Posts Tagged ‘Chely Wright’

2017: My Favorite Movies

When I share my favorite movies of the year, the list may include an older movie or two.  My rankings are for movies that I saw for the first time in the calendar year regardless of the release date.

With that being said, my most anticipated movie that’s getting a lot of love on the awards circuit and I hope Oscar love when the announcements come out in January 23, 2018, is “Call Me By Your Name”.

Since it was only in limited release in late 2017, it won’t make my list until I count down my favorites of 2018.

Pop corn with soda and movie shows

So, before I share my 20 favorites of this year, here’s a quick recap.

My favorites over the past few years have been “The Kids Are All Right” (2010), “Children of God” (2011), “Weekend” (2012), “Out in the Dark” (2013), “Bridegroom” (2014), “Lilting” (2015), and “Goodnight Mommy” (2016).

#20

“MUDBOUND”

 (Netflix Release)

19

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $3.9 MILLION

#18

“VIVA”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $178,000

17

“CHRISTINE”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $298,525

#16

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $13.8 MILLION

15

“GIRLS TRIP”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $139 MILLION

#14 Movie

“DUNKIRK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $525.6 MILLION

13

“ELLE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $12.5 MILLION

12

“FENCES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $64.4 MILLION

11

“MOONLIGHT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $65 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“PATTI CAKE$”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $1.5 MILLION

#9 MOVIE

“CHELY WRIGHT:  WISH ME AWAY”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $18,618

8

“THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $23.2 MILLION

#7 MOVIE

“THE BIG SICK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $55.3 MILLION

6

“MISS SLOANE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $9.1 MILLION

5

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $1.26 BILLION (WITH A “B”)

4

 

 

 

 

 

“DETROIT”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $16.8 MILLION

#3 CD

“BEACH RATS”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $473,771

WORST MOVIES I SAW IN 2017!

Gag Me

Worst:  “A Dog’s Purpose”

Runner-ups:  “Bad Santa 2” and “3 Generations”.

#2 MOVIE

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $235.6 MILLION

#1 CD

“LION” 

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $140.3 MILLION

How many of these have you seen?  What were your favorites of the year?

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — May 26, 2017

Although I’ve written blogs lately about my mood change, what I loved about the Quad Cities, and about my new city, Panama City, Florida, it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

So, here’s a short one.

GETTING SETTLED IN

My apartment is almost set up.  I still need to get a few pieces to finish the decorating process.  My living room and dining room are so awkwardly set-up that nothing really fits and that’s giving me fits!

As of now, my favorite room is the balcony, which has a small dining table and three chairs with several plants and trees.

WORK

While I miss my Quad Cities work wife, Emily Scarlett, immensely, I know she’s doing well in Columbia, South Carolina.  I hope her new work family is welcoming her as nicely as my new work family in Panama City is me.

I’m still “officially” training on the more advanced weather system, but I have filled in four times since Friday on the evening shift.

I’ll start mornings on Monday, June 12th.  I can’t wait.  You know I like my routine and, so far, nothing has been routine.

PANAMA CITY 

This weekend marks my third weekend in Panama City and I still haven’t seen the Beaches, although I’ve seen “Beaches” with Bette Midler. 🙂  I have no desire to see the remake.

I want to be settled in at work and have my place all set up before I head out to Panama City Beach.

I hope to make great strides toward finishing the decorating of the apartment this weekend since I’m finishing up twelve straight work days.

I plan on going to the Farmer’s Market, maybe a couple of yard sales, and out to eat this weekend.  I promised myself I’d go out to eat once a week when I moved here and my first time was at Chow Time Buffet.

December 10

It was amazing and it may give Osaka Buffet back in Moline, Illinois, a run for its money! When my sister, Tammy, and Gerald visit in October, we’re definitely hitting it again.

This weekend, I’m trying to decide between Mexican or pizza?

“WHY HIM?”

I love James Franco.  I think he’s funny, sexy, and a great actor in dramatic roles, too (“Milk” and “127 Hours”).

james franco image

I wasn’t sure what to expect with “Why Him?”  Was it going to be hilarious like “This Is The End” or just okay with some funny parts like “The Interview”.

It’s definitely the former.  I was laughing several times.  Prepare yourself for a very hard-R movie.  That “R” could be for “raunchy” alone!

Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) and Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace) star as parents meeting their daughter’s older boyfriend for the first time.

He’s not exactly what they were expecting for their daughter, but then again just the way they found out about him should have been a big clue.

Keegan-Michael Key is very was funny, too, as Franco’s assistant.  And, the younger actors (Zoey Deutch and Griffin Gluck) were great, too.

Funny and raunchy — a great movie for escapism.

WARNING:  This is the “red band” trailer, which means it contains very strong language and sexual themes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GRADE:  A-

“THE BIRTH OF A NATION”

This was a very hard movie to watch, but a great one.

Any movie about this country’s ignorance over slavery and racism done without sugar-coating the issue is hard to watch.

This movie was the one that was expected to dominate this past Oscar race and wipe away “Oscars So White”.

However, when director, star, and co-writer Nate Parker’s past come up, the movie became too hot to handle and it bombed.

In case you don’t know the story, in 1999, Parker and the movie’s co-writer, Jean McGianni Celestin, were accused of raping a woman while in college in Pennsylvania. Both men claim the sex was consensual and no charges were brought again Parker and the ones against McGianni Celestin eventually were dropped.  The woman ended up committing suicide in 2012.

It also stars Aja Naomi King (“How to Get Away with Murder”) and Armie Hammer.

GRADE:  B+

CHRISTMAS IS GETTING CLOSER 🙂

Okay, it’s not even officially summer yet, but Christmas is now just seven months away!

This year will be interesting because I won’t be decorating my house like I usually do and I won’t likely have snow.  I can almost say with certainty that I won’t have snow. 🙂

December 10

I’ll just have a Christmas tree and decorations around the apartment and some fun festive lights on the balcony!

I think it’s too soon for me to be one of those people that decorate a palm tree — maybe next Christmas!

P.S.  “Why Him?” could count as a Christmas movie! 🙂

“WISH ME AWAY”

Country music star Chely Wright stopped hiding a few years ago when she made a big revelation.

Chely NOH8

It changed the way people saw her and this incredible, heartbreaking documentary shows us what led up to that.

I read Chely’s autobiography, “Like Me”, three years ago and this documentary was a great supplement to that.

GRADE:  A

Earlier this week, I  shared a blog I wrote about Chely’s book, “Like Me”.  I’ll share the link again here if you haven’t had a chance to read it.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/chely-wright-knows-that-god-loves-her/

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 23, 2014

It’s Memorial Day weekend and that’s the “unofficial” kick-off to the summer season.

This is a three-day weekend for some of you, but, if you’re like me, Monday is a “typical” work day.

Graves_at_Arlington_on_Memorial_Day

Whichever it is, we need to remember the great men and women, regardless of sexuality or race, that made the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life serving in the United States armed services.   We should be doing this every day, but especially Monday!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  As always, let me know what you agree or disagree with and why.

(Warning:  I have a story about “Hannibal” and if you’re a queasy person or have a phobia of gore, skip past that story.)

ONE FORMER WEATHERMAN HAS LOST IT!

Back in late April, I blogged about “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and his tweet about “coming out” as a heterosexual.

PatSajak

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — April 25, 2014”, I wrote, “At first glance, I thought it was interesting.  Then, I thought about it a little more and starting thinking that either he had had a few drinks or that he was being funny.”

However, now I think he’s lost it.

As some of you may know, Sajak was a fill-in weather man in Nashville, Tennessee, in the mid-1970s and then was the main weatherman for the NBC affiliate in Los Angeles before “Wheel of Fortune”.  He was basically a weather “personality” and as far as I know, he is not a “meteorologist”, with formal training.

Pat Sajak Nashville Weather

I say that because of this shocking tweet he sent out earlier this week.

Pat Sajak Global Warming

What the f, oops, hell is he talking about?  “Alarmists” and “unpatriotic racists”?  I’ve been called many things in my personal and professional life, but never those terms.

Recently, in two different public speaking engagements on weather, I was asked if I believe in “global warming”.  At both events, I said, “yes” and I gave the analogy that the atmosphere is just like the human body.  You can’t abuse it for decades and not expect it to fail on you.

I also added that while I believe that “global warming” is real, we still don’t know precisely how it will affect future generations.  Any theories about what could happen are basically educated forecasts.

But, Sajak is just way off base here and needs to entertain puzzle solvers!

QUINCY JONES DOESN’T MINCE WORDS

Multi-Grammy Award-winning producer Quincy Jones doesn’t beat around the bush when he speaks of Michael Jackson’s new album , “Xscape”, that debuted this week at #2 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S. and at #1 in the U.K.

Michael Jackson Xscape

In a CBC Radio interview, the legendary producer says he’s not a fan of the “new” music.  He also added this, “They’re trying to make money. And I understand it. Everybody’s after money, the estate, the lawyers. It’s about money.”

michael-jackson-quincy-jones

Jones produced or co-produced three of Michael’s biggest albums, 1979’s “Off The Wall” (worldwide sales of 20+ million), 1982’s “Thriller” (worldwide sales of 110+ million), and 1987’s “Bad” (worldwide sales of 45+ million).

“THE KING OF POP” IS REWRITING MUSIC HISTORY

With the first single from the album, “Love Never Felt So Good”, a “duet” with Justin Timberlake, jumping from #22 to #9 this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Michael sets two new records on that 55-year-old chart.

Billboard Hot 100

He becomes the first artists to have Top Ten hits in each of five decades.  He first reached the Top Ten in 1971 when “Got To Be There” reached #4.  He’s now had top ten hits in the ’70s (four), ’80s (seventeen), ’90s (six), ’00s (one), and ’10s (one).  By the way, those Top Ten hit numbers (in parenthesis) do not include hits with the Jackson 5 or The Jacksons.

If you do the math, that’s 29 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  That places him in third place with most Top Ten hits behind Madonna in first place with 38 and the Beatles in second with 34.  Behind Michael are Stevie Wonder in fourth place with 28 and Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Elton John are tied for fifth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits each.

http://www.michael-jackson-photos.com/

One other record that Michael extends with “Love Never Felt So Good” making the Top Ten is the longest span of Top Ten hits.

Since his first appearance in the Top Ten when “Got To Be There” moved from #13 to #9 on November 20, 1971 to this week, that time span is now 42 years, five months and one week.

This puts him ahead of Santana (33 years and eight months) and Cher (33 years and one month).

Cher Cyndi Lauper

Since I’ll being seeing Cher in two weeks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, why not feature that historic, career song, “Believe”?  It spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1999, making her the oldest woman to ever top that chart.  She was 52 at the time.  So young!

“HANNIBAL” SEASON FINALE!

As I gleefully blogged last week, NBC’s ratings-challenged, “Hannibal”, was renewed for a third season.

The second season finale is tonight and I can’t wait to see it.

Hannibal S2

“Entertainment Weekly” writes of the finale, “TV’s most deliciously twisted romance — the freaky foodie’s psychic bromance with profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) — reaches a shocking consummation.  Be prepared to say, What just happened?! a lot.  Bring a bib.  Fannibals:  The eating is tasty, and bloody messy to boot.”

“EW” gives the finale a grade of “A-“.

We know from the first episode of this season that there is a showdown between Hannibal and FBI agent Jack Crawford.  We were teased with a two-minute fight, with blood and injuries, before the episode flashed back twelve weeks to show us how we got to that point.

Hannibal Jack Showdown

If you’re familiar with the Thomas Harris books or the “Hannibal” movie, you know the story of Mason Verger, his man-eating pigs, and his drug-fueled self-mutilation.

I commend NBC and its Standards & Practices (the department responsible for the moral, ethical, and legal implications of the program that network airs) for totally going all out with Mason’s facial destruction and how calm Will and Hannibal were while the act was taking place!

Mason Face Off

If that scene is any indication, the finale is going to rock and creep out fans.

While there are some characters that I want to be Hannibal’s next meal, I don’t want Will or Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) to die.

hannibal gillian

NBC, I have two suggestions to make this incredibly written, acted, and produced show a ratings success.

Move it to Sunday night and open up your checkbook and pay whatever it takes to bring Jodie Foster on as Clarice Starling, an agent that has worked her way up the ranks and is now the Agent-in-Charge of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI!

Jodie Elysium

“HANNIBAL” FUNNY

Hannibal Funny

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

MilkCloud Joke  Jesus Godzilla

BOTH ARE BOX OFFICE HITS

So, some people see Jesus, God, and Godzilla in cloud formations.  And, they’re also packing into movie theaters to see them, too!

Last weekend, “Godzilla (2014)” ripped up $100.9 million in box office receipts in the U.S. in just the first four days.  When you add in the foreign box office, the legendary monster has scared up a $204.3 in ticket sales.

godzilla_2014_poster

Meanwhile, “Heaven is For Real” is now up to $85.5 million at the box office and it’s been in the American Top Ten for its five weeks of release.

Heaven Is For Real

Other “God” related movies that are seeing some heavenly returns are “God’s Not Dead” ($59 million), “Son Of God” ($67.8 million), and “Noah” ($343.3 million).

WHY I KNOW HEAVEN IS FOR REAL

While I might want to see “God’s Not Dead”, I have no desire to see “Heaven Is For Real”.

However, I do feel that heaven is real.  I’ve prayed to God every night since I was kid and while none of us have proof that he exists, most of us believe in heaven and hell.

The reason I know heaven is for real is because my mother, Dessie, my grandparents, John and Helen Peoples, and Miss ABBA are waiting for me there.

ABBA July 2000

Yes, that’s a baby picture of Miss ABBA from early July 2000 when we brought her home from a Tuscarawas County, Ohio, llama farm, when she was about six weeks old.

That little bundle of golden retreiver was born fourteen years ago this week on May 22nd.

ABBA11thBIRTHDAY

And, this is the Golden Honey Locust tree we planted two years ago in memory of Miss ABBA.  It’s getting bigger and sure is beautiful this spring.

ABBA Tree 2014

MARK HARMON, WHAT HAPPENED?

NCIS star Mark Harmon turns 63-year-old this fall and we’re all getting older.  Trust me, I know first hand.

However, I just saw video of him at a CBS party to promote the new fall line-up and I was baffled by his hair style (or lack thereof)!

CBS Party Mark Harmon

It has nothing to do with age because he’s still a good-looking man, but seriously check a mirror first before you go in front of a camera.

Yes, I’ve been a fan of his since the early days (even when he played Ted Bundy for the television movie, “The Deliberate Stranger” in 1986 that earned him a Golden Globes nomination).

Here are a couple of flashback pictures!

mark-harmon1981 Eddie Awards

I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

While the book came out in 2010, I just finished reading Chely Wright’s “Like Me:  Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer”.

Chely Wright Like Me

It was an incredible read with Chely opening up about her love of God, living a lie of keeping her sexuality a secret to become a country music star, and her coming out.

From 1997-2005, Chely charted nine Top 40 country hits including her 1999 chart topper, “Single White Female”.

CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards

If you didn’t get a chance to read my blog about Chely and her struggles with coming out that almost cost her her life, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/chely-wright-knows-that-god-loves-her/

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Whatever you do this weekend, enjoy it and be safe.

We’re going to grill turkey burgers tonight, plant tomatoes and peppers in the garden and put up the swimming pool Saturday, and check out “Godzilla”.

Anthony

Chely Wright Knows That God Loves Her

“Dear God, please don’t let me be gay.  I promise to be a good person.  I promise… I promise… I promise… I promise… Please take it away.  In your name I pray.  Amen. ”

Variations of that prayer were a daily part of country singer Chely Wright’s life from the time she was a third grader until she privately accepted that she was gay.

Fast forward to January 26, 2006 — a cold winter’s morning when Chely stood defeated in her Nashville home with a loaded 9 millimeter gun in her mouth.  After all of the years of living in denial and fighting to be happy, but not out, she was ready to end it all.

However, the tears started falling and Chely just couldn’t pull the trigger.  She put the gun on the mantle and went back upstairs and stayed in bed for a couple of more days.

chely wright

The former Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist and one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” couldn’t handle the stress of being gay and not being able to be open and honest about it.

That month of depression in January 2006 and the suicide attempt was a turning point for Chely.

Today, she’s happily married to LGBT rights advocate Lauren Blitzer (they met and married in 2011) and she’s the mother of twin boys, George Samuel and Everett Joseph, who turn one-year-old last weekend.

chely-wright-weddingChely's Twins Turn One

Although the book came out in 2010, I just got around to reading her autobiography, “Like Me”, which not only talked about her love of God, her family, country music and singing, but also her struggles with being a lesbian and having to hide her personal life to be a successful country music star.

Chely Wright Like Me

Richelle Rene Wright was born in the fall of 1970 in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in a small Kansas town of 1,600 people.  She was the youngest of three children.

Even as a child, Chely knew that she was different.  She even had feelings for a teacher when she was just a little girl.

While Chely dated boys growing up in Kansas, she knew that it wasn’t going to change the feelings she felt toward women.  She moved to Nashville as a teenager to work at Opryland, where she had her first lesbian affair.

After landing a recording contract, Chely’s first album, “Woman in the Moon” and her first singles arrived at country radio in 1994 and 1995.

Chely Wright - Woman In The Moon

While the three singles got some radio airplay, none of them cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart.  However, at the gay country bar, Charlie’s, in Chicago, that I worked at during that time, “Sea of Cowboy Hats”, was a hit with the two-steppers.

Chely released a second album in 1996, but it, too, failed to catch on at country radio.  Meanwhile, she continued to tour extensively across the U.S. and visit and perform for troops around the world.

She always lived a double life.  When she wasn’t the “country singer” touring and promoting her songs, she was in an on-again and off-again relationship for about ten years with a music industry woman named Julia.

In 1997, she scored her first hit on the Billboard Country chart.  “Shut Up and Drive” reached #14.  It was followed by two more modest hits that reached #39 and #36, respectively.

While working to make it big as a country singer, she kept a low profile with Julia.  Julia even got married to a man, but that marriage ended in divorce and she and Chely got back together.  During this time, Chely also dated men, including her dear friend, Vince Gill.

Vince Gill

Even as she lived in the closet with country music fans, Chely hit the big time in 1999 when her album, “Single White Female”, went gold (selling more than 500,000 copies) and the title track topped the country charts in September.

In the book, Chely held nothing back about how hard it was to love God so much, yet struggle with being gay.  And, being in a genre of music that, for the most part, lacked compassion for gay people, she felt she was living a lie with her fans.

In late 2000, she met and started dating rising star, Brad Paisley.

Brad Chely

She had deep feelings for Paisley and he fell in love with her.  However, because she was a lesbian, her love for him wasn’t the same and he just couldn’t handle her getting close and pushing away.

brad-paisley-chely-wright

Throughout “Like Me” and since its publication, Chely regrets the way that relationship ended because she did care for Brad.

While Chely scored five more hits after the chart topper, “Single White Female”, through 2005, “It Was” was the biggest.  It made it up to #11 in 2000.

Chely knew that people on Music Row and in Nashville gossiped about her personal life and she had heard rumors that some thought she was gay.  Those dated back to 1994, just as she was starting her career.

However, Chely confirmed this with John Rich, a former member of the band, Lonestar, and one-half of the duo, Big & Rich.  The two had worked together back in 1990 at Opryland.

One night, in March 2005, the two of them were hanging out when Rich confronted her.

John Rich Chely Wright

Chely writes that Rich told her that people were talking about her and wondered if she was gay and that it wasn’t cool if she had “chosen to live that lifestyle” and that fans and the industry wouldn’t allow it.  He also told her, “People don’t approve of that kind of deviant behavior.  It’s a sin.”

She goes on to talk about how uneasy she started feeling because, at that point, he hadn’t asked her about her sexuality.  Rich was just telling her what he thought and what he felt that country music fans would think.  Finally, he asked, “You’re not gay, are you?”

Taking a deep breath, Chely exclaimed, “No, John, I’m not gay” to which Rich replied, “Good”.

JohnRich2

John Rich would go on the defensive again in late 2007 when he commented on a radio talk show that marriage equality would lead to incestuous marriages.

Days later, he offered this lame apology that was nothing more than damage control, “However, I also believe that intolerance, bigotry and hatred are wrong. People should be judged based on their merits, not on their sexual orientation. We are all children of God and should be valued and respected.”

Back in 2007, I interviewed Lonestar in Lubbock, Texas.  Luckily, for me, it was lead singer Richie McDonald and keyboardist/vocalist Dean Sams.  Rich was fired from Lonestar the following year and I’m so happy that I never met that homophobe!

Chely Wright Like Me

When Chely’s book came out in 2010, she also released her seventh studio album, “Lifted Off The Ground”, which focused around her personal struggles.  It reached #32 on Billboard Country album chart.

In June 2011, Chely released a documentary about the three years leading up to her coming out called “Wish Me Away”.

It won “Best Documentary” at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the “Documentary Channel Audience Award” for “Best Documentary” at the Nashville Film Festival.

Chely has also founded two organizations:  Reading, Writing and Rhythm (RW&R), which helps supply musical instruments and equipment to promote music in America’s schools, and about ten years later, in 2010, she started “The Like Me Organization”, which provides assistance, resources, and education to LGBT individuals and their family and friends.  It also works to prevent LGBT bullying and teen suicide.

Chely NOH8

So, while country radio and the Grand Ole Opry are missing out on a first-class talent, it’s great that real fans and LGBT people still have Chely around to offer support and give people courage to be themselves and not be afraid.

Chely, thank you for sharing your story and touching the lives of those that may be afraid to make that step to “come out”.

“Like Me:  Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer” is a must read!

CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards

Chely, best wishes to you, Lauren, and the boys.

Anthony

While this blog was ready to be posted last week, I held off on it once Chely tweeted this about the loss of her mother, Cheri.

Chely -- Loss of Mother

Opry Values & The Christian Faith

I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-vacation and it was cool to visit the Opry at the Ryman.  This is the music that I grew up on in Kentucky.  Most of the show that we saw was entertaining, yet some of it was painful.  But, that’s not the focus of my random thought.

Country music legend Connie Smith was the host of the first 30 minutes of the two-hour Opry show.  Smith, from 1964-1978, scored 40 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 20 of them reaching the Top Ten!  She was very entertaining.

IMG_4590

However, my mind started wandering about the Opry and country music’s close ties to Christianity.

While I know there are many open-minded and loving “Christians” out there, the advertisements from sponsor, Cracker Barrel, and Smith’s introduction to a close family friend and medical doctor of Reverend Billy Graham, made me think more and more about homophobia.

chely_wright_fhm3_hClnTlY.sized

Country singer Chely Wright, who has scored nine hits on the Billboard Country chart with “Single White Female” reaching #1 in 1999 and was a regular performer at the Opry, has not been invited back since she came out publicly as a lesbian in 2010.

Chely Wright

Chely married her partner, Lauren Blitzer, in August 2011, and this past May, Chely gave birth to identical twins.

Last year, Chely told “Nashville Scene”, “I do think that there are homophobic people in the industry — some of them in power.  I feel that the greatest setback that plagues the country music industry is their collective fear of the consumer’s expected homophobia. I call this fearphobia. The industry is afraid of the record buying public’s fear of gays and lesbians. They’re afraid of fear. And that fear is enough to cause silence. And it’s deafening, if you ask me.”

I love Chely and she is a very courageous woman.  I just wish that the country music genre that I grew up listening to would be more welcoming to my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Opry, it’s time for you to do the right thing and welcome Chely back with open arms.

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — December 13, 2013

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/random-friday-thoughts-december-13/

Random Friday Thoughts — December 13, 2013

Happy Friday!  I’m a little scared today.  It’s not about the snow coming in tonight and Saturday, but about Jason Voorhees.  Yes, it’s “Friday the 13th”, so I hope you have a great weekend.

Here are my random Friday thoughts.

JasonVoorhees

BY THE WAY, SNOW IS ON THE WAY!

Snow is coming in tonight and early Saturday for the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys.  Here’s how much you can expect!

Snow Tonight & Saturday

JASON & SNOW DON’T SCARE ME, BUT ICE + IDIOT DRIVERS DO

Ice Ray

Meteorological winter is already here even if the calendar says we have to wait until next weekend for the winter solstice.  Last weekend, while in Nashville, icy road conditions and speed were responsible for a deadly accident in the metro area.

Driving home was very scary.  Once we got past the fresh coating of ice in northwestern Tennessee, we encountered leftover heavy snow in southern Illinois, and falling freezing rain in central Illinois.  While it was a slow drive for hours at 40-50 miles-per-hour, the interstate was littered with cars and semis in the ditch — some overturned.

IMG_4699

And, yet with all of the accidents and emergency crews working on the side of the interstate to rescue people, there were still idiots speeding past us and the slowing traffic.

People, ice and snow means conditions are not ideal, so slow down!

MISSING NASHVILLE

One week ago, I was looking forward to seeing Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas show, the ICE exhibit featuring “Frosty the Snowman”, a lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat on the Cumberland River, and the Grand Ole Opry.  Now that we’re back and I put in my five days at work, the mini-vacation seems like it was so long ago!

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I would definitely consider Nashville as a place to retire.

OPRY VALUES AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-vacation and it was cool to visit the Opry at the Ryman.  This is the music that I grew up on in Kentucky.  Most of the show that we saw was entertaining, yet some of it was painful.  But, that’s not the focus of my random thought.

Country music legend Connie Smith was the host of the first 30 minutes of the two-hour Opry show.  Smith, from 1964-1978, scored 40 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 20 of them reaching the Top Ten!  She was very entertaining.

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However, my mind started wandering about the Opry and country music’s close ties to Christianity.

While I know there are many open-minded and loving “Christians” out there, the advertisements from sponsor, Cracker Barrel, and Smith’s introduction to a close family friend and medical doctor of Reverend Billy Graham, made me think more and more about homophobia.

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Country singer Chely Wright, who has scored nine hits on the Billboard Country chart with “Single White Female” reaching #1 in 1999 and was a regular performer at the Opry, has not been invited back since she came out publicly as a lesbian in 2010.

Chely Wright

Chely married her partner, Lauren Blitzer, in August 2011, and this past May, Chely gave birth to identical twins.

Last year, Chely told “Nashville Scene”, “I do think that there are homophobic people in the industry — some of them in power.  I feel that the greatest setback that plagues the country music industry is their collective fear of the consumer’s expected homophobia. I call this fearphobia. The industry is afraid of the record buying public’s fear of gays and lesbians. They’re afraid of fear. And that fear is enough to cause silence. And it’s deafening, if you ask me.”

I love Chely and she is a very courageous woman.  I just wish that the country music genre that I grew up listening to would be more welcoming to my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Opry, it’s time for you to do the right thing and welcome Chely back with open arms.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

LollipopCookie Swap

Eggs Milk Bread

REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON

While dignitaries around the world are paying respect and mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died last week, this past Sunday marked the 33rd anniversary of the shooting death of another man who was a voice for peace and love, John Lennon.

John Lennon

John, what you believed in, and Yoko, what you still fight for, is still achievable.  We may not see world peace, but I know that some are living more peaceful lives because of your efforts then and our efforts now.  No one has said it better that you — we just have to “Imagine”!

Happy Christmas everyone!  While this video contains disturbing images, we need to step outside our comfort zone to see how much work there is left to do in our lifetime.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Elton John and John Lennon were great friends.

Elton John and John Lennon

After the Beatles broke up and Elton John was dominating the pop charts in the early-1970s, John Lennon was working on his solo music career.  He reached #3 with “Instant Karma” in 1970 and #3 with “Imagine” the following year.

But, it would be his seventh solo hit that would become his only #1 hit in his lifetime after the Beatles.  “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” featured his friend, Elton, on harmony vocals and piano.  And, John surprised Elton by appearing on stage during Elton’s Thanksgiving concert in 1974 at Madison Square Garden in Lennon’s last major concert appearance.

In 1982, Elton dedicated “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” to his friend, John Lennon and the song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

ELTON PREACHES TO RUSSIA

And, while I’m talking about Elton, he’s making news after his recent concerts in Russia.

Calling it “inhumane” and “isolating”, Elton took time out of his Moscow, Russia, concert last Friday night to talk about the anti-gay laws that were implemented in Russia this summer.

Elton John Performs at Madison Square Garden

Elton told the crowd, “I have always loved coming here, coming to this country, ever since I first played here in 1979. I love Russia – I love its art and its culture. But most of all, I love you, the people. You took me to your hearts all those years ago, and you have always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every time I have visited. You have always embraced me, and you have never judged me.  So I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating.”

Vladislav Tornovoi

And, before he closed his condemnation of Russia’s homophobia, he asked for harmony to build “a future of equality, love and compassion” and he dedicated the show in memory of 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi, whose naked body had been dumped in a Volgograd courtyard this past May.  His skull was smashed and he had been raped with beer bottles.

Take three minutes to watch this compelling and heartbreaking story here from Sky News about Tornovio and the blatant homophobia that exists in Russia.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Joan Rivers cracks me up!

Joan Rivers Joan Rivers - Lindsay Lohan

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

“Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas special, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale” earlier this week on NBC.  It features Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood and is on Kelly’s “Wrapped In Red” holiday album.

TAKE DOWN THOSE DAMN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

Christmas lights brighten the holidays in multi-colors, solid colors, and clear bulbs.  However, if those lights are rainbow, it can cause some to freak out, especially in Rome, Italy.

RomeRainbow

This almost mile-long stretch of rainbow-flag lights decorate the Via del Corso, Rome’s main shopping street, to take a stand against homophobia following the recent suicide of a gay teenager.

The right-wing party, Fratelli d’Italia, calls the logic behind the decorations “provocative and ideological” and asked that they be replaced by the colors of Italy’s flag.

That was rejected and the lights will stay up as a dedication to the late South African President Nelson Mandela.

WE NEED MORE MAYORS LIKE ROME’S LEADER
While we’re on the subject of Rome, the city’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, says the “Eternal City” needs to stop living in the past when it comes to marriage equality.
Rome Mayor
Marino told HuffPost Live, “I believe that if a couple loves each other, they should get married.  I don’t see where the problem is. I guess it’s a problem with people thinking in the past — people belonging to the previous century. The last century is gone. It’s surprising for me that this is open for discussion.”
Thank you, Mayor Marino!

PICK HIT

“Work Bitch” is a fun song and Britney Spears looks amazing in the video.  However, it didn’t blow Top 40 radio away.

However, the follow-up, “Perfume”, is already one of the hottest songs in the country and is still racing up the chart.  The video debuted this week and Britney is incredible playing up vulnerability and insecurity.  And, I don’t know who is hotter — her or hot “boyfriend”.

“Britney Jean”, Britney’s eighth solo album debuted at #4 on the Billboard album chart this week with sales of 107,000 copies.

Britney Jean

While that’s a soft opening for Britney, she didn’t do any live performances to promote the album while she’s still rehearsing for her two-year Las Vegas residency that begins later this month at Planet Hollywood.

Britney’s last album, “Femme Fatale” sold 276,000 copies in its first week in 2011, but it had a huge smash at radio at the time, the #1 hit, “Hold It Against Me”.

A FINAL NASHVILLE THOUGHT

While I thoroughly enjoyed the “Reba: All The Women I Am” exhibit and the rest of the displays at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville last week, there was something that had me scratching my head.

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Whose idea was it to put the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith memorabilia in the came display case?  Really?

Some days you just gotta dance if you’re not ready to make nice. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 12

How’s your week going?  This week, I’ve been nursing a sunburn to just my face and stomach from spending too many hours in the pool last Sunday with Ray.  It’s been several years since I had a sunburn and that was from a tanning bed!

Otherwise, the John Deere Classic is going on the Quad Cities.  While I’m not a golf fan, it was nice getting four invitations to parties (three at the Classic) focusing around the tournament.  It’s fun to eat and drink and socialize even if you’re not watching the play!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts today.

BREAKING NEWS

“Rah rah ah ah ah”.  While I had already planned a controversial Lady Gaga mention in today’s blog (you’ll see it below), Mother Monster made a very big (HUGE!) announcement in the very early hours Friday morning while you were sleeping!

ARTPOP

“ARTPOP”, her third full length studio album and the follow-up to the multi-platinum, “Born This Way” disc, will be released on November 11, 2013, and the new Lady Gaga single comes out August 19th.  I’m so excited.  I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’D LIKE TO VOMIT, TOO, BUT I’M ON THE WAGON!

As I’ve blogged and shared before, I’m a recovering food addict.  I was bulimic from 1986-1995 and I’ve been on the wagon ever since.  Yes, I think of how much easier it would be if I was still a practicing bulimic rather than having to eat healthy and exercise, but that would be very unhealthy!  But, this blog has nothing to do with that.  It’s just a metaphor.

However, Pat Robertson, the religious zealot and host of “The 700 Club” basically says that I make him want to vomit and I guess in all fairness, that’s okay because he makes me want to vomit, too!

Pat, here’s something for you.

Vomit

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Profile PicLoved and lost

IS THAT WHY I LOVE DOUGHNUTS?

In the past I’ve talked about how much I love doughnuts and donut-flavored vodka.  (I’ll spell it both ways to cover all bases).  Now, I find that there might be a reason! 🙂

Donuts

Years ago, I subscribed to the website realage.com to do some survey on life expectancy.  Occasionally, the site will send me an email for new quizzes.  Interestingly enough, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email with the subject line, “Tasty tips for your love life”.  Of course, it got my attention and I clicked on it instead of just deleting it.

And, this is what I found:  “Aphrodisiac Foods  — We’ve got a food list that’ll spice up your sex life. These natural aphrodisiacs will get both of you in the mood for love.”  So, I kept reading and if it’s true, a trip to grocery store might be all you need, my friends!

The article claims, “Men, a sniff of lemons, doughnuts, or licorice can increase blood flow to your genitals. For women, licorice and cucumbers often do it.”  WTH???

twizzlers

Now that I have your curiosity aroused, forget the B-52s and the “Love Shack”, here are the “love snacks” that Real Age recommends!

Love Snacks

Bon appetit, you sexy devil!

COUNTRY WITH A HINT OF PINK

Quickly, name an African-American pop star.  Of course you’re thinking Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and the list goes on and on.

Now, name a black country music star.  If you’re on top of your game, Darius Rucker and Charley Pride come to mind.  After those two, you’d have to think very hard and you’d likely come up empty-handed.  Big & Rich fans might say Cowboy Troy. While he hit #2 on the country album chart in 2005, he never scored a Top 40 country solo hit.  I also remember Rissi Palmer and while she released three singles in 2007-2008, none of them cracked the Top 40 at country radio either.

Let’s try another.  Name a gay pop singer.  This is another easy one:  Elton John, George Michael, Tegan & Sara, Ricky Martin, Boy George, Melissa Etheridge, and many more.

Now, name an out country music singer.  You might say k.d. lang.  She did have two hit country albums that reached #9 and #12 on the chart in the late-1980s and two modest hit songs at country radio during the late-1980s, reaching #21 and #22.  However, that was before she came out as a lesbian in 1992.

There’s also Chely Wright.  She scored nine Top 40 country hits between 1997 and 2005.  One of them, “Single White Female” made it to the Top Ten peaking at #1 in 1999.

However, she didn’t come out as a lesbian until 2007.

Now, there’s a Chicago singer that’s gaining national attention. Could 22-year-old Steve Grand be the first openly gay country singer?  The video to “All-American Boy” has now been viewed more than  462-thousand times.

Steve-Grand-All-American-Boy

Earlier this month, Steve said, “I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself.  But starting today, I’m laying it out there. I’m done playing it safe.”  He added, “I feel like most music industry people wouldn’t like the idea of me “pigeonholing” myself by telling this story as I have. But I don’t believe the world sees change until it sees honesty.”

Steve, good luck!

SWEDISH FEAR OF WOLVES

I just read an article about the late author Stieg Larsson, who wrote the “Millennium” series (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”) and I found out something very interesting about Swedish culture.

When he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, there was an old Swedish law, written about 100 years ago, that was still on the books that prohibited children from attending school until they were seven.

Swedish Wolves

It was to protect little kids from being devoured by wolves as they were coming and going to school when walking through the woods and forests.

GET WELL SOON, ELTON

Sir Elton John has been forced to “postpone all forthcoming shows from his current European tour.”

The 66-year-old rocket fell ill while on tour and his medical team ordered a number of exploratory scans and blood tests.  He was diagnosed with appendicitis and is currently taking intensive antibiotics to reduce toxins within the inflamed appendicitis site and he’ll undergo surgery in the next few weeks.

Summer tour dates in London, Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Spain, and Monaco were cancelled.  While Elton will not return to touring until he’s fully recovered, he hopes to play his September and October dates, which include 14 shows at The Colosseum At Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Elton LasVegas

We saw him there last October for my birthday weekend (Elton on Friday night and Madonna on Saturday night).  He was flawless and fantastic.  Elton, I wish you a speedy recovery.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

For today’s ’80s flashback, who better to feature than Elton John.

From his first hit, “Your Song” (#8, 1970) to his last radio hit, “Written In the Stars” (#29, 1999) with LeAnn Rimes, Elton made 60 Top 40 appearances on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those 60 songs, 29 reached the Top Ten, 20 of them climbed into the Top 5, and nine made it all the way to number one!

There are so many of his hits that I absolutely love, but today I’ll share a song that only reached #13 in 1989, but with his upcoming surgery, you couldn’t find a more convenient hit song than “Healing Hands”.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

As you probably know, I love taking pictures and sharing them on Facebook.  However, unless I’m on vacation or on a getaway, I don’t take as many pictures now that Miss ABBA is in “puppy heaven”.  Looking back this week in 2010, we were at Ray’s parent’s old house on Spirit Lake, Iowa.  Yes, it was a challenge keeping both of our girls out of the water!

ABBA Fish 07172010  Gretel ABBA 07172010Anthony Ray 07182010

And, two years ago, as Gretel celebrated her birthday with a little cookout with cake and ice cream with her neighborhood friends, I drove to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to spend the evening with Britney.  Yes, Britney “It’s Britney, Bitch” Spears.

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ANTICIPATION IS BUILDING AND I’M NOT ALONE!

billboard.com recently held its Mid-Year Music Awards and while I didn’t take part in the voting, I definitely agree with the top two choices of what online readers were excited about in the music industry this fall.

Most Anticipated Event of 2013’s Second Half: 


1. New Music From Britney Spears (23%)
2. New Music From Lady Gaga (19%)
3. Beyonce’s ‘Mrs. Carter’ Tour… And Album? (17%)

In all fairness, I’m curious to hear Beyonce’s new music and I’d definitely see her in concert.  But, my loyalty lies with Britney and Gaga.

While Britney is currently in the studio working with will.i.am on her eighth studio album due this fall, her new song, “Ooh La La”, from the soundtrack to this summer’s “The Smurfs 2” is currently at #23 on Mediabase’s radio airplay chart.

Britney claims that she “always loved the Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans EVER. I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they’ll think it’s Smurftastic!”.

The video to “Ooh La La” was just released yesterday and features not only Britney, but her sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James.

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About the new album, expected this fall, Britney says, “I want to definitely take this album and have a new approach with it and make it a little different than anything I’ve ever done.  Will has a lot of really interesting different tracks that I’ve listened to that are really cool that I haven’t actually written on yet, but there’s a lot of guitar and I think people will be surprised with this album. It’s gong to be really different.”

Earlier this year, will.i.am & Britney scored a Top Five hit (and #1 on the Billboard Dance chart) with “Scream & Shout”.

Britney is also “really, really excited” to be working with William Orbit on the new album.  He’s co-produced Madonna’s Grammy-winning 1998 “Ray of Light” album.  Orbit is also excited about the venture.  He posted this on his Facebook page, “Going to cut vocals in LA with Britney in a few weeks.  We’ve songs to die for.”

PUT YOUR PAWS UP!

After being forced to cancel the rest of her highly successful and profitable, “Born This Wall Ball” Tour earlier this year because of a labral tear of the right hip that required surgery, Lady Gaga has been rather quiet.  She even shut down her Twitter account recently.  Obviously, it was for some big news (“ARTPOP” comes out in November and her new single arrives in August!)

Many were already speculating that there was going to be a big announcement since billboard.com posted this story recently, “On two recent Interscope Records industry email blasts (its “Top 40 Fact Sheet”), a simple closing line has shown at the end, after the label has filled in radio/records/trades on other current releases. Four words:  “COMING SOON: LADY GAGA!”

I’m so excited that we’re on “The Edge of Glory” to hear new music from Mother Monster!  Her last hit at Top 40 radio was “Marry The Night” and that was released in November 2011!

Gaga Las Vegas

I was so lucky to see Gaga in Las Vegas, Nevada, in late January, just nine shows before she had to cancel the rest of the tour!

A few weeks ago, Gaga came out for one of her first live performances since February, when she sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at New York City’s Gay Pride parade.

And, of course, that performance has become controversial because she changed the last line from “home of the brave” to “home for the gays”.

Allen West Tweet

Allen West - Lady Gaga

Former U.S. Congressman, Tea Party advocate, and current Fox News contributor (enough said, but I’ll carry on) Allen West posted this on his Facebook page, “I find Lady Gaga’s defiling of our National Anthem reprehensible… This young lady should be taken to Ft. McHenry and given a history lesson as to why Francis Scott Key wrote those words incredible words… She and all those who cheered her abomination should be ashamed and apologize to every serving and retired member of our Armed Services. But perhaps I ask too much…”

But, Gaga isn’t his only target lately.

More West RantsEven More West Rants

I’m glad we live in the land of the free where West has a right to say whatever he wants, even if I think he’s a blowhard.  Some may think the same of me!

And, one last Anthem comment, conservatives also criticized Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, and Steven Tyler for changing the words to the National Anthem.

So, what are your thoughts?  Was Gaga wrong to change the words to the National Anthem?

SEARING A THOUGHT INTO YOUR BRAIN

“Under the Dome”, the new hit CBS drama based on a Stephen King novel, is one my favorite shows on television. It’s debut episode was the highest drama summer premiere on any network since 1992 with 16.7 million viewers.

If you haven’t seen the three episodes that have aired, you have to catch up!  A mysterious dome appears over Chester’s Mill, Maine, cutting part of the town off from the world around it.  No one knows how or why it appeared or how to make it go away.  People have died and I’m sure more will before the 13-episode first season ends September 16, 2013.

I warned you earlier that you might want to skip this part, but the most incredible special effect in the premiere was when the dome came down on a cow pasture and one unfortunate bovine was cut in half.  This is the aftermath, but the effects were incredible watching it happen.  Way to go to the producers and CBS for being clever (and gross)!

COW UNDER THE DOME

Okay, I can’t leave you on that note.  My apologies.  “Under The Dome” is not all gore and sadness.

Under The Dome Shirtless

Peace!  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

You can watch all of the episode for free here:  http://www.cbs.com/shows/under-the-dome/