Posts Tagged ‘Whitney Houston’

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

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Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

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Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

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This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

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I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

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I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

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I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

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But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

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She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

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Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Remembering Whitney Houston

In the past year, we’ve lost 1980s musical icons David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years ago this weekend that the music world was crushed to learn of the passing of Whitney Houston.

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Sadly, a little over three years later, her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, died, too, in an eerily similar fashion.

This Grammy Awards weekend, I’m remembering Whitney by sharing my ten favorite Whitney songs.  (By the way, she won six Grammy Awards and was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, thus seven!)

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Bonus

Since Whitney had so many classics, here are some of my favorites that couldn’t fit it in the Top Ten:

“Saving All My Love For You”, “I’m Every Woman”, “My Name Is Not Susan”, “Love Will Save The Day”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Fine”, “Step By Step”, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, and “If I Told You That” with  featuring the late great George Michael!

As I begin my countdown, you’ll notice her upbeat songs rank higher since that’s when I was a youngster out clubbing and enjoying the dance floor!  🙂

10

#9

#8 MOVIE

7

6

#5 MOVIE

4

green 3

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

1

What are you favorites?

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 9, 2016

Greetings from steamy Hotlanta, Georgia!

My whirlwind tour of South Carolina started with Tropical Storm Hermine blowing wind and rain across Charleston last Friday while we were there!  Other than bringing down some tree limbs, I’d say they missed the brunt of the storm.

We also visited Hilton Head, then it was off to Savannah, Georgia.

We loved its “Southern Charm”, the elegant mansions and colorful houses, and the tasty down home cooking at “The Lady and Sons”, Paula Deen’s restaurant.

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I loved having sweet tea again, but I’ll definitely give it up when I get home.  After Atlanta, we’re back home this weekend and I’ll be returning to work Monday.

I hope all is well in the Quad Cities or wherever in the world you’re checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

PARENTS OF TEENAGERS — PAY ATTENTION!

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies or books about real events.  Recently, I read books by or about Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, the Carpenters, and Paula Deen.

All were very enjoyable and reading books about real life events or people takes me more into a life I thought I already knew.

I just finished “A Mother’s Reckoning:  Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy” by Sue Klebold and I realized there was so much I didn’t remember about this story.

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If you’re thinking, “what is the tragedy?” or “where have I heard that name?”, maybe this will bring it all home.

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Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two students (along with Eric Harris) that stormed into their school, Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, on April 11, 1999, with guns and homemade bombs.

When their spree of violence ended, 14 students (including Klebold and Harris) and a teacher were dead, and 24 others were injured, some seriously.

It’s taken Klebold seventeen years to share her thoughts on the massacre:  how did the little boy that she raised do something this monstrous, how did she and her husband, Tom, miss the warning signs (how did they not see that the throes of depression wasn’t just teenager moodiness), and how could they continue living in Littleton when many people there saw them an accessories to murder in a school tragedy that started a nationwide copycat trend?

It’s a very compelling book by a woman that has suffered deeply living in the aftermath of such a horrendous crime.  She walks a fine line trying to reach out to the 39 families ripped apart by her son’s (and Eric’s) violent fantasies that became reality, while also trying to grieve the loss of Dylan, who became a monster, but was also her son, her baby.

She talks quite a bit about “brain illness” and “brain health” in this country (instead of using the terms “mental illness” and “mental health”).  It’s a strong message.

I know (and you likely know) that in the wake of every tragedy in this country, we ask how can this keep happening.  Mental illness is usually a contributing factor, but we keep sweeping it (mental health issues and reform) under the rug!

Klebold

Sue says we should not ask “Why?” when a tragedy occurs because it leaves us hopeless.  We should ask “How?” because that shows us a way forward to do what we must do.

When she speaks publicly, she now introduces herself by saying, “My son died by suicide.  He was one of the shooters in the Columbine tragedy.”

I feel for Sue, her family, Dylan, the 40 other families damaged by this tragedy, the town of Littleton, and the families and friends and communities of every shooting brought on by mental illness.

It’s a tough subject that needs to be addressed today or we’ll be talking about more tragedies tomorrow.

And, a final note about this tragedy, it could have been much worse.  The two teenagers had intended to blow up the school and kill everyone!  However, some of the bombs didn’t go off!

A must read for everyone, especially parents of teenagers.

LADY GAGA IS BACK!

“Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her new album dropped this morning at Top 40 radio.

MORE ON MY READING HABITS

After talking about my reading habits, I’ll say, on occasion, I’ll read some fiction.

The Girl on the Train

The last three fantastic ones were “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins (I can’t wait for the movie October 7th), “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz, and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker, which is being developed as a television series.

Dietland

If you’ve ever been the “fat” girl (or boy) and felt like the world was just for thin people or if you’re a woman just fed up with a degrading society, you need to read this book!

Here’s my blog about it from earlier this year:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“THE WALKING DEAD” — PRESIDENTIAL STYLE

We’re still six weeks away from the season seven premiere of “The Walking Dead” to see who dies at the hand of Negan and his trusty barbed wire-baseball bat Lucille.

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And, we’re still about two months away from the 2016 presidential election.

Whether you’re on Team Hillary or Team Trump (sorry, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) of “The Walking Dead” has these comparisons of Clinton and Trump to the hit drama’s hero and villain.

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“I think we’re probably looking at that right now, I think Trump would be more like Negan, and Clinton would be more like Rick — kind of go with the political when you can, but not afraid to kill everybody if they had to.”

HIllary Flag

Ahh, “Killary” Clinton in “The Walking Dead” circles!

Cudlitz continues, “But Negan’s a little bit of a loose cannon and Trump is a little bit of a loose cannon.”

Trump

He quickly adds, “And that’s not me being political.  That’s by his own description.  So yeah, I think we actually have our Negan and our Rick.  And, neither one is perfect.”

Rick EW

While I may not be objective (to some), I’d definitely feel safe living in country with  President Hillary Clinton and surviving in a zombie apocalypse with Rick Grimes in control!

TODAY’S YOUTH… SMH!

Full disclosure here, as a parent, I’m partially guilty in perpetuating a less than desirable future for our children.  Our daughter is 15 now.  She’s a great kid that makes good grades at school, isn’t boy crazy (yet), and doesn’t cause us any trouble.

Those are the good things.  She’s also 15, likes to just sit in her room and binge watch television shows and YouTube videos, have very little interaction with us, and is constantly having to be reminded to do the few chores she’s assigned.

I know there are many other things I could be complaining about, but I just have to shake my head because I can only say so much.

One thing I truly don’t believe in is that every kid deserves a ribbon or a trophy for participating and that’s the society we’re living in.

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Actress and pop singer Selena Gomez, after performing 56 shows on her “Revival Tour”, cancelled the fall and winter leg for the shows in Europe and South America, due to anxiety and panic attacks.  But, I understand Selena’s dilemma.  She confirmed last year that she has the auto-immune disease, lupus.

However, just recently, Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony left the stage in St. Louis, Missouri, because of a panic attack.  She didn’t return to the show, but was at the next concert in Dallas.

And, Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction has dropped out of concerts because of panic attacks.

Okay, I get it, we all get stressed.  I get anxious, but I’ve never dropped out of an event or called into sick at work because of it.  I guess it might have a lot to do with the fact that it’s the next generation and we weren’t raised that way.

So, if Whitney Houston was right in “The Greatest Love of All” and “I believe the children are our future” and they continue with this work ethic, God help us all. 🙂

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

I have the book and I’ve heard of Clint Eastwood’s movie, but while we were in Savannah, the carriage house we stayed at had the DVD in the player, so we watched it.

I’m glad I did.  It touched perfectly on southern living (wealth, closeted gay lifestyle, gossip, and intrigue) and when you throw in a little murder, you have a scandal.

And, the house used in the movie of the socialite that threw amazing Christmas parties was right in the neighborhood we were staying.

If you’ve never seen this 2007 movie, I highly recommend it this fall or winter.

GRADE:  A-

R.I.P. THE LADY CHABLIS

If you were already familiar with the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” movie or book, you know that The Lady Chablis was the standout star.

Now, just days after discovering her and the movie, it saddens me to report that the 59-year-old transgender star died at a Savannah hospital Thursday.

Now, I have to read her 1997 autobiography, “Hiding My Candy”.

Here she is in a 1996 performance.

PICK HIT 

I have very versatile taste when it comes to music, movies, and television.

Some of my choices are rather risque, including today’s choice by Manila Luzon.

Warning:  Contains adult language and situations!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 10, 2016

We’re moving closer to the official start of summer, but this is going to be the hottest weekend in the Quad Cities since last September.  I’ll definitely be floating in the pool with a cold beverage!

Great response and feedback to last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, so let’s jump right into this week’s edition.

WHITNEY HOUSTON RUMOR CONFIRMED (?)

It’s been more than four years since superstar Whitney Houston died, but in his new book, “Every Little Step”, ex-husband Bobby Brown confirms a longstanding rumor about Houston.

As I wrote in a blog in early 2013, there was always speculation that Whitney was in an intimate relationship with her personal assistant, Robyn Crawford.

Whitney Robyn

In that blog, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston denied it.

However, in his new book, Brown says that Whitney was bisexual and that she and Crawford were in a longtime relationship.

Brown writes, “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today.” He goes on to say that Whitney didn’t have any close friends after Crawford.

It’s sad to think that if that’s true and she had been accepted for who she was, she might still be with us.

You can read my blog about her mother’s views on Whitney’s sexuality and relationship with Crawford by clicking this link.  (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/whitney-houstons-mother-her-conditional-love/

One last thing — Bobby Brown, please don’t continue to mine Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths for your personal financial gain.  Let them R.I.P. after this.

BEST.COMEBACK.EVER.

Delete

Those 115-thousand-plus Hillary retweets and likes were just in the first hour!

On the other hand, Donald Trump’s comment had 100-thousand less retweets and only 26-thousand likes in the same time period!

Oh Snap!

BERNIE SANDERS, THANK YOU!

While things didn’t work out for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic race for president and he did get testy and borderline rude toward the end of the primary and caucus season, I commend him on the fight and the awareness of the broken system he brought to this year’s race for the White House.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

After meeting with President Obama Thursday, Sanders told reporters he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States”, which he said would be a “disaster”.

He also said, “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1%.”

Here’s to unity and the political demise of Trump!

PAUL RYAN CALLED DONALD TRUMP WHAT?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate) this week said that 2016 Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump made “a textbook definition of a racist comment” about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Trump claims that because Curiel is of Mexican heritage he can’t preside over Trump’s case fairly because the likely GOP presidential candidate wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

RomneyRyan

But, Ryan still says he’ll be voting for Trump in November.

Nicely played, GOP!

GOODBYE BRETAGNE, YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL

Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), a 16-year-old golden retriever, crossed the “rainbow bridge” earlier this week in Houston, Texas.

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She’s the last known surviving canine hero who searched the rubble of “Ground Zero” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“The Daily Golden” reports that her owner and handler noticed that Bretagne wasn’t eating (her favorite thing) and she knew something was wrong.

On Monday, members of the Texas Task Force 1 and the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department greeted Bretagne as she entered the veterinarian’s office for the last time.

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She was later brought out draped in an American flag while her admirers still stood saluting.

An autopsy is being conducted since the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is conducting a study of all 9/11 search and rescue dogs.

I don’t often tear up when writing my blogs, but I did with this entry.

GORILLA KILLING FOLLOW-UP

Last week, I talked about the Cincinnati Zoo incident that led to the shooting death of a 17-year-old silverback gorilla after a 3-year-old child crawled into the animal’s exhibit.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced earlier this week that no charges would be brought against the little boy’s mother stating she “did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back.”

Deters added, “The zoo lost a beautiful animal and one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for some time.”  But, he continued, “it’s still an animal”.

He stated that zoo officials are “heartsick” and “on so many levels, this is a tragedy.”

TODRICK HALL IS A GENIUS!

If you’re a big YouTuber or an avid “American Idol” fan, you might know 31-year-old singer-dancer-choreographer-actor-director Todrick Hall.

If not, let me share with you a soon to be masterpiece.  Hall blends together two of my favorites into seven minutes of pure bliss — Britney Spears and “Beauty and the Beast”.

So, until Britney drops her new single “Make Me (Oooh)” in July and the album this fall and the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters next spring (more on that below), this will be on repeat on my computer.

Classic!

THE PUBLIC RESTROOM DEBATE 

Confused over the whole controversy of allowing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of their gender identity and not their sex?

LGBT

If you haven’t been following the story, North Carolina put into place “House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” which bans people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex in late March 2016.

The Department of Justice alerted the state’s Governor and the University of North Carolina system that this is a violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

In just the first month after “House Bill 2” was announced, tourism and hospitality took a $77 million hit in investments and visitor spending with cancelled concerts, TV and movie production, and many state and city governments refusing to travel to North Carolina.

THE INCREDIBLE DOLLY PARTON SPEAKS OUT

You don’t have to be a country music fan to think the world of Dolly Parton because of her open-mindedness and honesty.

Dolly

While Dolly didn’t cancel the opening night of her “Pure & Simple Tour” in Greensboro, North Carolina last Friday night, she definitely has something to say about the transgender community and the controversy.

This appeared on CNN Money’s Facebook page last Friday.

Kudos Dolly!

“JUST PEE”

Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Broadway and movie star Harvey Fierstein, and the cast of Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” have an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the whole bathroom debate with “Just Pee”.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

We’re already six months into the year and I still haven’t gone to the movies yet.  I had planned on seeing “Money Monster”, but that never materialized.

Last year, it was December before Ray and I finally went to the theater and we saw “Krampus”.

This will all change October 7th when “The Girl on the Train” hit multiplexes with Emily Blunt.

The Girl on the Train

If you’re not familiar with it, get on board and read the thriller.

In Paula Hawkins’ 2015 worldwide best seller, “Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.  One day, she sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”  (That’s what I had to say about the book last July.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

After finishing the book last summer, here’s a blog I posted with my dream cast.  Needless to say, Hollywood didn’t listen.  But, I do love Emily Blunt.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/my-dream-cast-for-the-girl-on-the-train/

A TALE AS OLD AS TIME….

“Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney movie ever!  I absolutely adore Belle!

Beauty-And-The-Beast

I honestly grew up in Kentucky as the male “Belle”.  In Mayfield, where I was born and raised, I felt like Belle in the “poor provincial town” — just waiting to get out there and I’ve been gone 26 years now!

I’ve been very protective of the 1991 “Best Picture” Oscar-nominated original.  I haven’t seen the musical, but I’d like to one day.

When the direct-to-video sequel, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” arrived in 1997, I bought it only because it was Christmas-themed.  It was enjoyable.

Two summers ago, a live-action version of the film was announced for a March 2017 release date starring Emma Watson of the “Harry Potter” series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

I was elated and scared at the the same time.  Now, after seeing the first trailer, I can’t wait until March 17, 2017 arrives!

The trailer has been viewed almost 16 million times already in just over two weeks!

PICK HIT

American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor blasted on the music scene with her chart-topping single, “All About That Bass”.  That song stayed #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was downloaded more than 9 million times in the U.S. alone!

“Bass” also won two Billboard Music Awards in 2015 and in 2016, Trainor picked up a Grammy Award for “Best New Artist”.

She’s now added three more Top Ten hits on the Hot 100 (“Lips Are Movin”, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (with John Legend), and “No”).

While I thought her music was cute, I didn’t jump on the “Bass” band wagon.

However, I do like “Marvin Gaye”, a duet with Charlie Puth.

I fell in love with Meghan after her smoking hot performance of her new song on Jimmy Fallon’s show.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t fallen off her high heels after the incredible performance.

But, it was the style and class she exhibited when she fell that endeared her to me.  And, the song, “Me Too”, is now one of my favorites.  It’s such a fun “Song of the Year” contender.

“Me Too” is already a Top Ten hit in Australia and Canada and is currently one of the twenty most played songs on American Top 40 radio.

“SONG OF THE SUMMER”

There’s already speculation as to what will be 2016’s “Song of the Summer” (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Justin Timberlake’s “Trolls” movie song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”, is a front-runner.

“Billboard” magazine just released its Top Ten songs of each summer dating back to 1985.

Flashing back thirty years to 1986, Madonna had the “Song of the Summer” with “Papa Don’t Preach”.  I remember so well getting ready on Saturday nights and heading out to “Club DV8” jamming to this song.

BEN WHISHAW…JUST BECAUSE

I have nothing new to report on the talented English actor!

Ben_Whishaw

However, if you haven’t checked out the mini-series “London Spy” or the movie, “Lilting”, stop wasting time and do so now!

THAT’S IT

Well, this has been fun and I already have some thoughts for next week.  I didn’t want you to have to read all day!

As always, thank you for checking out my thoughts and I always welcome yours — as long as you’re diplomatic if we disagree.

Until next week, peace, love and understanding!

peace_love_understanding

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over and that means we’re getting closer to fall, my new favorite season.  Sorry winter!

Have yourself a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

BLAKE & MIRANDA GETTING DIVORCED

Marriages and relationships take a lot of work and when both people are celebrities, it’s much harder.  So, I’m a little surprised at people’s shock about the impending divorce of country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert after four years of marriage.

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Yes, I’m bummed about it.  But, I’m not shocked.

Country singer Chris Young, who has toured with Miranda and considers himself a friend of the couple, is speaking out that he had nothing to do with the couple’s marriage problems.

CY

That response was prompted after the gossip-mongers at TMZ reported what they learned from “multiple sources familiar with the situation”!  Have I ever mentioned that I can’t stand TMZ and its bitterness?

I always hope that love is real for everyone and I hope Blake and Miranda find it again.  I’m definitely a romantic that wants the fairy tale.

SPEAKING OF FAIRY TALES

Can you believe this year marks the 25th anniversary of “Pretty Woman”?

pretty-woman

The romantic comedy that skyrocketed Oscar winner Julia Roberts to fame made $463 million dollars at theaters after its spring 1990 release.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

Okay, this one is far from the fairy tale or a romantic comedy!

I just finished reading Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”.   I walked so much on the treadmill just to finish the book because I didn’t want to put it down!

The Girl on the Train

This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!

It’s been reported that Emily Blunt (“Into The Woods” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is set to star as Rachel (and also reported that she’ll play Jess/Megan).

Emily Blunt

Since I’m a real-life television meteorologist and not a Hollywood casting agent, as a fan of the book, here’s my dream cast. And, in case you haven’t read the book, I’m only giving character names and not how they play into the story.

I know actors and projects have to line up, so I’ll offer several people for each role.

Tom — Michael Fassbender, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), James Marsden, and Andrew Lincoln (“The Walking Dead”)

Michael FassbenderDexterHugh DancyJames MarsdenAndrew Lincoln

Scott — Grey Damon (“Aquarius”) and Shawn Ashmore (“The Following”)

Grey DamonShawn Ashmore

Let’s go with it that Emily will take the role of either Rachel or Jess/Megan.

Jess/Megan and Anna —  Elisabeth Rohm (“Stalker), Jennifer Aniston, and Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”)

Elisabeth RohmJennifer AnistonEvanRachelWood

And, finally, Dr. Kamal Abdic — Manish Dayal (“The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Enrique Iglesias

Manish DayalEnrique Iglesias

Okay, I’ve enjoyed my fantasy casting enough.  One more “reported” claim about the movie is that the locale will move from London to the United States.

Tate Taylor (“The Help”) has signed on to direct.

Paula, your thoughts on the casting?

And, in honor of Rachel! 🙂

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

“THE SNOWMAN”

Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember on Mondays back when I blogged all the time, I had the feature, “They Said What???”  Why not revisit it with these fun ones!

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABEE LINDSEY GRAHAM

(on “CBS This Morning” about Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans): “Run for president but don’t be the world’s biggest jackass.”

Pitbull

POP SINGER PITBULL

“I want to tell Marco Rubio, step it up!  Jeb Bush, step it up!  Hillary Clinton, step it up!  Because Donald Trump can’t be president.”

(More Pitbull to Trump):  “I want him to know I’m not a politician. I’m a musician. I’m a Latino first. I support our people.”

DIRECTOR/ACTOR TYLER PERRY

(speaking of the media reporting on Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown):  “It makes me sad to know that everybody wants to be the first to report something awful. So much so, that they find it OK to speak death onto those who are still alive. May I ask you all to please show some decency and respect?”

IRRELEVANT “ONE-HIT WONDER” SINGER SINEAD O’CONNOR

(on Facebook blasting “Rolling Stone” for its Kim Kardashian West cover):  “What is this c**t doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died.  Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it? Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be f**king horrified. #BoycottRollingStone”

Kim KW Rolling Stone

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(responding to “North Dakota Today” news co-host Chris Berg.  When talking about Stern’s salary of a reported $95 million, Berg asked how Stern could be making that much money.)

Berg

“Douche, you can do the same thing. Leave Fargo, get a show and work on your comedy chops and work on being interesting.”

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

(MORE STERN):  “The reason I worked so hard is so I wouldn’t have to live in Fargo, North Dakota, honestly. No offense if you live there. I’m pretty sure if you’re living there, you’re trying to get out … Gee whiz … I didn’t know Fargo still existed … Good lord. Well, anyway.”

DJ/PRODUCER SKRILLEX

(on Justin Bieber):  “Justin is a f**king virtuoso.  He’ll school you at every-thing: Ping-Pong, basketball, freestyle rapping.  The kid is so competitive.  Whatever he does he’s super good at, so you don’t stand a chance.  It’s not even fair.”

And, here’s Justin’s latest with Skrillex and Diplo.  I love this song and the video is so cool.  It’s takes me back to the fun days of music videos on MTV.

DONUTGATE

I like donuts and I cannot lie!  (You can sing that along to “Baby Got Back” if you want.)

Donuts

And, while they’re so delicious, the unhealthy treat was thrust into the national spotlight recently when pop tart Ariana Grande was busted “allegedly” licking a donut in a California shop without paying for it.

I’m glad that charges will not be filed against her for the silliness.  Yes, it’s gross if she actually Frenched the pastry for someone else to buy, but there are more pressing matters for us to deal with here in America.

Here’s another perspective on the matter.  When you were young, could you see yourself doing that if you were dared by a friend?  I can’t say that my young self would have done it, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t have!

SUMMER 2016 PROJECT

While there’s still several weeks left in summer 2015, I’m already making plans for next summer and setting my goals high.

Back in the summer of 2012, I ventured into making jelly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made 44 jars of mint, jalapeno-mint, apple mint, lemon balm-basil, and rosemary-lavender-lemon-mint jellies in many festive colors. While rainbow-colored, I didn’t call it “gay jelly”.

I just came across a recipe for pickling vegetables and it looks simple and tasty.

So, next year, pickles and pickled veggies!

ACCEPTANCE OF THOSE IN LOVE

As I’ve talked about in the past, my relationship with my alcoholic father was strained at best.  When sober, he was more tolerable.  However, overall, he didn’t like people, including his own family.

I know if he was alive today he would likely not be a part of his gay son’s life.  But, who knows, he could have softened in his golden years and surprised me.

I usually don’t think of him (he died in 1987), but I did think of him again when Jennifer Hudson’s “I Still Love You” was nominated earlier this week for an MTV VMA “Moonmen” award for “Video With a Social Message”.

The album (and song) didn’t catch on with radio or music buyers, but the video and the song are incredible.

TILDA SWINTON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HER

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is all for looking bad for a great role.

She’s hardly recognizable in “Snowpiercer” as Deputy-Minister Mason or as Madame D. in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, a very old woman.

But, check out the 54-year-old actress in the new movie, “Trainwreck”!  (It’s the picture on the left.)

tilda-transformation

Incredible!  What a chameleon.

SKIP “IT FOLLOWS” AND RENT “THE BABADOOK”

“It Follows” was critically acclaimed and made enough money that a sequel is being discussed.

The premise is cool — a supernatural “it” stalks people after they’ve had sex.  The only way for it to leave you alone is if you pass it along to someone else.

After watching the very SLOOOOOOOW movie, I realized that if “It Follows”, it’d definitely catch them!

Watch the trailer, which is better than the movie and save a couple of dollars renting it.

GRADE: C

However, if you want something supernatural that’s scary, check out the Australian-Canadian psychological thriller, “The Babadook”.

“Mister Babadook” is a pop-up storybook that mysteriously appears and re-appears in the home of a mother and her 6-year-old troubled son.

The supernatural entity starts tormenting people when they are made aware of its existence.

Essie Davis are Noah Wiseman excellently portray the fear and horror of being tormented by the “Babadook”.

And, how cool is the word “Babadook”?

GRADE:  B

MID-YEAR CANADIAN MUSIC LEADERS

In my last “Random Friday Thoughts” back on July 3rd, I reported that at the halfway point of 2015 that Taylor Swift leads in album sales and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have the top-selling single in the U.S. with “1989” and “Uptown Funk”, respectively.

I guess our friends to the north in Canada have the same taste.  Here are the sales there through mid-year and T-Swizzle has now surpassed Ed Sheeran in album sales and Ronson and Mars lead there, too.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Top Selling Canadian Albums (through June 30, 2015)

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 — 172,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, X — 170,000
3. Fifty Shades Of Grey, soundtrack — 134,000
4. Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour — 132,000
5. Yoan, Yoan — 101,000
6. Hozier, Hozier — 101,000
7. Drake, If You’re Reading This… — 101,000
8. Maroon 5, V — 92,000
9. Meghan Trainor, Title — 86,000
10. Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind — 84,000

Top Selling Singles (through June 30, 2015)

1. Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk! — 526,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud — 346,000
3. Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again — 315,000
4. Maroon 5, Sugar — 289,000
5. Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney, FourFiveSeconds — 289,000
6. Hozier, Take Me To Church — 279,000
7. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do — 245,000
8. Omi, Cheerleader — 242,000
9. Andy Grammar, Honey, I’m Good — 204,000
10. Walk The Moon, Shut Up & Dance — 200,000

“SHOW ME YOURS”

A couple of years ago, singer Hailey Rowe released “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.  It was a fun song and the video was incredible frisky and sexy.  It ended up being my favorite song of 2013.

Now, Canadian singer and internet sensation Scotty Dynamo has released the next big gay thing.

His “Show Me Yours” video reminds me of a modern-day version of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, which was very scandalous and controversial back in 1981.  Maybe that’s why the song ended up spending ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and was the biggest-selling single of the 1980s in the U.S.

BETTE MIDLER & DIVINE INTERVENTION

Congratulations to Bette Midler on the 32 sellouts shows on the “Divine Intervention Tour”!  It made an incredible $36 million!

Bette

We saw the amazing Las Vegas show in May!

GUESS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW

As I’ve said many times, I wish I was wealthy enough to just write all the time.  But, I must pay the bills and find time to get a few hours of sleep, pay the bills, and go on vacation.

Thank you very much for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about them.  If you agree with something, let me know.  If not, tell me that, too.

I value your thoughts as much as I appreciate you checking out mine.

Anthony

When The Hell Did I Get So Old?

Age is just a number!

I tell myself that all the time because I feel great and I think I look decent for 5o!  I see other people younger than me and they look years beyond their age.

However, with Ray out-of-town for a conference, I turned the radio on shortly after midnight (Mix 96 in the Quad Cities) as I was getting ready for work yesterday morning and Whitney Houston was belting out “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.

whitney

I didn’t think of her death, her drug abuse, her marriage to Bobby Brown, or that Lifetime movie.  All I thought about was how happy that song and much of her music made me feel.

But, it really got me to thinking about my 22-year-old self back in Kentucky getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing at the gay bar in Paducah and playing that song when I was spinning records.  Yes, records!

I thought of how young I was then and how much life I’ve lived since 1987.  And, then I thought, “When the hell did I get so old?”

Yes, that sounds contradictory because one moment I’m talking about looking and feeling great and the next I’m talking about how I got to be so old.

I love to travel.  Just last year alone, I was fortunate enough to go to Las Vegas, Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), Paris (France), Tel Aviv (Israel), and New York City for New Year’s Eve and that holiday weekend.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

I saw the glitz and glamour, historic buildings, the Eiffel Tower, the Mediterranean Sea, Old Jaffa, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center in all of its Christmas glory, and much more that those cities offered.

I saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and a show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris and I turned fifty during the performance.  I saw Michael C. Hall as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway and the incredible Renee Fleming in my first operetta, “The Merry Widow”, at the Metropolitan Opera.

However, one thing that I never saw in any of those worldly cities was the inside of a nightclub.

As a youngster, in my 20s, I loved going out and partying with my friends back home, taking short road trips to Louisville (Kentucky) and Nashville (Tennessee) and much longer road trips to Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Chicago (Illinois).  I loved making new friends, cruising hot guys, and hanging out with drag queens.

Anthony2

Even in my 30s, I had a blast in the nightclubs during the four years that I lived in Chicago.

Fast forward to 2015 — I’m older now and I’m married to a wonderful man and we have a teenage daughter.

I love sitting at home and veggie out on the couch watching movies and our favorite television shows.  I love working in the yard and the garden and floating in the pool on summer nights and weekends.

Pool

But, I still love throbbing and pulsating club music.  I still love Madonna and Britney Spears.

Whitney may no longer be with us in life, but she lives on and she still inspires.

On my next trip to a metropolitan city, I’m going out, I’m going to dance and have a good time.

But, I won’t slam shots and cocktails because it takes longer to recover than it did twenty years ago.  I’ll refuse cocaine standing at a urinal in a bar, just as I did on my first visit to Las Vegas in 1993.

Age is just a number and just another candle on the cake of life.

Rainbow Cake

And, to prove that, how many of you remember Giorgio Moroder?

The 74-year-old Italian musician released his first record 50 years ago!  He gained international fame by making disco king in American by producing many of Donna Summer’s 1970s club and radio classics.

This spring he’s releasing his new album, “74 is the New 24”, with guest appearances by Britney Spears, Sia, Charlie XCX, and Kylie Minogue, who’s featured on the album’s first single, “Right Here, Right Now”.

Giorgio says, “Dance music doesn’t care where you live.  It doesn’t care who your friends are. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It doesn’t care if your 74 or if you are 24 because… 74 is the new 24!”

Amen, Giorgio!  So, dim all the lights, turn on the strobes and the fog machines.

I’m ready to dance with somebody who loves me or someone who just wants to share the dance floor with me.

Anthony

P.S.

I’m not stuck in the past with my love of Madonna and the sounds of the 1980s.  I love new dance artists like Kiesza and Clean Bandit.  If you’re not familiar with them, check these out!