Archive for the ‘pop culture’ Category

Thud: Growing Up With The Bee Gees

June 29, 2014
My version of the Red Ryder BB Gun: "Bee Gees Gold."

My version of the Red Ryder BB Gun: “Bee Gees Gold.”

I was thrilled to receive a gift of a Bee Gees puzzle from my younger sister Lars last month.  This is not a joke: I was thrilled to get a 200 piece puzzle of the Bee Gees.  I love the Bee Gees, and not in the half-assed way that it’s become acceptable to love the Bee Gees, either.  They’re not a “guilty pleasure.”  Nor is “their early stuff actually pretty good” to me.  I love the disco stuff from the 70’s just as much as I love their British Invasion stuff.  They were my first favorite band.  I grew up with them.   My love, like all first loves, is crystalline and perfect: unencumbered by the cloudy complications that attend my “grown up” affections.   (I love Neko Case, for example, but I’ve backed away from her latest work, which seems stiff and agenda-addled to me.)  As a Bee Gees fan, I’ve become accustomed to snide comments and backhanded compliments.  After all, the Bee Gees have been given a bad rap. When called upon to do so, I’ve been their defender and I’ll defend them again in this story.  Like the contents of the box handed to me by my sister, this story is a jumble of pieces of the past: a past as distant as the summer of 1981, when my love for the Bee Gees became a full-tilt obsession and as recent as May 27, 2014, when I attended Barry Gibb’s “Mythology” Tour at the United Center in Chicago.    (more…)

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Gaytheist Christmas Card 2013

December 23, 2013
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Meme-ish smartassery courtesy of our family’s answer to Banksy: Auntie.

The glow emanating from this, the Gaytheist Christmas Card 2013, is golden– a butterscotch, if you will.  Like butterscotch, its sweetness is undermined by its stickiness.  It’s the kind of stickiness you encounter when handling a “live” Christmas tree: the sap is snarlingly soap resistant, rendering  you a laughable Edward Stickerhands. 

Take heart, my sticky babies– at least you don’t smell like you have a Pine-Sol problem!  Your problem can be solved by a small child– a child who personifies the salvation of this hectic, overextended, and overwrought season, a child who redeemed us all  by casually handing Santa’s candy cane and his “be a good little girl” jive back to him–in several small, symbolically potent pieces.  In the spirit of this holiday miracle, the Gaytheist Gospel Hour wishes you and yours a very merry Up Yours, Christmas!

Storming The Stage With Sylvia Fowler

November 5, 2013
The two sides of Sylvia Fowler

Sylvia Fowler: motormouth and rubberneck.

“Take a good grip on yourself; you are going to DIE! Stephen Haines is stepping out on Mary!”  With this juicy salvo, Rosalind Russell spits out the verbal spark that ignited “The Women.”  It was one of the highest grossing films of 1939, a whip-smart comedy lampooning the intrigues of the privileged class, featuring a veritable army of female talent.  Much has been said about Rosalind Russell’s performance in “The Women”, and rightfully so: its brilliance is undeniable.  Russell’s portrayal of ruthless gossip Sylvia Fowler is a mad gallop across the gamut of what’s funny:   lethal one liners executed with rat-a-tat-tat rapidity, coupled with ferocious physical comedy, all in service of an unforgettably daffy character who easily carries away the entire film.  Sylvia Fowler, with her eager ears and unstoppable mouth, would be the last person anyone would want to see sitting across from them at a gathering of friends.  Yet the crazed charisma of Russell’s performance transforms this ruthless scandalmonger into a lovable lunatic.  She simply cannot help herself.  Her condition, as summed up by her best friend Edith Potter (Phylis Povah) is congenital and chronic: “It’s just her tough luck that she wasn’t born deaf and dumb.”  We love her best of all the women in the film, even those whose lives she destroys. (more…)

Jive Turkey Thanksgiving

December 9, 2012

you-jive-turkey

We’re having Thanksgiving dinner today, but it’s not Thanksgiving. This is a totally bogus holiday, culminating in the partaking of the jive turkey.   Today we celebrate the Totally Bogus in all its many vestiges, from the deviously “counterfeit”  to the flat-out “wiggity-wiggity-whack.”   Jive Turkey Thanksgiving is so Totally Bogus, it’s the Courtney Love of holidays: a holiday that stands before us in tattered evening wear,  confronting us with face smeared out of focus with streaked makeup and multiple plastic surgeries, a holiday that declaims from the top of its rattling lungs: “I fake it so real I am beyond fake.”   Jive Turkey Thanksgiving is, in fact, the only real way to celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday that is in itself notoriously jive-ass from top to bottom.

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On Wisconsin: Fight Songs

August 19, 2012

There are two kinds of battle anthems: those in the Sousa idiom and the good kind.

“Fight Songs” is the sixth chapter in The Gaytheist Gospel Hour‘s seven part series “On Wisconsin.”

Here in the good ol’ USA, we love our college football fight songs. We like the boastful smack-talk of the lyrics, the militaristic marching band music, the purposeful feeling of “us vs. them” that pumps in our veins when we all sing along.  It could be argued that no other state in the union loves their college football fight song more than Wisconsin, which actually adapted theirs into the official state song.* “On, Wisconsin” is such an epitome of the fight song genre, it was once praised by none other than John Phillip Sousa himself, king of the marching band battle anthem.   It is a pretty rousing tune, if only for the fact it mentions the word “fight” four times in a single line.

But for my money, there’s no better fight song than the one recorded by Pat Benatar in 1979.  “Heartbreaker” dispenses with the jingoistic clap trap of the classic fight song and its attendant arms-forces hoo-hah and focuses directly on the “fuck you” core element of the fight at hand.  (more…)