Samantha Fox paid tribute to Madonna by performing "La Isla Bonita" last year...and I missed it until now?
She's lipping (as is de rigeur at these things), but Sam is actually a tight singer live. I like her ooey-gooey-coo-y version, though would've loved the out singer to change that line "where a girl loves a boy/and a boy loves a girl." I would actually love Madonna to reinvent the song as the fantasy of a gay kid dreaming of a magical island where a boy loves a boy and a girl loves a girl.
With thanks to Matt: Samantha Fox has a nice voice, something I discovered a few years ago when I discovered she was still actively performing. Here, she tackles Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" before Blondie's "Call Me" with Sabrina "Boys! Boys! Boys!" Salerno...
As of midnight tonight, it will be exactly five years since my first post. It's hard to imagine it's been that long, and a lot's changed—the tone and subject matter are different, how often I post, my limits (no nudity in a couple of years due to ad constraints). I've devoted a crazy amount of time and money and energy to this blog for a very small financial return (you couldn't guess low enough), but it's always rewarding to have this forum with which to express myself, keep my writing ability fluid, perhaps influence a couple of people here and there, share obsessions with strangers (in both senses of the word) and learn new things.
Take That's Howard...can you believe this happened onstage at a pop concert?
Here are some of the posts that were most important to Boy Culture's history. For the uninitiated, some of the oldest ones refer to Boy Culture, the movie made of my novel; I started the blog at the time Boy Culture was being filmed as a way to keep people informed of the progress...and it all snowballed from there.
Some of these posts are milestones when it comes to the hits they provided but most are filled with original writing and/or photography and video and are just the posts of which I'm proudest. I hope you'll take some time to click on them and send their links around to others—and some time is what you'll need...
FROM BOY TO MAN: BC B.C. (2007): The entire history of my novella, novel and movie Boy Culture; might be my ultimate post.
From '07, one of my faves. Old iPhones were better because they were worse.
"Your pictures suck" (2008): An art critic attacks me, but not without sustaining some hits in return.
GUYDAR (since at least January 17, 2008) & ENDS OF THE WORLD (since at least January 13, 2008): Attractive men of the world—I got your backs. Your fronts, too.
TriBeCa is for Boy lovers...
BOY ON FILM (2006): An account of the NYC launch party for Boy Culture as it played the TriBeCa Film Fest.
After 23 years and more than a few disappointments, I now possess a rather good video record of my first time on stage—lip-synching and performing BROADLY to Samantha Fox's "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" at Flushing High School's 1987 "Mock Rock"!
This was the look I was aping
I was not an outgoing type, so doing this was a watershed moment for me as a person and as a (then-closeted) gay kid.
The original S-s-s-s-samantha, S-s-s-s-samantha Fox!
I'd given up on ever seeing a video, but Lori, a kind classmate, happened to comment my Facebook that she had a copy. She happily sent me her Beta (!) original and I had it transferred today and...voila!
Via Kenneth In The 212: I'm surprised I didn't already know about this summer's "Call Me" remake by Samantha Fox and Sabrina, considering the, er, disproportionate love I've shown both in my posts over the past four and three-quarters years. It's nothing like Blondie's in that it has no nuances and is definitely Italo-disco. But I like it! And I love that they've restored "dress me in the fashions of the 1980s," since Debbie Harry often does this as "of the 21st Century." The video is fun, too—the MILFs go tit-to-tit to be the one their listeners would prefer to call.
As I've blogged in the past, I've been in hot pursuit of video footage of my high school performance in a lip-synching contest called the Mock Rock. (I'm also after video of my only acting gig, in Torch Song Trilogy during my college years—shut up, I was the Matthew Broderick part.)
Anyway, I did finally pry a broken VHS copy away from a generous classmate, had it professionally restored and put on DVD (not easy when the tape is blown out) and it's amazingly watchable...but is from the wrong year. So I now have a nice copy of Mock Rock '86 when Matt was writhing around on a bedsheet as Samantha Fox in 1987.
Curses, foiled again.
I have one more solid lead, and then it enters into the realm of a Louise Brooks movie.
I probably spent way too much money ($250 for a "VIP Hot Seat Package") and way too much energy (stressing that I couldn't get one of the meet-and-greet deals before they sold out) on Lady GaGa's Monster Ball, but in the end I felt like a bona fide little monster and definitely had a ball. Plus all proceeds went to Haiti!
That boy was a monster.
The last (and first) time I saw GaGa was at Terminal 5, a terrific little show that she appears to have scaled up a bit—but not a bunch—for her just-concluded Monster Ball, including moving from standing-room-only to the lofty Radio City Music Hall. "Am I getting too old for this?" is a question I've found myself asking at general-admission shows, so I was relieved to have a comfy and satisfyingly close-up seat (row LL, seat 509), even if red-carpet Radio City does not have the right vibe for a concert that's part aural nip slip and part visual orgasm . But it's nice to see one of the only artists to capture my attention in the past decade is moving up in the world so quickly. She's even pissed off God!
I was genuinely lucky to get $250 seats directly from TicketMaster the day they went on sale because it was those seats or no seats. I got them one by one for cover price so they were one seat apart. They were really just $150 seats with some free swag (including a $100 pair of earphones that will arrive in the mail) and the special right to arrive at 4fucking:30 to Radio City the day of the concert for a VIP reception.
My friend Jason and I got there early, but didn't feel up to standing by the stage entrance to see if she'd glide by. Instead, we checked in (unbelievably, our hostess Marguerite was literally checking off names of original purchasers at the door) and headed down to the partitioned room, where about 35 other suckersfans milled around eating bodega-level apps, taking pictures of each other in a miniature version of GaGa's monster ball (that weird gyro thing) and—for those outrageously attired—posing for a pro photographer in a regal chair for photos that would later be flashed on screens next to the stage and that were available to them online free of charge.
Jason and I show you some teeth.
The VIP crowd was a group of some weirdos (said affectionately) and some uptight gays—I include myself in the latter—all of us thinking, "Wouldn't it be great to have that extra $100 back instead of this handful of M&Ms?" It was here I discovered that GaGa had canceled doing her special, pricier meet-and-greet that I'd been looking to score, so I felt tremendous relief that I was not missing out.
We also met a sweet young queen (not a pejorative statement—he was in full makeup and wearing a bubble outfit) who happened to have the seat between Jason and me, and he had no problem switching with me. Later, as we were ushered into the auditorium way ahead of everyone else (having just killed two hours eating pretzels), we learned from him that the contest we'd entered—the one where GaGa would call one fan from the stage and offer to have a drink with him or her after the show—was probably not going to go our way since he'd entered it like 50 times. He was very nice, but did have two shopping bags filled with his bubble outfit, one for under his seat and one for on top of it. This meant some overcrowding issues could arise, but we decided we'd cross that glitter bridge when we came to it.
While chatting with him, it came up that I'd only done drag once on stage, back in 1987 for my school's Mock Rock as Samantha Fox (as I've "revealed" many times on this blog). He'd never heard of her, then asked us to guess his age. I went with 23, but the real answer was 19. Which means that at the time I was shaking my fake boobs made out of bundles of socks in a bra with baby-bottle nipples back in '87, he was negative four years old.
The crowd wasn't quite as scary as that thought, made up of a strange mix of straight guy/girl couples in their twenties, totally embarrassing and nearly-but-not-quite-over-the-hill drunkard moms, hard-partying gay juiceheads who were over the hill but had discovered ways to head back up it for a second plunge and one small group of nine-year-old girls. The little kids were almost a show unto themselves. I had to watch their expressions as the opening act—Semi-Precious Weapons, fronted by a gender rebel in tights—subjected them to dozens of F-bombs, the promise to "make you all wet for GaGa!" and a threat to the guy in the front row plugging his ears that they'd "fuck your 40-year-old wife in front of you." Later, the lead singer also gave out free champagne and stripped nearly naked to change into another outfit while on stage. When someone near us lit up a joint, it felt like the little children's defilement was complete.
Semi-Precious Weapons makes music if collapsing buildings do, too. Their approach to making an impression is comparable to the red mark an out-of-nowhere, open-palmed slap leaves across any face that gets in the way. Not fanned.
The next opener was Jason Derulo, who earned MVP status for deftly performing his sexy R&B pop hits, including 'Whatcha Say," in rapidly disappearing clothing. He wound down by tearing off his wifebeater, which was like waving fistfuls of tuna at an auditorium filled with stray cats.
In GaGa we trust.
Finally, though, it was up to GaGa to save our pop souls, and praise Madonna, she did.
Having thoroughly reviewed her show less than a year ago, I have to say I felt she hasn't completely upped the ante just yet. I attribute this to the aborted Kanye co-headlining tour leading to a shorter time in which to plot this outing. While she is a ridiculously fun performer with some eye-popping visuals and a tight grip on attention spans of all lengths (she's no size queen), I would not describe her sets a anything near what her obvious and aforepraised inspiration has each go-round. While there are countless parallels to things Madonna's done before, and while she is easily the closest thing I've seen to Madonna on stage, she does have a lot of room for improvement before she officially takes over that mantle. (Which sucks for her, because Madonna will only stubbornly attempt to get even better in the meantime.)
My major complaint is minor—GaGa loves to tell her fans we mean the world to her. Honey, I'm 41, I don't need this spoonfed stuff. And frankly, most of your fans who are shelling out the bucks to see you on tour are not that young either. But that said, I think her stage banter is much less rambling that it was last time and she had several hilarious moments, including the point where she commanded us to "get your dicks out," or when she pointedly remarked that while she has nothing against Yonkers, she's from Manhattan and then arched a brow snootily.
The first song, "Dance in the Dark," was not a good opener for me. I love the tune, but the staging was, as might be expected, too dark. GaGa was not easily visible behind some Tron lighting, so I felt like she was too far out of reach as an intro. Loved the Christmas lights that marked her outline as if she were a human landing strip, though.
A just dance is one that anyone can do.
GaGa has enough hits now that she could smack us upside the head with a major smash by song two, "Just Dance." Loved the interpretation of this, with the Lady—whose hair was not blonde but instead Big Bird yellow—in a neon cube and grasping a trusty keyboard.
I stumbled upon a 2008 oldies (that means '80s...ouch, I know) concert that took place in Poland featuring Samantha Fox, Kim Wilde, Sabrina, Modern Talking, Limahl and some others who are less of interest to me.
I am shocked to discover that Samantha Fox—43 next month and who looks to have had some good work—can actually sing live on key. She came off the best of all the comeback kids:
If Sam Fox was a sluttier, more obvious Madonna, Sabrina (who turned 40 yesterday!) was a sluttier, more obvious Sam Fox—which means common streetwalkers found her distasteful. Her "Boys" was a staple for me around 20 years ago, its video featuring the Italian vamp fighting a losing battle with a skimpy bikini. (I can't believe this whore is still working the nip-slips! Love it!) Now, Ms. Salerno still looks good even if singing is not her forte:
I don't mean to be ungallant, but whatever was Wilde about Kim has been tamed. Does she sound (especially after 2:10) or look worse? Maybe I just had higher expectations of this 48-year-old than I did of Sam Fox:
Limahl is one '80s diva who still looks THE SAME. I mean 25 years have passed—he is 50 and is the oldest person in this post and yet looks as young or younger than the lot of them, I would argue. But he's challenged vocally, as I've gathered his fans realize from comments across YouTube:
The oldest-looking of them all (he claims to be 46, which I doubt), but in a distinguished way, is Thomas from Modern Talking, who performs a spritely "Cheri, Cheri Lady":
When "Like A Prayer" debuted via a Pepsi ad during The Cosby Show, I lost my shit. It was so clearly one of her best and most interesting songs, and—something she hasn't done in a while
these days but which we hope she will do again—a total surprise for me.
I've been doing these posts on what other songs were on the Billboard charts the week certain Madonna songs were #1, but I couldn't do that in good conscience with "Like A Prayer" since Tone Loc and other despicable shit was so prevalent in 1989.
So instead, here is a selective list of what else was on Billboard's "Hot Dance Music" charts the week "Like A Prayer" jumped from #5 to #1:
#1 "Like A Prayer" by Madonna. See above.
#4 "Real Love" by Jody Watley. I was already really impressed with Jody for having remained in the spotlight so long after her solo debut. I bought all of her singles, and this was no exception. It's kinda En Vogue-ish to listen to now, but was fun to dance to at a time in my life when real love was the last thing I was settling for: