Saturday, January 31, 2009

Missed Connections

See last week's winner HERE.

Friday, January 30, 2009

This Charming Man

Morrissey hasn't got a stitch to wear but lucky for us he doesn't too shabby for pushing 50 (his band doesn't look half-bad either) ...

Get a Room, Part II

Move over, Andy and Roger. I think these two Latin lovers might need the keys to the suite first. Rafael Nadal beat Fernando Verdasco in five thrilling sets today to set up the Dream Final in the Australian Open.

No, Thanks

Courtesy of Bill in the (202)

A/X Marks the Spot

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at model Clint Mauro's sexy Armani Exchange underwear campaign.


Forever in Blue Jeans

By popular demand, here's another helping of sexy Lucas Kerr.

Even more AFTER THE JUMP. ----->

Truth in Advertising

It's refreshing to see that the producers of "New in Town" aren't trying to deceive the movie-going public. The straight-to-video-style poster tells you everything you need to know the new must-see Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr.(!) vehicle ...

Head to Head: Jeremy Simpson

What do you think of this 21-year-old American's new head shots? Great eyes, great smile. I'm impressed ... (Via Major Model Management)

Datebook: 'Between Love and Goodbye'

"Between Love & Goodbye" opens today in New York at the CLEARVIEW CHELSEA CINEMA. The 7.15 p.m. screenings today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) will be followed by a Q&A session with director Casper Andreas and the film's cast. Both nights you can meet them all at the after-parties XES Lounge, 157 W. 24th St. Click HERE to buy advance tickets.


Get a Room

Andy Roddick enjoys a tender moment with his nemesis Roger Federer after getting his ass kicked Thursday at the Australian Open.

Dropping In to Say Hi

Poor Michael. I know you're supposed to "love thy neighbor," but does apply if he's subleasing? About five months ago his upstairs neighbor -- a quiet, middle-age Bavarian woman -- sublet her place to a seemingly polite 20something "professional" guy. Ever since, Michael has gone from having his apartment be a relaxing place to call home to a never-ending source of aggravation as Mr. Upstairs seems to stomp around the joint 24 hours a day. Michael has politely -- and repeatedly -- asked him to try to keep the noise down (no shoes, new rugs, whatever it takes) and the guy is always polite, but then it never gets any better. Cut to dinner last night when Mikey notices a new voice mail from the guy. It seems he had a little incident in the bathroom. How Michael didn't kill the guy is beyond me ...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Ad Watch

Tony Ward hustles Diesel fragrances

This Abercrombie boy reminds me of Ilan Mitchell-Smith, the kid who wasn't Anthony Michael Hall in "Weird Science"

Is this new jeans ad by Steven Meisel even too steamy for Calvin Klein?

Working out, Dolce & Gabbana style

This week's eye-catching advertisements

  • View all Ad Watch posts HERE.
  • The Naked Truth

    At the rate this country is going, we may all lose the shirt off our back (and it won't always be this pretty). No pressure, President Obama. But something's gotta give ...


    "The Great Depression" (Paul Weller) 
    The Jam 

    I think we must have all gone mad 
    Maybe right turned over 
    They promise us the earth 
    Instead we've got the great depression 
    Now you're free and easy with the base
     You blame your brothers and sisters 
    And neurotics say sod the rest 
    It's the new dissension Into the abyss 
    By pushing forwards 
    It's always down I
    t's a desperate war 
    You're trying to blow yourselves up 
    You don't care who you stand... with the help about 
    Hey hey - well that's not the way 
    No sense or reason in your fussing and fighting 
    And your violent obsession 
    Who's ever really left feeling fine 
    After the great depression? 
    No sense of purpose in the competition 
    Keeping up with the Joneses 
    You buy a house, 
    You buy a car 
    You buy a marriage and a bed of roses Into the abyss 
    By pushing forwards 
    It's always down 
    It's a desperate war 
    You're trying to blow yourselves up 
    You don't care who you stand ... with the help about 
    Hey hey -- well that's not the way 

    (Top photo by Sam Robles)

    Throw Me a Curve Break!

    On the heels of my Singular Adventures of the Go-Go's post, I received a copy of the Delphines album I was missing and got news that Belinda Carlisle is the new spokesperson for NutriSystem. "Cosmic Thing" is great -- and the choice of America's onetime "chubby" sweetheart seems just perfect. (You KNOW people my age are in charge of the world when Valerie Bertinelli, Marie Osmond and Belinda Carlisle are being hired for jobs!!!!) That said, you gotta give Belinda props for her shameless vanity through it all. Despite the fact that she's hawking a weight-loss program, she's completely thin and gorgeous in her BEFORE picture so had to find a shot where her knit top is slightly bunched up in the middle to stand in for the "gut." (Come on, Babe: I was at that show and you looked fab!) Can you imagine someone being so vain to use THAT as a "fat" pic? HONESTLY!


    Photo Flashback: 1996

    With Kristen, Jean and Kandy (below) at a Stenhouse Christmas party in Virginia

    OK, So It Was Strongly Suggested

    The mainstream media is in a tizzy over the supposedly new "relaxed" style in the Obama White House. But as AmericaBlog points out, you can't always believe everything the GOP wants you to:

    CNN noted that the Bush White House had a strict rule, no one was permitted in the Oval Office without a jacket. Well, a reader just sent me the following (picture below). The lies are subtle, but they're still meant to rewrite history, and make failed Republican politicians seem grander than they actually were.

    Who cares about the WMDs, where's George Tenet's jacket???

    Move Over, Geraldo

    How's this for investigative journalism? "Dateline NBC" hired a private investigator to look into the disappearance of Olivia Newton-John's cash-strapped boyfriend, who has been presumed dead since vanishing from a boat four years ago, and the PI has concluded that Patrick McDermott staged his disappearance and is really alive. On what do they base this conclusion? I'll let the scrappy sleuth explain: "There's no doubt in my mind, this guy's alive," Philip Klein said. "When you're running, you always are looking over your shoulder and we're going to catch him looking at us." Oh, OK. Thanks for wasting an hour of my life.

    Morning Wood: Richard Lima

    Now this is how the silver fox phenomenon got started. Somehow when I jumped in bed with a Vermeer (at the Paramount Hotel, circa 1995) it didn't have nearly the same effect. I guess I should have remembered my bondage kit ... Another shot of Richard's KILLER ASS is right HERE.

    The Minutes of the Meeting Will Be Read

    But first, here's a photo from last night's gathering of the Rafael Nadal Gay Fan Club.

    The Elephant in the Room

    This woman may have an "ultra-rare memory gift". But she sure looks like she forgot to go to the gym.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Goatee Ride, Anyone?


    I just saw this on Towleroad. This 1990s-facial-hair wearer just may be the hottest man I've ever seen in my life. Woof!!! And he seems to be quite adept at inserting foreign objects inTO his mouth ...

    Hairy or Smooth?

    Not to be outdone by Roger Federer, Spain's Rafael Nadal showed a little skin during his quarterfinal win today over Gilles Simon of France. The world's top two players are on a collision course to play their first Aussie Open final.

    Driving Under the Influence


     Watch the comedic genius Wendi McLendon-Covey (as Deputy Clementine Johnson) in action in this hilarious scene from "Reno 911!," the funniest show on television. Lucy who?

    Wet Dream: Lucas Kerr

    See all Lucas Kerr posts HERE.

    (Photos by Adam Raphael)

    Music Box: The Singular Adventures of the Go-Go's (Updated 4/30/16)

    While time has surely confirmed that the whole was definitely greater than the sum of its parts, the post-breakup endeavors of all five Go-Go's have been a series of interesting -- if uneven -- outings that any non-former-Go-Go would kill to claim as her own. As serious fans know, things began to unravel for the band back in early '84 while working with producer Martin Rushent in England on "Talk Show." Jane had gotten a taste of the spotlight (and a bit of a big head) after singing "Cool Places" with Sparks the previous year (which just missed the Top 40, but was a huge "new wave hit") and wanted a more prominent position in the Go-Go's. When the band ruled against her desire to sing lead on "Forget That Day" -- one of her seven contributions to the album (it turned out Charlotte Caffey was whacked out on heroin, so that left Jane and Kathy Valentine to do the heavy lifting in the songwriting department) -- she made up her mind to bolt when the tour for the album was over. At the time it seemed reasonable that she was denied her request -- Belinda was the singer, after all. But in retrospect it seems stupid that a group would end up being destroyed over something so petty. It wasn't going to be a single anyway, and it's not like dozens of bands haven't occasionally let other members sing lead from time to time ("Superman" by Mike Mills of R.E.M. and "Drive" by Benjamin Orr of the Cars immediately come to mind). But Jane probably had bigger plans for herself anyway, so leave she did.

    The following year she released her eponymous debut album. Although it received a lot of publicity -- she was signed by Peter Asher, no less! -- the audience was largely unreceptive ("Blue Kiss" stalled at No. 77 and the album peaked at No. 127). While I was "mad" at her at the time for ruining the Go-Go's, I remember the album rather fondly because of outstanding songs like "Modern Romance," "Forever" and "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Unfortunately, the album also confirmed that Wiedlin -- as is nicely displayed on "Our Lips Are Sealed" -- is best served in small doses. The aptly named third song on the album, "Sometimes You Really Get on My Nerves," almost seems like an ominous bit of foreshadowing -- and I'd be lying if I didn't confess to renaming "Somebody's Going to Get Into This House" as "Somebody Put a Lid on This Mouse" by the time the album nears completion (you can only handle that helium voice for so long!).

    The other standout from "Belinda" 

    We all know that Belinda was next out of the gate. "Mad About You" still ranks as the best post-Go-Go's by any of the five, which is perhaps not surprising seeing as it was co-written by Jane's replacement, Paula Jean Brown, to be a Go-Go's song. Belinda's once-huge-but-now-gay-pride-level solo career has been an entertaining -- if not formulaic -- one.


    The year after Belinda shot to megastardom with "Heaven Is a Place on Earth," Jane released the glossier "Fur" and she too hit the Top 10 with her summery confection called "Rush Hour." The album had a number of great pop songs -- "Inside a Dream," "Give," "One Heart, One Way" and "Lover's Night" -- but despite the hit single, it didn't sell much better than its predecessor.

    What was the biggest surprise of 1988, though, was that Gina Schock would be next to "go solo." As a drummer with few songwriting credits to her name, the butch from Baltimore seemed like the Go-Go Least Likely To, yet she managed to channel her inner Phil Collins and teamed up with bassist Vance DeGeneres (Ellen's brother!) to form House of Schock (Chrissy Shefts on guitar and Steven Fisher on drums rounded out the band).

    Although the project proved to be short-lived, the album was produced by Richard Gottehrer (the genius behind Blondie's debut and the Go-Go's classic "Beauty and the Beat") and had a Holly and the Italians working-class charm to it. The single "Middle of Nowhere" should have been a HUGE hit (it was heard in the film "The Accused"!), "Just to Dream" ranks high on my fave post-Go-Go solo tracks of all time and "This Time" had Top 40 written all over it.

    In 1989, Charlotte Caffey, who had been working closely on Belinda's solo project, finally emerged with the all-girl trio called The Graces. Charlotte had been the singer in the punky band The Eyes ("Don't Talk to Me" is a classic) and a solo artist (her demo of "Fading Fast" brings a vacantness to the song that only a heroin addict could imbue), and before joining the Go-Go's, so she seemed like a shoo-in for a solo career. Yet she chose a more Bangles-ish arrangement where she rotated lead vocals with new bandmates Meredith Brooks (later of "Bitch" fame) and Gia Ciambotti. (Chrissy Shefts of House of Schock would later replace Brooks when she went solo, although the Graces would never record again.)

    The Graces' sole album is full of strong quasi-folk-inspired pop songs that should have been hits -- "Perfect View" is my favorite, and the brilliant "Lay Down Your Arms" and "Should I Let You In" were wisely covered by Belinda -- although I find I tend to favor Charlotte's vocals, which makes for a slightly more uneven experience than it should have been given how strong the songs were. ("Perfect View" = perfect song.)

    In 1990, Jane's third solo album came out on the heels of her song "Tangled" being included on the HUGE "Pretty Woman" soundtrack. The album, also called "Tangled," is without question Jane's masterpiece. Unlike her previous efforts, her voice never becomes annoying, but serves as complete asset to avalanche of gems she'd written. From the romantic opener "Rain on Me" and the power pop of the title track, to the heartwrenching "Paper Heart,"the giddy charms of "99 Ways" (sort of the antithesis of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover") and the anthemic "Euphoria," the album is a true delight.

    Throughout the early 1990s, Kathy Valentine -- a former Textone in her own right (ever hear the original "Vacation"?) -- played around the L.A. scene with various bands, most notably her blues-inspired Bluebonnets. I never made it to any of their gigs, but my friend Mark tells me that they were absolutely unbelievable, perhaps the best post-Go-Go show in town. But apparently the magic that was created on-stage could never be captured in the studio, so the group parted ways with the charismatic singer Pinky Villandry (aka Pinky Turzo), citing the standard "creative differences." (Not sure if Mark ever saw replacement Shannon Moore, but that didn't last long.) What the remains of the Bluebonnets -- Kathy and singer/bassist Dominique Davalos -- became was the Delphines, which developed a loyal cult following in Europe and landed them a small recording deal. After various line-up changes -- including Gina Schock on drums -- and an EP, I finally heard them on their 1996 self-titled debut album and instantly fell in love.

    Winning pop melodies with a bit of a garage feel to it, "I Want You the Way I Want You, Not the Way You Are," "I Am Not Your Loved One," "Thrill of It" and especially "Crazy" and "Down Underground" (which sounds like a discarded early Blondie gem) are unquestionably the best music produced by a former member of the Go-Go's.

    The Delphines continued strong with their 2001 followup, "Cosmic Speed" -- "Carboy," "Kopperhed," a more-than-successful cover of Ike & Tina Turner 's "I Idolized You" and the title track were highlights -- but eventually disbanded when Kathy moved back to her native Austin to begin married life.

    While pregnant in 2002, she decided to pull a Prince -- and began writing, arranging, singing and playing lead guitar on an entire album that became 2005's "Light Years." The solo debut featured some of her strongest songwriting to date, like the Breeders-adjacent "Getting By," the power-pop perfection of "Somewhere to Nowhere" and the alt-country rocker "How the West Was Undone." (Ironically, the album's biggest weakness for me was that her voice sounds a bit too similar to "solo years" Debbie Harry, which could be distracting at times.)

    This wasn't Valentine's first foray into being center stage, however, although it's a position she's never seemed to relish. Her post-Go-Go's/pre-Bluebonnets work included some solo demos, an attempt at a band with Gina and Holly Beth Vincent (one of my all-time faves), plus the famed World's Cutest Killers (featuring Kelly Johnson, who had replaced Kathy in Girlschool way back when), who seemed destined for stardom but never secured a recording contract. (The only song of theirs that's on YouTube -- "Chinese Whispers" -- actually features Kelly on lead vocals, which foreshadowed Kathy's later bands with multiple people singing lead.)

    In 2007, Dominique Davalos (who I think had moved to Austin) and Kathy decided to start playing together again, so relaunched the Bluebonnets -- with sometime Delphines drummer Kristy McInnis and local singer/songwriter Eve Monsees on guitar -- which picked up where the Delphines left off and then expanded on it, releasing two glam-garage-blues-rock albums to date, "Boom Boom Boom Boom" (2010) and "Play Loud" (2014). Although the prolific Valentine and Davalos are like the female equivalent of Difford and Tilbrook, both albums included a re-recorded Delphines tune or two, which can be forgiven seeing as their previous band was sorely overlooked by most. (Keep up to date with the Bluebonnets HERE.)

    Which brings me to perhaps the most unexpected post-Go-Go's solo outing: Frosted, the "punk-pop" band Jane formed with three young guys (former members of Fizzy Bangers and Ex-Idols), that put out one kickass album in 1996, "Cold." (I'm told Kathy was the one who encouraged Jane to form a band as an outlet for all the songs she was writing.)

    Although the album suffers from some of the same problems as Jane's solo works (that voice takes a toll), there really are some wonderful 1990s alt-rock songs here -- "Dis-integrated" and "Call Me Crazy" to name two -- which, if they'd been sung by Courtney Love back in the day, would have been Billboard Modern Rock chart-toppers instead of a cutout classic. (The band quickly broke up after the album's release.)

    Much of this fell by the wayside when the gals reunited in 2001 for "God Bless the Go-Go's" (how was that for a reunion that didn't miss a beat?). In recent concerts, the "new" songs blend in seamlessly with their old catalogue, which may make it seem like they've remained stuck in an era that's gone by, when it fact it just illuminates how timeless their original music -- unlike some of the ensuing solo projects along the way -- was all along.

  • Read all Music Box posts HERE.