"How do we allow a gay, who wants to ban religions, claimed that the prophet Eissa (Jesus) was gay and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom," head of the Egyptian Musician Union, Mounir al-Wasimi told DPA.
The pop superstar, 63, stirred controversy after his remarks to US celebrity news magazine Parade in February, where he said "Try being a gay woman in the Middle East - you're as good as dead", after saying he believed Jesus was "gay".
Al-Wasimi said that he has begun coordinating with security bodies to ban John's concert, saying that the union is the only body "authorised to allow performances by foreign singers in Egypt".
In 2008, Elton John performed in the United Arab Emirates to a crowd of more than 13,000 fans.
Although some human rights activists claim homosexuality is spreading in Egypt, the topic is a taboo in the country. In 2008, a lesbian scene in an Egyptian film set in Cairo's slums caused uproar.
In 2001, police raided a "gay" floating disco in Cairo. Around 20 of the 52 arrested were jailed for "habitual debauchery" and "obscene behaviour".
If the Grammy Awards are a cultural weather vane, the winds seem to be blowing out of nowhere. Last nights 50 something awards ceremony started off with Sir Elton John and Lady Gaga performing "Poker Face" and "Your Song" in matching dirtied suits and glasses. Unfortunately, we would not see Elton or Lady again on stage. Which cannot be said of Taylor Swift, who seemed to dominate the evening and after a strange introduction by Mr. blandness himself, Ryan Seacrest, who suggested she was a heavy hitter in the lyric department, preceded into "Today was a Fairytale". Swift is 20 years old and 'Fairytale" seems exactly like the kind of song a 20 year old would write: "You've got a smile that takes me to another planet/Every move you make everything you say is right." Heavy. A real heavy hitter in the lyric department, Leonard Cohen, was given a lifetime achievement award, with a 12 second acknowledgment, as singer Pink took to the stage in a bathrobe and leapt into a swirling, burlesque Las Vegas act. Pink coyly dropped the robe to reveal a nude-colored bodysuit with silver spangles and white straps covering her naughty bits. She sang "Glitter in the Air" suspended in the air, sometimes upside down and twirling round, all the while spraying water onto the stage. By songs end she was pulled up from the abyss like a drowned rat and received a standing ovation.
Back on stage the ubiquitous Taylor Swift was overshadowing poor Stevie Nicks who on the second song was reduced to just tambourine. Swift, who looks like an angel, was predictably shocked each time (four, including album of the year) she won. She seems a little packaged, a little too good to be true and her music like a diet of cake frosting. And this may be the future of popular music, a music that is without edge or real danger and certainly as lyrically vapid as it can get.
And a big thanks to the producers of the Grammy’s that reminded us of what a television on its way out is like. The Michael Jackson tribute, in a tribute to Avatar is in 3-d. Most of America forgot to put their 3D glasses on, so we were treated to dizzying array of images that made little sense. The song, Earth Song, is beautiful nonetheless. The Jackson kids are marched out afterwards and in a Chris Matthews moment, one had to ask: who are the real parents of these children? The Jackson tribute did prove one thing: singers Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and Smokey Robinson could not match the pure excitement of Michael Jackson's voice. There were a lot costumes, mostly futuristic, a lot of dancing, dancers, smoke, mirrors and spectacle, but little connection. The notable exception being Dave Matthew’s “You and Me” which with a total of 45 musicians built its way into an anthem-like ending.
Buju Banton, the Jamaican reggae singer will not be attending Sunday's Grammy Awards, though his album, "Rasta Got Soul" is nominated for best reggae album of the year. Buju is in jail awaiting trial for cocaine charges. Now Buju is not a nice man and the fact that the Academy would nominate a person who has promoted the murder of gay people throughout his career, is simply weird. Buju's hatred of the gays began very early and has been relentless:
In 1988 (at age 15) song (re-recorded in 1992 when he was 18 years old), "Boom Bye Bye", contains lyrics inciting the torture and murder of gay men. In a news article on antigay attitudes New York Times reporter Kelefa Sanneh said the song is "a blood-curdling song with a low, lurching beat and a murderous chorus."Banton was charged in connection with a 2004 incident in which he, as part of a group of about a dozen people, allegedly beat six men believed to be homosexuals, after forcing entry into a house in Kingston, near Banton's recording studio. One of the victims lost use of an eye in the attack. Charges against Banton were dismissed by the judge in the case in January 2006, for lack of evidence.
In October, 2009, Banton reiterated his homophobic views, saying, "This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs, 'there is no end to the war between me and faggot' and it's clear." Following Banton's recent nomination for a Grammy Award, LGBT and human rights groups have mounted a protest and a petition was circulated by the groups Change.org and GLAAD.
Today that petition was published in Variety and can be seen here.
Perhaps in an attempt to distract us from her consistently poor impersonation of a British aristocrat, Madonna is getting back to her Italian roots in Dolce & Gabbana's Spring/Summer 2010 ad campaign. The spread (shot in Manhattan, not Milan) finally proves one of our longstanding theories: that she could make even doing the dishes look sexy. The pics were shot in November by photographer Steven Klein. This is not the first time Klein has collaborated with the "Queen of Pop". The two worked together on the photos used as part of her Confessions On A Dance Floor and Hard Candy albums as well as an art installation named X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS. Maybe that's how Klein was able to get Madonna with in three feet of carbs for this shoot.
Limited packages for the Showgirl's signature "Smug Mutha" experience, including a front row ticket to The Showgirl Must Go On, an autographed show program, a VIP escort into the theatre, two drink vouchers and the chance to meet and take a photo with The Divine Miss M. backstage after the show, are also available on Wed., Dec. 30 and Thurs., Dec. 31. The "Smug Mutha" experience costs $2,010 per person and is available at www.ticketmaster.com.
Bette ends her two-year engagement at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Jan. 31, 2010
(In what has to be one of the most annoying tricks ever created Out magazine actually forces the reader to click through the gay 100. Fortunately, we have saved you the time, though the top 10 is by any measure pretty good, so here is the number one, gayest album of all time especially if you're over forty):
1 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars David Bowie (1972)It’s ironic that an album with an opener forecasting Earth’s expiration and a closer tackling celebrity excess and self-destruction remains one of the most liberating, uplifting records of all time -- about as ironic as a straight man topping this list. Robust, swaggering anthems “Ziggy Stardust” and “Suffragette City” prove this space odyssey is far from morbid or apocalyptic, yet it is on standouts like the languid, gender-flirting “Lady Stardust” and brash come-on “Moonage Daydream” -- in which the singer asks for a ray gun to be placed to his head with almost masochistic glee -- that Ziggy and his Spiders really shine. When in the grand finale, “Rock ’n‘ Roll Suicide,” Bowie wails “Oh no love! You’re not alone!” over a sea of theatrical strings, you know he was singing for every exiled, dejected, sexually confused young kid who longed for a world of greater possibilities.“At a time when social and sexual taboos were just starting to break down, Bowie as Ziggy created a world where the possibilities were limitless. You could be whatever you wanted to be.”--Boy George
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4, 2009-In response to the appalling Grammy nomination for Buju Banton, a performer whose music promotes the violent murder of LGBT people, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center Chief Public Affairs Officer Jim Key issued the following statement:
"We're shocked that Buju Banton, a singer with a long record of performing a song that glorifies the murder of gay people, would be honored with a Grammy nomination, regardless of the artistic merit of any of his work.
Throughout his career, Banton has performed music that promotes a culture of violence against lesbian and gay people; he sings in "Boom, Bye Bye" that "faggots get up and run" when he comes, that "they have to die," and that he will shoot them in the head or "burn them up bad."
He is completely unrepentant, refuses to stop performing the song, and recently said, "There is no end to the war between me and faggots."
Banton's music has helped foster such an anti-gay culture in his home country of Jamaica-where several prominent gay activists and many other LGBT people have been murdered-that Time magazine recently asked, 'Is Jamaica the most homophobic place on Earth?' Banton himself was charged with a violent anti-gay hate crime.
It's an affront to LGBT people, and to all fair-minded people around the world, that Buju Banton was even nominated. We certainly hope the members of the Recording Academy will not bestow the prestigious honor of a Grammy on someone whose music promotes murder."
It’s "Single Ladies" versus "Poker Face" in a Grammy Awards smackdown.Nominations for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards were announced Wednesday night, with pop star Beyoncé topping the field with 10 nominations and gay fave Lady Gaga receiving five nods.According to the announcement from The Recording Academy, “Beyoncé topped the nominations with 10, Taylor Swift garnered eight, and the Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell, and Kanye West each earned six nods. David Guetta, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga received five each; and Colbie Caillat, Michael Giacchino, Kings Of Leon, John Newton, RedOne, Bruce Springsteen, T-Pain, and Keith Urban each received four nominations.”Beyoncé and Gaga will compete against each other in categories including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Find the complete list of nominees here. Winners will be announced on January 31.
In the event you have never seen John Kelly perform his homage to the master singer/songwriter, Joni Mitchell, he is performing his show, "Paved Paradise" in New York City in June. Tickets available here.
Heard it and liked it. An album by Mandy Moore called Amanda Leigh is nothing less than a delightful stroll through pop music at its best. Inspired by Joni Mitchell, Harry Nilsson and Carol King, Moore herself co-penned all 10 vocal tracks. Produced by fellow songwriter Mike Viola, Amanda Leigh is distinctly different from most of today's pop offerings: there are no vocal gymnastics, breathy phrasing or exhausting, repetitive electronic beats that remind us that programming has become part of the songwriting language. These are pop songs, catchy and immediate and sung with an innocence, and most importantly, memorable.
“Mad About the Boy” Camp Records Hollywood, CA. From the same folks that brought you “Homer the Happy Little Homo” and “Stanley the Manley” The producers claim that the uncredited singers, musicians and arranger are all “well known Hollywood TV and screen personalities.” Songs include “Make the Man Love Me,” “It’s So Nice to Have a Man Around the House” and “The Gentleman is a Dope” all sung by men of course! For more vinyl history visit here.
This week, the lucky 13 contestants in the latest top tier of "American Idol" begin the serious phase of competition with a dip into Michael Jackson's songbook. Jackson, who just has returned from isolation to announce a series of comeback shows, is the single biggest influence on the young R&B stars that many "Idol" strivers emulate, but he's also the ideal subject for what's turning out to be a rather strange season.
At the heart of his troubled legacy are the anxieties "Idol" also confronts, however mildly -- America's troubling history of racial divides and assimilation, and the sexual repression and need for release that is a basic subject of pop music itself.
There's been some joking on various websites that this year's most
flamboyant front-runner, Adam Lambert, will perform Jackson's early
'90s hit "In the Closet" as a response to recently leaked photographs
of him kissing a man and dressed in glamour-queen drag. Jackson
released the song just when his astounding musical charisma began to
strain under the weight of his eccentricities.
Full story continues here.
Cyndi Lauper's True Color's Tour is a very gay experience. "The tour is a nonstop, five-hour music party with a message," Lauper says in a prepared statement. "So let's celebrate and have fun this summer while we spread the word to get out the vote and all become a part of the changes in this country." The tour features the B-52's, comic Wanda Sykes, Andy Bell of Erasure, The Dresden Dolls, The Cliks and a giggling host, Carson Kressley. Missing in action was the female equivalent of a bear, Rosie O'Donnell and Britney Spears. This was five and a half hour concert held in the lush fire-hazardous area called the Greek Theatre. An open-air theatre, the Greek is an intimate venue, and the setting was perfect for what was eventually to become a party.
The B-52s are America's answer to Abba. This is rocking feel-good music that is hard to sit still to. After thirty years, the band has lost none of its gloss. The members, all now in their 50s and 60s are energetic and the music seems strangely current. They sailed through the hits, Rock Lobster, Love Shack and the delightful, Roam, as Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson sang complex harmonies only to be eased by Fred Schneider's nasal sprechgesang (spoken-word) vocalese. Their music is ultimately West Coast borrowing images and sounds that reflect the bizarre mix of surf, modernism, retro and pop cultures.
In between "fashion expert" Carson Kressley hosted the show with some offbeat humor that often slipped into bad taste, though he managed to deliver a few very funny lines about giving a hand job with some expensive moisturizer.
The real star was Cyndi Lauper, who at age 54, was literally all over the place. The real secret of Cyndi Lauper is that she is a great singer; full of various styles and textures: she has musical range, charisma and most of all, energy. Many, many years ago, I did a cover photo shoot with Ms. Lauper, ironically, of her as Lady Liberty (see photo) for an anniversary in New York City. I was putting on a record (yes dears, a record, vinyl) of Gypsy, and out of the corner came this big voice, it was Cyndi singing. She sang the entire “Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses”. This was not the voice of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”; this was Broadway, Ethel Merman, it filled and rocked the room. And that is what she did last night, she rocked the house, she wandered up the aisles, shook hands, blew kisses, strummed a dulcimer or autoharp, a guitar and kicked ass on many a reinterpretation of her older songs. Her version of “Time After Time” performed on an autoharp (reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You) seemed to consist of two chords and provided a lush foundation for her soaring vocals. This was a magical moment. She ended the show with the anthem “True Colors” as all the performers took to the stage and sang the song in unison as dozens of colorful balloons were released into the air.
Just in time for the waning summer days comes a CD of music that brings back the lush vocals of Billie Holiday in a thoroughly modern sound. Billie Holiday remixed & reimagined fulfills the promise indicated with last falls launch of Nina Simone, remixed & reimagined. Legacy Recording takes the great jazz vocalists and stirs them in to a convertible-worthy hour of soul, jazz and poetry.Remixers include Tony Humphries, DJ Logic, Charles Feelgood, Swingsett, Nickodemus & Zeb, Jazzy Nice, Organica, and features some of the best young musicians around today, including trumpet player Fabio Morgera (from the Grammy-nominated Groove Collective) and Lady Day Mecca (from the Grammy-winning Digable Planets). The end result is a collage of Holiday's unbearably sad vocals slipped into a modern groove that reinterprets such classics as Long Gone Blues, Glad to Be Unhappy and Trav'lin' All Alone. All of which is perfect for cocktail parties, romantic encounters and doing the laundry.
Available August 7th at amazon.com
From our correspondent in Palm Springs, Michael Davis, this tip to the extraordinary performance of Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Holiday at the BET Awards. And I am telling you...
Monday, "A Tribute to Joni Mitchell" will be released. Featuring artists, k.d. lang, Elvis Costello, James Taylor, Prince, Bjork, Annie Lennox, Cassandra Wilson, Sufjan Stevens, Brad Mehldau, Caetano Veloso, Emmy Lou Harris and Sarah McLachlan, the tracks include Mitchell standards, Blue, River, A Case of You and Help Me among others. Joni Mitchell is a hard act to follow. Her songs are intensely personal statements about a time, or place, where she committed to song, both lyrically and musically some of the most challenging insights into relationships, self-examination and the world. Fortunately, these songs are sung by fans, deeply aware of both the limitations and excesses of covering another artists work.
Each artists brings something unique, and yet, the originals haunt even the best interpretation. Perhaps it is simply time and place, a context in which the original song is heard, like a first kiss that can never be restored, only remembered, these songs survive any imagination because the originals were that good. And that may be the thinking behind atributetojonimitchell.com, which presents a minutes worth of each song by each artist and the original by Joni Mitchell. Brilliant.
Among the treasures, Prince's inspired version of " A Case of You", Bjork's radical interpretation of "Boho Dance" and Cassandra Wilson's breathy, jazzy "For the Roses". One of the stranger aspects of the site is the ability to play both tracks at the same time. For example, playing both McLachlan's and Mitchell's version of "Blue" simultaneously reveals an odd but compelling duet. Mitchell's songs have always been about the lyric, much as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Laura Nyro. And it is the thing you listen to in this collection; how darkly personal lyrics can be heard fresh, made new, for everyone.
Happy Birthday to Mr. Sondheim who turns 77 today. Described by the New York Times as "the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater," he has created such masterpieces as Sweeny Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music, and Into the Woods. Beginning with his collaboration with Leonard Bernstein on West Side Story, Sondheim distinguished himself as a lyricist with unusual sophistication and humor. Perhaps his greatest contribution to theater has been his unwillingness to simply conform; his subject matter has ranged from fairy tales to presidential assassins, the westernization of Japan to a murderous barber in the haunting form of Sweeney Todd. Currently in production, Tim Burton is directing Johnny Depp as Sweeny Todd in the film adaptation, due for release in December of this year.
The American musical would be quite different if Sondheim had not happened. While most of his shows have not been commercial hits like Cats, or Evita, they have challenged audiences, taking us further into the landscape of music that explores relationships, love, hate and all the things that make us human.
Introducing Von Lee Smith. A 21 year old native of Kansas City, he made a huge splash this morning on ABC's The View singing his version "And I am Telling You". A career that began with a You Tube posting (and this is one), Smith promises to be tomorrow's Sam Harris, even singing Sam's signature, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Cute, extremely talented, one can only wonder what the oppugnant Simon Cowell might say if Von Lee Smith made an appearance on "its-better-to-come-in second" American Idol. While a five octave-range is unique and gifted, and in men, it usually leads to theatrics, and Smith is not without his. What he creates in range, he lacks in emotion. It's all technique. But at 21, he has an entire world of emotion to explore, to be felt and finally, get it right.
Young British singer/songwriter Patrick Wolf has a new CD coming to America, The Magic Position. It has an American release date—May 1 on Low Altitude/Universal. To find out more about Patrick and his new CD, visit patrickwolf.com
The March issue of Blender magazine will reveal its 50 Craziest Rock Stars Ever list, (You don't have to be crazy to be a rock star. But let's just say the world would be a far less colorful place without these 50 drug-addled, tantrum-throwing, Thorazine-gulping and/or just plain mad music maestros.) featuring a very predictable #1 spot for_______________. Only #50 is Sir Elton with this statement: "They can say I'm a fat old cunt, they can say I'm an untalented bastard, they can call me a poof, but they mustn't tell lies about me." The list is full of interesting facts and quotes like #4 Whitney Houston who said: "I make too much money to ever smoke crack."
"Twist Revolutions" is the initial album of new music and emerging
artists from the U.S. music industry's first lesbian, gay, bisexual,
"Twist Revolutions" will serve as a launching pad for "some of the most vital and important new voices in the gay community," Music With A Twist/Columbia Records said in a news release Monday.
The collection, with tracks by The Gossip, Sara Bettens, Adam Joseph and Levi Kreis, among others, is scheduled for an April 17 release.
Music With A Twist, which launched in 2006, is a joint venture between Sony Music Label Group and Columbia Records. It is the first major record label dedicated to identifying and developing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender artists along with creating innovative music compilations with a gay "twist," the company said.
In the relatively long list of "things I wished I'd seen" the 1961 Carnegie Hall concert of Judy Garland might rank very high. From stories I have been told, the audience would not leave at the end of the concert....it was a twenty minute standing ovation.
Flash forward to 2006, and singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright performs at Carnegie Hall performing Judy Garland. Wrong coast, wrong time. But no worries. It's going to be put on film.
Lesbian uber-producer Christine Vachon (Boys Don't Cry, Far from Heaven) arranged to have the whole event filmed by Oscar-winning American Beauty director Sam Mendes.
Wainwright's loving tribute to the famous one-woman evening of vocal pyrotechnics features scads of classic signature Garland songs, from "Over the Rainbow" to "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" to "Stormy Weather."
The concert film should pop up in theaters everywhere in 2007.
After 15 years of neglecting the stage, George Michael returned with a controversial stage show in Barcelona. With a large blow up balloon in the essence of George Bush, Michael then unzipped the trousers on the balloon to reveal a British bulldog nuzzling Bush's groin and wagging his tail. Other than the political note, the concert appears to have been a grand success, which we Americans, will never get to see.
While everyone is busy probing his political and sexual concerns, it is easy to forget that this is an extremely talented singer/songwriter.