32 LGBT organizations issue joint statement on hate crimes passage: "This week, we call upon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, families and allies to take this opportunity of increased media and public attention on hate crimes to educate co-workers, classmates, neighbors, family members and friends about our lives, and about why we need not only their friendship and love, but their vocal support for a more just and equal America for LGBT people."
GLAAD board member dies on Atlantis vacation: "According to sources on board, Spencer Yu, a Los Angeles attorney,
suffered cardiac arrest October 21 while on the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas, which
was chartered by Atlantis for a seven-day trip along the Mexican
Riviera. A medical team attempted to resuscitate Yu for 45 minutes
before he was taken to a Puerto Vallarta hospital, where he showed no
brain activity. Yu was later taken off of life support. "
Argentina considers same-sex marriage: "'We can't expect social equality if the state is legitimizing
inequality,' said Maria Rachid, president of Argentina's Gay, Lesbian,
Bisexual and Transgender Federation. 'We now have the social and
political context necessary to change the law.' ... Rachid said more than 20 lawmakers have signed on as supporters of
same-sex marriage, and they believe they have enough votes in committee
for a full vote in the lower house. It would then go to the Senate."
Boston gay bashing case to go to trial: "Darren Morgan, 46, and Howard Rice, 50, are charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct and civil rights violations, said Conley. Both men will appear in Boston Municipal Court on Dec. 10.
The charges are the result of an incident on June 15, according to Boston police. Morgan and Rice were on Washington Street when the victims walked towards them from a bus stop, police said. The pair allegedly began to verbally abuse the two men, targeting them on the assumption they were gay, said police."
ACLU gets involved in Fresno hospital discrimination case: "Civil rights groups
are urging a hospital in central California to change its policies
after employees briefly barred a lesbian from visiting her partner, who
went into seizure at a gay marriage march. Kristin Orbin collapsed May 30 after walking 14 miles in the protest march. She was taken to Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center where she says an ambulance driver kept her partner from seeing her in the emergency room."
Former American Idol contestant Blake Lewis says he gets hit on by men and women, often at the same time: “Usually I get swingers. The guy will
come up to me first usually, and ask if I’m gay. When I say no, he’ll
point to his girlfriend and say that she wants me to come home with
both of them that night. I tell them my girl back home wouldn’t appreciate it, but thanks anyway. It’s very flattering though!”
An interview with soap actor and brother of Chris Evans, Scott Evans.
Marriage equality tide rises around Rhode Island: "The slower pace in Rhode Island, where the state Senate voted last week
to allow same-sex partners to make funeral arrangements, has frustrated
some local activists, many of whom rallied outside the State House in
Providence last weekend to call for immediate equality."
Maplewood, New Jersey takes lead in pushing legislature to legalize same-sex marriage: "In what is thought to be a first among New Jersey municipalities,
the Maplewood Township Committee is expected to adopt a resolution
Tuesday evening calling on state legislators to sanction same-sex
marriage. Mayor Victor DeLuca said he hoped the resolution
could serve as a catalyst for legislators' passage of a same-sex
marriage bill before the year's end."
New Opera browser turns your computer into a server: "The concept is somewhere between a personal web server and a file sharing
application, technologically and conceptually. The interface is
straightforward, divided into panels for each service that you choose
to "host." All of them behave in the same stupid-simple way: you start
a service, whether it be photo sharing, music streaming, web hosting,
or straight file sharing, select a shared directory, set your privacy
preferences and go." More from TechCrunch.
Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.
Many of you -- yes, that means you, buster --are probably reading this while at work. But while some of us are counting the minutes as the day wears on, as Cyndi Lauper points out in a Q&A with Newsweek, things could always be worse.
The singer discusses some of the odd jobs she had before she became a successful recording artist: "I tried to work in an office. Apparently, my clothes weren't right. I was a Gal Friday the 13th. I would answer phones and people would call up very upset. Then they'd call back screaming and yelling because I had to go to the file room and I would get sidetracked. I used to fall asleep reading the mail. I didn't want to. But it was so boring to me and I hated it."
One job Cyndi might be more happy to do is collaborating with Colleen Jackson and New York's West End Intergenerational Residence to create the True Colors Residence, "a permanent supportive housing program for homeless LGBT youth 18-24 years old."
Lauper notes in an open letter: "In New York City, a very disproportionate number (up to 40%), of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Even more disturbing are reports that these young people often face discrimination and at times physical assault in some of the very places they have to for help. This is shocking an inexcusable... We'll be building from the ground up so our residents will have a brand new, modern building with studio apartments for each resident and both indoor and outdoor community space to socialize or attend education and recreation programs. Each resident will be responsible for paying affordable rent based on their income and will receive ongoing assistance in obtaining employment best suited to their individual interests and skills."
As well, Cyndi Lauper's first studio album of original material in 11 years -- Bring Ya To The Brink -- will be released in two weeks, from Epic. The first single, "Same Ol' Story," was added to iTunes last week.
In 2001, Lauper was set to release an LP called Shine stateside, but plans with the label fell through, and the album eventually only saw the light of day in Japan, while she self-released an EP of some of the tracks domestically a year later.
Props to Towleroad reader Crispy, who in last week's music column commented that I forgot to mention Nine Inch Nails' digital release of new album The Slip, completely free of charge, on the band's website: "[lowercase sic] as a thank you to our fans for your continued support, we are giving away the new nine inch nails album one hundred percent free, exclusively via nin.com. the music is available in a variety of formats including high-quality MP3, FLAC or M4A lossless at CD quality and even higher-than-CD quality 24/96 WAVE. your link will include all options - all free. all downloads include a PDF with artwork and credits. for those of you interested in physical products, fear not. we plan to make a version of this release available on CD and vinyl in july. details coming soon."
As a fellow Western Pennsylvanian who grew up only a county away from him, I hope Trent Reznor can forgive me for not mentioning it sooner!
It's Jay-Z vs. Noel Gallagher over a "controversial" Glastonbury headlining gig: "We don't play guitars, Noel, but hip-hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression."
But if jetting off to England to see Oasis and Jay-Z's pissing contest isn't your thing, why not catch this summer's Regeneration Tour, headlined by the Human League and featuring Belinda Carlisle, ABC and Naked Eyes on the bill? Those heading to dates on the West Coast will be lucky enough to catch Pete Burns of Dead Or Alive, who's joining the tour from August 2 - 11.
Not content to just give away their music for free, Coldplay now doing two gigs free of charge in New York and London next month.
Has it really been 14 years? Below is the video for the #1 single on Billboard's Hot 100 chart this week in 1994:
Jeez, and they thought life was demanding without understanding in the '90s...! Ace Of Base's "The Sign" initially spent four weeks at #1, beginning in March of '94, before being knocked off by R. Kelly's "Bump N' Grind." After a four-week stretch for the latter, "The Sign" returned to the top for two more weeks that May.
The Swedish quartet's same-titled album would go on to tie with Disney's Lion King soundtrack for the year's best-seller, at 7 million copies moved.
TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:
Death Cab For Cutie's Narrow Stairs. (And, hey, how about a new Postal Service album while you're at it, Ben?)
Said Blake Lewis of the above photo, which was the topic of much discussion earlier this year during the American Idol season: "That photo is hilarious. There are a lot of gay people that wish I'm gay, but they gonna keep dreaming for a long time. I'm very straight. Gender or sexual preference doesn't mean anything to me. If you like my music then we're going to have a good time together, I can talk your ear off about it or sing you a song."
Arjan Writes interviewed Lewis for Bravo OutZone about his new album and how he took things carefully after Idol: "I never worried about anyone but myself. I thought I lost my artistic integrity just by being on a television show that I had never seen. But I didn't want that to happen and I represented myself to the fullest, and the fans responded to that. I take myself seriously, but I don't take myself seriously. I just have fun with what I'm doing."
Lewis also comments on the cover art for Audio Day Dream: "It was inspired by this digital art piece that I found on the internet with two faces and it was very futuristic, very sort of Star Wars meets '80s. I'm lost in music. I hope that's what listeners will get it from this music, they can just turn it on and just press play."
Please welcome Robbie Daw, who will be penning weekly music posts for us here on Towleroad! Robbie runs his own pop music site called Chart Rigger.
Yesterday saw the release of the new Scissor Sisters' documentary and concert DVD Hurrah: A Year Of Ta-Dah, and the band -- in this case Babydaddy -- made sure to thank Towleroad and its readers for supporting them thus far.
Hurrah features a full 90-minute concert recorded at London's O2 Arena, as well as an hour-long documentary that follows the band on their recent world tour. In an interview with Gay.com, Jake Shears had this to say about the DVD: "It's the first time fans have seen us on our own terms, in our natural environment. And it's a really great picture of what it's like on the road. I think there are some preconceptions about us that will be demystified. I can only speak for myself, that people might have preconceived notions of what I'm like personally. It could be different than what people actually might think. Some people think I'm on 100 percent of the time, but that's only 50 percent true."
In what might be a very un-rock 'n' roll move, Gibson unveiled its self-tuning Robot Guitar (pictured right) this week, which retails around $2,300. A Les Paul guitar from the company, sans self-tuning, goes for about $1,400. Product review site CNet is quick to point out the downside of the instrument.
Robbie Williams has never made it a secret that he detested the time he spent in 90's boyband Take That, but a song on his last solo album about Nigel Martin Smith, the group's former manager, has landed the singer in hot water to the tune of £500,000, or roughly $1 million.
Rapper Chad "Pimp C" Butler, one half of duo Underground Kingz (or UGK), was found dead in L.A.'s Mondrian Hotel yesterday. UGK were probably best known by mainstream audiences for their appearance on Jay-Z's 2000 hit, "Big Pimpin'." Bun B, Chad's UGK partner, guested on Beyoncé's 2006 #1-charting single, "Check Up On It." In a statement, Jive Records CEO Barry Weiss said, "We mourn the unexpected loss of Chad. He was truly a thoughtful and kind-hearted person. He will be remembered for his talent and profound influence as a pioneer in bringing southern rap to the forefront. He will be missed and our prayers remain with his family and Bun B. I've known Chad since he was 18, and we loved him dearly and he was a cherished member of the Jive family." Earlier this year in the pages of Ozone magazine Pimp C called Russell Simmons "ol' dick-in-the-booty" and R&B star Ne-Yo an "Old Gay Ass." He later attempted to rescind the comments, Stereohyped reported, but wasn't so successful. Said Pimp C: "That statement about Russell Simmons had nothing to do with his sexual orientation. It had more to do with a disagreement [we had]. I don’t know if the man likes Martians, squirrels or whatever, so I ain’t gonna speak on something that I didn’t see. It’s no gay-bashing with me. It’s just, be proud of what you are, instead of hidin’ in the closet. And if ya fuck boys in the ass, then don’t be tryna fuck with the girls, too, poisoning the pussy population wit’ ya shitty ol’ dirty-ass dick."
Some folks caught David Beckham, who has apparently taken up photography, at last night's Spice Girls gig in San Jose, California: "David slipped in after the show had started and took a seat in the front row, right next to the stage. He tried to disguise himself by pulling a blue baseball cap over his face but you couldn’t miss him or his huge camera. Everyone around him was on their feet dancing and cheering but David kept his bum on the seat to steady his shots."
Blake Lewis made a trip to the tattoo parlor this week, brought to you by TMZ. Coincidentally, first week sales of Idol winner Jordin Sparks' debut with the lead single "Tattoo" were the lowest of any Idol winner. I think Blake may handily outdo her.
Probably the most surprising thing about the Blake Lewis Audio Day Dream album, released today, is how little he has utilized the "human beatbox" style that took him to runner-up in last year's American Idol. Sure, it's sprinkled with that, but there are more than a few 80's-inspired pop-synth ballads on it which I have to admit I've got a weakness for...
Lewis told MTV News in November: "It's my new genre I made up. I call it 2080, because it's a mix of all the great pop music that's inspired me. I worked with so many amazing people on this record, and the title came from this concept I came up with for the album. I wanted to make a hip-hop mixtape or a great electronic mix — just one mix, start to finish, that takes you on a journey through metal, drum-and-bass with scratching on it to Michael Jackson pop into Erasure into Depeche Mode into some dub reggae. This album goes everywhere, and it was an amazing process to work on it. There's a song on the record that's [the Police's] 'Every Breath You Take' meets [1984 film] 'The NeverEnding Story.' ...It's hard to describe, but you know how when you open Rorschach inkblot tests, how they have two different sides? It's going to be like that. There's going to be, like, ink and water, and different effects behind me that come in."
I'm not sure that's how I'd describe it, but it's certainly less of a new genre than a heavily-produced piece of listenable pop. If you can remember his lackluster performance in the Idol finale which was blamed mostly on having to sing a saccharine ballad way out of his range, it's interesting to hear a progression on that front. According to the AP, Lewis co-wrote all but one song on the album.