Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-05-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay Dinosaurs and Others
by Gregg Shapiro
2003-06-18

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


** Urban Twang @ Wise Fools Pub ( 773-929-1300 ) June 21

** The Beth Davis Band @ The Patch ( 708-891-9854 ) July 5

As a member of the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus, Eric Idle was no stranger to cross-dressing.

On his new comedy CD The Rutland Isles with your host Nigel Spam ( iMusic/BMG ) , the hetero Idle camps it up in a gay way. While

researching the 'fossil record,' Spam meets a man who studies the bottoms of extinct creatures and discovers the 'many types of gay

dinosaurs' and even introduces us to Flipper Minnelli, a dolphin who impersonates Liza Minnelli in a San Diego 'very wildlife park.'

On a similar note, the 'Gay Animal Song' ( 'ten per cent of nature's bent/at least that's what they say' ) is destined to become a

comedic classic.

For a straight man, Harold Arlen had an uncanny gift for writing songs with which the gay community could connect. After all,

Arlen wrote 'Over The Rainbow' and 'Get Happy,' to name a couple. Those songs, and others, are on the TV soundtrack to Stormy

Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen. If you can't gauge the queer quotient from those song titles alone, perhaps mentioning the

names of some of the performers on the CD might help. Out artists such as Rufus Wainwright ( 'It's Only A Paper Moon,' 'I Wonder

What Became of Me' ) , Sandra Bernhard ( 'Come Rain or Come Shine' ) , Hawksley Workman ( 'I've Got The World On A String' ) , and

icons such as Deborah Harry ( 'Stormy Weather/Ill Wind' ) and former New York Doll David Johansen ( 'Kickin' The Gong Around' ) ,

among others help to make this tribute a gay affair.

Because of infectious songs such as the Dar Williams-esque 'Turning Song,' the high-flying 'Seagull,' the heavenly electro-pop

of 'Heaven,' 'For These Hearts,' the piano and guitar-guided 'Waiting For Grace,' the simmering country of 'Home,' the unusual 'The

Strangest Dream,' and the gorgeous piano and vocal album closer 'Spark,' Boy In A Dress ( namolibrennet .com ) by Namoli Brennet

has become one of my favorite recent discs by a queer artist. Brennet's expressive vocals, soulful and soothing, are the perfect

vehicle for his songs which cover a range of emotions. Like other queer acoustic-based artists, such as Testosterone Kills, Brennet

successfully merges electronic beats with organic instrumentation for riveting results.

Undeniably sexy in a seventies sexual-revolutionary kind of way, Mad Dogs & San Franciscans ( Black Beauty ) by modern-day

jazz-rock fusion group Mushroom sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a grainy vintage gay porn flick in which the men where

tube socks and nothing else. Visions of Casey Donovan will dance in your head when you hear the instrumental 'The Revolution Will

Not Be Televised, But It Will Be Auctioned Off On E-Bay.' Cranking up the queer quotient several notches is the presence of

substantial, openly gay Sister Double Happiness lead singer Gary Floyd. What he does with Curtis Mayfield's 'Pusherman' suggests

a different kind of pushing. The 'Delta Lady' in Leon Russell's song could very well have a five o'clock shadow and his interpretation

of Spirit's 'I've Got A Line On You' is every bit as good as the original. 'Water' is the second Pete Townshend song covered by a gay

man ( 'And I Moved' by Mark Weigle is the first ) this year and I have to wonder if it is the beginning of a trend. The album closes with

the best version of 'Space Captain' I have heard since Barbra Joan Streisand recorded it more than 30 years ago.

Cover tunes are also the order of the day on Togetherness ( Bar/None ) , the remarkable collaboration between ( Gretchen ) Phillips

& ( David ) Driver. Both Phillips & Driver have, in their own rights, had impressive careers before teaming up together to record this

album. Phillips is probably best known as the driving force behind legendary lesbian rock bands 2 Nice Girls and Girls In The Nose.

Driver did time on the stage in musicals and also fronted bands such as Meow and Driver Quartet. Together they bring Austin, Texas,

and New York City in a way that I've never heard before. There is an equal balance of torch and twang that is so refreshing it is like

hearing these songs, many of which will be recognizable to listeners, for the very first time. The most obvious examples, Leonard

Cohen's 'Joan Of Arc' ( which is equal to the version performed by Cohen and Jennifer Warnes on her Famous Blue Raincoat album ) ,

Badfinger's 'Day By Day' ( probably the best song on the disc ) , Barry Manilow's 'Could It Be Magic?,' 'Ready For Love' by Bad

Company ( a band that 2 Nice Girls covered ) , and Vince ( Charlie Brown ) Guaraldi's 'Cast Your Fate To The Wind,' have a fresh new

coat of paint and shine like there's no tomorrow. The two originals, Phillips' 'Lesson' and Driver's 'Oh Starsky,' deserve to become as

familiar as the other songs.

Openly queer harmony vocalist Joe Coffey helps gives insurgent country band Urban Twang its community edge on their album

Vintage ( Sweet Pickle ) . Longtime collaborators Trish Clausen and Max Getzel have evolved their musical sound over 20 years to

include pop ska before cluing in to the Americana vibe. Clausen's emotive vocals give Urban Twang an advantage over many of the

male-led insurgent country bands, providing the songs with an abundance of down-home big-city warmth. Standout tracks include

'Better Days,' the reel of 'I Look Good In Black,' the stripped down 'Acquiescence' ( which reminded me of vintage Everything But The

Girl ) , Clausen's Neko Case-like belt on 'Something More,' and the twirling two-step of 'Pink To Blue.'

If there is one consistent element in the world of LGBT music, it is the dominance of women in the scene. The Irish duo Zrazy

( Carole Nelson and Maria Walsh ) are one of the most visible lesbian groups, consistently touring across North America. Because of

their constant touring schedule, it makes sense that they would release a live album. Living Our Lives ( Alfi ) is made up of songs from

Zrazy's three studio discs, as well as three new songs ( 'Amen,' 'If My Love Were A River' and 'Going Up' ) , and a lovely piano and

vocal version of 'How Can I Be Sure,' a song that Zrazy contributed to the Dusty Springfield tribute disc Forever Dusty.

Because the supply of lesbian singer/songwriters seems to be limitless, it is that much more imperative that each woman creates

a unique sound. Beth Davis does just that on Savage House ( 10th Child ) . Based in Indianapolis, not a place one would automatically

identify with lesbian musicians, Davis writes songs with a country-blues edge, kind of like a queer Susan Tedeschi. 'Fallin' Down' is a

toe-tapping tune that sounds like a country radio hit, while most of the remaining tunes are a mix of more straightforward blues ( 'Can't

Forget You Blue,' 'Free,' 'I Got A Weapon,' and the early Melissa Etheridge echo of 'I Don't Think So' ) and acoustic-based numbers

such as 'I Am' and 'How Could It Have Been.'

Norine Braun describes the songs on Now & Zen ( Braun and Brains ) as 'ambient soul pop with elements of hip hop, jazz and

punk,' and she's right. The sheer variety sets Braun apart. She lures the listener in with the melodic pop of 'Jade,' and shifts gears on

the darkly laid out folk of the title track. 'Intimate Hour' and 'Buffalo Nights,' respectively, deliver the hip hop and jazz vocal touches

referred to by Braun, while funk and punk, respectively, butt heads on 'J'en Suis Desolee' and 'I'm The 1.' And that's just the first half

of the disc.

A number of the lesbian singer/songwriters have taken an acoustically driven direction. I had been reading a lot about Ellis, one

such singer, before I actually heard her third solo disc Everything That's Real. I think it was a case of too much hype, as I was

somewhat disappointed in what I heard. However, with her latest album, Tigers Above Tigers Below ( Rubberneck ) , Ellis has made

me a convert. Backed up by a group of terrific musicians, including Julie Wolf and out singer/songwriter Erika Luckett, Ellis begins

things on an uplifting note with 'Give Me Your Hand.' The high quality of the songwriting and performance is consistent throughout

the album, and songs such as 'Liberty' ( with Wolf playing accordion ) , 'Expendable,' 'Nothin' New,' and 'As You Are,' indicate that

Ellis is an artist whose time has come.

Young, queer anti-folk artist Jenn Lindsay reminds me of early Suzanne Vega on her album Gotta Lotta ( No Evil Star ) . The Lower

East Side references and her phrasing have something to do with it, and her better than average songwriting also plays a part. I was

somewhat less taken with Fly ( PassionFruit Produce ) by Martine Locke, because I couldn't find much on the album to distinguish her

from the rest of the women in the field. However, songs such as 'Crazy' and '50 Windows' deserve a listen.

Just as the all-female hard punk rock band Betty Blowtorch was starting to heat up, the fire went out when band member Bianca

Butthole died in a car accident in 2001. Betty Blowtorch, which counted openly gay Blare N. Bitch as one fourth of the group, rocked

the house like nobody's business. Last Call ( Foodchain ) , a 29-track compilation of live tracks, outtakes and rare tracks sums up the

quartet's brief history via songs such as 'Party 'Til Ya Puke,' 'Fish Taco,' 'Van,' 'Teenage Whore,' and 'Size Queen.'

Effigy ( YoYo ) by Nomy Lamm, the self-described 'badass fatass jew dyke amputee, performance artist, writer and activist' is a

synth-beat concoction the criss-crosses melodic mantras with hip hop rhymes ( 'Like Heaven's Gates Are Closed' ) for a unique

listening experience. 'Miracle,' with its accordion and violin, sounds like an old world cabaret number and the spoken word

monologue of 'Spell #9' reveals yet another side of this multifaceted artist. 'Not A Girl' is evocative electroclash, 'Tear Up The

Basement' is a punk parody of girl group sentiments, and Lamm's cover of Sinead O'Connor's 'Just Like You Said It Would Be,' is an

honorable tribute to the writer.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Award-winning Songwriter, LGBTQ Activist Justin Tranter Gives Back To Alma Mater 2019-05-17
Megan Hilty sings Smash hits at the Goodman gala 2019-05-15
Cirque du Soleil to perform at Soldier Field 2019-05-14
THEATER August Rush: The Musical 2019-05-13
Actress Doris Day dies at 97 2019-05-13
Chicago Gay Men's Chorus to present Stonewalled: 50 Queer Years May 17-19 2019-05-10
The Annoyance Theatre presents: "Steamworks: The Musical" 2019-05-08
Karen Mason's cabaret in May 2019-05-08
Lyric's 'West Side Story' through June 2 2019-05-08
SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Julia Roberts, Jonas Brothers, Madonna 2019-05-07
Madonna at Chicago Theatre Oct. 15-17, 21 2019-05-07
Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt rock out as Nancy and Beth May 7 2019-05-07
MUSIC Pink Avalanche; Waldo Fest Forever; Alice Merton 2019-04-30
SHOWBIZ Lee Daniels, Destiny's Child, Sarah Jessica Parker, 'Andi Mack' 2019-04-30
Hamilton The Exhibition blows into Chicago 2019-04-30
Davenport's Out and Proud features musical tour of the LGBTQ movement 2019-04-30
Fifth annual 'Belt Fest' May 13 2019-04-28
Symphony musicians, management reach deal 2019-04-28
Now and Then musical a love story of two men, four decades 2019-04-27
Karen Mason's For the First Time cabaret in May 2019-04-24
MUSIC Ravinia CEO Welz Kauffman on upcoming season 2019-04-24
SHOWBIZ Tegan and Sara, 'The Boys in the Band,' Charlize Theron, Janet Jackson 2019-04-23
SHOWBIZ Trans baritone, Billboard Awards, Kate McKinnon, Lena Waithe 2019-04-16
Big Freedia performances taking place April 20-21 2019-04-15
Big Freedia to lead April festival 2019-04-10
BOOKS Queer scholar profiles Chicago house music 2019-04-10
SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race,' George Michael, 'The Talk,' Don Lemon 2019-04-09
MUSIC Trans singer-educator talks music, teaching, traveling 2019-04-09
Chicago Blues Fest to celebrate Chicago's Blues legacy June 7-9 2019-04-09
THEATER REVIEW Pinocchio 2019-04-08
Maggie Lindemann's not just a "Pretty Girl" 2019-04-07
Greyson Chance plays new music at Lincoln Hall 2019-04-07
Navy Pier plans 2019 free summer arts and cultural Events 2019-04-06
Ella Jenkins to be honored April 13 2019-04-04
SHOWBIZ 'A Star Is Born,' Image Awards, Adam Lambert, Celine Dion 2019-04-02
MUSIC Singer Taylor Trentham: From Dollywood to Laramie 2019-04-02
Beyonce, Sean Hayes among GLAAD honorees 2019-04-01
10 Questions with Vic Featuring Melissa Etheridge 2019-03-28
Ava Max Sings Into a Sweet Life 2019-03-27
MUSIC Alan Menken talks music, storytelling, Howard Ashman 2019-03-27
 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.