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Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQ’

“Burn That Bridge”

Posted by purplemary54 on February 24, 2018

I discovered this song/video a couple weeks ago.  I know there are a number of young Country music artists who are more inclusive of LGBTQ people and issues, but this is the first time I’ve heard a performer talk about their music being explicitly about a same-sex couple.  (Here’s a link to the interview with Billboard.)  It reminds me just how important representation in media and popular culture really is.  If you never see people who look/feel/think/behave like you in the culture you consume, the subliminal message is that you are both inferior and invisible.  If you do see people who look/feel/think/behave like you, then you have role models and the subliminal message is that you are both seen and worthy of being seen.  That you are normal and not some kind of a freak.  I’m sure “Burn That Bridge” is going to matter in that way for some young gay dude in the middle of cowboy country who thinks he’s the only guy who ever felt this way.  Representation matters.

But issues of representation aside, here’s what I really like about Donovan Woods’ song and video: 1) It’s a pretty damn good song–nice emotion, good slow build; 2) Those young men are fantastic dancers.  Yeah, representation in media and popular culture matters, but it helps if that representation is attached to culture that refuses to stereotype the people it portrays and is quality entertainment.  This one scores on all counts.

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Posted in Country, Music | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Orlando

Posted by purplemary54 on June 12, 2016

I’ve used this piece of music from Milk as part of a 9/11 post a couple of times now.  It is, sadly, more appropriate today than after just about any mass shooting.  Than any shooting at all since Harvey Milk’s assassination.  Because there are a lot of conservatives out there refusing to acknowledge that this particular act of terror was aimed squarely at the LGBT community.  Because this act was aimed squarely at the LGBT community.  Because thugs and gangsters like ISIS teach people that homosexuality is worse than a sin.  But it’s time for a little more than just the music.

Now I could’ve hunted down some footage of Harvey speaking these words himself; maybe that would’ve been better.  But I’ve always found this ending scene from the movie so powerful.  The thousands of candles, the river of candles, moving down the street in honor and memory of that man remind me that we are more than our labels, although in this case the label is a little important.  I refuse to erase the gay people from this crime.  And I refuse to give in to thugs and gangsters.  I refuse to give in to hate.  The only way to stop hate is with love.  The only way to stop fear is to refuse to be afraid.  The only way to end all this endless violence is to give people, all people, hope.

You gotta give ’em hope.

Posted in Music, Soundtracks | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Repost: “Y.M.C.A.”

Posted by purplemary54 on January 16, 2015

The Supreme Court is going to hear cases on Same-Sex marriage in April, possibly deciding once and for all the legality of full equal rights for gay and lesbian couples.  (Fingers crossed that they make the right decision.)  The Trans community has made recent headlines with the tragic suicide of Leelah Alcorn and the victory of visibility with Transparent‘s win at the Golden Globes.  What I’m saying is that I’m looking for legitimate reasons to be reposting this ditty today, instead of coming up with something new.  Because I don’t really have anything new to say–although the length of this note implies otherwise.  Please ignore the opening comment about working out at the Y.  I’ve reached a new level of laziness lately, and it no longer applies.

So I’ve begun going to our local Y.M.C.A. to workout a couple of days a week. I use the term “workout” rather loosely, since I don’t really have a plan yet. I like the treadmill (now that I’ve gotten used to walking on a sidewalk that moves), and I use the stationary bike to get my heart rate up for a little cardio. But I’m not quite to the point where I know exactly what I’m doing.

Of course, going to the Y made me think of everyone’s favorite party song (or least favorite; there’s not a lot of middle ground with this one).

Watching this video makes me wonder how any reasonably intelligent (read: breathing) adult could not notice that this was the gayest singing group ever. I mean, I was like 7 or 8 when this came out, so I know how I missed it. I didn’t have any frame of reference or experience. But I seriously remember people being surprised that there were other connotations to what they were singing about. “You can hang out with all the boys” didn’t mean playing board games and basketball in this song. (I was a tad surprised when I figured it out some years later, but only for a few minutes. Then I thought about, oh, everything about the Village People and realized that 2 and 2 actually added up to a very fabulous 4.) Between the costumes and the lyrics and the dancing, it really was apparent.

Now my regular readers know that not only do I not care, I celebrate the open embrace of LGBTQ culture in this song. Sure, they played into a lot of the stereotypes of the gay community (cowboy, construction worker, cop, leather daddy). But they were upbeat and positive, promoting a vision of the community as fun and free. And human. The Village People are one of the earliest mainstream, pop culture representations of gays as something not deviant. They helped put a face on the community. They were non-threatening, funny and charming, with ready smiles and catchy tunes. It wasn’t the whole story, not by any means, but it was one chapter.

This is a story that’s still being written, and I’m still hoping for the happy ending (the one that says “And all the LGBTQ people got all the same legal and civil rights everyone else already had, and they lived happily ever after. The End.”). Without the Village People–and Elton John and Ellen Degeneres and so many others–we might not have gotten this far. So everybody get up, put your hands in the air, and sing along.

“It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.!”

Posted in Music, Pop | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“Kindly Bent to Free Us”

Posted by purplemary54 on May 8, 2014

One of the stories on the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times was about a local Metal band called Cynic.  Since I’ve mostly abandoned Metal as a genre since the 80s, I’ve got no clue who’s been out there the last couple of decades.  And apparently Cynic has been around quite some time.  The core of the band, Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert, have been playing together since the early 90s.  They’ve had time to form a band, break up and do side projects, and reunite with a new album that was released in February.

Wikipedia and itunes both classify Cynic as a Progressive Rock band, and there certainly are Prog elements to their sound; this isn’t what Metal typically sounds like these days.  There’s a jazzy, Indian sound to their music that makes them a little more than headbangers.  But listening to the title track of Kindly Bent to Free Us reminds me of 80s Metal powerhouses like Queensryche and artier combos like Kings X.  Masvidal’s vocal delivery is all 80s.  I’m not sure I’d want to listen to this stuff all the time, but it is definitely a trip down memory lane—even though it’s brand new.

So what sets the somewhat anachronistic Cynic apart from other bands on the Hard Rock scene?  Masvidal and Reinert are both gay.  That’s not really a big deal in most entertainment circles these days, but it’s huge in Metal/Hard Rock.  Apart from Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, there just aren’t a lot of out musicians in this genre (and Halford didn’t come out until he’d been in the business something like 20 years).  Metal is notoriously homophobic (not to mention sexist and racist).  There’s not a lot of acceptance of difference in this musical world.  Fans are primarily young, less educated, white males whose views are . . . unenlightened, to put it kindly.  Although Masvidal and Reinert have been out and proud on a personal level for many years, they’re just now breaking the public barrier.

Of course, their style of music is more likely to attract a more open-minded sort of fan.  The kind of dudes (and dudettes) who don’t quite fit in with the rest of the hard-partying headbanging crowd.  The ones who might feel some kinship with a couple of guys who are members of a historically marginalized group.  Metal fans in general feel alienated from the rest of mainstream culture; they probably wouldn’t be listening to metal if they didn’t.  By coming out, Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert are hopefully showing listeners that who they are isn’t limited to either the music or their sexuality, that being authentic to themselves is about embracing all aspects of their lives.  Maybe their presence will make Metal a more open place for all people.  It really is a brave new world out there, and Cynic are helping to break out of one more closet.

Posted in Music, Rock | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Y.M.C.A.”

Posted by purplemary54 on October 1, 2012

So I’ve begun going to our local Y.M.C.A. to workout a couple of days a week.  I use the term “workout” rather loosely, since I don’t really have a plan yet.  I like the treadmill (now that I’ve gotten used to walking on a sidewalk that moves), and I use the stationary bike to get my heart rate up for a little cardio.  But I’m not quite to the point where I know exactly what I’m doing.

Of course, going to the Y made me think of everyone’s favorite party song (or least favorite; there’s not a lot of middle ground with this one).

Watching this video makes me wonder how any reasonably intelligent (read: breathing) adult could not notice that this was the gayest singing group ever.  I mean, I was like 7 or 8 when this came out, so I know how I missed it.  I didn’t have any frame of reference or experience.  But I seriously remember people being surprised that there were other connotations to what they were singing about.  “You can hang out with all the boys” didn’t mean playing board games and basketball in this song.  (I was a tad surprised when I figured it out some years later, but only for a few minutes.  Then I thought about, oh, everything about the Village People and realized that 2 and 2 actually added up to a very fabulous 4.)  Between the costumes and the lyrics and the dancing, it really was apparent.

Now my regular readers know that not only do I not care, I celebrate the open embrace of LGBTQ culture in this song.  Sure, they played into a lot of the stereotypes of the gay community (cowboy, construction worker, cop, leather daddy).  But they were upbeat and positive, promoting a vision of the community as fun and free.  And human.  The Village People are one of the earliest mainstream, pop culture representations of gays as something not deviant.  They helped put a face on the community.  They were non-threatening, funny and charming, with ready smiles and catchy tunes.  It wasn’t the whole story, not by any means, but it was one chapter.

This is a story that’s still being written, and I’m still hoping for the happy ending (the one that says “And all the LGBTQ people got all the same legal and civil rights everyone else already had, and they lived happily ever after.  The End.”).  Without the Village People–and Elton John and Ellen Degeneres and so many others–we might not have gotten this far.  So everybody get up, put your hands in the air, and sing along.

“It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.!”

Posted in Music | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »