Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This makes me happy.

I've had a crap day. This photo makes me feel better.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hallelujah: A triptych

I was Skyping with my mom and sending her some music when she asked me about that song from the episode of The West Wing where CJ's Secret Service manfriend gets shot.

Instantly, I knew: "Hallelujah." The Jeff Buckley version. The one that makes everyone cry.

Rather than simply send her that version, I sent her all three: Buckley's tear jerker, Rufus Wainwright's relatively upbeat and melodic version and the original, off-key version by Leonard Cohen.

Each version holds a special place in my musical memory. The versions are all so different, but the beauty of the lyrics persists. It's a testament to the power original song that it holds up so well under interpretation – and there have been many. I figured I would put my favorite three up here and let you, the ever gentle reader, decide which speaks to you the most.


(On another note: I need to see Rufus in concert. Can't believe I haven't yet)

Proof that life isn't fair: Larry Mendte's dumb luck

This is a good, ol' fashioned, Adrienne Saia-style rant.

First, you need some background: Larry Mendte. Google him.

I'll start by saying that through the entire scandal and immediately afterward, I didn't have a problem with the guy. He let his whopping, local news anchor ego get the best of him and he fucked up. Big time. Like, federal investigation big time. Mostly, I felt bad for his wife who stood by him through this entire embarrassing, non-sex scandal. I had met Alycia Lane and was immediately put off by her and her entourage, so I had no problem believing that she was as much of the problem as he. The guy pleaded guilty, went away for a while, wrote a few blogs here and there – that was about it.

Then he drops this gem for Philadelphia magazine. (Go on, read it.)


This is the most self-aggrandizing piece of MySpace diary bullshit I've read in a long time. Whatever respect I had for Mendte was wiped out here; while he previously took the high road of admitting guilt and taking responsibility for his actions, he's now resorted to calling out people who have supposedly turned their backs. When you become a subject of news (by your own actions, no less), then members of the media need to talk about you. Period. You know how to avoid that? Stay out of trouble (and other people's email accounts).

After his federal indictment, guilty plea and subsequent house arrest, Mendte embarked on several cricket-filled pitch meetings with A-list executives. Many didn't go well and he was out of work for quite some time. But then he won Powerball!!! And then one of his pitches got picked up!!! And, in the meantime, he had job offers in excess of what my mom has made over the past 10 years!! But it was weally, weally hard guys. He had to tap into his savings to make ends meet.

Honestly, this is worth a fucking, (probably) paid magazine editorial? What about focusing on those who've also busted ass to create their professional lives and haven't broken federal laws in the meantime? How about focusing on people who struggle to make ends meet every day without having a combined annual income of $1 million plus? What about the millions who haven't fucked up and STILL don't have jobs that put their work in millions of homes every night? Mendte's "post-it" story isn't worth publication; it isn't even worth a five-line brief. It's the diary entry of a whiny sycophant whose own failures as a citizen brought him into the "it" that "destroyed" his life and a self-indulgent paean to the dumb luck of a Powerball ticket that pulled him through.

It's not that I don't believe that Mendte deserves success; he spent decades as an Emmy Award-winning newscaster and anchor. He undoubtedly used his talents and screen time to make the contacts who helped him during his "post-it" time. But when admitted ex-cons like him and Michael Vick (whose crimes literally made me vomit, who is a reprehensible creature, who unlike Mendte, destroyed the life of another living thing, who is the subject of an entirely separate rant that I'm not ready to unleash) whine about the difficulties of life after their indiscretions, it makes me sick. There are good people who, on the daily, of no fault of their own, are embroiled in years-long stages of "post-it" that never come to the fortuitous end that Mendte's did. And they don't get the space in Philly Mag to whine about it.

I'm no internet troll, and I'm no jealous hater. But Larry – stick to the reporting and commenting on the news and stop trying to make your story a part of it. Your "post-it" is not a success story, it's a slap in the face to those whose lives haven't been so lucky.

Photo courtesy of the awesome-sauce Paul Triggiani.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stuck in my head: Placebo, "Pure Morning"

One of the suggested videos at the end of the White Town video from the other day was Placebo's "Pure Morning." The reminder of how much I love this song could not have come at a more appropriate time, as I'm exploring my fascination with gender-bending drag queens and reviving my passion for all-black clothing and nail polish.

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard this song; it was also the first time I saw the video. I was at my dad's house on 17th Street, laying awake in the big bed. He was passed out on the couch in the living room, snoring. My insomnia started when I was in sixth grade, maybe even earlier. Actually, it wasn't quite insomnia, but I made myself stay up as long as possible every night. Dad was never very good at locking the door (or, you know, even closing it) and one night someone came in (you can't use the term "broke in" when the door is unlocked) and stole a bunch of stuff. That terrified me and when I was at that house, I was never really able to sleep comfortably. So, I watched TV – a lot of it.

This was back when MTV still played videos. It was absurdly late, and I was dozing off. Then "Pure Morning" came on. It felt like lightning struck me – suddenly, sleep wasn't an option, not at all. This thin, pale, androgynous beauty with the black hair and fingernails I desperately wished to have was about to jump. His... her... his voice whined about friends with weed being friends indeed and bit his lip and stared at the transfixed 14-year-old American girl. I fell in love. It felt wrong. But the song and the man singing it were utterly intoxicating. I was confused. I was transfixed.

Over the years, Placebo popped up in my playlist here and there, catching my attention again when they tagged David Bowie for the remix of "Without You I'm Nothing." It wasn't until I became friends with Sara Heindorf and began the year of concerts in 2007 that I revved up my love for this band. Sara loved Placebo, made me a mix CD of her favorite songs, had an extra ticket to their show at the TLA on South Street (still my favorite concert venue), and needed someone to share in her passion for Brian Molko. I was relieved that someone else shared my fascination; for this and other reasons (like speeding down 76 to the Fat City apartment on 4th and Lombard after a night at Grape Street, screaming along to "Meds"), I'm glad I had Sara in my life then, especially on the night of that show.

Hands down, Placebo was one of the best concerts I've attended. Their sound is cinematic and loud for a three-piece, in the same vein as Muse is today. On stage, Molko's not as moody and brooding as one would expect for all of the black clothing and minor-tuned melodies. He's charming. And he smiles. I'll always remember him smiling on that stage, looking out at the crowd, seemingly bemused by our adoration and feeding off the energy in the room.

It was intoxicating.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hooligans in trees

North Bowl, Outback, Keystone Resort... me smiling, repping B. Dawk, not dead.

The hooligans I ski with.

The tree that caused Dinger's demise.

Dinger, sans nose skin, post-bleeding.

Obligatory self-portrait while guys are busy debating which line to take.

Five inches accumulation, my ass, but overall a great day. Powder in the trees, getting less sucky on the moguls. And, let's be honest, even a bad day of skiing is better than any day at work!

Stuck in my head: White Town, "Your Woman"

So much for all your highbrow, Marxist ways / Just use me up and then you walk away / Boy, you can't play me that way...

I have this love/hate relationship with Pandora and I think we're back in love. Before work, I listen to my RuPaul/La Roux/Katy Perry station (don't judge) because it pumps me up for the eight hours of fake smiling ahead of me (seriously, stop judging, I like pop music, okay?).

Today this late-90s gem popped up. I totally remembered this song, mostly because the Top 40 station in Allentown, where I grew up, played it non-stop. That and the non-stop pulsating horn in the background. The lyrics completely didn't make sense to me at the time since the singer was male. Indeed, White Town is one guy, Jyoti Prakash Mishra, rocking an NIN-type "I play all the instruments" vibe (albeit less awesome than what our god Trent has created over the years). Today, with all of the gender-bending craziness I've been exposed to and infatuated with, the lyrical content doesn't seem as odd to me.

While I didn't appreciate its ubiquity back then, I'm kind of loving this lil song right now. Here's White Town with "Your Woman":

Monday, February 14, 2011

Remember love.

I woke up this morning and was greeted by a barrage of Valentine's Day tweets. I completely forgot about today, mostly because I'm single and don't pay much attention to holidays in general. Usually Valentine's Day brings out the misanthrope in me, but I'm trying to rethink my outlook on the subject. I'm not going to complain about my love life or relationships, because to me love isn't about building your world around one other person. For me, love is my mom, my friends, Philadelphia, running with my dog, skiing on a bluebird day and should encompass your entire life.

To celebrate today - and life - here's one of my favorite bands Fat City Reprise with "The Love Song."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Born This Way Friday!!!

"Don't be a drag, just be a QUEEN."

Like everyone else in the free world, I am psyched about "Born This Way" Friday. Oh, and Egypt. That too. Good job, guys, now don't fuck it up!

I love everything about Lady Gaga: the fashion, the fact that she's just a Tisch arthouse kid, her commitment to her fans. Hell, I even dressed as her for Halloween (awesome glasses, disastrous wig). Her latest interview with Vogue is pretty revealing, a rare look into the artistic world of a musical celebrity, which, for Gaga, is her entire life. And shouldn't we expect that from all artists? To live and breathe what they do? It's an interesting question, at least to me.

So, like a billion bloggers and fans and little monsters world wide, I present to you Lady Gaga's new single, "Born This Way."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, I got back on my horse and started writing for a blog other than this one again. 'Bout time, eh?

I'm back on Pajiba and what else did I write about but RuPaul's DRAAAAAG RAAAAACE!! Of course. Because I have a problem and the only cure is more glitter. So click on over, read some of my stuff, read some of the other stuff, and enjoy. I'll be back periodically writing about the best (and by best I mean trashiest) that television has to offer.

Read: You Had Me At Hallelu...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How I Feel About the Super Bowl

I love sports. Love them. I even dragged my ass out of bed early (albeit, to a bar with an unlimited bloody mary bar) to watch the World Cup last year. I cheer for all the Philly teams (yes, even the Sixers), Penn State and sometimes the University of Colorado just to know what futility feels like. But I am entirely underwhelmed by today's Super Bowl. I wrote the following in an email to Pajiba and am reprinting it here so you can understand my state of mind:

In other news, it is Super Bowl Sunday. This is good because I like beer and onion dips. However, since the Packers beat my Eagles and I generally hate the Steelers (and date rape), the only hopeful conclusion to today's gridiron battle is that the ground beneath Cowboys Stadium opens up and swallows everyone into the abyss.

This scenario would also destroy the $100 million monstrosity that is the home field of the most hated team in the NFL (according to Philadelphia, the only city that really matters because we were the birthplace of freedom, you ungrateful bastards. Shut up, Boston). The only people who should make it out alive are those four old guys from the Visa commercial who have gone to every Super Bowl since Jesus (editor's note: oops, almost). That, in itself, is impressive.

Hope everyone has a fun Super Bowl Sunday (except for This Kid Dan Geneczko, I hope you end up sobbing into your terrible towel). And happy birthday, Ross!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Logo TV gives a tweet about me

Don't let your parents tell you that dicking around on the interwebs doesn't get you anywhere.

I was tweetin' around during the newest episode of RuPaul's Drag Race last night and LogoTV caught on to me:

I don't know what this entails, but I'm excited. And basically famous.

Keep an eye out for my tweet! Especially if your drag name is Raven, because it's probably about you and it's probably creepy. But creepy in an admiring and loving way. Obviously.