YOUR FEATURE PRESENTATION Sometimes we're our own worst enemies. Sex & The City, the ginormously popular HBO sitcom understood this. Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), the heroine of the whole enterprise, was the worst offender. She bought shoes when she needed to pay rent. She cheated on her boyfriends. She broadcast her business to the world when she would have been better off keeping her mouth sh -- oh, uh, yes, job hazard as a sex and relationship columnist. Mr. Big (Chris Noth) was also skilled in the art of self sabotage, continually pushing his perfect girl (Carrie, duh!) away when she needed to be pulled close. He perfected this dynamic in the first movie's act one climax by leaving her at the altar. Ouch. Two year old spoiler alert: They got back together and married in the end.
Now the Fab Four (Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte) are back. They've mostly settled down so SEX AND THE CITY 2 will pick up the baton and practice the fine art of self sabotage on itself.
The Big Gay Wedding prologue is surely meant as a tribute to the devoted gay fanbase but as such it's a strangely tone deaf affair and a misfire. The familiar term "The Terrible Twos" is first deployed the next morning to describe Charlotte's continually screaming toddler. Soon Carrie has hijacked it for an article on the bed death of her young marriage. This neatly lays down the plot conflict. You can't help but wonder if Carrie and Big will regain their sparkle. But really?!? The Terrible Twos? Oh Sex & the City 2, you foolish, foolish lady. You're making it too easy for the haters! The pans will all but write themselves.
So, what are Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) drinking to?
Our Towleroad correspondents Josh Helmin (interviewer) and Josh Koll (editor) put together a brief clip for us with the Sex and the City 2 women.
Helmin asks Sarah Jessica Parker about her first gay friend, who she says is no longer with us.
Says Parker: "There seems to be, of concern to me, young men that are now sick again, or are HIV positive, and I think that because they were too young to see what happened 20 years ago, to know the devastation and the absolute heartbreak that accompanied that time."
Helmin asks the four stars of the film about marriage equality, given that there's a gay wedding in the film. Kristin Davis is extremely excited that Laura Bush is on board.
Modern Tonic — a daily newsletter that delivers gay-approved pop culture gems (before they've been co-opted by everyone else) — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.
NEW ARTIST TO WATCH AND FREE DOWNLOADS:
Unlike her Welsh homegirl Duffy, Marina Diamandis — who is Marina & the Diamonds — has no use for retro. Her pop-happy debut The Family Jewels, finally released in the U.S., doesn’t just want to rummage through the musical trash heap for usable scraps of history. Sure, there are the percolating synthesizers of “Shampain” and the music-hall piano of “Obsessions.” But Diamandis brings her idiosyncratic style to the proceedings, from the jaunty chamber-rock opener “Are You Satisfied?” in which she hiccups and trills through a post-modern tale of alienation, to the stately Gothic ballad “Rootless,” wherein she harmonizes with herself like a battalion of Tori Amos wannabes. She’s nearly as unhinged a vocalist as Florence Welch (of Florence + the Machine) — meaning she goes for it, singing to the cheap seats and just maybe reaching the pop-loving teen in all of us.
Even if it weren’t the soundtrack for the latest romp with our relationship-addled BFFs Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda, the Sex and the City 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack would have us in the first five seconds. Why? How about Alicia Keys slumming her way through Blondie’s seminal “Rapture?” Academy Award®-winner Jennifer Hudson duets with U.K. ballad-master Leona Lewis for “Love Is Your Color.” Dido shuffles through the smooth electro vibe of “Everything to Lose.” And who could resist Liza Minnelli vamping through Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” except maybe very uptight straight men? As if that weren’t enough, the ladies themselves make their singing debut. Any wagers on what it might be? If you bet on the old Helen Reddy chestnut “I Am Woman” you’d be cashing in your chips and sipping your own cosmos right about now.
Ms. Leela James — the gritty L.A. singer who’s worked with Kanye West, Moby and Ray Charles — isn’t just an old-school soul singer. She’s hardcore. Her third album, the simply titled and straight up true My Soul, is 11 tracks of groovalicious booty-shaking jams, both up-tempo and oh-so-slow-baby-it-feels-too-good-don’t-stop. Her feral yowl on “I Want It All” could challenge Tina Turner. “Mr. Incredible — Ms. Unforgettable” features James and Raheem DeVaughn as couples entwined in an orgasmic vocal showdown. And doing wrong never felt as damn right as it does on the bass-rumbling lover’s lowdown “If It’s Wrong.”
Samantha Marq’s debut single "Super Girl" isn't exactly a new release — it dropped in February — but, hey, we’re busy. Her forthcoming album, The Evolution of Love in Dysfunction (release date TBA) is a post-Gaga party platter full of fresh beats, smooth synths and sassy attitude, best exemplified by the lead-off track.
If you miss the smell of flannel and the crunch of untrammeled guitars, you can relive the ‘90s with the release of Stone Temple Pilots’ reunion album imaginatively titled Stone Temple Pilots.
If the ‘80s are more your speed, Modern English — who stopped the world and melted with us in 1982 — are back with Soundtrack, their first album since 1996.
The Big Pink — "Tonight" London electro-rock duo The Big Pink break out the psychedelic light show for this clip from their latest single, “Tonight,” from their debut A Brief History of Love.
Eli "Paperboy" Reed — "Come and Get It" The baby-faced Bostonian gives the title track from his forthcoming major-label release a pop-art makeover to match his ‘60s summer-of-love groove and his soulful James Brown shout.
Infernal — "Love Is All" Their album Fall from Grace isn’t due until September, but the Danish dance duo tide us over with this Euro-disco clip that’s part The Matrix and part Showtime After Dark.
CocoRosie — "Lemonade" Bianca and Sierra Casady (‘Coco’ and ‘Rosie,’ respectively) are a willfully esoteric duo. To wit: this spooky ballad from their new Grey Oceans and its whimsical video with bearded sisters, Native Americans and a creepy marionette.
Modern Tonic — a daily newsletter that delivers gay-approved pop culture gems before they've been co-opted by everyone else — presents a weekly music update here on Towleroad.
TODAY'S FEATURED RELEASES:
The list of U.S.-known musicians of Filipino descent is scant; the most recognizable being Nicole Scherzinger (half-Filipino/half-Russian) of the Pussycat Dolls and Enrique Iglesias (half-Filipino/half-Spanish). Charice — the 18-year-old protégé of producer David Foster — is not only the latest addition to that list, but may end up the most famous of them all. Her self-titled U.S. debut, after two releases in the Philippines, is up-to-the-second R&B pop. For such a tiny girl — all 5’ 1” of her — her pipes are enormous. Debuted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, her Diane Warren-penned ballad "Note to God" is a real showstopper. Her mid-tempo single "Pyramid (feat. Iyaz)" has already been remixed for club play. And she throws down the gauntlet on the multi-octave spine tingler "Thank You." Watch your back, Mariah; you’re not the only angel scaling the heavenly heights anymore.
There’s been plenty of hoopla surrounding Chely Wright’s coming out, but a less heralded revelation recently came from Dove Award-winning Christian artist Jennifer Knapp. Letting Go (out today) is a strident collection of secular music that chronicles Knapp’s growth as both an artist and a proud, out woman. On ten striking tunes, Knapp combines the heartland appeal of Melissa Etheridge and the therapeutic searching of Alanis Morissette. The title track certainly makes a joyful noise, with Knapp slamming through a painful breakup over grunge-infested chords and a roiling guitar solo that practically burns a hole in the ozone. "Inside" — as bracing as one of Etheridge’s best rockers — has Knapp tackling small-minded prejudices with all the intensity of a woman fighting for her life. And the gorgeous "Fallen" — with a plaintive folk melody and a vocal reminiscent of Natalie Merchant — reconciles her faith with her desires. Letting Go is bracing stuff, a powerful declaration from a woman who found herself and returned, stronger, to testify.
Indie quintet The National have certainly taken their sweet time to break the U.S. Their fifth album, High Violet, seems poised to finally cement their reputation as one of the best American rock bands working today. Guitarists (and brothers) Aaron and Bryce Dessner — who spearheaded last year's Dark Was the Night charity compilation — along with, respectively, bassist and drummer (and brothers!) respectively Scott and Bryan Devendorf create intricately layered rock that's like a 21st century updating of R.E.M. And what makes their tunes stick is the acutely penetrating baritone of Matt Berninger. His melancholy vocals infuse the chamber folk of "Sorrow," while he successfully negotiates an erstwhile tenor for the set-closing ballad "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks." And when they want to, they can rev up the tempos to a head-spinning intensity. First single "Bloodbuzz Ohio" pounds a ragged rhythm straight to the center of your brain while Berninger laments "I still owe money to the money to the money I owe."
Rox — "I Don’t Believe" This frisky pop tune features a scrawl of vertical images of Rox, the half-Jamaican half-Iranian South London spitfire in an array of playful poses. From her debut Memoirs.
Kele — "Tenderoni" Hot damn! The out Bloc Party frontman gets his groove on for this slinky track from his solo album The Boxer. To illustrate that title, the video lovingly photographs a broad-shouldered brother flexing his muscles to the delight of everyone, by which we mean us.
Marla — "Lipstick for the Vampires" A U.K. sweetie pie who’s like Lily Allen’s mad little sister, Marla jiggles and jives while the words to her sugary confection flash on the screen. Beneath the sweetness? A nasty rant about the local girl-turned-slut who’s headed for the big bad bloodsuckers of L.A.
Reflection Eternal feat. Estelle — "Midnight Hour" Rapper Talib Kweli and producer/DJ Hi-Tek reunite on this slice of swinging rap and invite Estelle to smooth the groove with her smoky hooks. From their forthcoming album Revolutions Per Minute.
David Duchovny has Twilight fever: “If I were gay, you know. I think Woody Allen is one of a long list of men I might go gay for…Garry Shandling is someone I’ve publicly gone gay for, for jokes. Oh and anyone in the Twilight movies."
Can a movie studio prevent an actor from being openly gay? According to E Online: "...at least one source tells me they do exist, but not necessarily in the
explicit way you might think they do. From what I am able to gather, a
contract between an agency and an actor may dodge the exact issue of
"coming out." But it might ban other sorts of telltale activities."
Harry Reid's immigration proposal"would allow gay Americans to sponsor an immigrant partner for citizenship."
Family Research Council: "If ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) becomes law, the government will order businesses -- including
faith-based businesses -- to cast aside their personal beliefs and hire
homosexuals and cross-dressers, even if the employer considers these
lifestyles immoral and inappropriate for their business. Even groups like the Boy Scouts and child care providers aren't exempt from the bill's oppressive demands."
Sarah Palin's e-mailer hacker has been convicted. Palin reacts to the news: "Violating the law, or simply invading someone's privacy for political
gain, has long been repugnant to Americans' sense of fair play. As
Watergate taught us, we rightfully reject illegally breaking into
candidates' private communications for political intrigue in an attempt
to derail an election."