Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LIFEbeat: Rob Thomas

Atlantic Records hosted a LIFEbeat (The Music Industry Fights AIDS) event to celebrate release of Rob Thomas' new solo album "Cradlesong" this evening at the Maritime Hotel in New York's Meatpacking district. Single "Her Diamonds" is No. 3 at adult top 40 radio, and charting at top 40 and triple A. It's also No. 26 on iTunes—an amazing feat considering there are 14 Michael Jackson songs ahead of it... Consider that if MJ hadn't died, theoretically, it would be No. 12.

Spontaneously, I ran into longtime pal Paulie Miraldi, and we spent the evening together, complete with the requisite starfucker photo with Mr. Thomas. First time I've met him after all these years. Nice chat, swell guy, beautiful wife, tiny in stature.Photo 2: We made him laugh... but—flash—his eyes were closed. This, cool cats, is why you always take two.And here, Alyssa Pollock, whom I've known practically since day one at Billboard, with her assistant Emily, and Mr. Thomas.

Meatpacking District: Tuesday Evening

The new Apple store. Damn, glam...The city's ongoing effort to develop pedestrian oases... this, at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue.Happy Pride, indeed.

Style & Tech: 40 Years Ago

Last night coming home on the subway, I had nuttin' to read and found a 327-page program—on the floor of the station—for some sort of Italian trade show guide, Fiera di Milano. The 1969 guidebook was packed with photos of furniture, office equipment, cookware, automobiles and fashion of the day... and provided a mesmerizing look at how far we've come in 40 years. Can you imagine what today will look like in 2049?

Out magazine highlights

Ooh la la...

Abort: Cause You're F*cking Crazy

Let's hope this is a joke... but MJ fans have been known to be a bit... passionate. (Click to increase size.)

Reasons To Gouge Your Eyes Out

The fact that Solange Knowles can carry a tune as well as I can sing opera arias is beside the point, given her outfit at San Fran's Gay Pride. Does she think the boys really want to stare aghast at the gruesome camel-toe she's sporting? They already don't want to have sex with girls! And what in the world is going on just above her kootycat? Is that a maxi-pad over her belly-button? Ew, ew and ewwwww.Moving on to Lady CaCa's mushroom hat... Actually, let's not.

When Will It End? Vibe Folds

Gawker: "Vibe Magazine—one of the biggest music magazines in America—is folding. The entire music magazine landscape is full of the dead and dying. It was essentially the black version of Rolling Stone, and its readership grew broader as hip hop became pop music. But Vibe hasn't been doing well for a while now; in February, the magazine cut circulation and frequency and salaries. Now the music industry is crumbling, and the magazine industry is crumbling, and the music magazine industry is really crumbling. The recent dead include Radio and Records, Performing Songwriter and Blender."

In addition, Gawker reports that Gannett, America's largest newspaper publisher, will lay off 4,500 staffers next week.

Sure is damn satisfying to be a journalist.

Vanity Fair: Heath Ledger

The August Vanity Fair features Heath Ledger on the cover, along with stunning photos taken by Bruce Weber.

Among the revelations in the article is the sad unraveling of his relationship with Michelle Williams: "As the pair started dealing with lawyers and custody issues, Ledger fell apart. The thing that really made Heath snap” was legal wrangling over his daughter, Matilda. He said, "Just fuck all of you. I’m not giving Michelle anything?" Recalls another source, when it came to Matilda’s care, "There were definitely heated conversations, and emotions were high."

Vanity Fair: Sarah Palin

Vanity Fair has a 500,000,000,000-word article written by Todd S. Purdum on Sarah Palin in its August issue, discussing how her arrogance and refusal to be coached ultimately convinced McCain's team that they'd made a horrifying mistake in nominating her as the VP candidate. Some highlights:

Sarah Palin's swift journey from her knockout convention speech to Tina Fey’s dead-eyed incarnation as Dan Quayle with an updo played out in real time, no less for the bewildered McCain campaign than for the public at large. As in any marriage of convenience in which neither partner knows the other, there were bound to be bumps. McCain had spent only a couple of hours in Palin’s presence before choosing her. The difficulties began immediately, with the McCain team’s delivery of the bad news that the pregnancy of Palin’s daughter Bristol, which was revealed to the McCain team at the last minute.

Palin is unlike any other national figure in modern American life. The clouds of tabloid conflict and controversy that swirl around her and her extended clan—the surprise pregnancies, two-bit blood feuds, tawdry in-laws and common-law kin caught selling drugs or poaching game—give her family singular status in the rogues’ gallery of political relatives. By comparison, Billy Carter, Donald Nixon and Roger Clinton seem like avatars of circumspection. Palin’s life has sometimes played out like an unholy amalgam of Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure.

By late September, when the time came to coach Palin for her second major interview with Katie Couric, there were severe tensions between Palin and the campaign. Palin was either unwilling or simply unable to prepare. But her lack of knowledge turned out not to hurt her. Andrew Halcro later remembered that Palin said to him, “Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and ask myself, Does any of this really matter?”

By the time Election Day rolled around, the staff had been serially pummeled by unflattering press reports about the gaps in Palin’s knowledge, her stubborn resistance to direction and a post-selection spending spree in which she ran up bills of $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family at high-end stores. The top McCain aides who had tried hard to work with Palin were barely on speaking terms with her, and news organizations were reporting that anonymous McCain aides saw Palin as a “diva” and “whack job.” One referred to her as "Little shop of horrors."

More than once in Alaska, people brought up the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several said, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of “narcissistic personality disorder”—“a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy”—and thought it fit her perfectly.

As Palin has piled misstep on top of misstep, the senior members of McCain’s campaign team have undergone a painful odyssey of their own. Most make it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: They can’t quite believe that for two frantic months, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States, someone who they believed was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be. Do they ever ask, What were we thinking? “Oh, yeah, oh, yeah,” one longtime McCain friend told me with a rueful chuckle. “You nailed it.”

Too Damn Cute... But Those Names!

Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, with their boy James, welcome their twin surrogate kiddies. But please tell me it's just a wicked rumor that they named them Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge. What is this, 1920?

Quote O'Da Day: Rachel Maddow

MSNBC lesbian anchor Rachel Maddow in The Village Voice...
VV: What do you say to people who accuse MSNBC of glamming up your image?
RM: I wear just as much make-up as the other guys on MSNBC.

Come Back Billy Mays!

Just when you thought you'd seen every potential BS TV product possible, here's one that makes the Snuggie look practical. It's the Neckline Slimmer, a friggin spring-loaded gizmo that guarantees to get rid of your turkey neck in just two minutes a day. And it's painless! Guaranteed!

That is, until you shell out 20 bucks and realize that you're the turkey...

Pook And Your Mammer!

An evening out at ever-enduring gay hot-spot Splash with Pook, his man Rich, and your mammer!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks, Bloomie

New York billionaire mayor-for-life Michael Bloomberg got his way with a subway and bus fare hike that went into effect Sunday. MTA's price for a 30-day unlimited Metrocard rises from $81 to $89, while a single ride increases from $2 to $2.25. Enjoy your limo, Mike.

Group Petitions Equal Rights For LGBT

From towleroad.com: This morning, a press conference was held outside New York's historic Stonewall Inn by grassroots group The Power announcing its LGBT Civil Rights campaign for full equality. The group presented U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler with a signed petition for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include LBGT status.

The group writes: "As President Obama prepares to host a cocktail reception at the White House for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender leaders, prominent activists and fundraisers return to the Stonewall Inn on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots to announce a new comprehensive LGBT civil rights agenda. They will also present U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler with signed petitions from all 50 states and 36 countries supporting expansion of the Civil Rights Act to include LGBT people, marking the official launch of The Power’s nationwide petition drive and campaign demanding full equality now."

The petition was accompanied by statements of support from prominent lawmakers and LGBT leaders.

Meanwhile, typically hysterical... here's Steven Colbert's take on Obama's broken promises to the LGBT community: "It's like [Obama] is your dad and you asked him for a puppy, but for some reason he can't get you one. So instead he buys you a doghouse, a dog bowl and a dog leash. Doesn't it feel like you have a dog?"
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Chuck Taylor In "The World I Know"

Once upon a time, I actively made my own videos. The last one I ever recorded—ever so primitively—is when I first moved to New York City in late 1995. This is my take on Collective Soul's "The World I Know," that I have re-shot on my Canon camera and imported here from YouTube. Here's a very fresh-looking, lean 34-year-old young Chuck, surrounded by scenes of my new city, starring Perry Payne as "the insane woman." I've been fighting like a rabid dog to upload this for the past hour... Let's see if I can figure it out...

Unbelievable... Warner Music stripped the audio because it's not "authorized"!! Bite me...

BET Awards: Janet Jackson Speaks

Despite idiotic host Jamie Foxx—who thought it was funny to dress up in various Michael Jackson period costumes and blurted out, "Why is everybody sad?"—the BET awards show merited relevance by rejigging its agenda to celebrate the career of MJ. Janet Jackson—in her first public appearance since her brother's death—memorialized him as a beloved sibling and family member.

"To you, Michael is an icon," said Jackson, holding back tears. "To us, Michael is family and he will forever live in all of our hearts. On behalf of my family and myself, thank you for all of your love, thank you for all of your support. We miss him so much." Daddy Joe Jackson, best known for beating the shit out of his son, also appeared...

New Blog In The Family

Welcome wordsneatlyarranged.blogspot.com/, my new career blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

MJ: Oh My Heavens

Jeff Koons’s Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988).Hitting newstands Monday.

Billy Mays: Another One Bites The Dust

What the hell? Billy Mays, the burly, bearded television pitchman whose boisterous hawking of products such as Orange Glo and OxiClean made him a pop-culture icon, has died. He was 50. Tampa police said Mays was found unresponsive by his wife Sunday morning. A fire rescue crew pronounced him dead at 7:45 a.m. It was not immediately clear how he died. He reportedly was hit on the head when an airplane he was on made a rough landing Saturday, and Mays' wife told investigators the TV personality didn't feel well before he went to bed that night.

Happy Pride!

It's the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York's Greenwich Village, which founded the modern Gay Rights movement. God bless the generation that did so much to forge pride in being an out gay man today... We still have a long road ahead, living in an alleged open-mined state that can't get its legislative act together to join the rest of the Northeast (not to mention Iowa) to make gay marriage legal...

All the same, where better to preview Sunday's annual Pride celebration than the bar where it all began? Ayhan and I made a festive stop Saturday evening.

The Men Of Istanbulive

Forgive me, but I have a weakness for Turkish men... some random photos from the Saturday event's audience. Full coverage follows below...And for those with very specific taste...