Posts Tagged ‘Trick’

My Life: The First 35 Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

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

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

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

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

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

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

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

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

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

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

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

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

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, back to the countdown!

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

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

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

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

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

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

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

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let the countdown roll on….

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

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

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

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

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

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

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

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

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

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

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

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

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

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

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

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

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

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

Anthony

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

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

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

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

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

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

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

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

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

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

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

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

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

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

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

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

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

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

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

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

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