Tag Archives: Lady Gaga

What is Trending in Gay Culture Today

Muscular Male Torso Isolated on WhiteGay Culture means different things to different people. Where you may have someone worshiping the Housewives another may live and breathe LGBT rights through heated politics. Spread across Facebook we witness drag pageantry at its finest while self-adulation spawns through fitness models thanking their fans for 10,000 “likes.” Don’t get me wrong. If you’re building a brand then social your network until your fingers bleed. I’m with you. But also face the music that sings a song asking how if you’re not your own biggest fan then how do you expect anyone else to follow suit?

Confidence vs. Arrogance. Discuss…

THE STORY CONTINUES HERE…

Our Current State of Gay Pop Culture

When it comes to hottest happenings in gay pop culture, fierce gay fashion trends and the sickest beats of gay club music being poured through speakers, I am a 100% admitted know-it-all. Surely you’ve known this before now or you wouldn’t be reading these words… and don’t call me Shirley.

lady-gaga-artpop

Our Mother Monster has her new ARTPOP coming out very soon and early release Applause has came barreling out of the gate with major airplay. And this comes from someone who doesn’t listen to the radio much. Luckily I keep ahead of the pack with comrades on the inside of the business. Early leaks of the Cher infused Gaga track “The Greatest Thing” promises hot remixes to follow. I thought that was never going to be released. Oh, the ways of promotion.

The Sats - Disco Love

Two of my favorite UK girl-group darlings are having little pop stars very soon. The Saturdays’ Frankie Stanford has handled pregnancy with some trial because of stupid paparazzi and media comments of her weight gain. Hello! The girl is growing another human inside her. Give us a break. Good to see The Sats have new single “Disco Love” coming out soon. I’ve have it and it’s fun, fun. Girls Aloud’s goddess and vocal powerhouse Nadine Coyle recently announced that she too is having a wee one. Pop stars pursing motherhood. The inevitable, I assume. Congrats to them both! And good luck with that post-baby bikini body. Can’t wait to see the outcomes, Hot Mammas.

To know me is to know I rarely go out to clubs. Been there, walked those paths for years and have the souvenir mug, t-shirt and pictures to prove it. So glad I lived those moments when I did because unfortunately if you speak with anyone in the bar industry they would be quick to tell you that the days of the big nightclub are over. Hell, even Manhattan staple Splash has closed. That kills me. Every trip to NYC we would stop in and gawk at the gorgeousness employed as mixologists behind the bar, showing off in the showers above the dancing crowds or the general admission of gays and gay lovers cruising the streets of the Concrete Jungle. Splash was a mainstay in New York City and its memory stands with The Gaiety, Arena and a carefree time of life that I often miss greatly.

guy in flip-flops

However, when I was out in Louisville at Connection competing for E.O.Y., I noticed more and more people in clubs are wearing flip-flops for shoes. In my day, wearing tennis shoes was almost a no-no much less exposed feet. Boots were preferable even though there was a definite time I truly got into suede oxfords and black penny loafers without socks. During these days mid-’90s, flip-flops weren’t by any means as popular as they are today. I love wearing them but not in a club. I did wear them around Connection since I was competing for the pageant and it was easier for changing. I did slay one idiot who was drunk spilling his damn drink on my foot. I grabbed his arm and said, “Calm down, lady. You’re spilling your drink. Tune in, girl.” He looked over his friend’s should at me as I went to the bar to grab a towel. Drunk-ass punk.

When it comes to wearing flip-flops, pedicures are a must. If you can’t find yourself a quaint salon then do it yourself. I do mine. The only thing I don’t worry about is the polish and of course the massage with that smelly pink lotion which always seems to be more enjoyable for the cute Asian boys below me. Here’s a fierce manicure/pedicure set that will look great when you travel with your entourage and share space.

Steven Michael

The annual Miss and Mr. Continental pageants are happening Labor Day Weekend in Chicago. Current title holders Sasha Colby and Angel Saez Amador will be crowning two new recipients of the prestigious crown to become part of the legacy that is Continental. Angel contacted me after I was in E.O.Y. to see if I was still interested in competing in Mr. Continental. I was honored but declined since I had just unpacked and was sitting out for a hot minute before I decided what I was doing next. I would love to be there in support and maybe that stage will be in my future but wishing all the contestants good luck is what I offer now.

To be continued…

Interviewing Richy Jackson – AUDIO

richard-jackson

I love having occasional access to the hottest movers and shakers in Hollywood today. I was able to sit backstage with Lady Gaga’s main man Richy Jackson as he was preparing for a taping of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition one day last spring. We kiki’d the ki, for realsies. I hit record and what was said became organic and real between us two. We had a lot in common and here’s what we discussed that crazy day inside Glendale Studios. Of my many celebrity interviews, speaking with Ricky Jackson one-on-one was a complete thrill! We bonded immediately.

Richy Jackson - Steven Michael - AUDC

Richy is good people. This I know is true! So talented but incredibly humble and real. Follow him on Twitter and catch his latest work. The new season of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition starts 09/03. Look for me on the second episode (I believe) which was the Lady Gaga-inspired installment showing out for the camera. They ask a lot of their audiences. And watch out for firecracker JoJo. ♥

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE

Richy Jackson Returns to Season 2 of AUDC

Richy Jackson - Steven Michael - AUDC

I spoke with Lady Gaga’s main man Richy Jackson during season one of Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition and gained a very good report. When I got wind that there would be a second season of the show I knew I wanted to get the story from the main stage. After a few Tweets and emails with Richy’s fabulous publicist Kelly, it was scheduled and set! I was to drive into L.A. for the day and see the taping live while speaking with Richy beforehand in his dressing room.

The show hadn’t been announced just yet but was filming in Glendale so I gladly made the trip into town. I love a good drive into Hollywood. Give me a reason, I’m there. I pulled right up and parked before heading up the studios. I was quite early since I was meeting Kelly so she could take me upstairs to meet Mr. Jackson. After texting her that I was there, I saw her soon coming down to meet me and escort me up.

Backstage we passed by the craft services table which looked appetizing and casual crew members milling about. Upstairs I got into Richy’s dressing room and began to Kiki like we had known each other for years. I hit record on my iPhone and began to record our conversation which was simply priceless. It just flowed and became quite organic. Here’s what he shared about the new season of AUDC, his dance convention “Dance Down” and working with Mother Monster, our Lady Gaga.

Here’s what Richy had to say about the new studio…

“Last time it was theatre and we were far away. It was like “Where are we!? (laughs) There were seats and it was amazing. This time it’s a studio and it’s just different. So were very up close and personal with the dancers.”

When I asked him about male dancers this season since there was just one during the premiere season, he offered…

“There’s two boys. Twins.”

The conversation turned towards Lady Gaga and Richy’s amazing work relationship with her. Kelly was perched in the corner dragging up a pair of sunglasses for Jackson since the theme of this particular show was inspired by the individuality of Gaga.  His thoughts…

“I’m excited about today. It’s episode 2 of the season. I’m ecstatic about the new season. It’s a little scary ’cause you just don’t know what to expect, will Lifetime like us on camera, and the whole thing? I thought it was a great hybrid of Dance Moms and dance competition. Abby, Robin Antin and I (the judges of last season) were from such different backgrounds it was really fun when we were letting people go home because we saw things differently.”

Experienced Broadway Baby, Rochelle Rack, has joined the judge’s panel with Jackson and Miller replacing Antin. Richy’s feeling about the change…

“Rochelle is from Pittsburg but lives in NYC. I like her. She’s in Flashdance: The Musical. She’s reminds me of Robin, but the Broadway version of her. Bubbly, snatched, hair done, nails done, everything done. It’s taken some adjusting for her since Abby and I have already had one season together.”

I change gears and get Richy quickly together when I ask “What makes a well-rounded dancer?” After a brief pondering, he shares…

“I would just say that a well-rounded dancer is a “Jack of all Trades” not a “King or Queen.” Someone that still has to learn, not someone that’s not a master. I prefer “Jacks” because there’s a rawness and vulnerability. Most people are not dancers and they only go off what they feel and they see. There’s a different approach to the dance when they are trying to adapt to all different styles. I always tell Abby in her world everyone already knows a pirouette. The vulnerability of the dancers I work with connects with the camera and reads somehow, someway. Someone that can adapt to all styles is a well-rounded dancer in my opinion, applying themselves to each dance genre. You must be free of yourself! Confidence can sell anything.”

I asked Richy if he ever gets nervous when the camera pans to him and he needs to respond immediately. This is what he allowed…

“I don’t get nervous. I try to listen to what Abby said so I’m not touching on the same point. I try and give the dancers ideas and angles that haven’t been discussed. I always try to be inspirational to the dancers and audience. I’m not scared, I’m like ‘Let’s get it!’ I love competition day! Absolutely love it!” (both laugh)

As far as the new cast of kiddies goes, I inquired if he had gotten to know any of them and how that works. Jackson says…

“This is still fresh for me. Abby gets to see them during the week more than we do. I came in last week for a special challenge day so I got to see them outside regular competition day because I was working with the kids. I got to see them outside my regular judging day. Then you get to know the mothers as well as their kids and there’s 11 of them. Thank God they give us sheets with their names and information on it! I love this part because you see the fight as the season goes on and people go home.”

Does Richy have any free time outside the studio or tour? And what’s going on with Lady Gaga? The inside skinny…

“The Born This Way Ball tour was cancelled abruptly in Chicago due to Lady Gaga being injured. We were devastated. From that moment on I started doing my dance workshop called ‘Dance Down’ and went on a 6-city tour where I basically go and work with dancers who are both fans of dance and/or Lady Gaga. I never realized how much thought goes into becoming a professional dancer or choreographer, it’s not just the steps. I’m seeing the youngest kids doing it all. What are they on?! It’s bananas! At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to work with kids and I saw them really dancing and really performing, really technical, I thought this was going to be a great job.”

Richy discusses his newest endeavor discussing working with Bollywood’s highest-paid and most-popular actresses Priyanka Chopra who is now breaking into music…

“She is the Angelina Jolie of India, been in many Bollywood films and very popular. A former Miss World. We were just in Miami shooting the video with Pitbull with 8 dancers which was amazing. Zumba had played a big part of producing it since they put a Zumba breakdown and beats in the rhythm of the music and will make an instructional video to go with the Priyanka Chopra production.”

And where is home for Richy Jackson? Where does he prefer to rest his weary head and dancer feet? Jackson says…

“Home is North Hollywood, full-time. I like to travel but I love to stay home. I’ve been so many places because of Gaga but I haven’t really been able to enjoy those places because it’s venue, rehearsal, stage, travel. But when I’m home it’s the best! I’m grateful!”

One more thing about Mother Monster… What about the tour? New Music? Here’s the Tea…

“The tour has been postponed indefinitely. She has a new album coming out soon called Artpop and she’s working on it. It’s been a year since Born This Way. The first show was last year April 27, with rehearsals starting February 4. She and I started conceptualizing the show the prior December… it takes so much time! The show changes constantly. So many details change when songs come and interchange out with others. She gets bored quickly. Changes with her… I’ve been dealing with it for years. The dancers called it the “Gaga Challenge” by the end of it all.”

After the interview we took a couple of pictures and I headed back down to the street to wait my turn before filing inside after thanking Richy Jackson greatly upstairs. The line started forming and I ran my iPhone to the car since you normally can’t take them inside studios. By the time I got back I got in line and waited, and waited some more. Then they filed us in to do some “on camera audience” b-roll with excitement and awe for the show while the camera panned down the line of the anxious audience. Finally after the tenth take I  gave them a Limp Biscuit “YEAHHH!” dead in the camera and that was that. Once inside there was more waiting and audience pans and reactions. I should be all over this episode of AUDC.

When the filming finallystarted it was quite an extensive day. The dancers were amazing especially a blonde firecracker named Jojo who gives you sass, extension and layouts for your nerves. Each routine was done twice for the camera and then the judges’ approval or not. I sadly had to scoot out early since I was driving back to Palm Springs that evening but had a great time meeting Richy and being backstage with him. Ah, Hollywood… The magic. I love being a part of it.

INTERVIEWING RICHY SQUIRREL JACKSON

I was able to grab a quick interview with the man himself, Richy Squirrel Jackson, whose new reality television show Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition hitting Lifetime TV October 9 promises to be full of high-kicks and even higher drama. Richy is the man behind the brilliant choreography of Lady Gaga and has worked dancing alongside many a star including the amazing Laurianne Gibson. Richy perches on the judge’s pew with Pussycat Dolls creator Robin Antin and Dance Moms maven Abby Lee Miller for television’s latest dance competition show. We can’t wait to watch the magic unfold.

Anything that has the words reality or Abby Lee Miller in the description can be assumed to be chock full of tears, cheers and jeers. Not everyone agrees with the way that dance floor ringmaster Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms (on the same network) handles her students and performers. It’s very tough love. Take it or leave it. With the stage comes crazy “stage moms” and in AUDC. I feel certain they will be in brute force wanting their little Mischa or Giselle to leap to the top as quickly as possible. Cross Abby’s tell-it-like-it-is-her-way-or-the-highway temperament and fame hungry young performers driven by their mom and sparks will create fireworks of pure guilty pleasure television. Setting the DVR now!

Here’s what cute and cuddly Richy Squirrel had to say about a taste of recent fame, his new show on Lifetime TV and what we viewers can expect from the surefire reality hit he’s poured his heart and soul into making happen! Because of strict confidentiality clauses and contracts, he’s quite limited in what he can say regarding certain aspects of his professional career. I respect that. I admit that I don’t like it, but I can respect it. We want to know it all! Here’s the talented one telling it like it is in his words…

Steven Michael – Care to share an early career moment that made you the performer you are today?

Richy Squirrel Jackson – “When I first touched down in L.A., I can remember immediately taking dance classes because that was the thing to do. Soon after, I noticed that my personal dance style and approach to choreography began to change and I began to perform like everyone else. So I stopped taking classes and continued to work on myself as a dancer/performer and this led me to feel more confident in what “I” bring to the world of dance as a performer.”

When the spotlight is off, where is Richie and what is he doing? What’s your off-time like and who is around you?

“When the spotlight is off… Richy is definitely checking out a movie, relaxing at home, spending time with friends or doing absolutely nothing. This business is 24/7, so off time is precious and in that sense doing less is so much more for me. Weekends aren’t really weekends and holidays become just another name for a day.”

Do people recognize you on the street and what’s that like for you?

“Yes people recognize me on the streets and for me it’s great! I take pictures, get asked questions about jobs, people dance in front of me or they just shout out “5-6-7-8,” Ha- Ha! It’s always a good time for a minute or two out of my day!”

We were heavily involved with the dance workshop circuit when I was a teen. Did you do the dance competitions when you were younger like Tremaine and Showstopper? Is Abby’s new show like that? What can we expect this first season?

“When I was younger I was in a dance group and I choreographed the local cheerleading team. Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition is more like her own version of competitions that actually take place in the world of competitive dance. It takes a brand new direction from where Dance Moms began with the kids competing individually for the chance at $100,000 as well as a prized scholarship to the Joffrey School of Ballet in NYC. This really creates a competition unlike any other. You’ll see the struggles and triumphs throughout the season as well as what it takes to be the last one standing on the stage… more than you realized!”

After working with Abby on AUDC… How do you feel about her teaching methods that are portrayed on Dance Moms? Do you feel the cameras portray her genuinely and do you agree with her way of handling her girls on TV?

“After working on AUDC I realize that Abby’s teaching methods are good-old-fashion tough love. Dance Moms portrays her just as she is, only it’s hard to understand when you see these young children. Abby’s methods are much like that of a coach of a sports team and though it isn’t the way I may handle situations, the outcome is still great! I respect and have much love for Abby!”

I agree with you on the aspect that Abby wants the most out of her girls. Though it’s not anything that I’m familiar with in my dance training. Are you able to take or teach dance classes with you busy schedule? I live in Palm Springs and unfortunatley there’s limited resources unless you drive to L.A. or take Zumba. I miss it but am choreographing a new artist for Gay Pride and competing for a male entertainer title in March so I do what I can do. What’s you favorite style of dance?

“My schedule has become very busy. I have little time even for myself. I’ve always felt that booking a job, to work for me as a dancer on any of my projects is the best class you can get. You get to learn, you get to dance, and… you get paid!”

Do you find downfalls of doing reality television? Any invasion of privacy issues you deal with? Just curious.

I don’t find any downfalls in doing reality television. I actually really enjoy doing reality TV simply because all you have to be is “you.” There are no scripts or characters to play. It just empowers you to be your true self and to be confident in you who are and what you have to say. Make wise choices.”

What makes you happiest ever?

“I am truly happiest when I’ve completed choreography for a live performance, video, etc. and see that my vision for the piece was well received by not just the artist but those who are attached to the project as well and more importantly, the artists’ fans.”

What can you tell me what I didn’t ask you?

“I love choreographing and being a visionary. I’m so happy and grateful that I have been able to turn my passion into a career. Never ever give up on your dreams!”

I want to send a big hug out to Richy for being part of my domain and taking a few minutes to share his life with us! Loved his answers and amazing wicked talents. Catch Ricky Squirrel Jackson on Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition on Lifetime TV October 9 or catch him on his Twitter or Facebook pages!

And KEEP DANCING!

THE BEST MUSIC OF 2011

With the Holidays upon us (can’t believe it’s time to start saying those words!) I thought it would be smart to help ALL of you Christmas shoppers who are looking for the soundtrack of the year 2011 for your ears. Some songs may have been released in 2010 but these chart toppers hit hard in ’11 and will keep going! This is my favorite music to get you through holiday parties, long drives through snow to grandmother’s house you go, and to knock you into visions of sugarplums that dance in you head by presenting this list of the BEST MUSIC of 2011.

Starting this list of MUST HAVE MUSIC from 2011 is the Lady herself, Lady Gaga bringing us You And I. This song is one of those that makes you feel emotions all over the chart. I simply LOVE this music from Lady Gaga and will not listen otherwise. Actually, her entire album Born This Way – The Collection [2 CD / DVD Combo] is a fierce stocking stuffers for your little monsters!

To follow my blog here at iamstevenmichael.com is to also know that I am actually a much younger British tween that screams inside her head every time she hears The Saturdays. Dropping this next week my girls of Vanessa, Rochelle, Mollie, Una and Frankie have a NEW ALBUM titled On Your Radar and the tracks coming off of it already are pure ear candy from Notorious, “My Heart Takes Over” and “All Fired Up.” LUV THESE GIRLS!

Finally, Britney Spears is back and on top of the game she once ruled! This year her new album Femme Fatale spawned many a hit single including Till The World Ends, “Hold It Against Me” and my favorite I Wanna Go that is FUN PHUN! Everyone loves Britney! It’s her world and we simply live to listen and watch what’s next from her!

Recently named Esquire magazine’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” Rihanna has killed it from radio to dance floors to iPod playlists all year long and beyond with We Found Love and such mega-hits as S&M and California King Bed. From her past music catalogue to even newer tunes that are hitting radio today, Rihanna is here to stay! “Feels so good, being bad. There’s no way I’m turning back.”

My rock goddess Stevie Nicks has turned another stunner with her newest album In Your Dreams with my favorites: the Fleetwood Mac feeling Wide Sargasso Sea and delicious first single Secret Love. We saw her at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino over the summer and she entertains every time leaving a part of her on the stage even if it’s just a lost bead of piece of lace.

The current Mrs. Justin Beiber, Selena Gomez, gave me a video of fiercely windblown hair walking through the desert for her dance hit A Year Without Rain (Dave Audé Club Remix) remixed from her single of the same name. A slow motion diva feeling her moment and you have me staring at the television monitors at the gym daily. She looks amaze and love this song, both versions!

U.K. Boy-Band The Wanted nailed me hard with Glad You Came and if you like them cute and young then YouTube their videos. Delicious, and their music is good, too. They’re about to break into the U.S. so watch out for them. Both The Wanted and The Saturdays are making their ways onto our soil so fall in love now and be ahead of the curve!

Beyoncé came through with her album 4 (Deluxe Edition) that gave drag queens and wanna-bees the buzz to turn out Run The World (Girls) with the sassy strut that the Lady B delivers in her video. BAM! SHAZAM! My neck hurts after watching it because she throws it down. Her ballad which I coined as “Irreplaceable 2″ Best Thing I Never Had is also fabulous.

With time between judging “X Factor” Nicole Scherzinger turned me out with Don’t Hold Your Breath (Kaskade Remix) and “Club Banger Nation.” Seems like this Pussycat Doll has finally found her footing as a solo phenomenon and I give it to her. She is sickening and have loved her since Eden’s Crush.

The Grand Dame herself Cher hit the big screens this year with Burlesque and her power anthem You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me with the remixes a’plenty! We love her and anything she does is the Tea with me. Always Cher. Forever. You will never see the last of her!

I hope this fun collection of the best and hottest music of 2011 helps you make some decisions to satisfy your need for ear candy. Once you’re in, look around and see what you’re missing! I bet you find something you simply can’t live without! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

MTV VMA RECAP

The VMAs were last night and for those outside the know, MTV holds the annual Video Music Awards for the BEST (in their opinion) in music videos for the year. For a channel that really doesn’t play music videos anymore and delivered such a show from Yawnsville last evening should maybe refocus, reformat and retool the once popular event. The evening’s highlights included a sly announcement of pregnancy from a smiling Beyonce at the end of her performance by a rubbing of her belly and baby-bump, and a Drag King performance (creating buzz that she ripped off Annie Lenox) of alter-ego “Jo Calderone” from Lady Gaga destined to top her meat dress from last year. I would love to say Britney Spears accepting her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award was a monumental moment but with Gaga’s over-the-top in-Britney’s-face introduction Spears’ “thank-you” got lost in the shuffle of announcing Beyonce. Seemed like a half-assed moment and very disappointing. Even the Britney-inspired production was lackluster.

Low-points included the Jersey Shore Guidettes dressed in too-short mini-dresses and a loony-toon Cloris Leachman who wishes people would “confuse her with Betty White.” Hardly. Newlywed Kim Kardashian could hardly walk in her silver gown and artist-of-the-moment Jessie J must have injured her leg and performed in a chair. Very odd. Justin Beiber needs to check her ego and deciding not to really respond to the artists on stage by not clapping or thanking God and Jesus for the award she won was a bit much. I really don’t remember Justin Timberlake being so narcissistic when he was busting through with fame. Beiber is too damn full of himself and needs to be brought down a notch or two. Hope he has talked to N.K.O.T.B.S.B. about the future and what it will inevitably hold for The Beibs.

Awards were handed out, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj both played dress-up while Chris Brown on cables flying above the crowds actually turned the stage out, as did Adele! (But not on cables.) The jokes and commentary that the stars were forced to read were lame, a train wreck and painful as was most of the show. Lots of bleeping the bad words, cocktail waiters hitting the floors for fill-ups and a good time seems to be had by all… except the viewing audience at home. Not that they’ve asked me but I’d love to give my thoughts. Yes, more than I’ve shared here. First of all… Ooops! That’s it for now! Good Evening. :)

STEVEN GOES GAGA

STEVEN SPILLS © 98

 I WAS BORN THIS WAY 

If you’re reading this then you surely believe that we, you and me, didn’t choose to be who we are. Now hear me out. We were chosen to be who we are. Sure we can go to school to be a quilt maker or take classes to learn German but no one I know personally woke up one day and decided on a whim that they would, for instance, be gay. You can change religions, clothing and hairstyles, even gender. Sexual orientation, not so much, no matter what Michelle Bachman and husband says.

We can physically be attracted to either or both sexes but the bottom line is that inside of us there’s a structure of character traits that will not change no matter how muscular one gets or what you change your name to or how low or high you force your voice. So why not be who we really are without constraints of that mold a culture places on us to be? Each of us is unique in the special way that we are made up by precious nature and genetics. It was already decided for us as well as our departures. That’s called fate. We can manipulate and repress who we are or appear to be but it will never really change inside us. Pop performance artist and iconic phenomenon Lady Gaga joins us in this revolution of the honest and true. 

Whether you believe in Jesus Christ on the cross and a holy God or the process of evolution or storks carrying pixie dust, the fact that you believe in something is important. Lady Gaga believes, as do I, that we were born this way and releasing her pounding album of pride anthems perfectly titled Born This Way enforces her passion that being different is alright. At first listen I was admittedly a hard sell because I expected one thing and she delivered more than I knew was possible of hearing. The music has marinated in my ears over time and tracks like the charging rhythm of “Judas” and emotional peaks of new single “You and I” give me honest joy when I hear them. A full album review is available on my blog but add that title track “Born This Way” has become one of her greatest tracks ever with its LGBT dedication and always-empowering “I Am Who I Am” theme.

Lady Gaga inspires me to continue being who I am, exposing my mistakes and staying true to what’s inside. She performs with a balls-to-the-wall abandonment as I too carry that philosophy into my personal being, trying everything once and going with what works best. For years I tried being something that I believed someone else wanted me to be. In what has been noted as the “Fuck-It Forties” I dedicate myself moment to moment being present in what’s happening around me. And if it really doesn’t have a matter of true importance at the end of the day, fuck it. Those reaching through your thirties now will taste this carefree joy soon enough. 

As if winning multiple music industry awards, delivering mind-shocking lyrics, becoming an iconic fashion plate and performance trailblazer wasn’t enough for our Mother Monster; Lady Gaga recently earned her place as guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. I have watched every episode of all SYTYCD seasons and have to say that Gaga was one of the BEST (yes, all caps) judges they’ve ever had on the show. She was truly engaged, eagerly passionate, completely and honestly connected, and emotional and raw. In my opinion she ran the show, being the first to jump to her feet in a standing ovation for contestant Melanie (who she basically hired on the spot) and All-Star Neil. This was in her twelve-inch heelless platforms that I assume were made by the late great Alexander McQueen. The same shoes she would throw at both the onstage duo of Sasha and Melanie, and their choreographer Sonya Tayeh which in the world of dance is a very high honor for a job very well done. 

Anyone who saw Lady Gaga perform at the White Party here in Palm Springs just a few short years ago could easily predict that this girl was going to be huge! Her power and force has continually grown with no outlook of ceasing anytime soon. She’s often been compared to another iconic pop queen in sound and determination but I don’t remember anyone being as driven for the gay community both personally and especially politically as Lady Gaga has been since Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Personally, I’m glad to have her on my side. Join me in placing bent index fingers and thumbs together in the shape of a heart for Gaga. We love you, Lady.

2011 © PULP

GOING GAGA FOR “SYTYCD”

Lady Gaga sat with film director and choreographer Rob Marshall last evening on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) and she became one of the very BEST judges the show has ever had. I’ve watched every season and Gaga was engaged, passionate, present, honest, knowledgeable. From her very first comments I knew shed be amazing. Her Alexander McQueen heel-less platforms were unbelievable and when she threw them at both Sasha and Melanie, as well as choreographer Sonya Tayeh it was magical. Ever think about Online colleges as an option for the fashion-conscious who desire to be as fashionable as Gaga? Whether you want to learn more for your personal style or study fashion design, there are many options out there. But down with the penicls and on with the show since I’m watching the results show now, live.

Highlights of the show were both contemporaries with Melanie (with sexy Neil) who was basically offered a job by Gaga, and All-Star Allison with Marco which brought Gaga to her feet and tears. Both routines were phenomenal. The ten-foot leap Melanie did into Neil’s arms was ridiculous. I gasped! However, her final routine choreo’d by Sonya seemed custom made for firecracker Sasha but was still fierce.

Back to results. First round of cuts were no surprise as I predict here (live) Caitlyn will go home with Jordan and her lovely legs going to stay and probably place third-place girl overall. For the guys, Marco was safe and Jess dropped into bottom two. Surprising. Ricky made it through over Tadd which was also surprising to me. Ricky must have a strong fan base. He is very talented and the only one I’ve really seen dance for their lives in their solos.

The League of Extraordinary Dancers were WOW! Standing-O from audience. Unbelievable. Dancing-For-Lives Solos were next. Jordan killed Rihanna’s “S&M.” Jess turned his Broadway out and his pirouettes were crazy! Caitlyn was predictable. Tadd almost killed himself in an ariel  twist off the stage. My opinion is that he and Caitlyn are going. We’ll see…

Lady Gaga… TURNED IT OUT! “Edge of Glory” and “You and I” (which I love!) with dancers. Great number. Nice pace. Sexy Mark, SYTYCD alum, in the mix. GAGA RULES! No doubt about that. This has been her moment.

In the end, the going-home bus took both Jordan (shocking!!!) and Jess (another gasp!) but everyone has to go except one. But I agree that Tadd has truly evolved! Great job, dancers! Good show. Top 6, here we are. Cat Deely, good luck at the Emmy Awards! You deserve the win!

PALM SPRINGS SUMMER 101

PALM SPRINGS SUMMER 101

Ah, summer. It’s here again, or will be on June 21 for summer solstice. As the sun heats us all up and makes some of us wonder why we live in the desert with the extreme heat, how does one deal?! The thought of summer conjures up memories for me of attending summer school (twice) during my teenage years. The first time I missed cheerleading camp and the next I wasted my time not skipping school and getting my GED, instead. I’ve never applied to a job that has required seeing my high school diploma. But there I was, killed down going to summer school for failing Algebra 1 twice because the football coach who taught the subject was too sexy for me to concentrate. Yes, that’s my reasoning. Seriously.

But here today, how and where does one escape from the inevitable heat that’s ahead?! Sure, it’s not that bad right now but get ready people! During my first summer here it was near 120-degrees and I thought I was going to melt. We’ll see what Momma Nature has in store but guaranteed it will be hot, scorching at times and ridiculous with a thickness in the air. It’s time to start dodging for trees with shade to park your car under and please don’t leave your pet in the car. I do have Animal Control on speed dial in my iPhone and I love using it. Try me. Make sure that your cars also have coolants in your transmission and a shade reflector that is trimmed to fit your front windshield. People become ruthless when deciding where the shade of a tree will be and when. Be smart, too! Think it through.

While on the subject of pets, dogs in particularly. We have two fabulously privileged Jack Russells and they love the water. Splashing in the pool, swimming after a floating ball and any aquatic chaotic activity entertains them and knocks them down so they rest peacefully for the rest of the day. Keep your dogs’ fur and nails trimmed for healthy growth and easy towel drying afterwards. If they swim a lot think of getting a moisturizer for their fur for afterwards. We use Aveda Brilliant (yes, that’s what I said), an emollient finishing gloss on their fur and it prevents our boy’s dry skin that normally wears him out. The water that may accumulate in their ears can be removed gently by a cotton-covered cue tip and even ear-cleaning solutions wouldn’t hurt if administered immediately after each entry into water. And again, I can’t stress enough. A cracked car window does not a comfortable setting make for puppy. Try sitting in the car without the air condition running and see how long you last!

The summer is hell on automobiles. Focus on taking care of your car. No coolant equals no air condition and a bad tranny, err, I mean transmission. A solid running car can get you away for weekend escapes. But where?! Even day trips can give one a sense of peace and retreat from that un-Christian heated swelter outside. The beaches are a thought like Black Beach in San Diego for you exhibitionists. Laguna Beach has the offering of Newport Beach and some serious shopping. Want some real culture?! Hit it to L.A. and take a gawking gander at the Malibu surfer boys and the always-entertaining boardwalk. (On a side note, Krispy Kreme is at Ontario Mills and yes you can bring me some back.) Venturing to Idyllwild or Big Bear and even a trip up to the Palm Springs Tram will always pull the temperature down a good group of degrees. Drive safe, gas up and get away if only for the day or overnight.

To have been in Palm Springs or the desert for that matter during one of our summers is to know you do everything in the morning. It’s the coolest time of the day since even at night it is often 99-degrees or more during our peak months of July, August and September. Grab the sun block and use it. However, if you don’t want to use it then you better make an appointment at Dr. Make Pretty’s offices at Contour Dermatology who just celebrated their 10-year anniversary. Congrats Tim and Lee! And by all means, if you foresee yourself wearing flip-flops and I encourage you to, please have a pedicure happening. Re-hydrate yourselves! Water is best. Your skin will look amazing.

Everyone this side of the yellow brick road knows that June is big time full-blown Gay Pride in most cities commemorating the Stonewall riots. Los Angeles carries pink triangles and sings Lady Gaga’s entire Born This Way album from June 10-12 at the Christopher Street West festival in West Hollywood. Up and down Santa Monica Boulevard one will find fashion fierceness realness with queens in skinny jeans and shirtless inked-up bears from Silver Lake. Heading north, the LGBT tribes gather in San Francisco on June 25, 26 to kick up their rainbow petticoats and celebrate their place in the world. San Diego Pride boasts being the fifth-largest in the United States and brings all things gay together for their parade on July 16. All queer-ventures provide pleasures to the eye, pride without prejudice and are each worth the weekend gay-cation.

But if you don’t want to or can’t get out of town, what can you do to beat the heat?! For me, when I’m not working we’re inside the cool house then to the pool then back into the chilled home, and repeat. There’s not a lot of out-and-about happening since many people travel away. Catch a movie! Slide into an afternoon feature and relax in the comfort of their iceberg theatres. Now I’m not encouraging you to sneak in “healthy” snacks. That’s just not the way one does things. But… always remember chocolate melts in heat. The air is also cranking at World Gym so you can grab a workout or just a protein shake and soak up the refrigeration. With the twenty-nine pieces of new cardio equipment and the summer specials running at the gym to get your heart rate moving, it’s a nice place to enjoy chilling out after getting worked up.

What summer jams will be having you popping that neck or shaking that ass at pool parties and on steamy dance floors like DiGS, Hunters and Toucan’s?! The Freemasons seem to have their hands on everyone lately and they deliver a 2011 remix of “I’m Coming Out” from Diana Ross with while all-grown-up Selena Gomez has hit hard with a Dave Aude shake-up of her “A Year Without Rain.” My girl Britney Spears has infused her already-fierce “Till The World Ends” with hot pop rockers Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha (who co-penned the track) providing new layers of musical texture. Man (boy) band The Reason covers an upbeat remix of “The Reason” with their Electric Allstars radio edit. Yes, this is a re-do of the Hoobastank 2004 smash hit that now has been taken over by the X Factor alum.

And you got to eat to keep up your strength! But where?! Many of the local restaurants have found that staying open for business even during the hottest of summer months has proved smart in years past. The ones I’ve spoke to said they’ll be providing great service and food as long as locals continue to dominate their spaces. It would be hard for me to fairly say go here or there. But I can encourage everyone to keep our local merchants and restaurants going by grabbing your girlfriends or husband and make a night of it out in the scene. From an early breakfast with friends to brunch by the pool or dinner under the stars, summer dining can be delicious. And the freezer aisle at the grocery store feel pretty cool, too!At the end of the day we all can be assured of a few things about the summer intensity that is on the heated horizon. First, pop on the Weather Channel for a few minutes and listen to the weather forecasts from other cities. The heat will come and many will complain locally, me included. It’s part of our dialogue and it’s obvious. But it too shall pass and then we’re reminded for the bigger percentage of time why we live here. It’s gorgeous in Palm Springs. You adapt to the heat like others deal with the snowy cold. I’m writing this on an unseasonably breezy cool May morning. A bird whistles nearby and I’m hopeful that Mother Nature is as kind tomorrow as she is today.

2011 © The Bottom Line