Posts Tagged ‘I Am Woman’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 2, 2020

The holiday seasons are fast approaching with Halloween up next!

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’ll be nice to put 2020 behind us and hope for a better 2021!

Just a clarification before you read it. I’m calling someone “scum of the earth” and I’m following my own advice of being “diplomatic”. The words I’d like to use would show far less diplomacy! 🙂

But, first…

HELEN REDDY, YOU’RE ALREADY MISSED!

International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee, and feminist Helen Reddy passed away earlier this week at the age of 78!

A movie honoring Helen and her iconic song, “I Am Woman” is out now and will be released on DVD on November 3, 2020.

I submitted an entry this summer on what Helen’s music and that song meant to me for an advertising campaign promoting the movie. I was chosen! 🙂

Here’s my original and unedited 1 minute, 10 second submission!

Here’s a little bit about my favorite Helen Reddy song!

While the song was included on her 1971 album, she re-recorded it and it was shipped to radio in May 1972. 

It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart! Months later, it was released again.

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

Helen, thank you for the music and you’ll be missed even though you’ll be in our hearts and souls! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

SCUM OF THE EARTH

Read this clearly: Most of us already know which candidate we’re going to vote for on November 3, 2020, so this isn’t about Joe Biden or Donald Trump!

But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scum of the earth!

In no time following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell was on the fast track to have her replacement named and confirmed before the 2020 Election — just a little over a month away!

Again, I don’t care if you’re supporting Biden or Trump (well, I really do, but that’s not the point of this post!), it’s the principle.

SCALIA’S DEATH

Because it was a presidential election year, when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell was such an obstructionist!

He and the Republican-controlled Senate declined to take any action on President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, one month later.

That nomination expired with the end of the 114th Congress in January 2017 and #45’s nomination later that month was confirmed in the spring.

The bottom line is that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”!

While a nominee has already been announced, we SHOULD WAIT for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to move this process forward. The winner should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice!!!

THE “MILLENNIUM” SERIES

Although this Swedish crime series came out more than a decade ago, the three books have been sitting on my bookshelf.

I finally read the Stieg Larsson’s series — “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” — and loved them!

The first book was my favorite and I felt the quality dropped off a little with the next two books.

I also watched the first two Swedish movies based on the books and Noomi Rapace was amazing as Lisbeth Salander.

I remember seeing David Fincher 2011’s English version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and it not making an impression on me. I’ll have to watch it again now that I’ve read the books!

“BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END”

Leif G.W. Persson’s 2002 book was translated to English in 2010.

On the back cover, here how it’s described: “acclaimed as one of the greatest Swedish crime novels of all time” .

Well, based on the four that I’ve read, after the three “Millennium” books, I disagree! Halfway through the 638 page book, I was ready to discard it!

So, skip it!

There are definitely better Scandinavian crime novels out, like Norwegian Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” (2007, translated to English in 2010)!

And, totally irrelevant, 60-year-old Nesbo is so hot! 🙂

That’s just a bonus! 🙂

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

I normally read autobiographies, biographies, and books on real events, so my familiarity with fiction isn’t that great.

However, in the four Scandinavian crime novels that I read this year from Stieg Larsson and Leif G.W. Persson, one thing I appallingly noticed was the degradation and the violence directed toward women.

But, just the description of women in these books was gross and unjust.

Is it a crime novel thing? Heaven forbid, I can’t imagine that Scandinavian women would put up with this from men! Now, granted, these four books were written before the “Me Too” movement.

However, earlier this year, this was addressed by Nesbo in an interview with “The Guardian”.

He says, “Violence against women is a problem in society – it is something we should talk about. I would be more worried if there was an absence of violence against women in fiction, because it’s a problem in real life. Of course, it’s a question of how you do it, but in general I would be more worried if fiction pretended it wasn’t a problem.”

“MAGIC”

On a lighter note and one that excites me so much, Kylie Minogue treated us fans to the second single from her upcoming “Disco” album coming out November 6th!

“Magic” is the new single!

“MAGIC” BONUS TRACK!

I hope you took a few minutes and watched the amazing Kylie video.

So, now you know it’s not a remake of Olivia Newton-John’s four-week #1 smash from the “Xanadu” soundtrack from 1980!

MEGYN KELLY “SETTLE FOR MORE”

I enjoyed reading Megyn Kelly’s 2016 autobiography.

Along with stories about her childhood, her career as a successful lawyer, and how she gave it up to become a television reporter and anchor with no experience (really, I mean no real experience!), she spent a lot of time talking about her abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters in the 2016 presidential election!

She also talked about how great of a guy that toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert Roger Ailes was! He’s the one that sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives!!!

By the way, “toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert” are my words, not Kelly’s!

It wasn’t until the end of the book that she addressed the sexual allegations that brought Ailes down. It felt more like, “Oh, I should mention that!”.

In fairness, Kelly shared a 2006 meeting with Ailes in his office when he once again came on to her. She said he tried “to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips”.

Kelly got away from him and as she moved toward the door, Ailes allegedly (I’ll say that word for legalities even though the scumbag likely said it with venom) said, “When in your contract up?”

She also states that Ailes earlier said, “I don’t like to fight, but when I do, I fight to kill.”

MORE THINGS SHE SHARED IN “SETTLE FOR MORE”

When she moved to Chicago in 1995 to take a law firm job, she looked out her Navy Pier apartment window drinking white Franzia boxed wine and listened to Tina Turner’s “I Don’t Wanna Fight” CD. She said that her “real life” was starting! (I only shared this one because I loved Franzia boxed wine!)

She told Roger Ailes that while she was raised in a Democratic household, she was “apolitical”. She went on to share a passage from her 1988 journal, “Am I a Republican or a Democrat? I seriously don’t know.”

There were rumor of her having an affair with married Fox News anchor Brit Hume. He thought it was funny and said people wouldn’t believe it. She disagreed by saying, “people love to dismiss potentially threatening women as ‘nuts or sluts’. Evidently, I didn’t pass as a nut, so I was to branded a slut…”

“BOMBSHELL”

If you haven’t seen the 2019 movie, “Bombshell”, check it out.

Here’s what I said about it in January.

“Even after seeing ‘The Loudest Voice’ on Showtime last year, watching ‘Bombshell’ was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!”

GRADE:  B

“Bombshell” was my #13 movie of 2019!

“CHOW DOWN”

Although this parody of Wilson Phillips’ #1 1990 debut hit, “Hold On”, came out in 2012, I can’t watch it enough — even today! 🙂

The drag queen trio of Willam Belli, Detox, and Vicky Vox take on the anti-gay agenda of the Georgia chicken restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A.

Disclaimer: Yes, it’s hilariously funny and R-rated.

***It includes adult language and adult situations***!

The bottom line and I couldn’t have said it better myself:  “we just want a little meat without your Bible!”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!

While I wished my idol, President Jimmy Carter a Happy 96th Birthday last week, I’ll do it again since his birthday was October 1st!

In 2016, I left this message for the Carters when I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 18, 2020

This is my last post of the summer! Fall officially begins next week!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

Next week, my baby sister will be celebrating her birthday and her first in Central Illinois.

I’m so happy we’re in the same city again and that we get to spend more time together. Here’s to the holiday celebrations!

Happy Birthday Tammy! I wish great things for you in the upcoming years!

“I AM WOMAN”

Iconic singer and women’s rights advocate Helen Reddy is finally being honored with a motion picture, “I Am Woman” — the title of her 1970s #1 anthem!

It’s now showing in select theaters and is available through video on demand.

Also, the movie arrives on DVD on November 3, 2020 and you can pre-order it on amazon.com!

The movie stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle MacDonald (“Patti Cake$”), and Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”).

Helen’s fans were asked to submit a short video telling what the song and Helen Reddy meant to them. Those selected would be used in a promotional campaign for the movie.

I’m honored to say that a portion of my video was chosen!!! 🙂

Here it is! (Just click on the arrow.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

And, finally a month ahead of my birthday, I shared the 13 biggest events and my 101 favorite songs of my first 35 years (1964-1999).

Of course, Helen Reddy was high on the list — at #16 with “I Am Woman”!

If you want to see the rest of my countdown, here’s the blog with stories of my ups, my downs, my secrets, and my successes! So far, it’s been well received. (Click on this link and it’ll open in a different window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/my-life-the-first-35-years/

By the way, back to Danielle MacDonald, if you haven’t seen “Patti Cake$”, add it to your list of movies to see!

“Patti Cake$” was one of the best and most overlooked movies of 2017. It was my #10 favorite movie that year!

As you start to watch, be patient!

When I reviewed the movie late that year, I said, “As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.”

GRADE: A-

YES, PLEASE!

Here’s another reason for this dreadful year to end — look what’s coming in January 2021!

Nabisco is treating us to Chocolate Hazelnut-flavored Oreo cookies!

That same month, the company is releasing Java Chip Oreos — coffee-flavored crème with chocolate chips sandwiched between two classic Oreo cookies!

I still want to try the Caramel Coconut Oreos! Please share so I don’t have to buy a whole bag! 🙂

ALL READY FOR FALL!

Yes, I rushed summer out and decorated for fall on Labor Day weekend!

Why so quickly?

My Christmas decorations go up November 1st until the end of January! 🙂

“RUMOR HAS IT” TURNS 30!

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

However, I discovered her at Sidetrack in Chicago on country night in 1990. That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

It’s hard to believe that the album turned 30 years old this month! And, it was re-issued and released on limited orange vinyl!

“Rumor Has It” was my first Reba album (I own them all now) and it’s still my favorite.

While “Fancy” was not the biggest hit from the album, it’s become one of Reba’s signature songs.

I love “Fancy”, but it’s not one of my 20 favorite Reba hits!

But, a new dance remix from hit master Dave Aude may change that. Check out this incredible version that I hope clubs across America start playing!

By the way, if this becomes a dance club hit, it won’t be Reba’s first.

In 1996, the dance remix of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” reached #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart.

And, this isn’t the first time that Dave Aude has taken one of the biggest stars of country music on the ride up the dance charts.

He hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in 2015 with “You Have To Believe” with Olivia Newton-John and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi.

It ended up being my #16 song of the year with my favorite U.S. city, Las Vegas, as the backdrop!

“THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS”

In the first season of this TNT series, the “Alienists” were on the hunt for a “boy-whore” serial killer in late-1890s New York City.

Years later, in the second season, “Angel of Darkness”, we’re chasing down a a psychotic, sexual deviant baby kidnapper/killer!

The stellar cast of Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning return.

However, the standout in the second season is Rosy McEwen, who plays Libby Hatch.

In a very dramatic, Emmy nomination-worthy scene, McEwen’s character exclaims, “Stop looking at me, you stupid thing! <Nervous laugh> “Stupid, stupid, you stupid thing!”

Just reading that line, it may sound “stupid”, but seeing the chilling scene of a deranged character saying it to a nemesis bully that was just murdered was powerful!

TED LEVINE

When I watched the first season of “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”, I thought, “it’s nice seeing Ted Levine” again.

He’s now in seasons one and two of “The Alienist”.

However, I was shocked to learn that’s he’s worked constantly (before and) since his breakout role in the Oscar winning movie, “The Silence of the Lambs” as Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb!

“MY LIFE AMONG THE SERIAL KILLERS”

While reading serial killer profiler Helen Morrison’s 2004 book, “My Life Among The Serial Killers”, all I could think about was Sigourney Weaver in the 1995 movie, “Copycat”!

Although the real life Morrison profiled many serial killers, I didn’t buy a lot of her conclusions. And, neither did others in that profession. The book was panned!

And, Weaver, Holly Hunter, and Harry Connick Jr. were incredible in “Copycat”. Watch that instead of reading the book!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Thank You for Making Me Feel Invincible!

UPDATE:  International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee and feminist Helen Reddy has passed away at the age of 78!

HelenReddy2

My admiration for Helen is apparent with the many blogs I’ve written about her over the years.  On this special day, I want to say “thank you” for the incredible music she’s given us and I want to share my favorite Helen Reddy songs.

The first record I ever bought, thanks to my great grandparents, John and Helen Peoples, was Helen’s “Delta Dawn”.  I was almost 9-years-old and the writing was already on the wall! 🙂

Delta Dawn Helen Reddy

Also, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I owned three 8-track tapes and one was “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits”.  The other two were were “Totally Hot” by Olivia Newton-John and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

In the 1970s, I was too young to see her in concert.  It appeared she would be one of the singer I idolized, but would never get to see live because she gave a farewell concert performance in western Canada in 2002.  In 2008, she announced she was done with singing and entertaining.

Lucky for us, in 2012, she made an appearance at a jazz club in San Diego, California, and did a benefit for a school outside of Los Angeles and decided that she felt the joy of singing and performing again.

That’s how I got to see her in concert in early 2013 near Chicago and I almost got to meet her, but there was a mix-up at the theater.

Helen Reddy 1

Luckily, my friend Jim arranged for this gorgeous consolation gift!Helen Reddy Autograph

At the time, I was living in Moline, Illinois, which is about three hours west of Chicago.

Back in the 1970s and the 1980s, Helen performed in Illinois and Iowa, including Davenport, Iowa.

While she may not have done a concert in Moline, the second largest city in the Quad Cities, I’m sure she remembers it.

In late October 1973, around her 32nd birthday, she and her band were heading back to California after playing a show in Philadelphia on a leased private jet.  It encountered an intense thunderstorm in the Midwest and the plane started going down.

Helen says they were losing altitude so fast that it felt like they “hit a brick wall” and that “interior paneling started to snap out of its moorings” and cabin baggage was flying through the aircraft.

The pilots were able to get out of the storm’s downdraft and they regained control of the plane and they made an emergency landing at “a little airfield”, as Helen called it.

Moline from the air

That “little airfield” ended up being in Moline, Illinois!  🙂

If you ever get a chance, read Helen’s very entertaining 2006 autobiography, “The Woman I Am”.

The Woman I Am

While the book covers the highs and lows of her entertainment career, she also talks quite a bit about her love of genealogy and tracing her family’s history, her beliefs in reincarnation, and acquiring Addison’s Disease, which also affected President John F. Kennedy.

It traces Helen’s life from her Australian childhood growing up in a vaudeville entertainment household, having her kidney removed as a teenager, her first marriage (also as a teenager) to an older man (33), who turned out to be an alcoholic and an abusive husband.   But, something good came out of that failed marriage — her daughter, Traci.

In 1966, Helen appeared on the Australian show “Bandstand” and won a trip to New York City for a record audition.

Helen Reddy 1966.JPG

At the time, women were still referred to as “girl singers” and labels were afraid to promote the careers of too many women.  So, success in America, the creme de le creme of the world music market, would have to wait.

Helen sang wherever she could in the United States and Canada to make ends meet for her and her little girl, all alone and a world away from her family “down under””.

In the book, Helen cracked me up by only referring to her second husband and manager, Jeff Wald, as “Number Two”!  (After they divorced in the 1980s, Helen learned how vindictive he had been in closing doors on her musical career and the games he played with her involving their two children.  He also swindled her out of most of her earnings that took Helen much of the next two decades to recover from financially!)

In 1971, Helen recorded “I Believe In Music”, an Adult Contemporary hit for country singer and actor Mac Davis, but it was the flip side of the single, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” that became her first American hit.  It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Helen Reddy I Dont Know How To Love Him.JPG

She would go on to chart thirteen more Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Six of them reached the Top Ten and three went all the way to #1!

Her Top Ten hits were “I Am Woman” (#1, 1972), “Delta Dawn” (#1, 1973), “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973), “You and Me Against the World” (#9, 1974), “Angie Baby” (#1, 1974), and “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” (#8, 1975).

Her last Hot 100 hit was 1977’s “You’re My World”, which peaked at #18.

In honor of her birthday, I’m counting down my 10 favorite Helen Reddy songs!

10

“YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD”

#9

“AIN’T NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY”

8

“EMOTION”

#7 CD

“PEACEFUL”

6

“I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM”

5

LEAVE ME ALONE (RUBY RED DRESS)”

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns this song as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along. 🙂

She once told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

When I saw her in concert in 2013, she didn’t perform it! 🙂

4

“ANGIE BABY”

#3 CD

“DELTA DAWN”

As I mentioned earlier, this was the first record I ever bought as an 8-year-old!

#2 MOVIE

KEEP ON SINGING”

Before I reveal my favorite Helen Reddy song, I want to share the powerful story behind it.

I also want to express how much the song means to me and how it helped shape me into becoming the man I am today!

Back in 1971, her own experiences in the entertainment business prompted her to write a song for her debut album that would become iconic more than a year later!  That song was “I Am Woman”!

Helen Reddy album.jpg

She says, “Women have always been objectified in showbiz. I’d be the opening act for a comic and as I was leaving the stage he’d say, ‘Yeah, take your clothes off and wait for me in the dressing room, I’ll be right there’. It was demeaning and humiliating for any woman to have that happen publicly.”

Helen knew things had to change and she believed with the right song, her voice could do that, “I remember lying in bed one night and the words, ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman’, kept going over and over in my head.”

While the song was included on her 1971 album, Helen re-recorded “I Am Woman” in May 1972 and it was shipped to radio.  It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart!

Months later, it was released again!

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

However, it was SO much more than that!

Helen Reddy became an icon in the fight for women’s rights and the song became an anthem for millions as the “women’s movement” for equality gathered steam.

Womens Lib.JPG

More than forty years after “I Am Woman” moved mountains for women demanding equality to men, the words of that song could apply to the LGBTQ community with regards to demanding the acceptance of Americans and the world for the same civil rights.

There are still 29 states in the United States where LGBTQ+ people can still be discriminated against with regards to employment, housing and more!

Helen Reddy, thank you for standing up for women in the early 1970s and for letting the strength of your words make me stronger in my fight until I make my (straight) brothers understand.

While I’m not a woman, the conviction of that song from my childhood inspired me as an adult to push forward in the gay rights and marriage equality movements.

It made me stronger and gave me the strength to stand up to anyone who ever tried to belittle me for being gay.

#1

“I AM WOMAN”

Helen has always been an advocate for women and gay men and equal treatment for all.

Thank you for the memories and thank you for all that you’ve done for us!

Happy Birthday and here’s to many more!

Anthony

2019: My Personal Expectations & What Excites Me

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

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

Duluth

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

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

I also want to expand my friend base.

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

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

gif-happy-new-year-2019.gif

CONCERTS

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

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

LAS VEGAS

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

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

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

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

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

Kylie 1

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

Kylie 5

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

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

MARCH TRIP

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

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

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

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

You have to keep a little mystery in life! 🙂

March 2019.JPG

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

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

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

Silkworms.JPG

Bon Appétit!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

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

Olivia 2014

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

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

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

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

“Xanadu” is still my favorite Olivia song.

NEW MADONNA ALBUM

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

Madonna.JPG

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

Madonna is working on her 14th studio album.

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

Madonna Rebel Heart

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

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

Stonewall_riots

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

NEW REBA ALBUM

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

REBA Coming Soon

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

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

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

Reba Love Somebody

Thanks sexist, ageist country radio!

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

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

“TRICK 2” 

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

trick 2.jpg

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

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

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

“TALES OF THE CITY” SEQUEL

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

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

Mary Ann

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

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

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

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

Mary Ann

Molly Ringwald has also joined the cast.

’80s FLASHBACK

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Happy New Year! 🎉🥂🍾

Anthony

Why Helen Reddy Will Always Remember Moline

International superstar Helen Reddy has won a Grammy, been a star on the stage and in movies, and has performed at some of the biggest venues across the world.

Back in the 1970s and the 1980s, she played shows in Iowa and Illinois.  She even performed in Davenport, Iowa.  While she may not have sung on stage in Moline, Illinois, the second largest of the Quad Cities, she’ll always remember Moline.  More on that shortly.

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I was fortunate to see Miss Helen Reddy in concert last year just outside of Chicago and I almost got to meet her.

I just finished reading her very entertaining 2006 autobiography, “The Woman I Am”.

The Woman I Am

While the book covers the highs and lows of her entertainment career, she also talks quite a bit about her love of genealogy and tracing her family’s history, her beliefs in reincarnation, and acquiring Addison’s Disease, which also affected President John F. Kennedy.  It’s a failure of the adrenal glands that will require treatment for the rest of her life.

The books traces Helen’s life from her childhood in Australia growing up in a vaudeville entertainment household, having her kidney removed as a teenager, her first marriage (also as a teenager) to an older man (33), who turned out to be an alcoholic and abusive husband.  However, one good thing came out of that failed marriage, her daughter, Traci.

And, this was all before Helen appeared on the television show, “Bandstand” in Australia and competed against 1,357 other people.

She couldn’t decide whether to perform a ballad or an uptempo song in the finale.  She lucked out and found a song, “Strangers and Lovers”, by Petula Clark that was both.  It worked because she won the contest that brought her to the United States to record a song for Mercury Records.

Unfortunately, it was the mid-1960s and women were still referred to as “girl singers” and labels were afraid to promote the careers of too many women.  Success in America, the creme de le creme of the world music market, would have to wait.

Helen sang wherever she could in the United States and Canada to make ends meet for her and her little girl, Traci, all alone and a world away from her family “down under”.  While the song would come later (in 1974) and reach #15 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, this is a perfect time for one my favorite Helen Reddy songs, “Keep on Singing”, since I mentioned the phrase “make ends meet”.

It’s included here in a medley with two other big Helen Reddy hits, “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973) and “Delta Dawn” (#1, 1973).

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns the song “Leave Me Alone” as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along. 🙂

On the tour last year when I saw Helen perform, she told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

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Although I jumped ahead of myself to work in “Keep on Singing”, we have to go back to the man who made Helen Reddy the international superstar and legend she is — that is, outside of Helen’s immense talent and charm that kept her at the top of the chart in the 1970s.

His name is Jeff Wald, a younger man who Helen met a “surprise rent party”/25th birthday celebration in New York City thrown by two of her friends to raise money for Helen to pay her rent when she was a struggling singer in the 1960s.

What’s funny is that Wald crashed the party and didn’t even pay his five dollar entry fee.  In her book, Helen never refers to him by name, just “Number Two”, meaning her second husband and manager.  And, that totally made me smile.

In 1971, in a one-off deal with Capitol Records, Helen recorded “I Believe In Music”, an Adult Contemporary hit for country singer and actor Mac Davis.  For the “b-side” of the single, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” was chosen.  The song had been rejected by superstar Linda Ronstadt and even Helen didn’t much care for it.

Nevertheless, it was the song that radio warmed to and it reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 become Helen’s first hit in America.  In her native Australia, it hit #2.

Helen talks at length in the book about Jeff’s demons, including a long history of cocaine use.  While they were in love, it wasn’t enough with drugs and an increasing temper involved.  They would eventually divorce in the early-1980s.

It was also in the 1980s, after the divorce and her radio airplay and record sales cooled, that Helen realized how vindictive “Number Two” had been in closing doors for her in the music business and the games he played with her involving their two children.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he also swindled Helen out of most of her earnings that took her much of the two decades to recover from financially.

Helen’s last hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was the #18 smash, “You’re My World” in 1977.

Helen spent much of the next phase of her life acting on television and on stage.  She also started making plans for a life that did not involve the entertainment business and eventually became a clinical hypnotherapist.

In 2002, Helen gave a farewell concert performance in western Canada and announced in 2008 that she was done with singing and entertaining.

Lucky for us, in 2012, she made an appearance at a jazz club in San Diego, California, and did a benefit for a school outside of Los Angeles, and decided that she felt the joy of singing and performing again.

That’s how I got to see her in early 2013 outside of Chicago.

Helen Reddy Autograph

While Helen was on top of the world in 1973, there was a lot of turmoil going on in her life dragging her in many different directions.

As 1972 ended, “I Am Woman” hit #1 in the United States in December and Helen gave birth to her second child, Jordan.

In May 1973, after becoming the first Australian to score a number one song in America, she won a Grammy Award – another first for an Australian.  Helen got people talking at the Nashville, Tennessee, ceremony when she closed her acceptance speech with, “I want to thank God because She makes everything possible.”

And, that summer, she had a successful variety television show on NBC thanks to her good friend, comedian Flip Wilson.

But, things then turned dark for Helen as her mother died in July and she traveled the 9,000 miles to Melbourne for the funeral only to have her father die ten weeks later.

Helen was raised to know that “the show must go on” and she continued to tour around the funerals.

At this point, I bet you thought I had forgotten about the Quad Cities’ connection and why Helen would always remember Moline, Illinois, where I’ve lived for the past nine years.

Just around her 32nd birthday in late October 1973, she and her band were heading back to California after playing a show in Philadelphia on a leased private jet.  It encountered an intense thunderstorm in the Midwest and the plane started going down.

Helen says they were losing altitude so fast that it felt like they “hit a brick wall” and that “interior paneling started to snap out of its moorings” and cabin baggage was flying through the aircraft.

Moline from the air

The pilots were able to get out of the storm’s downdraft and they regained control of the plane and they made an emergency landing at “a little airfield”, as Helen called it.

That “little airfield” ended up being in Moline, Illinois!  And, that, my friends, is why Helen will never forget Moline!

HelenReddy Airport 1975

Interestingly enough, one year later Helen would star as a nun in the box office blockbuster disaster flick, “Airport 1975”, which you know almost crashed!  But, she got to sing an original song of hers, “Best Friend”, in the movie.

By now, you can tell that I absolutely love Helen Reddy.

I’ve blogged several times about her and if this is the first time you’ve had a chance to check out blog or you missed the others, check out these two entries.

This one is more about Helen Reddy and my discovering her as a little boy.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/helen-heres-to-many-more-happy-birthdays/

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And, this one is about her shaping me to be an advocate for equality.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/helen-reddy-thank-you-for-making-me-the-advocate-i-am-now/

Helen was always and is still an advocate for women, gay men, and equal treatment for all.  In the book, she covers the AIDS epidemic and homophobia.

Helen, thank you for the memories and for all that you’ve done for us.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen, Here’s To Many More Happy Birthdays

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Reba McEntire in concert 11 times since I first saw her in 1995 and I met her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in April 2005.

Reba Anthony 2005

I’ve seen Madonna three times, most recently in Las Vegas.  While I’d love to see to see Patty Loveless again (I saw her in 2000), there are still four other ladies that are on my concert bucket list to see:  Pam Tillis (who I’ll see on November 2nd), Lorrie Morgan, Olivia Newton-John, and a woman that doesn’t tour much anymore.  And, today she is celebrating her 71st birthday.

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday dear Helen Reddy!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

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Helen Reddy was born in Melbourne, Australia and she conquered music, television, theater, and even movies.  In “Airport 1975”, she played a nun and entertained people on the doomed flight with a guitar and a song.  She was even nominated for a Golden Globe award!

HelenReddy Airport 1975

However, it was music that made her a superstar and at the height of her popularity, she was known as the “Queen of 70s Pop”.  On the Billboard Hot 100, she had 14 hits.  Six of those reached the Top Ten and three went all the way to #1.

Her first hit, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” reached #13 in 1971.

But, it wasn’t until the fall of the following year that Helen Reddy would become a music superstar and an icon to one of the biggest movements in recent history — women’s rights.

When the song, “I Am Woman” was originally released in the summer of 1972, it peaked at #97 in its third week on the chart and then it disappeared.  In the fall, the song was re-released and by December, it was a #1 smash.

“I Am Woman” became the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 by an Australian-born singer and the first Australian-penned song to win a Grammy Award.  While accepting the award, Helen thanked God, because “she” made everything possible.

While becoming a chart topper and a Grammy-award winning song, it became so much more.  It became an anthem for millions as the “women’s movement” for equality gathered steam.

Helen Reddy’s own experience in the entertainment business prompted the song.  She says, “Women have always been objectified in showbiz.  I’d be the opening act for a comic and as I was leaving the stage he’d say, ‘Yeah, take your clothes off and wait for me in the dressing room, I’ll be right there’. It was demeaning and humiliating for any woman to have that happen publicly.”

Helen knew things had to change and she believed with the right song, her voice could do that.  Reddy says, ” “I remember lying in bed one night and the words, ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman’, kept going over and over in my head. That part I consider to be divinely inspired. I had been chosen to get a message across.”  With her lyrics and fellow Australian guitarist Ray Burton’s music, an anthem was born.

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I remember “I Am Woman” very well and that same conviction inspired me as a kid and now, as an adult, to push forward in the gay rights and marriage equality movements.  It made me stronger and gave me the strength to stand up to anyone who ever tried to belittle me for being gay.

After the follow-up single, “Peaceful,” missed out on the Top Ten, Helen would top the charts again with her next single, “Delta Dawn”.  While that song was already a Top Ten country hit for Tanya Tucker in 1972 and being performed live in concert by Bette Midler, Helen’s version was released in the summer of 1973.

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I remember my grandparents, John & Helen Peoples, taking me shopping and “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy was the very first 45 single I ever bought.

In the late 1970s, I only owned three eight-track tapes:  Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses”, Olivia Newton-John’s “Totally Hot”, and “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits”.  It went on to move more than two million copies.

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Helen would go on to score four more Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100:  “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973), “You And Me Against The World (#9, 1974), “Angie Baby” (#1, 1974), and “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” (#8, 1975).

Her last Hot 100 pop hit was 1977’s “You’re My World” that peaked at #18.

Sadly, Helen decided to give up touring in the fall of 2002 when wrapped up her tour in Edmonton, Canada.  She moved back to Australia and put the music industry behind her and became a clinical hypnotherapist.

In November 2011, she did a great interview with an Australian television show, “Today Tonight”.  It’s incredible to see how she choose to go from being a music superstar of the 1970s to enjoying a quiet life today and doing whatever she pleases.

Back in 2008, she said that she “will never again perform before an audience” and that she’s “moved on.”

For some lucky fans, that isn’t the case.  This summer, she performed at a jazz bar in San Diego, California, and at a benefit concert for the arts outside of Los Angeles.

And, according to her website, she is performing four concerts in March 2013:  one in South Carolina, one in Florida, and two in New York City.  Since I would be so excited to see her, I hope more dates will follow.

So, on this special day, Happy Birthday Miss Helen Reddy and “keep on singing”.

I’m including this because it’s one of my favorite songs and it’s subliminal. 🙂  See the preceding comment about hoping more concerts will follow!

Anthony