Posts Tagged ‘Lorrie Morgan’

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

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Fortunate In 2014 & Looking Forward To 2015

Happy Holidays, my friends, it’s my favorite time of the year.  I love the sights and sounds, the music, and the fact that I get to catch up with my dear friends.

Christmas 2014

I hope 2014 was a great year for you, but more importantly, I hope 2015 is even better.  May you be blessed with good health, good fortunes, love, and happiness!

It was a fun year for us.  I’ll get to that, but first let me update you on our lives.

I’m nearing the end of my two-year contract as the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate here in the Quad Cities.  While I love what I do, I’m not sure how much longer I want to get up at 1 a.m. for work five days a week.

Ray is still the Planning and Economic Development Director for the city of Moline.  He’s been there nine years and loves what he does.  But, were both eyeing his semi-retirement and Gretel’s high school graduation in five years to move to a warmer climate.

Yes, Gretel is now an eighth grader and a teenager!  She wants to be a movie director when she grows up.

Anthony Gretel Ray

My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities.  She’s been here for three years and while she’s happy, I can definitely see her return to Tennessee to be closer to her two granddaughters one day.

Tammy

It’s been almost three years since we lost Miss ABBA and we still don’t have a dog.  However, I hope that changes in the next year or two — if we travel less.  We did quite a bit of traveling this year.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

We got away to Las Vegas for a few days this summer and saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in concert.

OliviaShania

While there, we also saw two Cirque du Soleil shows, “The Beatles LOVE” and “Michael Jackson ONE”.  Both were simply amazing with the theatrics, the acrobatics, and, of course, the fantastic music.  I’d highly recommend seeing one of these shows when you’re in Vegas.

Other concerts we enjoyed this year were Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cher 2014 311

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in Chicago, Illinois

Enrique

We also saw my favorite ’80s band, Erasure, in Chicago, the next night!

Erasure

We spent a few days in Branson, Missouri, on a summer vacation trip for Gretel and her friends, Zoe, in June, and I accompanied Ray on a conference to beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, in September.  I got to sight see while he worked.

Ottawa

And, then in October, we went on the big vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday!

Yes, the big 5-0!  I’ve always wanted to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, and when we were booking the trip, it took us through Paris to sit at the airport for a few hours.  We thought, “why not stay a few days since we’re already going to be there?”  So, we cut Tel Aviv to four nights and stayed in Paris three nights.

Paris Birthday

For my birthday, Ray bought a package deal that included a Seine River dinner cruise, a visit to the Eiffel Tower (the view from the top at night was incredible), and a cabaret show at the world-renowned “Moulin Rouge”.  Since we were on Paris time, I actally turned 50 sipping champagne as the show girls (and boys) performed at the “Moulin Rouge”!

Paris was incredible, but Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean Sea, was so beautiful and the religious history surrounding the city was mind-blowing.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

Old Jaffa, just miles away, is more than 4,000 years old.

And, we had a yard sale this summer and started saving change and a few dollars to go on a holiday cruise to the eastern Caribbean in early December with Tammy and Gretel.

Eastern Caribbean

Needless to say, we didn’t buy many presents for each other this Christmas.  The trip was the present.

It been an enjoyable year and we’re definitely looking forward to see what 2015 brings!

As you start to take down the holiday decorations and winter sets in, I hope that you’re looking to the new year for bright new adventures, good health, and much happiness.

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in 2015.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!  To those that got a divorce from that loser on this day, I’m happy you’ve declared your independence.  What?  Oh, the country’s independence from Great Britain.  Well, that’s certainly different!

I hope you have fun with your fireworks, your barbeques, or whatever you do to celebrate our country’s 238th birthday!

It’s going to be a nice one in the Quad Cities.

4th

“Fernando” by ABBA is the song that I remember most about the Fourth of July as a kid.

While “Fernando” only reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, it hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and would become ABBA’s best-selling single of all time selling more six million copies in 1976 alone!

WORST FOURTH OF JULY

With more than five inches of rain this past Monday night in the Quad Cities, luckily I was inside the house helping Ray fight basement flooding before the electricity went out for about ten hours.

While that wasn’t on Independence Day, my worst Fourth of July was back in 2007.  I was caught in a flash flooding event around 2 a.m. after more than four inches of rain in a very short period of time flooded out my car on 19th Avenue in Moline.

FloodingBSticker3flat

Here are the scary details and I was one of the lucky ones to survive!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/my-favorite-least-favorite-fourth-of-julys/

MOST “INCOMPARABLE” GAY NEIGHBORHOOD

Forget San Francisco, Hollywood, Barcelona, and Madrid, Chicago’s “Boystown” has them beat!

I’ve lived in some shady places in life, but now I can say that I spent three of my four years in Chicago living in “Out Traveler” readers’ most “incomparable” neighborhoods.

While it’ll show up as Lakeview on maps, anyone that is anyone knows that the club area near Lake Michigan between Lincoln Park to the south and Uptown to the north is “Boystown”.

I lived there for a year in 1995-1996 (Addison and Lake Shore Drive) and from 2002-2004 (Belmont and Sheridan).   Miss ABBA and I spent a lot of time in her “puppy years”  playing around Belmont Harbor.

2014 Brackets 001

“Out Traveler” says that Boystown “was the nation’s first officially-designated gayborhood” and that it has “everything you could want: bars, clubs, restaurants, architecture, walkability, its own El stop”  and now, marriage equality.

PLEASE DON’T “WIGGLE” FOR ME!

I just heard Jason Derulo’s current hit, “Wiggle”, for the first time today and I hope that I never hear it again!

Sample lyrics:  “You know what to do with that big fat butt/Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” and “Hot damn it/Your booty like two planets/Go head, and go ham sammich”.  Ugggghhhh!

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

I loved Jason Derulo’s self-titled 2010 album and it ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year.  It produced three Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100;  “Whatcha Say” (#1), “In My Head” (#5), and “Ridin’ Solo” (#9).

Jason, go back to real music and not trashy, gimmicky songs that you’ll regret having to sing the rest of your career!

MEETING PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN

A couple of Friday nights ago, Ray and I got a chance to see the “Grits & Glamour Tour” with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa.  And, we lucked out and got to meet both ladies before the show.

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

We’ve seen them both in concert before separately.  On this tour, they performed together and it’s an amazing show.

It’s just sad that country radio is so ageist and sexist that it won’t play new music by women over the age of 40.  You think I’m wrong?  Think of radio’s reception to the latest recordings by Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, and Faith Hill.  And, before them, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and the list goes on and on!

While you may have missed that show, Lonestar and Sara Evans will be at the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton on Friday, July 11th.

“GLORIA”

This Chilean drama is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.

Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee that has to face the single life now that her two children are grown and have moved out.  However, Gloria doesn’t spend her life at home feeling sorry for herself.

Watching the movie and seeing Gloria out drinking and meeting men that could possibly be “the one”, I was so impressed with her strength and determination.  I spent the first part of my 40s alone with just me and my golden retriever, ABBA, wondering if we’d ever meet “the one”.  Like Gloria, there were many empty dates and hook-ups, but I found love again.

I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s.

Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.

When it was in theaters earlier this year, it made $2.1 million in the United States.  You can rent it at Redbox.

GRADE:  A

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Hearing a much different version of “Gloria” in that movie got me thinking of Laura Branigan.

It’s been almost ten years now since the singer died of a brain aneurysm at her home on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, three reached the top ten:  her first hit, the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.  It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

MADONNA’S GETTING CLOSE!

I’m only speculating based on recent Instagram posts, but I really think Madonna is getting close to dropping her follow-up to 2012’s “MDNA” album.

She has posted that she’s been working with EDM producer/disc jockey Avicii (who also remixed “Girl Gone Wild”), Natalia Kills, and Diplo.

Diplo tells “Rolling Stone” about Madonna, “I’ve done about three weeks with her, and we’re gonna do some more projects at the end of July. She’s just really cool. I think as far as artists reinventing themselves, she did it before anybody else. She kind of began that trend of actually coming back with a whole new look and style and sound and winning it and hitting the top of the charts. Those records are gonna be crazy-sounding. We really pushed the envelope with some of the stuff we were doing.”

And, just this week, she posted this teaser:

Madonna Messiah

There’s also been rumors that the English electronic duo, Disclosure, is also working on the album.  While they deny it, they say they’d love to work with her.

And, if that collaboration would sound anything like their current #11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Sam Smith, I sure hope they do something with Madonna since I love the song and the video!

Something tells me she’s going to silently drop the new album this fall or by the end of the year like Beyonce did last December!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

I saw Martina McBride in concert 2001 as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” Tour in Darien Lake, New York.  What a big voice from such a small woman!

Since blasting onto the country scene in 1992, she’s scored 42 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 20 reached the Top Ten and five topped the chart:  “Wild Angels” (1996, one week), “A Broken Wing” (1998, one week), “Wrong Again” (1998, one week), “I Love You” (1999, five weeks), and “Blessed” (2002, two weeks).

“I Love You” was also featured in the Richard Gere and Julia Roberts movie, “Runaway Bride” and it’s her biggest crossover hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I couldn’t find it, but luckily, my friend, Christopher found the official video to “Independence Day” for me.  It’s one of the most powerful songs ever released in any genre.

Because domestic abuse is a heavy subject matter, the song only reached #12 on the Billboard country chart in 1994, but it did win Country Music Association Awards for “Song of the Year” and “Video of the Year” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 20, 2014

Happy Friday!  I hope you had a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this week.

SUMMER STARTS SATURDAY MORNING

Today is the last day of spring!  Summer officially begins at 5:51 a.m. CDT Saturday.  If this means relaxing in the backyard swimming pool and anticipating my two fall trips (those details coming at a later date), I’m all for it.

Pool

Every summer, we plant a small garden of mostly tomatoes.  First, it was for Miss ABBA, who loved them.  Now we do it in her memory.

This year, I actually started most of the tomato plants inside when snow was still on the ground!  Most of our tomatoes are “ice white cherry” from seeds I bought on ebay.  We also have a common red ones and peppers in many varieties.

I’m looking forward to making homemade salsa in my new Hamilton Beach Food Processor that Santa brought me.  I wish that I lived in California, or some avocado-producing state, to make fresh guacamole from hand-picked avocados, too.

R.I.P CASEY KASEM

Last Sunday, on Father’s Day, radio legend Casey Kasem passed away at the age of 82.

People around the world grew up listening to that distinctive and distinguished voice count down the 40 biggest songs across the U.S. on “American Top 40”.

Casey_Kasem

The show debuted over Independence Day weekend in 1970 and Casey’s last countdown during his first run was on August 6, 1988.  (He would return to “American Top 40” from 1998-2003.)

When the show started, it was broadcast on seven stations.  At its peak, it was broadcast on more than a thousand stations in the U.S. and in 50 countries around the world.

For those listening to that first show in 1970, Casey opened with “Here we go with the Top 40 hits of the nation this week on “American Top 40”, the best-selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico.  This is Casey Kasem in Hollywood, and in the next three hours, we’ll count down the 40 most popular hits in the United States this week, hot off the record charts of “Billboard” magazine…”

Sadly, he gained media attention recently in a very nasty, public dispute between his children and his second wife of almost 34 years, Jean, as he battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Here is a blog that I wrote two years ago about how much I loved listening to Casey and how a long distance dedication could go terribly wrong!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/when-cusswords-outnumber-the-top-40-hits/

“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

R.I.P. Casey!

POOR STATE OF POP RADIO

Since we’re talking radio, I have to say that I’m not a fan of Clear Channel Communications’ promotional synergy of pushing a new song by playing it at the top of every hour for a certain period of time.

Madonna-Give-Me-All-Your-Luvin

While that helped Madonna secure her record-extending  38th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012 with “Give Me All Your Luvin”, along with Britney Spears debuting at #12 last year with “Work Bitch”, and Michael Jackson earning another Top Ten hit this year with “Love Never Felt So Good”, it also dooms the songs.

It’s debatable whether those three songs are worthy of hitting the top of the chart, but constant initial airplay pushes those song to a high debut and then they usually drop off quickly the next week and rarely rebound to a higher chart position on the airplay chart.

Why can’t it be like it used to be when Casey Kasem counted down the hottest songs in the land.  When you heard them, you knew you’d hear them during the week on your local radio station because back then a song had to build airplay week to week!

KUDOS TO RICKY MARTIN

To protest Morocco’s antigay laws, Ricky Martin changed the pronoun in his ballad, “She’s All I Ever Had” to “he” while performing at the 13th Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in Rabat, Morocco.

He sang, “It’s the way he makes me feel / It’s the only thing that’s real / It’s the way he understands / He’s my lover, he’s my friend / When I look into his eyes it’s the way I feel inside / Like the man I want to be / He’s all I ever need.”

Homosexuality is still a crime there and just last month, six Moroccan men were convicted and each face up to three years in prison.

This is the original that reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999.

And, if you’re a Ricky Martin fan, his autobiography, “Me”, is amazing.

Here’s the blog that I wrote about it if you want to know more about it or Ricky.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/me-personifies-ricky-martins-compassionate-life/

WAS ANTHONY PERKINS “PSYCHO”?

I just finished reading “Split Image” by Charles Winecoff about the life and death of movie and stage legend Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS in 1992.  The book was published four years after the “Psycho” star’s death.

Split Image

As I was reading the very lengthy book (480 pages), I was so ready for it to end.

I never met Tony Perkins, so I don’t know if he was a shy, introverted, strange man or not.  However, I can’t believe that Winecoff spent so much time and effort interviewing people and pulling quotes from Perkins and many of his fellow actors to piece together such an unhappy, unflattering book.

It was as if Winecoff disliked Perkins so much that he took joy in making him look as bad as possible after the actor’s death.

I love reading biographies or books about real events.  But, it was hard for me to read about Perkins’ life from someone who didn’t interview the star for the book.

The book did not change how I feel about Perkins since I was named after him, after all!  I still think the lanky, 6’2″ actor was gorgeous in the 1950s and 1960s!  See for yourself.

The song featured in that video was “How About You” from Perkins’ 1957 album, “Tony Perkins”.   He reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957 with “Moon-Light Swim”.

Beyond his career defining role as serial killer Norman Bates in 1960’s “Psycho” and its three sequels, Perkins was nominated for an Oscar in 1957 and he won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award in 1961.

Anthony Perkins Psycho

I’m glad that Winecoff used this quote from Anthony Perkins as he lay dying that he dictated to his sons:

“There are many who believe this disease is God’s vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other.  I have learned more about love, selflessness, and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life.”

AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR MYSELF

While I have an amazing celebratory trip coming up in October to usher in my 50th birthday (details are coming soon), I bought myself concert tickets to see my favorite band of all time for the first time.

The band is Erasure and here’s one of their biggest hits in the United States from 1988.

If you’re not all that familiar with the band and would like a crash course in who they are and learn more about me and my younger days, check out the blog I wrote about them.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-fall-just-got-more-exciting-with-erasure/

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Tonight, we’re off to Clinton, Iowa, just outside the Quad Cities, to see the “Grits and Glamour Tour” with Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis.

Grits Glamour Tour

Since she scored her first country hit in 1988 with “Trainwreck of Emotion”, which reached #20, Lorrie Morgan has amassed 25 hits on the Billboard country charts.

Of those, 14 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts:  “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

“Watch Me” reached #2 on the Billboard Country charts in 1992.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Throughout the 1990s, Pam Tillis scored 22 Top 40 hits on the country chart.  Of that great accomplishment, 13 of those songs made the Top Ten and 10 of them making it all the way into the Top 5.  (She also had a Top 30 hit with Dolly Parton, “Romeo”).

Her only #1, “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)” topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

One of my favorite Pam Tillis songs is “Spilled Perfume”, from the “Sweetheart’s Dance” album.  It hit #5 on the Billboard Country chart in 1994.

HAPPY PRIDE WEEKEND, CHICAGO PEEPS

It’s pride weekend in Chicago and I want to wish all of my friends there a safe and fun weekend!

pride-martini-collection

It’s been a few years, 2010, I think, since I last celebrate Pride in the big city.  So, friends, have a drink or a shot for me!

I want to close out my blog with three “Pride-worthy” videos to kick off the weekend.

The first is a song that I saw performed on television in April 1993 for the “March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation” while I was living in small town Kentucky.

Seeing Rozalla sing “Everybody’s Free” while hundreds of thousands of people just like me making themselves visible was such an incredible feeling.   Unfortunately, I can’t find a video from the 1993 “March”, but the song’s message is still the same from the music video.

The second is by the late Sylvester, a legend in the LGBT community.

In 1978, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” was #1 Billboard Dance hit and a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

And, the last video is one of the sexiest and most life-affirming, “be proud” messages I’ve seen in a video by a straight, but not narrow friend of the LGBT community, Kylie Minogue.

I guess the Kylie video is powerful.  I had a high school classmate delete me on Facebook when I posted the video a couple of years ago.  He said it was part of the moral decay in this country!

THAT’S IT

My friends, whatever your persuasion, I hope you have a fantastic first weekend of summer.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 21, 2014

Well, according to the calendar and astronomy, winter is over and spring is here.

After six straight months (since October 2013) of below average temperatures in the Quad Cities and more than 64″ of snow, I’m ready to work in the yard and mow it and plant a garden.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

FRED PHELPS IS DEAD

The founder and leader of the cult group, Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, died Thursday at the age of 84.

While I will not happily dance around or protest his funeral, I’m not saddened by his passing.  And, that is a little sad.

fred-phelps

The man and his family, for years, have protested the funerals of soldiers and celebrities with their signs telling us everything that God hates, mostly gay people.  However, the group doesn’t choose words as gentle as “gay”.

If you took these protests at face value, you’d come to the conclusion that his God is not a very happy God since he hates so much.   All I know is that his God is not my God!

And, is this really what you want the children of the future to grow up thinking?

WBC Kids

I feel for Phelps’ family that are mourning his death.  However, with Fred gone, there’s a little more love in the world today and a little less hate.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wet My PlantsPlaneEffective

GREAT NEWS ABOUT AIDS

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.

STOP AIDS

In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

PICK HIT — DOUBLE FEATURE

It’s time now to lighten the mood just a bit and to steam up the windows now that it’s spring.

I just bought the new CDs from Kylie Minogue “Kiss Me Once” (amazing and fun) and Enrique Iglesias ” SEX+LOVE” (still need to listen to it).

Kiss Me OnceEnrique SEX AND LOVE

The beautiful singers even have a duet together, “Beautiful”, which is featured on both albums.

While Kylie’s current single is the incredible “Into The Blue” and Enrique’s current hit is “I’m A Freak” featuring Pitbull, I’m featuring two versions of a new release from Kylie called “Sexercize”.

If you like looking at sexy women, the first video is for you.  If you like gorgeous and hot men, the second is the one you should check out.

And, of course, we can’t leave Enrique out.

Something tells me that Kylie and Enrique are obsessed with sexy people and I’m okay with that!

“CYNDI LAUPER:  A MEMOIR”

I just finished reading Cyndi Lauper’s memoir and it was incredible to learn more about talented and zany singer that has been entertaining us for thirty years.

Cyndi Lauper A Memoir

She talks about music, videos, love, her commitment to the LGBT community, Cher, Madonna, and much more in the book.

From my Wednesday blog about the book, “She had a rough childhood with a creepy stepfather, school problems, keeping a job, losing a baby, sexual assault by former band members, and several health issues.”

If you’d like to read the entire blog about Cyndi and her book and to relive some of the classic videos, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/cyndi-lauper-is-unusual-but-most-of-all-shes-an-ally/

If not, enjoy this #3 hit from 1987, “Change of Heart”, from her second album, “True Colors”.

“CRISIS”

NBC’s newest drama, “Crisis” debuted last Sunday night with a “soft” opening with 6.5 million viewers.

“Entertainment Weekly” gave the show a grade of C+ and I definitely think the first episode was better than that.

Crisis

A group of elite teenagers of very powerful players in Washington D.C., including the President’s son, are ambushed and taken hostage.  We don’t know why or how this will play out over the 13 episode season.

But, I’m excited that I get another hour of television that features my favorite female crush, Gillian Anderson.

Crisis - Season Pilot

Her recurring role as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on “Hannibal” (NBC, 9 p.m. Central) is not enough for me.

“Crisis” airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Central on NBC.

“ALL IS LOST”

I just saw the latest Robert Redford movie, “All Is Lost”.

All Is Lost

While there was Oscar buzz and his performance was commanding for a one-man show, there wasn’t much else in the movie.

We never learned who he was, why he was out in the Indian Ocean, and why we should really care if he lived or died other than because he was a living person.

All I lost with this movie is the 106 minutes that I’ll never get back.

GRADE:  D

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Today in this feature, I’m showcasing two artists that I’ve already seen in concert, but they’re heading back out for the “The Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Grits Glamour Tour

I met Pam in Bettendorf, Iowa, in November 2012, and she was a sweetheart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This past December, we saw Lorrie’s Christmas show at Opryland Hotel.  She was so beautiful.

IMG_4551

Both women still sound amazing and it’ll be fun seeing them together.

Pam has had 22 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 13 of them making it to the Top Ten.  Of those, ten scaled the Top Five.

Her only #1 hit was 1995’s “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)”.

“Shake The Sugar Tree” is one of my favorite Pam Tillis songs.  It peaked at #3 in early 1992.

Lorrie has scored 25 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts.  Of those, 14 have reached the Top Ten, and 11 made the Top Five.

She’s topped the charts three times: “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (3 weeks at #1, 1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

One of my favorite Lorrie songs failed to reach the Top Ten.  Sadly, “Something In Red” stalled at #14 in 1992.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my blog this week.

Happy Spring everyone!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Anthony

2014 Concerts

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

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

Shania1Britney

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

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

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

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

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

Erasure

Olivia

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

culture-club

Anthony

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

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

Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

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

Happy 2014

Here are my first random thoughts of 2014!

HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!

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

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

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

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

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

GOODBYE CHRISTMAS

Christmas Outside

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

Christmas Tree

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

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

Christmas Gifts

RICKY MARTIN IS SINGLE

4820-4820-1

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Jesus

Forecast

Healthy

BEING HEALTHIER IS NOT A RESOLUTION

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

Vegas October 2012

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

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

Christian Bale American Hustle

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

Bring on the lettuce!

REDBOX TARGETED OVER SAME-SEX MOVIE

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

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

NETFLIX POSTER

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

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

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

REDBOX

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

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” FLASHBACK

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

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

Shania2

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

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

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

Shania Twain

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

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

2014 CONCERTS

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

Shania1Britney

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

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

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

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

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

ErasureOlivia

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

culture-club

“AMERICAN HUSTLE”

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

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

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

American Hustle

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A-

HOLLYWOOD, LISTEN TO ME!

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

jennifer-lawrence

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

Melissa Leo Prisoners

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

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

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

Anthony