metamorphosed into a show which we were invited to do around London. It was a natural step from that to record our modern versions with the help of a few other musicians we knew.
The result is here: "Pink, Black & Blues"
Now, as a music historian this is Right down my street, as I've featured many of these songs on a show I did in October 2007, called "Queer Blues." I got a kick out of hearing what they did with so many old blues songs that I admire so much, like Bessie Jackson's "BD Women." (I have to chime in that in the image below I'm fairly sure that's Ethel Waters, and not the song's originator, Bessie Jackson)
But I can do better than just letting you hear one song....if you go to their site
You can not only sample all the songs on the album, but hear a podcast where they present the music, much like the evening events that spawned the album.
And you can buy downloads at their Bandcamp site:
****************************Okay, I'm taking a side trip on this post, but it IS related. Brett Lock also shared with me that he was in a South African band in the late 1990's called One Large Banana, and their 1997 EP included a song he wrote for his then-boyfriend, now-husband, a song called "Cry." Brett says the straight lead singer had no problem with singing the same-sex lyrics of the song.
Posted by JD Doyle at 3:59 PM
Thursday, October 24, 2013
A drag king of 1912, sort of.
In the early decades of the last century, when people had pianos in their parlors, sheet music was one of the ways music was brought home, and regarding sales, nothing much has changed...performers were used to sell the goods. So their images often appeared on the sheet music covers to attract attention. One of the specialty areas of my collection is sheet music featuring female and male impersonators, and I have just about an equal number of both displayed on my site.
This week I got a new piece of sheet music by a male impersonator, so I want to share it, and it's by one of the most well-known, Florenze Tempest. She and her sister started out on the stage quite young, as a duo, Tempest & Sunshine, with Tempest always playing the boy roles. Under the stage name Florenze Tempest she flourished from around 1910 through the end of that decade, performing in musicals with the appropriate sheet music being sold. I am sharing the five different pieces I own. In the one above, my new acquisition, "I Want a Boy to Love Me" (1912), this plea is done in male clothing. And below "I Love the Ladies" was done just the same, though I think the audience was in on the joke.
Posted by JD Doyle at 11:40 PM