Showing posts with label International Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Music. Show all posts

October 19, 2015

Yoko Ono on Lennon: “John Wanted to Have Sex with a Man”

                                                        The Beetles
(L)Ringo (Top)Lennon®George©McCartney

In a candid, exclusive interview, Yoko Ono tells Tim Teeman about why Mark David Chapman should stay in jail forever, the truth about John Lennon’s bisexuality, and the ‘pain’ she shares with Paul McCartney.

Strawberry Fields is nearby—a little, hippy-vibed Central Park memorial, overseen in its creation in 1985 by Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow. The musician was shot dead, aged 40, outside the Dakota in December 1980 by Mark David Chapman, and Ono still lives here in the same apartment they shared.

Like the building she occupies, Ono has a perpetual air of mystery: To many, she will always be the villainous interloper—the woman “who broke up the Beatles.”

 John Lennon and Yoko Ono pose for photographers in Amsterdam on March 27, 1969. The honeymoon couple spent a week in bed at the Hilton Hotel to protest against world violence. (AFP/Getty Images)
Age has mellowed the public view of her. Now 82, she is still known for performance art, and for just being “Yoko Ono,” smiling enigmatically behind dark glasses, dedicated keeper of the Lennon flame, and social activist. She manages to be both dainty and imposing, her mischievous, steely smile set against the world.

Ono’s thoughts about her two great passions—the environment and peace—as well as her more esoteric pursuits and beliefs are visible to her 4.75 million Twitter followers.

 The Dakota and people gathering on the news Lennon had been shot. John and still Yoko lives on the top tower on left corner facing  you
Once past the Dakota’s discreet, firm security, the visitor feels as if they are in a mysterious, stone-cushioned cocoon. Ono’s upper-floor apartment is warrens, a collection of model cats with illuminated eyes standing sentry inside the front door. 

When Ono appears, dressed in a black shirt and slacks, sunglasses perched on the end of her nose, she states firmly in her broken Japanese-English, “Hello, so we’ll go to the kitchen.”

She is smiling warmly, but it is a command: The tone reminds me how Ono had ended a performance at MoMA the weekend before with a smile and firm “And that is it.” We were dismissed. You sense Ono rigorously sets her own boundaries. She speaks measuredly. She is not effusive, dramatic, or grandstanding.

We walk past a huge table of hats and sunglasses, her two most famous accessories (and laid out for convenience’s sake, with all the touring she does), into a large, homely kitchen: Notable are pictures of Lennon, and Ono and Lennon.

She remembers buying her first pair of sunglasses, with Lennon, one day at Saks Fifth Avenue, taking a break from the recording studio. They provide a barrier between Ono and the world. “The word privacy comes to me,” said Ono, “like the arm’s-length relationship I can have with people.”

Does Ono still like living in the Dakota? Lennon was shot outside—some might say it’s the last place she would want to live.

She launches into a tale of how she and Lennon ended up living here.

“One thing I think is that he did it once, he could do it again, to somebody else—you know. It could be me, it could be Sean, it could be anybody, so there is that concern.”
They were living in the St. Regis hotel in Beverly Hills at the time, and “hotel living was so unattractive.”

The actor Jack Palance suggested they try the Dakota, and so another day, while sunbathing beside the St. Regis pool (as you do), Ono said to Lennon, “We should do this.”

Ono instructed one of their assistants to go to the Dakota to see if an apartment was free, and one was set to be listed the very next day—this very apartment we’re sitting in.
After Lennon was killed, did Ono ever think about moving?

 John Lennon and Yoko Ono, NYC Central Pk.West, in back The Dakota
“Never. We shared this every day. Every day we shared each room. I wouldn’t do that.”

So it isn’t a tragic place?

“He said, ‘I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’ They would have to be not just physically attractive, but mentally very advanced too. And you can’t find people like that.”
“The good memory supersedes the bad memory. The bad memory was just one that was terrible. But other than that, I felt we were still together. I would feel very strange if I had to leave this apartment. There are so many things that he touched here that he loved. Those things mean a lot.”

And the public attention isn’t so strange, she says. When she and Lennon did their famous Bed-In for Peace in 1969, there were people click-clicking their cameras all the time.

You get used to it, Ono says equably. “When I walk out in Central Park it gets too much because they start to get physical… if they didn’t get physical I think I would just ignore it.” But, she laughs, “I have to walk somewhere. I sort of cast my eyes down a lot.”

“Most people think that Paul or me should not have any pain at all because we are so privileged. But it’s not true. The degree of pain is always there.”
She’s very proud of overseeing the creation of Strawberry Fields, and scoffs at those who originally opposed it, claiming it would be “a drugs’ den,” as she puts it.

“Can you imagine anyone being against Strawberry Fields?” Ono says with a smile. She still walks through it, as discreetly as she can. “I am so glad because a lot of people love it and use it.”

What drugs did she and Lennon themselves use? “I hate marijuana. I never wanted to—but in a social situation with people passing it round you just have to pretend.”

And now, no drugs? “No.”

She says she is aiming to “detoxify” herself to make herself as healthy as possible.

“Detoxify” from what, I wonder: She looks fantastic. Ono says that she took “a lot of drugs” in the 1960s, and in the 1970s there were a “few incidents” as she puts it. She doesn’t drink now, but she has smoked a lot, she says.

“I didn’t like marijuana, so I didn’t constantly take it like most people. I think acid was not bad, but acid is very strong so you don’t take it every day.”

She stopped taking drugs in “maybe 1981 or ’82. After John’s passing, the doctors said, ‘We’ll give you morphine, every day if you want to.’ When you are in extreme sadness, you don’t know what they will do—jump out from the side of a building or something.”

Is she talking about another assassin?

“What happened was that I suddenly realized I had extra responsibility on many levels, so I couldn’t be taking anything. The first night they gave me morphine, but from then on I didn’t take anything. I couldn’t do it. I had to be super-clear to take on the business situation, the political situation, everything. And then I think I took some drugs, sort of like designer drugs or something.”

Whoever gave them to her said they would make her happy. “It wasn’t very good and I just didn’t feel right.”

I ask if she was really worried that somebody would shoot her, after Lennon’s assassination.

“I was concerned, yes. At the time, they could have done it, too. I was really lucky that I didn’t die with John. If that had happened, what would have happened to [their son] Sean?”

How does Ono feel about the possibility of Chapman being released? He was denied parole last year for the eighth time, and his wife Gloria told the Daily Mail the couple had written to Ono seeking forgiveness.

“I’m super-careful, almost like a certain animal who is used to being hunted, like a deer,” says Ono, who employs personal security. “So when I go out or when I don’t go out, in my apartment, I’m very, very careful. It’s very, very difficult for me to think about Chapman, especially because he doesn’t seem to think that was a bad thing to do. It’s crazy.”

Ono has opposed every single one of Chapman’s bids for parole. On her husband’s killer’s possible future freedom, Ono says, “One thing I think is that he did it once, he could do it again, to somebody else—you know. It could be me, it could be Sean, it could be anybody, so there is that concern.”

Does Ono still feel Chapman represents a threat to her safety?

“Yeah. I would be concerned. I said he’s crazy, but probably not—probably he had a purpose he wanted to accomplish like ‘Kill John Lennon.’ So he might have another purpose. He’s not the kind of person who’s… I don’t think he’s just doing it emotionally. There is a reason, whether a simple reason or not, to do what he does, and justify it. So that’s very scary.”

The week before we met, I watched Ono sing and bellow into a microphone at a performance at the Museum of Modern Art as old home movie footage of her parents played behind her.

MoMA had been hosting a survey of her 1960s artworks—including an all-white chess set, and films of her performances like “Cut Piece,” first performed in 1964, in which gallery-goers cut away shreds of Ono’s clothing. Next, Ono will next take the MoMA exhibition to Tokyo, Beijing, and Lyon.

Ono is also set to receive one of the “Icon” awards at the Attitude Awards in the U.K. on October 14, in recognition of her art, of being an outsider, of doing things defiantly her own way, and of supporting LGBT people—most vocally in her 2004 song “Everyman… Everywoman,” which she produced in support of same-sex relationships and marriage and which is a revision of a song she sang with Lennon, “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him.”

Ono talks candidly about why she still lives in fear of Mark David Chapman, the truth about Lennon’s bisexuality, and the ‘pain’ she shares with Paul McCartney.
“I think it’s great,” Ono says of the Icon award. “I get a few awards in different places. This means a lot to me because I have been working for such a long time trying to create a more open situation.”

The existence of prejudice is “incredible,” she says, and marriage equality is “really great, we shouldn’t be so thankful. It’s just normal.”

Prejudice, she thinks, “goes both ways, I’m sure gays feel straights are really dumb. There’s more freedom being gay probably, that’s good.”

LGBTs should have true equality, Ono says, “and you’ll get it. Equality is people having to create their own future. That’s what they’re [gay people] doing. They should be very, very positive.”

“Equality under the law and equality in real life is slightly different,” says Ono. “People are different from how the law can control them. We have a very complex life called the human life. There’s more than equality in life.”

Is Ono proud to receive the Icon award? “Well, as much as the other awards I have received,” she says evenly, “but probably especially this one. There was a closeness I felt to gay people. We both suffered a lot for being different.”

When I ask about her sexuality, Ono laughs. “I think my sexuality is extremely old-fashioned. Many people think I’m a strong woman. I never thought that, but probably I am. Maybe they think I really don’t go for men, but it’s not true. I like normal relationships”—she catches herself—“whatever ‘a normal relationship’ is.”

I ask if she has ever had sex with a woman, or been attracted to them.

“Well, that’s another thing. John and I had a big talk about it, saying, basically, all of us must be bisexual. And we were sort of in a situation of thinking that we’re not [bisexual] because of society. So we are hiding the other side of ourselves, which is less acceptable. But I don’t have a strong sexual desire towards another woman.”

Have you ever? “Not really, not sexually.”

One online satire imagined an affair between Ono and Hillary Clinton.

“It’s great,” Ono laughs. “I mean, both John and I thought it was good that people think we were bisexual, or homosexual.” She laughs again.

What about that old rumor that Lennon had sex with Beatles manager Brian Epstein (which was also the subject of the 1991 film, The Hours and The Times)?

Lennon himself said: “Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship.” Later, Lennon’s friend Pete Shotton said Lennon had told him that he had allowed Epstein to “toss [wank] him off.”

“Uh, well, the story I was told was a very explicit story, and from that I think they didn’t have it [sex],” Ono tells me. “But they went to Spain, and when they came back, tons of reporters were asking, ‘Did you do it, did you do it?’ So he said, ‘I did it.’ Isn’t that amazing? But of course he would say that. I’m sure Brian Epstein made a move, yeah.”

And Lennon said no to Epstein?

“He just didn’t want to do it, I think.” 
“I think he had a desire to, but I think he was too inhibited,” says Ono.

“No, not inhibited. He said, ‘I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’ It’s very difficult: They would have to be not just physically attractive, but mentally very advanced too. And you can’t find people like that.”

So did Lennon ever have sex with men?

“No, I don’t think so,” says Ono. “The beginning of the year he was killed, he said to me, ‘I could have done it, but I can’t because I just never found somebody that was that attractive.’ Both John and I were into attractiveness—you know—beauty.”

I ask what she makes of the people outside the building, the crowds still at Strawberry Fields.

Ono misunderstands, or mishears (or is simply focused on the last strand of our conversation), and continues to talk about sex.

“I don’t make anything out of it. When you’re not really interested in that sort of sex, you don’t think about it. Both John and I surprisingly were very passive people. Unless somebody made a thing out of it, if they made a move, I wouldn’t even think about it.”


The Attitude award seems especially apposite given the prejudice Ono herself has faced.

“Very heavy prejudice for being Asian, for being another race, and for being a woman,” she says. The sexism she faced was not as severe as the racism, she adds.

“One of the reasons I survived—I am surviving, aren’t I? (she laughs lightly)—is that I didn’t take it that seriously.”

As a younger woman, Ono recalls finding an apartment and being turned down in person. She called the agent later, and was told it was still available.

“I had my life,” Ono says, when I ask how she faced racism, “which is to say, to make good art and good music, and I was very proud of it. Anything else wasn’t that serious. More serious was my parents, who had a different idea about what I should be making. I was too avant-garde probably. I feel that they were embarrassed.” 

He went to San Francisco before her birth in Tokyo—“That’s when I lost my father the first time.” Even when Ono grew older—the family moved to the U.S., then Japan, then back to the U.S.—there was still a distance between them.

“In some ways I am different [from] them,” she says, “because I try to have a warm relationship with my son [Sean] and my daughter [Kyoko].” (She and Kyoko were separated for 27 years after her ex-husband, Anthony Cox, kidnapped the girl.)

But Ono says she is also similar to her parents. Eisuke was a pianist, and her mother, Isoko, an artist. They were “surprised” by their daughter’s pursuits. “I think they would have loved it if I had become a classical musician and composer. They were very polite about it. Neither of them came to my shows. That’s how they expressed their feelings.”

Her parents, she says, were also misunderstood: “They were too cultured for other people to understand them. They didn’t mind it. They said, ‘You go through all sorts of experiences, think of them as a play. Be objective about it, instead of getting upset.’”

Ono also faced prejudice around being with Lennon (they met at one of her shows)—a toxic mix of racism and the suspicion of her influence.

“I don’t know why I deserved so many different kinds of prejudices,” says Ono. “It was really a good relationship. Everything else around us was terribly bad. A lot of things John and I did naturally, instead of saying, ‘Let’s teach them.’ Being ourselves did affect people.”

Lennon was a keen feminist, Ono insists, beginning with being their son Sean’s primary caretaker.

“He felt I knew more about business, which was not true. So he wanted me to take care of the business and he wanted to take care of the child, which was an incredible thing. In those days nobody did that. It was a macho age. And he cooked: He baked bread.”

Still, she was hated for being the woman “who broke up the Beatles.”

“One of the reasons that those things didn’t hurt me was because I had a totally different life.” She pauses. “It was not exactly fruitful. There were so many negative labels about me, but they were from people who really didn’t understand me at all. If I were to come out and say something it wouldn’t have affected anything. They would have laughed. So I shut up.”

Ono and Paul McCartney have had a long, checkered relationship. Tensions seemed to ease between them, but then—in August’s Esquire—McCartney bemoaned that the glory of the Beatles had been, since John’s death, centered around Lennon. 

McCartney told Esquire: “Yoko would appear in the press, and I’d read it, and it said ‘Paul did nothing! All he did was book the studio…’ Like, ‘Fuck you, darling! Hang on! All I did was book the fucking studio?’ Well, OK, now people know that’s not true. But that was just part of it. There was a lot of revisionism: John did this, John did that. I mean, if you just pull out all his great stuff and then stack it up against my not-so-great stuff, it’s an easy case to make.”

Ono was surprised to read that, particularly as she and McCartney had just been together at a dinner, seated at the same table, “talking about good things.”

Does she feel close to McCartney?

“I think it’s a very strange situation. We were kind of like stuck with a situation for 30 or 40 years, so we understand each other—let’s put it that way. What he said in Esquire, I think he’s really right.”

“I mean, he must have suffered a lot, just like I suffered more or less the same thing in a way. So I understand. I’m sympathetic to him for having all sorts of pain. Most people think that Paul or me should not have any pain at all because we are so privileged. But it’s not true. The degree of pain is always there.”

Does she feel they need to forgive each other in some way?

“No, no. We had to come to terms with the past in some way. Both of us are pretty self-sufficient in that sense.”


There have been “a few” men in Ono’s life since Lennon’s death, most famously her onetime boyfriend, the gallerist and painter Sam Havadtoy. “I wasn’t hiding. That was very important for me to have somebody around protecting me.”

Now she is single. “I love it. I got married three times [to composer Toshi Ichiyanagi from 1956 to 1962, then Cox from 1962 to 1969, and Lennon from 1969 to 1980]. The third one was extremely good and I just wanted that one to last, but it didn’t. I was always with somebody. Now this is the first time I’m not and it’s very good.”

She smiles. “I don’t have to think about the other person, like, ‘What would you like for lunch today?’ being concerned about the other party—and I don’t have the time to. I think I was given this freedom because I have so much to do.”

Her occupations are both an activist, “trying to do some good for the world,” and taking care of Lennon’s legacy; the latter “was terribly complicated but now it’s simmering down.” 

Ono thinks she has been a good parent to her children, Sean and Kyoko, “in the sense that all parents should not be too into their children’s lives. I’m pretty hands-off. The fact that Sean and I especially understand each other musically and everything, it’s a good relationship in that sense.”

She adds that she likes Julian a lot: “He’s intelligent and sensitive. He’s had a terrible time actually. And also, just like Sean, having a huge daddy didn’t help really.”

Unsurprisingly, and admirably, Ono does not care if you don’t understand her, or laugh at her tweeting esoteric thoughts such as “Let’s report to the Universe how glad we are that our planet is part of the most beautiful Universe,” and “Remember, we are all water in the same ocean.”

“It’s great if I can make people laugh,” she tells me. “That’s just fine. It doesn’t touch my core. I believe in life. The self is growing in us constantly and also protecting us.” Onstage, “I just want the sound to be perfect and good.”

Ono is true to herself—as offbeat and unconventional, unyieldingly so, as that self might be. She has always refused to play by anyone’s rules but her own, or to compromise or make nice to make her own life, and public perception of her, smoother.

Despite all the criticism, mockery, derision, and worse thrown at her, Ono has simply carried on creating the art that matters to her, speaking out on issues that matter to her, and generally pursuing her own passions and path.

Ono says, “There are certain things you can correct by being an activist, but other than that one needs to protect oneself and maintain one’s yin and yang, and be meditative all the time.”

She “really doesn’t believe” in institutional politics. “I feel sorry for politicians. To get the vote they have to do all sorts of things.”

Ono is not as excited about the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency; the possibility of the first female president is “a symbolic thing. A president has to be a good person for the president, not because they are female or male.”

As for pop music today, Ono doesn’t “particularly make a point of listening to it, but it’s all around.” She prefers old gypsy music. “I have an incredible respect for art. It’s amazing that I do because I am an artist and most artists will have kind of an apologetic attitude about their work. I don’t. I really think that everything we do as artists is helping the world.”

I ask if she considers her mortality.

“Yes, just as anyone else who would think about it. It’s possible that I will suddenly be surprised by dying, but I’m counting on the fact that it’s going to be a long life.”

She lives alone and seems very self-contained: Is she lonely?

“I think most famous people are lonely because they are separate. They have a separate life—whatever that is—from people around them. Even when you’re with them there’s a certain separation. It’s something you don’t create. It just happens in your life, and you either accept it or don’t.”

And she has?

“I totally accept it.”

It is time to go. “So I will say goodbye here,” Yoko Ono says abruptly as we approach the doorway of her kitchen, other rooms in tantalizing shadow. She is smiling her warm, mischievous smile. It is one of the politest—and most emphatic—orders to scram I have ever received.
Tim Teeman
by  Tim Teeman

March 25, 2014

‘Neon Trees’ Group Singer Comes Out (Sleeping with a friend)

Neon Trees Singer Tyler Glenn Comes Out As Gay

Neon Trees
Courtesy of Island/Def Jam
Neon Trees frontman Tyler Glenn is coming out to the public via a Rolling Stone article, the magazine announced Monday.
The 30-year-old admits that he kept his sexuality a secret, and didn't come to terms with it completely until the past decade. "I had my crushes on guys throughout high school, but it was never an overwhelming thing until my twenties," he says. “Then I'd be dating girls and in love with my straight friend and it was the worst feeling in the world."
He began sharing his sexual orientation with family and friends in October 2013, as he was polishing songs of the band's upcoming release, "Pop Psychology," which touches on his years in secrecy.
The Utah singer grew up in the Mormon faith, which is against homosexuality and actively spent approximately $22 million to fight gay marriage in California in 2008. "We were always taught, and I hate this word, 'tolerance,'" he says of the religion. “The only time that felt different was when the Prop 8 thing came up."

Tyler Glenn, frontman for the Provo-based pop-rock band Neon Trees, knew when he was a kid growing up Mormon in California that he was gay.
"I had my crushes on guys throughout high school, but it was never an overwhelming thing until my twenties," Glenn said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Then I’d be dating girls and in love with my straight friend and it was the worst feeling in the world."
Rolling Stone announced the headlines of the magazine’s interview with Glenn online today. The full interview will be posted online Tuesday, and will appear in the upcoming issue hitting newsstands on Friday.
In the interview, Glenn talks about his first gay experiences, the reaction of his bandmates to his coming out, and his "complicated relationship" with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in which he grew up.
"We were always taught, and I hate this word, ‘tolerance,’" Glenn said of the LDS Church’s policies regarding homosexuality. "The only time that felt different was when the Prop 8 thing came up," he said, referring to the 2008 anti-gay-marriage ballot measure in California — a campaign to which LDS Church members contributed some $22 million.
Glenn’s coming-out process has been gradual, starting with family and friends last October, as he was writing songs for the band’s upcoming album, "Pop Psychology" (to be released April 22).
Neon Trees will enjoy its first headlining tour this summer, which includes a homecoming show June 16 at The Complex, 536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City.

March 11, 2014

ThePetShopBoys!!ELEctricC and Alan Turing Dead Gay Hero

The Pet Shop Boys are currently readying their Alan Turing stage project, A Man From The Future, and gearing up for their second North American tour in support of acclaimed 2013 LP Electric, but the duo still found the time to re-work a recent viral gay rights speech by Dublin drag queen Panti Bliss into a 10-minute dance track. Panti, whose real name is Rory O’Neill, appeared on Ireland’s The Saturday Night Showin January and commented on gay oppression and homophobia, causing a subsequent flood of commentary and even legal threats against the RTE broadcasting company.
In response to the outcry, O’Neill gave his “Noble Call” speech last month at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, parts of which Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe pulled from and married to a synthy disco track.
Head below to hear the result — “The Best Gay Possible (Oppressive Dance Mix)” — and to watch O’Neill’s original Abbey Theatre speech.
pet shop boys panti best gay possible oppressive dance mix

March 3, 2014

Music Composer Rufus Wainwright Speaks About His Coming Out

Rufus Wainwright Met Opera 2010 Shankbone.jpg
Wainwright and his husband, German 
Wainwright and his husband, German arts administrator Jörn Weisbrodt, in 2010
Wainwright in 2010 at the Metropolitan Operaopening night of Das Rheingold
Writing music is my greatest joy – and a complete disease. It never stops aggravating me and there are times when, if I can't get a song out, I have physical aches and pains.
I can highly recommend growing up surrounded by lots of women. My sisters, mother [the late folk musician Kate McGarrigle], aunts and grandmother were all fascinating to me. I basked in the attention as the only male and I was pretty gay from a young age – into cut-out dolls, Judy Garland, dressing up. They fussed over me a lot.
I was breast-struck by Jamie Lee Curtis. I idolised her as a 10-year-old, and when she was starring in A Fish Called Wanda my dad went to introduce us. I knocked on her door, she opened it, and my first thought was: "Oh my God, she has amazing breasts!" It was the first and last time I've liked a pair of tits as much.
Coming out to my parents was a nightmare. They reacted horrifically. There was fear, worry, shouting. I can't blame them. I was 18 and if you were a gay male in the late 80s you were basically presumed dead because of the Aids epidemic.
My daughter finishing her broccoli is, these days, on a par with having a worldwide number one record for me. Viva [his child with friend Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard] has changed my life – I'm in awe of her. Children seem so much more advanced than us boring adults, as if they're hooked up to another plane.
Miley Cyrus makes being dumb look so easy. You have to admire calculated stupidity to a certain degree.
Going to the opera is a spiritual experience. There's a sense of communion when I'm there. Don't get me wrong – I love the Virgin Mary, her outfits are fabulous. But I definitely feel there's some force for good that's been with me through life, and I think that comes from all the dead great composers.
Boarding school was like being in Brideshead Revisitedand I was lord of the manor. I was 14 and I had to get away from my mother. Our relationship was getting a little weird – we were so close. We were drinking and partying together and had a fantastic time, but I needed to find my own orbit in order to grow.
I'm indebted to Elton John. I think of him with a certain reverence. He helped me out when I was at my lowest [John got Wainwright into rehab in 2003]. He's a friend, but I don't feel as if I can just ring him up to shoot the breeze – he's the king.
My relationship with my husband has defined me. In the past 10 years, Jörn [Weisbrodt] has taught me to chill out and not take myself so seriously. He's eternally patient. He's also very tall, and everything is in proportion.
I'm doing battle with middle-age spread. It's the first thing I notice on other men these days. Do they have a belly? Are they working out? I'm right on the edge of getting fat and I don't want to be the only one.
Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright was released yesterday on Universal.Rufus Wainwright plays Usher Hall, Edinburgh on 5 March and Theatre Royal, London on 6 April

Wainwright acknowledged that he was gay while a teenager. In 1999, he told Rolling Stone that his father recognized his homosexuality early on. "We'd drive around in the car, he'd play 'Heart of Glass' and I'd sort of mouth the words, pretend to be Blondie. Just a sign of many other things to come as well." Wainwright later said in another interview that his "mother and father could not even handle me being gay. We never talked about it really."

March 2, 2014

“Don’t Leave me this Way” The Prayer for so many of us

The Communards 

Im not going to editorialize too much about this song and our community because we understand it well. For a community with few heroes before stonewall and AIDS. Growing up denying our existence to be politicly correct we most be a hell of a bunch of people by getting out from under the bus, out of the closet and saying “I’m here” “ You will NOT deny me anymore”.

There are casualties to a bad way of being and one of our casualties is been our relationships. It’s been tough for us to sometimes even live with each other. What is to be expected? Some of us carry LTR’s as medals on our chests and if not long term then the short ones. The short ones we don’t show but only because they wont fit on our chests to show. Look back from where we come from and how decent, smart and human we have approached the straight world and gays in the closet to say “I need to get out from where I allowed you to chain me.”

Some say this is not a civil right struggle, I wish they would tell me what other struggle it could be. If we have not been slaved, chained and murdered and still are, not even for economics reason but just because a hear say, a custom, a religion? Tell me the type of struggle this is if not a civil rights, human rights struggle. To those that say the opposite they don’t follow their religion when it asks to put yourself on the shoes of the other. As people do, we find freedom.  No, don’t leave me this way! So much food for thought.

Still, as we have failed in relationships and other ways we keep trying to do better, to try again and not give up. I suffered a bad Equestrian accident. While I was laying out after surgery there was nothing I wanted more besides Darvon was to be on top of my horse again. Why? My love for the animal and what it did for me. The security, fun, adventure, freedom.

You get all of those in a good relationship. As we passed Valentines’ and approach the spring  and the victories in Arizona, Texas and midwest is good to remember every time we sang to our selves that song because we fell off but we did get back on the horse again and tried to do better.
Adam Gonzalez

February 14, 2014

“Take My Breath Away” ♥Aris♥ To His Fans ♥ and My Readers

  Aris - “Toast" (Official Music Video) from Aris Ziagos on Vimeo.

Happy Valentines Day!! Join my mailing list to get the free Valentines Day song bundle "Candy Hearts" featuring "Deliver Me" from my new album and two b-sides "Toast (to Love)" and "Take My Breath Away" - my gift to you xxo
join here:
 — with Aris.

October 17, 2013

THe Band Bringing Pop to the Arab Music Loving World

The band's frontman Hamed Sinno spoke to the BBC about their work

Music has long been a vehicle for protest and dissent, but the Middle East's popular music scene has been accused of being staid and formulaic.

Hamed Sinno in concert
I sleep and conjure you in my dreams... why do I come back to you, when you just choke me?
Why do I plead for you, why do I surrender to you, when you burn me?
Tell me I make you happy the way he does…
 (By Jastinder Khera)
(posted) at:

Now a Lebanese band with an eclectic sound, an openly gay frontman and politically charged lyrics is trying to tear up the conventions of Arabic pop culture.
"This next song is about really good sex," lead singer and lyricist Hamed Sinno announces part way through the debut London gig for Lebanese indie outfit Mashrou' Leila.
It is hard to imagine many other contemporary Arab musicians introducing a track with quite this frankness.
But it gets an enthusiastic reception from the febrile crowd as Sinno launches into Ala Babu (At His Door) - a song about desire, but also about longing and loss, explicitly addressed to another man, as many of the band's love songs are.

It is just this willingness to broach topics that few other Arab pop musicians have explored - homosexuality, emigration, politics, Beirut checkpoints and everything in between - that has brought Mashrou' Leila a loyal following in Lebanon and beyond.
And it is that following that has made it possible for them to distribute their latest album Raasuk, due out in November.
The band are not signed to a record label as they feel a label would want to "mould us into something that's easier to market in the Middle East than we are", Sinno explains.
So instead the band turned to "crowd funding", appealing for support from the fans using the Twitter hashtag #occupyarabpop in order to achieve "the biggest independent music release the Arab world has seen". They raised $66,000 (£43,400) in a matter of weeks.
Raasuk is another serving of the unique, musically omnivorous sound that made their first two albums a success in Lebanon, with influences numbering rock, jazz, electro and the Arab tradition of tarab fusing into an unmistakable whole.
And listening to the album's lyrics, you can hear why their music has connected with so many young people in the region.
Fans at one of Mashrou' Leila's London concertsThe band had to add a second London date on their tour after the first sold out
'Still standing'
On one track, Wa Nueid (And We Repeat), on top of a crescendo from violinist Haig Papazian, Sinno defiantly sings verses that could have been taken from the protests of the Arab Spring:
"We can shake the cage we found ourselves in, until it collapses. Tell me, what are we are afraid of?

Hamed Sinno on the cover of TetuSinno was on the cover of French gay magazine Tetu before their Paris gig
"We can resist until the nightmare that we fought dies. Tell them we are still standing."
The frustrations of young people in Lebanon, shared by many across the Arab world, have been one of Mashrou' Leila's recurring lyrical themes since being formed in in 2008 by Sinno and six fellow students at the American University of Beirut (AUB).
They comprise: classically-trained Papazian; drummer Carl Gerges; keyboard player Omaya Malaeb; guitarists Andre Chedid and Firas Abou Fakher; and bassist Ibrahim Badr.
The band's name is a pun in Arabic, translating either as Leila's Project or A Night Project, a nod to the band's origins in evening workshops crammed in around their studies.
Wa Nueid was originally meant to be a love song, Sinno explains, but politics intervened with an explosion in Beirut's Sassine Square and continuing upheaval in Egypt.
He decided to rewrite it, and another track on the album, Lil Watan (For The Nation).
"I was looking at the different reactions to what was happening in Lebanon and in other places in the Arab world and it was very inspiring for me.
"For the first time I felt like I belonged to something, a larger movement that's happening across the region."
But even before the upheavals of the past two years, Mashrou' Leila has been taking its message to those in high places - sometimes at unexpectedly close quarters.
When the band headlined Lebanon's prestigious Byblos Festival in 2010, the then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri happened to be in the crowd.
Not only did they not tone down any of their act, Sinno took the opportunity to address one of their tracks, 'Al Hajiz (At The Checkpoint), to Mr Hariri.
The expletive-laden song recounts the frustrating experience of many Beirutis at the hands of overbearing guards at security checkpoints in the streets around the homes of the great and good.
"I live right across the road from him. So before we played that song I pointed out that this was because of him, and what his people do to me on a daily basis, and how absurd I thought that was," Sinno recalls.
"That might have ticked a few people off."
Guitarist Firas Abou Fakher and violinist Haig PapazianAbou Fakher and Papazian, two of Mashrou' Leila's "musical omnivores"
No going back
Mashrou' Leila are also broaching new ground for Arab music with their honesty about sex and sexuality.
Sinno is one of the few public figures in the Arab world to be openly gay and to discuss his sexuality.
Lebanon has a reputation as being one of the region's more liberal countries in regards to its treatment of sexual minorities, playing host to the Arab world's first gay rights organisation, Helem. Even so, gay people can still be prosecuted under a law banning "sexual intercourse contrary to nature".
Did Sinno ever hesitate about being open with regards to his sexuality when the band started gaining a public profile?
"I've been out since before the band. I don't think it actually matters whether or not I'm gay but at the same time it's always been an issue for me that I think there should be more out public figures in the Middle East at this point," he says.
While growing up, the lack of public figures to identify with was "alienating", Sinno says.
"That's the part that's really scary about being queer and young, is that you're alone." It is this that he hopes to help change for young Arabs.
But even in relatively liberal Lebanon, Sinno says he is acutely aware that some gay people - normally those who are working-class and without the protection that money can afford - are still sometimes targeted by the authorities.
In some high-profile recent cases, Lebanese police have raided establishments frequented by gay men and subjecting them to procedures including anal examinations, denounced as "rape" by Helem.
Sinno admits he is still worried that his visibility as a public figure could one day work against him.
He points to the example of Canadians Dr Tarek Loubani and filmmaker John Greyson, held by Egyptian authorities for seven weeks without charge, as an example of what can happen to those who fall foul of authority.
"These people had all sorts of international support, people behind them rallying - literally - across the globe. And it took this long to release them.
"No-one actually wants to be incarcerated. But I don't think that's enough of a reason to take back any of my positions on anything."

Featured Posts

White Americans Are Dying Faster: What’s Killing Them?

In rich countries, death rates are supposed to decline. But in the past decade and a half, middle-aged white Americans have...