Takei, Aiken adding gay fabulosity to new “Celebrity Apprentice”

George Takei

I have sincerely admired George Takei ever since 2005 when he publicly came out as a gay man. And I have been a real fan for the last several months, ever since I “liked” his Facebook page and got the chance to see and appreciate his unique sense of humor.

But I am not a big enough fan to watch George in his new gig, because his new gig is being a cast member of the new season of Donald Trump‘s Celebrity Apprentice. And I hate Donald Trump and I hate Celebrity Apprentice way to much to ever watch the show, even for George T. I made myself a promise after listening to Trump’s “presidential campaign” tripe that I would never watch this show, because I never want to do anything that might even remotely put money in his bigoted pockets.

So, love ya George, but I just can’t watch that show.

There will be at least one other gay in the cast to keep George company: Clay Aiken of American Idol and Spamalot fame. And other “gay interest’ cast members are ’80s pop star Debbie Gibson and equal-opportunity-insult comedian Lisa Lampanelli.

I’m not gonna list the whole cast here. You can go over to FoxNews.com to get that (where, by the way, the describe Takei as “Star Wars actor George Takei”). Let it suffice to say that the cast does include Mafia princess Victoria Gotti and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider.

—  admin

Starvoice • 02.11.11

By Jack Fertig

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYBillieJoeArmstrong1

Billie Joe Armstrong turns 39 on Thursday. The Green Day frontman has grown into quite the artist since his early punk rock days. From 1994’s brash Dookie to the epic American Idiot in 2004 and now Broadway based on the latter album. He came out as bisexual in ’95 to The Advocate but now refrains from talking about his personal life out of respect for his wife.

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THIS WEEK

The Sun lining up with Neptune in Aquarius, and in a rare combination of aspects with Uranus (for the last time in our lifetime!), offers an unusual boost to intuitive clarity.

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AQUARIUS Jan 20-Feb 18
Birthday splurges carry hidden costs. Think ahead. Take time out to consider where you’re going in life. Maturing is a process of adaptation. Aging offers opportunities for insight and liberation.
PISCES  Feb 19-Mar 19
Take time out from worldly demands. You need to be able to charge your batteries to intuit the big changes coming up both globally and personally. Trust your instincts and act on them.

ARIES Mar 20-Apr 19
Enjoy the company of good friends; talk about where you expect to be in 10 or 20 years. That triggers hunches about the future. Talking about them gives a clearer vision of what will be.

TAURUS Apr 20-May 20
The future is uncertain. Don’t let that worry you. Focus on what you really want and expect of life. That will alleviate concerns about your career and give direction in your planning.

GEMINI May 21-Jun 20
Believe in yourself. Even that may be difficult while you are in the midst of redirection, but look into your own heart, your own guiding light, to see what you know to be true.

CANCER Jun 21-Jul 22
Discuss your fantasies with your partner — or someone you can trust. Something new is likely to come up. You may not be ready to act on it, but at least consider the notion and what’s behind it.

LEO Jul 23-Aug 22
The bedroom is a great place to clear up misunderstandings. Be willing to let your lover lead you to places and positions you’d never considered. Return the favor. It’s about trust and empathy.

VIRGO Aug 23-Sep 22
Your ideas at work are brilliant, but support is a problem. Let others think they had some part in your ideas if you don’t mind giving up some of the credit.

LIBRA Sep 23-Oct 22
Being a team player does include some actual play. Morale-building fun-and-games help you get into better sync with your colleagues. Even solo, new techniques will improve your game.

SCORPIO Oct 23-Nov 21
Scandals open quite a can of worms. In the end it could prove very healing, although the catharsis could put some big bumps on the path to resolution.

SAGITTARIUS Nov 22-Dec 20
Confusion is the first step to enlightenment. Remember that when things get a little crazy. Their deception is probably not deliberate. Be patient, forgiving and alert.

CAPRICORN Dec 21-Jan 19
A choice between diplomacy and honesty tests your values. Being kind is a mistake. Gentleness and finesse will be appreciated while pussyfooting and sugarcoated lies will not.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

SWEET TOOTH: Touring this time holds a lot less pressure for Sugar & Gold’s Philipp Minnig

SUGAR SHOCK | Minnig, left, and Dobbratz bring a different kind of sexy back to the men of Dallas.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

When Philipp Minnig finds downtime between shows on a tour, he mines YouTube. Sometimes the videos serve as a source of inspiration for his music, but mostly, he’s just enjoying his free time. His current obsession is in a video which title translates to “The Doctors.” This prepares him for the next day’s show.

“I’m taking a break today researching,” he laughs. “I do have a hard job: Watching videos. But yeah, when we have any kind of downtime, that’s pretty much it for me. “

The frontman for the duo Sugar and Gold has had a hectic 2011, coming off an already busy 2010. The band toured last year for the disc Get Wet, which garnered the dance-rockers some nice acclaim. They turned around to release the EP Bodyaches and are back on the road stopping at the Jack Daniel’s Saloon this Saturday. Only this time, the two-month tour is less of a job and more of a party.

“When we toured the record we had to do that whole promo push,” he says. “After you just finish a record, there is a lot to deal with. Personally I get sick of my face and the record that goes along with it. But this time, we’ve been having a ball so far.”

While Minnig and bandmate Nicolas Dobbratz emphasize fun in their music, there is work to be done. But with an EP that contains two new songs and remixes from Wet, S&G didn’t have that much pressure with promoting the disc. The tour schedule is short and they planned for the show to be free-flowing.

“This just hasn’t been as daunting,” Minnig says. “We’re having fun with the wardrobe and we’re just loose onstage. The music is still tight but the relaxed feeling allows giving better shows with lots of spontaneous energy. And we’re having more fun with the crowds.”

A lot of those crowds are primarily gay. S&G has come to be closely identified with LGBT audiences due to their electronic dance grooves and a nebulous masculine tone. S&G are in that some dance rock vein as other gay faves Scissor Sisters and Of Montreal. In fact, the band is closely associated with OM in that musically incestuous way. If members of S&G aren’t touring with OM, then members from both are working on their side project Yip Deceiver, which is incidentally the opener for this show.

Minnig, who is straight, can see why LGBT audiences have embraced his band — especially the boys.

“Oh it’s wonderful. We’re big on male sensuality,” he says.

“Our music is about softening the male image and reintroducing sexiness to males. Male doesn’t have to be tough and uptight. It feels freeing when males in the audience are responsive to what your doing.”

Musically, Minnig comes from that indie queer background. He calls that scene his own and he found his music very active in underground gay communities. And that affects how he writes his tunes.

“To some degree, I toy with side projects and play with other musicians, but S&G is its own beast,” he says. “The way we write our music puts an individual spin on things.”

Even though he’s been feeling good about the chill approach to this mini-tour, Minnig is surprisingly anxious to be done with it.

Despite being non-stop the past couple of years, it’s like a drug for him to keep going.

“These shows have affected us positively,” he says. “Just on this leg, it’s such a pleasure hanging out with like-minded, electronically geeky, socially open people and that opens up inspiration. I’m psyched to get to the end of the tour because I wanna write already.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright

100 gay bachelors stick to the wall and qualify for Out Magazine’s ‘Most Eligible’ list

Over on Out Magazine‘s website, they posted a contest where readers can vote on the top 10 from their 100 Most Eligible Gay Bachelors slideshow. I’m glad to see they didn’t just stick with cardboard hotties ages 21-25, but their selection is a bit baffling. The list is heavy on L.A. and N.Y. players, which makes it somewhat two-dimensional and bugs me the most. But after scrolling through the pics, it just felt like Out started throwing names and whatever stuck was included.

I appreciated selections like Precious director Lee Daniels and Woodpigeon’s hottie frontman Mark Hamilton, pictured, but I hardly expected to see the likes of this guy or this person on the list. I get the impression that if you live in New York or Los Angeles, are gay, single, famous and have a fabulous job and/or a publicist, you made the list. If you look really close, they even included Out staff members.

OK, so they are doing this for Valentine’s Day, when the top 10 will be revealed, and thus the more everyman types weren’t going to be included. Still, I figure there are men from the flyover states who more than qualify for the list — not to mention from all over the world, and some of them aren’t designers or actors. Clearly I’m a cynic, but whatever.

But I am curious who the local most eligible bachelors (and bachelorettes are). If Out were looking at Dallas folk, who would you include in the list?

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Cameras’ Joel Gibb teams with R.E.M.; Gaga tweets upcoming release

Back in 2009, I listed The Hidden Cameras in my top albums list of the year. That was mostly due to gay frontman Joel Gibb who, despite being a tough interview, manufactured a beautiful package of songs in their album Origin:Orphan. The indie folkster teams up with R.E.M. on the band’s new single, “It Happened Today,” providing back ups for the also-out frontman Michael Stipe. The single is part of R.E.M.’s upcoming album Collapse Into Now, which is slated for a March release. I love it when the gays team up with each other. The song itself is reliably R.E.M. and a decent but not overwhelming intro to the band’s 15th studio release.

The video below doesn’t show the band at all, but is reminiscent of George Michael’s “Praying for Time” video where the lyrics are the stars — literally.

—  Rich Lopez

Bradford Cox aka Atlas Sound aka Deerhunter frontman releases free music download

Yesterday, Bradford Cox posted practically a whole album on his website available for free download. Under his moniker Atlas Sound, he offers Bedroom Databank Vol. 1, 11 tracks of work recorded at home and on his computer. Of the 11, there are two covers: Dylan and the Band’s “This Wheel’s on Fire,” which you might know as the theme from Absolutely Fabulous recorded by Julie Driscoll and Adrian Edmondson, and Kurt Vile’s “Freak Train.”

Sure he didn’t do an interview with us when he was last in town, but all is forgiven since we’re getting all this free music now. Funny how that works.

—  Rich Lopez

Out musician Bradford Cox leads Deerhunter to the Granada tonight

Bradford Cox in a dress is always a possibility

Last November, Atlas Sound was scheduled for a show at Hailey’s and then canceled. Hopefully, this won’t happen twice. Atlas Sound, aka Bradford Cox, is the gay frontman for the psychedelia-gazing punk band Deerhunter. They’ve come off their self-imposed hiatus that began in 2008 to record their fourth album, Halcyon Digest, which dropped in September. OK, that’s more a break than hiatus.

They made a splash out of Atlanta with their 2005 debut album Turn It Up Faggot — which was “an insult that Cox claimed was often thrown at the band during their gigs,” according to AllMusic — and then released the brilliant Microcastle/Weird Era Continued album two years ago.

Cox has Marfan Syndrome, which elongates his limbs making for quite an impression. At 6 feet, 4 inches, his skinny arms and legs make him look larger than life in an awkward way (and in the occasional onstage frock or dress), but that’s far from the point of Cox or Deerhunter even. As musicians, they have created some challenging and trippy music and their live show reputation borders on amazing.

Check them out at their Loft concert a year ago in the video below.

DEETS: With Best Coast (yes!), Sonny and the Sunsets and Casino Vs. Japan at the Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave . 8 p.m. $18. GranadaTheater.com.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Jonsi at Verizon Theatre last night

Kirstie Shanley | Jonsi.com

Hope you caught the Jònsi piece in the paper this week prior to his show at Verizon Theatre last night. I’m sorry to say I didn’t make the show to give you a full-fledged report how the out frontman of Sigur Ros performed, but I did find this video clip from the show last night.

The YouTube poster split it in two, but the first part (below) of Jònsi’s song “Go Do,” has a better quality than the second and gives you some idea of the show. However, by the looks of this slideshow on the Observer’s site, he clearly had more interesting costumes at other times in the concert.

Watch part 2 here.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart’s new video with his side project Former Ghosts

Freddy Ruppert and Jamie Stewart of FG

Jamie Stewart has a thing for that which grosses us out. Remember this video I posted in which his Xiu Xiu bandmate Angela Seo performed her gagging talents? That’s always a great one before lunch. Now, the gay musician and his side project band Former Ghosts bring us this video for their song “Taurean Nature” from the forthcoming album New Love.The video was posted by Pitchfork.

Stewart bandmate Freddy Ruppert’s day starts off a bit differently than most people’s in this video. In sequined Elvis garb, Ruppert pees, gorges, doesn’t like cute kitties and gets kinda naked. It’s all so strange but also a glorious kind of train wreck I couldn’t stop watching. However, I am swearing off strawberry milk.

—  Rich Lopez

Jonsi jonesing

Sigur Ros frontman says the band endures despite his new solo CD

FANCY JONSI    Sigur Ros’ gay frontman Jonsi takes his solo act on the road. (Photo Eve Vermandel)
FANCY JONSI Sigur Ros’ gay frontman Jonsi takes his solo act on the road. (Photo Eve Vermandel)

JONSI
Verizon Theatre, 1001 NextStage Drive, Grand Prairie.
Oct. 25. 8 p.m. $32–$38.
972-854-505

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As the openly gay frontman of groundbreaking Icelandic band Sigur Rós, Jón Thor Birgisson — who goes by Jónsi (pronounced Yónsi) — provided warmth and an ethereal quality to the band’s already atmospheric and lushly chilly songs. In fact, it’s hard to imagine what Sigur Rós would sound like absent Jónsi.

But on Go, Jónsi’s solo debut disc, we get the chance to hear him without his longtime band. His primary collaborator, openly gay orchestral pop artist

Nico Muhly, assists Jónsi in giving the album a fresh and original style. Alternately wildly rhythmic and sumptuous, Go offers Jónsi room to stretch in new and exciting directions. His fans would be wise to follow — which they can to Verizon Theatre on Monday. Now go!

— Gregg Shapiro

Dallas Voice: Congratulations on the release of your new solo album. How does it feel? Jonsi: It feels really good. I’m really happy with it. I’m really happy how it turned out.

What do you say to people who might be concerned that the release of a solo disc by you might be interpreted as the end of Sigur Rós? I’m going to be touring my solo album this year and I’m going to keep on working in Sigur Rós, writing and recording songs. Hopefully there’s going to be a new Sigur Rós album in 2011.

There is a radiant effervescence to some of the songs on Go, such as “Go Do,” “Animal Arithmetic” and “Around Us.” Is that a reflection of your state of mind at the time? Yeah, I think so — definitely. I wanted to push these songs in any way possible. “Go Do,” for example was written on ukulele, which sounds kind of weird when I listen to it now. There are so many layers on the song, so many instruments. I think I was pushing for more and more stuff to put on the songs. I wanted them to be energetic.

There’s definitely a powerful energy in those songs. “Around Us” and “Grow Till Tall” both contain references to growth and growing “till tall.” What’s the connection between the two songs? I don’t know why “grow” appears in so many songs. I think it appears in three lyrics on the album, actually. It’s probably about somebody growing.

Do you think it could be a reflection of your own personal and creative growth? Yeah, it could be, actually. I’m kind of taking a big step by myself by releasing this solo album and finally releasing these songs by myself. I’ve been creating for many, many years.

Are you referring to the passion fruit lilikoi in the song “Boy Lilikoi”? Or is it something else? Yeah! Ha!

Is lilikoi something that you like to eat? Maybe it has a different meaning. Maybe it’s about nature and living in the wild and dreams. Maybe meeting some young boy out in the forest.

You collaborated with your partner, Alex Somers, on the album Go as well as before. How does being in a relationship effect creative collaboration? It’s actually quite healthy. I like it. Alex is this amazing person who really inspires me. We have kind of the same taste in everything, like music, movies and books and clothes and food; nearly everything. We fit well together. It’s really good for me. We support each other and help each other with songwriting.

He helped me choose the songs for this album and produced the album with me. So, yeah, it’s really good.

What happens when you disagree on things? We just bicker a little bit and try to convince each other that you are right. But then somebody just gives in in the end.

If you hadn’t teamed up with Nico Muhly, how different do you think the experience of making Go would have been for you? It would be definitely different. It wouldn’t have so much stuff on it. I think Nico definitely added a lot of atmosphere and colors and playfulness and life to the album, which I’m really happy about. It’s what I wanted it to be and that’s exactly what I wanted him to do. I really love his arrangements and I’m really happy with him.

The woman-focused Lilith Fair was revived this past summer. A number of years ago, there was talk of a gay version of Lilith with Pet Shop Boys, Soft Cell, Rufus Wainwright and Magnetic Fields. If they were to try to revive it, is that something in which you might be interested in participating? Yeah, maybe. That sounds really cool, actually.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 22, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas