Saturday, October 21, 2017

25th Anniversary Of Madonna's "Erotica" & "Sex"


Today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Madonna’s Erotica album and the controversial companion coffee table book, Sex.

Barry Walters has penned an expansive exploration into the material that was considered provocative even for Madonna at the time, calling the artist "unapologetically bacchanalian."

Walters also connects the dots between the releases and social culture at the time as the AIDS epidemic was at it's peak.

To say she pushed boundaries across multiple landscapes - music, sexuality, fashion - would be one of the great understatments in pop culture.

Here's just a bit from Walter's excellent piece for Rolling Stone:

In 1990, Madonna was as astronomically popular as a boundary-bulldozing, unapologetically bacchanalian performance artist could get. Drawing from Harlem drag balls, “Vogue” went Number One nearly worldwide. The tour showcasing it, Blond Ambition, mixed spectacle with social commentary so sharply that it reinvented the pop concert and yielded the smash documentary Truth or Dare. And that year’s The Immaculate Collection, her first greatest-hits set, would eventually rank among the world’s biggest-ever albums, despite MTV banning its gender-blurring and cinematically exquisite “Justify My Love” video.

Nearly everything changed two years later with Erotica and Sex. Released respectively on October 20th and 21st, 1992, the first fruits of her multimedia Maverick entertainment company weren’t flops; her fifth studio album, Erotica racked up six million sales worldwide and yielded several hits, while Sex – an elaborate coffee table book created with fashion photographer Steven Meisel and Fabien Baron of Harper’s Bazaar – sold out its limited 1.5 million printing in a few days, an unparalleled success for a $50 photography folio bound in metal and sealed in a Mylar bag to evoke condoms. It remains one of the most in-demand out-of-print publications of all time.

[snip]

As her stardom snowballed through the Eighties and early Nineties, AIDS decimated the scene that helped birth Madonna. Taking music and fashion cues from lower Manhattan's punk rebelliousness and midtown's disco hedonism, pre-stardom Madonna was a fixture in the bohemian underground chronicled by photographer Nan Goldin in her autobiographical The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a likely Sex influence, along with the severe stylization of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Robert Mapplethorpe.

By 1992, AIDS claimed Goldin's subjects, Mapplethorpe himself, much of the art world (including Madonna's friend Keith Haring), and a growing chunk of Madonna's audience. It also killed and would go on to kill her cohorts, including Blond Ambition dancer Gabriel Trupin. Just as racism and the Black Lives Matter movement shaped BeyoncĂ©'s Lemonade, AIDS and ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, the direct action advocacy and educational group whose motto was "Silence = Death" – yielded Erotica and Sex.

[snip]

Sex and Erotica's greatest contribution remains their embrace of the Other, which in this case means queerness, blackness, third-wave feminism, exhibitionism and kink. Madonna took what was marginalized at the worst of the AIDS epidemic, placed it in an emancipated context, and shoved it into the mainstream for all to see and hear.

"Justify My Love," which many felt was a precursor for Erotica, completely landed for me. It was fresh and provocative as only Madge could be in that time. I actually liked "Justify" more than most of Erotica.





My favorite tracks from Erotica were the more mainstream pop "Rain" and disco-infused "Deeper and Deeper."


Tweet Of The Day: Cory Provost


New York City Council candidate Cory Provost notes the sad truth that Donald Trump, who professes to hold our military service members in the highest regard, was playing golf when Sgt. La David Johnson's body was returned to the U.S. and when he was laid to rest.

Hillary Clinton On "The Graham Norton Show"

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton made the trip across the pond to chat with premiere talk show host Graham Norton about her exploits of the past year including the presidential election, attending Trump's inauguration (which George W. Bush reportedly called "some weird shit"), the catharsis of writing her memoir, What Happened and more.

In this clip, Hillary talks about how she thought about "getting out" of going to Trump's inauguration as well as her disappointment that the Trumpster didn't rise to the occasion.



Later, Graham asked Hillary what her thoughts were on Trump's preference to tweet complex ideas (that's assuming Trump has complex ideas) to his followers.



Here's the whole show:

Daily Dance: "Had She Never Asked Me"


Powerful and compelling original spoken word poem written & performed by Daniel J. Watts (currently appearing in Hamilton), choreographed by Cindy Salgado.

From the official website:

Had She Never Asked Me was written by Daniel J. Watts in response to the June 12, 2016 shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 58 others inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Choreographer Cindy Salgado, having been commissioned to choreograph a new piece for Barton Movement, chose Daniel's original text as the foundation of her new piece. The original work premiered at Axis Connect in Los Angeles, CA in 2016.

Eager to reach a broader audience with this piece, Cindy Salgado and Charissa Barton set out to capture it on camera, the result of which is this film.

Watch below.

Georgia State Lawmaker Asks If HIV+ People Should Be Quarantined Since They Don't Die As "Readily" As They Used To


Betty Price, the wife of former Health Secretary Tom Price and currently a George state lawmaker, has come under fire for asking during a recent state House committee meeting if HIV+ folks should be quarantined.

Price also considered if the U.S. would be safer if positive people "died more readily."

I kid you not.

From Newsweek:

“It’s almost frightening, the number of people who are living that are carriers with the potential to spread,” Price said during a Georgia House of Representatives committee meeting on access to health care in the state (around the one-hour mark of the video). “Whereas in the past, they died more readily, and at that point they’re not posing a risk. So we’ve got a huge population posing a risk if they’re not in treatment.”

Price also said that while she didn’t necessarily want to quarantine people with HIV, that is exactly what she wants to do.

“I don’t want to say the quarantine word—but I guess I just said it,” Price said to Dr. Pascale Wortley, director of the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV epidemiology section, according to STAT News.

“Is there an ability, since I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxis and treatment of this condition, so we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. … Are there any methods legally that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

The answer, Ms. Price, is "no."

Georgia had the second highest number of HIV diagnoses in 2015.

You can watch the remarks on video here. Price's comment comes at the one hour, two minute mark.

You'll recall Price's husband resigned from the Trump administration after spending over half a million dollars in private plane travel.

Friday, October 20, 2017

RuPaul's Drag Race Covers VANITY FAIR


Check out the new cover of Vanity Fair - RuPaul's Drag Race "Queen of Queens"

Artwork by Gabriel Gutierrez

Gallup Daily Tracking Poll: Trump Plummets To Dismal 35% Approval Rating

Click image to enlarge

In case you were wondering why Donald Trump is so eager to distract, take a look at his dismal approval rating via Gallup's daily tracking poll.

Dropping back down to only 35% can't be putting a smile on the Trumpster's face...

Celebrate Las Vegas Pride 2017 This Weekend


While we acknowledge Pride Month in June, living here in Las Vegas we don't actually celebrate LGBT Pride until October due to the high summer temperatures.

And this weekend is the time for Las Vegans to get your Pride on!

First up in the festivities - head to downtown Las Vegas tonight for the glamorous, glittering spectacle that is the annual Las Vegas PRIDE Night Parade!

 The Parade Pre-Show begins at 6:30pm at the grandstand at the corner of 4th St. & Bridger Ave. The parade is expected to begin passing the grandstand at 7:30pm.

Then celebrate diversity at the Las Vegas PRIDE Festival where everyone is welcome. LGBT families, couples, and singles along with their friends and straight allies come together for an entire day of fabulous fun at Sunset Park (at the corner of Sunset Rd. and Eastern Avenue).

The festival is held Saturday from Noon to 10PM and Sunday from 11AM to 8PM.

Sunset Park has over 2,000 parking spaces and several parking lots, so parking is not a problem.

Entrance fees - adults (18+) are $15 Daily ($20 2-Day Pass), Youth (8-17) $5 Daily, and children under 7 enter for free.

Canadian country music star Patrick Masse will be among those headlining the live entertainment from the MainStage on October 21.

One of the very first openly gay country music artists, Masse has performed around the world including major Pride events all over North America.

Nominated for the Horizon Award for new artists at the British Columbia Country Music Association Awards, his songs have gone Top 10 all over Canada.

Also appearing are: Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestants Coco Montrese, Kimora Blac, Morgan McMichaels & Coco VanCartier, Sasha Colby, Ashley Iman; the Las Vegas Men's Chorus; Erika Gaga and more.

More info about the Pride Festival here.

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