Monday, August 07, 2006

Instant Disco History #8 - Disco Lucy

I'm sorry to do this to you, but history is sometimes ugly.

Cheesy and annoyingly catchy, the discofied theme song from I Love Lucy reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. A one-off hit from a group of studio musicans that dubbed themselves Wilton Street Place Band, Disco Lucy was produced by Trevor Lawrence, who recruited Lynda Lawrence (his wife) and Sandray Tucker to perform the vocals. (Yes, vocals. But not the lyrics that Desi Arnaz used that time he sang I Love Lucy And She Loves Me on the show.) Lydna was a Supreme for about 10 minutes during the 70's and at the time of this recording she and Sandray were touring as Stevie Wonder's backup singers, "Wonderlove".

According to legend, Lucille Ball herself heard Disco Lucy while at Studio 54 and reportedly loved it. Desi Arnaz was so pleased to have the copyright income, he made plans to record an entire album of disco versions of other songs from the show, such as Babalu, but this thankfully never came to pass. File Disco Lucy under "Disco/Funny/Mistakes."

Disco Lucy, Island Records, 1976.
Download Disco Lucy here.

Trivia I: The 12" single of Disco Lucy was the first 12" from Island Records.

Triva II: Lynda Lawrence currently performs with FLOS, Former Ladies Of the Supremes, whose website notes that they are "graciously endorsed by Diana Ross." I love it.

Siruis MP3

In case you've been tortured because you missed hearing me on Sirius on Friday, here's an MP3 of my bit.

1 Bdrm / 1 Bath = 1 Arm / 1 Leg

Today's AM New York riffs on the fact that the average apartment in Manhattan now costs over $1000/sq.foot, or an average of $1.3 million, by listing what $1.3 million could get you in other cities. It's a common device of the NYC newspapers whenever new housing stats come out. Here are the examples AM NY uses today:

Boise: 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, 4-car garage,6400 sq. feet.
Austin: 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 4600 sq. feet.
San Diego: 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3900 sq.feet.
Seattle: 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3500 sq.feet.
Phoenix: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 3500 sq. feet.
Chicago: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3200 sq. feet.
Portland (ME): 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3100 sq feet.
London: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1264 sq. feet.
Paris: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 1260 sq. feet.

Everytime I've mentioned certain benefits of living in New York City, people wade in and accuse me of being provincial and snooty. But as Eric says, the cost of living should earn us some bragging rights on the other shit. Seriously.

HomoQuotable - Armistead Maupin

"Once you start to tell tales about your own life, it's impossible to keep the artifice out of it. No matter how frank an autobiography may appear to be, it's still a very carefully contrived contraption. " - Armistead Maupin, revealing that he may never write a memoir. (via

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bloggers Do Downtown

A hastily improvised blogger lunch at Chelsea's Elmo proved to be a lot of fun. Anything involving Bloody Marys can prove to be a lot of fun. Towards the end of the meal, I was making fun of somebody at another table wearing ginormous reflective aviator glasses. They seem to have replaced those amber-tinted Twilo glasses amongst the still-high-but-at-brunch-anyway disco crowd. Vasco dug into his pocket and pulled out a pair. "Oh, you mean these, Joe?" How embarrassing. (For me, not Vasco.) As penance, I posed.

After brunch, the seven of us embarked on a long walk down through Chelsea, the West Village and Soho, ultimately ending up downtown near City Hall.
Manhattan Municpal Building, one of the largest government buildings in the world.
Below: The New York County Supreme Court.
Below: Front of Manhattan Municipal Building.
Below: Down on Spring Street, we ran into a group of cooks waiting for the dinner rush.

We stopped for pints at the almost 200-year old Ear Inn, which some consider to be the oldest bar in Manhattan, where Eddie took this picture, oddly raising the ire of the bartender. The poster is a call for volunteers for World War I. I'm intrigued by the line that notes that German marks are trading 40-1 on the dollar, and "YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!", presumably a reference to cheap German whores. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

I had to get a shot of this mammoth apartment building going up next to the classic 79-story Woolworth Building. (Actually the Woolworth only has 60 floors, but the height of the floors gives the building a modern equivalency of 79.) I can't tell if I hate it yet, but this new building was designed by Costas Kondylis, the same guy that built the most atrocious skyscraper in North America, Trump World Tower, so I don't have a lot of hope.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sirius OutQ

I had a great time on Siruis today, thanks to OutQ's charming hosts, Larry Flick, Keith Price, and their producer, The Cynthia. Also, thanks to JMG readers who tuned in! I said a couple of things I probably shouldn't have, but what else is new? After my on-air bit, Sirius marketing guru Paul kindly gave me a tour of the Sirius nerve center, which I'd never gotten to see in past visits. The neatest part was looking into their satellite control room where you can see the screens tracking the Sirius satellites over North America. I'll give y'all a longer heads-up before I'm on again, so you have time to subscribe. And no, I didn't run into Howard Stern.

Hot Dog

I ran across this tug-of-war going on in front of the Met. He was not interested in coming out of the fountain. Do you blame him?


Thursday, 7PM

I'm in the bike department of Paragon Sports, a block from Union Square. All the bikes on display frighten me. They are oddly-angled and futuristic looking. They look like their riders would require a special outfit. Something spandex. Probably in yellow. Yellow spandex from the future. A tall handsome young clerk approaches me and with a thick Italian accent asks if I need help. I nod.

"I want a bike, but know, age appropriate," I say, indicating the wall of sporty racers and sleek mountain bikes from the future.

The clerk cocks his head, "Age...what?"

I step back and spread my hands. "Look at me. I'm a short, stocky, middle-aged guy. All this Tour de France stuff would make a dumpy old guy like me look pretty silly." And I laugh. Then I smile and wait expectantly for the clerk to laugh too, to join in on my joke, to say something polite, something like, "Oh, no sir. You're not old and dumpy. You'd look totally hot on any of these bikes." Or something like that. But he looks me up and down and nods, "Right. Let's look on the other side." Bastard.

On the other side of the bike department I am delighted to find an old school looking Schwinn. It has regular upright handlebars and a saddle that couldn't double as a butt plug. Yeah, it has 87 gears, 84 more than I need, but at $250, it's 1/3 of the price of the cheapest of those 23rd century numbers on the other side. Sold.

The clerk escorts me to the row of cashiers where a surly emo girl records his employee number for the commission. I follow him as he pushes the bike to the front door, where a security guard, the head cashier, and the bike department manager must all be summoned to co-initial my invoice before my bike is surrendered to me. Once again I am inconvenienced by internal theft prevention procedures. Still, I'm out of the store less than 30 minutes after I entered. I've taken longer picking out socks.

I push the bike out onto the crowded sidewalk. It's starting to sprinkle and the drops are practically sizzling on the manhole covers. It's a blessed relief, this rain, and I watch with amusement as a few people dance into the street, spinning and hopping with their hands up in the air. A tattered deranged woman across the street screams, "God is pissing! God is pissing!", neatly clearing the smiles from everyone's face.

I consider my options. Could I get a cab in this rain? Would the bike even fit in the trunk? Neither seems likely. I don't quite feel brave enough to risk riding the bike home, not uptown 50+ blocks in rush hour traffic. It occurs to me that I haven't ridden a bike at all in many years and I decide that the streets of Manhattan at 7pm are probably not a good place to reacquaint myself with skills last used when there was still an East Germany. It will have to be the subway.

I carry the bike over my shoulder into the Union Square subway station feeling very conspicuous, like I'm pretending to be a bike messenger. If only I had dreadlocks! When the train comes, I dutifully enter the first car, where The Bike People are required to go. At 23rd Street, a young woman gets on the train and squeals when she spots a friend, another young woman who is standing next to me.

"Diane! Oh. Mah. Gawd! How ARE yeeeew?"

Diane says, "Hey! Hi! How's it going?"

"Never mind me, yeeew look amazing! You've lost so. much. weight!"

Diane nods, "Thanks, you're sweet. I've lost 20 pounds since Christmas."

"Wow, that's fantastic. Are you doing a lot of cardio? South Beach? Something like that?"

"No, I'm not really doing anything different. Still doing the same workout and eating the same things."

"So how are you losing the weight? It's not cancer, is it?" Diane's friend says with a laugh, shifting her purse to her other shoulder.

Diane looks startled. "Cancer? Why do you say that? That's not funny, my mom died of cancer and I can't believe you just said that."

"Oh, I'm sorry honey. I was just joking. You know how I am. Miss foot-in-her-mouth. I'm really sorry, you do look just great."

The two women go on to small talk about mutual friends until the train arrives at Grand Central and Diane's friend says, "I gotta switch to the 7. Great to see you. Send me an email sometime!"

I watch Diane turn and watch her friend through the window. Then I watch Diane make some curious rubbing motions on her chest, over her blouse, while staring at her reflection in the glass. Her hand moves slowly on one side of her chest, in small circles. It comes to me immediately. She's feeling for lumps. I ache for her. I watch her reflection as it's strobed by the passing lights of the tunnel. Her face is blank and I imagine that in her head she is replaying How Mom Found Out. Her hand finishes its inspection on one side and begins on the other.

68th Street. Diane steps out to let me push the bike through the doors, then reboards. I will myself not to look back to see if she has resumed her inspection. Getting the bike up three flights of subway stairs is harder than it looks and I'm drenched when I reach the street, where for the first time, I mount my bike. Within half a block, I nearly collide with a Chinese deliveryman riding the wrong way on the street. I'm always telling my friends that if I'm ever killed on the streets of Manhattan, it won't be a mugging, it won't be a drive-by, it won't be terrorism, it will be Kung Po Chicken riding the wrong fucking way.

A block later, I forget the near collision. My mind is on Diane. I also forget where I live, riding right past my apartment building. I pull a u-turn and like some kind of, I don't know, Chinese deliveryman, I ride the wrong way back up my street. I have no problem managing my new vehicle. It comes back to me. It's just like riding a bike.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

HomoQuotable - Edmund White

"As I was writing the book, I kept drawing up lists of chapters, and my AIDS was certainly one of them for a long time. And then, I don't know, I thought I'd put it in the background." - famed gay author Edmund White, (A Boys Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty) who curiously does not mention his 20-year battle with HIV in his memoir, My Lives.

Even more astoundingly, White doesn't mention his co-founding (with writer Larry Kramer and four others) of Gay Men's Health Crisis, the organization that spawned AIDS and pharmaceutical activism across the nation and (along with the later ACT-UP) is surely responsible for ultimately saving millions of lives around the world. White is hinting that he has another memoir in him. I'm crossing my fingers. (via-

OutQ On Sirius FM

Tune in Friday at 10AM to hear me on Sirius FM's gay channel OutQ, on the OutQ In The Morning Show, with host Larry Flick. Non-subscribers can listen online (registration required). Sirius doesn't time-shift, I'm on at 7AM on the West Coast.

I first met Larry Flick back in the early 90's, at the Billboard Dance Music Summit in San Francisco, back when he was the dance music editor of Billboard Magazine. I may or may not have drunkenly made out with a now very famous DJ in a taxi after the M People concert that closed that weekend. Maybe I'll ask him about that on the show. Y'all tune in, ya hear?

Morning View: Lunchbox Diner

This stainless steel Art Deco diner sits smack on the busy West Side Highway across from the Christopher Street pier in the West Village. There are few of these left in the city, but the remaining ones are lovely.

Open Thread Thursday

If you could undo one act in your life, one thing that you've done, what would it be?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

JMG Vidcast #1

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Don't Even Think About Dissing G_d

Scotland Yard is considering charging the UK's Gay Police Association with a "faith crime" (PDF of English faith crime law), in the wake of complaints regarding their ad (below) placed in The Independent's special Euro-Pride diversity section.The Gay Police Association has issued a lengthy defense of their ad. This is a good example of the slippery slope (groan) that is tread upon when government criminalizes thought, as we do in this country with hate crimes legislation. Is "faith crime" legislation coming for the United States? I wouldn't be surprised.

Meta Time

I noticed over on Gawker (who hasn't linked to me in like, ages) that a gambling site is taking bets on which blog will be at the top of Technorati's Most Popular Blogs list on January 1, 2007. Technorati ranks that list by how many other blogs link to a blog, not by total hits or unique visitors or whatever your favorite internet traffic term may be.

Presently topping the Technorati Hot 100 is an indecipherable Chinese blog, but the Top 20 is full of some of my favorite political blogs: Huffington Post, Crooks & Liars, and Daily Kos, with cool gadget blogs Gizmodo and Engadget both in the Top 5. However, unless I missed somebody, you have to go all the way down to #77 before you hit the first gay blogger, John Avarosis' vital AMERICAblog, followed by Pink Is The New Blog at #82, Andrew Sullivan at #83 and Perez Hilton at #89. My rank is 4154. Coming up on JMG: celebrity mug shots, baby bumps, and fashion dont's!

If This Sling Is Rockin', It's The Rapture

Times Square, Monday, 7pm

Woman (waving bible): I talk to Jee-zus every day, do you?

Me: No, but can you tell him he left his cockring in my sling?

Woman (lowers bible): His what in your what?

Me: That's what I said to him!

Libertad Cubano?

A friend called me from Miami last night and held the phone out of his apartment window so that I could hear the wild partying that had erupted on the streets with the news of Fidel Castro's having (temporarily?) handed power over to his brother, Raul. During my years in South Florida, I was fascinated by the parents and grandparents of my Cuban friends, all of whom seemed to be on perpetual high-alert that the Castro regime was about to fall and that they were all "going home" any minute.

If the Castro government finally does lose power, I wonder how many Cuban-Americans would repatriate? It seems like few of the American-born would go, although I could be wrong. My U.S.-born gay friends have a sad longing for Cuba, even though most had never been there. The partying in Miami feels premature to me, but I sure enjoyed the joyous anticipation coming through the phone last night.

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
En medio del alma, cuando tú no estás
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal
La tierra suspira si no te ve más
-Mi Tierra, Gloria Estefan