Posts Tagged ‘Duran Duran’

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

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Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

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Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

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This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

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I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

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I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

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I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

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But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Best Albums of 2016

I shared my 20 favorite movies I saw in 2016 with you yesterday.

If you missed it because of work, real life, or the hustle and bustle of the holidays, here it is again.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/best-movies-of-2016/

2016-albums

As we kick off my favorite 16 albums of 2016, let’s start with a quick look back at my past favorites.

In 2010, it was “Night Work” by Scissor Sisters.  It was “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears in 2011, “MDNA” by Madonna in 2012, and “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace in 2013.

There was a tie for my favorite album in 2014 between Erasure’s “The Violet Flame” and Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex And Love”.

Last year, my favorite album was “Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder.

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Now, let’s kick off my favorites of 2016!

#16

“MATTER” — ST. LUCIA

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15

“THANKS” — MEGHAN TRAINOR

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#14 Movie

“PAPER GODS” — DURAN DURAN

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13

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS” — KACEY MUSGRAVES

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#12 Movie

“GLOW” — BRETT ELDREDGE

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11

“START HERE” — MADDIE & TAE

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10

“50” — RICK ASTLEY

 

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9

“SUPER” — PET SHOP BOYS

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#8 MOVIE

“CLOUD NINE” — KYGO

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7

“PICK ME UP” — BRETT KISSEL

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#6 CD

“DNCE” — DNCE

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#5 MOVIE

“MIDWEST FARMER’S DAUGHTER” — MARGO PRICE

Margo was born in Aledo, Illinois (Mercer County), just 35 miles from the Quad Cities!

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4

“7/27” — FIFTH HARMONY

 

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3

“SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY” — DAYA

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2

“NOBODY BUT ME” — MICHAEL BUBLE

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#1 MOVIE

This year’s best album is by a repeat performer.  “Femme Fatale” from Britney Spears topped my year-end list in 2011.

Her follow-up, “Britney Jean” only ended up at #6 in 2013.

But, Britney’s back in all her “Glory” as my favorite album of 2016.

“GLORY” — BRITNEY SPEARS

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What were your favorite albums of 2016?

Any surprises or disappointments?

Thank you for checking out my favorites.  Tomorrow, I’ll share my 20 favorite songs of 2016.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 28, 2016

We’re up to the last weekend of October.  It might be hard to believe, for some, that in the next couple of weeks, some radio stations will be switching over to continuous Christmas music. Bring it on!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and have a great Halloween weekend.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

It’s been a few years now since I last dressed up for Halloween.  In 2010, we had a big Halloween party and I dressed as Lady Gaga at the 2009 MTV VMA show.

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I even tortured my golden retriever, ABBA, by putting the wig and outfit on her, too!

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This Halloween, for our morning show, a local haunted house, Skellington Manor in Rock Island, Illinois, took me and my co-anchors, Emily and James, behind the scenes.

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To make the deal even sweeter, they made us up as a pumpkin, a broken doll, and a skeleton.

Thank you Jenn, our amazing make-up artist, and Penni, the owner of Skellington Manor and our hostess!

2016 ELECTION — HALLOWEEN STYLE

While some people just put out pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns at Halloween or for fall, some like to go all out with decorations.

And, some get creative.  Check out this cool display in my neighborhood in Moline, Illinois.  Incorporating this scary election season into Halloween makes it even better.

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R.I.P. PETE BURNS

The world lost a creative force and an early LGBT ally this past weekend.

Dead or Alive lead singer and fashionista Pete Burns died of massive cardiac arrest.

Pete Burns

For 1980s music fans, he was cutting edge, not only in dance clubs, but on the international pop scene.

While he and his band may not have achieved the chart success of other English acts at the time like Culture Club and Duran Duran, Pete endured and stayed in the spotlight long after radio hits became obsolete.

Mainstream America knows Dead or Alive from their two Top 40 pop hits, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”, which reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985 and the #15 smash “Brand New Lover” in 1986.

Both of those songs reached the Top Five on the Dance Club Play charts in America — “Brand New Lover” hit #1 for two weeks.  They scored five other Top Ten dance hits.

Two years ago, I read Pete’s autobiography, “Freak Unique” and wrote this blog, which I’m happy to say, prompted a Twitter correspondence between the two of us.

Here’s that blog and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/pete-burns-is-a-freak-unique/

Pete was 57.

“THE WALKING DEAD” BASHES COMPETITION

The season seven premiere slaughtered not only its competition Sunday night with 17 million viewers, but in the key demograpics (ages 18-49), it had a 8.4 rating!  That’s higher than “Sunday Night Football”, “Empire” and “The Big Bang Theory”.

Ratings were also up 22% over the season six finale.  I guess everyone had to tune in to see what main character was bashed to death by Negan and his trusted barbed-wire baseball bat, Lucille.

Well, thank God, Rick survived, but he’s definitely a broken man!

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Oops, I should have said, “spoiler alert”!

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I’m kidding.  I’m not going to mention who died at the hands of Negan.  However, if you’ve been online since Sunday night, there’s no way you could avoid knowing who died!

But, the brutal outcome didn’t really come as a shock to me.  Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts — August 5, 2016” blog about the show and the cliff hanger:

“We already know that a major character is savagely murdered.  My guess is Abraham, but an online poll has Glenn at 36% and Abraham at 32%.

Here’s a thought:  Why not shock everyone and just have Negan go completely batty and kill off TWO PEOPLE?  We wouldn’t expect that!”

spoiler-alert

Surprise, two people died!!!!!!!!!!

The season seven premiere was the second most watched “The Walking Dead” episode ever.  The most watched was the season five premiere with 17.3 million viewers and 18-49-year-olds demo of 8.8.

THE “WEEKEND UPDATE” VIEW OF RIGGED ELECTION

We’ve all heard Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claims that this year’s election is rigged — because he’s losing in polls.

On “Saturday Night Live”, “Weekend Update” host Michael Che has an opinion.

He says it’s “weird” that Trump is just now pointing out that the system is rigged.  Che says, There were 43 white-male presidents in a row, then one black guy and maybe a woman and now you’re sensing a pattern of unfairness?

Che goes on to add, “An old white billionaire is on TV arguing that the system is rigged, and my black ass is arguing that it’s not.  This just feels wrong.”

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His “Update” co-anchor Colin Jost adds his thoughts about how silly it is for Trump to accuse the media of rigging the election against him because he’s the greatest thing to come along for them.

Jost asked, who the networks would rather cover, “a grandma who loves secrets or a human air horn who screams every thought in his head and can’t swing his arms without grabbing a lady’s ass?”

“FREE STATE OF JONES”

War is brutal and this Civil War drama, based on a true story starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, is no exception.

The opening scenes are ultra violent.  However, it’s the racism of the 1860s that’s heartbreaking.

McConaughey plays Newton Knight, a Mississippi farmer that worked as a medic in the Confederate’s fight against the Union.  He was opposed to slavery and became a deserter after the death of his soldier nephew.

The movie follows the plight to freedom before and after President Lincoln freed slaves.

As I said many times, the whole premise of the Ku Klux Klan, is so sad and disgusting and is such a disgrace to mankind.

GRADE:  B

RACISM –THEN AND NOW

While the KKK plays a prominent role in “Free State of Jones” and in American history, it’s even sadder that a century after the Civil War, we saw how prevelant the KKK was in the South.

Hell, even now 150 years after the Civil War, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is still waging a race war.  However, he’s not just directing it toward the African American population, there’s Muslims, and the list goes on and on.

Trump

Remember to vote November 8th for the future of America and tolerance.  Send Trump and his group of deplorables* away.

*For the record, not all Trump supporters are deplorable.  Many are just disillusioned with the political scene and mistakenly think that the change they want can only be brought about by this blowhard!

VOTE NOVEMBER 8TH!

HIllary Flag

This endorsement approved by me!

KELLY CLARKSON WAS A SNEAKY YOUNGSTER

Pop star Kelly Clarkson is working on new material and she says it’s some of her favorite.

She recently told “Entertainment Weekly” that she had to sneak and listen to anything risque growing up.

Kelly says, “I was only allowed to listen to Christian music and, funny enough. Reba McEntire, [whose songs are] all about adultery.  I was definitely not supposed to listen to TLC or Madonna … and I definitely did.”

So, in honor of that, here are two of her “bad” influences, including her mother-in-law!

“REBEL HEART TOUR” COMING SOON

Last October, I was fortunate to see Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” in Saint Paul, Minnesota and it was phenomenal.

It was my fourth Madonna concert (I saw the “Confessions Tour” in 2006 and the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” in 2008 in Chicago and “The MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas on my birthday in 2012.)

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In December, the “Rebel Heart Tour” is coming to Showtime!

I can’t wait for the DVD release.

The 82 shows made $169.8 million with over one million attending the concerts across North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

TOP SELLING SONGS OF 2016

It might be hard to believe that there are only nine weeks left in 2016.  Maybe not since we’re already into the holiday(s) season with Halloween on Monday.

With that being said, here are the top five selling songs of the year, so far.

At #5 is Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” (1.76 million downloads), Drake is at #4 with “One Dance” (1.9 million downloads), Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” is at #3 (2.03 million downloads), Flo Rida’s “My House” is at #2 (2.14 million downloads), and the most downloaded song in 2016 at 2.16 million is Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling!”.

Timberlake’s song is from the “Trolls” movie that hits theaters next Friday, November 4th.

CHRISTMAS INSANITY WITH MISS PATTI LABELLE!

While it’s not even Halloween, it’s the holiday(s) season.

With several major country Christmas releases coming out today, it’s time to move begrudgingly into the merry holiday.

We all know that Miss Patti LaBelle can command a stage, but here’s a flashback performance for the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony for President Clinton (Bill) in 1996 where the diva almost had a meltdown! 🙂

Ironically, “This Christmas” was the title track of her 1990 holiday album.  You’d think she’d be a little more familiar with the song or, at least, rehearsed it some before hand?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 5, 2016

I’m back from my five-night getaway to Las Vegas!

I’ve never been there in late July and I’ll likely not visit that time of the year again since it was 115° the day we arrived and the following day!  I’ve always said “it’s a dry heat”, but after experiencing it, hot is hot!

AP Ray Night View Vegas

We’re still highly considering making Las Vegas home in a few years.  But, for now, we’ll just make our annual pilgrimage there.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and, as always, feel free to share yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

VEGAS & BUFFETS

We prepared for the incredible amount of food we would indulge in by eating very healthy and working out longer hours for three weeks before the trip.

I love buffets.  I only take very small portions, so I can sample more things.  Usually a bite or two will be enough, but I did have two helping of the amazing Lobster Eggs Benedict at Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace and the incredible chilled crab legs at Stratosphere.

We always visit the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood to see our favorite server, Viena, and feast on the Mediterranean food, cupcakes, and cotton candy.

Last year, we discovered Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and went back again this time.  It was incredible.  This year, my favorites were the Eggs Benedict, the Almond Joy gelato, and the creme brulee!

So, how much food is eaten in Las Vegas?

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Incredible!

I WAS ONE OF THE “WILD BOYS” WITH DURAN DURAN

It’s only taken me more than three decades, but I finally got to see one of my favorite 1980’s bands, Duran Duran, in concert for the first time and it was well worth the wait.

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Original band members Simon LeBon, John Taylor, and Roger Taylor were full of energy and had the crowd at Mandalay Bay singing and dancing right along with them. (Nick Rhodes is still on the “The Paper Gods Tour”, but he’s having to miss a few shows to attend to family matters back in the U.K.)

But, while many of my favorite songs were performed, my all-time favorite Duran Duran song wasn’t on the playlist. 😦

Here are my Top Ten favorite Duran Duran songs (this will open in a new window).

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/my-ten-favorite-duran-duran-songs/

What’s your favorite Duran Duran song?

NAUGHTY, BUT NICE!

We also saw the very naughty and sensual Cirque du Soleil show “Zumanity” at New York-New York.  I’d highly recommend it.

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This is my third Cirque show.

A couple of years ago, I saw “Michael Jackson ONE” and “The Beatles LOVE”.  Those shows are in a different category because not only do they feature amazing acrobatics, but the music is the soundtrack to many of our lives!

On my next visit to Las Vegas, I definitely want to see the aquatic show, “O”, at Bellagio.

“GLORY”, GLORY, HALLELUJAH

I’ve decided if I nap all the way to August 26th, then it’ll be like tomorrow and then I won’t have to wait three weeks for…

Glory BS

“Glory”, Britney Spears’ ninth studio album!!!

She’s calling it “the beginning of a new era”.  I can’t wait and I hope to see her again in early 2017 in Las Vegas.

Summerfest in Milwaukee, in 2011, seems so long ago!

Now that I’ve had my “come-to-Jesus” moment, I can focus on this week’s random Friday thoughts.

THIS WEEK JUST GOT SO MUCH BETTER & HOTTER!!!

After Britney announced “Glory” earlier this week, I didn’t think the week could get any better.  Wrong!

Friday afternoon, she dropped the video to “Make Me (Oooh)”!!! Early on, I thought the hottest video of the summer would be Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home”!

No way, it’s Britney, bitch!

This video is so hot that it makes the Las Vegas “heat wave” seem like a cool summer day!

You’ll actually need misters in your house to cool you off while watching this.  Beware:  it’ll also make your popsicles melt in the freezer!

BREAKING AND ENTERING TO MAKE ME (OOOH)!

While I don’t watch late night television with my work schedule, Jimmy Kimmel is definitely becoming one of my favorites!  (To the other Jimmy, I still like you, too.)

It’s stuff like this that makes me smile. 🙂  It helps that Britney and her hot dancers are involved in the funny act!

CAUGHT UP ON “THE WALKING DEAD”?

spoiler-alert

If you haven’t finished season six, don’t watch the trailer or read what I wrote down below. Same for season two of “Fear The Walking Dead” — spoilers ahead.

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

Hillary Clinton is the official Democratic nominee for president of the United States after last week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hillary AP

Yes, I’m with her!

A FEW HIGHLIGHTS

Bernie Sanders:  “Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight.”

DEM 2016 Debate

Bernie Sanders:  “Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States.”

First Lady Michelle Obama:  “Because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters…can take it for granted that a woman can be president.”

CHELSEA THOUGHTS

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of Hillary and former President Bill Clinton, sent out this fundraising email in July during the Republican National Circus  Convention:

“When Republicans repeatedly get on stage at their national convention and toss attack after attack at my mom, calling her things I’d never say in front of my children — let alone on live TV — they’re talking about a caricature they’ve imagined, not the woman that I love and respect.

My mom is compassionate, kind, and hardworking — when I was growing up, it seemed like she could do anything. She’d spend all day in court litigating on behalf of children and families, then come home and ask me over dinner what I learned in school, what my favorite part of my day was, and what I hoped would happen tomorrow. And then she would sit with me while I did my homework or practiced the piano or worked on my science project.”

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I live in the real world and I know there are people that won’t support Hillary for whatever reasons they want, but what a lovely testament to a mother!

I’d be saying the same things if my mother were alive and running for president.

SUSAN SARANDON, WHY BOTHER TO ATTEND?

Don’t get me wrong, I love actress Susan Sarandon.

We just happened to be on the different side of the fence this political season (and she still is) — Team Hillary here and she’s Team Bernie.

And, clearly, she’s making no effort to unify.

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I fully understand her frustration if it was still spring and we weren’t at the Convention.  I was feeling this way in early summer 2008, but I quickly got behind Senator Barack Obama and fully supported his successful bid for president.

Susan, move on or move out!

MY POST-REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CIRCUS CONVENTION THOUGHTS

I didn’t watch it and I only saw the soundbite versions.  That was enough for me.

So, Heather Mooney, please assist me.

How was the convention?

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With that, I can’t wait to share “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion” with my 15-year-old daughter now that she’s old enough to see it!

LET’S RETURN TO THE “BEACHES”

“Beaches”, with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, is one of my all-time favorite movies and the soundtrack still holds a special place in my heart.  We had “Wind Beneath My Wings” played at my mother’s funeral in 1990.

Later this month, production gets underway on the “Lifetime” movie remake with Idina Menzel playing Midler’s movie role of C.C. Bloom.

The cool thing is that the movie and Menzel have Midler’s approval.

Midler Beaches

Menzel will be performing at least two Midler classics from the movie, “Wind Beneath My Wings” and “The Glory of Love”.

Of course, those songs are iconic.  But, “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” is also one of absolute favorite tear jerkers.

The movie is set to air in 2017.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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“THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON 7 

I’m so ready for October 23rd to get here.  No, that’s not my birthday (that’s October 13th).

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” returns on AMC.  We’ll finally find out which character dies a violent death at the hands of Negan and his barbed wired-covered baseball bat Lucille.

If you’re a die-hard fan, you’ve probably already seen this incredible three-minute trailer released at Comic-Con.

I love how the first 82 seconds teases you and the last 104 introduces you to new characters and the ones that were safe from Negan and Lucille!

We already know that a major character is savagely murdered.  My guess is Abraham, but an online poll has Glenn at 36% and Abraham at 32%.

Here’s a thought:  Why not shock everyone and just have Negan go completely batty and kill off TWO PEOPLE?  We wouldn’t expect that!

“HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS”

This little comedy stars Oscar and Emmy Award winner Sally Field and Max Greenfield of Fox’s “New Girl”.

Doris, a single woman in her 60s, is dealing with losing her mother and comes under pressure to sell all of the junk from her house where she and her mother lived.  Doris is a hoarder.

At work, after an elevator encounter, she become increasingly obsessed with a new co-worker that’s young enough to be her grandson.

There were a couple of moments in the movie when the cute little comedy teetered on the borderline of creepy.

Field is incredible, as always, and this movie proves how funny she is while still allowing her to have dramatic crying scenes, for which she is famous.  Think M’Lynn from “Steel Magnolias”.

GRADE:  B+

“THE FAMILY FANG”

This dysfunctional family dramedy stars Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken and Golden Globes winner Jason Bateman.

Kidman is spectacular, as always.  But, that’s about it.  The trailer is better than the movie.  It’d save you a couple of bucks and a couple of hours.

This movie only made about $15-thousand in theaters.

GRADE:  C

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

I’ve already talked about the return of “The Walking Dead” in October.

The second half of the much improved second season of “Fear The Walking Dead” also premiered a new trailer at Comic-Con.

“Fear The Walking Dead” returns to AMC on Sunday, August 21.

SONG OF THE SUMMER

In reality, it seems like Drake’s “One Dance” and Justin Timberlake’s infectious “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” are the top contenders for “Song of the Summer”.

However, the one that I can’t stop listening to when it comes on the radio is Meghan Trainor’s “Me Too”, my pick for song of the summer.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 20 Favorite J. Lo Songs

It’s my second favorite time of the year after Christmas — my annual trip to Las Vegas!

Las Vegas

I absolutely love the city! Ray and I have talked about it and one day, a few years down the line, we may move there.

The next few days will be filled with lounging by the pool in the 100°+ heat, people watching, playing slots, sipping drinks and mimosas, and eating some great food.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

We also plan on catching a show and seeing Duran Duran and Jennifer Lopez in concert.  (And, if it works out, maybe even catching Reba for the 14th time, along with Brooks & Dunn for a second time).

JLo AP

But, this is all about J. Lo., one of the world’s most beautiful women!

No, I haven’t been lucky enough to meet her (or see her in concert).  This photo was taken last March at Madame Tussauds in New York City.

In anticipation of seeing J. Lo’s incredible “All I Have” Vegas show, I went back and listened to every track from her eight studio albums.  Here is a countdown of my 20 favorite J. Lo songs.

20

19

18

17

16

#15 Movie

14

13

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3


2

Another number 1

And, because J. Lo is so stunning and I love her attitude (hello to objectifying men), here’s a bonus!

Bonus

Anthony

 

 

 

Great Music Defies Age Barriers

Sometimes when driving in to work, I listen to CDs and sometimes I just flip through the programmed channels on the radio.

Today, I heard the two latest hits from Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber and that was just in a 15-minute drive.  That prompted me to write today’s blog.

Taylor- Justin

On today’s drive, I didn’t know that legendary music icon David Bowie had died peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer just two days after his 69th birthday.

I learned that when I logged on to my computer at work.  And, I thought back to last week when I heard “Let’s Dance” on my drive to work after a local station abandoned the Christmas music format.

I was a fan of Bowie’s 1980s music and “Modern Love” was one of my favorites.

In his passing, I was reminded of the strong conviction of his standing up for his beliefs and questioning the system when it wasn’t welcoming to all.  Here’s a short read on Bowie questioning a MTV VJ about why the network didn’t feature black artists.  Michael Jackson would one of the first that benefited from the inclusion.

David Bowie

R.I.P. David Bowie!

David Bowie  Again

Originally, I was talking about hearing Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods”, the amazing sixth single from “1989” and “Love Yourself”, my favorite song from Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” album.  (I also heard Taylor’s “Wildest Dreams” and Justin’s “Sorry”.)

At 51, I’m not ashamed to say that I love Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, who are 26 and almost 22 years old, respectively.

In the early 1980s, I’m sure there were 51-year-olds, that screamed for Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and David Bowie in their youth, loving the same music as me.

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I idolized Madonna, Erasure (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke), Boy George and Culture Club, Duran Duran, Pete Burns of Dead or Alive, and the Pet Shop Boys.  They were either the same age as me or maybe a few years older.

The point is, while I was in heaven with the fantastic dance music coming out of the 1980s, people decades older than me were enjoying the same sounds and probably weren’t ashamed to admit it.

That’s why many of those artists are still making some of the best music of their careers. Top 40 radio just doesn’t know it!

So, if you’re checking this blog out and you’re about Taylor and Justin’s age, take a moment to enjoy my generation’s superstars.  You’ll likely enjoy it and know that age doesn’t matter.

Enjoy life and music, regardless of your age or the age of the singers you’re listening to!

Anthony

Michael Ray Could Bring Me Back To Country Music

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits.

Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.

It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became a fan of was Keith Urban.

keith_urban

However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

I also came across Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” video.

Being honest, his striking good looks and tattoos caught my eye.  So, I took a listen and the song was upbeat and fun.  It’s also the most played country song in the U.S.

“Kiss” was a strong enough song to make me take a listen to more of his music and I ended up buying his self-titled debut album that came out last week and I’m so glad I did.

michael-ray

This is definitely one of the most solid debut albums I can recall.

Michael has been working on his craft professionally since appearing on The CW’s reality series/singing competition show, “The Next:  Fame Is at Your Doorstep” in 2012.

The Florida native won that completion performing songs by Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Jake Owen and now he’s competing against those same men for radio airplay and I know he’ll do just fine.

Now that “Kiss You in the Morning” has topped the country airplay charts, Michael already has his second single, “Real Men Love Jesus”, ready to go out to radio in mid-September.

It’s a mid-tempo song that touches on some of the core elements of country music: fishing, fast cars, football, sexy women, Mama, and Jesus.

One thing that Michael excels at is slower and mid-tempo songs.

My choice for the third single is “Run Away With You”, one of my favorite songs on the album.

Other slower choice cuts are “Everything In Between”, “Wish I Was Here”, and “Think A Little Less”.

And, when he’s ready to rock, he brings life to the party.

If I worked for his label, I’ve already got the fourth single picked out.  “Livin’ It Up” is a fun upbeat song that will be on “repeat” once you get the album.

I mentioned a third and fourth single, but I’m being modest.

This album is solid enough that it could go five or six singles deep for country radio.

If you’re a country music fan, you’re going to love this album.  If, like me, you’ve been away from the genre for some time, this is a breath of fresh air.

michael-ray

“Michael Ray” is a fun album that isn’t too heavy on the current country rage, “bro-country”.

GRADE:

A

Anthony