Posts Tagged ‘country music’

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

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It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

Olivia 2

In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling.png

Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

sl onj.JPG

If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony

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Random Thoughts — April 26, 2019

My sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, so I didn’t share any random thoughts.

While she was here, we ate some great food and actually won some money at the casino — finally!

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

STILL SHAKING MY HEAD!

So, former Vice President Joe Biden announced he’s running for president in 2020.  Of course, 45 fires off a tweet.

Capture.JPG

Two things quickly come to mind!

It’s so encouraging when “that man” vows the race will be “nasty”. (Note, that’s sarcasm!)

It’s even more bizarre when 45 talks about himself the same way his detractors speak of him, “you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas”.    For once, I agree with Trump on something!

And, really, attacking Biden’s intelligence, “long in doubt”.   That’s the pot calling the kettle black!

A similar scenario:  it’s usually the most disgusting guys that are always thinking that gay guys are cruising them or hitting on them!

Bitch Please.gif

“WRITE IT WHEN I’M GONE”

While it may be common, this is the first time I’ve come across this premise for a biography!

President Gerald Ford talked with print journalist Thomas M. DeFrank, the author of “Write It When I’m Gone”, for almost three decades.  The only thing is that nothing they talked about could be published until after Ford’s death.

write-it-when-im-gone.jpg

What an insightful read!  I’m glad that even after their harsh 1976 election campaign, Ford and my idol, President Jimmy Carter became friends and Carter even spoke at Ford’s January 2007 funeral.

Even though I was on Team Carter in 1976, I’m sure that I would have liked Ford in person!  He seemed down to earth, dearly loved his wife, Betty, and had two golden retrievers, Liberty and her pup, Misty.

LibertyandPuppiesGeraldFord

Here’s what Ford said about gay couples in the years after his short stint as president in the mid-1970s, “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period!” and gays joining and being welcomed by the Republican Party, “I have always believed in an inclusive policy, in welcoming gays and others into the party. I think the party has to have an umbrella philosophy if it expects to win elections.”

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, her first country album in four years, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

That’s a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me a little for deviating from Reba’s new album!

Reba Truth

This is Reba’s divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but gives us hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.  She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on “Stronger Than The Truth” with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

“Freedom”, the first official single that radio ignored, is a great song, too.

GRADE:  B+

REBA’s SINGING TO ME

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.

And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, from this album it’s not an optimistic song.  It’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

In a future blog I’m working on, I’ll go more in depth on this subject!  🙂

MADONNA’S RETURN TO MUSIC

Madonna is back with a new song, Medellín”, which features Colombian hottie Maluma.  Her album, “Madame X” arrives June 14th.

Madonna Madame X.jpg

The video debuted earlier this week on a format that Madonna knows all too well, MTV!

Madonna’s last album was 2015’s “Rebel Heart”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

The fifth season of this great CBS drama just wrapped with a huge announcement!

madam_secretary.jpg

Now it’s up to CBS to renew the show for a sixth season to see how it all plays out.

“VEEP”

The seventh and final season of “Veep”, the Emmy-winning HBO comedy, is airing now.

veep season 7.jpg

I just got caught up on the first six seasons and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is amazing!

The series is so funny and so filthy.  If you want political correctness, you won’t find it here! 🙂

Warning: graphic! 🙂

tumblr_nyepet6Gmk1rstnf0o2_250 VEEP.gif

In addition to the star being outrageously funny, I absolutely love Sam Richardson as Richard and Tony Hale’s Gary is hilarious!  Poor Gary!

HAPPY 40TH “BAD GIRLS”

This week back in 1979, Donna Summer released her seventh studio album, “Bad Girls”.

Donna-Summer Bad Girls

The double album sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone and spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.

The “Bad Girls” album would produce four hits in the U.S. with two of them reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 — “Hot Stuff” for three weeks and the title track for five weeks.

“Dim All The Lights” made it to #2.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — April 5, 2019

It’s the first week of April and I hope you weren’t fooled too much earlier this week.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

KUDOS CHICAGO!

Lori Lightfoot’s election win earlier this week to become Chicago’s new mayor is historical!

Lori Lightfoot

Not only will she become the city’s first African American woman mayor, but she’s also part of the LGBTQ community!  She and her wife, Amy Eshleman, have one daughter!

Best wishes Lori!!!!!!

CHICAGO’S OTHER WOMAN MAYOR

Jane Byrne was the first woman elected as Chicago’s mayor and she served four years — from April 1979 to April 1983.

Jane Byrne.JPG

“A MIGHTY HEART”

I remember the tragic story when it was developing back in early 2002 and when the Angelina Jolie movie came out in 2007.

However, reading “A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl”, Mariane Pearl’s account of the abduction and beheading of her husband in Pakistan by Islamic and religious extremists, is harrowing and heartbreaking.

A Mighty Heart

If you don’t recall, Daniel worked for the “Wall Street Journal”.  He was reporting on the United States’ “War on Terrorism” following the 9/11 attacks just months earlier.

He disappeared on January 23, 2002, at a Karachi hotel where he was meeting a contact. A terrorist group claimed he was an American spy.  Once they found out he was Jewish, his fate was sealed.

He was beheaded nine days later in a video that surfaced three weeks later.  His body, cut into ten pieces, was found in a shallow grave in May.

Daniel Pearl

One very interesting note I learned from Mariane’s book is that for a 40-day training session at a Taliban camp to learn “how to terrify, torture, kill”, it only cost about $20/day ($50/day with weapons)!  😦

SYMPATHY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN — COUGH!

The last part of Mariane’s book, “A Mighty Heart”, featured comforting letters to the Pearl family from around the world from everyday people and politicians, including President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

But, the one that struck me the wrong way all these years later was from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In light of all the atrocities he’s orchestrated (oops, I mean, that he’s accused of), this part of his letter didn’t set well with me, “We will do everything to root out this evil, eliminate the threat of terrorism, find and neutralize all those who bring death and destruction.”

Earlier in the letter, he was more honest — like he was looking in a mirror, “International terrorism knows no borders or nationality.”

Trump Putin

JOURNALISTS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA & HATRED

Many times while reading “A Mighty Heart”, I thought of 45’s constant attack on the “mainstream media” and his calling journalists that don’t pander to his rhetoric “the enemy of the people”!

No, Donald, jihadists like the ones that kidnapped Daniel Pearl because he was bringing news of their inhumane actions to the world stage are the enemies!

I know that past presidents of both parties have disliked the media.  It’s no secret that Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, just to name a few, disliked reporters and the news outlets.

But, they never went so far as screaming “fake news” to any group that wasn’t Fox News!

We don’t need more blood on our hands with journalists, like Danny Pearl and countless others, being killed just because one man or one group dislikes what they report!

“HOMELAND”

I finally got caught up on the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series “Homeland” with the incredible Claire Danes.

I had watched up to season four, but now that I have premium cable, they’ve added seasons five, six, and seven.

claire-danes-hugh-dancy.jpg

And, in a casting note that I love, Hugh Dancy (NBC’s “Hannibal”), who’s also Danes’ real-life husband will have a multi-series arc!

The eighth and final season comes out later this year.  They’re currently shooting in Morocco, which is substituting for Afghanistan!

While I’m thrilled that Dancy will be joining the cast, I hope they bring back James D’Arcy and make him Carrie’s love interest.  He’s already mine!!! 🙂

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

FUNNIEST “HOMELAND” LINE

In a series about homeland security, terrorists, shady politics and being bipolar, there usually aren’t a lot of laughs.

However, in season seven, I had to LOL at one of Carrie Mathison’s (Danes) lines.

She’s knows that her body has built up a tolerance to the lithium that’s keeping her sane.  Storming into her therapist’s office with her head bleeding after a fight with a man blackmailing her, a manic Carrie tells the doctor she wants to try new medication.

The doctor is freaked out about the surprise visit and Carrie’s head bleeding asks her repeatedly how it happened.

Carrie’s response:  “Can you focus?” 🙂

“HANNIBAL”

Speaking of “Hannibal”, the amazing NBC series that was probably too intelligent for television was cancelled after three seasons.

There’s still talk of bringing back the critically acclaimed show with a Clarice Starling story line!  Because of contractual blah blah blah, that wasn’t possible in its first run.

I want more Hugh Dancy (“Will Graham”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal Lecter”) and Gillian Anderson (“Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier)!

bedelia

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s 33rd studio album, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now!

Reba Truth

If you’re planning on buying it, Target has an exclusive disc with two additional songs!

“THE FAVOURITE”

This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture is set in the early 18th century and is very quirky!

At the beginning of the movie, Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne makes a humorous comment about the war, thinking it’s over.

But, once you realize that she has very serious health issues that affect her ability to make decisions for the country, it becomes darker.

Best Supporting Actress nominees Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were fantastic.

Now that I’ve seen all five Oscar nominees for Best Actress this year, I’m okay that Colman won.

Ideally, I would’ve been happier if it had been a tie between Colman and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

GRADE: B+

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

And, since I was talking about Best Supporting Actress nominees in “The Favourite”, Regina King won the Oscar this year in that category for this movie.

This is director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight” (2016).

“Tish” (KiKi Layne) and “Fonny” (Stephan James) have been friends all their lives and a romantic relationship develops when they’re a little older.

Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman and his mother-in-law, Sharon Rivers (King), tries to track down the woman and convince her to recant her story and clear Fonny.

Layne’s performance, in a weaker Oscar race, could easily have been nominated!

GRADE:  B

“BRITNEY:  INSIDE THE DREAM”

If you’ve been following the news this week, Britney Spears checked herself in a mental health facility to relax and help her cope with her father’s failing health.

Recently, I recently read Steve Dennis’ 2009 biography on the pop princess and it was more entertaining than reading about Britney on Wikipedia.

However, the book ends after her meltdown more than a decade ago and before she reclaimed her pop throne with “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011.

Additionally, Dennis didn’t have access to Britney, so much of it was speculation and the parts of the book where he had a psychologist analyze Britney without talking to her were a little awkward.

MY THREE FAVORITE BRITNEY SONGS

#3 CD

2

#1

BONUS BRITNEY

Bonus

This song was never released as a single, but it should have been!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 29, 2019

Spring is here and this is my first random thoughts blog since returning from Bangkok, Thailand.

This is my favorite picture that I took there!  I love koi!

Koi Buddha

If you missed the pictures or the details of that enlightening trip (even with the rat and the snakes), here’s the link.  It’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/my-one-night-in-bangkok-okay-actually-five-nights/

It’s always nice to get away, but it’s nice to come home.  Now I’m ready to enjoy the nicer weather heading our way.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and have a great weekend!

“LEAVING NEVERLAND”

This is the four-hour documentary on HBO that’s everybody’s been talking about regarding Michael Jackson and child sexual abuse allegations.

Choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck, now adults, talk extensively and graphically about the sexual abuse they suffered when spending time with Michael Jackson.

I’m going to make some comments and I’m going to keep the sentences short, so there’s no misunderstanding or taking things out of context.

  • I believe Robson and Safechuck!
  • As a parent, I’d NEVER allow my child to spend nights with a man in his 30s.
  • Where was the parental supervision and let’s talk about the lapse of judgement there — I don’t care if Jackson was the biggest star on the planet!
  • If Jackson was alive today, I’m not sure he’d give details of what did and didn’t happen with those boys, who were around 7 and 10-years-old when the alleged abuse started.
  • I do wish that the director had reached out to a Jackson family member since Michael is dead and couldn’t speak for himself.  But, we know they’d just say it didn’t happen and the two men are out for just money.
  • By the way, Robson is a multi-millionaire!

“Leaving Neverland” is definitely worth seeing — if you can handle the graphic content!

And, yes I’ll listen to Michael Jackson’s music today.  He’s a musical genius!

However, I have no desire now to watch his videos again!!!!!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“BEN IN BACK”

I absolutely love Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges is one of my favorite current young actors.  He was fantastic in “Manchester by the Sea” and “Boy Erased”.  And, he’s so adorable!

I’ve really been wanting to see this movie, but I don’t recall it playing in Duluth, Minnesota, where I live.  If it did, it was brief and I missed it.

The movie is about Ben returning home for the holidays after a stay in drug rehab and trying to stay clean.

The trailer is compelling, but the movie is so much better and more intense!

Now I don’t believe in spoilers, so I won’t say if it happens or not.  But, Ben, I know you’ve watched horror movies and you should know never to say anything like “I’ll be right back”!

As you’ll see in the trailer, Ben says, “I’m not going to die”!

GRADE:  A-

“FREEDOM”

Reba McEntire is back and I really think that country radio is finally going to give her another chance.

Her new single, “Freedom”, makes its debut on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week at #52!

reba 52.JPG

Sadly, Reba’s last Top 10 hit at country radio was “Turn on the Radio”, which topped the chart in January 2011!  What?  That’s eight years ago!

Reba Freedom.JPG

“Freedom” is being called “euphoric” and a “fist-pumping anthem”!

It’s the first official release to country radio from her new album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, which comes out April 5, 2019.

“9-1-1” ON  FOX

If you don’t watch “9-1-1” on Fox, what are you waiting for?  You’re missing a great show that’s really entertaining.

And, two recent episodes — the winter finale and first episode back from the holidays — were the series’ best!

nightmare

Earlier this week, Fox renewed “9-1-1” for a third season!

“GREEN BOOK”

Spoiler alert, “Green Book” won the Oscar for Best Picture!

I’ve seen five of the eight nominations from this year (I still need to see “The Favourite” and “Vice” and I won’t watch “Black Panther”.  I’m not a Marvel fan and if I can’t get through the Captain America movies with my future ex-boyfriend Chris Evans, I won’t be seeing “Black Panther”!  Bummer because I love Angela Bassett!).

I enjoyed “Green Book” and the acting was superb.  However, I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was in a group and they wanted to see it.

I think the talk of the movie’s racism was overblown.  I didn’t see it as a movie where the white man saves the black man.  I think it was a movie of two people becoming friends and enlightening each other.

Yes, it had racial stereotypes in it, but it was set in the early-1960s South!

Best Picture, no!  Of the five I’ve seen, so far, I would have voted for “Bohemian Rhapsody”!

GRADE: B

“FIRST MAN”

I love Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy is incredible (“The Crown” seasons one and two)!  And, director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” was awesome, so what is this?

I almost stopped the movie within the first 30 minutes!

While it does have some great drama (at times) and it has some great special effects, it seems so disjointed.

Bon Jovi sings, “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “First Man” gives space exploration a bad name!

GRADE: C+

MY FAVORITE CURRENT SONG!

Ava Max is a musical newcomer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

But, her song, “Sweet but Psycho” has already topped the charts in at least 22 countries.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Club Songs chart in the U.S.!

The song has a very European sound to it, which is probably why it’s my favorite current song.

In the U.S., it’s currently one of the five most played songs on Top 40 radio and the video is pretty sexy (but psycho), too! 🙂

Ava Max is definitely channeling one of her idols, Lady Gaga in this video and with her voice!

“Sweet but Psycho” has been viewed almost 234 million times!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 15, 2019

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and if you didn’t celebrate it with anyone, maybe you’ll enjoy the half-price candy! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

YOU’RE THE SCARY ONE!

West Virginia Republican politician Eric Porterfield is scared (and scary)!

Appearing on a local television news show wearing a red “MAGA” hat, the interviewer asked him how he’d react if his son or daughter told him they were gay.

He responded, “Well, I would dress my daughter first, as I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done, and see if she could swim.  If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing, then I’d see if he could swim.”

Porterfield

What a disgusting man!

And, Porterfield has the nerve to say, I believe the LGBTQ is the modern version of the Ku Klux Klan, calls us “brutal, vicious monsters” and adds, “I am terrified of these people”.

Dude, talk to God or a therapist!

HOLLYWOOD HOMOPHOBIA

In my last random thoughts blog, I talked about outing people and if it’s appropriate and if so, under what circumstances.  Rock Hudson and Lily Tomlin were mentioned.

One of my friends responded, “I believe that Rock Hudson And Lily Tomlin were probably afraid their careers would be ruined!”

That same day, I was reading the February/March 2019 issue of “The Advocate” and Jeff Davis, the out gay creator and showrunner of  MTV’s “Teen Wolf” talked about how it is in Hollywood even now.

Davis says, “many gay actors I know still don’t believe they’ll get roles they want or [think] that they’ll only be considered for gay roles [if they come out].  The industry still believes that coming out is a career killer.  I can name 10 gay actors right now who are not publicly out.  It’s their choice.  But I keep hoping they’ll take that step.” 

“MINDHUNTER”

Sexy Jonathan Groff is one actor that publicly came out in 2009.

Groff

Groff is a star on Broadway (“Spring Awakening” and “Hamilton”), the big screen (the voice of Kristoff in the “Frozen” movie series) and television (“Glee” and “Looking”).

He plays straight on his hit, critically acclaimed (and incredible) Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

If you didn’t see the first season yet, it’s amazing!  It’s set in 1977 and follows two FBI agents, who help start the Behavioral Science Unit by profiling criminals.

The second season is expected this year and will focus on the Atlanta murders (children and young adults) of 1979-1981.

REBA IS BACK!

Reba’s new single, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now and the album of the same name comes out April 5th!

Reba Truth

Here’s the first single.

“A PRIVATE WAR”

This movie is based on a 2012 “Vanity Fair” article called “Marie Colvin’s Private War”.

Colvin was a real life, award winning news correspondent that covered many war torn areas (Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Syria).  She discovered and brought to light many atrocities and horrors being committed by foreign governments.

These nightmares brought on the private war that Colvin fought in her life and in her career.

Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) was stunning and heartbreaking as Colvin.

GRADE:  A

“ANGELS OF SEX” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”)

Have you ever watched a movie and depending on the circumstances or mood at the time, it might not have made a big impression on you?  Then, you see it again and you’re blown away by it.

That’s “Angels of Sex” for me!

I first saw this 2012 Spanish movie many years ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf since then.

I’m re-watching my older movies to get rid of them, but I’m definitely keeping this one now and watching it again!

I absolutely loved “Angels of Sex” this time around!

Alvaro Cervantes (Rai), Llorenc Gonzales (Bruno), and Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Carla) are beautiful, stunning and great actors to boot.  You can’t take your eyes off them!

And, this movie, which is about a polyamorous relationship and sexual fluidity, was well ahead of its time.

Those terms are becoming popular and more widespread in today’s LGBTQ and straight worlds!

GRADE:  A

“WIDOWS”

Academy Award winner Viola Davis is incredible as always in this movie, but I can’t say that I thought it was a spectacular film.

It felt like it wasn’t sure what kind of movie it wanted to be.  There were several story lines that the director tried to tie together seamlessly, but I don’t feel that was accomplished.

But, maybe it was just me!

The $42 million movie earned $75.8 million in theaters and made many critics’ Top Ten lists for 2018.

It was Richard Roeper’s (Chicago Sun-Times) #1 movie of the year!

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

2019: My Personal Expectations & What Excites Me

While not as bad as 2017, a year I’d rather forget, (wait, what was I talking about? :)) I’m want to improve on 2018.

Relocating back to the Midwest to Duluth, Minnesota, was a great move for me.

Duluth

I really like Northland, the beauty of Lake Superior and most of the people I work with are a great group to spend time alongside during work hours.

I still loving forecasting weather, but I haven’t gotten used to the afternoon and evening hours after almost six years on a morning show.  It’s an adjustment that I hope works better for me in the new year.

I also want to expand my friend base.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the solitude of watching movies, binge watching television series (I’m watching and loving “The Americans” right now) and walking and reading (at the same time) to stay in shape and to exercise my brain!

Here’s to 2019! May it be a great one for us all!

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CONCERTS

It’s hard to believe that I didn’t see one concert in 2018!  I can’t remember the last year that I didn’t see a concert!

However, in December 2017, on three consecutive nights, I saw Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, and Tanya Tucker in concert in Las Vegas.  I guess those three shows held me over for 2018!

LAS VEGAS

Also, with the move, I didn’t get to visit Las Vegas last year either!

I first visited Vegas in the early-1990s and I didn’t see my favorite American city again until 2012.  Since then, I’ve visited it, at least, once a year (twice in 2017).

In the back of my mind, I think I’d still like to move there!

As of now, I’m planning a trip there in the fall with my sister, Tammy, and I hope to be lucky and win big on the slots!

If I’m super lucky, I’ll win big and get to see the only concert I really want to see in 2019 — Kylie Minogue’s “Golden Tour”.

Kylie 1

It’s already played in Europe and will play Australia this March.  Her fall schedule is still open, so Kylie if you see this — Las Vegas, Nevada in the fall of 2019!  And, bring Jake Leigh with you! 🙂

Kylie 5

And, wouldn’t it just rock my world to have a seat to the show like this one!  This person had an incredible view for Kylie’s show in Birmingham, England.

This is the show’s opening number, “Golden”!

MARCH TRIP

Over the years, people have wondered (and asked) how I get to travel so much.  Well, I promise you it’s not from family wealth or my salary!

It’s called interest-free credit cards!  And, since my current card’s 0% APR ends in February, I used it to pay for my next trip.  I just made the final payment on New Year’s Day!

Of course, I won’t divulge the location until I get there! 🙂

If you recall, I didn’t announce my trip to Morocco last fall until three days before I departed.  Even then, I didn’t say specifically where I was heading.

You have to keep a little mystery in life! 🙂

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If you’re curious, it’s a capital city with a population of 8.3 million (about the same as New York City).

It’s very warm and humid. The average high temperature is above 90° every month of the year (expect December’s 89°), so I’ll take two pair of underwear for each day!  I hate “moist” underwear! 🙂  TMI!

And, I’m intentionally going to eat insects — specifically deep-fried grasshoppers, crickets and silkworms!  They sell them on the street!

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Bon Appétit!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I saw Olivia Newton-John’s “Summer Nights” show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

In March 2019, Olivia will release her memoirs, “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

As you know, Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and was in remission until 2017.

She’s still fighting it and after weeks of headlines proclaiming her imminent death, Olivia stepped in front of the camera.

She laughed off the rumors and wished everyone a Happy New Year looking very alive and stunning!

“Xanadu” is still my favorite Olivia song.

NEW MADONNA ALBUM

Madonna kicked off 2019 with a surprise appearance at the Stonewall Inn in New York City with her 13-year-old son David, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

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Talking to the surprised crowd, peace was on her mind, “If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for — ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?”

Madonna is working on her 14th studio album.

I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since “Rebel Heart” came out!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Sadly, you probably missed this song in 2015.  It was one of the best and most underrated songs in Madonna’s long career!

If you’re not familiar with the “Stonewall Riots” and the police brutality that led to LGBTQ people forming a community and Pride, click on the link below the picture and read my 2012 blog!

Stonewall_riots

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/

NEW REBA ALBUM

In September 2018, Reba teased new music and it’s expected in 2019.

REBA Coming Soon

Weeks later, about the new music, Reba said, “It’s gonna be probably the most country album I’ve ever recorded.”

Reba’s last studio album, 2017’s “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” was gospel.

This will be her first country album since 2015’s underappreciated, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Love Somebody

Thanks sexist, ageist country radio!

So, here’s a flashback to a real country sounding Reba from 1980 with her first Top 10 country hit, “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven”, which reached #8!

And, you’ll catch little sister, Susie Luchsinger, on backing vocals!

“TRICK 2” 

It’s taken 20 years, but a sequel to 1999’s “Trick” is on the way in 2019!

trick 2.jpg

The original, a New York City-based gay romantic comedy, with Tori Spelling, Christian Campbell (Neve’s brother), John Paul Pitoc, and Miss Coco Peru, is still one of my favorites.

I’ve read that the sequel will take place in Los Angeles a dozen years later.  Gabriel and Mark’s meet up again on an app.

Here’s the original trailer and Miss Coco Peru’s amazing rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” sung in original “Trick” by Jessica Williams.

“TALES OF THE CITY” SEQUEL

I was introduced to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” book series when the television miniseries hit the U.S. on PBS in early 1994.

I also fell in love with the amazing and incredible Laura Linney as Mary Ann Singleton.

Mary Ann

Since then, there’s been “More Tales of the City” (1998) and “Further Tales of the City” (2001).

In 2019, the latest installment will debut on Netflix with returning original stars Linney, Olympia Dukakis (Anna Madrigal), Barbara Garrick (DeDe Halcyon Day) and Paul Gross (Brian Hawkins).

Michael “Mouse” Tolliver will be played by the beautiful and sexy Murray Bartlett (“Looking”).

It’ll be based on the eighth book in the series (out of nine), “Mary Ann in Autumn”.

Mary Ann

Molly Ringwald has also joined the cast.

’80s FLASHBACK

I’ve talked about 2019 and the future, so why not enjoy a flashback to the decade of the best music ever!

This song hit #1 in more than ten countries around the world and reached #3 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 in the mid-1980s.

THAT’S IT

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

Happy New Year! 🎉🥂🍾

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 27, 2018

July is basically over and we’ll be heading into the last unofficial month of summer soon.  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

CELEBRITY AND ACTIVISM

Being in the public eye can be a “Catch 22”.

There are people that think you should stick to whatever it is you’re known for (singing, acting, giving the weather, etc.) and you should keep your personal views and thoughts to yourself.

While I’m not a celebrity, I’ve been a very vocal advocate for LGBT rights and marriage equality.  I was also a Hillary Clinton supporter and I didn’t hide it.

Hillary AP

I know I’ve helped some families deal with relatives coming out as LGBTQ.

But, I’ve also had a few people tell me to stick to television weather and keep my views to myself.  My response to that is that if you don’t like my “views”, then you shouldn’t have friended me on Facebook or read my blogs. (I don’t share my personal views on my professional social media page.)

A former co-worker once expressed his strong dislike for Meryl Streep because she uses her public platform to express her views or her politics.

To that I replied, “I’m a Meryl Streep-loving, tree hugging liberal and I’m proud of it!”

I’m a strong believer that if you have a platform and people’s attention, you should use it to try and educate them on matters they may not be that familiar with!

IMAGINE DRAGONS (AND UNICORNS)

The Grammy Award winning, Las Vegas-based group Imagine Dragons have sold more than 12 million albums and 35 million singles.

They’ve had massive radio hits like 2012’s “Radioactive” and last year’s “Believer”, “Thunder”, and “Whatever It Takes”.

While they’re one of the hottest rock bands on the planet, the group started getting more attention — namely from Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — when lead singer Dan Reynolds reached out to and began defending the LGBTQ community.

Why?  In Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death for teenagers!!!

Trevor

SuicideHotline

WAKE THE F*CK UP UTAH!  (That’s me speaking and not Dan in those exact words!)

A new HBO documentary, “Believer”, came out in June.

It talks about the struggles of LGBTQ communities across Utah, the suicide rate, and what Reynolds and Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn and others are doing to fight this tragedy.  It also takes on the double cross-talking Mormon church!

Now, I wonder what my former colleague that was always singing “Thunder” would think about Reynolds speaking out against the church’s views on being LGBTQ?  Is Reynolds now in the Streep camp of just “shut up and sing”?

LOVELOUD

The second annual LOVELOUD concert with proceeds supporting national and local LGBTQ+ charities will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Salt Lake City with Imagine Dragons, Tyler Glenn, Zedd, and more.

“SHUT UP & SING”

As the 2003 Iraq War was about to get underway, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, told a London, England audience, at the kickoff of the “Top of the World Tour”, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.”

Once those comments made it to the U.S. and onto every right-wing, conservative radio and television show (and into newspapers), their country music career was over and they became pariahs in that genre.

Their hit, “Travelin’ Soldier”, was #1 on the country chart when the comments were made.  After Cumulus Media dropped the Dixie Chicks from their 42 country stations, the song dropped to #3 the next week and off the entire chart one week later!

They got death threats, which was the premise of the excellent documentary, “Shut Up & Sing”.

Kudos to Natalie, Emily Robinson, and Martie Maguire for putting on a strong face in the face of the turmoil and being called every name in the book!

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The controversy played heavily into their Grammy Award-winning comeback, sans country radio, with “Take The Long Way” and “Not Ready To Make Nice” in 2006.

It was during this time that I first saw them in concert in Chicago in 2006 on the “Accidents & Accusations Tour”.

By the way, Bush responded, “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out … Freedom is a two-way street … I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that’s fine. That’s the great thing about America.”

“LATTER DAYS”

This movie, written by former Mormon C. Jay Cox (“Sweet Home Alabama”) is still one of my favorite movies after a decade.

It’s the story of a group of Mormons on their two-year mission to Los Angeles and one of them has a big secret.

It’s funny, loving, sad, and heartbreaking with amazing performances from leads Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey and guest stars Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

A must-see!

NOAH’S ARK

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“A QUIET PLACE”

I’m probably one of the last people to finally see this incredible movie.

This $19 million dollar picture, which marked Krasinski’s directing debut, has already brought in $332.4 million dollars!

I love Emily Blunt and she’s incredible (when isn’t she?) and absolutely crush on John Krasinski!  This movie definitely marks his place in Hollywood as a promising director!

I’m claustrophobic and this movie took my breath away with the silence!  Silence that when broken is deadly!

Millicent Simmonds, who played Blunt and Krasinski’s daughter, is magnificent, too.

The movie ended perfectly for a sequel and one is on the way.

Does it need one?  No.  It’s a perfect stand alone movie.   However, it gives us a chance to see more of Blunt and Simmonds.

I hope that the sequel works as both a sequel AND a prequel — without a “spoiler alert”, that’s all I’ll say. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“STREISAND:  HER LIFE”

In my eight weeks since moving to Duluth, I haven’t read a book.  The last book I finished was my 20th of the year, “Streisand:  Her Life” by James Spada.

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It’s amazing how talented Streisand is — from music to television to Broadway to movies.

Based entirely on her looks as a child and a young woman, no one believed she had what it took to make it!  And, now she’s an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy award winner!

But, the book doesn’t hold back on how self-centered she is or comes across.

Her friend, composer James Newton Howard (“Pretty Woman”):  “Barbra is a sweetheart, but she can be quite blunt.  If you’re not thick-skinned, then she’s not easy to think.  I happen to think she’s a genius.  The process of working with her is a difficult one because her perfectionism is unequaled.  She’s incredibly demanding, but I can truthfully say that working with her has elevated my own work.”

While demanding, she also uses her name and talent to promote causes she believes in — being a staunch liberal! 🙂

Speaking to students at Harvard in 1995, Barbra said, “I’m also very proud to be a liberal.  Why is that so terrible these days?  [The audience cheered].

She continued, “The liberals were liberating.  They fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote… fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid.  Thanks to liberals, we have Social Security, public education, consumer and environmental protection, Medicare, Medicaid, the minimum-wage law, unemployment compensation.  Liberals put an end to child labor.  They even gave us the five-day work week.  What’s to be ashamed of?…”

Still speaking,  “I have opinions, nobody has to agree — I just like being involved, and after many years of self-scrutiny, I’ve realized that the most satisfying feelings come from things outside myself.”

Finally, she concluded, “So until women are treated equally with men, until gays and minorities are not discriminated against, until children have their full rights, artists must continue to speak out, and I will be one of them.  Sorry, Rush, Newt, Jesse — the artist as citizen is here to stay.”
Barbra’s been working on her autobiography for years and it was to be released in 2018.  However, that’s not looking likely.  She told “Entertainment Weekly” that the part about “A Star Is Born” is already 50 pages long!
BARBRA’S MUSIC

In her 50-plus-year career, Barbra scored 22 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with 13 of them reaching the Top Ten.

She’s had five chart toppers:  “The Way We Were”, “Evergreen”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (with Neil Diamond), “No More Tears” (with Donna Summer), and “Woman in Love”.

One of my favorites, “Left in the Dark”, the lead single from her 1984 album, “Emotion”, only reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100.  But, it reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

A “POSE” CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY

Christmas is now just five months away.

As you already know, I love FX’s “Pose” and it was renewed for a second season.

The first season has wrapped up, but just three episodes in, I got the thing I love most about any series — a Christmas episode!

Work it Blanca in a Pray Tell creation!

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Angel also looked lovely in the heartwarming episode!

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THAT’S IT

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

Anthony