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199 posts categorized "TOTALLY AWESOME '80S"

Jul 15 2016
We Had Tonight: Sheena Easton In NYC Comments (0)

*DSC08651(All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

My friend Harry invited me to take his friend's place and join him in seeing Sheena Easton perform at B.B. King's, and we wound up having a great, if not totally heck-a-slammin' time.

We had front-section, central VIP seating, so missed nothing of the 90-minute gig, which was generously sprinkled hits (“I embrace my nostalgia!” she exclaimed early on), some of which a casual fan might have forgottne all about. Any student of Sheena Easton 101 knew to expect “9 to 5 (Morning Train)” from 1980, which got the evening's biggest reaction in spite of its near novelty-hit sound, and her smash Bond theme “For Your Eyes Only” from 1981, but I can't have been the only person surprised she is still doing gems like “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)” (1983).

*DSC08407Those over-the-hill jokes went over our heads.

Easton—looking very much like a red-headed Kylie Minogue, is still ravishing at 57, so much so that her surprisingly relentless self-deprecation about her age and her lack of hits since the '90s felt a bit like posting a fantastic selfie with the caption, “I look awful, right?” The true answer is she looks great and sounds great (aside from a tendency to over-emote) and has an engaging stand-up comedy banter between songs that made her perhaps a bit too accessible—one fan couldn't resist shouting suggestions to her after every song, eventually earning her ire. Sit down and shut up.

But back to the set list, which along with the previously named hits and some '60s and '70s pop covers (and one Christian song—she connected with *DSC08678Catholicism after four divorces), included the singles “When He Shines (1981), “I Wouldn't Beg for Water (1982), “We've Got Tonight (1983), “Almost Over You (1983), “Strut (1984), “The Lover in Me (1988). Most excitingly, with the help of a talented male duet partner, Easton offered a dynamic melding of “Sugar Walls” (1984)/“U Got the Look” (1987) as a tribute to her ex, Prince. 

Sheena Easton Setlist B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, New York, NY, USA 2016

Joking that she was thinking of hanging up her Spanx and discontinuing the performance of such sexed-up numbers, she revealed she had to do them as an excuse to air the work of the Purple One.

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Jul 10 2016
Be Afraid ... Be Very Afraid: The New GHOSTBUSTERS Is a Cringe-Worthy, Empty, Unfunny Stab At A Girl-Powered Resurrection Comments (0)

I wasn't offended when it was announced that Ghostbusters, an '80s fave but hardly Citizen Kane, would be remade with a female cast. With Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones—with Chris Hemsworth and cameos by most of the original cast tossed in—how could it be anything but fun?

It is anything but fun.

The film is ineptly directed by Paul Feig with a distractingly off-the-mark tone, is terribly witless, is charmless (except in rare flashes) and contains Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.51.03 PM mostly phoned-in performances. You almost expect a scene to catch Wiig and McCarthy hitting their marks after quickly exiting cash machines, where they're ogling all the loot they made for doing nothing but their most boilerplate schtick.

Jones is irritatingly one-note. Her undercooked Eddie Anderson/Mantan Moreland routine is painfully dated. I like her as an actress and I think she would be an excellent lead, given a multi-dimensional role, but she wasn't given a lead or that type of role here.

McKinnon fares best, making her goofy scientist character just offbeat enough to occasionally elicit an unexpected and all-too-rare laugh.

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Jul 09 2016
It's All There, In Black-And-White Comments (0)

5-55Adam Oestreicher models the latest in 1985 wannabe-wear (Image by/courtesy of Walter Kurtz)

Walter Kurtz shoots drag, beefcake and other examples of foin art. I think you'll like his stuff.

Oh, and the sexy nudes (Work Unfriendly) are here. It's like a Broadway Bares reunion without smiles or G-strings! But seriously, it's great work and will make your eyes happy.

Jun 30 2016
30 Years Ago Today: Madonna's TRUE BLUE — The Coolest Album In The Universe — Was Released Comments (0)

It's hard to believe it's been a full 30 years since Madonna dropped her third studio album, the delightful, singles-heavy True Blue.

Were you alive then? Did you buy it upon release? What is your memory of it?

Tumblr_inline_nt71e8UpdC1rrg4rz_500(GIF via Sire Records)

I believe True Blue was the first Madonna album I bought the day it came out. I didn't buy her first album until well after her second, C110e2d0a6412d35278f259600669fafwhich I bought only after having realized I was slowly dying without it. I remember going to Genesee Valley Mall in Michigan and being dazzled by that Herb Ritts cover, an instant classic. Her face was the entire cover! So arty, like a high-grade Andy Warhol Polaroid.

I like other Madonna albums better, but there's no denying the artistry of “Live to Tell,” the urgency of “Open Your Heart,” the unique voice of “Papa Don't Preach” and the timelessness of “True Blue.”

The record went on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time, and is Madonna's best-selling studio album worldwide.

Jun 24 2016
Happy PRIDE: Watch The Madonna-Themed Gay Short PHYSICAL ATTRACTION! Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 3.16.05 PM(Film stills via Guy Guido)

As promised earlier on the blog, fans can now watch the entire short film Physical Attraction on Vimeo courtesy of Boy Culture and the film's creator, Guy Guido.

6a00d8341c2ca253ef01b8d1fa162c970c-800wi(Image via Guy Guido)

Just click here and use the password: Madonna.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 3.20.46 PM(Film still via Guy Guido)

Enjoy—I know you will. The film will only be up this weekend!

Jun 19 2016
EXCLUSIVE: Find Out How To View Guy Guido's PHYSICAL ATTRACTION For Pride! Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 12.40.30 PM(Image via Guy Guido)

Guy Guido is making his Madonna-themed gay short Physical Attraction available for free viewing in honor of Gay Pride.

If you haven't seen the touching period piece (the '80s were a long time ago!)/gay coming-of-age gem, come back to Boy Culture on June 24 for a Vimeo password.

The film will be available from June 24 through June 26.

See you June 24, stranger!

Check out the trailer after the jump ...

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May 29 2016
  IMG_6428 IMG_6391 DSC07173 DSC07284 DSC07401 DSC07612 DSC07641 DSC07696 DSC07759 DSC07852 DSC07947 DSC07985 DSC08118 DSC08124 DSC08207 DSC08269 DSC08287 DSC08303

(All images in this post by Matthew Rettenmund, unless otherwise noted) 

I've watched every season of RuPaul's Drag Race, I've done drag as Samantha Fox and I just co-wrote a book with none other than Alaska, so count me in when another RuPaul's Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons event hits NYC.

Alaska60(Image via Producer Entertainment Group)

This past week's extravaganza was a blast! I was able to do the VIP meet-and-greet hour, where I shot all the girls—Manila Luzon, Miss Fame, Sharon Needles, Katya, Jinkx Monsoon, Violet Chachki, Adore Delano, Ginger Minj and Alaska herself—and then even managed to work my way backstage for some quality time with the low-lifes in high heels.

IMG_6278The merch available was incredible.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.28.20 AMThe Ru queens attract more female than male fans. Discuss.

IMG_6348Alaska's necklace really got into the groove.

IMG_6346Purr-fect Adore Delano

IMG_6300Bettie Page-ing Violet Chachki! Bettie Page-ing Violet Chachki!

IMG_6373A fan, in the pink

IMG_6311She skipped her hometown (Atlanta) show because Katya wasn't in it, instead hopping on a plane to NYC!

IMG_6287BeatenFaceTime with Courtney Act

IMG_6291America knows good drag queens when they see them. Here, actual girls give drag a woman's touch.

IMG_6321The Miss Fame game

IMG_6352Who killed Marilyn Monroe? Ask her! Sharon Needles serves old-time glamour.

IMG_6310Ginger Minj goes blonde. Does the carpet match the drapes? Honey, what about that curtain rod?

IMG_6377Katya, in the act

IMG_6390Jinkx Monsoon season

IMG_6331It takes two, it takes two ... Michelle Visage and friends

IMG_6362With so much feminine beauty around, I still couldn't help noticing the boy of anyone's dreams.

IMG_6423This one also would not have to sashay away.

Screen Shot 2016-05-29 at 12.58.50 AMEven Bianca was “there.” I could only think of this book cover. (Book cover via Simon & Schuster)

Backstage was a hoot. Or a hooter.

Sharon was friendly as could be, and embracing a far less Goth look, one of which Eve Arden would approve.

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May 28 2016
The Empower Station: Cyndi Lauper & Boy George's Bangin' Bang A Gong Show Comments (0)
  Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.16.55 PM DSC08586 DSC08697 DSC08766 DSC09074 DSC09115 DSC09213 DSC09297 DSC09304

(10 images in above gallery by Matthew Rettenmund)

I've seen Cyndi Lauper perform live probably a dozen (?) times, going back to her True Colors World Tour in (December 14, 1986) and including the Twelve Deadly Cyns World Tour (in NYC sometime in 1994-1995), She's So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour (October 20, 2013), her opening slot for Cher (May 9, 2014) and quite a few of her holiday and fundraising gigs (like this one). She's great, but I wondered if I really needed to see her yet again, as I did at the Beacon Theatre here in NYC on Thursday night.

Img151My room, 1987. (L) Full Madonna-cover mags in bags on the wall, plus Eurythmics, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Cyndi Lauper. (R) View of my ceiling, with Madonna, Molly Ringwald, Marilyn, Cyndi, Ally Sheedy, Debbie Harry, Sade and ... Boy George! (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

The real draw for me was Boy George. I absolutely loved Culture Club as a teen; I vividly recall the day I bought Colour by Numbers at a record store in Flint in the '80s. I even had a promo poster for one of the group's video collections on my ceiling, with a huge image of George in full makeup. I also remember the very first time my pals Mike Ashton (at his house) and Eric Olson watched the video for “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” (1982) on MTV and openly discussed the novelty of the dude who totally looked like a girl. Liking George was somewhat of a political statement in a small town—in any town, really.

But even without the tantalizing gayness, I thought Culture Club created two amazing albums (and the other not-half-bad ones), records I listened to and memorized. I was a pretty fair voice mimic for George, too.

Back in the day, Culture Club had a bad reputation as a live act, and I didn't summon the guts to attend any pop tour until Eurythmics' Revenge Tour on August 21, 1986, by which time Culture Club was kaput. Also, I'd heard more recently that George didn't sound so hot on a reunion jaunt, but I believe that was due to vocal issues.

So when I failed to get tickets and the joint gig between Cyndi and George (with Rosie O'Donnell as a special guest) neared, I reached out to a friend with a connection and, after his previous invitees fell through, I found myself seated in the fourth row for what turned out to be a thoroughly satisfying show.

DSC08639You better pink! (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Cyndi came out first, weirdly; I'd expected George would open for her, considering her relative success and being 3/4 of the way to being an EGOT. She looked great in her pink hair and punky leather get-up, and thanked us all for being there while also ensuring she educated the young'uns about the days when R&B and country were quite close in form. This was relevant because she's recently released a C&W album, Detour. Her roots with Blue Angel make this a good idea:

As reluctant as I was to see her again (at some point, seeing an artist over and over can almost dull my enthusiasm), and as little interest as I had in hearing her do country stuff, her set wound up being phenomenal. She had us on our feet the whole time and was in superb voice.


DSC08598Cyndi is an instrumental part of my musical taste (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)

Cyndi gave us four hits and four C&W covers from her new record:

(1) “Funnel of Love” (originally by Wanda Jackson)

(2) “She Bop”

(3) “I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart” (originally by Patsy Montana)

(4) “Walking After Midnight” (originally by Patsy Cline)

(5) “The End of the World” (originally by Skeeter Davis)

(6) “I Drove All Night”

(7) “When You Were Mine” (originally by Prince, covered by Cyndi on her first album)

(8) “Money Changes Everything” (originally by the Brains, covered by Cyndi on her first album)

For her encore, she treated us to one more cover and two of her biggest hits:

(9) “Misty Blue” (originally by Eddy Arnold)

(10) “Time After Time”

(11) “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (with Rosie O'Donnell on the drums)

DSC08644A moment when she was mine (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Just a fantastic performance from her, and I couldn't believe I'd been unenthused going in. She also said something that relates to my false fatigue while she was honoring Prince. She said: 

I hope you appreciate all the artists while you have 'em.


DSC08737Wanna be a cowboy 'n' you can be my cowgirl... (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Her other remarks about Prince were respectful without attempting to make it seem she was a major part of his story (she sang his “When You Were Mine” on She's So Unusual, an excellent cover that she performed live at the show perfectly):

I did one of his songs on my first record, and when he passed I couldn't believe it and it broke my heart—a bright light went out ... Life is short. But he was funny, and he was smart as a whip ... he was quirky—but I loved him.

Cyndi joked about Madonna's English accent but quickly said she loved her, and also gushed about being on Sire Records now, a label she had always considered to be so creative, the home of so many punk acts and also Madonna.

DSC08885Cyndi Lauper is 62 years old, y'all! (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Cyndi loves Madonna and Sire, but there was no love lost on Donald Trump when Rosie O'Donnell took the stage for what amounted to a quickie cover while Boy George and his band prepped behind the curtain. Awkwardly, George's voice and other distracting noises were coming through on the monitors, so Rosie kept getting interrupted and eventually just had to shout over it all—glad it was her and not, say, Mindy Kaling.

DSC09117Rosie's set trumped anything The Donald could ever say. (Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

Rosie used her brief time onstage to lambaste Donald Trump. Though she declared the Beacon a Trump-free zone, that wasn't quite true—it was more like an anti-Trump zone, and rightfully so:

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