Monday, June 28, 2010

Wilson does Gershwin

How exciting!  The latest Brian Wilson project, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, which features two *new* Wilson/Gershwin collaborations, comes out on August 17th.  No word yet on a vinyl version, but I'll be sure to post if I hear anything!

Track Listing:
1 Rhapsody In Blue (Intro) 1:07
2 The Like In I Love You 3:19
3 Summertime 3:13
4 I Loves You Porgy 3:37
5 I Got Plenty O' Nuttin' 2:44
6 It Ain't Necessarily So 3:57
7 'S Wonderful 2:48
8 They Can't Take That Away From Me 2:50
9 Love is Here To Stay 2:58
10 I've Got a Crush On You 2:41
11 I Got Rhythm 2:42
12 Someone To Watch Over Me 3:04
13 Nothing But Love 3:24
14 Rhapsody In Blue (Reprise) :37
Update: is taking pre-orders for the VINYL of Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, with an expected date of August 24th!!


New thrift store shelf for the bulk of my 45s 
(not including bigger collections 
like Beatles, Beach Boys, Monkees, Prince).

Saturday, June 26, 2010


DSC_0952, originally uploaded by themncolumn.
Perhaps against my better judgment, I sang "If I Could Turn Back Time" at a Pride event last night. It was the first time I had "performed" a Cher tune in front of a queer crowd (I think I had feared that they would attack me for mocking an icon, even tho I see it as more of an homage). It was a lot of fun, although it looks like I'm about to swallow the microphone in this picture! Thanks to everyone who refrained from throwing things at me during my stint at the mic :).

(photo borrowed from themncolumn's flickr page)

Friday, June 25, 2010

A big ol' stack o'Pride

Today marks the start of the Twin Cities' annual Pride weekend. I actually have planned social activities on deck this year; In past years there were times when I felt like I couldn't be bothered with it all, but I'm feeling festive and upbeat in 2010!  To help kick things off I dug out a stack of 45s to throw on when Leo & I aren't busy outside of the house.  I luvs me my 45's!

Happy Pride Month everyone!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

4:25 PM

Just got home from studying and was greeted 
by this sunshiney beauty at the back door.

On my turntable: Barry Manilow - Greatest Hits

This is a brilliant collection of songs, by a genius of a man who totally got a raw deal in the image department. For those of you who weren't around in the early to mid 1980's, there were few artists who faced ridicule and scorn like Barry Manilow (the Bee Gees might be close). This, of course, was after he'd already racked up a couple dozen huge hits and sold tens of millions of records.  Perhaps his crime was too much success; As they say, the higher they climb...

The true genius of Manilow, in my opinion, is his gift for arranging.  He is also a gifted songwriter, but he was not always the author of his hits (trivia: "I Write the Songs" was NOT written by Manilow, but by Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. Manilow was also not the first to record the song).  Manilow has a special knack for building a song from a simple piano intro to a huge lush production, and when he kicks it into high gear with a key change  - that's when the ladies start throwing their panties.

Manilow has experienced a renaissance of sorts with his "greatest love songs of the 50s-80's" collections.  No doubt he's still got a few tricks up his sleeve.  My hope is that he gets back to old some old-school Barry soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On my turntable: The Dave Clark Five's Greatest Hits

For a small time in my senior of high school I liked The Dave Clark Five. It was a very short lived fandom, but at least I got this LP out of the deal. My brother was the director of his college radio station at the time, and I was allowed to "borrow" this record from the station's library.  I haven't listened to it in a very long time, so it's fun to revisit.

One thing I don't understand is how, in the 1960's, the DC5 were considered to be contemporaries of The Beatles. If you ever see a teen magazine from 1964, for example, the cover story is likely to be about some battle of the bands between the fab four and the fab five. Who is the most fab??  Teenage girls would pick sides and fight over who was the dreamiest, Paul McCartney or Dave Clark. In retrospect I tend to put the DC5 on par with other pre-psychedelic bands like Herman's Hermits. They made nice music, but somehow it didn't manage to transcend the era in which it was created.

2010: Best of Qtr II

This has been a very exciting three months for new music!  Over half of these tracks are vinyl releases, which is doubly exciting.  At least a quarter of the songs relate to summer and/or sun, which is nicely sasonable. I should also point out that eight of the artists (marked with an asterisk*) are new (or at least new to me).  So check it out:

20. "Mornin' Rise" - De La Soul
19. "I Don't Want It" - The Genuine Fakes*
18. "He's Not a Boy" - The Like*
17. "Bang Pop" - Free Energy*
16. "How Are You Doing" - The Living Sisters*
15. "And Suddenly" - The School*
14. "Animal" - Neon Trees*
13. "Sidelines" - Actress*
12. "Hot Summer" - Prince
11. "Plundered My Soul" - The Rolling Stones
10. "Free Energy" - Free Energy*
9. "Thinkin' 'Bout Somethin'" - Hanson
8. "Heard it on the Radio" - The Bird and the Bee
7. "What We Do" - DEVO
6. "Saturday Sun" - Crowded House
5. "Here Comes the Summer" - Palmdale*
4. "I Have You to Thank" - Donny Osmond
3. "The Sweetest Thing" - Camera Obscura
2. "Between the Lines" - Stone Temple Pilots
1. "Skinny Little Bitch" - Hole

Friday, June 18, 2010

On my turntable: Green Day - American Idiot

I waited a long time to buy this album for a number of reasons. For one, I didn't want to jump on any bandwagon. That's one of my general rules in music -- don't buy something just because it's the flavor of the month. American Idiot (2006) has been "the flavor" more than once; It was super hot upon its release, and then it won album of the year at the Grammys, and then it was featured at the Tonys. Ugh. I had this vision of record stores being overrun with piles of used Green Day CDs that people didn't want anymore because they were no longer the cool disc to have in the SUV.

Another reason I waited is that early vinyl pressings were $30+, which is out of my budget for most LPs (exceptions primarily being Beatles & Prince). This 2009 pressing, however, is priced closer to the $20 range, which is reasonable for a quality double LP.

So I bought American Idiot a couple of days ago, and I agree it's a pretty amazing piece of work. I recognize at least 4 of the songs already, and the rest are growing on me pretty quickly. The gatefold 2LP comes with a lyric poster, which I look forward to reading.

St. Thomas Parish, Washington D.C.

Last week after Leo and I visited the Capitol we went for a long walk to find a couple of record stores I wanted to visit (well I walked, and Leo graciously followed). During our walk we went past a historic church that looked like it had recently burned down. Turned out that the church, St. Thomas Episcopal, was the victim of arson in August 1970, and what we saw were the preserved remains. The following day I went back to the neighborhood to buy some records, and had some time to shoot the following video on my way back:

Since shooting this footage I've learned that St. Thomas has a very rich and interesting history. It has also become one of the more welcoming and fully inclusive parishes in D.C., with a large number of LGBT families.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"East Coast Cats & Christopher Street Boys"

A post in honor of Pride month and the 41st anniversary of the Stonewall riots...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On my turntable: Stone Temple Pilots

This album was released on May 25, the day after I left town for a three week trek across the country (thoroughly documented over at Leo & Jeff's Big Gay Wedding blog). I found the LP at J&R Music when I was in NYC (see pics, below), but resisted buying it until I returned to Minneapolis.  Since obtaining this LP on Sunday (the day after we returned home), I've been listening to side one a lot. I've not yet heard side two, not out of lack of interest, but because side one is so good!  This is one of the long-forgotten joys of the LP, in my opinion -- that it's two gifts in one: Side one AND Side two.  

Stone Temple Pilots (2010) is the first widely-available domestic vinyl release from STP since their 1996 Tiny Music from the Vatican Gift Shop LP. I became an instant fan of the band after learning that they were the band behind the single "Big Bang Baby", not Redd Kross. STP were poised for greatness in '96 as the scheduled opening act for the big KISS reunion that summer. At the last minute STP had to back out due to Scott Weiland's addiction problems. It wouldn't be the last time that Weiland's relationship with drugs would interfere with the band's success.

That was then & this is 2010. If the new album is any indication, Stone Temple Pilots are back in the saddle and ready to reclaim greatness again. If they keep making great records like this one they've got my continued support!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Philly and DC record store booty

Despite the craziness of the past week, I was able to squeeze in time to check out a few record stores in both Philadelphia and D.C., leaving each city with a few new gems under my arm.

Philadelphia Record Exchange:
  • Elvis Costello & The Attractions: "New Amsterdam"/ "Wednesday Week" (non-LP) (1979)
  • Boy George: "Everything I Own"/"Use Me" (1987)
  • The Boomtown Rats: "Rat Trap"/"Do the Rat" (non-LP) (1979)
  • Charo & The Salsoul Orchestra - Cuchi-Cuchi (1977)
 Smash! Records, D.C.:
  • The Boomtown Rats: "House On Fire"/"Europe Looked Ugly" (1982)
  • The Boomtown Rats: "Drag Me Down"/"An Icicle in the Sun" (1984)
Crooked Beat Records, D.C.:
  •  Doors: "People Are Strange"/"The Crystal Ship" (2010 Record Store Day exclusive)
  • Queen: Rock You From Rio - Live (2009)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Go-Go's 2010

New publicity photo for the Happily Ever After tour:

Saturday, June 05, 2010

"Be Here Now"

Remember, now, be here now
As it's not like it was before.
The past, was, be here now
As it's not like it was before - it was

Why try to live a life,
That isn't real,
No how
A mind, that wants to wander,
'round a corner,
Is an unwise mind.

Now, is, be here now
And it's not what it was before,
Remember, now, be here now
As it's not like it was before - it was
G. Harrison

Friday, June 04, 2010

NYC vinyl booty

I was able to hit a couple of record shops (Bleecker Street Records and Other Music) during a relaxing day of sightseeing in NYC on Monday, scoring a few choice items for very little money:

  • Paul McCartney - "Once Upon a Long Ago"/"Back On My Feet"(non-LP) (1987)
  • Susanna Hoffs - "Unconditional Love"/"Circus Girl" (non-LP), pic disc (1991)
  • Camera Obscura - "The Sweetest Thing"/"Tougher Than the Rest"(non-LP) (2009)
  • Jackson 5 - "Dancing Machine" stereo/mono promo (1974)
  • Soup Dragons - "I'm Free" 12" single (1990)
  • Bay City Rollers - Rock N 'Roll Love Letter SEALED (1976)
  • Various - Gift Wrapped: 20 Songs That Keep On Giving (promo only) (2009)
  • Was (Not Was) - Born to Laugh at Tornadoes (feat. guest vocals by Doug Fieger & Mel Torme)(1983)
  • Cheap Trick - The Doctor (1986) & Next Position Please (1983) Both SEALED

Also, last week when the class was volunteering at a Brown Elephant thrift store in Chicago I (unbelievably) snagged a nice copy of Prince's 1988 Lovesexy tour programme for a buck. Again: buck.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

To the 5 Boroughs...

I have spent the past six days in an incredible city with an amazingly diverse group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.  The University of Minnesota's GLBTA Leadership Institute hit NYC last week for seven days of meetings, workshops, and training with organizations such as The LGBT Community Center, Queens Pride House, The Anti-Violence Project of NYC, The Hetrick Martin Institute, The Lesbian Herstory Archives, and the Sylvia Rivera Pantry, to name a few.  Of personal interest, I got to see the Dakota (John & Yoko's home), Strawberry Fields, Joey Ramone Place, a couple of record shops, and Amy, a dear friend of 20+ years. To say that this experience has been life changing would be an understatement.

Tonight the group handed out safe-sex packets to folks hanging out at the piers, after getting a tour of the historic Christopher Street area. I was then able to spend some time in the Stonewall Inn with my people before calling it an early night and catching the subway back to the hotel.  On the train I reflected over the past 6 days feeling a powerful sense of pride and purpose.

Tomorrow we pack up the bus and head to Philadelphia for a Trans-Health Conference, and on Saturday we travel to Washington, DC.  On Sunday my partner Leo will join me, and on Tuesday we will legally wed in the company of the group that I've been so fortunate to spend the past two weeks with.  Thanks to everyone for the journey (and it ain't over yet!).