WATCH: Scissor Sisters’ “Shady Love”

The queer-centric Scissor Sisters are back on the radar with their new single “Shady Love.” Dropped on the Interwebs yesterday, the SS is making buzz with its video of kiddos awkwardly performing the romp of a song for their school play in front of an indifferent crowd of parents. The song is OK as Krystal Pepsi (aka Azealia Banks) throws in her vocal help and frontman Jake Shears raps over some high energy beats, but watching kids “sing” about Obama, booties and boobies is kind of hilar.

Watch it after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

2011 Year in Review: Concerts

Minaj-89

Nicki Minaj

The ladies ran the world this year — or at least the concert stage, whether dives or arenas.

1. Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae (Verizon Theatre). These two crashed the venue with the year’s most amazing live performances. Monae, in all her spastic glory, ran across the stage and into the audience, proving why she is the next Prince. And with her futuristic-themed album Archandroid, her band was loud and live minus any apparent electronic help. Mars did the same but recalled old-school showmanship, channeling Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Smokey Robinson as he and his own band filled the place with raucous horns, slamming percussion and Mars’ charisma.

2. Nicki Minaj (American Airlines, pictured). Britney sputtered before her concert hit its stride halfway through, but Minaj brought it from the get-go. With military precision, she and her troupe marched and danced while the audience roared, spanking the American Airlines Center as if she were the headliner, making everyone in the crowd her bitch. And all were on board. Her ovation with Spears was proof that Minaj’s star has arrived.

3. Jackie Hall (Lakewood Bar & Grill). A surprise at the May edition of Twist LGBT, stepped in with local band One Night Stand to end the night with a bang. Even as the crowd dwindled, Hall went full bore, working up those left into a frenzy with powerful covers. This lady sings the blues and rock and pop, but turns them out like no other.

4. Scissor Sisters (American Airlines Center). There is no way to steal a show from Lady Gaga, but the Sisters didn’t need to, giving a workout of a show. Ridiculously pumped Jake Shears burned a million calories with his high-energy antics (and that ass-reveal, a great bonus). Ana Matronic held her own as Shears’ equal with funk and sass. True fans were breathless.

5. Brandi Carlile (Granada Theatre). Without much fanfare, Carlile and her legions of fans in the mid-sized Granada were like one entity fused together. Her fans gave her space to sing softly, to go unplugged and to simply love her. She gave it right back with both grit and tenderness that were triggering all the ladies’ pheromones.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

— R.L.               

—  Kevin Thomas

A gay in the LIFE

Photographer Tim Hailand’s intimate access to gay musician Jake Shears and Rufus Wainwright makes for racy coffee table decor

Out photographer Tim Hailand gets way behind the velvet rope — heck, he crosses through the bedroom door — with his One Day in the Life of… photography books. His first, 2010’s One Day in the Life of Daniel Radcliffe, tracked the extremely gay-friendly actor from morning (waking up in bed!) till nighttime, but he gets even racier with two books that came out this week, both featuring queer musicians: One Day in the Life of Rufus Wainwright and One Day in the Life of Jake Shears (Hailand Books, $35).

These are coffee table books you might not want sitting out when mom’s bridge club comes over. Both tomes feature Hailand’s intimate black-and-white images of his subjects (Shears is especially open to getting naked in front of the camera) as they prepare for evening concerts, which are documented in full color. Each book’s photos are accompanied by text from the subjects, with Elton John providing an intro and Kylie Minogue an afterword to the Shears book.

Hailand has snapped for dozens of international magazines, chronicling a bevy of queer icons, from U.K. pop gods the Pet Shop Boys and cult artists Gilbert & George to transgender actress Candis Cayne and singer/performer Justin Bond. A portion of the books’ proceeds will go to charities determined by Shears (the Elton John AIDS Foundation) and Wainwright (the Kate McGarrigle Fund).

Hailand talked about his unfettered access, the challenges of shooting 2,000 photos over 14 hours and who’s next in his dream-list of subject.

— Lawrence Ferber
Visit OneDayintheLife.org for more information or to place an order.

Dallas Voice: Can you elaborate on the genesis behind this project and your choice in subjects? Hailand: I’m very much inspired by great performers — those who seem to be able to do what I can’t do. After shooting Jake Shears for V Man five years ago, I decided to expand upon this “one-day-long” portrait concept and use it for my own work. Dan Radcliffe is a friend, and the book arose out of our friendship. As a person, Dan is incredibly charismatic and super smart — wise beyond his years. He’s also very curious, as most smart people tend to be. Rufus and Jake have been friends of mine for quite some time, and I’ve been photographing them over the years both onstage and off. I love their work — Scissor Sisters’ Night Work and Rufus’ All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu were my favorite records of 2010 — and they just seemed the next natural choices as book subjects.

Did either of the guys dictate rules as far as what you could and couldn’t shoot? Clearly Jake was pretty uninhibited — we see a lot of his butt. The books are portraits of each subject, of their personalities. No real rules were set up, but I’m always sensitive to and respectful of any subject’s sense of self and what I perceive to be their boundaries.

Did you always plan to shoot on the day of a concert or did you consider another occasion? We wanted to choose a day that has a creative crescendo, that captures the height of their creativity. That’s why the book moves into color at that “high creative” point of the day. They’re all performers, so we wanted to capture what they do best.

What was the biggest challenge as far as shooting Rufus’ day? Shooting one person for 14 hours is demanding in itself — staying both focused and flexible at the same time, going with the flow, and capturing what I perceive to be the rhythm of that particular person’s day. It’s both an exhilarating and exhausting process, as it requires much psychic energy, but I’m very pleased with the end results.

ALL  ACCESS PASS | Queer photographer Tim Hailand, center, with subjects Jake Shears, left, and Rufus Wainwright.

How many shots did you take of each subject? Did any photos that you loved not make it into the books? Probably somewhere around 2,000. In editing the book, I chose images that best told the story of that subject, of that day. I think my favorite images made it into each book, although there are a few that probably stand on their own.

Does being queer yourself somehow affect your choices in subjects or what you draw out of them? It’s funny you should ask, as I recently met with a heterosexual wrestling coach who’s a big advocate of LGBT acceptance, and in looking at my photos, I asked him if one could detect the “queer gaze” of the photographer. He didn’t think so. I think I photograph those that I’m attracted to, sometimes sexually, sometimes in terms of inspiration. I’m interested in those who occupy the space in between — those who are a bit of an outsider to mainstream culture, but are ultimately the true creators.

Who else is on your wish list for future One Day subjects? The next confirmed subject is theater director Robert Wilson. I’ll be documenting his new opera, The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, in July, which will also feature Marina Abramovic, Antony Hegarty [of Antony and The Johnsons] and Willem Dafoe. I’m very excited about that project! Kylie Minogue lent her words to Jake Shears’ book, and I’d like to make a book with her, so I’m working on that possibility now. I’d also like to do a book with Lady Gaga, Marc Jacobs, David Bowie and heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko. I already shot a day with Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas [who came out in 2009].

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

WATCH: Adam Lambert makes out with Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears while Katy Perry watches

I’d be remiss not to post some Adam Lambert tidbit considering his concert is in just a few hours.

Here on Scissor Sisters News, cameras catch Lambert and SS frontman Jake Shears in a hot liplock as Katy Perry catches it all on film. Scandalous. However, we’d like to know more about this gingerbread cookie thing.

—  Rich Lopez

Scissor Sisters announce summer tour … but not to Texas

In last Friday’s issue, Rich Lopez praised the Scissor Sisters new CD, so we were excited to hear this morning that the Jake Shears-led retro band was going on tour, with tickets on sale this Friday.

Then we saw the schedule. No Dallas date. Nothing even in Texas. The nearest place is Denver or Atlanta, both in separate time zones. This sucks.

It’s not as if we thought Rich’s review would cinch the deal, but you gotta lotta love for this queerband and hoped they’d show some back. And they are going to Wisconsin??!!! Oh, well. It’s a tough summer concert tour season, as evidenced by the cancellation of 10 Lilith Fair dates. Bring us da noise, guys! Bring us da funk! (AND bring us whoever’s ass is on that album cover.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Sonic bookends: Scissor Sisters and White Widow

Scissors Sisters and Texas-based White Widow span a spectrum of styles

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

4.5 out of 5 Stars

Night Work • Scissor Sisters
Downtown Music

It’s hard to believe Night Work is only the third album from Scissor Sisters. They made an impression with their ’70s throwback sounds on their eponymous 2004 debut, followed by 2006’s Ta-Dah. Here, they make a stronger impression.

Sisters have worked with producer Stuart Price, and his synth-pop signature is all over the place. He’s given them a crisp overhaul — the band shines under his light.

They keep their retro sound, but Price flushes it out with an ’80s/early ’90s dance vibe that is also simple. None of the songs are overly complex, but like the title opener, there is a vibrant energy.

CUTTING CREW | Scissor Sisters go to the basics of dance music with success in ‘Night Work.’

Lead vocalist Jake Shears works his Barry Gibb falsetto masterfully in “Any Which Way,” but will recall the robotic vocals of Gary Numan and Devo in “Running Out” and “The Harder You Get.” Over the continual dance beats, the band makes a successful attempt at rekindling the new wave genre.

The Killers catch flak for their radio readiness, but when the Sisters mimic their sound in “Fire With Fire” and “Skin Tight,” they achieve a nice freshness. (The sound shouldn’t surprise — Price has worked with The Killers, too.)

The album’s only weak moment is Ana Matronic’s lead on “Skin this Cat.” The song slows the pace a bit and overall is forgettable. Shears glows so much that I want to get back to his energetic singing against an up-tempo beat quick.

Night Work’s lead single, “Invisible Light,” is worthy of “song of the year” lists. The captivating six-minute saga boasts hypnotic verses and an explosion of an inspired chorus. Throw in an Ian McKellen monologue and it achieves greatness.

Night Work makes you wish for the ideal dance floor: A DJ playing only these 12 tracks.

3 out of 5 Stars

Black Heart • White Widow
IODA

Austin-based White Widow’s album Black Heart is relaxed rock that grooves more than jams. The hollowness of it is so sexy it makes you want to take up smoking.

White Widow is Carla Patullo, who plays all the instruments, sings and produces. The out artist plays with confidence and there are pluses here. She asserts her singing with sublime smoothness in her cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Lady From the Mountain.” “In Your Life” is jarring because its acoustic touch differs from the tone and manages not to disappear into the overall fabric of the album.

But Black Heart also suffers by Patullo’s unwillingness to amp it up. Her songs bubble with harder rock flavor but never combust. Even what should sound edgier isn’t. The blues-tinted “Warriors” trails off into sleepy vocal runs missing the point of her own strong lyrics — we are/we are warriors.

White Widow did make a good album to get high to. Its ethereal attitude does call for some major down time. Ultimately though, Black Heart is one-note even with its bewitching quality.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 02, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas