Category Archives: Music

The All American Gay Community

Sometimes my own Gay Community can piss me off as much as the Religious Right or Conservative communities.

I have issues with intolerance in any community and I’ve seen quite a bit of it in the Gay Community both recently and over time.

The specific example that is annoying me right now is some of the comments I’m seeing about a talented young, Gay musician named Steve Grand who has published an excellent music video called “All-American Boy” 

He has become a bit of an internet sensation with over 200,000 YouTube views and about 12,000 likes to his Facebook page in less than 48 hours.  And the nasty comments have begun to annoy me.

First of all, I must say that most of the comments from both Gay and Straight people, men and women, have been very positive and supportive. Steve Grand has touched a lot of hearts with this video and I’m so glad for the support he is getting.

Steve is telling a very personal story.  That is a right we all have and only a few have the talent to do it so well.  That may be part of the problem- jealousy.  He also happens to be a gorgeous young man and I’m sure that has something to do with some of this jealousy as well…

The main complaints can be summarized as  a) it doesn’t have a happy ending, b) it makes gay people look like hard-drinking, smoking predators  trying to steal straight men from their girlfriends and c)  it looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch ad.

The shallow end of the Gay pool is in a frenzy of pique.

This may not just be a Gay thing.  It may be based, in part, on our national obsession with ourselves and the incestuous points of view that grow in the little bubbles we all live in.  We sometimes forget not everyone thinks like we do or lives like we do. Or has the same problems, experience and issues we do.  Or has the same journey….

I hate to break it to this vocal little Gay minority, but all Gay People aren’t alike.  Whether we will admit it or not, we all still struggle with the repercussions of the societal and internal homophobia that has impacted us from birth.  We aren’t all well-adjusted, post-Stonewall Modern Gays living in harmony with our world.  We aren’t all living in New York, San Francisco or other big, accepting cities.  We don’t all have all the same experiences.  And if any group should have learned not to judge, it is us….

And these people also seem to forget that this is one young man telling his own very personal story and taking a very big risk with his fledgling career.  The entire Gay Community ought to be applauding him and wishing him well.

I am forever annoyed at the Gays who spend all their time worrying about the “image” of the Gay Community.  They are the ones who clutch their pearls and tear their well-coifed hair over Drag Queens at Gay Pride Parades, transgendered people being included in Equality initiatives and Butch Lesbians.  I hate to tell them, but we will not have really arrived, as a community, until we can embrace all the many kinds of Gay people and their right to live their lives and tell their stories.

I’m not perfect.  I have my issues with the frequent popular media assumption that all Gay men are rich white boys, with perfect bodies and perfect clothes-when they are wearing them-who live to take drugs and have wild sex at Circuit Parties.  Or decorate.  Or want to get married and have children like middle-class straight people.

We are more diverse than that and don’t need to support these stereotypes by applying our own stereotypes or tearing down people trying to live their individual lives and make their individual dreams come true.

By the way, have you ever been to a Summer Solstice Celebration?  Those straight people give Gay Pride Parades and Drag Queens a run for their money in the outlandish categories.  But they are open and accepting.  They are secure.  They are enjoying a celebration.

We have to be secure enough to celebrate all the many types of Gay people.  We need to accept there are Redneck rural gay men and women, Black Gays, Asian Gays, Latino Gays, Married Middle Class White Gays, Fat Gays, Drag Queens, Elderly and Middle-Aged Gays, Transgendered People, Handicapped Gays, Dykes on Bikes, Lipstick Lesbians and yes, gorgeous young Gay Men and jealous, petty, evil Gay Bitches who need to be called out.

And some of you probably are thinking, right now, that I am one of the latter….if so, too bad.

We also need to understand that homophobia does still exist in the post “Will & Grace”, post Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, defeated DOMA and post Prop 8 world.  And most of us have been damaged by it by some degree or another.  That’s the reason we should have more tolerance, more sympathy and be more willing to support our Gay Brothers and Sisters than other groups.

The Gay Community is a maturing community and an assimilating community, but we still have young gay people, like Steve Grand,  growing up facing some of the same challenges we all faced.

Those of us who are older need to be the biggest cheerleaders for those who are coming along.  They may not realize it, but they are standing on our shoulders and the only way they can learn from us is if we talk to them, support them and listen to their voices.

If we all share our stories and listen…..

The Gay Community, if there really is such a thing anymore, needs to understand that we are diverse.  We need to accept and celebrate that or we are no better than the Conservatives and the Religious Right who try to force everyone into their own little stereotypes of appropriate behavior.

And we need to learn to celebrate and support one of our own when he’s on the way to making it big.

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Steve Grand: All-American Boy

This song and video by Steve Grand seems to be going seriously viral over the 4th of July Holiday and justifiably so…

This is a very touching video that hits home to a lot of we guys who grew up far from the City Lights of the Gay Ghetto’s in New York, Washington and San Francisco.  This young man really captures the angst of being a young, Gay guy in a very straight world.

I’ve seen some pissy comments from some of the Big City Gay guys about this video and all I have to say is, either you’ve forgotten where you came from or you were really, really lucky…

As evidenced here, Steve Grand is a very talented young, Gay singer-songwriter.  I hope to see and hear much more from him soon.

And on another level,  this song and video also fills a void in genre music.  There has been a vital Womyn’s Music scene for many years, but the Gay Male music scene has really struggled to find an audience.  Matt Alber had a similar break through, a couple of years ago, with “End of the World.”  

I think Steve Grand has the potential to follow, and perhaps exceed, Matt’s success, change this dynamic and, hopefully, also find a successful place in the mainstream music world.  Steve apparently wants to be the first “out” Gay Country Music Star and it’s certainly time…

Writing this song and making this video also seems to be a very personal and brave decision by this young man.

As Steve writes on his FaceBook page:

I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself.
But starting today… I’m laying it out there. I’m done playing it safe.

I don’t have a manager or a label or any sort of funding other than the tip money I make playing piano downtown at The Joynt, and also, ironically to some, in the churches on Sunday morning… (we’ll see how long I’ll be singing “Glory to God” should this video see the light of day).

As far as the ascetic achievements of the video… lets just say I was lucky to have a good friend introduce me to the best team I could have asked for… who held on to the roller coaster that was this project and dealt with all my intensity and craziness as the true professionals they were.

I wrote the song during a drunken piano jam session at a party. I recorded the vocals in my parents basement and worked with my friend Max Steger: http://maxsteger.com/ to record and mix the rest of the instruments.

I feel like music industry people wouldn’t like the idea of me “pigeonholing” myself by telling this story as I have. But I don’t believe the world sees change until it sees honesty.

So I went in on my own.

I went all in. There is no Plan B. I’m nervous/excited/horrified/anxious about the implications all of the choices I am making (and have made throughout my journey of discovering myself as a man and as an artist) will have on my future. But then I remind myself I never really had a choice. This is the story I’ve been aching to tell my most of my life… it is what I hold dearest to me.

And he later posted:

time to be brave. the world does not see change until it sees honesty. I am taking a risk here in many ways, but really there is no choice but to be brave. To not tell this story is to let my soul die. It is all I believe in. It is all I hold dear. We have all longed for someone we can never have… we all have felt that ache for our ‎#allamericanboy

I wish him all the luck in the world…. 

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Dancing in the Dark

Heading out shortly to Durham, NC for a jazzy evening at the Jane Monheit concert there tonight at the Carolina Theatre.

When dealing with troubled times, it’s best to just follow Irving Berlin’s advice:
“Let’s Face the Music and Dance.”

Even when, as Schwartz and Dietz wrote,  we we feel we are “Dancing in the Dark”:

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Gomer Pyle Gets Hitched: Jim Nabors Marries His Longtime Male Partner

Well, no one saw this coming….

That’s sarcasm, in case you missed it….

Anyway, congratulations to Jim Nabors!

Mayberry will never be the same….

From WBTV Charlotte:

Jim Nabors, the Hawaii resident well known for his starring role in the 1960s television sitcom “Gomer Pyle, USMC,” married his longtime male partner early this month, he told Hawaii News Now Tuesday.

Nabors, 82, said he married his companion of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, who’s 64, in Seattle on Jan. 15.

Nabors declined an on-camera interview but spoke to Hawaii News Now by phone.

“I’m 82 and he’s in his 60s and so we’ve been together for 38 years and I’m not ashamed of people knowing, it’s just that it was such a personal thing, I didn’t tell anybody,” Nabors said. “I’m very happy that I’ve had a partner of 38 years and I feel very blessed.  And, what can I tell you, I’m just very happy.”

Nabors said he and Cadwallader traveled to Washington state, where gay marriages became legal in early December 2012. They were married at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle.

A judge performed the marriage ceremony in the privacy of their hotel room with a couple of friends who live down the street from them near Diamond Head as witnesses, Nabors said.

Before they were married, Nabors said, “It’s pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you’ve been together 38 years, I think something’s got to happen there, you’ve got to solidify something.  And at my age, it’s probably the best thing to do.”

via EXCLUSIVE: Actor Jim Nabors marries his longtime male partner – WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC.

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Rest in Peace, Andy Williams

I can’t let Andy Williams’ passing go by without comment…

He and his music and TV show were so much a part of my childhood….

His Christmas Album is still one of my favorites…

And his version of “Moon River” is the definitive version of the 1960’s- except for Audrey Hepburn in the film.

And the gracious way he stood by his ex-wife, and the mother of his children,  Claudine Longet during her scandalous murder trial…

Even if he was a Republican, he was friends with Bobby and Ethel Kennedy….

He was a Gentleman…

I’ll miss him….

Here is a link to a great remembrance from Suzi Parker in the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/post/andy-williams-crossed-generational-and-political-lines-in-his-long-career/2012/09/26/ddead784-07f9-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_blog.html

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Happy Birthday, Loreena McKennitt

Love, love, love this woman’s music….

She sings me to sleep almost every night on my iPod…

She’s 55 today and I hope she performs and records new music for many, many more years….

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Whitney Houston: Rest in Peace….

She was the Voice of my Generation….

And ultimately our generation’s Judy Garland….

May she find peace, at last,  while we remember the gifts she gave to us:

Whitney, at only 22, on Letterman:

And this one from when we were all so young…

From the Soundtrack of our youth:

And her amazing Christmas recording of “Do You Hear What I Hear'”:

And from her last album a couple of years ago:

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