“I ended up gifting the finished Liza Box to my little brother Robbie for Christmas that year. To gild the Minne-lily, I filled the box with all matter of Liza loot, including VHS copies of Rent-A-Cop and Arthur 2 from my personal collection and, the jewel in the crown, a customized Liza snow globe that played “New York, New York.” This feature gave me an unexpected thrill because the shaking movement required to activate the snow seemed to push Liza’s already erratic vibrato into previously uncharted tremulous territory.”
The Neon Piaf: Why Cyndi Lauper Matters
Being a lifelong outsider had informed everything about Lauper’s work, both musical and philanthropic. Her empathy has motivated her tireless work on behalf of the LGBT community over the years, despite being neither L, G, B, or T. She is only “C,” for “Cyndi,” but wholly “one of us.”
Whataburger’s Sexist Brand Messaging
For International Women’s Day, I thought it might be interesting to drag the Texas-based burger chain Whataburger into the 21st-century and give them a little of the #MeToo treatment. In this case, it should be #Hertoo, because the illustrated history of the brand that adorns the wall of each location is absurdly sexist and factually misleading.
The First Sex Experiences of Celebrities
Victoria Principal (actress), 17 years old: “It was a month before my eighteeenth birthday that I finally lost my virginity….We were in the front seat. To have gotten in the back would have seemed to premeditated and I was still holding on to some vestige of propriety. It was very short and there was no particular pain or pleasure, no particular physical sensation. In fact, afterward I thought, ‘Jesus, there’s got to be more than this. If not, I’m going back to the other stuff because petting was a lot of fun.'”
Comic Totie Fields vs. KISS’ Gene Simmons: Her Wit was Mightier Than His Tongue
Which leads me back to the great Totie Fields. Perhaps her greatest moment was the time she made mincemeat of Kiss’ Gene Simmons on the Mike Douglas show in 1974. Only during that era could you even have two disparate entities like Totie Fields and Gene Simmons inhabiting the same stage; they were simply from two totally different planets, she from the Catskills and he from Mars. Or were they?
Ethel Merman’s Scorched Earth Cover of “Tomorrow” from Annie
In 1978, Ethel’s voice was still as efficient a killing machine as it was in the 1930s. Taking aim on the lovely set decorated for Christmas, Merm launches into the Strouse/Charnin standard with the intensity of a category five hurricane and proceeds to do to Sesame Street in 1978 what Godzilla did to Tokyo in 1956.
Christina Perri’s “Something About December”: 12 Holiday Songs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard, Day Nine
“I am so enamored of ‘Something about December’ because of its beautiful melody and simple, heartfelt lyrics. The song and production have an elegance and ease about them. Christina Perri ballad is a wonderful example of the importance of economy in songwriting.”
6 Reasons Why Ben Platt is Extraordinary
Ben Platt’s performance is a potent reminder that excellence in vocal performance is about communicating, evoking feeling, and connecting emotionally. Good singing in any context, but especially in the theater, depends on singing well but also to greater or lesser degrees, on skillful acting; Ben Platt is both.
Faith Newman on Teddy Pendergrass and her Philly Soul Roots
In 1981, at fifteen, I got my first job at a Philly record store called “The Listening Booth.” I flirted with the kinda slimy guy with the coke pinky who worked in the stereo department so he would play the in-store music that I liked. Of course that included Teddy and Rick and Marvin and Prince and my all time heroine, Teena Marie, the one person who made me feel that it was okay to be who I was and respect what I loved. I was asked to leave after I asked stereo guy to play Vaughn Mason’s Jammin’ My Big Guitar in the store. It was Christmas season and it didn’t go over too well with management.
Annie Hall: Or, How I Coped When My Brother Inadvertently Stole My Dream
Aretha Franklin Gushes About 10 Songs She Loves
There is nothing more interesting than hearing artists talk about the process of creating or discussing personal influences and inspirations. Every great artist is also a great fan. Here Aretha Franklin shares some of her favorite songs, courtesy of Rolling Stone.