News Round-Up: August 1, 2020

Reichen and Chip win Season 4 of The Amazing Race (screen capture)

Some news items you might have missed:

Instinct Magazine: My colleague at my ‘other home’ has done a terrific round-up of LGBTQ reality show winners over the years including Amazing Race Season 4 champs Reichen and Chip (above). Hit the link for winning LGBTQ moments from Survivor, Big Brother and more.

Global News: Shane Daum, 43, reports he was gay-bashed by a group of seven individuals while camping in British Columbia. During the incident, the men (who recognized him from his local grocery store) held his dog as they beat him unconscious. He was treated for a concussion, but law enforcement says they aren’t pressing charges because there are “no independent witnesses to identify any particular accused at the time.”

Out Music: With his work in television, film and theater, Tituss Burgess is quickly emerging as one of the entertainment industry’s most versatile and dynamic performers. Burgess recently dropped his first single, “Dance M.F.,” aimed squarely at the dance music culture and this year’s many unstoppable virtual pride celebrations.

The track is a sultry sexy stomper with an attitude that is certain to bring comfort and escapism to our currently socially distanced souls. Burgess says the song “is a love letter to all the party people who in spite of the pandemic, are still committed to ‘live their best lives,’ party on down and celebrate Pride safely while in lockdown.”

Variety: Facebook is unleashing hundreds of thousands of music videos in the U.S. starting this weekend — a direct challenge to YouTube, which has had a virtual lock on the internet music-video space for years. With the U.S. launch of music videos, which Facebook has been actively developing since at least last fall, the company has updated Artist Pages of musicians and singers with a new section to let users browse their official music videos.

Yahoo News: Now that Donald Trump’s big GOP donor buddy Louis DeJoy has been installed as Postmaster General, orders are going out to employees reducing hours and services. I’m sure it’s all part of a plan to hobble voting by mail which Trump has been demonizing for weeks now for alleged ‘election fraud’ potential.

The Hill: Some Republicans are urging GOP leaders to abandon the attacks on mail-in voting and to instead embrace it, warning that the president is effectively sabotaging his own party. The impact could be particularly pronounced in Florida, a battleground state where Republicans have traditionally outpaced Democrats among absentee voters. It’s also the preferred method of voting for many seniors, who broke for Trump in 2016.

InstaHunks: I thought I’d share another shot of Backyard Envy host Garrett Magee since he made such a splash yesterday in my post about the upcoming Season 2 premiere on Tuesday, August 4.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Garrett Magee (@garrettbmagee) on

New Eminem/Joyner Lucas Track Leaked ‘What If I Was Gay?’

15-time Grammy Award winner Eminem (via Instagram)
15-time Grammy Award winner Eminem (via Instagram)
15-time Grammy Award winner Eminem (via Instagram)

The internet is buzzing after a short clip of a new track by rappers Eminem and Joyner Lucas surfaced titled, “What If I Was Gay?”

With Joyner’s debut studio album on the horizon, it’s widely expected the track will arrive on that release.

Rapper Joyner Lucas (via Instagram)
Rapper Joyner Lucas (via Instagram)

The short 13-second snippet, first reported by HipHopNMore, includes some provocative lyrics.

“What if I told you I was out of place? Wait, what if I told you I was gay?” raps Joyner.

Em counters back, “What if I’m a hypocrite who’s just afraid to face truth? Wait, what if I told you I’m gay too?”

Admittedly, there’s no context, but it’s certainly intriguing considering Eminem’s controversial history with the LGBTQ community.

The 15-time Grammy Award winner came under fire for using anti-gay slurs on several of his early tracks like “Marshall Mathers” in 2000 and “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” in 2002.

In an attempt to hit the reset button, he appeared with Elton John at the 2001 Grammy Awards for one of the most memorable duets in Grammy history.

The two artists performed Slim Shady’s “Stan” with Elton at the piano crooning the Dido sample from the track as Em delivered the rap.

In a 2017 interview with Vulture, Eminem was asked about his homophobic lyrics:

The first time I got a taste of being called anti-gay was on ‘My Name Is’ when I said, ‘My English teacher wanted to have sex in junior high / The only problem was my English teacher was a guy.’ All I was saying was I don’t swing that way. So when I started getting flack for it, I thought, ‘Alright, you people think I’m homophobic? Watch this.’ I was trying to push the buttons of people who were calling me something that I wasn’t. The honest-to-God truth is that none of that matters to me: I have no issue with someone’s sexuality, religion, race, none of that.

This new track would be the second collaboration for Joyner and Eminem.

Eminem had previously teamed up with Joyner for “Lucky You” which was featured on Em’s 2018 studio album, Kamikaze.

(source: HHNM)

With Twin Mass Shootings, Playing for Change Asks “What’s Going On?”


Guest post by Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.

This year in America, there have been 251 mass shootings as of day 215; three of them in the past week.

While the motive of the Dayton shooter is still TBD, the shooters in Gilroy, CA and El Paso, TX were both motivated by racist hate with the goal of slaughtering men, women, and children of color.

This is the sickening truth that Americans woke up to today and must live with.

How do any of us cope with the ceaseless crisis of gun violence and our leader’s complacency and willful inaction? How do we stem the growing tide of racism, xenophobia, and public displays of hate? How did we get here? What’s going on?

Nearly fifty years ago, the great Marvin Gaye asked the same question after an act of police brutality. His chart-topping, “What’s Going On?” is a ballad of grief, yearning, and most of all hope.

It became an instant classic and has brought people together in the darkest of times reminding us of common humanity when we are in most need of healing.

Playing For Change, an artist collective created to inspire and connect the world through music recently released a cover of Gaye’s hit that shines a special light of hope today.

From their official website:

“Playing For Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people.

“Our primary focus is to record and film musicians performing in their natural environments and combine their talents and cultural power in innovative videos we call Songs Around The World.

“Through these efforts, we aim to create hope and inspiration for the future of our planet.”

(screen capture)

Founded in 2002, Playing For Change released its first album in 2009, “Songs from Around the World,” featuring 100 musicians from 21 countries.

From its liner notes:

“For seven years our small film crew traveled the world with recording equipment and cameras in search of inspiration — we traveled from streets and subways to native Indian reservations, through African towns and villages, up to the Himalayan Mountains and beyond.

“Throughout the journey, we created a movement connecting the world through music. This album is a collective statement from over 100 musicians spanning five countries. Many of them have never met in person, but through their different cultures, these songs demonstrate a profound human connection and willingness to unite.

“Through music, we can understand our differences and create a better world.”

Playing For Change’s debut music video, a cover of the Ben E. King classic, “Stand By Me,” showcases their inspirational and remarkable journey.

Their latest music video of Imagine Dragon’s “Love” was recently released and its message could not be more relevant or important. Featuring musicians from across six continents, “Love” reminds us we are all one in the human choir inviting us to share in the song,

“All around the world, we are one …” and let’s share the love with everyone we meet.”

More about Playing For Change:

Support their work by becoming a member HERE.

Follow their inspirational work on social media:

Facebook: @PlayingForChange
Instagram: @playing4changefoundation
Twitter: @playing4change

You can follow guest contributor Lawrence Pfeil Jr. at his website, TheOUTFront.com

Pride Music: Tom Goss “Bears”

Pride Month includes all of our diverse communities, so I love sharing this music video.

Back in 2013, over 200 “bears” joined together to make guitar-toting Tom Goss’s super-fun music video for “Bears.”

Complete with lots of robust, hirsute men playing with Super Soakers, careening down a slip and slide, and dancing in a club (usually in slow motion), the video celebrates all the furry goodness.

Prominent figures in the “bear” and LGBTQ community star in the film including model and Bear World Magazine’s “Bear of the Month,” Miles Windsor (a.k.a. Lumberjack Bear), Charger Stone (DC Bear Crue), and well-known drag queen, B’Naka.

Aside from his personal tastes (his husband since 2010 is a self-professed Bear), Tom wanted to showcase the diversity of the gay community in a high caliber production.

“We are overrun with images of perfect men, in perfect clothes and perfect bodies, and as a result, many people doubt their self-image,” says Goss.  “This video showcases what it means to be beautiful and sexy, regardless of size,” he continues.

Even before it’s formal release, the buzz both online and through the production had already resulted in Goss receiving dozens of emails from men thanking him for boosting their self-image.

All things Tom Goss can be found at his official website here.

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Does Your Favorite Music Reveal How You Like To Get Down?

(Image via Depositphotos)

Does your favorite kind of music reveal if you prefer the top or bottom bunk?

A new survey by TickPick, an online ticketing service, was interested in if the music people listen to affects sexual preferences, attitudes and fetishes.

In the online survey, titled “Music’s Influence on Sexual Behaviors,” TickPick asked over 1,000 music fans of all kinds (LGBTQ, straight, and all in between) if their sexual preference was to be “on the top” or “on the bottom.”

Now, we know you can be the “insertive” or “receptive” partner in either physical position, so take this all with a grain of salt as we don’t know how respondents might have interpreted the question. Plus, the answers are self-reported so…there you go.

In any case, the survey showed fans of country music, show tunes, pop, alternative and indie rock say they prefer being “on the bottom.” Country music fans lead the way with 48 percent preferring the bottom bunk.

On the other end of the spectrum, reggae, folk, EMD, Jazz and Blues music fans tended to choose being “on top.” Not sure if it’s the rhythm, but Reggae music fans topped the graph at 37 percent.

Interestingly, there was no question for versatile folks.

(image via TickPick)

Also from the survey:

The overall favorite sexual position, chosen by 36 percent of respondents, was doggy style.

BDSM was the most mentioned fetish, and was the top choice of Indie rock fans.

Role-play was the next-preferred fetish, with 47 percent of country music fans leading the pack.

Blues fans say they last the longest in bed at 16 minutes.

It turns out technology comes in handy for couples who have different musical tastes. Seventeen percent of respondents shared they wear their Apple AirPods while getting down so both partners can enjoy their own favorite tunes.

One last factoid: country music fans were the least likely to use contraceptives during sex with just under 50% reporting usage, and over 25% of these same country fans admitted to having one-night stands.

Click here to check out all the stats from the survey.

Pride Music: Matt Alber “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Out singer Matt Alber covers the Whitney Houston classic "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"

Part of what the LGBTQ community has had to do over the decades was co-opt popular music for ourselves when it wasn’t possible for an artist to be open about who they really were.

I’ve loved this gorgeous, poignant cover version of Whitney Houston’s mega hit, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” by popular out singer Matt Alber for years.

Alber’s brilliant reimagining of the tune reflects a universal feeling many young LGBTQs have experienced forever. Let’s face it – how many of us thought we’d never find someone to dance with?

The lyrics really are front and center in this thoughtful take on the song.

From the single release notes: “I grew up listening to Whitney on my Sony Walkman cassette player while wandering my apartment complex in St. Louis. No one knew I was gay, and I spent a lot of time alone singing along to Whitney, and this song in particular.”

“It’s lonely growing up as a teen in the closet and Whitney helped me express the deeply hidden desires of my heart– I wanted to dance with somebody who loved me.”

A portion of the proceeds from the single benefit Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco, an organization directly meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth in the bay area.

Learn more at: www.larkinstreetyouth.org

You can buy the single at iTunes or CDbaby.com

Marianne Williamson On Aretha Franklin & The Music Of Our Lives

Ruminating on the news that the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is gravely ill, Marianne Williamson shared this thoughtful and delicate essay on the music of our lives and the joy it brings.
Aretha Franklin

Ruminating on the news that the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin is gravely ill, Marianne Williamson shared this thoughtful and delicate essay on the music of our lives and the joy it brings.

This has turned out to be a sacred night, as millions of souls are saying to others, “Did you hear that Aretha is dying?” There’s the quiet hush of a collective deathwatch, as we throw our prayers to God that they might be roses on her path.

I once read that no matter how old you are, the music of your youth is the music of your soul. To say Aretha Franklin’s is the music of my soul is to vastly understate her effect upon my life. Hers was more than the music of my soul; she was in many ways the opener of my soul, a light on my path, a goddess who chanted what I could not chant and cooed what I could not coo and howled from the depths that I had not yet reached.

How I remember, as a woman in my 20s, the sacred rite of opening a new Aretha album, putting it on the turntable and sitting for hours just listening.

To this day, I know her phrases and notes, I have lived inside them, I remember the tears of both joy and sorrow for which they have been the soundtrack of my life. She opened me and guided me, she uplifted me and soothed me, she accompanied me and spoke for me.

While I never met her, she was one of the loves of my life. To have even lived at a time when she was singing to us – for what more could anyone ask?

And while I cry as I write this, it is not for her. Such preparations must be happening now, such trumpets and harps must be tuning up, such angels even now must be singing her home.

How does one say thank you to such a soul as she?

Dear God, please bless your phenomenal daughter. And thank you for lending her genius to us.

May she know the joy of a million smiles, for such joy she gave to us. Amen.

Music Video: Shoshana Bean & Travis Wall “This Is Me”

Waaaaaiiiiiittt.

You are not ready for this. Stop, drop and scroll down to watch this.

Broadway/recording diva Shoshana Bean teams up with choreographer divine Travis Wall to brings visual life to her acoustic cover of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul’s “This is Me” from the Hugh Jackman film, The Greatest Showman.

Wall conceived, directed, produced, and choreographed the music video wherein Bean talks Wall through the fears and doubts that life dumps on us.

Wall, like Bean, is a Broadway veteran having made his Broadway debut in the 2000 revival of The Music Man before becoming a major force in the dance world as a fierce competitor on the second season of Fox’s reality dance competition So You Think You Can Dance in 2006.

Bean, of course, starred on Broadway in Wicked as the wicked witch “Elphaba” and brought down the house in Hairspray. She’s since moved on to conquer the music charts with her own R&B/pop albums, touring the country to sold out audiences. I’ve previously written about Shoshana extensively – find more posts about the diva here.

It was only recently that I learned Bean recorded the original demo of “This is Me,” which won the 2018 Golden Globe for Best Original Song. But, with her still strong Broadway roots, it comes as no surprise.

Bonus point for the recording – Proceeds from downloads and streams of the new cover benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

While I enjoyed the song in the context of the film, the powerful point on view here is both Wall and Bean bring their impressive powers to bear on a collaboration where, in my opinion, the song finds its new universal destiny.

Talking about the recording, Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein wrote, “My daughter, Shoshana Bean, takes this song and makes it her own, which means… she makes it OURS.”

Take a look below, and you can download the song here.