Friday, October 29, 2010

You Know It's Election Time When...

Ok, this is just a sample of the emails that I've gotten today. It just seems as though it's the last election ever in the history of the united states and the way they (collectively these organizations) describe the's just so drastic. I just want to turn my email off when election time comes around. Don't get me wrong, I love politics, but this barrage, 24/7 is a bit much.

Four days until Election Day and races are neck and neck, but your renewal right now will make an immediate difference

As I'm writing this, there are 87 hours until the polls open. I'm asking you to use 2 of them and come volunteer. In these last critical days, we're making phone calls and knocking on doors to remind Missourians to vote, and we need your help.

We know what side she's on--and we know what side Harry Reid is on: the side of middle class families. Now it's time for us to take sides. Please click here and make a contribution to Harry Reid's campaign to help expose Sharron Angle's radical agenda!

With only days left before the elections, Democrats and Republicans are locked in a fierce struggle over who will hold the majority in the US Senate next year. It’s not too late to make a difference! Below is polling information about the tightest, most crucial races.

Please consider last minute contributions to these campaigns.

There are only four days until Election Day.

With the latest polls showing many environmental leaders facing extremely competitive races -- every phone call we make, every door we knock on, and every contribution we RUSH to candidates – will make the difference between winning and losing on Tuesday.

This election is still very winnable, and this weekend is the most critical of the entire election season. Can you sign up to volunteer for Robin Carnahan in Kansas City?

Yes, I'll sign up to volunteer.

Sorry, I can't.

That’s why I urgently need your gift of $35, $50 ... even $75 or more -- right now. We need to pull out all the stops to prevent Election Day from turning into a disaster - not just for millions of American women today, but for generations to come.

Big monied special interest groups hope to buy a Congress by joining with Karl Rove to flood the airwaves in this final week with attack ads. But we know that elections are actually won block-by-block, house-by-house, and voter-by-voter.

You can't sit on the sidelines when everything we have worked so hard for is on the line -- what will you tell your children you did when the going got rough? I can tell you the fat lady hasn't sung, and this race is not over. If you can give a gift of even just $5, it will go a long way to making sure our sophisticated Get Out the Vote operation in races nationwide gets the job done.

I have to have this money in the bank tonight to wire to my campaigns for tomorrow -- there is no time to waste. Victory is on the line. Contribute today.

Please join me in support of this great leader by sending a contribution of $10, $25, or $50 to Harry Reid's campaign today!

Our progressive values are on the line in Pennsylvania. Your phone call will ensure we have a champion who will fight for those values on November 2nd.

So far, more than 310 phone bank shifts have been filled. We need just 24 more to meet our goal of 325!

DADT Study: Majority Of Troops Say, “Gay? OK.”

via: The New Civil Rights Movement

In an exclusive report on the Rachel Maddow show Thursday night, NBC News’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel revealed that a majority of America’s troops either would have no issue at all serving alongside an openly-gay service member, or if there were an issue, they would have no problem bringing the issue directly to the attention of the gay or lesbian service member. This is a critical component to debunking the GOP’s fraudulent comments regarding repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Here’s the transcript, thanks to the excellent work of Igor Volsky at Think Progress‘ “The Wonk Room“:
ENGEL: The findings are that for most soldiers, and this wasn’t the sum total of all soldiers, it wasn’t that big of a deal…The majority — the number one answer, first answer was ‘I don’t care.’ That’s significant.

MADDOW: Predominant answer is ‘no big deal.’

ENGEL: Most common, number one. Number two was, ‘I would deal directly with the person involved.’ So when you put the two of those together, it is the majority. Now, there were some people who said, three, they would go to the chain of command and some four, who hated it, hated it. But the answers one and two are considered positive. So these studies show a relative if not positive outlook, at least an accepting outlook.

MADDOW: So the military study is, as you said, the survey of the troops is part of it. It’s an overall study of the feasibility of the issue….this survey of the troops, what you’ve learned is that a majority of troops it’s not going to be a major deal.

ENGEL: Not a deal breaker, that they they’re not going to be running from the army in droves. A key thing this study kept coming back to is that it’s very important about the chain of command. What commanders say. How far commanders act. What tone they set. The marines were the most negative out of the services. They had the most people who were — with negative responses. And the marine corps leadership has taken a stance and has been very vocally against this issue. And the study found that most soldiers and sailors and all different service members follow a chain of command. So if the chain of command accepts this as the law, the data is that so will the soldiers.

Volsky reminds us that the GOP has consistently said they “listen to the troops,” and wait for the study before making any decisions.

In my opinion, it’s important to remember that the Republicans are fond of claiming to want to follow “the will of the American people.” (Personally, every time I type that phrase I hear John Boehner’s voice in my head. Pity me, please?) Well, as a reminder, seventy-eight percent of Americans want “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be repealed. So, I ask you, what is keeping the GOP from voting for repeal?

It’s also important to remember that, as we begin to hear these drips of details of the survey, the GOP will do everything they possibly can to vote against repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” For whatever reason, the GOP will filibuster, will hem and haw, and absolutely do everything they can to stop the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Never mind the fact that a federal judge has already declared “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional. The GOP will march in lockstep to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as official policy.

At what point do we stop allowing them to control the debate, and the rules, and our lives?

Oh. One last point: You’re voting on Tuesday, right?

Arkansas School Board Member Resigns After Hateful Comments

via truthwinsout:

Here’s what Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign had to say about it:

“Clint McCance’s decision to resign from the school board is a step forward for the community he represents. We are hopeful the wounds that were inflicted will soon be healed,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese in a press release. “What remains troubling is that Mr. McCance focused his regret on particular word choices not the animus behind those words. We hope he will take this time to reflect not only on the language he used but on what he can do to make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people better.”

Monday, October 18, 2010

Obama Gets Heckled...This time in Boston

While stumping for MA Gov Deval Patrick you can see Obama getting visibly upset at the hecklers. towelroad reports:
During a rally in Boston yesterday, a group of gay rights activists and AIDS research supporters interrupted a speech from President Obama while he was stumping for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Reportedly chants included "Mr. President, stop the bigotry! Support marriage equality!," "Do you also oppose Atheist Marriage?," and "Would you want a Civil Union?"

Mediaite reports on the incident, which seemed to noticeably agitate the president:

"The President appeared uncharacteristically upset as, mid-sentence, a group of folks in the crowd began to loudly object to his speech as he described the work his administration had done for AIDS research. As the crowd turned their heads up to look at the hecklers, President Obama followed as well, and modified his speech for them, menacingly pointing his finger up at them as he warned that a Republican leadership would be extremely destructive to their cause. After raising his voice mid-sentence in response to them, President Obama continued: “One of the great things about being a Democrat is, we like arguing with each other. But to the folks concerned about AIDS funding, I would say ‘take a look at what the Republican leadership has to say about AIDS funding.’”

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bukeka and the SIR

Had a really long day today. Went to the "Saturday Intensive Rehearsal" today from 8am to 5pm and I'm exhausted. The long day is a rehearsal for the upcoming show "12 Divas" with HMC in Dec. I really don't want to write a long entry, but I couldn't go without posting the two videos I took last night of Bukeka singing at the Marquee Lounge. Here's T'Aint Nobodys Business If I Do and Dr. Feelgood. She is a goddess and a celebrity! Vince and I left after the second set because my batteries were on the way to dying. This is OJT+B "Organ Jazz Trio + Bukeka" rocking out last night.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

2 New Pictures and a B&W Self Portrait

Govt. Appeals DADT Injunction

Not that I was surprised by this. This shows where the so called "fierce advocate" for the gay community stands (in reality). Thank you Mr. President, Mr. Attorney General, you just made my election choice crystal clear in two years. Don't you dare come up to me and ask me for any money or time or anything next time around. I am so angry I could spit. Call me an independent in the next election. I'll vote for Robin Carnahan just because I think Roy Blunt is a terrible excuse for a politician. But as for me and my love affair with Barack Obama. It's over. ka put.
Govt. Appeals DADT Injunction

The Department of Justice requested a stay Thursday of a federal judge's injunction barring enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell."

Justice Department attorneys filed the request to U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside, Calif., this afternoon.

Should Phillips deny the request for a stay, government attorneys will file an emergency request to the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit.

“At a minimum, this case raises serious legal questions, and without the entry of an order immediately staying the application of this Court’s judgment, defendants will be irreparably harmed before they can appeal this Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit,” assistant U.S. attorney Paul G. Freeborne wrote.

Few were surprised by news, least of all the leadership of the Log Cabin Republicans, which will oppose the application for a stay of Phillips's injunction.

“After years of fighting this lawsuit, Log Cabin Republicans expected that the Obama administration would continue to pull out all the stops to defend ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” said Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the organization. “Log Cabin Republicans will continue to advocate on behalf of the American service members who every day sacrifice in defense of our nation and our Constitution.”

But Richard Socarides, a New York lawyer and former LGBT adviser to President Bill Clinton, said getting the stay on the suspension of discharges was not guaranteed and that if the court of appeals failed to grant it, the Justice Department would have to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In order to get the stay, Socarides said the government would have to prove it would suffer serious, irreversible damage if it were denied.

“It’s considered an extreme remedy,” Socarides said. “Just coming in and saying that it would be better to do it in a more orderly fashion isn’t enough.”

Socarides explained that DOJ was also in a tricky situation given the president’s position that he believes gays and lesbians should ultimately be able to serve openly in the military.

“They have severe political restrictions on what they can say,” Socarides said, noting that the Justice Department cannot argue, for instance, that allowing gays to serve openly would be harmful to the military. “They’re now in difficult position of having to articulate a position as to why, on an emergency basis, an order that is wholly consistent the president’s position should be denied.”

During a briefing with reporters Wednesday morning, White House press secretary reiterated the president’s belief that the law is “unjust” and “detrimental to our national security” but also reinforced his preference for ending the policy legislatively.

“The president has implemented a process with the Department of Defense, with the secretary of Defense, with Admiral [Michael] Mullen and the other members of the Joint Chiefs to move forward in implementing an end to this policy in an orderly way,” Gibbs said. “The best way to end it is for the Senate to follow the lead of the House of Representatives so that that end can be implemented in a fashion that’s consistent with our obligations in fighting two wars.”

But the political pressure continues to mount on the White House even as its course appears to be resolute.

During a phone call with progressive bloggers Wednesday, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would prefer the administration let the ruling stand.

“I hope, I haven’t really heard officially that the administration is going to appeal this, but in any event, I hope they don’t,” Pelosi said in reply to a question from AmericaBlog’s John Aravosis. “I myself have always wanted a moratorium on any discharges.”

Maddow: End DADT Or Stop Saying You Will

Valerie Jarrett and "Lifestyle Choice"

via Jonathon Capehart of the Post

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, has taken her lumps since my video interview with her was posted yesterday. We talked about infrastructure and her concern about the rash of nationally reported suicides of gay youth. Unfortunately, she trampled on that concern when she said that 13-year-old Justin Aarberg made a "lifestyle choice."

Contrary to the caustic comments on websites like firedoglake, I know Jarrett knows better than this. That's why I didn't correct her or ask her to explain herself during our sit-down at the White House. But viewers don't know her heart. They just know that what she said was offensive.

I e-mailed Jarrett last night and asked her a simple question, "Do you think being gay is a 'lifestyle choice'?" Here is her response in its entirety.

In a recent interview I was asked about the recent tragedies about gay youth who have committed suicide, and I misspoke when I referred to someone's sexual identity as a "lifestyle choice." I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans. Most of all, I hope this does not distract from the issue I was asked about -- the desperate, tragic decision by some young people who feel that their only recourse is to take their own lives because they are being bullied or harassed because they are gay, or because others believe they are gay. We must instill in young people respect for one another, and we must set an example of mutual regard and civility to create an environment that is safe for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Yes, Jarrett made a mistake. But those who think she and the president don't care about the rights of gay men and lesbians, don't give a damn about bullying and the tragedies of gay youth suicides are wrong. Jarrett is no Tony Perkins. She is no bigot.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Day After That

Why do I keep on going back to this song from "Kiss Of A Spider Woman" and more specifically, Liza's version of it when I am faced with a government that is going to appeal the decision on DADT that ruled it unconstitutional. What is the matter with this picture? This post is also a test to see if I've hoodwinked my blogging account to twitter. Here's hoping for a successful tweet as a result of this post. *clicks save*

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged the Justice Department is preparing to appeal a court’s decision against the law preventing gays from serving openly in the military, but said President Obama is still committed to ending the policy.

Then, one April day we heard it
Thunder rumbling
One man speaking
Thousands singing ..
Someday we'll be free
I promise you, we'll be free
If not tomorrow
Then the day after that
And the candles in our hands
Will illuminate this land
If not tomorrow
Then the day after that
And the world that gives us pain
That fills our lives with fear
On the day after that
Will disappear
And the war we've fought to win
I promise you, we will win
If not tomorrow
Then the day after that
Or the day after that

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Confidential to the White House

I love this comment the blog post by Dan Savage regarding the appeal of the recent worldwide stay on DADT.

@9 - It's more like an abusive relationship where I say I'd really like to stop hitting you--the fact that I'm hitting you really breaks my heart--but to simply stop hitting you doesn't address the systematic problems that lead to me hitting you in the first place, and we're looking for a long-term solution to this problem, not a temporary fix. I'm working on not hitting you, you just have to be patient and hold out hope. In fact, I'm currently conducting a study to see how the neighbors would react if I stopped hitting you. It should be done by the end of this year, probably.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lured Into a Trap, Then Tortured for Being Gay

October 8, 2010
Lured Into a Trap, Then Tortured for Being Gay
He was told there was a party at a brick house on Osborne Place, a quiet block set on a steep hill in the Bronx. He showed up last Sunday night as instructed, with plenty of cans of malt liquor. What he walked into was not a party at all, but a night of torture — he was sodomized, burned and whipped.

All punishment, the police said Friday, for being gay.

There were nine attackers, ranging from 16 to 23 years old and calling themselves the Latin King Goonies, the police said. Before setting upon their 30-year-old victim, they had snatched up two teenage boys whom they beat, the police said — until the boys — one of whom was sodomized with a plunger — admitted to having had sex with the man.

The attackers forced the man to strip to his underwear and tied him to a chair, the police said. One of the teenage victims was still there, and the “Goonies” ordered him to attack the man. The teenager hit him in the face and burned him with a cigarette on his nipple and penis as the others jeered and shouted gay slurs, the police said. Then the attackers whipped the man with a chain and sodomized him with a small baseball bat.

The beatings and robberies went on for hours. They were followed by a remarkably thorough attempt to sanitize the house — including pouring bleach down drains, the police said, as little by little word of the attacks trickled to the police. A crucial clue to the attackers was provided by someone who slipped a note to a police officer outside the crime scene, at 1910 Osborne Place in Morris Heights, near Bronx Community College.

Seven suspects were arrested on Thursday and Friday, and two were still being sought in a crime that the leader of the City Council called among the worst hate crimes she had ever heard of. “It makes you sick,” said the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, the city’s highest ranking openly gay official.

The charges included abduction, unlawful imprisonment and sodomy, all as hate crimes.

“These suspects deployed terrible, wolf-pack odds of nine against one, which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said at a news conference.

The assaults are the latest in a string of recent episodes of bullying and attacks against gays. A Rutgers University student jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge last month, prosecutors said, after his roommate had secretly set up a webcam in their room and streamed over the Internet his sexual encounter with another man. Two men were accused of robbing and beating a man in the Stonewall Inn, a landmark gay bar in Greenwich Village, last weekend while shouting slurs.

Neighbors on Osborne Place said the house, nondescript but for its door painted a bright lime green, had been vacant for some time. A group of teenagers and young men had moved in as squatters, neighbors said, and hosted loud parties.

“You could smell it from them,” said a neighbor who gave only his last name, Gomez. “From the start, you could tell they were trouble.” Mr. Gomez said he and other neighbors had discussed whether anything could be done about the squatters, but nothing came of it.

The nine suspects — the group seemed not so much part of an established gang as a loose group of friends who adopted a nickname — knew some or all three victims. The idea for the attacks seemed to have been hatched last Saturday, after one member of the group saw the 30-year-old man, who he knew was gay, with a 17-year-old who wanted to join the gang, the police said.

Hours later, at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, the group grabbed the 17-year-old, took him to the house and slammed him into a wall, the police said.

He was beaten, made to strip naked, slashed with a box cutter, hit on the head with a can of beer and sodomized with the wooden handle of a plunger, the police said. And he was interrogated about the 30-year-old and asked if they had had sex.

The teenager said that they had. The gang members set him loose, warning him to keep quiet or they would hurt his friends and family. The teenager walked into a nearby hospital and said he had been jumped by strangers on the street and robbed.

At 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, the police said, the group members grabbed a second 17-year-old, beating and likewise interrogating him about his contact with the 30-year-old. He, too, said he had had sex with the man. They took his jewelry and held him while the 30-year-old arrived for what he thought was a party, his arms filled with 10 tall cans of Four Loko, a caffeine-infused malt liquor. He had cleaned out a store of its entire stock.

He was immediately set upon and tied up. Then the assailants ordered the second teenager to attack the 30-year-old, and they joined in the beating. The beating lasted hours, the police said. The attackers forced the man to drink all 10 cans of liquor — each about twice the size of a can of beer, with a higher alcohol content, 10 percent to 12 percent, according to Four Loko’s Web site.

While the man was held captive and attacked, five of the Latin King Goonies went to his house, which he shared with his 40-year-old brother. Using a key taken from the 30-year-old to get inside, they found his brother in bed. They pulled a blanket over his head and hit him, demanding money. When he refused, one placed a cellphone to the brother’s ear, and he heard the voice of his younger brother, who said he had been kidnapped and who pleaded, “Give them the money.”

The brother complied. The men took $1,000 in cash, two debit cards and a 52-inch television.

The brother managed to free himself about three hours later, and he called the police, leaving out the fact that his brother was being held. By then it was Monday morning. Detectives went to the brothers’ home and, upon leaving, saw the 30-year-old, passed out on the landing from the alcohol he had consumed. But having no reason to believe he had been a victim of a crime, they did not question him.

Detectives returned later that day, suspicious of how the robbers had entered the brothers’ home without using force, and the 30-year-old told them he had been picked up in a van by strangers and forced to give them his keys and address, the police said.

Officers still had no idea about the first teen who had visited the hospital, because he had not called the police, and hospitals are not required to inform the authorities about assaults, the police said. The man had said he was robbed near 1910 Osborne, and police officers tried to obtain a search warrant for the house but were told they did not have enough cause, the police said.

Late on Tuesday the second teenager walked into a Bronx police station house and gave a version of what had happened, the police said. None of the three victims, in their first interviews with the police, were fully forthcoming, fearing reprisal and wanting to keep their lives a secret. But the second teenager gave an address, and a second request for a search warrant was granted.

On Wednesday morning, officers entered 1910 Osborne Place and found a surprising sight: an immaculate house, with fresh coats of paint and the smell of bleach hanging thick in the air. One detective called the house “the cleanest crime scene I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Kelly said.

“Lots of bleach and paint were used to cover the blood shed by their tortured prey,” he said. “They even poured bleach down the drains.”

Rugs and linoleum had been ripped out. Detectives were able to scrape evidence, including pubic hair and empty liquor cans, from the house, but not much was found, Mr. Kelly said.

The break in the case came later Wednesday when someone in a crowd of onlookers outside the house quietly slipped an officer his phone number and, when a detective called, gave the name of the man believed to be the ringleader of the group of nine: Ildefonzo Mendez, 23. Officers later learned the name of the first victim from the other teenager.

By Wednesday night, all three victims had given full accounts of the attacks, and for the next 36 hours, officers with the Hate Crimes Task Force, the Gang Division and Special Victims squad worked up a list of nine suspects.

Arrests began Thursday.

The other suspects under arrest were identified as David Rivera, 21; Nelson Falu, 18; Steven Carballo, 17; Denis Peitars, 17; Bryan Almonte, 17; and Brian Cepeda, 16. They were being held by the police in the Bronx on Friday night, with no arraignment scheduled. Still being sought, the police said, are Elmer Confessor, 23, and Ruddy Vargas-Perez, 22.

One suspect confessed, a law enforcement official said, others have not given statements.

Sam Dolnick and Elizabeth A. Harris contributed reporting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Charlie Rose : Bob Woodward on Obamas Wars

I already said a little bit about this on facebook, but this interview is frightening and I'll tell you why. There comes a point mid way in the conversation where Charlie Rose is trying to reason with Woodward and saying something to the effect of "so you're telling me that the reason that Obama made the decision to add 40,000 troops was because the military didn't have any other option or because the National Security Advisor didn't give him the option?" and then he tries to answer but it befuddles even Woodward. There is a series of moments like that in this interview, where Charlie Rose is trying to wrap his head around a couple of things here and so is Woodward but it's left in this ether. What's going to happen? Where is this leading? What does it mean to our national security interests that we're bombing Afghanistan when the bad guys are in Pakistan which is repeatedly referred to as a "powder keg" by Woodward. Ok kids, when Bob Woodward who has 'better sources than the President' is getting a little personally freaked out by what's happening and says that this is a defining moment not only in the history of Obama's Presidency but also the collective US history. Why does this whole 2012 'end of the world' thing sound a least a bit more plausible after watching this interview?

A Mostly Good Review

Glitzy and glamorous, the Heartland Men's Chorus opens their 25th season with vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway. "The Nanny" crooner brings wit and pizazz to the Folly

The Heartland Men’s Chorus pulled out all the stops for their 25th-anniversary season opening concert with guest vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway last Saturday evening at the Folly Theater. The festive spirit was palpable as concertgoers packed liked sardines into the lobby, dressed to the nines in tuxedos and evening gowns, eagerly anticipating the show and the following glitzy “Dinner of Note.”

Backed by a trio of piano, bass, and drums, Ann Hampton Callaway opened her set with the up-tempo, energetic “The Glory of Love,” immediately displaying her rich alto range and depth of tone. Comfortable and quick-witted onstage, she had an easy rapport with the audience, telling jokes and dropping one-liners without missing a beat (“I woke up at 4 a.m.—8 hours before diva o’clock,” “My father always told me to keep my gin up”). While not always perfectly in tune and a little breathy at times in her high register, Callaway’s brazen sense of humor and fun made such imperfections forgivable.

Callaway continued with uncanny impressions of some of her inspirations, jazz legends Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan (her extreme interval leap during her Vaughan impression was particularly notable). Her short biographical anecdote introduced the first original tune, “I’m Too White to Sing the Blues Blues.” The lyrics were humorous, however Callaway’s imitation of a trumpet and saxophone were not. While she did vocally reproduce the timbre of the instruments, her physical miming was a bit awkward. I would rather have heard her scat a chorus.

Her “finest work to date” (according to her accountant) is the theme song for the television show The Nanny, one of many songs she has written and performed for TV. The audience was excited to hear this tune, singing along, which prompted another uncanny impression of actor Fran Drescher. The most interesting story of the night accompanied “Come Rain or Come Shine”—Callaway’s experience recording the song for Robert DeNiro’s film The Good Shepherd.
“Old Friend” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” were the slow tearjerkers of the set. A definite highlight, Callaway sang the original, complete introduction to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” a cappella, with great intonation, sensitivity, and emotion, drawing cheers from the audience at its conclusion.

Next, Callaway involved the audience in a sort of improvisatory “mad libs” song, asking them to shout out words about Kansas City, which she then included in an on-the-spot “Kansas City Love Song.” Barbeque, Oklahoma Joe’s, the Royals, fountains, jazz, and even Two Rivers and David Cook made it into the lyrics. The final product was silly and clever, if a bit meandering. Still, it was a nice personal touch to an already pretty intimate-feeling concert.

Callaway’s final song of her set was the Etta James classic “At Last.” This song is perfectly suited for Callaway’s voice, and she gave it her own sultry, soulful twist, singing with passion and stylistically fitting embellishments. I believe it was the best and strongest piece of the evening.

Themes of dreams, hopes, love, and friendship ran deep throughout the concert. The three songs Callaway performed with the Heartland Men’s Chorus, “Sing Out” and “Wherever You Are” [Editors note: rehearsal footage for this song is on my youtube page here] (Callaway originals) and “Let Me Be the Music” were appropriate expressions of the theme, and although they leaned towards a bit too saccharine-inspirational for my personal taste, the emotional impact was undeniable. The Chorus sang well, with good sustain, diction, and energy (and an occasional shaky pitch and entrance), yet they didn’t have the depth and power I have heard them project in past concerts—the balance was off between the Chorus, the instrumentalists, and Callaway’s microphone levels.

With their upbeat attitude and pure joy for music-making, the Heartland Men’s Chorus always deliver enjoyable shows that leaves the audience entertained and uplifted. Callaway’s presence was a welcome treat—an excellent guest for this elite, yet easy-going event. The Heartland Men’s Chorus should absolutely celebrate and be proud of their 25-year history and I look forward to what they have in store this special season!

Heartland Men’s Chorus
with Ann Hampton Callaway

Saturday, October 2, 2010
Folly Theatre
12th and Central Streets, Downtown, Kansas City, MO

Liza, Liza, Liza

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

Will Someone Please Escort Jewel Off The Stage

seriously? I LOVE the Indigo Girls even with their "thanks yall". I love them with the energy of a thousand burning suns, but someone should have taken the microphone away from her at this point and say....Jewel...really? yodeling is not appropriate in that moment. yodel on your own time not while we're recording tape. Leave it for the warm up..ever heard of sound check?"

Gay Rights Groups Say Rutgers Suicide A Hate Crime


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