WATCH: Steve Grand’s ‘All-American Boy’

SteveGrand

Remember when it was a big deal when recording artists came out of the closet? Oh, right, that was just last year.

But things are changing. Not only do we have hot gay acts like Adam Lambert, Frank Ocean and Rufus Wainwright coming out once they made a name for themselves, we have up-and-coming singers doing it right off the bat … and being really out about it. That’s the case with Steve Grand, whose country-tinged “All-American Boy” has become a YouTube sensation. If you haven’t seen it yet, enjoy.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Another view: 2012′s best music

In last week’s Year in Review edition, we ran a list of our writer Rich Lopez’s top 10 discs of 2012. Well, he’s not the only contributor who likes to write about music: Chris Azzopardi has his own ideas. And while there is some cross-over (Frank Ocean, natch), it’s interesting to see how they differ. Here, then, are Azzo’s favorite CDs of last year:

10. Cat Power, Sun. Clocking in at just under 11 minutes, “Nothin’ But Time” starts simple enough, with just piano and fuzzy static — then there’s some man chants, and Iggy Pop. On paper it’s a hot mess, but the heartfelt coming-of-age mantra (during which all things seem infinite and possible) beautifully builds into a euphoric mind-release that breezes on by. For the musical oxymoron “Ruin,” Chan Marshall’s a world traveler singing over a bouncy drum beat, chiding fussy Americans. The hallucinatory “Manhattan” drops you in the bustle of a big city, where you’re just a speck of broken dreams and memories. On “3, 6, 9” she’s so drunk that her looseness translates to the song’s rhythmic punch. And to your ears. Forever and ever.

9. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange. Can men who love men make it in the supposed anti-gay realm of hip-hop? Frank Ocean answered that question when he came out via Tumblr and topped the charts with his solo debut, rightfully earning him kudos, a rabid fan base and Grammy nominations. And it’s not just hype. Channel Orange renders his poeticism — about sex, drugs, love and longing — into progressive hip-art beats. The music, though, is only the half of it: Frank’s voice rolls over your sound holes like the “buttercream silk shirt” he sings about on “Lost,” an acid trip that will have you trying to find your way out. This is the gem, though, that’ll go down in the books: “Bad Religion,” so painfully pointed it hurts.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

This weekend is jam-packed full of events, several of them very worthy fundraisers to benefit AIDS charities around North Texas.

Hard to believe, but the Miss Leo Party is roaring ahead to its 25th annual event. A traditional fundraiser for the Daire Center and AIDS Interfaith Network, it gets underway at the Hidden Door on Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Expect to have a good time. Then on Sunday, scoot over to Bailey’s Prime Plus on Park Lane for a dinner, silent auction and music for the Be An Angel benefit for Legacy Counseling and Founders Cottage. Best of all? It’s just 40 bucks! You’d spend more than that on a meal at Bailey’s (which serves excellent food, by the way).

The Elizabeth Trail’rs, the LifeWalk team for Dallas Voice, will host a happy hour at Two Corks and a Bottle in the Quadrangle on Friday from 5:30 to 8. Ten percent of all sales will go to the ETs, so all you have to do is drink like you normally would on a Friday after work and you’re making a donation. But beyond that, you can win CDs and other swag and buy tickets to a 50/50 raffle. Come support a good cause. And while we’re talkin’ about LifeWalk, the Miss LifeWalk Pageant takes place in the Rose Room on Sunday, starting at 6:30 p.m.

The London Olympics start tonight, and apparently the athletes are very gay. Gay people of faith who don’t mind a drive have two opportunities to see the gay Christian music of Jason & deMarco this weekend: They will perform at a Saturday evening event and again at Sunday morning services at the Celebration on the Lake Church in Mabank.

Newly out (and incredibly cute) hip-hopper Frank Ocean’s new CD, Channel Orange, has dropped, and our music critic says it will send shockwaves — not because it’s so outre, but because it’s so good. But Ocean’s not the only gay rapper with a great new disc: Bisexual Azealia Banks’ EP 1991 is just as impressive.

The Festival of Independent Theatres continues at the Bath House Cultural Center, including a play with a lesbian and one by gay scribe Edward Albee. This is also the final weekend to see the critically acclaimed hit drag comedy The Divine Sister, from Uptown Players, with Coy Covington, Kevin Moore and the entire cast mining great comedy out of an unlikely source: The perky nun movie.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Frank Ocean tonight at South Side Music Hall

To be Frank

Hip-hop musician and producer Frank Ocean likely gained several new LGBT fans by coming out talking about his past relationship with a man. But that shouldn’t eclipse the strong work of his debut solo album Channel Orange. He’s proven himself already as a member of the collective Odd Future and producing Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West. But now we see him on his own terms and maybe even greatness in the making.

DEETS: South Side Music Hall, 1135 S. Lamar St. 8 p.m. $28. GilleysDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Murs’ pro-gay “Animal Style”

Internet buzz is ramping up for L.A. rapper Murs’ newest video. Well, it’s a week old officially, but the gay blogs are just catching wind of the pro-gay stance of “Animal Style” taken by the indie hip-hop artist. Much like Texas rapper Adair Lion, Murs, who is straight, pushes queer issues into the hip-hop arena. Huffy Po’s Gay Voices blog analyzes the video while Out talks to Murs about his gay kiss and what his wife thinks about it.

Murs has a healthy stance on the issue and his chat with Out reveals some insight to why he’s gay friendly. The video and song play a bit roughly with both graphic imagery and language, but also in structure. While I appreciate what he’s doing, dang it’s hard to vibe with his flow. But with Lion, Frank Ocean Y-Love and A-list musicians either supporting LGBT rights or coming out, queer identity and big and small ways looks to be changing the face of hip-hop.

Watch “Animal Style” after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Does Frank Ocean’s coming out mean more for hip-hop or for the LGBT community?

July has already been a momentous month for the LGBT community. Anderson Cooper didn’t so much come out as officially confirm that he identified as gay early in the week. Then, for some July 4 fireworks, Odd Future member Frank Ocean candidly talked about his past relationship with a man in a telling Tumblr post. A lengthy letter that was heartfelt and poetic (while never using the “g” or the “b” words) left no doubt that Ocean has come out of the closet as a member of the community — and as a bona fide hip-hop star.

There has been speculation on Ocean’s sexuality recently on blog buzz reviews about his upcoming album Channel Orange. MTV reported that he had openly used “him” in many of his songs which had been picked up on by those reviews. Ocean’s clearly in a more comfortable space, but could it be lost on the LGBT community?

—  Rich Lopez