Posts Tagged ‘Gabrielle’

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

Random Friday Thoughts — July 6, 2018

I hope you had a great Fourth of July and you’re ready for the weekend.

In retrospective, my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week were a little bleak.  This week, it’s happier.  Well, once you get past the second one!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

HAPPY 72ND ANNIVERSARY

My favorite president and his wonderful wife are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary this weekend.

Autograph Carters

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were married on July 7, 1946, at the Plains Methodist Church.

He was 21 and just out of the Navy and she was 18.

Interesting tidbit:  Just months earlier, she said “no” when he first asked her to marry him. 🙂

THE “TRANSGENDER” STATE

In America, it’s pretty much a given that straight, white men run the country and most businesses.  That’s slowly changing.

Even in the LGBTQ community, it’s usually white, gay men at the forefront when it comes to being more privileged and in positions of power.  That’s slowly changing, too.

Sadly, it’s the “T” part of LGBTQ, our transgender brothers and sisters, that feel the brunt of hysteria and discrimination from not only straight America, but even from within our own community!  It’s shameful!

It’s bad enough that the government is trying to keep the trans community out of the military, but they also have to fight just for the right to use bathrooms without people thinking there are ulterior motives like child molestation.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  As of 2009 worldwide, at least one transgender person is murdered every three days on average!

Here in America, there’s been an increase in the number of transgender men and women killed and a large number of those are transgender women of color!

Brandy

In 2017, there were at least 28 trans people murdered!

So far this year in the U.S., there have been thirteen trans people killed, including three in Jacksonville, Florida, prompting some there to think a serial killer is targeting the trans community!

I have several transgender friends and one is a very dear friend.  She’s bright and she’s very vocal in pointing out all of the atrocities that she and the community go through in daily life.

I hope she remains safe and always WOKE!

“POSE”

Our trans friends are just like everyone else and they want the same things everyone else wants!  Some lead quiet lives and some want the glamour and fame!

That’s the focus of uber-producer and Hollywood heavyweight Ryan Murphy’s latest FX series, “Pose”.

pose.gif

It’s set in New York City in the late-1980s and focuses on the underground world of “ball culture”.  (Oh, there’s also corporate greed and “white privilege” — compliments of those in Trump Tower!)

Most people are unfamiliar with “ball culture”.  It’s basically drag contests in the underground world where contestants compete for trophies to see which “house”, usually a group of outcasts seeking security from a family and a “mother”, the queen of that house.

“Ball culture” is the topic of Jenny Livingston’s landmark documentary, “Paris is Burning” and the inspiration for Madonna’s 1990 career-defining worldwide hit, “Vogue”, that made “posing” and “voguing” mainstream!

In “Pose”, we have the prominent “House of Abundance” led by Elektra (the amazing Dominique Jackson), which takes most of the trophies at the balls.  Elektra is like the Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan of “Dynasty”.

Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance.jpg

Yes, “Dynasty” is brought up — it’s the late-1980s.

The drama escalates when one of her “children”, Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), leaves and starts the “House of Evangelista”.  She becomes the Krystal Carrington,  if you will.

While I love Dominique Jackson’s evil (and she truly is) portrayal of Elektra, Mj Rodriguez’s Blanca is my favorite.  She’s loving, caring, hard-headed, and heartbreaking.

Blanca 1

Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) is fabulous as the emcee of the balls and Blanca’s friend.

Billy-Porter-pose-bb15-2018-pride-fea-cr-Sarah-Shatz-FX-billboard-1500

“Pose” features the largest transgender cast ever assembled on television.

What I love about “Pose” is the real story lines.  You’d think you were living right there with them — from the transphobia directed at them not only from straight America, but also the yuppie, white gay boys.

One of the characters is diagnosed with HIV early on and “Pose” does not hold back on showing how many in the medical field dealt with those dying of AIDS.

Ronald Reagan doesn’t get a “free pass” for his ignorance, denial, and handling of the AIDS plague either.

And, the music is fantabulous!

I hope “Pose” is renewed for a second season.  However, ratings for the series are really low. 😦

“DON’T JUST STAND THERE — STRIKE A POSE!”

In 1990, Madonna’s “Vogue” topped the charts in more than 30 counties and became the biggest selling single in the world that year with more than six million copies sold!

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR FOOD

Once I landed the job in Duluth, Minnesota, in early April, I stayed in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill my apartment lease and to get my old station through the May ratings period.

Now I wish I had moved here earlier to take time off to go to the Minnesota State Fair for the “Life Tour” —  Boy George and Culture Club, The B-52s, and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey — all on the same bill on Labor Day!

And, I’d love to sample some of the new food this year — Za-Waffle Sticks (waffles blended with pepperoni and mozzarella, topped with a parmesan herb blend and served with pepperoni-infused maple syrup or marinara sauce) and Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs (flaky phyllo dough filled with feta and ricotta cheese, deep-fried, drizzled with honey and topped with powdered sugar.).

But, my favorite new offering there is one I think I can make at home with a little experimenting — Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado!

Capture.JPG

It’s Gulf white shrimp tossed with lime, onion, black beans, tomato and fire-roasted corn in a garlic aioli (mayonnaise seasoned with garlic), drizzled with cilantro-infused olive oil, stuffed in avocado halves and served open-face with flatbread!

That’s similar to one of my favorite appetizers to make — Shrimp Ceviche , which is pictured here!  (Yes, I made these!)Shrimp C

WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME

This Showtime documentary was incredible!

It didn’t shy away from Whitney’s drug use as a teenager, her fear of disappointing God, the rumors about whether she was a lesbian or bisexual, and her spiral out of control that ultimately cost her her life in early 2012.

It was mind-boggling hearing that people were more comfortable ignoring her abuses of drugs and alcohol than it was to accept that she might be a lesbian black woman!

A new “Whitney” documentary hits theaters this weekend.

If you’re a Whitney Houston fan, what are your favorite songs?

Here are my ten favorites.  Of course, it was hard making this list because she had so many amazing songs.

By clicking on this link, it’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/remembering-whitney-houston/

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth a month ago, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

When I visited Chicago over Memorial Day weekend 1994, I made my decision to move there and six weeks later I was living in the “Windy City”.

While there for Memorial Day, we partied at the Gentry on Rush and I heard “Dreams” by English singer Gabrielle and I fell in love with the song and, ultimately, the album.

While the song hit the Top Ten in more than a dozen countries in 1993 and 1994, it only reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, it did top the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart here in the U.S.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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”