Magic Dragon pt. 2

January 25, 2009

dragon3So this recent movie that came out chronicling the life and times of one of Brooklyn’s most prolific rappers had me thinking not about my love and admiration for my hometown boy (yeah, I got love for him; I am so gangsta, like totally) but got me thinking about my gays and the hip-hop industry.

For years, there has been gossip, exposés  planned, articles written and even a book or two penned discussing the clandestine gay happenings in the misogynistic — and many times openly homophobic — world of hip-hop.

I think it would be silly of us all to think there aren’t well-known hip-hop artists and/or executives who are in fact gay.  I have known for years now that there are said gays who exist.

So let’s call said gay Magic Dragon.  MD is a major major force to be reckoned with and his influence hasn’t just been that of hip-hop glory so he has a mass appeal that’s undeniable.  Trust me, even if you do not follow this type of music, you know him!

I know MD through varying degrees of separation throughout the years. Actually, he is one person in the industry I could never seem to get away from no matter what new project or  job I take.  One or more of those degrees we share make him gayer than a Capri cigarette hanging from a burly set of lips.

So story goes that back in the day he use to be really adamant about not just promoting his up-and-coming artists but promoting what he would dub “male bonding sessions” with certain artists on the roster and members of his recording team and record label.  See “bonding” for MD wasn’t your normal fare of going to a bar, a sportsman-ly game of basketball, or something uninteresting like that.  In fact, he was into what my gays would call circle jerks.  Nope it ain’t a circle of really influential soda jerks either (can soda jerks even be influential?)  CJs are where a group of men get together and squeeze the cannoli, if you know what I mean.  I won’t get anymore graphic because I am a lady… I mean a gentleman.  MD wouldn’t be silly and just ask anyone to join these parties but one or two of the people he did ask weren’t too happy about it and let it spill.

This brings me to yet again to the fact that Wendy Williams isn’t as dumb as she looks.  I am not sure if she ever mentioned MD was gay but I know she doesn’t like him too many and says she has hardcore evidence that one of MD’s former protégés was.  And she would be right as MD and he both use to be the ringleaders and organizers of these circle jerks of fire.  (Wendy, girl, we need to compare notes.  I have been holding a lot of this stuff in for years.)

MD will probably profess to everyone around him that he is secure with his manhood.  And to the untrained eye he is.  He is a “straight man” with beautiful women always in his sights, even public records of infidelity that make him a lady’s man to the media and you, yet all around him are his gays from his fashion designers to his publicists to his assistants.   Actually, I know his personal stylist (who goes with him EVERYWHERE) who is gay, gay, and gayer!  Though I haven’t gotten to know him well enough to see if he could re-confirm the things I know, I get the sense that something is in the air when I converse with him anyway.

I think guys like MD are a new form of DL gay men (especially in the entertainment world) emerging: the closeted man who by all accounts lives a straight life in public but also proclaims to everyone he is so comfortable with his sexuality that he can have hoards of gay men around him.

I think I may be stalked, bruised and then battered  for this entry so I am going to stop here.  If the entries end abruptly after this point please inform the police of this particular entry  and… and… TELL MY MOM I LOVE HER!!! Hahaha…


Magic Dragon pt. 1

January 24, 2009

dragon2So you know how my dissenters will sometimes say I have an overwrought and almost sick need to out celebrities?  Well, if you don’t know now you know!  They’ve been saying it and, yes, more importantly, I have dissenters.  People are actually reading this blog!  I wish they would just have the balls to post their sentiments publicly.  Alas, they don’t!

So to appease them… or displease them rather… this is yet another outing!!!  I was never one to acquiesce.  Let’s call the outing victim Magic Dragon (it will make sense soon).

See, I don’t give names!  It’s not my fault that I have very savvy readers who could decode my thinly veiled blind items in a matter of seconds!  Who knew my readers were so smart!?!?  I for sure didn’t!!!  Now wipe that dribble off your faces, guys, the yellow bus is waiting!

I have to preface this week’s particular outing by writing that I do not get off on outing celebrities — quite the contrary really…  Though I must admit I haven’t had to squeeze the cannoli since I started this blog…  I kid,I kid…

Celebs are America’s royalty.  You have heard that argument before, I gather.  Well, it’s true!  I know, I know, it’s sad but true.  We live for insight into their lives, want to know they put one sock on at a time, want to know they scratch their balls like the rest of us (right, Sis?  Well… Transsssis?!?!)  

We don’t have kings, queens, next-in-lines, castaways but we surely have Brangelina, Tom-Kat and… and… Worrakell.  (That last one was my little ditty or portmanteau [for my advanced degree awardees]!  It’s Kelly Osbourne and her new beau Luke Worrall… I know, I know, you could care less and what’s worse they’re British.  Still I made that up on my own.  Kudos to me! Worrakell.  I like that!  I am contacting the Post… or Star… you know, the reputable rags!)  

Anyhoo, so getting insight into celebs’ personal lives is interesting — especially if it involves some sexual proclivity they aren’t too keen on divulging.  It’s like that uncle you know who dresses in women’s clothing and you are dying to tell his wife and kids at the dinner table during Thanksgiving so you disguise his name (Tony for Toni or something like that) and spill the beans.  Or is that just me?  I guess I am just evil!

Oh yeah… the outing…  I digressed again.  Check the outing in my next entry.  I think it needs its own post and I promise I will get “straight” to the point.  That pun was soooo intended by the way!

Hope… Progress…

January 20, 2009

shepard-fairey-barack-obama To write I am proud and hopeful is an understatement at best!  This is a crowning moment for us all!

I think we have all exhausted a myriad of cliches and hyperbolic statements to last a lifetime but… this man… this man… is remarkable!  Enough said!

May sound a bit pre-fatalistic but I feel very fortunate to have had this happen in my life time!

Celebrity Rehab, Seth… and Me!

January 19, 2009

shiftySo I have a little confession to make: I am francislewis and I am a reality tv junkie! I mean it has gotten to the point where quality control isn’t even an issue.  I will watch it all; try any one of them at least once; and usually keep my eye on the train until it’s wrecked, mangled, with no survivers!  I know… I know…  but there are a few shows that do seem to have some redeeming qualities though (no, not you, Bromance!)

So that brings me to my watching VH1’s Sober House, which I guess you can describe as a spin-off of Celebrity Rehab which just ended its second season but a few months ago.  The show chronicles the lives of several celebrities from both seasons’ casts as they try to live life drug and alcohol free after their stints at Dr. Drew Pinsky’s detox facility.

One of the cast members in particular has me glued.  You see back in the day, I use to be a journalist.  One of the first artists I ever interviewed happened to be Crazy Town, a band fronted by a then stage-named only Shifty Shellshock.  Today, other reality tv junkies will know him as Seth “Shifty” Binzer, much of his government-given name.

Truth was, I was shell-shocked that first day.  That day more than anything I wanted the members of that band to know I wasn’t a rookie at this journalist thing and in the process my nerves got the best of me for much of the ride to the record label and quite sometime afterwards.  They were new signers (their hit “Butterfly” wouldn’t come out for quite some time later) and though we were both sorta newbies I was petrified still.

My fears were allayed when the band arrived though.  In walks in this gorgeous guy with crazy platinum blond spiky hair, hoards of tats and what I could only describe as one of the most sincere and welcoming smiles ever.  With the rest of his band mates in tow, it was Shifty who really put me at ease, as we started talking about our common loves of star tattoos and piercings.

By the end of the interview, one thing was for sure: Seth was undoubtedly charismatic, endearing, and had a great love for music that was infectious even for a music journalist, and he truly was the front-man of this group (though there was a co-front-man who looked anything but happy with all of the attention Seth was getting).  Truth be told, Seth wasn’t trying to overshadow anyone but he just had so much intensity and drive that people gravitated to him — music executives, publicists, journalists and all alike.  I had first-hand experience of that much of the day and even later that night,  with the fans glued to him when we met up at a NYC show where his band shared the bill with Tommy Lee.

I have to admit I’d heard stories that Seth was even using back then (along with other members of his band) but I couldn’t believe it because the guy I saw seemed too driven to be as much of an addict as people were saying.  Just didn’t seem possible but I can see now that it was, in fact, possible and though it does somewhat sully the experience a bit when I think of it in retrospect, I also know how the music industry can tempt and gobble one up.  If you aren’t careful, you can be a shell of your true self.

What I can write is that I hope Seth can see himself through all of this.  I don’t know how I feel about any of the celebs publicly going through this all.  It takes the fish bowl concept and really flips it on itself and, fittingly, a viewer has to wonder about intentions.  But, again, I say get help where you can.  Maybe the concept of Game Theory will work its magic on these folks as it’s about so many times you can screw up on national tv.  At some point, something has to give.

For me, I didn’t get to know Seth, the man on the screen, in the music videos, on reality tv.  Instead, I got to know the man before that all, who was hopeful and craved success in what seemed a healthy way.  He was something to be reckoned with back then and I hope he can see that drive again.  And with a child out there, I hope he learns that he isn’t just living for himself anymore — or even band-mates anymore.  He is living for someone he helped to create!  Cliche and cheesy but true!

God speed, Seth!  I know you can do it!

Hide Nothing

January 14, 2009

untitled2 I am always one for music artists — any artists really — who bear their souls for the sake of their art.  This, of course, is why I harbor a  great affinity for the singer/songwriter and even more so the openly gay singer/songwriter.

There are those who came out (willingly or not-so willingly) at some pointed spot  in their career but even more interesting is the  cadre of singers emerging who proclaim their gayness from the onset.  True, the climate is different today than say even ten years ago and what could only be described then as a burgeoning or, more like, largely unrecognized gay market is now one  ripe and now saturated with ploys to market to them.  Still these renegade musicians have the chutzpah to forfeit the opportunity for even more mass appeal, that America’s heartthrob status, to be true to themselves.  That’s admirable at the least.

With that written, I have two recommendations.  Most of my gays for sure know Rufus Wainwright.   Wainwright’s moody voice serves his equally moody, sometimes funny, sometimes sarcastic or sardonic,  sometimes  teetering on the ridiculous lyrics very well.  His first two albums, one self-titled and the other Poses have both helped de-cloud many a friend’s (myself included) mood.   Honestly, I think he really set the stage for many other artists in his generation and beyond to put their art/craft before anything else.  Wainwright has admitted that he had no other choice but to be out and proud from the beginning alluding to the fact that he wouldn’t have been able to hide it anyway, yet still, I have to give him credit where credit is due.

Following in his footsteps, not only in his frankness about his sexuality but in lyrical content and sound, songster Matt Alber is creating some buzz himself.  A Grammy Award-winning artist (when he was a part of an acapella group), Alber takes Wainwright’s moodiness and infuses it with something a bit more mellow in his first solo album Hide Nothing.  And the title says it all!  The album is an unabashed look at love and all of its inherent complexities.

Check out Alber’s ballad “End of the World.”  It truly captures what it means to love and love hard.  Even if we have yet to experience that, we can lavish in his articulation of this anomaly.   Fittingly, the song’s video is conceptually stunning and  marks Alber as the gay artist — no, the artist, rather —  to watch!

Benjamin Bixby

January 13, 2009

andrew3000Yeah, so triple-threat celebrities are all the rage.  You know?  The actors-turned-singers-turned-clothing-designers — or some horrible permutation thereof.  What reigns true?  Many of our dear celebs are pretty much only good at one of those things… well, if they are even that lucky!

So needless to write, one would think I would be rather pessimistic when it comes to say a celebrity’s new clothing line.  Well, actually, there are a couple of celeb lines I am rather smitten with.  Take for instance the line Benjamin Bixby started early last year by  Andre 3000 (of Outcast fame).  The collection thus far is obviously heavily inspired by the 30s and 40s and the sport of rugby.   There are some pieces that could be considered a tad gaudy (there aren’t too many men who could wear short plaid trousers) but overall the line exudes impeccable style and attention to detail much like its creator.

Check the line out if you can.  It’s just another reason to visit which had a one day sale today on the collection.  It ends midnight tonight!

No time for remorse or ‘gilt’; visit HERE now…


January 13, 2009

youtube_logoHey, so talent truly runs in the family.  A-hem!  Both my little brother and little sister can sang their butts off.  No lie!!! I hope to one day be able to stand proudly when they are both in the limelight and say… I am taking 25% from them for my management fees.

Anyhoo… until then, my little brother has succumbed to the YOUTUBE gods and has created himself some buzz in the short time he’s been there.  Check out his page and be a part of the cult following a’brewing!

Isn’t nepotism grand!?!?

Visit him HERE