Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.

Advocate

The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.

LGBT

“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.

Stonewall_riots

That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.

Milk1

“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.

aidsquilt

Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.

RonaldReagan

“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.

marriage

“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)

SEXUAL RACISM

I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.

haring

Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexual

Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.

Anthony

Advertisements

Ready To Really Like Carly Rae Jepsen in NYC

The weekend is almost here and I hope it’s a fun one for you.  It’s also Easter weekend.  Happy Easter!

ABBAEaster2001

Easter gives me a chance to share this cute picture of Miss ABBA, who’s probably enjoying Easter egg hunts across the rainbow bridge.

Depending on the time of day you read this (and United Airlines), we’re likely on the way to Chicago or already in New York City for a few days. This is Gretel’s Christmas present.

We’ll do the touristy things, eat great food, and see a Broadway show, “Disaster!”.

However, the weekend kicks off tonight with my choice for a fun New York City time — Carly Rae Jepsen in concert! Cardiknox and Fairground Saints will be joining her.

carly-rae-jepsen

So, in honor of the headliner, here are my 15 favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs and I’ll hear many of them since the “Gimme Love Tour” is promoting the “Emotion” album.

It was one of my favorites CDs of 2015.  Get it now if you don’t already have it!

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

15

“TURN ME UP” (CD:  “KISS”)

#14 Movie

“BOY PROBLEMS” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

13

“BLACK HEART” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

12

“THIS KISS” (CD:  “KISS”)

#11 Movie

“HURT SO GOOD” (CD:  “KISS”)

10

“CURIOSITY” (CD:  “KISS”)

#9 MOVIE

“GOOD TIME” (WITH OWL CITY) (CD:  “KISS”)

8

“YOUR TYPE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#7 CD

“WARM BLOOD” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#6 CD

“RUN AWAY WITH YOU” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

5

“CALL ME MAYBE” (CD:  “KISS”)

4

“GIMME LOVE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#3 CD

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#2 MOVIE

“I DIDN’T JUST COME HERE TO DANCE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#1

“TONIGHT I’M GETTING OVER YOU” (CD:  “KISS”)

 

CARDIKNOX

The Los Angeles-based duo Cardiknox (Thomas Dutton and Lonnie Angle) just released their major label debut, “Portrait”.

It’s a great album full of synth and electronic vibes that take you back to the 1980s with a current day rock feel.

Right now, my favorite song on the album is still “On My Own” because it was the song that introduced me to the group and I’ve watched the incredibly choreographed video so many times.

I also like “Wild Child”, an energetic anthem that makes no apologies for being young and being yourself.

However, the more I listen to “Portrait”, I think my favorite jams will be “Bloodlust” and “Supermodel”.

Both take me back to the “new wave” and punk days of the late-1970s and early-1980s when bands like  Berlin, Missing Persons, X, Blondie and the Go-Gos were making inroads to success in popular music.

Can’t wait to see Lonnie and Thomas open for Carly Rae.

FAIRGROUND SAINTS

Carly Rae definitely picked two of Los Angeles’ finest to open for her on the tour with Cardiknox and the trio, Fairground Saints (Mason Van Valin, Megan McAllister, and Elijah Edwards).

While I like many genres of music (dance, electronic, pop, country, and soul), Fairground Saints doesn’t box themselves into one category.  On their self-titled album, which came out last August, you get a strong feel of folk, country, and gospel.

I’ll probably embarrass my soon-to-be 15-year-old daughter, Gretel, by singing along and dancing to Carly Rae, but I know she’s going to love the smooth, alternative sound of Fairground Saints.

Here’s to a fun Friday night at Terminal 5 in New York City with Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardiknox, and Fairground Saints.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts –February 19, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the week and are ready for the weekend.

It’s been an interesting week since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” — Valentine’s Day, a snowstorm for Iowa and Illinois, the return of “The Walking Dead”, and warmer temperatures!

Have a fun weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today.

YOUR COMPASSION IS HEARTWARMING

Last Friday, I shared with you a vile response to a blog I posted on why I support Hillary Clinton for president.  It was one of my most viewed blogs on the day it was posted since  I started writing my blog four years ago.

MrazLoveAlbumCover

The feedback and compassion you extended to me was incredible and greatly appreciated.  I know there are so many more great people in this world than the jerks — they just spew their hate openly and loudly.

As I told many of you in my responses, rude comments like that tick me off.  However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because being in the public eye, I’ve developed a tough skin.

Something it proves is that as much progress as we’ve made in this country, there’s still so much more work to be done before we reach equality — not just for the LGBT community, but for women, race, pay, and the list goes on and on.

Again, thank you!

LoveEqualityFormula

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DEAD

Speaking of equality, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man that made a career of voting against it, died at a Texas resort last weekend at the age of 79.

Since I was just talking about compassion, I’ll just say that I feel for his wife and their nine children.

Since the word “hate” is such a vile word, I didn’t “hate” Scalia, but I disliked him with strong convictions because of his long history of being anti-gay in his court decisions.

NATALIE COLE’S FAMILY UPSET ABOUT THE GRAMMYS

The family of singer Natalie Cole, who died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65, is upset with the “shameless” tribute she received at Monday night’s Grammys compared to other musicians that were memorialized.

Cole’s son, Robert Adam Yancy told “Entertainment Weekly”, “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than a minute-and-a-half tribute.”

Cole was remembered in a photo montage, while Lady Gaga performed a seven-minute musical tribute to David Bowie, who won two Grammys in his career.  (I’m torn writing this because Gaga was incredible.  It’s the principle I’m addressing here!)

There were also tributes to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire), winner of seven Grammys, Glenn Frey of the Eagles (six Grammys) and Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead) with only one Grammy win.

One one other music tribute was to a musician who won more Grammys than Cole, B. B. King  (15 Grammys).

So, there’s my tribute video to Cole and not the others!

OKAY, I COULDN’T RESIST

Here’s Lady Gaga’s amazing tribute to David Bowie from the Grammys.

STARS READING “MEAN TWEETS”

These always crack me up because the entertainers make the best of a bad situation.  On the other hand, mean people really do suck!

What troopers — to read what idiots say about them!

“THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”

We all know the story — a savage double murder in the posh Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1994 involving the wife of a famed football star.

A botched (?) criminal case that allowed a murderer (?) to walk free!

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (“American Horror Story”) are behind the new Fox series “American Crime Story:  The People v. O.J. Simpson” (notice the similar title).

This 10-episode series event is going behind the story to share details that we may not remember from the headlines or the circus that was the murder trail against Simpson.

After watching the first two episodes, I’m intrigued with the detailed story telling and the acting of Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran).

However, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson is a hard sell for me.  One, Gooding doesn’t remind me that much of Simpson and, two, the constant whining and ranting is annoying.  I’m totally not buying him as O.J.!

Overall, a great show and it hasn’t even gotten to the trail yet!

YES, BEYONCE IS BLACK!

I’m sure you already know that Beyonce is black.  If not, she is!  And, remember that expression from the 1960s that “Black is Beautiful” and Bey is definitely beautiful.

Bey1

The most recent controversy with Beyonce started on February 6th when she released the “Formation” video, which features references to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina black culture, racism, and police.

She performed the song the next day at “Super Bowl 50” and more controversy ensued from conservatives thinking she was promoting too much black — power, the Black Panthers, and Black Lives Matter.

Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani vented, “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

While “Formation” won’t have the same radio success as “Crazy in Love”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, pop and R&B/Hip Hop stations are already playing it!

For the record, Beyonce has had huge success on the pop chart (Billboard Hot 100) with 26 hits, fifteen of which hit the Top Ten, and five of those went all the way to #1.

However, she’s had more success on the R&B/Hip Hop charts — 38 hits, 23 of which made the Top Ten, and 8 topped the chart.

And, this is not even counting her hits with Destiny’s Child!

“SNL” NAILS IT AGAIN!

“ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY” IS BECOMING GREEDY

I’m a huge fan of “Entertainment Weekly” and I look forward to my magazine each week even though I can find much of the same information online from their website and tweets.

It used to be that they’d have a feature series with several cover photos and present them all in the issue.  You’d just flip the cover and there’d be the next one.

That would have been perfect for this week’s “The Walking Dead” feature with six different collector edition covers.  However, they randomly picked which cover you’d get.  But, you could purchase the other five covers!

Seriously?

Rick EW.jpg

While I wanted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I got Daryl Dixon.  As much as I love the show, there’s no way I’d buy the other five!

Greedy!

29 AND ANCHORING IN NEW YORK CITY?  NO WAY!

If you’re familiar with how the television news business works, you know you start out at small market stations and work there for a couple of years before moving on to a larger market.

You work there for a couple of years and then move on again.  You continue this process until you get to the big markets (New York City is the largest TV market followed by Los Angeles and Chicago).

If you’re very talented and you luck out, you might skip one of these ladder jumping moves.  Or, maybe there’s other factors.

I’m not saying that 29-year-old Stefan Holt, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, isn’t talented, but…

The younger Holt graduated college and interned at KABC in Los Angeles and with NBC News in London before joining the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as a reporter and fill-in anchor.  This is market  #38 out of 210 (the smallest).  It’s unusual to get your first job in a market that size.

After just two years there, he moved on to NBC5 in Chicago (market #3) as a reporter and weekend morning anchor.  Holt was promoted to weekday mornings just months later where he worked for five years.

Again, 29 and anchoring in the biggest television market in the country!  What’s next? Filling in for his dad on “NBC Nightly News”?

JUSTIN BIEBER

Okay, first things first about Justin Bieber.

I bought his “Purpose” album last fall and it’s a great album and has already produced four huge hits, including three #1s, “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry”, and “Love Yourself”, and my favorite 2015 Bieber hit, the Grammy Award-winning “Where Are U Now”  with Skrillex and Diplo.

And, if you haven’t noticed, Justin is gorgeous and I feel more comfortable saying that now that he’s a man — over 18 years old!

Bieber

However, I was a little freaked out by music executive and producer L.A.Reid’s description of Bieber in his new book, “Sing To Me”.

Reid says, “this kid was beautiful, like a woman can be beautiful and men rarely are, and he turned it on as soon as he stepped into the room.”.

This one sounds more innocent and I totally agree, “Justin was simply beautiful.  His superpower was his face.”

PICK HIT

Zayn Malik, another sexy and beautiful man, who left the boy band One Direction for a solo career, is off to a great start.

“Pillowtalk” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is burning up the radio airwaves.  It’s already on the short list of my favorite songs of 2016.  I know, it’s only February!

The video is pretty erotic and steamy, too!

Malik’s debut album, “Mind of Mine”, comes out March 25, 2016.

“THE MARTIAN”

I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.  I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE OVERNIGHT”

In stark contrast to “The Martian” in running time, “The Overnight” is one hour, 18 minutes long and it works in a lot in that short time.

A couple with a small son move from Seattle to Los Angeles where they meet another father and son playing in the park one day.  Since they don’t know anyone and the boys get along, they’re invited to a pizza party.

At the party, after much alcohol and the boys go to bed, the foursome talk about everything, including sex.  Inhibitions are lowered and tempers flare when insecurities surface.

The question becomes will they or won’t they and how will that change the course of the relationships — between each couple and the two couples’ friendship.

GRADE:  B

“FREEHELD”

This movie is an expansion of the Oscar-winning “Best Short Documentary” in 2007 with the same name.

This 2015 film stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a 23-year veteran of the police force in Orange County, New Jersey.

She sues after finding out she has lung cancer and her request to have her domestic partner receive her benefits is denied.  Oscar nominee Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays her love interest, Stacie.

The acting is superb not only from the female leads, but also from Michael Shannon, Hester’s partner on the police force, and Luke Grimes, a closeted police colleague.

However, watching the movie, it did feel like a Lifetime movie.  And, that’s not a bad thing.

This is based on a true story.

GRADE:  B

“TRUTH”

This movie focuses on the authenticity of documents reported by “60 Minutes” on CBS from iconic news anchor Dan Rather during George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential re-election campaign.

The controversy called into question if Bush received preferential treatment while he served in the Texas Air National Guard in the early-1970s.

Robert Redford stars as Rather in the last days of his career at CBS, but the focus of the movie is on Mary Mapes, Rather’s producer on the investigative piece.

Mapes is played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  As expected, she is flawless.  Yet, even she couldn’t save this movie and make it a thriller.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough thoughts for one week.  As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my randomness!  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — as long as you’re diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Amazing Television and Rescue

Time does fly.  (Pun intended!)

It’s hard to believe it was seven years ago today that US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese, which causes engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

A movie based on the real-life drama, “Sully” will hit movie theaters on September 9, 2016.

Clint Eastwood is directing and Oscar winner Tom Hanks will play the Captain and Aaron Eckhart portrays Skiles. The movie also stars Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

If you want a quick refresher, here’s more about what happened in the moment that led Sully to land the plane on the Hudson — from Wikipedia!  🙂

“First Officer Skiles was at the controls of the flight when it took off to the northeast from Runway 4 at 3:25 pm, and was the first to notice a formation of birds approaching the aircraft about two minutes later, while passing through an altitude of about 2,700 feet on the initial climb out to 15,000 feet. According to FDR data, the bird encounter occurred at 3:27:11, when the airplane was at an altitude of 2,818 feet above ground level (agl) and a distance of about 4.5 miles north-northwest of the approach end of Runway 22 at LGA. Subsequently, the airplane’s altitude continued to increase while the airspeed decreased, until 3:27:30, when the airplane reached its highest altitude of about 3,060 feet, at an airspeed of about 185 knots (343 km/h; 213 mph) calibrated airspeed (KCAS). The altitude then started to decrease as the airspeed started to increase, reaching 210 KCAS at 3:28:10 at an altitude of about 1,650 feet. The windshield view was quickly filled with big, dark-brown birds and several loud thuds were heard. Capt. Sullenberger took the controls, while Skiles began going through the three-page emergency procedures checklist in an attempt to restart the engines.”

At that point, birds were hit and both engines lost thrust and the plane turned back toward LaGuardia.

“Responding to the captain’s report of a bird strike, controller Patrick Harten, who was working the departure position, told LaGuardia tower to hold all waiting departures on the ground, and gave Flight 1549 a heading to return to LaGuardia and told him that he could land to the southeast on Runway 13.  Sullenberger responded that he was “unable” to do so.”

The September movie does sound interesting and I’m glad I’m not flying into LaGuardia until late March when maybe it won’t be fresh in my mind!

Anthony

2016: My (Not So) Lofty Expectations

It’s hard to believe not just that another year has passed, but that it seems to have gone by so quickly!  I think that comes with getting older.  There’s just not enough hours in a day.

Now that 2016 is here, I’ll share the same wish to you that I shared a few days ago when I looked back on my 2015 in a blog, “I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.”

Time

So, what do I want to accomplish and do with my time in the new year?

I want to nap more.  My work schedule is a strange one and I always feel sleep-deprived.  Part of that is my fault because I always find things I could or should be doing in the afternoons when I should be snoozing for a couple of hours.

I’ll strive to be a better person.  In 2016,  I hope not to let other people’s actions or incompetence agitate me.  Yes, I’m human and so many people disappoint me with their inaction.

I plan on sticking close to my budget.  This will allow me the opportunity to travel as much as I can in the new year.

In 2015, I was fortunate to go to New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anchorage, and to Mexico twice, Riviera Maya in the summer and to Puerto Vallarta in December.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in 2015 from home and afar from some of these amazing places I visited.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10153326556919849.1073741954.500579848&type=3

I saw some great concerts and shows last year (Madonna, Janet  Jackson, Bette Midler, Michael C. Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and Renee Fleming in “The Merry Widow”).

This year, I’d love to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas.  I saw her a few years back on the “Femme Fatale Tour” and she was incredible.  And, I hear she has new music dropping this year.

Britney Las Vegas

We already have two trips planned for the new year.  One, we booked in the spring of last year and paid for it in monthly payments for the remainder of 2015.  There’s there budget thing again!  I’m sure we’ll announce when and where before we go. 🙂

Also, for Christmas, we gave Gretel a trip to New York City for her spring break.  She’s always wanted to go and she loved the pictures of our trip there last New Year’s Eve, my first time.

AP Ray NYC

She wants to see Madame Tussauds and probably visit a museum.  Ray hasn’t said what he wants to do and I’ve already bought tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen at Terminal 5!

If you haven’t checked out her 2015 album, “Emotion”, you’re missing out on a pop masterpiece!  It was my #3 favorite album of last year and if you only know her from “Call Me Maybe”, this set of songs is more mature and just as catchy!

And, in May, Ray and I are going to see Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, outside Chicago.

I love Ellie Goulding’s music, but I chose this concert to see the opening act.  Years & Years released “Communion” last summer and it’s incredible.

Lead singer Olly Alexander’s voice is so soulful and powerful.  If you love Adele, you have to check out “Communion”.  And, it was my #2 album of last year.

Click here and another window will open and you can see my favorite albums of 2015 and hear more selections from Years & Years to see what I’m talking about.  You’ll also see what album was my favorite since I mentioned #3 (Carly Rae) and #2 (Years & Years)!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/my-favorite-albums-of-2015/

While I already mentioned Britney, 2016 also promises new music from Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue and if I’m really lucky, new albums from Erasure, Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Enrique Iglesias!

However, my most anticipated album of 2016 is by Matthew Koma.  I loved his song “Tempted” with Giorgio Moroder and his work with Zedd.  But, it’s his solo album that I want.

Here’s a fun song from Matthew, but you may want to check the title before you click on it — if there are kids in the room. 🙂

So, that’s it for me and a few of the things I look forward to in 2016:  sleep more, smile more, not let people tick me off as much, travel more, and see some fantastic shows.

Those expectations aren’t all that lofty, right?

Happy New Year!

Anthony

 

My Enjoyable 2015 — The Year in Review

It’s my favorite time of the year.  I look forward to the new year and take time to reflect back on the past year and share the highlights with my friends.  I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for –not just at the holidays, but every day.

For me, there is so much to love about the holidays — the twinkling lights, the sounds of Christmas music, the amazing feasts, and the beautiful snow (it’s still early in the season).

Snow Saturday Morning

My family is doing well.  I’m still the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities.  I’ve been there almost three years.

Ray is the Economic Development and Planning Director for the city of Moline, a job that he excels at and still loves after ten years.  Miss Gretel, a high school freshman, aspires to be a movie director.  (Hopefully, a very successful one, so we can have a mansion somewhere near Hollywood where there’s warmth all year around and we can have avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Okay, that’s really long-term planning!)

My sister, Tammy, is still in Moline and her two sons and two granddaughters now live in the Quad Cities.  It makes her very happy to have them here and not several states away.

As you know, we love to travel and try to get in a few concerts throughout the year. Paying bills isn’t the only reason we work! J

In early December of last year, we took Gretel and Tammy on an eastern Caribbean cruise.  It was a nice way to put off winter longer.

Anthony Gretel Ray

Tammy

Ray and I started 2015 in New York City.  We flew there on New Year’s Eve, but got into town too late to get anywhere near the televised festivities and Taylor Swift rocking in 2015.

It was my first visit to the “Big Apple” and we did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I loved the beautiful window displays decked out for Christmas, Rockefeller Center, and the gigantic Christmas tree.  We also saw the new World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Along with the great food, we saw Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) off Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and we attended “The Merry Widow” at the Metropolitan Opera.

Hedwig

We made our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas in May, where we ate some amazing food (buffets, of course!)  We discovered a new brunch this year that you have to check out when you’re there next – Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  On a future visit, I’m determined to visit the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.

In June, we took Gretel to Riviera Maya (Cancun) and she got to use her passport for the first time.

In late September and early October, I accompanied Ray to his two back-to-back work conferences – the first was in San Francisco, California.

Wine Country

On his one free day, we took a bus trip for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  While he worked, I went sightseeing and saw Chinatown, Golden Gate Park and the National AIDS Memorial Grove.  I also walked to the Castro District and was so touched to see the house where Harvey Milk diligently worked to plant the seeds for the LGBT movement.  While I was only a teenager when he was murdered, I was overwhelmed just being there where it all happened four decades ago.

While I would never want to live in downtown San Francisco (very dirty and expensive), I was blown away by the funkiness of Haight-Ashbury.  I’d move there in a heartbeat.  The “Summer of Love” was still very much alive!

To celebrate our four year wedding anniversary, we took a scenic boat tour on San Francisco Bay, which took us around Alcatraz, Sausalito, and under and around the majestic Golden Gate Bridge.

From there, it was off to the second leg of the two-week getaway and his next conference in Anchorage, Alaska.  If you’re ever going to visit, do it before October.  Most of the tours are over by this time as the Frontier State settles in for a long northern winter.

AP Ray AK

We did get to visit an animal sanctuary where we saw bear, moose, deer, bison, eagles, and other animals.  On the drive there, we saw snow-covered mountains and glaciers, tasted natural Alaskan spring water, and saw a few salmon swimming.  Also, we got to visit Prince William Sound, now fully recovered from 1989’s Valdez Exxon oil spill.

This year, we saw five concerts.  On our trip to Vegas in May, we saw the divine Miss M, Bette Midler.

Bette

She’s still incredible.  In August, I saw Reba McEntire in the Quad Cities.  I’ve now seen Reba 13 times.

In October, we saw three shows in three different cities:  In Anchorage, we saw Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.  If you’ve never heard of them, Google them because they are amazing.  Days later, we saw Madonna in Saint Paul, Minnesota (my fourth Madonna concert), and then in late October, we took an overnight road trip to Omaha, Nebraska, and saw Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty!  She is so beautiful and talented.

20151030_204005

That’s what we did in 2015. I’m already looking forward to what adventures lie ahead in 2016. I guess I should wrap this up so I can start planning trips and concerts for next year so I’ll have things to share with you next Christmas.

I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014

Winter begins this weekend and Christmas is now less than a week away!

I hope you and yours have a very merry holiday — whatever you celebrate this time of the year.

If you’re not caught up on “The Following” or “The Walking Dead”, this blog DOES, I repeat, DOES contain spoilers.

“RARE EXPORTS:  A CHRISTMAS TALE”

If you’re tired of the holiday classics this season and the Lifetime movies just don’t do it for you, check out this Finnish Christmas movie that was my fifth favorite movie in 2011.

This horror/fantasy/thriller will have you looking at Santa is a whole different light!  Now, when I say “horror”, I don’t mean silly slasher movie.

Sadly, “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” was only released in 21 American theaters and it made a whopping $236-thousand domestically!  However, its foreign box office pushed it up to $4 million.

“THE INTERVIEW”

Sony has scrapped its release of the $44 million budgeted, James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy, “The Interview” after cyber threats to moviegoers.

I have to say that I’m disappointed in this decision and I hope that the movie is quickly released to DVD or VOD (video on demand).  Yet, Sony adds that it has “no further release plans” for the movie at this time.

It seems that I’m not alone in the scary precedent Sony is setting regarding internet threats.

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “Sony is a disgrace. Sickening.”  And, here are some others:

The Interview Reaction 1 The Interview Reaction 2

In the movie, Rogen and Franco’s characters are asked by the United States government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Here is the “red band trailer” that just cracks me up.

In case you’re not familiar with “red band trailer”, it means that it’s NOT SUITABLE FOR KIDS and NSFW!  As with any truly “R-rated” video on YouTube, you might not be able to view this video without verification that you are 18 years old!!!

Again, this trailer is truly adult in nature and may be too abrasive to some.

warning

I loved the duo’s last big screen collaboration, “This Is The End”, which was my fifth favorite movie of last year.

I just wonder if they had made the North Korean leader a fictional character if things would have gone down differently?

JEB BUSH IS CLOSER TO BEING THE FIRST!

While it’s not official just yet, in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on November 7, 2014, I predicted that Jeb Bush would be the first candidate to declare his run for the 2016 presidency.

Earlier this week, he said he will “actively explore” a run for the Republican nomination for President.

I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, just like the 1992 election, I think that Hillary will be back in the White House.  Only this time, she’ll be the President of the United States and former President Bill Clinton will become the country’s “First Gentleman”!

“THE FOLLOWING” RETURNS

The third season of the psychological thriller, “The Following”, returns to Fox on March 2, 2015.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

spoiler-alert

Sadly, my favorite character, Emma, won’t be returning since she was killed off toward the end of the second season!

The Following Silence

It’ll be interesting to see how unstable Luke (Sam Underwood) will handle and avenge the death of his twin brother, Mark, and his mother, Lily.

following Mark

And, who was in the truck that picked him up as the season ended?

NEW REBA MUSIC COMING VERY SOON!

In just a little over two weeks, Reba McEntire will be making her return to country radio.

On January 6, 2015, her new song, “Going Out Like That”, an “upbeat”, sassy song is being released.

It’s the first single from her upcoming 2015 album.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women  I Am”, was released more than four years ago and it was my third favorite album of 2010.

It featured her last #1 hit on country radio, “Turn Up The Radio”.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD” SPINOFF

While I await the return for the second half of season five of “The Walking Dead” and see how the group handles Beth’s death at the end of the shocking mid-season finale, more details are surfacing about the spinoff to the hit AMC series.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Forget the east coast and Atlanta, the new pilot will take place in Los Angeles.

Can you just imagine “walkers” taking over Sunset Boulevard, the Malibu beaches, the deserts, and the Hollywood Hills?

ANY “LOVE ACTUALLY” FANS THAT WATCH “THE WALKING DEAD”?

This weekend, I plan on watching “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” and “Love Actually” again just in time for the holidays.

If “Love Actually” is one of your Christmas favorites and you love “The Walking Dead”, you might find this parody entertaining.

Andrew Lincoln

If you recall, a much younger Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead”) played Mark in “Love Actually”.

Now, while Lincoln is beautiful and flawless, sexy Charlie Farrell in the parody could definitely pass a double!

RENEE FLEMING

I just bought Renee Fleming’s “Christmas in New York” album and it’s quite delightful and very charming.

renee-fleming

For those of you that may not know her, Renee is world-renowed American opera singer, a soprano.

Beginning on New Year’s Eve, Renee will appear with Kelli O’Hara at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in a revival of the operetta, “The Merry Widow”, which was first performed in 1905.  Renee performed this role in 2010 in Germany.

NEW YORK CITY

Christmas is a magical time for many reasons and one place I’d love to visit around Christmastime is New York City.  In my fifty years, I’ve never visited the “Big Apple”.

If I was there now or over the next few weeks, I’d love to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, check out my first opera with Renee Fleming at the Metropolitan Opera, get lost in the Christmas spirit with the iconic Mariah Carey’s holiday show at the Beacon Theater, and be blown away by Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

In the absence of my favorite new network show this season, “How To Get Away With Murder”, which returns to ABC on January 29, 2015, I’ve had a chance to catch up on two other great shows on CBS.

Tea Leoni, who is nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her role as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is incredible.  And, Tim Daly, who plays her husband, is incredibly handsome in his late-50s.

The show is very intelligent and thought-provoking.  It also makes me miss my favorite real life Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright.

The show is doing rather well in the ratings and should easily be renewed.

Other than the awesome Leoni, my other two favorite characters are Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff, and Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth’s quirky and sexy personal assistant.

“STALKER”

However, the other new show I’m enjoying, is not looking too promising for getting a second season if you trust the website, zap2it.

“Stalker” is a very creepy and sadistic thriller starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott.

Other than Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis character, my other favorite is Janice (Mariana Klaveno), who’s on Beth’s Threat Assessment Unit team.  Klaveno also played Lorena, Bill’s maker on the hit HBO series, “True Blood”.

“HANNIBAL”

Sadly, there is no return date scheduled for the most under appreciated, least watched, best written and acted series, “Hannibal”, on NBC.

Hannibal Jack Showdown

Come on, schedule the return!  There was so much blood shed in the season two finale with four main characters lying there dying!  Who will survive?

Obviously, Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia du Maurier as they jetted off to Italy!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  FREAK SHOW”

I have to say that the fourth season of “American Horror Story:  Freak Show” has been my least favorite season, so far.  (We have “Coven”, season three, but haven’t gotten around to watching it.)

I’m not alone since the ratings this season have dropped almost 50% since the October 8th premiere.

However, I’m not giving up on it because two of the last episodes, “Blood Bath” and “Tupperware Party Massacre”, were very entertaining and intense.

While the mid-season finale focusing on Pepper and showing us a connection between the seasons was touching, my favorite character was missing — psychotic man-boy Dandy Mott.

Actor Finn Wittrock is incredible and mesmerizing.  And, it doesn’t hurt that in recent episodes we were treated to several full posterior naked shots of him and others in his tighty whities!

american-horror-story-freak-show

Okay, Dandy does have a thing for blood!

‘UNBROKEN”

While “The Interview” has been pulled from theater release on Christmas Day, there are still a couple of movies that I want to see during the holiday season.

One is the Angelina Jolie-directed true story, “Unbroken”.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

And, the other is another true life story also centering around World War 2, “The Imitation Game”, with Oscar-buzz front-runner Benedict Cumberbatch.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW…

for my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Up next, my favorite (and least favorites) movies and songs of 2014 and my favorite albums of 2014.

I want to leave you with a beautiful version of “Blue Christmas” from my idol, Reba McEntire, with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli from his 2009 album, “My Christmas”, which was the top-selling holiday album of that year.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you agree or disagree with or what your random thoughts are.

Anthony