36 posts categorized "PRINCE"

May 29 2016
Signs Of The Times Comments (0)

IMG_0657(Image by Matthew Rettenmund)

This is a random bit of graffiti, but it reminded me of Madonna's current battle with BET, MTV and self-styled (“one of very few black Millennial public thinkers”) millennial voice Donovan X. Ramsey.

 
Madonna's Invasion Of THE FASCIST STATE OF TORONTO, 26 Years Later Comments (0)

Twenty-six years ago today, Madonna performed her racy “Like a Virgin” number during her Blond Ambition World Tour stop in Toronto, a performance for which she'd been threatened with jail time.

Canada.com chatted with one of the officers involved in the moment when cops and Madonna faced off over her show's alleged obscenity, captured in Truth or Dare:

Bergen, a 29-year-old Toronto constable at the time, was grappling with his own perspective on the situation.

He says the obscenity kerfuffle was led by a police detective and Crown attorney who took a strong position that Madonna's show shouldn't go on.

“What I was struggling with was how do you go to the microphone and tell everyone the show is cancelled,” Bergen says.

“My role and my position was we were not going to shut the show down.”

The confrontation was immortalized in Madonna: Truth or Dare, the singer's 1991 documentary. Looking back, he says the film didn't exactly capture the full story.

“We were portrayed as being real knobs, if you will,” he says.

“I don't think we were.”

They were just doing their job, but the guy who decided to make it an issue certainly was a knob.

Back to the future: Speaking of knobs, Madonna has issued yet another rebuke to the knobs at moribund BET who fueled contempt for her Prince tribute:

13325593_10154390950807122_3124262200369498945_n(Image via Instagram)

 
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.

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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.

Noted!

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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Madonna Claims ALL Of Prince's Band Members Were Invited To Join Her At BILLBOARDS Comments (0)

13241276_947266232048658_3969586758730307518_n(Image via Instagram)

Not sure why entertainment sites haven't picked up on this more—maybe the holiday week, maybe the effort it takes to dig through Madonna's many Instagram comments—but Madonna has made the assertion that she asked all of Prince's band members recent and previous to participate in her tribute to the late Purple One. She also says the declined due to being in a state of mourning. (More likely, many felt she wasn't the right centerpiece.)

If true, she seems to have done her best to be inclusive.

 
May 24 2016
6-PACK — Tutu's Lesbian Daughter Expelled From Church + Pay Attention To Madonna, But Leave Her Alone + Too Late To Apologize? + Joe Jonas On Kissing A Girl + Trans Attack + Iranian Gay Activist! Comments (0)

*widget boy cultureArchbishop Desmond Tutu's daughter has been kicked out of her church—for marrying a woman.

*widget boy cultureWe have entered “Leave Madonna Alone” territory with all the hysterical attacks on Madonna's Billboard Music Awards tribute to Prince. Leave Britney alone, too.

*widget boy cultureAustralian state of Victoria apologizing for recent-historical convictions of people for the crime of being gay.

Rs_600x600-160519084210-600.Joe-Jonas-FB-051916Joe & Ashley (Video still via Republic Records)

*widget boy cultureJoe Jonas gushes about his prolonged kissing scenes with Ashley Graham in DNCE's new “Toothbrush” video.

*widget boy cultureBrooklyn trans woman comes forward with details of attack at the hands of a gang of men: “I was just trying to get away ...”

*widget boy cultureIranian gay activist thriving in Canada: “When people are attacking you a lot, it shows you are on the right track. If I wanted to give in ... I would have stayed in Iran.”

 
May 23 2016
Madonna Responds To Haters Of Her Heartfelt Prince Tribute Comments (0)

Her response shouldn't even be required—isn't it obvious that the Billboard Music Awards isn't going to define Prince's legacy with one sweet, simple tribute to the man?

 
Madonna & Stevie Wonder Pay Homage To Prince @ The Billboard Music Awards Comments (0)

Madonna-800(Video still via ABC)

I didn't have high hopes for Madonna's tribute to Prince on Sunday's Billboard Music Awards, but I was pleasantly surprised—she took on the very big song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” sounded great, looked great (and appropriate, in her purple paisley suit by Gucci's Alessandro Michele, who said, “It's more than a performance, it's a real act of love.”), and overall seemed very much in awe of Prince rather than making the tribute an act of ego. Anyone who thought she didn't sound good, I guess she's never sounded good, then, and is not for them. Anyone objecting to her daring to pay tribute to her peer and ex needs to find a hobby.

The inclusion of Stevie Wonder was a surprise, but I'm glad he was with her on “Purple Rain”—their voices blended nicely and I don't think she'd have done as well solo on that one.

It seemed heartfelt and unpretentious, not at all like it was attempting to put itself forth as the be-all, end-all, definitive Prince tribute.

Grotesquely, BET immediately tweeted an ad for its own awards show, touting a Prince tribute with the phrase, “Yeah, we saw that. Don't worry. We Got You.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 1.03.01 AM(Video still via BET)

Nothing like a naked attempt to stir up racial resentment (like that puny Change.org petition had tried to do) and to commercialize Prince's death and legacy.

 
May 22 2016
Dick Gregory Has Lost It. Totally. Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 5.37.39 PM(Image via WGN)

Dick Gregory dramatically inflates the importance of his run against Mayor Daley, claims he got 9,000,000 votes in Pennsylvania when he ran for president (he didn't even hit 50,000 nationally), asserts that Donald Trump is “doin' so good” because voting machines are rigged, hints that Prince was killed with the help of Warren Buffett, says JFK didn't die in Dallas but lived as a “vegetable”—it's a mess, a conspiracy-theory-laden mess.

Oh, and he alleges he does 250 stand-up dates a year. Yeah, no.

Keep reading to watch this old man make a damn fool of himself ...

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