Today, we lost of one of the giants of modern music, Aretha Franklin.
Known as The Queen Of Soul, her powerful voice and unforgettable songs have touched multiple generations of fans and performers. Her music broke barriers and easily jumped across genres, pulling in fans of every race, color and creed.
Her activism in the Civil Rights movement paved the way for people of color to succeed in ways that had only been dreamed of before.
Her music is iconic. Respect and Chain Of Fools are still feminist anthems decades after they were released.
One cannot help but sing along to her songs and feel the joy that comes from her music.
She was 76. RIP.
Most days, what’s going on in American politics is enough to make one’s head turn. But with you know who in office, my head feels like it has twisted so far that it may come off my body completely.
That is satirist and performer Randy Rainbow comes and stops the head spinning, if only temporarily. While he has been making uploading videos to YouTube for quite a while, his name and work exploded into the public consciousness during the 2016 Presidential Election.
Last night, he played the first of two shows at the Gramercy Theater in New York City.
Singing a medley of his songs while clips of his videos played in the background, what the viewer sees on the computer screen is what the audience experiences in a live performance. Sharp as a tack, funny as h*ll and pulling no punches, Randy Rainbow provides the comedic relief we all know as we try to digest that craziness coming out of Washington D.C.
This man is a political genius. He had the audience (myself included) in stitches throughout the entire show. While we were laughing, we were being relieved (if only in the short-term) of the stress and agita that has become part of being an American in 2018. It was one of the best concerts, I’ve been to in a long time.
Do I recommend the concert? Absolutely.
Randy Rainbow Live will be playing at various locations throughout the US until the end of the year. Check the website for venues and tickets.
Reality television has inspired multiple sub-genres. One of the more interesting sub-genres is the music competition that leads to the creation of a new musical act.
Making The Band had several incarnations.
In 2000, record producer Lou Pearlman (best remembered for creation of The Backstreet Boys and NSNYC) led the search for a new boy band. At the end of the competition, the band O-Town was formed.
In 2002, rap impresario P. Diddy (also known as Sean Combs), took over from Lou Pearlman. In 2006, after the failure the musical acts in previous seasons, Diddy chose to create a girl group. By the end of the series, Danity Kane was introduced to the world.
I have mixed feelings about this show. On one hand, my late teens and twenties self is very happy to revisit shows that were must see TV. But, looking back, I see both shows with a set of eyes that I could not have had back then. At the end of the day, it’s still reality television, which as we all know, it’s not exactly completely real. It’s also noteworthy that the bands that were formed as a result of this show did not stay together for very long.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the celebrities are human beings first and foremost. They may not have the lives, careers or incomes of the average person, but they are human beings, like the rest of us.
Last week, Pink had to postpone her concert in Sydney, Australia due to an illness. The paparazzi claimed that she was relaxing when she was supposed to be performing.
Anyone who has ever seen a Pink concert will tell you that this woman does not just simply stand in front of a microphone and sing for two hours. Not only does she sing and dance during her shows, but she does aerial stunts that would put a circus performer to shame.
We all get sick and have to take off from work or school to rest when we do get sick. Unfortunately, most of us are not world-famous performers who have headlined sold out concerts across the globe. I’ve been a fan since Can’t Take Me Home was released back in 2000 and i’ve seen her in concert multiple times. She gives her audience 150% every moment that she is on stage. To imply that Pink is bilking her Australian fans by feigning illness so she can chill on the beach is more than wrong. It is disgusting and deceptive.
May she have a speedy recovery so that she can do what she does best; perform for her Australian fans who love and her support her as much as her American fans do.
In her lifetime, Emily Bronte saw her first and only novel, Wuthering Heights published.
From the outside looking in (and from the view of Victorian culture), the second to last Miss Bronte was not exactly noteworthy. She was the daughter of a curate in a small Yorkshire town who preferred her animals, her poetry and the small society of her family to the outside world. Uninterested in fashion, marriage, gossip or any of the standard interests of the day for young ladies, she was wholly herself and didn’t give a fig what someone else thought about her.
Today is her 200th birthday.
Wuthering Heights is the tale of tortured love, classicism and revenge. Her protagonists are Healthcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. Catherine is the daughter of a respectable house, Heathcliff is her adopted brother whose origins are unknown. As they grow up, their relationship changes from childhood playmates to young people in love. But then the reality of their world comes crashing down. Catherine marries another man. Healthcliff gives into his long simmering rage. Soon their dysfunctional relationship affects everyone around them, no one remains untouched.
At the time of its publishing, critics didn’t know what to make of this novel. 200 years later, we recognize Emily for the literary genius that she is. Other writers might have romanticized the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine. But in Emily hand’s, her lead characters are deeply flawed. Heathcliff has a temper and is more than willing to inflict violence on another person if he feels that the situation calls for it. Catherine is spoiled and selfish, too comfortable in her status to choose the man she loves over the comfort of a proper home and a wealthy husband.
In the end, we keep coming back to Wuthering Heights because of those flaws. Emily was adept at creating characters that revealed the best and worst of humanity. She died at the young age of 30, today we can only speculate what she could have done as a writer had she lived longer.
Wherever you are Emily, Happy Birthday.
Drug addiction is like any other disease. It requires a proper diagnosis and treatment for the person who is living with the addiction to be able to free themselves from their addiction.
The problem is that it is not treated as one would treat a another disease i.e. heart disease or cancer. Depending on the person who is suffering from drug addiction, they are at best enrolled in a detox program and at worst, put in jail.
Last week, singer and television star Demi Lovato had an overdose after being sober for a number of years. In addition to issues with drug abuse, she also suffers from mental illness.
Her overdose sheds a spotlight on the fact that drug addiction, despite being an illness, is not treated as an illness. For many (especially people of color), the common treatment is jail time. Ms. Lovato has the cushion of not only being white, but also being a famous performer. I’m not an expert in the law or addiction, but common sense tells me that instead of putting these people in jail, we should be treating them for their disease. Keeping them in jail only exacerbates the problem and makes it harder for them to return to every day life once they have completed their jail sentence.
I’m not a fan of Ms. Lovato, but I wish her well in seeking treatment for her disease.
Genius is usually a title that others confer on you. It is not a title that one usually confers on oneself.
You know who has often referred to himself as a “very stable genius”.
Earlier today, Randy Rainbow released his latest video, “A Very Stable Genius”. With his usual wicked and satirical sense of humor, Rainbow uses the song “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” from the musical, The Pirates of Penzance, as the basis of his latest song.
Laughter is often the best medicine, especially when life gets a little rough. Given our current political climate, Randy Rainbow has become a doctor of laughter, allowing the fans to think, breath and laugh, even when we want to do the opposite.
Among the more popular sub-genre that lies within the reality television genre, the celebrity dating show is an interesting one.
For a few years in the mid to late 2000’s, VH1 dominated this sub-genre. Two of their more popular shows were Rock Of Love (2007-2009) and Flavor Of Love (2006-2008).
The concept was like any reality show dating contest, with the difference being that the man at the center of the show was a famous musician. In Rock Of Love, the musician was Poison front man Bret Michaels. In Flavor Of Love, the musician was Public Enemy hype man Flavor Flav. Both men had around twenty to twenty five women vying for their affection. As the season wore on, one woman would be eliminated at the end of every episode until one was chosen as the winner.
If nothing else, these shows were mindless entertainment. Brain cells were not needed to watch the train wrecks that Rock Of Love and Flavor Of Love.
Do I recommend them? Not really.
Politics and politicians never fail to elicit a WTF response from the populous. This particular administration has had more than a few WTF moments in the last year and a half and probably will produce quite a few more before the 2020 election.
Randy Rainbow’s new video, WTF, YOU GUYS!? – Randy Rainbow Song Parody (NSFW), is a parody of the song, “Omigod You Guys”, which is the opening number from the musical adaptation of the film Legally Blonde.
In the pantheon of Randy Rainbow videos, this is just another perfect satirical sendoff of the reality of current American politics.
BTW, in case anyone is interested, the original song is below.
Keep it coming, Randy Rainbow. Your country needs you.
There is a line between saying one is patriotic and acting like one is patriotic.
You know who often claims to be patriotic, but the reality is that the only one he is patriotic to is himself. Randy Rainbow’s new video, entitled “Commander Of Cheese!-A Randy Rainbow Song Parody” not only hits the nail on the head, but forced a belly laugh out of me when it was released on Friday.
If satire can be considered a byproduct of freedom of speech, then Randy Rainbow has mastered the art of satire. If I may say so, Randy Rainbow has become a national treasure who has perfected the art of using song parodies to allow America to laugh at the absurdity that is happening in Washington D.C.