Month: June 2015

JANE, MAGDA AND GINA PARODY WILSON PHILLIPS

Wilson Phillips Parody 2

Just when I thought I had found all the best covers of 90’s girlband Wilson Phillips, it turns out there’s one more!! I almost forgot about Australian comedy legends Gina Riley, Magda Szubanski and Jane Turner. They made an art out of parodying artists like Paula Abdul, Madonna and Wilson Phillis in their comedy sketch show Big Girls Blouse. The sketches confusingly start with Jane Turner as Alison Woo-Wee-Wang, the host of MTV, but you can skip that bit.

Wilson Phillips Parody

In the Hold On spoof Magda Szubanski plays Carnie Wilson, who has publicly battled weight loss issues for most of her life, and has undergone multiple lap band surgeries. Appropriately Jane Turner sings her heart out as Chynna Phillips and Gina Riley does her best to keep her legs closed as Grammy Award Winning artist Wendy Wilson. If Venice Beach could be St. Kilda Beach, and the mountains of Southern California some scrub near the Kew Boathouse, it could almost be the same, almost…

 

WILSON PHILLIPS

Wilson Phillips Album Cover

Don’t even get me started on how much I love Wilson Phillips. I remember singing Hold On, their first No. 1 single, at the top of my lungs every time it came on the radio. I tried to blend in a fourth set of harmonies thinking if they just heard my voice, surely they would invite me to join their awesome girl band!

Wilson Phillips Giffy

Wilson Phillips is Carnie Wilson, Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips, the daughters of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys and of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas. In the 25 years that have followed since their amazing music video they have inspired me to sing in the mountains, play the xylophone and wear black to the beach.

Wilson Phillips

The song has inspired a few pop culture moments, too. Probably the biggest would have to be the finale to Bridesmaids, which has the band reuniting as a surprise to Lillian (Maya Rudolph) and making the entire wedding party sing along. It’s worth it just to watch Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph dance out the lyrics.

Bridesmaids isn’t the only film to reference this 90’s pop power ballad (yes I said power ballad). There’s a moment in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle when the guys uncover an old mix tape and awkwardly sing along in a broey way.

wilson pillips chick song

And what hit 90’s song would be complete without a cover from the cast of Glee? Blaine, Sam, Tina and Artie Hold On for one More Day at McKinley with a little help from Wilson Phillips, Adam Lambert and Demi Lovato. The DIY amateur covers are pretty good too, like this one, complete with mountains, hip 90’s thrift store outfits and home choreography!

 

My all time favorite cover of Hold On isn’t really a cover at all, but more a political spoof aimed at Chick-Fil-A, the fast-food chicken chain owned by the Cathy family, who spoke out publicly against gay marriage.

In response, Drag group Detox, William and Vicky Vox, who famously ripped Alicia Keys Girl on Fire and turned it into something else, changed the lyrics of Wilson Phillips Hold On. The story goes it happened after eating from the chain store and agreeing that despite their whole anti-gay marriage thing, the food was pretty good, and henceforth needed to be celebrated in song. The new lyrics go something like this:

“Some day somebody’s gonna make you wanna gobble up a waffle fry / But no go, don’t you know, Chick-fil-A says you make the baby Jesus cry”

The catchy mash-up even has a whole new rap break-down in the third verse. In their version of the song, dudes with boobs, gay-for-pay, even dykes are welcome to eat Chik-fil-a. Proving that Chik-fil-A is for everyone. So Chow Down, at Chick-fil-A.

 

 

GOOD EVENING AMERICA!

Drew Droege AKA Chloë Sevigny

Good evening, America. Chloe hath returned! And this time, she has friends. It’s been a while since Chloë Sevigny graced our YouTube screens with her high-concept hipsterdom and self-righteous fashion victimhood. Chloë’s ‘discoveries’ range from toast to birds. I couldn’t live without her ostentatious pearls of wisdom, like “It’s recently come to my attention that I love sending inappropriately astute texts to Tippi Hedren, Taraji P. Henson and Gorbachev.”

Actor Drew Droege AKA Chloë Sevigny dropped the latest video about an hour ago, 19:30 June 17th LA time. And it’s already picked up more than 3000 hits! In the latest Chloë installment it comes to her attention that she has friends, a discovery she stumbles upon while looking for a date to Scottish Luncheonette. In typical Chloë style she recounts her ‘favorite’ friends. The impressive list of over 55 people includes Lisa Rinna, Billy Joel, Candice Bergen, Linda Evangelista, Shakespearean actor Albert Finney, even Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang Clan.

The soon-to-be viral hit cleverly ends with a plug for Drew’s new film, You’re Killing Me, screening as part of Outfest, the annual LA festival promoting LGBTQ stories for the screen. The comedy slasher has roots in Patrick Bateman and Freddie Kruger, and is co-written and directed by Jim Hansen, one of the creators of the Chloë videos. It stars a cadre of Los Angeles gay comedy faves including Sam Pancake, and Jack Plotnick.

Despite Drew Droege’s seemingly overnight success with the Chloë franchise, he said in 2012 the first time he played Chloë on stage, he bombed; “if a bomb can be silent, humorless, horrible, and confusing all at the same time. For years, I played live shows and never knew if it would be a hit or a quiet-death nightmare. Then Jim Hansen came along and wanted to make videos. Then it became a thing. It still surprises me to this day that people like it—because many didn’t like it at first.” Thank God Drew didn’t give up!

If you live in LA you can check her out at her new gig, hosting Bears in Space on Sunday’s at the famous Akbar on Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake.

Bears in Space

MIND BLOWING AND GENERALLY INSANE: LYNDA CARTER

WonderWoman1

Lynda Carter is best remembered as the star of Wonder Woman, but she had many other talents! In 1979 she was voted “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World” by The International Academy of Beauty. And that academy is a very serious enterprise. She has also been involved in a series of variety specials that aired in the early 1980s. And it is on one of those that Carter produced what is unquestionably some of the most weirdass, tragic, mind-blowing and generally insane moments of her career.

The former Miss America winner appears drunk and at times a little confused throughout her performance, as she ambitiously performs a tribute to Bette Midler, Tina Turner, and KISS. It begins with Lynda pulling up in a silver sports car singing Bad Company’s Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy. The idea of a middle-of-the-road vocalist like Lynda Carter singing about rock music to a bland pre-recorded track by a studio orchestra is risky business, but since the whole thing is ostensibly happening in her head, I really should shut up.

The transitions between the fantasies are achieved with blurry camerawork and repetition of the words “fantasy, fantasy, fantasy,”. This is also very literal and a bad idea, and I like it very much. Once safely transitioned into the KISS segment, Lynda makes a curious choice: since she wasn’t bold enough to actually be Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley, she opts instead to dance with four guys pretending to be them while decked out in an over-the-top Bob Mackie Vegas gown, complete with a showgirl headdress. This doesn’t exactly work, but who am I to shit on Lynda’s fantasy, fantasy, fantasy?

After another clunky transition, it’s time for Bette Midler. You might imagine this would work better, but Lynda’s Bette is worse. She sings “Friends” in a banana outfit, even a banana mic, backed up by a bunch of gorillas. This seems fair enough. In fact, Lynda’s Bette is less like Bette and more like Cher’s character Laverne from the laundromat, and this is very confusing to a gay person.

Enjoy! You’ll thank me for this.

THE ART OF SOUND

Aporee Map

 

It has recently come to my attention that I like sound maps! This cool project was started in 2006 by a bunch of German dudes. It’s a global sound map dedicated to the ‘art of listening’. The sound map contains recordings from urban, rural and natural environments.

You can hear the sounds of the Timor Sea lapping against Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin, a passenger boarding a plane at LAX, even the the sound of a sherpa in Mount Kilimanjaro! To hear how a place sounds, move the map with the mouse or the arrow keys at the upper left corner and click on the red dot!

GOLDEN GIRLS STAR DEATH GOES VIRAL 5 YEARS AFTER HER DEATH

The Golden Girls Cheesecake

They say cats have nine lives. Well, it seems Rue McClanahan, the consummate cougar, has had at least three!! News of the death of the Emmy-winning actress who played Blanche Devereaux on the hit TV series The Golden Girls was trending on Twitter and Facebook on Thursday. Strange, given that McClanahan passed away five years ago. Even stranger: The same thing happened last year.

Blanche Gif

 

McClanahan died on June 3, 2010, after suffering a stroke at the age of 76. Four years later, on June 10, 2014, the news suddenly went viral. A Washington Post report deconstructing the phenomenon the first time it happened, suggested the original source was probably a passionate Golden Girls fan with a large following. And that fan was me.

 

THIRD COAST FESTIVAL

Voting for the finalists of this years Third Coast Short Docs Challenge is open! Help new and old producers get a little notoriety by voting for the 2015 Short Docs. The festival is meant to be a lot of fun and I have a few friends in this years awards. The festival, based in Chicago, curates sound-rich audio stories from around the world and shares them with as many ears as possible – on the radio, on the Internet, and at public listening events all over the place. They have narrowed down eight finalists from a pool of over 150 submissions. Just one will be crowned with the People’s ShortDoc Award. Check out and vote for the submissions here.

Third Coast International Audio Festival

FLEETWOOD MAC

Fleetwood Mac

Anything that can happen to a rock n’ roll band, has happened to Fleetwood Mac. They have enjoyed six decades of hits and sellout world tours, over 60 million albums sold worldwide, as well as a place in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. But all at a huge cost, from their legendary indulgences to the fallouts, fistfights and multiple breakups. And yet they have weathered almost every storm.

Vocalist Christine McVie summed it up after she committed to looking forward, rather than backward, after eight years of marriage with bass guitarist John McVie. Don’t Stop was a happier spin after the Rumour’s break-up album. I love Don’t Stop because it emphasizes that you can’t go back in time and change the past, but you can always look forward to the future:

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

It’s no secret I’ve been having a love affair with Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac ever since I was a kid. Dad used to play their cassettes on road trips up the coast, and we would sit in the backseat of his Ford Fairlane like little sardines, listening to one of the greatest bands of all time. I’ve seen them perform live, twice, and each time was life-changing. There’s not many artists you grow up with, who you continually fall in love with over and over again, and who articulate every phase of your life.

Stevie Nicks 1977 Rumours

Stevie Nicks performing live (1977)

Dreams was the first song I fell in love with, followed closely by Go Your Own Way. More recently You Make Loving Fun has become an all time favorite. It perfectly encapsulates the power of love, especially when it accidentally lands on your lap, puts you under a spell, and just when you think it’s over, comes back around again. As I experience life I have a deeper appreciation for what they were exploring through love, music, heartache and addiction.

Fleetwood Mac

A new favorite of mine is No Questions Asked. It wasn’t a massive hit, it came in at No. 43 in the U.S. off a 1988 non-studio album. Which is perhaps why it took me a while to discover. I love it because sometimes, you just have to say “I need you now.” That’s what survival is about, that’s how you live life. The people who love you will come through for you in the end. Your friends. Your family. Your lover. They will be there for you and know that there are no expectations. No questions asked.

Most wouldn’t consider it the most romantic love song ever recorded. But I do. It’s a song that so poignantly delves into the realities of love and desire. It’s not soft and sexy, it’s not sweet and tender. No Questions Asked is honest and relatable. It’s not just a love song, it’s a life song. It’s a song about how we live. The struggles between loving someone and loving yourself, and wanting, even in the hardest of times, to be loved.

Finally, Landslide is one of the most insanely best Fleetwood Mac songs of all time. When Stevie Nicks wrote ‘Landslide’, she was at a crossroads. Her previous group with Lindsey Buckingham – Buckingham Nicks – had been dropped by their label Polydor after only one album, and her relationship with Buckingham was strained. I think it’s one of my all time favorite songs. The track has been covered many times since – from Smashing Pumpkins to the Dixie Chicks – but the original remans the best. Nicks’ cautious vocal sounds even more helpless knowing what’s yet to come.

 

 

 

SATANIC PANIC!

Satanic Panic was a regular topic on Oprah

WNYC Radio’s Retro Report is probably the best explanation of how the whole Lindy Chamberlain trial-by-media went down, and cleverly illustrates how the Australian public savaged an unprepared Chamberlain for not grieving ‘the correct way’. We like our grieving mothers to cry, in case you didn’t get the memo. Chamberlain’s matter-of-fact nature and description of how a dingo might go about killing a small child totally freaked-out the Australian public. Not to mention the rumors of satanic rituals. But these things make not a murderer. And yet, Chamberlin was convicted of murder, despite the lack of a murder weapon, witnesses, a body, or a confession.

It’s been 35 years since baby Azaria went missing, and Lindy screamed the infamous words “A Dingo Stole My Baby”. Words that have become the punchline to a joke, reeled out when Australian celebrities go on Conan. Whether you thought Lindy was guilty or not, the debate divided a nation, even after the 1992 acknowledgement from the Australian government of wrongful imprisonment. It seemed the more facts presented the more the public deemed her guilty.

Trial by Media from Retro Report on Vimeo.

All of this was set to the backdrop of Satanic Panic, a time when rituals and cults seemed a plausible motive for anything inexplicable. Cults featured regularly on Oprah, here’s a classic clip from the halcyon era when the topic of Satanic ritual murder stoked hysteria.

It’s impossible to know if this 1994 video was ever used as an actual police training tool, but it’s presented matter-of-factly, and even has advice on what animals satan worshipers like to sacrifice.

Most famously, the West Memphis Three were wrongfully imprisoned after an Arkansas jury found satanism to be the motive in the Robin Hill Murders. The documentary about the three, directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, helped prove their innocence and dispel satanism as a motive. It’s still my favorite documentary, and the only time Metallica ever allowed a film to use their music.