Friday, February 29, 2008

Remembering... Dinah Shore

For my last post during Black History Month I thought I'd complete two tasks with a single action, and so choose a duet by gospel legend Mahalia Jackson and birthday gal Dinah Shore.

Shore's career began in the Big Band era; although her auditions for the titans of the genre (Benny Goodman and both Jimmy Dorsey and his brother Tommy Dorsey) all flopped, her clear voice, wholesome image, and straightforward phrasing nevertheless shone through, making her an enduring favourite to this day, more than a decade after her February 1994 death.

Even more so than her recordings, film and television appearances, Dinah Shore's most enduring legacy may just be the golf tournament held every March in Palm Springs, which is a red letter day in any power lesbian's calendar.
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Friday Playlist: February 29th

Lenny Kravitz - "Mr. Cab Driver"
Billie Holiday - "Your Mother's Son-in-Law"
Concrete Blonde - "Walking in London"
Michael Jackson - "Wanna Be Starting Something"
John Mayer Trio - "Axis Bold As Love"
Fletcher Henderson - "King Porter Stomp"
Adam Ant - "Goody Two Shoes"
George Strait - "I Can Still Make Cheyenne"
Royal Crown Revue - "Zip Gun Bop"
Robbie Williams - "Rock DJ"
The Hollies - "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
Joy Division - "I Remember Nothing"
Rufus Wainwright - "Harvester of Hearts"
Dead Kennedys - "California Uber Alles"
T-Rex - "Cosmic Dancer"
Kool & The Gang - "Jungle Boogie"
Joni Mitchell - "Impossible Dreamer"
Rachel Sweet - Theme from 'Hairspray'
Great Big Sea - "Feel It Turn"
The Prodigy - "Smack My Bitch Up"
Michelle Shocked - "Necktie"
King Missile - "Detachable Penis"
Michelle Shocked - "Hardly Gonna Miss Him"
Madonna - "Keep It Together"
Pansy Division - "Anthem"
Ozzy Osbourne - "Crazy Train"
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Happy Birthday James Ogilvy

1964 - traditionally considered either the last year of the Baby Boom or the first year of Generation X - saw something of a bumper crop of royal babies; in all, four were born during that twelve months, including HRH The Earl of Wessex, Lady Sarah Chatto (the daughter of Princess Margaret), Lady Helen Taylor (whose nickname in the Eighties was 'Melons'), and possibly the most minor of the so-called minor royals, James Ogilvy.


Despite his distance from the throne (at present he is 35th in the succession) and the fact that he possesses no titles whatsoever, Ogilvy is nonetheless a fascinating footnote in the history of the British monarchy - he is thought to be the only royal baby in history to be born a leapling.

Born to the Queen's cousin Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy and her husband Sir Angus Ogilvy at their home Thatched House Lodge outside London and married to Julia Caroline Rawlinson in 1988 (with whom he has two children, Alexander and Flora) Ogilvy is currently the publisher of Luxury Briefing, a magazine for those working the upper end of the carriage trade.

So low is James Ogilvy's profile that even a sycophant as panting as I was unable to find a picture to adorn this post, forcing me to make a reFoto to accompany the story.
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"Love Will Never Do (Without You)" by Janet Jackson

Featuring the ample talents of birthday boy Antonio Sabàto, Jr. and Djimon Hounsou, it's Janet Jackson's Love Will Never Do (Without You), the seventh single from her 1990 album Rhythm Nation, and directed with trademark aplomb by the late, great Herb Ritts.
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Gratuitous Brunette: Antonio Sabato, Jr.

He may in fact be the sexiest leapling ever; then again, since his is a variety (not to mention quantity) of hot that doesn't come around every day - especially at my place - it's apt I guess that his birthday should be a special event in more ways than one.

PhotobucketBorn on this day in 1972 Sabato first emerged into the public consciousness the way ridiculously good-looking people with limited abilities often do - modeling. In 1990 he gained some notoriety for bringing New York's Times Square to a screaming halt at the sight of his twenty-foot tall abs and eight-foot long package, thanks to the ever-so-subtle marketing machinations of one Calvin Klein. Determined to demonstrate his range, he went on to star in a Janet Jackson video - Love Will Never Do (Without You) - which is essentially modeling with movement, but nevertheless, at least he tried.

It wasn't very long before the soaps called, in this case General Hospital. A lot of people mock the soaps but they are very grueling and more often than not turn a pretty face into an accomplished actor (with an even prettier face). I mean, look at... It'll come to me... Alec Baldwin! He was in a soap too, and look how well he's done.

Sadly, that's not been the case here; in doing research for this post I watched an awful lot of dire clips that I can only assume weren't actually acted by Antonio Sabato Jr. but rather by his picture stapled to a plank. Even the dreadful made-in Vancouver (or is that a tautology?) Deadly Skies (2005) - in which he can be seen getting it on with another dude - is awful except for those scenes. Then again, it's possible the sound of blood rushing in my ears at the sight of his mouth moving just might have prevented me from a full appreciation of his oeuvre.
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POPnews - Leap Year Edition!

45 BCE - The first Leap Year was observed following the adoption of Julius Caesar's cleverly named Julian Calendar.

1704 - During Queen Anne's War French forces and Native Americans staged a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 100 men, women, and children.

1720 - Queen Ulrika Eleanora of Sweden abdicated in favour of her husband, who became Frederick I.

1936 - The character Baby Snooks, first played by Fanny Brice in vaudeville as early as 1912, made her radio debut on the program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air; Baby Snooks proved so popular that she got her own show, beginning in 1944.

1940 - Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award, Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind.

1972 - Hank Aaron signed Major League Baseball's then-richest contract - $200,000.

1984 - Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau announced his retirement.

1988 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu was arrested at an anti-apartheid rally in Cape Town, apparently.

2004 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned as President of Haiti following a coup.
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pop History Moment: Crazy Does Crazy, World Goes Crazy

On this day in 2007, troubled American pop star Britney Spears shaved her head.

Nothing else to say about that really, except that the media acted in its typically subtle and decorous way.
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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Looking Back, Looking Forward

One year ago today I published my one hundredth post; this is number 2128, a feat which even though I know to be a fact I still have trouble believing. It's been a little over a month since my last update of this nature, and seeing as I missed our second anniversary - which fell on January 26th, during my recent illness - this seems as logical a time as any to update my regular readers as to the progress (or lack thereof) of the Pop Culture Institute.

Of course, looking back on it, on this day last year I still had no idea how to make links, and had only just figured out the insertion of photos; clear evidence, at least, of the steepness of my learning curve these past twelve months. I'd say I was proud of myself at least for what I've learned, if only I were capable of it; nevertheless it pleases me that I did it. In addition to the conquering of ignorance, I've come a long way (at least I think I have) from that angry impatience of mine, born mostly of frustration at my own limitations, which to me suggests passion but which to everyone else suggests staying away from me altogether.

The format of posts (both in quantity and quality) is more or less in place, and the structure of individual days is there too, at least since the landmark date of August 5th; even though by far the majority of my readers seem to discover me while Googling some specific subject or other, it's important to me as well as to the future of the blog that I build each day thematically, even if that is an ongoing process which takes years. Variety, as they say, is the something or other - the seasoning of existence? - so it's most important that I keep myself interested, as I'm the one who spends 5-6 hours a day neck deep in the thing so that you may have a few moments of pleasant reading in your day.

At New Year's I had promised that I would be taking things more easily this year than last, and in that I think I have; thank you to all of you who stayed with me through those few days when all I published was POPnews because it was all I had the strength to do. Despite my fatalistic pronouncements, the problem seems to have been caused by an electrolyte balance; the fact that I was growing weaker by the day panicked me, it's true, but I tried not to let it affect the quality of my work here, even if I did let it reduce the quantity.

The challenge ahead is to take all the types of posts I have done in the past - profiles, reviews, commentary, news, and photography - and merge them all a little more thoroughly, while still investigating new forms, such as interview and documentary. While I don't always feel I've succeeded at every post I've written, believe me when I say I would never publish something that I feel will reflect badly on me or this blog, at which I've worked so hard.

By this coming Pride Day (the 1st anniversary of my one thousandth post is August 5th) I hope to be at 3000, the Gods, Blogspot, and my own stamina willing. Here's to it!

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