Posts Tagged ‘Culture Club’

Years & Years’ “Communion” Is Definitely King!

I’ve become much more selective when buying new music.  Back in the 1990s when I was disc jockey, I’d buy new CDs just for a song and hope to find other gems.

Thus far in 2015, I’ve only bought eight new albums.  Of those, four are from American artists and four are European — Zedd (Germany), Giorgio Moroder (Italy), and from the United Kingdom, Clean Bandit and Years & Years.

It really doesn’t surprise me that I still love European music since it dominated what I listened to in the 1980s, outside of Madonna and Janet Jackson, during the second “British Invasion”.

My latest find that I highly recommend is “Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years.

Communion

Years & Years is lead singer and keyboardist Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy, and synth player Emre Turkmen.

I’m not sure where I heard “King”, the song that made me aware of Years & Years.

While it did get some Top 40 radio airplay in the United States and a decent amount of dance club play, the song topped the charts earlier this year in the U.K., Bulgaria, Croatia, and Scotland.

After getting “Communion” and listening to it on repeat, I’m amazed at the booming voice that comes from Olly and his waifish-body (and I mean that in a good way because I would love to be that thin again).  Youth!

Years & Years

It’s such a bluesy sound that, at times, reminds me of amazing English singers Alison Moyet, Gabrielle, and Helen Terry.

Yes, here’s a slight detour in talking about the amazing debut from Years & Years.

If you’re reading my blog from the United States you might be on Google typing in each of those female vocalists I just mentioned.

In America, Alison had one Top 40 hit, “Invisible” (#31, 1985), even though she had nine hits in the U.K. (six reaching the Top Ten).  Gabrielle had 16 Top 40 U.K. hits (ten reached the Top Ten), but only “Dreams” was a hit in the U.S. (#26, 1993, on the Hot 100, but #1 on the Dance chart).  And, Helen Terry, scored just one modest hit in the U.K., but she’s famously known as the back-up singer on many of Culture Club’s biggest hits.

“Shine”

As much as I love “King” and so glad that it grabbed me and turned me on to Years & Years, my favorite song from “Communion” is “Shine”.  It’s the latest release from the album and has already topped the charts in Scotland and reached #2 in the U.K.

Here are my other four favorite songs from the album that I recommend that you download now and put it on heavy rotation on your summer playlist.

And, a final note as you watch the videos, when you get to “Real”, it’s not only Olly’s voice that is mesmerizing.  The captivating Ben Whishaw (from the incredible, touching, and sadly underappreciated movie, “Lilting”) really gets into the groove and is so alluring!

More Years & Years

It just so happens that I arrive in San Francisco in late September, the same night that Olly, Emre, and Mikey will be playing live at The Fillmore and I plan on being there!

“Desire”

“Real”

“Eyes Shut”

“Worship”

I’ve highlighted my favorites from the album that are mainly upbeat, but “Without” is a killer ballad.

While I’ve talked about Olly’s vocals throughout the blog, the sound of the trio is incredible.

“Communion” is very 2015, but it also takes me back to the very experimental and fun sounds of the early-1980s.  You can’t listen to “Ties” without thinking of Jimmy Somerville and Bronski Beat.

When talking about Bronksi Beat, Alison Moyet, Gabrielle, Ben Whishaw and “Lilting”, I wish Years & Years great success because I don’t want to listen to “Communion” and think that they are “underappreciated” here in America, but loved throughout the world.

With Years & Years, I’ve found my fix to hold me over until Erasure (Andy Bell & Vince Clarke) release the follow-up to my favorite album of 2014, “The Violet Flame”.

Communion

GRADE:

A

“Communion” get an “A” and I can’t wait to get to San Francisco on September 28th to see the guys perform live.

Anthony

If you’re still reading, you know I love Years & Years and their debut album.  However, I’m featuring an amazing track from Alison, Gabrielle, and Bronski Beat.

Also, a poignant scene from “Lilting”.  Discover now what you likely missed then!

Gabrielle — “Dreams”

Alison Moyet — “Whispering Your Name”

Bronski Beat — “Tell Me Why”

“Lilting”

My Fall Just Got More Exciting With Erasure

I’ve seen some fun and amazing concerts this year (Cher, Shania Twain, and Olivia Newton-John), but I’m really psyched to see my favorite band of all-time this fall for the first time — a week before my monumental 50th birthday!

It’s not ABBA, Culture Club, The Human League, Duran Duran, The Carpenters, New Kids on the Block, Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, or Depeche Mode, although I do want to see Pet Shop Boys and Culture Club in 2015 and I’d love to see The Human League again.

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke, better known as Erasure, will be hitting the road this fall to support their 16th studio album, “The Violet Flame”, that comes out this September.  The first single arrives in July.

The Violet Flame Erasure

I have pretty decent seats to see them in Chicago in early October.  Unfortunately, since I was buying my tickets from an airport rushing between flights, I didn’t score “pit” tickets and I wasn’t fast enough to get VIP tickets!  Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see the show.

Until now, it’s never worked out for me to see them live in concert.

However, I did have the pleasure to say “hello” to Andy and Vince from across the “Fox News Chicago” newsroom where I was working as a news writer back in 2002.  They dropped in to make an appearance on our morning show when Erasure was playing in Chicago.

April 2013 001

Andy and Vince were kind of enough to sign my VHS copy of  “Wild!  Live”, their 1989 concert at the London Arena.

If you’ve only listened to mainstream Top 40 radio since the 1980s, you’re probably not too familiar with Erasure.  Sadly, radio missed the boat on the group.

They’ve hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 three times.  “Chains of Love” peaked at #12 in 1988.

That was followed by “A Little Respect”, which made it to #14 that same year, and “Always” reached the Top 20 in 1994.

However, my love for Erasure goes back a few years before they had their first hit on American radio.  In 1985, they released their first record, “Who Needs Love Like That”/”Heavenly Action”, which was a Top Ten U.S. dance club hit.

erasure

I had just turned 21 and I no longer had to sneak into the my local gay bar, Rumors, in Paducah, Kentucky.  When I started spinning record there in 1986, I couldn’t get enough of  “Oh L’amour”, the third single from their debut album, “Wonderland”.

That song reached #3 on the U.S. Dance charts and #2 on the charts in South Africa and #3 in Singapore.

“Oh L’amour” is still my favorite Erasure song to this day.

erasure2

Luckily, for Americans Erasure fans, the duo made it big in the clubs scoring 22 Top 40 dance hits with 16 hitting the Top Ten, and two topping the charts: “Victim of Love” (1987) and “Breathe” (2005).

In their native U.K., they’ve had 32 Top 40 hits with 15 reaching the Top Ten.  Interestingly enough, their biggest hit in England was “Sometimes” in 1987.  It’s another one of my all-time favorites, but it missed the top.  It stalled out at #2.

While I’ve always been “out”, being born and raised in small town Kentucky, I admired Andy Bell from the beginning for being himself — out, proud and fabulous.  He didn’t change himself or conform his look or stage presence to be “safe” for American audiences.

Now, I did wear some interesting clothes in my 20s that provoked second looks and “under the breath” comments, but compared to Andy’s style, it was very subtle!

If you have any doubt about Andy’s eye-catching style, check out this performance, “Star”, from “Wild!  Live”!

And, if I didn’t totally love Andy and Vince before 1992, I was in gay heaven that year when they released “Abba-esque”, a four-song EP of ABBA tunes.  It hit the top of the charts in Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Before Erasure broke onto the music scene, ABBA was my favorite band.  I loved the Swedish band so much that, in 2000, I named my golden retriever after them!  🙂  Shortly after she went to “puppy heaven” in early 2012, I got a tattoo of Miss ABBA!

Anthony ABBA Tattoo

“The Violet Flame Tour”, which kicks off in September in Miami, Florida, then heads across the U.S. (and Toronto, Ontario) through early November before heading to Europe and then back to New York City for two shows to ring in the New Year!

erasure 4

This is Erasure’s first tour since 2011’s international “The Tomorrow’s World Tour”.

While Andy may not wear as many sequins and the costumes may not be as revealing as back in 1989, from this video from Offenbach, Germany, in November 2011, Andy and Vince’s performances are still energizing and incredible.

erasure3

I’m already looking forward to July to hear the first single from “The Violet Flame” and for the album’s release in September.

But, most of all, I’m counting down the days until October 4th, when I get to see Erasure at the Chicago Theatre for the first time.

Andy and Vince, I’ll be screaming and singing along from the Main Floor B section.  I’ll pretend that you’re singing to me when I hear the first notes of “Oh L’amour”!

♫♪ Oh l’amour/Broke my heart and now I’m aching for you/Mon amour/What’s a boy in love supposed to do?

♫♪

Anthony

2014 Concerts

We’re more than halfway through the first month of the new year and I’ve made no travel plans and I’ve bought no concert tickets.  However, there are shows I want to see.

If it all works out, I want to visit Las Vegas in 2014 and see a double feature of Shania Twain and Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”, which is earning rave reviews since it started last Friday night.

Shania1Britney

More than likely, the first show we’ll see this year will be Cher and her “Dressed To Kill” tour when it comes to Rosemont, outside Chicago, on June 7th.

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

I’d also like to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis’ “Grits & Glamour Tour” in Clinton, Iowa, in June, since I’ve seen both of them separately in concert.

Lorrie-Morgan-and-Pam-Tillis-(Grits-&-Glamour-Tour)

I also want to see Erasure next fall and Olivia Newton-John, if she tours.

Erasure

Olivia

And, I’m still holding out for a Culture Club reunion tour.

culture-club

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/random-friday-thoughts-january-3/

Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!  I wish you the very best this year.  If 2013 was a great year for you, I hope this one is better.  If 2013 wasn’t all that great, I hope 2014 is incredible.

Happy 2014

Here are my first random thoughts of 2014!

HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!

This is not a segue into the bitterly cold, below zero temperatures we’re waking up to in the Midwest this Friday or the brutal cold coming in early next week.

Hell has frozen over because I can now say that I agree with former Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck on something!

On CNN recently, Beck cracked me up talking about Santa and race when he replied, “I don’t know what color your imaginary friends are.”

However, it was his comments about Russia and a prominent television star there that caught my attention and we found common ground.

People, I’ve talked about this hate since last summer, but we really need to wake up when it comes to Russia and the sad state of human rights there!

GOODBYE CHRISTMAS

Christmas Outside

As much as I love the Christmas lights and decorations, the outdoors lights will be put away when some of the snow melts and it warms up a little.  The “live” tree inside comes down next weekend!

Christmas Tree

I had a very nice Christmas and Santas Ray, Tammy, Gretel, Betty & Ray’s parents lavished me with some fun and some very practical gifts.  By practical, do you notice the soap, shampoos, and lotions?  I can’t wait to use the food processor this summer when the garden produces enough tomatoes for homemade salsa.

And, Vickie, thank you for the Michael Buble book and Andy, the tie is too cool!

Christmas Gifts

RICKY MARTIN IS SINGLE

4820-4820-1

Ricky Martin’s publicist has confirmed that the Latin heartthrob and his partner of about three years, Carlos González Abella, are no longer together.
The statement says, “Ricky and Carlos have mutually agreed to end their relationship, but continue to be united by friendship and their shared experiences.”
ricky-martin-vanity-fair

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Jesus

Forecast

Healthy

BEING HEALTHIER IS NOT A RESOLUTION

If you recall, in 2012, Ray and I both lost about 25-30 pounds for his 30th high school reunion and the Madonna concert for my birthday in Las Vegas.  While it was hard eating very little and walking a lot, it was worth it.

Vegas October 2012

Since October 2012, we haven’t been very dedicated to healthy eating and it shows.  I’ve gained all the weight back and more!  Yesterday morning, I weighed more than I’ve ever weighed!

I feel like I look like Christian Bale’s character in “American Hustle”, but with better hair and clothes.  Okay, I’m slightly exaggerating there.

Christian Bale American Hustle

Ray and I have both set our weight loss goal of 15 pounds by summer.

Bring on the lettuce!

REDBOX TARGETED OVER SAME-SEX MOVIE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  I’ll watch a movie that I normally wouldn’t check out, because for $1.20, you generally can’t go wrong.  As far as I can recall, I’ve never rented a gay-themed movie from Redbox because they normally aren’t there.

However, there’s a documentary called “Bridgegroom” available now and it’s causing some uproar.

NETFLIX POSTER

It tells the story of the documentary’s producer, Shane Bitney Crone, and his late partner, Tom Bridegroom, who died in an accidental fall from a rooftop.

Some of you may recall this story about Crone’s grief in the YouTube video sensation, “It Could Happen To You”, in which Crone describes Bridegroom’s family refusing to let him to come to his partner’s funeral and them threatening his life. It has been viewed more 4.6 million times since it was posted more than a year ago.

Crone posted on Facebook earlier this week, “some radio hosts and church groups have encouraged others to boycott the popular Redbox video rental kiosks completely, simply because they are against a love story about two men.”

REDBOX

Redbox plans to supply the documentary to its 44,000 kiosks across the country and is contributing 5% of the film’s proceeds to GLAAD, GLSEN, PFLAG, and Freedom the Marry.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” FLASHBACK

Since I started my blog almost two years ago, I regularly featured some of my favorite pop songs from the 1980s, the best decade of music!

In 2014, I’m taking the mantra of Marie Osmond, with whom I share a birthday.  This year, “I’m a little bit country” and I’m starting it off with Shania Twain.

Shania2

No, it’s not one of the awesome country and pop crossover hits from her mega-selling albums “The Woman In Me”, “Come On Over” or “Up” that made Shania the best-selling female country artist not only in America, but the world.  She has sold more than 85 million albums world-wide!

In America alone, “The Woman In Me” sold 12+ million copies, 20+ million for “Come On Over”, and 11+ million for “Up”.

Shania’s first hit, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” reached #11 in 1995.  Including that hit, she has scored 27 Top 40 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 7 have topped the charts.

Shania Twain

However, my feature hit today is her first release from her self-titled debut in 1993.  Sadly, “What Made You Say That” and the follow-up, “Dance With The One That Brought You”, both only reached #55.

We played this song like crazy at Charlie’s, the country bar that I worked at in Chicago, before Shania made it big!

2014 CONCERTS

If it all works out, I want to visit Las Vegas in 2014 and see a double feature of Shania Twain and Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”, which is earning rave reviews since it started last Friday night.

Shania1Britney

More than likely, the first show we’ll see this year will be Cher and her “Dressed To Kill” tour when it comes to Rosemont, outside Chicago, on June 7th.

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

I’d also like to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis’ “Grits & Glamour Tour” in Clinton, Iowa, in June, since I’ve seen both of them separately in concert.

Grits Glamour Tour

I also want to see Erasure next fall and Olivia Newton-John, if she tours.

ErasureOlivia

And, I’m still holding out for a Culture Club reunion tour.

culture-club

“AMERICAN HUSTLE”

Last week, you learned that the Israeli drama/love story, “Out in The Dark”, was my favorite movie of 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I’m already starting to compile my best of 2014 list and the first theatrical movie I checked out was “American Hustle”.

American Hustle

The movie, directed by David O. Russell, stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who Russell directed in “The Fighter” and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook”, which was also directed by Russell.

“American Hustle” is loosely based on a FBI undercover operation back in the  late-1970s and early-1980s involving crooked politicians.

All four stars were incredible in the movie and gave Oscar worthy performances.

I think Adams has a Best Actress nomination secured and Lawrence could very well be nominated in the Supporting Actress category.  Her nutty character was funny and heartbreaking.

GRADE:  A-

HOLLYWOOD, LISTEN TO ME!

I’ve now seen Jennifer Lawrence in five movies and she’s been captivating in every one of them.

jennifer-lawrence

I believe every movie should star Lawrence and Melissa Leo, who I hope Oscar remembers in mid-January when the nominations are announced.  She was phenomenal in “Prisoners”.

Melissa Leo Prisoners

Happy 2014 again and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  I plan on relaxing this weekend, vegging out, watching movies, and getting through more of “The X-Files”.  We’re midway through season seven.

Since I mentioned my favorite movie of 2013 in this blog, I’ll leave you with my favorite song and video of 2013.  You can find separate blogs of my “best of 2013” by hitting the back button at the top of this blog for past blogs. 🙂

Wait, I have a Cher playlist and I know the words to every Britney song…………

Anthony

Finding My Own “Personal Jesus” In Chicago This Summer

The Beatles.  The Rolling Stones.  David Bowie.  Queen.  Led Zeppelin.  The Police.   Depeche Mode.  Erasure.  Dead or Alive.  Culture Club.  Duran Duran.  The Human League.  Spice Girls.  Coldplay.  One Direction.

Those acts are all part of a “British Invasion” and depending on your age, you’re likely a fan of, at least, one of the groups.

I was fortunate enough to see The Human League at Market Days in Chicago about ten years ago and they were awesome.  I had tickets to see Culture Club the last time they were going to tour the U.S., but Boy George’s visa was denied because of the criminal charges surrounding his holding a male escort “hostage” in his home!  Luckily, he cleaned up his act and I hope they tour in the next year or so.

And, back in 2002, when I was a news writer for Fox News Chicago, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke of Erasure passed through the newsroom for an interview to promote their new album and concert and I got to meet them and they signed a VHS copy of their “Wild! Live” concert for me.

April 2013 001 April 2013 002

It’s too bad that I didn’t get to go to that concert that night because they are phenomenal live (on video, at least).

As you know, from a previous blog, I got to see one of my childhood idols, Helen Reddy, last month in St. Charles, Illinois, and next month, I’ll be seeing one of my 1980s crushes, Rick Springfield, right here in the Quad Cities.

And, later this summer, I’ll get to mark another one of those English super groups off my list!

DM Chicago

I’ve been a huge fan of Depeche Mode since their first American hit, “People Are People”, reached #13 in 1984, and I can’t wait to see them in concert for the first time.  It has only taken me thirty years, but they still sound as good today as they did back when I was a teenager!

The band, made up of lead singer Dave Gahan, and keyboardists/guitarists/vocalists Martin Gore (who’s also the primary song writer) and Andy Fletcher, are ready to kick off their “Delta Machine Tour” to promote their 13th studio album of the same name.  That album just debuted in the Top Ten in both the U.S. and U.K.  As a matter of fact, every one of the band’s studio albums have debuted in the Top Ten in their native England and they’ve also had three other complication and greatest hits albums to hit the Top Ten there, too.

As a young gay man in western Kentucky, that first Depeche Mode song touched me.

It wasn’t just the new, amazing electronic sound and the vocals, but the lyrics, “It’s obvious you hate me/ Though I’ve done nothing wrong/ I never even met you/ So what could I have done” and “Now you’re punching and you’re kicking/ And you’re shouting at me/ I’m relying on your common decency/ So far it hasn’t surfaced/ But I’m sure it exists/ It just takes a while to travel/ From your head to your fist/ I can’t understand/ What makes a man/ Hate another man” were incredible and touching.

And, it didn’t hurt that the band was so cutting edge and that Dave Gahan was so dreamy!

DM 2

I’m counting down the days four months from now to see them rock Chicago (okay, Tinley Park) with classics and songs from the very moody and amazing new album, “Delta Machine”.  While I won’t get to meet Dave, Martin, and Andy, I have awesome seats!  I may be closing in on 50-years-old in the next year or so, but I’ll be channeling my former 19-year-old self that night!!

This may be where I lose some of you, but I want to introduce you to the band and let you know about their accomplishments and why they are still relevant and popular three decades after their first album and first songs.  Depeche Mode has sold more than 100 million singles and albums and are the “most successful electronic band in history”.

Depeche Mode, if you happen to read this and you’re still putting together your set list, please consider playing your first Top Ten hit (#8, 1981) in the U.K., “Just Can’t Get Enough”.  I know you don’t do it very often any more, but I absolutely love this one.  American radio missed the boat on this first release when it hit our shores in 1982, but it did reach #26 on the Billboard Dance chart.

In the U.K., the band have had 43 Top 40 songs.  Of that number, 14 have hit the Top Ten.  Sadly, they also hold the distinction of having the most Top 40 hits in the U.K. without reaching #1.  They have reached #4 three times.  “Soothe My Soul” is already being played on some American rock stations, so maybe that’ll be the one to top the charts in the U.K.!  They recently performed that song for David Letterman and it’ll give you a good idea of how great the new album is.

In America, the dance clubs love the band.  They’ve charted with 27 hits on the Billboard dance charts.  Of those, 16 have hit the Top Ten, and 10 of them have topped the chart.  Their first was “Strangelove” back in 1987, and just this week (yes, this week!), they topped the chart again with “Heaven”, the first single from the new album.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Depeche Mode has charted with six Top 40 hits:  “People Are People” (#13, 1984), “Personal Jesus” (#28, 1989), “Enjoy The Silence” (#8, 1990), “Policy of Truth” (#15, 1990), “I Feel You” (#37, 1993), and “It’s No Good” (#38, 1997).

In the U.S., Depeche Mode has had 11 album to be certified gold (shipment or sales of 500,000) or platinum (shipment or sales of 1 million-plus).  Their biggest selling American album was 1990’s “Violator”, which went triple platinum (three million-plus) and also featured three of their radio hits, “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy The Silence” (their only Top Ten Hot 100 hit in America) and “Policy of Truth”.

Dave, Martin, and Andy, I can’t wait to see you later this summer.  You guys rock!

DM1

By the way, Quad Cities, believe it or not, the band performed at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, back on March 23, 1985!!!!  So, here’s a live performance from that era and they probably did this song live here.

Depeche-Mode-Delta-Machine-Album-Art-mala-1024x997

If you haven’t picked up “Delta Machine”, what are you waiting for?  It’s incredible!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 22, 2013

Happy Friday!  We’re one week away from Easter and it’s officially spring!

SPRING SNOW THIS WEEKEND

With the forecast of a storm that could bring some snow this weekend and March temperatures running more than 8° below average, I think we’re experiencing  “2013:  The Year Without A Spring”!

I’m thinking we’ll see 2-4″ of snow in the Quad Cities Saturday night and Sunday.  To our south, 4-6″ are possible and to our north, only 1-2″ of snow could fall.  It’s still early and these numbers could change.

Here are the chances of seeing 4″ of snow.  This forecast is from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center.

Up to 4 Inches Saturday Through Monday

BE RESPONSIBLE, NOT SENSATIONAL!

I have a plea for all meteorologists!  Be responsible when you look at data and post it.  If it’s not your forecast, then avoid the panic it causes for many people.

I’m really appalled by a few “Chicken Little” forecasters that throw out a computer model projection with astronomical snow totals knowing full well that it would have to be a perfect scenario for that to happen.  And, to do this six days in advance!  Insane!  I really wish  people would think about re-posting this crap and hold those forecasters accountable.

It’s easier for people just to say that all weather forecasters are always wrong.  GRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Groundhog

Aliens Long Marriage Mom Texting

SING IN YOUR SHOWER, HATER.  NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR YOU NOW!

Folk singer Michelle Shocked has never had mainstream success and I hope she never sings another note publicly again!

Last Sunday night, the singer went on an anti-gay tirade at a San Francisco club owned by a gay man in front of many gay patrons and all of her upcoming tour dates, except one (the Harmony Bar in Madison, Wisconsin) have been cancelled.

Michelle Shocked

While performing at Yoshi’s, she stunned the audience by saying, “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back,” and “You can go on Twitter and say, ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.’

The show was shut down when about two-thirds of the crown walked out.

In the aftermath of the tour cancellations, Michelle Shocked tweeted, “First: “I’m abiding, letting everyone’s true colors show before I undertake a personal response to each & every tweet.” and  “Am neither against a woman’s right to choose nor gay marriage. Am a fundamentalist tho”.

Really, it doesn’t sound like you’re against gay marriage!  Good riddance!

REALLY READY FOR APRIL 1ST

No fooling here!  I’m ready for April Fool’s Day to arrive and for the Easter feast to be over with because I want to start eating really healthy again and working out.

Last summer when Ray and I lost all that weight (30 pounds for him and 25 for me), we both felt really good.  Since we’ve been very bad at our food choices since August, we’ve gained much of the weight back (17 pounds for me).

While I don’t plan on being so extreme this year, my goal is only ten pounds this spring and summer.

HILLARY, THANK YOU!

ONLY ONE CONCERT PLANNED, SO FAR!

After seeing Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” last October and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Ball Tour” in January before her hip injury forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour, I don’t have any big mega shows planned this year.

I’ll be seeing Rick Springfield (a teenage crush) in May at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

rick springfield

And, there’s a part of me that would love to see Depeche Mode in Chicago in August.

Depeche Mode Tour 2013

Maybe there’ll be some big announcement coming soon that will really get me excited!  A Culture Club/Human League reunion tour would be fun!

PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Rick Springfield 5

Since I’ll be seeing Rick Springfield in concert in May, I’ll feature him in my ’80s flashback.

The Australian gained television fame on “General Hospital” and scored his first hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971 with “Speak To The Sky”, which peaked at #14.  However, it would be a decade later when he shot to the top of the charts with “Jessie’s Girl”.

He would have four consecutive platinum albums (shipments of more than a million copies) from 1981-1984 and score a career total of 17 Top 40 hits with five of them reaching the Top Ten:  the aforementioned “Jessie’s Girl” (#1, 1981), “I’ve Done Everything For You” (#8, 1981), “Don’t Talk To Strangers (#2, 1982), “”Affair Of The Heart” (#9, 1983), and “Love Somebody” (#5, 1984).

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

With the dismal, cold weather we’re experiencing this March, I thought I’d share these pictures from my yard this time last year!

Hosta 032212 Peach 032212 Tulips 032212

EMAIL US!  TEXT US!  TWEET US!

Okay, the news business isn’t this bad?   Is it?   But, it’s funny.

AND, WHAT ABOUT HAIL DAMAGE?????

KABOOYOW!  I had to leave you with a smile!

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

They Said What??? Clive Davis, Howard Stern, Joan Rivers

FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JON HUNTSMAN

“Today we have an opportunity to do more: conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry. I’ve been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.”

CULTURE CLUB LEAD SINGER BOY GEORGE

(talking about the pictures showing off his weight loss):  “I love that the size of my ass is trending worldwide!”

COMEDIAN JOAN RIVERS

On why she kissed a woman):  “Lily Tomlin, who is my very good friend, she and Jane Lynch had a dinner party, and I met this lovely woman.  At this point, all the men I go out with remind me of my father — dead … I figured I might as well try it at this point. Maybe I’ve been missing something.”

MUSIC INDUSTRY LEGEND CLIVE DAVIS

“I opened myself up to the possibility that I could have a relationship with a man as well as the two that I had with a woman.  I’m still attracted to women. … You don’t have to be only one thing or another. For me, it’s the person.”

SINGER KELLY CLARKSON

(upon hearing that Clive Davis mentioned that she “burst in to hysterical sobbing” over her second album in his new book):  “So I just heard Clive Davis is releasing a memoir and spreading false information about me and my music. I refuse to be bullied and I just have to clear up his memory lapses and misinformation for myself and for my fans. It feels like a violation. Growing up is awesome because you learn you don’t have to cower to anyone – even Clive Davis.”

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(defending Clarkson):  “It sickens me when management guys like to set the record straight about how f—ing creative they are and what geniuses they are.  This guy is trying to diminish what she does? Doesn’t he have enough in life, can’t he tell his story without f—ing degrading her?”

OSCARS’ HOST SETH MacFARLANE

“Daniel Day-Lewis is not the first actor to be nominated for playing Lincoln. Raymond Massey portrayed him in 1940′s Abe Lincoln in Illinois. I would argue, though, the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 25, 2013

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope it’s a little warmer for you as you start your day and kick off your weekend.  We made it safely to Las Vegas yesterday.  Tonight looks rainy in Vegas, but it’s going to be mild today with highs 60-65°.  Here are my random thoughts for this Friday.

WHEN IN VEGAS

After getting situated in our room yesterday, we went and had a quick, cheap lunch buffet at the Palace Station and put some money in the slot machines.  I left $21 behind and Ray walked out with $45.  After a brief visit to the sauna, we walked to the strip.  We tried our luck again on the slots, I only lost $8 that time and Ray lost $30.

We watched the light show at Bellagio and decided to buy some cherry-flavored vodka for the hotel room.  But, we didn’t wait until we got back.  We bought sodas at Walgreen’s where we bought the vodka and just mixed us a drink for the walk back to the hotel. 🙂

Mixing Drinks

GOING GAGA

I’ll go ahead and get it out of the way.  Tonight is the Lady Gaga “Born This Way Ball Tour”.  I can’t wait to see it!  This has to be a special week for Gaga since she performed Tuesday for an Inauguration Ball for President Obama and then tonight for me! 🙂

In the first show to kick of the North American leg of “BTWBT”, she did have a wardrobe malfunction when her latex pants split in the back.  But, like a true professional, she kept right on performing.

Gaga Split Pants

Seriously, it’s Lady Gaga.  She’s used to wearing less than that, so this was nothing!

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Fix Me UpJesusIllinois Weather

ILLINOIS WEATHER IS CONFUSING MY…

While the official high this past Monday was 13° in the Quad Cities, that was deceiving.  That was the midnight temperature as the day started.  Temperature continued to drop and for most of the daytime hours, temperatures in the metro area ranged from 3° to 8°.  The overnight low dropped to -1°.  BRRRRR!

Before that, this winter has been relatively warm.  December 2012 saw temperatures that were 5.9° above average and thanks to highs in the 50s three days in January 2013 (11th, 12th, and 19th), as of this past Monday, temperatures in the Quad Cities were running 3.3° above average.  Obviously, that’s changed with the bitter cold early this week.

Nevertheless, the wacky warm weather of 2012 really has my poinsettias confused.  I didn’t think they were going to turn colors.  However, this week, they began popping with color.  I don’t have the heart to tell them that they were late for Christmas!

Poinsettia 1

NEW MUSIC THAT EXCITES ME

While I still have an undetermined wait for new releases from Britney, Gaga, Janet, and Cher, one of my favorite singers is now racing up the adult contemporary charts with his latest hit, “Brave”.

That is the lead off single from Josh Groban’s new album, “All That Echoes”, that comes out February 5, 2013.

All_That_Echoes

CHRISTMAS PRESENT

This Christmas, Ray and Tammy bought me a stereo system with a record player.  While I posted pictures opening it in my Facebook Christmas photo album, that one was defective and it was returned.  They then bought me just a turntable and we hooked it up with our sound system and it sounds great.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My sister bought me 1974’s “If You Love Me, Let Me Know” by Olivia Newton-John from Goodwill and it sounds great.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DON’T GET ME WRONG, I STILL LOVE REBA!

Malibu Country

Last spring (May 5), I blogged about Reba McEntire’s return to television for the fall of 2012.  You can type in “Malibu Country” in the blog search engine to find the original blog.

Reba said there were many more stories to tell from her “Reba” show that ran on the CW from 2001-2007.  I didn’t realize that except for my favorite singer of all time belting out a few songs, that “Malibu Country” would pretty much be a rehash of the old show.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some differences.  Reba is trying to kick start her singing career, which was the point early in the series, but even that has not been touched on lately.  Lily Tomlin, as Reba’s drinking and pot-smoking mother, is hilarious.

Her rich neighbor, Kim, is just a different version of the dim-witted and much more hilarious, Barbara Jean (Melissa Peterman) from Reba.  Reba’s daughter on “Malibu”, June, is just a watered-down version of the much funnier and more sarcastic, Kyra (Scarlett Pomers), from the original show.  And, now we have Cash, Reba’s son, a cute, but intelligence-challenged teenager.  He is just another version of Van (Steve Howey) from “Reba”.

After watching the first ten episodes, only a few have made me laugh.  The pilot, which was viewed by 9.1 million people, was very funny, and the Christmas episode was very enjoyable.  However, most of them just make me miss the original “Reba” series even more.

Gretel loves the “Reba” series and she watches them regularly and I still laugh.  You can’t beat the chemistry between Reba, Barbara Jean, and Cheyenne (Joanna Garcia Swisher).  Some of my favorite episodes are “Van’s Agent” (when Van lies about Reba being a lesbian to get a football contract), “Driving Miss Kyra” (when she gets her driver’s license and Cheyenne does karoke), and “The Two Girl Theory” (Reba hits the dating scene with Barbara Jean and becomes a “slutty friend” and “some old tramp”, according to Brock’s bartender friend) to name a few.

I’m not giving up on “Malibu Country” yet, but I’m not really enjoying it.  The only reason I’m still there is because I love Reba and Cash (Justin Prentice) is easy on the eyes.

Reba Cash Malibu Country

To close on a positive note, ABC reports that “Malibu Country” is the highest rated new comedy of the 2012 fall season with an average rating of 8.7 million viewers.

“PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK”

Boy George was chosen as one of “Out” magazine’s “The One Hundred Most Compelling People of The Year” 2012.

The trailblazer who has had his fair share of bad press with drugs, arrests, and recovery is still a role model for a large number of people from the 1980s (including me) and in the 30 years since he sashayed onto the music scene in 1982 with “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”.

Boy George

Boy George:  “As I’ve traveled around the world to places that wouldn’t let me in back in the day, like Argentina or Russia, one of the things I’ve been struck by is the number of people who’ve said, ‘You’re the reason I came out.’  In the past I might have taken that a bit lightly, and now I feel that it’s a real responsibility. What I’ve realized is that the world hasn’t changed — there are still lots of places where people are having a really, really hard time because of their sexuality, and I think one of the most important things I can do is be a self-respecting gay public figure.”

And, he added, “If you go back to the beginning, part of my whole plan was to create this universal family of disenfranchised people.  It wasn’t just about sexuality, it was about anyone who felt odd” and “Anyone can dress like a freak — it’s easy.  It’s what you think that really sets you apart from other people. There are a lot of people dressed up at the moment who have nothing to say.”

Boy George led Culture Club to the top ten six times with their first six singles in the U.S.  They did have four more top 40 songs.  Their last chart hit, “Move Away”, reached #12 in 1986.  The group only had one #1 hit, “Karma Chameleon” in 1983.  “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, which reached #2 in 1982, kicked off their career in America.

“The War Song” reached #1 in Ireland and #2 in the U.K., Australia, and Canada, in 1984, but it stalled out at #17 in the U.S.

Boy George looked fantabulous in the red, curly wig!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

No, I didn’t have to bail Miss ABBA out of the jail in this picture from January 20, 2012.  And, she wasn’t joining the Moline Police Department’s K-9 unit.

January 20 2012

We had just picked Gretel up from school and visited Daddy Ray’s office at City Hall.

Visiting Work

And, these two pictures are compliments of an ice storm on January 20, 2010, from more than one-half inch of cold rain falling and freezing on cold surfaces.

January 21 2010

It sounds like you may be getting some icing in the Quad Cities Sunday!

Have a great weekend!  Viva Las Vegas!

Anthony

They Said What??? Gabrielle Giffords, Lady Gaga, & Sharon Osbourne

FORMER ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS

“Two years ago, a mentally ill young man shot me in the head, killed six of my constituents, and wounded 12 others. Since that terrible day, America has seen 11 more mass shootings — but no response from Congress to prevent gun violence. After the massacre of 20 children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary though, it’s clear: This time must be different.  Americans for Responsible Solutions will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.”

“SOUTH PARK” AND “BOOK OF MORMON” CREATOR MATT STONE

“We’re from Colorado, and look at the way Colorado’s gone politically in the last few elections.  It’s now gay-friendly, weed-friendly, gun-friendly. There’s an element of Colorado that I think is in us.”

“FASHION POLICE” HOST KELLY OSBOURNE

(about Lady Gaga):  “I actually think she’s a good singer but she has the worst fans in the world.”

LADY GAGA

(responding to Kelly):  “I have empathy for you Kelly, but I feel it culturally important to note that you have chosen a less compassionate path.  Your work on E! with the Fashion Police is rooted in criticism, judgment, and rating people’s beauty against one another. ‘Appearance’ is the most used reason for bullying in the world. Your show breeds negativity, and over the years has even become comedic in nature. It glorifies you and Joan Rivers pointing in the camera, laughing, and making jokes about artists and celebrities as if we are zoo animals.”

MORE LADY GAGA

(to Kelly):  “What about your body revolution? It used to make me truly sad when I would hear people talk about your weight when you were younger, as I was bullied too. To see you blossoming into a beautiful slender woman who makes fun of others for a living is astounding. Why not help others? Why not defend others who are bullied for their image and share your story?”

OSBOURNE MATRIARCH SHARON OSBOURNE

(to Lady Gaga):  “I am calling you a bully because you have 32 million followers hanging on your every word and you are criticizing Kelly in your open letter. Are you so desperate that you needed to make this public?

MORE SHARON

“In closing, stop wearing fur, stop looking for publicity, and stop using your fans to belittle not just Kelly but an endless stream of celebrities.”

CHRISTOPHER CICCONE, MADONNA’S BROTHER

“You can’t dress like Gaga, only on Halloween perhaps.  What I would do with Gaga is stream it all down and get rid of all the crap and make her a real person. It’s cool on some level, but when you start out massively way over the top, there is nowhere to go. You get stuck there and you disconnect from the audience. You become this freak on the stage.”

SUPERMODEL NAOMI CAMPBELL

“I think when I thought that I didn’t look too bad is when I was a huge Culture Club fan, and I used to get like hats and stick on with cello tape all the braids so I’d look like Boy George. And that’s when I thought I was okay.”

ANDY FLETCHER OF DEPECHE MODE

(on never being nominated for the lifetime achievement Brit Awards):  “We’d like to be offered, though whether we’d accept it is another thing. Quite a lot of people who previously won it said we should’ve got it. I don’t know why we don’t get considered. But we have a lot of fans here still, so we can’t complain too much.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 4, 2013

It’s the first Friday of the new year and I hope the first three days of 2013 treated you well.  A past Friday blog tradition for me was to feature three of my favorite songs from the 1980s, my favorite decade of music.  While I’m still going to highlight one each Friday, I’m going to mix it up a bit.  On each Friday in 2013, I’m going to do a random blog with no rhyme or reason.

IT’S COLD, BUT WHERE IS THE SNOW?

Global Warming Protest

All of these snowmen may be protesting “global warming” (yes, I know it’s a reality), but it’s been cold enough for me lately.  Over the past two weeks, temperatures in the Quad Cities are running about three degrees colder than average.  Five of those mornings (including January 1 and 2, 2013, at 5°) have been in the single digits.

But, where is the snow?  We’ve only picked up 5.3″ of snow this winter at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois, and 4.9″ of that fell on December 20, 2012.  While this is about 6″ behind where we should be on January 4th, last year at this time, only 1.4″ of snow had accumulated!

As skimpy as the snow has been the past two winters, this is not a record.  Back in the winter of 1939-1940, the first accumulating snow of the winter had not even occurred!  It would be January 7, 1940, before that winter saw a measurable snow.

SO, WHY ARE WE DEALING WITH THIS?

Icy Streets From 122012 Storm

This is my street in Moline.  I live on a side street or secondary street.  Why, more than two weeks after the only winter storm of this season, are streets still a sheet of ice?  (Disclaimer:  I know this isn’t a problem that is exclusive to Moline.  I’ve heard others in the Quad Cities complaining about the same thing.)

From a meteorological standpoint, I’ll defend local public works departments to a certain extent.

When that winter storm started on Wednesday, December 19th, and continued into the early morning hours of Thursday, temperatures were still above freezing and much of what we’re dealing with now fell as rain.  When temperatures dropped below freezing and the rain transitioned to almost 5″ of snow (with much more northwest of the metro area), it became an instant ice rink.  (I guess we can now say Moline has two ice rinks and this one was much more effective with a lot less maintenance and problems!)

That’s where my defense ends and my questions start.  We live in the Midwest.  This is not Kentucky or Tennessee where a light accumulation of ice or snow brings the area to a standstill.  It’s been fifteen days since that storm and temperatures for the last two days of 2012 made it up to 36°.  It’s not too cold to apply salt, sand, or whatever is being used these days to melt this and make our streets safer.  As citizens, we’re given so many hours to clean our sidewalks after a snow.  The same should be required of our streets.

I guess there is some good news.  Temperatures today through much of next week are forecast to be generally in the 30s, which will allow the ice melt on its own!

ARE THE FISH FROZEN?

With temperatures the past few mornings at the coldest levels this winter, ice is forming on the cattail in the fish pond from the water coming out of the fountain.  The good news is that the de-icer is still keeping the surface of the pond from freezing.  The fish are handling the cold, but they are definitely not moving much.  With milder days ahead, I hope to see them swimming around next week.

Icy Fish 2

DOWNRIGHT CREEPY

While we were unwinding one night on our December cruise, Gretel was playing with Ray’s phone and came up with this creepy picture.  We’ll call it Grethony!  It looks like something from a horror movie.

Grethony

2012’S BIGGEST TOUR

Now that 2012 is behind us, Pollstar released the list of the most profitable worldwide tours last year.  I’ve very happy to say that I got to see the #1 tour in Las Vegas on October 13, 2012, and three weeks from today, I’ll be seeing the #5 tour, also in Las Vegas.

2012 Top Tours

While Madonna’s tour brought in an incredible $296.1 million and tickets averaged around $140 each, she wasn’t the act demanding the most money.

Madonna MDNA

At #33 on the list, the Rolling Stones made $35.5 million in just five shows with an average ticket price of $529.51!

And, at #22, Barbra Streisand’s 12 shows brought in an incredible $40.7 with average ticket prices at $263.52.

LADY GAGA REACHING OUT

The-Born-This-Way-Ball-Tour- Lady Gaga

I’m getting excited to see Lady Gaga on January 25th in Las Vegas.  The North American leg of her “Born This Way Ball” tour kicks off one week from today with two shows in Vancouver, British Columbia.  I can’t wait to see what changes she’ll make to the set list.

Several hours before Gaga hits the stage at each of her American shows, her Born This Way Foundation will provide the “Born Brave Bus”, which offers a free, safe space for 13- to 25-year-olds “to learn more about local resources on anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and mental health services.”

Born Brave Bus

So, other than the amazing music, over the top costumes, and incredible sets, you can see why she is so loved!

Gaga, you rock!

I ♥ MY WEATHER IDOL EVEN MORE

WGN-TV chief meteorologist Tom Skilling is the best in the business.  And, after seeing his participation with the NOH8 project, I love him even more!

Tom NOH8

From left to right, that’s Tom, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago student Bruce Caulkins, and WGN-TV anchor/reporter Sean Lewis.

And, back in 2010, Miss ABBA and I submitted our pictures for NOH8, too.

ABBA Anthony NOH8NOH8 Heart

For those of you that don’t know what NOH8 is, it’s a “charitable organization whose mission is to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.”

SAYING GOODBYE TO CHRISTMAS 2012

Our Christmas trees and decorations are still up and I plan on enjoying them for one more week and then they come down next weekend.  So, I’ll say goodbye to Christmas 2012 in my blog with this video produced by 1980’s pop star Boy George of Culture Club.  Christmas doesn’t have to be a “drag”.

“You Ruined My Xmas” — Supreme Fabulette

“SILENT NIGHT”

Silent Night

This was the worst movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

While I love “Entertainment Weekly”, the magazine led me astray when it gave the movie, “Silent Night”, a grade of “B”.  This holiday horror movie spent five whole days in theaters and made $14,567 before it was released on DVD  in early December 2012.

So, last weekend, I was very excited to check it out.  The premise of a crazed Santa going on a Christmas killing spree sounded like cheap fun.

The acting was horrible and there was no snow on the ground and this movie took place, I think, in Wisconsin.  I guess since the movie was probably filmed on a shoestring budget in the summer, there was no snow and no explanation of why they weren’t having a White Christmas.  Oh, that’s right, Santa was a killer!

The only thing going for the movie was some creative methods of killing off the characters:  can you say “wood chipper”!  But, even that scene was overshadowed by the jokey acting.  And, I sure hope respected actor Malcolm McDowell was paid a lot of money to be in this disaster.

If you want a scary holiday movie, don’t rent this.  If you want a holiday movie that should have scared you, but instead makes you laugh, this is your movie.

GRADE:  D (a few of the creative methods of murder boosts it up from an “F”).

PEEPS’ FRIDAY ’80S FLASHBACK

There are two acts that I’d like to see in concert in 2013, Culture Club (if they reunite) and Depeche Mode.

Depeche Mode kicks off their world tour in Tel Aviv, Israel in early May with dates running through July 29th.  No U.S. dates have been announced yet.

In August 1989, they released the first single from “Violator”, which would become their biggest American album.

“Personal Jesus” peaked at #28 and the follow-up single, “Enjoy The Silence” in early 1990, would become their only Top Ten American hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Personal Jesus” — Depeche Mode

Have a great weekend.

Anthony