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Posts Tagged ‘Lady Gaga’

Cry “Babies!” — Gaga, Goo Goo To Team Up

July 7th, 2010 No comments
Lady%2BGaGa.png

Live Nation has just announced a late summer, early fall tour that promises to be a blockbuster. The bill will be jointly headlined by the unstoppable Lady Gaga and reliable hit-makers The Goo Goo Dolls, and is tentatively titled Google’s GaGaGooGooFest 2010.

“We’re just surprised no one had thought of the pairing of Goo Goo and Gaga,” said promoter John Waite, formerly the lead singer of the British band The Babys. “Isn’t it time to make fans drool with excitement?” And we’re of course delighted to have landed internet search giant Google as our title sponsor.

Tickets go on sale on July 10, with discount coupons available on specially marked boxes of Pampers, America’s most beloved disposable diaper.

In a further development sure to excite fans of Neonate Rock, Gaga and GooGoo have announced that the warm-up band for the extravanganza will be the reunited Kajagoogoo, well-known for such monster 80’s hits as “Too Shy” and — well, isn’t that enough?

[Warning: Do not stare directly at photo.]

Kajagoogoo reunite for UK tour

Lady WordinEdgewise Visits the (Not so) Sunshine(y) State

March 3rd, 2010 No comments

In my previous post, I wrote cheerily about developments in DC and Maryland. Meanwhile, here in Florida matters are considerably less cheery. I’m down here with the kids for a short vacation. Right now, they’re at the zoo with my parents, while I’m wrapped in ice after apparently rupturing a muscle this morning on the tennis court– which caused much full-throated gloating among the seniors: “See? It can happen at any age!” Last night, I became the last one on my block to finally see Avatar (3D, of course)1 Afterwards, I ventured to a nearby gay bar here in Melbourne, there to see, first-hand, the effects of second-class citizenship.

Florida’s laws are among the most gay-hating in the US: No adoption (although this law is under review in the state courts), no employment protection, and an especially broad constitutional amendment against any type of relationship-recognition for gay couples. But what do you expect in a state so backward that it’s among only three that don’t require booster seats for pre-schoolers? Shoulder straps around the neck will do nicely, thanks!

And the kids might be smoking in those unboostered backseats, too. The choking plumes of smoke that almost bowled me over as I entered “The Cold Keg” reminded me of the state’s legislative foot-dragging in yet another area. I  had walked in on some kind of poker night, with two oblong tables peopled by the dysfunctional gay and lesbian version of my parents’ sex-segregated poker nights. I could say a great deal about this sad lot, but one example will do: a forty-something lesbian in a Metallica tee shirt, with a hairstyle that made the mullet seem a high-fashion statement. Other than that, the bar seemed not to have sensed the passage of time, with depressing wood walls, a few sorry, hanging lights, and no real sense of decor.

At least the jukebox was state of the art. When the second-form Lady Gaga hit “Bad Romance” issued forth, the patrons joined in song. (Wouldn’t “Poker Face” have  been the more obvious choice, btw?) OK: Some things, it seems, are Gay Universals. When the Lady Parade then continued with the inexplicable country sensation Lady Antebellum, I realized that it’s now “all lady, all the time.” I was half-expecting “Lady Marmalade” to follow.2 So maybe this blog needs a new name (see title of post).

As I neared the bottom of my first and only drink, the bartender approached me and asked the usual, friendly questions that the job demands. When I told him that I was in Florida with my kids, the issue turned to adoption. He reminded me that gay adoptions were illegal in the (No) Sunshine (for Gays) State, and then related a conversation he’d had with family members, where he’d defended himself by saying: “I’m gay but I’m not a pedophile.”

Yikes! I don’t know any gay person who’d feel the need to add the qualifying part of that sentence, which somehow suggests that the listener (and the speaker) might have reason to think that gays are pedophiles. But I don’t know many gays in out-of-the-way places in such homophobic states, either. There isn’t one linear gay rights movement, and last night’s visit was a depressing reminder that in some places full dignity and equality are far off.

But even here, there are glimmers of hope. On the otherwise dismal bulletin board, there was a neatly typed request for donations made by the local high school’s Gay Straight Alliance. (Yes, I did wonder whether the lack of a hyphen between gay and straight was simply poor grammar or a more disturbing distancing between the gays and their not-quite-comfortable straight allies.) Perhaps even in the remotest areas of the cruelest states, better things are only a generation away.

  1. What a visually stunning film! The plot was OK, if derivative of Pocahontas, until the final chapter which culminated in a tiresome Marine general, encased in a giant robot suit, facing off against the gone-native protagonist, in a battle that for some reason reminded me of Cameron Hodge’s last-stand from an old X-Men comics plot.
  2. “Hey lady!” “What?” “What lady?” That lady?” No!” — Funplex, the B-52’s.

“Ant-y Maim”

November 25th, 2009 No comments

Ants wearing stilts.

“To test your will would take the strength of crazy ants.”1

This morning, I stayed in my car — radio (NPR) on and eyes agog — after I’d reached the coffee shop where I was heading for an emergency hit. This story was the reason:

Researchers at the University of Ulm have demonstrated, probably conclusively, that ants can count. They apparently have some kind of bio-gizmo in their brains that tick off how many steps it takes them to reach a food source, and then “count backwards” to get back home. It didn’t surprise me to see that the story is the most popular right now on NPR’s website. Who could help being fascinated by this?

The experiment was this: Scientists followed ants to their food source, and then trapped them into three groups. Then, perhaps inspired by Goldilocks and the Three Bears, “adjusted” the length of the pismires’ legs: Group 1’s legs were lengthened by gluing pig bristles to them2; Group 2’s legs were, er, shortened, by snipping them off at the knee; and Group 3’s legs were unmolested. As the scientists’ hypothesis predicted, only Group  3 arrived home. Group 1, taking comically long strides, lurched far beyond the colony, while the mutilated subjects of Group 2 stopped, confused(I  can’t get enough of this anthropomorphizing!), well short of home.

Then, the scientists observed them the next day from home to food source and back. Their internal pedometers had already adjusted to their new leg sizes: All three groups “counted” how many steps they’d  taken, and took that same number home, in time to recount their fascinating stories to their fellow insects.

Two related things occurred to me when hearing this story:

  • The more we know about different species, the more fascinating they become, and the more apparent it becomes (to me, anyway) that we inhabit one place on a long, complex continuum. Add counting to the list of things we once believed was the sole province of the human race: language; use of tools; reasoning ability; altruism, to name a few of the most astonishing. We can protest that ants aren’t “really” counting, but I don’t see why the conscious keeping track of how many steps one’s taken is superior to the ants’ approach.  In fact, the ants are likely better at it then we would be. I can attest to this:

A couple of summers ago, I decided I wanted to swim two miles in the French River, in Northern Ontario. The only way I had for approximating my distance was to count my strokes, counting 80 for every 100 meters (based on my stroke count for a 50-meter pool, and adjusting for the lack of turns.) I’ll do the math for  you: I needed to count 2,800 strokes. Now, I’m one of the rare swimmers who actually counts his strokes as he swims in a pool, so I had an advantage over others who might try this.3 I succeeded, but barely: By the time I’d gotten into the mid-100o’s, it was hard to remember where I was. If you think it’d be easy, try it with running, walking, etc. See how far you get.

  • This recognition of our place on a beautiful spectrum of life should remind us of the value of all life, and to count it when making decisions (whether on abortion, meat-eating, treatment of pets, etc.). That little spur causes me to question whether the scientists really had to cut off the creatures’ legs in order to prove their hypothesis. Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t the longer-legged ants have proven the point, all by their stilt-legged selves? Sure, there’s a nice symmetry in the shorter and longer approach, but what did the maiming add to the science of it? And if the answer is “nothing, really” then I’d say:

I don’t care much about ants, but every creature deserves to be taken into some kind of account in our actions. This isn’t to say that ants have “rights” but that we have humanity, and the responsibility that attends it.

  1. My favorite line from one of my favorite songs (“You Avoid Parties”) from one of the most criminally overlooked bands ever, the Posies. They’re like an updated version of the Hollies, with better lyrics. As this story explains, bands like the Posies have to scrap just to survive these days. Think about them, not about Lady Gaga, the next time you download a song without paying for it.
  2. A sure resume enhancer for the grad students assigned to the task.
  3. Don’t.

On and On and On….

October 12th, 2009 No comments

Here’s a story you likely know, at least in broad outline:

During his campaign, Obama promises progress on gay rights. Once in office, his rhetoric cools and — to be charitable — he doesn’t seem to be moving very fast. Then he makes things much worse with a dreadful brief his Justice Department files in defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Critics (including this one) erupt.

Chastened, Obama signs a memorandum extending a few lousy benefits to partners of federal employees. Then the lifting of the ban on HIV-positive travelers moves closer to reality. Hate crimes law should be a reality any day now, but other promises, like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” and (especially) the Defense of Marriage Act remain just…promises.

Then, this past Saturday night, Obama headlines the gay dinner-to-end-all-dinners — the HRC soiree in DC — where he “opens” for the ubiquitous Lady Gaga.1 His speech makes more concrete (but with no timeline) his goal of repealing DADT and of passing ENDA (the federal non-discrimination law).

Some bloggers continue continue to howl. “When”? “Give us concrete times and dates!” In this vein, Andrew Sullivan titles his post on the speech “Much Worse Than I Expected.”2   Others read it differently. Nan Hunter, for example, thinks that the focus on DADT has occluded Obama’s subtle but important move towards the language of moral equality. (Her post is really worth your time; so is her blog, in general.) Sullivan would say (and has, in almost these words): “We know the man can give a great speech. Now he needs to shut up and do something.”

There’s the story. Now the question: Where to stand?

I’m trying to find some way of accommodating these two truths: First, Obama is an advocate (except on marriage). Second, so far and perhaps for good, he isn’t willing to expend much political capital on LGBT rights; so he moves slowly or (perhaps in the case of DOMA), not at all. This is advocacy in name (and soaring rhetoric) only.

Here are a few suggestions to help maintain your sanity. So far, they are working for me:

  1. Focus on the states, where marriage equality will continue to play out. Right now, Maine is hugely important. If Question 1, asking the voters to repeal the recently enacted marriage equality law, is voted down, then the right can’t argue about courts — or, weirdly, even legislatures — subverting the will of the people. Of course, some leadership from Obama wouldn’t hurt in this regard, either. (So far, silence).
  2. Be practical — not ridiculous, as in waiting for 2017 to render judgment, but realistic. If we get hate crimes and ENDA this year, as well as the regulatory repeal of the HIV travel ban, and the end of DADT next year, I’d swallow my disappointment over DOMA (not for long) and congratulate Obama on some actual accomplishments. (As I wrote here in summarizing the remarks of Chai Feldblum and others, getting legislation through Congress is tough because of the difficulty of getting their time and attention.)
  3. Continue agitating, and criticizing the Administration. Consider supporting organizations other than the HRC, at least until they can show something, anything, for their decades of black-tie fund-raising efforts.

Maybe this is too timid, maybe I’m too critical, maybe…I should go to bed.

  1. Who sang a freshly kitted-out version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” that stands with the Elton John/Bernie Taupin retread of “Candle in the Wind” (to fit Princess Diana’s memorial) in the “lazy songcraft” pantheon. I’m sure the guests would rather have heard “Pokerface.”
  2. Some context is useful here. Earlier, Sullivan had leveled HRC Pres Joe Solomonese for a letter he’d sent out supporting Obama, and suggesting that we wait until 2017(!) to evaluate his Presidency. Although some of the post is needlessly incendiary (esp. the title), Sullivan was right in the essentials, and it’s hard not to read Obama’s speech in light of the HRC’s bland acceptance of almost anything he says or promises to do.