Monday, December 25, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I walked into MJ's last night for Rimjob (mightily sad that I'd missed godly Adam Killian the week before) and was glad and astonished to see Mario Cruz (who I spent several years in love with) on one of the go-go pedestals. That happiness quickly dissipated when he told me that Rocky had died last week. I first met Rocky cruising outside a certain scaggy-ass Silverlake Latin fag dive (that I used to frequent) 2 or 3 years ago, but I had been in love with him for years before that via his porn work. He never got his due, but as far as I'm concerned he was always a godly, sublime, awe-inspiringly beautiful man (and his boundlessly beautiful dildo sessions in the archive on Live and Raw will always bear that out). One of the only good things I can see about my time as Ed.-in-Chief at Cybersocket was that I had a magnificently lustrous time speaking to and hanging out with him for the better part of 2 hours one day when he came in on a Rentboy matter. When I told him that I loved seeing him get pummeled by Rod Barry in Getting It Straight, he told me that that hadn't been a good shoot because Rod fucked him as if "he were fucking a pussy," but that Jeff Palmer had given him the most beautiful fuck of his life. I knew that he was a tweaker, but I didn't know that he was positive. Either way, I had always hoped that I might someday get to lick that sublime hole of his. That might sound trite considering, but the fact is that he was a sweet, beautiful, incredible man that I'm so glad I had the pleasure of knowing, and to say that I'll miss him is an understatement of horrific proportions. Rest in peace lovely. We do and will always love you here. xxooxx, B.
Friday, December 08, 2006
I had long been pining for a new Amy Winehouse album, but I could NEVER have anticipated the sublime kaleidoscopic soul killer that is Back to Black. Yes, Frank was lovely (as was Seiji's mighty rethink of "Take the Box"), but it is nothing next to its successor. From the miraculously lustrous and epically pure Tamla/Motown bliss of "Tears Dry on Their Own" (my pick for song of the year, alongside DJ Mitsu the Beats and Ivana Santilli's "Living Love Song" from the other album of the year, Inspiration Exclusives, and quite possibly (don't hate me for saying this—if Gilles has made peace with loving an occasional track of hers, I can too) Mariah + Kanye's "Stay the Night.") to the pensive Shangri-La's melancholy of "Back to Black" to the gently effulgent Scepter snap of "Love is a Losing Game" to the gruff locomotive blues-drenched Stax flavor of "Some Unholy War" to the rapturous cascading Brunswick shimmy of "He Can Only Hold Her," BTB is absolutely, indefatigably fucking ESSENTIAL, plus she admits to having a lifelong dream of becoming a butcher. (And what is it about her makeup these days that keeps reminding me of Adult Net-era Brix Smith?)
Thursday, November 16, 2006
While keeping in faggy pop culture mode and reviewing miraculously brilliant quips, I found this list of quotes from the better days of Gilmore Girls. Yes, last season and the current season have been dull and inane, but if you're not willing to admit from these past lines that it was once pure genius, you're a bit of an idiot. It also gives me an excuse to post several old photographs of the perennially beautiful and godly Milo Ventimiglia from back in the day. As for his Heroes, there is something ineffably remarkable about it in a lovely Mai the Psychic Girl sort of way, and I am most certainly addicted to that at the moment as well (even aside from the loveliness of Milo, Santiago Cabrera, + (to a lesser extent) Sendhil Ramamurthry (I do still love my South Asian boys)). It might be true that only I could segue that to a list of verbal bitch-slaps from Gilmore Girls, but dig:
"Like 'stop eating the paste' special?"
"Drink me. I make life more fun. Everybody from a high school kid to a bum on the street knows that."
"I even put a little wine in the pan to keep it from drying out."
"Well who died and made you Sara Moulton?"
"I don't watch that much television. I don't find forensic work as fascinating as the rest of the world."
"I just hit F4 and the num. lock key and the one with the little Apple on it, and it's freakin' out, like it's on acid or something."
"It's times like these that you realize what is truly important in your life. I'm so glad I had all that sex."
"Well who died and made you Hayley Mills?"
"She's so excited."
"She's brainwashed. She's Patty Heart and my mother's the SLA."
"I was Ricardo Montalban's receptionist for six months and he never complained."
"Don't make me hit you."
New Loves (Part 2): "It's Like Betty Crocker + Charles Manson Had a Lovechild, And He's Cooking For Me."
My other new reluctant penchant of late has been a gnawing/begrudging addiction to Bravo's Top Chef—and the lovely-in-an-obvious-white-boy-way Sam Talbot (don't worry I'll get back to my foremost true love for all Latin boys briefly). I'll hold off on my food-culture as aesthetic wallpaper/ideal for living till an imminent other post, but will say that TC is still a sub-par take on Food Network's Next Food Network Star—whose godly Andrew Schumacher was robbed last season, but at least had his spot taken by the occasionally entertaining Guy Fieri. That said, I will briefly divert from my ramblings on Seijun Suzuki, Jazztronik, Roni Size, and such, to be an obvious fag for a moment and say that Sam is rather fucking hot, the competition has gotten hilarious and on rare occasions culinarily vibrant (though not fucking half as much as it should be), Padma Lakshmi always seemed like a bitch back in her days of hosting FN's Melting Pot, and still does, and tonight's taking out of Marisa + Josie was a nice blow (no, I don't get like this over that Bravo sibling moronic fashion reality fagfest). To have that chased by a preview with my sage source for vitriolic, perverse, and fuck-all brilliant wit, Tony Bourdain, spouting the psychotropically ingenious line that gives this post its subtitle left me anxious for next Wednesday (which I'll have to tape because I'll be going back and forth from Andy Caldwell (more to come on him) and Brasileiro sonic god DJ Marky, but that's another story elsewhere along my obtusely disconnected synapses...). In the meantime, I posted this screen-grab of Sam rather than the actual clip because it's just more aesthetically sound. Feel free to visit YouTube for it.
I have no snobbery about subscribing to random elements of (backward US) pop culture if I find some aspect of it decent (a rare occasion)—and there are beautiful men involved. Of late, I've developed a rather grand crush on Dave Annable, who plays recovering junkie/alcoholic/youngest sibling on ABC's Brothers + Sisters. Whether calming a young girl while he shoots her up with insulin (nothing nefarious in that scene actually, just chivalrous and lovely), or spelling words on his girlfriend's back—with his tongue—this boy is sexy as fuck, even enough to make me watch a show that casts Calista Flockhart as a right-wing pundit and Rachel Griffiths as anything other than an endearing psychotic. As expected, I watch just because I'm in love with Dave, and wanted to post a rather gorgeous photograph of him.
Monday, November 06, 2006
Who fortunately spent several years getting gang-fucked in some of the loveliest fag porn ever filmed, for the mighty Raging Stallion. This beautifully oversatured new photograph came to my epically grateful eyes via his MySpace page.
Friday, October 27, 2006
I had intended to not post for a while to keep that miraculously sublime photo of Gil atop the blog, but hell, this is Roni Size WITH Jocelyn Brown. Yes, the Kenny Dope mix is much better than the original, but again, this is video of Roni with Jocelyn. That said, Roni is still looking beautiful, and it takes me back to seeing the first Reprazent tour @ Metro in Chicago, one of a handful of truly religious experiences I've had in my life, back when I was in love with Die (who's back in L.A. next week), Dynamite, Roni, and, most of all, Suv (who turned out to be the true sonic genius in the lot). As for the mighty and inimitable Jocelyn, I just got her new Unreleased set yesterday (which is nice), and the new Incog (which is immaculately burnished and absolutely beautiful).
Friday, October 20, 2006
When speaking of the world's most exquisite boys, I clearly always come back to Gil, Cesar, Uli, Carlos, and Omar, and much has been happening with the beautiful ones lately. First off, they've done two magnificent sessions for KCRW in the past two months, one with video for Morning Becomes Eclectic, and another even more sonically lustrous (audio only) set for Sounds Eclectic, just last weekend. I do have to blaspheme and say that I don't love all of Reina, and think that the Rarities disc is a better explication of why they're the best band in the world, but every last song continues to absolutely fucking blaze in the live set—which continues to grow into more of an awe-inspiring sonic onslaught with every gig. I've seen them three times in recent months, first at Avalon on the day of the Reina release, then out in Culver City at the LATV studios for a taping of LATV En Concierto, and then again two weeks ago in a free daytime gig at downtown's Grand Avenue Festival. The Avalon gig was mighty, but the LATV set was lovelier for another reason, namely that during a question and answer segment I was standing 6" behind Cesar. He shook my hand with a big grin, and jokingly swatted my side when I got flack for asking a question in English. Yes, I did also get to ask a question (I just asked what other Mexican, Venezuelan, Colombian, Brazilian and Argentinean electronic groups/producers they wanted to work with... which rather nicely got Uli to mention Fussible and Terrestre in addition to Bostich and Cerati). It was a beautiful, beautiful thing, and I actually don't look bad on the tape from the broadcast. They did six songs that night, but musically the Grand Ave. set was most incendiary and fucking magnificent, especially in the sunlight in the center of downtown. Some dumb-ass kids started a mosh pit that distracted me and led me to give up my spot right under Gil and move to the side (I'm too old to deal with that kind of idiocy), but the set was musically flawless, and nice and long... and I got many glimpses of Cesar's ass-crack (nothing more beautiful in the world), and even one of Gil's (except possibly that). The above photo is the cover of the last (debut) issue of the new mag Tú Ciudad, and aside from the most achingly sublime photo ever taken of Gil (can he get any more staggeringly godly?), the issue also had a brief piece on the Rebirth's Loslito, and the mightily entertaining in its own right Kinky article—in which Gil tells of being in love with Ely Guerra (I didn't even know they were together. Of course, I wish he were a fag for obvious reasons, but if he's got to be with any woman, he might as well be with the most brilliant woman in roc or electronica. And I just found out this morning that Ely's playing here next week!!!! At Spaceland on October 29. Getting my ticket later today.), and Cesar recounts a tale of a threesome with two groupies. Most definitely gorgeous and HOT AS FUCK, once again... Find the issue if you can, and listen to the two new sessions for a taste of the most colossally enveloping and resplendently lustrous live sound on the planet.
I had meaning to post on a miraculous find I made a little while back. I've been in love with Eric Balfour ever since his Six Feet Under days, and had always heard that he'd grown up with naturalist parents, and had no problem with nudity, but unfortunately hadn't seen any yet. Then I stumbled upon a page on the great OMG blog with several photos of beautiful Eric in all his sublimity from a film called Lie With Me. The film's undoubtedly horrendous, but not only do you see his cock repeatedly, in one scene he's actually hard. Yes, he does have a lovely cock, and even more magnificent ass. The clip on the OMG page seems to not work often, but that and one or two others can usually be found online elsewhere. Eric actually lives in Silverlake, and I have seem him in the hood a few times, but sadly not in all his ineffably beautiful glory, as here. One last thing about Eric, his band, Fredalba, is actually not bad, and their clips are occasionally shown on LATV. He is most definitely a sex god of the world. Enjoy.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
A rare timely post:
I caught an absolutely gorgeous DJ set by Los Amigos' DJ Afro at Little Temple last night. Sadly, it's yet another reflection on the hellacious idiocy of nearly everyone in Los Angeles that there were less than ten people in the club, but in defense of the idiotic masses, the gig had no promotion, not even on Fusicology. If I hadn't checked the LT website I wouldn't have even known about it. Nevertheless, the set was brilliant, and I hadn't realized how much I'd missed DJ Spinna's remix of Carleen Anderson and Agent K's "Rideaway Getaway." Other points of loveliness in the set included Nortec's "Dandy del Sur," and the original mix of Simon Grey's "Galactica Suite." (I'd only heard the Domu mix on the godly Inspiration Exclusives, which is much better than the original, but hearing it in an L.A. club in any form is miraculous.) And I suddenly realized that I've become a pussy about being the only person on a dancefloor, which I never had been before. As anyone will tell you, I am a bomb-ass dancer, so I don't embarrass myself, but still something's holding me back from dancing solo lately. Still, it's a hell of a lot better than being on a dancefloor that's too packed, and full of ugly bitches who rudely have no problem getting in my way because their gender entitles them (It DOESN'T!!!!!!), but I digress...
Though the set was lovely I got tired of the sleepy atmosphere (after giving in and dancing for about 20 minutes), and ran over to my second home, Silverlake Lounge, to catch The Shore in the third week of their month-long residency, which I'm loving. Don't hold the fact that they used to be on Maverick against them—their sound is gorgeous in a Britpop vein, and they always give a little wall of noise at the end of every set. I also owe them for turning me on to a lustrous '60s album I didn't even know existed by Scott Walker's fellow Walker Brother, John. I have to save up for the pricey German import reissue, but it's something to look forward to.
Friday I'll be checking the other monthlong residency at SL Lounge, by The Bird and The Bee, whose Saint Etienne and Broadcast-biting I'm a bit skeptical of, but that I'll admit could be promising.
And yes, I know the above photos are of Los Amigos' Julio (on the right), and not Afro, but let's be honest, Afro is brilliant but not much to look at, and Julio can be sexy as fuck (as in these beach pics).
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
I had to chase that with some Nortec, and fortunately found this even lovelier footage, part of the disc that comes with the Paso del Nortec book, which I must own soon, and which proves once again that the graphic and film branches of the Nortec juggernaut are unstoppably magnificent.
I absolutely love this video, clearly because it's just got a brilliant aesthetic. Bitman + Roban are labelmates of the mighty Nortec boys, and part of the reason why Nacional is now alongside the perennially godly Sonic360 (home to my dream husbands, Kinky, who I have more to post on shortly) in my 10 favorite labels worldwide. (Atop that list are S360, Especial, Tokuma, and Far Out.) The Bitman boys were among the first to send me a friend request on MySpace, and sent me a note on my birthday earlier this year, which was of course boundlessly endearing/unbelievably sweet, but what I didn't know at the time was that one of them is Christian Powditch, who was responsible for a psychotropically beautiful remix of Cerati's "Camuflaje" that anchored Gustavo's Reversiones: Siempre Es Hoy project. And again, how lovely is this clip? I first saw it on SíTV's The Drop last week, giving me one more reason (not that I needed it) to love SíTV.
This is a rather astonishing and most certainly dope excerpt of a French documentary on Yma Sumac. I've loved Yma since I was a pup, and did actually get to see her at the Strand in Redondo Beach in the late '80s or early '90s. She had her son in the band, and much of it wasn't the greatest despite the fact that her voice was still in lovely shape. It was mostly just badly arranged, but she did do "Jungla" for the first time in over 20 years, and that of course was fucking brilliant. This footage shows why she continues to inspire hordes of drag queens, or at least used to when drag queens had better sense. I'll never forget seeing both Perfidia and Lady Bunny (separately) doing "Malambo No. 1." The best drag queen in L.A. at the moment is my girl Paloma, an older Mexican queen who's sweet as hell and holds it down every Sunday at my 2nd home, the Silverlake Lounge (as part of the show that my crush's trannie girlfriend is in). Her version of "Cuccurruccu Paloma" is absolutely brilliant, and always reminds me of Caetano's godly version in Pedro A.'s Talk to Her.
I tend to shy away from You Tube's bizarre little slide shows, but I've never seen half of these gorgeous covers, and anyone who's ever met me knows that Elza was, is, and always will be my queen of Brazil (along with the other Soares, Claudette, whose "Kosmus" is still the most beautiful song ever recorded). I've pretty much given up on the goddess ever coming to the U.S., but hope to get to see her in London (ideally at the JC) at some point. This song—"Teleco Teco No. 2" from the glorious album with Wilson Das Neves that starts this montage—is one of my perennial favorite jazz-dance killers. I haven't heard any of Elza's new work since the Instituto remix of her "Maldingueira" track with BiD that Gilles included on his first Gilles in Brazil set, but that was sure as hell mightily fucking lovely.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
If only Nozaki were my husband... I'll have to settle for knowing that he is the mightiest and most ineffably miraculous producer/jazz god of our time, and crafter of the most lustrous house anthems the world will ever know. How Technicolor-magnificent are those fucking strings???!!!!???
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
I caught sight of the Latin Grammy nominations yesterday, and was mightily warmed to see not only the deity that is Eddie Palmieri and the great Ed Motta getting any kind of recognition in this backward nation—along with the epically brilliant Gustavo Cerati. I've had something of a religious conversion toward the genius of Cerati in the last few months. I did get to see him last August on the Ahí Vamos tour, and did love his Spiritualized/MBV-derived onslaught (despite his looking like Lou Reed at the moment, a fact that makes it hard to forget that he can actually be rather attractive, as evidenced in the Sinfonico clip here). But it's the rapturously unfolding langour of 1999's Bocanada that's made me realize that Cerati deserves to be in the pantheon of Scott Walker, Jacques Brel, et. al., and that Bocanada is not only the greatest roc en Español disc ever (like a male counterpart to Ely Guerra's Lotofire, only even much more beautiful than that definition), but one of the greatest discs ever, period. Lustrous, orchestral, and and simply awe-inspiring.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
First off, a qualifier: I've been trying to post several clips of sonic god Gustavo Cerati by way of effusing over my recent discovery of his miraculous 1999 disc Bocanada and commenting on the Latin Grammy nominations (Cerati, Ed Motta, Eddie Palmieri nominated—a gorgeous thing), but Youtube seems to be having tech difficulties, so I thought I'd press on. I gave in to the charms of Nip/Tuck last season just in time to see beautiful Bruno Campos getting faux-f*cked by Bryce Johnson. While I still say that it's not nearly as twisted as it thinks, in Season 4 it seems to be getting there, and apart from its other mightily amusing aspects thus far—i.e. the music director's continued love of the mighty Gotan Project, along with Nouvelle Vague, Bitter:Sweet, and more sonic loveliness, and a horde of entertaining guest spots in the first few episodes alone—the most beautiful thus far has unexpectedly been Mario Lopez's absolutely sublime ass in a brilliant shower scene with Julian McMahon (also showing his ass much this year, and it is kinda hot). I can't help remembering Lopez's fag turn as Greg Louganis (especially the rape scene), but also think the timing's sort of hilarious and brilliant given his new gig as host of SiTV's new dating game show the The Dating Factory (proof that SiTV can most definitely be misguided and inept, but I still love them for their booking stellar music (soul goddess Destani Wolf (who I'll be writing more on), my boys Volumen Cero, Bitter:Sweet, Glory, and Crown City Rockers, to name a few) and Latin honeys (Jose Solano breakdancing, Heroes' Santiago Cabrera, and the perennially godly Nicholas Gonzalez and Adam Rodriguez have been welcome and f*cking magnificent sights as always) for The Drop, amid reruns of Resurrection Blvd. and New York Undercover, both of which I also always dug). I'll post more on what makes SiTV essential another time, in the meantime, check this beautiful ass... (Click on image for larger view.)
Monday, September 25, 2006
Once again I have a mightily ridiculous amount of things to catch up on post-wise (sorry, but I haven't felt much like writing—largely because I'm pining for a sublime young Mexican boy named Oscar who happens to be a trannie-chaser). Still, I am reeling from having just seen the perennially beautiful Adrian Grenier having dinner on the patio at Alcove, two blocks up from my apartment. Everyone knows of my profound hatred of and contempt for the hellish dystopia that is Los Angeles, but it has two saving graces: a surplus of magnificent bands (The Rebirth, Nino Astronauta, Volumen Cero, Juguete, Build an Ark, Future Pigeon, Very Be Careful, and so on; all of whom have to lag behind the true gods of the world (a.k.a. Kinky)) and soul girls (Destani Wolf, Nailah, Joy Jones, Kim Hill...)—and the fact that I can catch sight of godly star boys like Adrian Grenier in my own hood. It's doubly nice that I've seen him just two days after I've FINALLY found photos of his ass after searching for years (I've had an Adrian crush since Drive Me Crazy.). As for this season of Entourage, it most certainly had its moments, the only one of which that's coming to mind is Jeremy Piven's Ari asking Lloyd what it feels like to "get fucked in the ass," to which the hyper-effete Lloyd answers that he wouldn't know because he's a top, at which Ari reels in disbelief. All that said, Adrian's shown much thigh during the show's run, but never actual ass. My last good beautiful boy sighting (film boy-wise) was the last time I saw (my foremost years-long crush, after Jimi Mistry) the ever-exquisite Clifton Collins, Jr. And yes, I know how trite and faggy this post sounds, but lest we forget that despite my being able to spout on the entire Jazztronik catalogue and decades-worth of bossa nova and Afro-Cuban, I am still a fag, and wouldn't have it any other way (apart from the fact that I have nothing to date in this hellacious city). I do have an even more miraculously sublime film-boy (even leagues more godly, and also seen in my hood) ass to post on, but it'll have to wait till tomorrow.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Another magnificent YT find: the Ondo boys. The Cubano-Brasileiro skills are ABSOLUTELY BREATH-DEFYING, the resume includes work with Reel People, Gilles P., Artful Dodger, Soul Avengerz, and Stereo MC's—and they happen to be mightily adorable.
I never thought I'd trouble myself with posting anything that was only :24 long, but this is well on the remarkable side—i.e., I wish I were dancing to Fussible on a boat in the Canary Islands, and some of these boys are clearly honeys.
This is such matchless genius that I can but dumbfoundedly quote the official YT caption: "Tassan's snowboarding movie in Japanese mountains presented at his wedding. Special thanks to kyoto jazz massive & mondo grosso." (One add/caveat: I MUST FUCKING GO TO JAPAN!!!!!!)
Filling the absence of Jocelyn from the last Incog post, dig her with Jestofunk in suitably lush Thomas Crown biting mode. I'd recommend searching for Jocelyn on Youtube yourself for more, namely footage of her performing the perennial "Somebody Else's Guy" (and "Believe") at a Fashion Cares benefit in Toronto that's just too faggy for me to post here. Now I'm only left to flash back to the religious experience of seeing the goddess herself with the live Nuyorican Soul band in Central Park, and pining for the fact that I can't make it to the JC on October 4-5...
It doesn't seem right to post Mojo without chasing it with some Incog, and since I just happened on this rather gorgeous footage of the Cogs take on the Jones Girls' "Nights Over Egypt" live on Seoul TV (sadly without the goddess Jocelyn B.), it seemed an apt chaser.
I did finally get the elusive Taste the Mojo and the better part of Re Mojo via iTunes (and thankfully not @ Spanish import prices), and though I was slightly dismayed to find that nothing remotely matches the unabashed sun-drenched bliss of "Free," all is still quite nice... rendering this footage a rare gem just the same.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Kinky Loveliness Redux (Part 2—Watercourt Gig w/ Sidestepper Report... And the Boys Are Now Local!!!!!)
Yes, indeed, sublime Gil, Caesar, Carlos, Omar + Uli officially announced @ the July 1 California Plaza gig that they are now living full-time in Los Angeles!!!!!! (Rendering them not only the best band in this hellacious city, but all of North America.) We all knew that they'd been here for months @ a time, and I had the surreally magnificent pleasure of running into Gil on two separate occasions—attending Bugz in the Attic @ Transistor Lounge way back (when I talked to him for more than a half-hour about Brasileiro and Japanese sonics, and miraculously didn't faint), and later @ the El Rey for Robi Draco Rosa (when he was in a rush and an odd mood), but somehow their having relocated from Monterrey and living here on a daily basis feels altogether more miraculous. Hence two more upcoming gigs: July 26 @ JC Fandango's, and opening for Manu Chao @ the Shrine Auditorium on August 1 (a burnished lineup if EVER there was one).
As for the July 1 gig, it was characteristically colossal/powder-keg incendiary/city-leveling and blisteringly brilliant, and the first time in L.A. that they've really unfurled the new jewels from disc 3, Reina, out September 7 (to be preceded on July 26 by the limited edition (first round 750) Rarities comp (see preceding entry) available for pre-order via the dope-as-ever Sonic360 store). In lieu of a track list I'm loathe to remember new titles, but remember that one gently percolating love song (the definition of graceful and lustrous electronics) is achingly radiant, and that several others were ribcage-shattering dancefloor killers as only the Kinky chicos can bless us. Per the vintage anthems, "Soun Tha Mi Primer Amor" was heraldically astonishing as ever, and featured Gil actually playing live trumpet while standing in all his loveliness atop a mountain of speakers, and my anthem "Sol (Batucada)" remains to soak in an enveloping and preternaturally warm cascade of Brasileiro drum fire.
On to Sidestepper, the equally jewel-like aggregate seem to have consolidated their two performance modes with epic result. If you've ever heretofore seen sly boy Richard Blair and co. more than once, you might know what I'm speaking of: as a rule, outdoor festival performances were strictly centered around the vivacious (verging on poppy) Afro-Cuban-inflected d+b-ish sides to send the crowd into giddy, elated orbit—and the late night club sets regenerated into 2 1/2-hour+ marathons of DEEP AS HELL Santeria descargas to make even the mighty Osunlade weep in envy (just a figure of speech, I know he'd love it). Now they've at last seamlessly blended the two into a nectar that defies articulation. You simply MUST hear it. And one other new contributory factor that's taken Sidestepper to a whole other instellar level is the addition of a crushingly EXQUISITE long-haired Latin boy guitarist, who I'm not only COMPLETELY FUCKING IN LOVE WITH, but breathless in admiration (alright, the breath-defying might be coming from more than admiration...) at his Pat Martino/Gabor Szabo-worthy, utterly miraculous flamenco-drenched skills. And did I say that he was fucking BEAUTIFUL? He's 5th from the left in the above photo. If anybody has any better ones please please please let me know.
Many posts to catch up on, but first things first – one that's actually timely. Another tragic death (what is it with this year?), albeit one much more expected. Expected, yes, but still reason to bow our heads briefly in silence. I'm referring to the inimitably twisted psych genius Syd Barrett, who passed away after a lengthy illness in his shut-in's haven in the UK countryside. I'll admit, I haven't listened to any Syd in years, but Opel was a seminal disc in my days of post-industrial-boy schooling, and I know damn well that Syd was indeed a genius, capable of constructing locomotive grooves as easily as pensive and, let's say, eccentric shanties that were umistakably British in every way. If it hadn't been for Syd, Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine (especially circa their (arguably) best album, Ecstasy + Wine), and the whole C86-turned-shoegazer sound would've evolved in entirely different, and likely far less potent, directions – and the shimmeringly beautiful roc en Espanol juggernaut that picked up that sound 4-5 years ago and continues to bust at the seams with genius in 06 might not have been able to pick up the mantle with such effortless fucking mastery (see Kinky, Volumen Cero, Robi Draco Rosa posts below). It matters little that Syd had been a complete recluse for decades (whether because of psychotropic drug burn-out, other mental problems, or for whatever reason – god knows, few can understand as well as I the difficult-to-deny impulse to move to a beautiful spot in the middle of the UK countryside where you never have to deal with the scumbag idiocy of 99% of humanity), it's still a damn shame, and many of us'll miss the madcap boy.
It's rather ironic (I hate that word, but...) that Syd should pass as I'm quivering in anticipation of next week's Os Mutantes gig @ the Hollywood Bowl, after not pandering to my psych love in ages. From what I've seen of the London video, the Mutantes should be mightily brilliant in full-throttle wall of noise mode. The only potentially negative thing I can say about it is that I'll be missing French/Crepuscule goddess Isabelle Antena @ Temple Bar. And in fact, the lovely Ms. Antena has posted her own Syd obit on her MySpace page. Represent.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Lovely video of MdCL, Bembe, Richard Spaven + co. Nowhere near as gorgeous as the full-length set on Fab Channel, but still plenty lovely enough to go on here.
I didn't realize how much Mark was balding, but who cares – he's still adorable (in that (love of my life) Bobbito sort of way), and obviously a massive genius.
Incidentally, I'm also pining at the moment because I just saw on Mark's own site that he's touring the UK this month with mighty Brasileiros Drumagick. Since I'll be missing out on that sonic loveliness I'll have to placate myself by gazing frequently at the photo below.
Friday, June 23, 2006
More of my dream husband Luis Tamblay, a godly, magnificently beautiful man who also happens to be sweet as all hell, and someone I can now miraculously call a friend. I'll finally be seeing Volumen Cero tonight @ the Knitting Factory, and after hearing this f*cking lovely bit of brilliance (more proof that roc en Espanol is the only rock in the world today worth listening to... ever since the My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized influences kicked in 2 or 3 years back). I've always larged loved VC because of Luisito (though I always much loved "Pachouli" and "Autos"), but this radiantly gorgeous cut proves they're moving onto a whole other level, and it is a beautiful thing.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Late last year I named a CD by Baltin Blood Orange Mojito. At the time I anticipated that an actual cocktail with this moniker might exist somewhere, but honestly chose it as I choose all my titles – because it sounded dope, and was lovely in theory. So when perusing the Food Network schedule (as I do religiously everyday, more on that another time) I found something MIGHTILY dope – on Emeril Live (one of the only FN shows I do not dig) of all places: a recipe for an actual Blood Orange Mojito. Inasmuch as I'd always planned to start posting bomb-ass cocktail recipes here at some point anyway, what lovelier place could there be to start?
BLOOD ORANGE MOJITO
1 blood orange, cut into 32 pieces
32 fresh small basil leaves or mint leaves, reserve a few for garnish
16 teaspoons natural raw cane sugar (demerara sugar)
8 to 10 cups small ice cubes or chipped ice
8 tablespoons basil syrup, recipe follows, or simple syrup
2 cups light rum
2 cups seltzer water or sparkling water
Sugar cane sticks, for garnishing
Place pieces of orange in each of 8 (12-ounce) rocks glasses, and top each glass with a couple basil leaves or a mint leaves. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of cane sugar in each glass and, using a muddler, crush the orange pieces while bruising the basil with the sugar. Fill each glass just below the rim with ice (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups in each glass). Add a tablespoon of the basil syrup and 1/4 cup of the rum to each of the glasses.
Use a shaker to vigorously shake the contents of the glass together for at least 30 seconds. Pour the mojito back in the glass, and top off the glass with seltzer or sparkling water. Place a sugar cane stick in each glass. Garnish each drink with 1 of the remaining basil or mint leaves. Serve immediately.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup packed well-washed fresh basil leaves
Place the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the syrup from the heat, and add the basil leaves to the saucepan. Allow the syrup to sit for at least 1 hour before straining through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the basil leaves. Store the syrup in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, for several weeks.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
I haven't sent a gig forecast out on the Acid Jazz and Soundlounge servers in well over a year (though of course the listings on the Liquidator site are still updated weekly), but there is SO MUCH absolute loveliness on the horizon on all fronts that it seemed a good time to revive it.
I won't editorialize too much because these listings speak for themselves, but I will say that I would be sobbing uncontrollably on July 1 over the fact that I can't make it to London for Kyoto Jazz Massive's full live band show @ the Jazz Café – if I weren't seeing my five Monterrey-born gods (that'd be Kinky) for free WITH Sidestepper here in Los Angeles. I'd be doing the same the week of July 24 over the fact that I can't go see Joyce @ Ronnie Scott's and Pharoah Sanders @ the JC – were I not seeing Incognito with Jody Watley in Pasadena, Os Mutantes (!!!!!) with Thievery Corp @ the Hollywood Bowl, and Nortec Collective live with full banda musicians @ California Plaza all also that week.
The rest of the London loveliness is your standard UK sublimity: Reel People (whose "Second Guess" is on the short list for my best songs of the year), Bah Samba, Jhelisa (whose A Primitive Guide to Being There disc I'm loving at the moment as well), the ever-brilliant Da Lata, and the JC's characteristically superb picnic with Zero 7, Koop, Nouvelle Vague, Femi Kuti, and Snowboy + the Latin Section.
The best gig of the year in L.A. won't come until August 27 – with the mightiest of the mighty, Gotan Project (whose live show will make you cry, and dance till you break a hip; I've been watching the Revancha Del Tango Live DVD in breathless anticipation... and for the loveliness that is Victor Villena), Zero 7 (once again) with Jose Gonzalez, and Herbert with full band – also @ the Bowl. The only drawback is that that stunner of a lineup is the Sunday of Sunset Junction weekend (where I'll be before and after getting inebriated – another welcome tradition that makes me not hate Los Angeles for one weekend a year).
NYC is actually a bit quiet this summer, but watch for much beauty from August 2-5... when the city plays host once again to the Latin Alternative Music Conference. Most of the lineup hasn't been announced yet, save for Venezuelan house gods Los Amigos Invisibles with Mexico's Belanova in Prospect Park on August 4. (And as it happens Brazil's mighty Lenine is also performing that week.) And though it's short notice, I'd also recommend getting your ass over to Cielo tonight for Louie Vega's birthday shindig with Louie and Kenny Dope along with Frankie Feliciano and a live PA by Ultra Nate.
Lastly, on the Chicago front, watch for the COLOSSAL House Music Conference on July 22-23 – with the goddess Jocelyn Brown (in an ultra-rare US appearance), Barbara Tucker and Dajae and MC/theatrical genius of our time Lady Bunny. Also watch for Argentinean genius Gustavo Cerati (who'll also be (thankfully) hitting Los Angeles).
For full venue and date info, visit the gig listings on the Liquidator site, and dig this archetypally beautiful Kinky video as a bonus (and ask yourself... has Gil ever looked more magnificently sublime?)!
Cheers and best, xo,
Victor Davies, Ed Motta + Gilles Peterson, Ben Watt, Quantic, Belle + Sebastian, Tortured Soul + Osunlade (+ The Yoruba Soul Orchestra + Nadirah Shakoor), Massive Attack + Terry Callier + DJ Shadow + Pharell + Damian Marley, Groove Collective, DJ Spinna, Zero 7 + Beth Orton + Nile Rodgers + Chic, Reel People, Bah Samba, The Nathan Haines All-Stars, Gilberto Gil, Shri
Kyoto Jazz Massive (live!!!!), Jose Gonzalez, Grupo X, Damian Marley, Corinne Bailey Rae, Tony Allen, Jhelisa, Terry Callier, Da Lata, Sergio Mendes + Gilles Peterson, Joyce, Pharaoh Sanders, Anoushka Shankar, Gotan Project, Jazzie B + The Soul II Soul Sound System
Omar, Señor Coconut, Susheela Raman, Five Corners Quintet, Zero 7 + Koop + Nouvelle Vague + Femi Kuti + Snowboy + The Latin Section + The Breakestra, Tony Allen, Candi Staton, JTQ
Courtney Pine, Alice Russell, Marva Whitney, Marisa Monte
Barry Adamson, Leon Ware
London Elektricity (DJ set), Zoe, Jose Gonzalez + Juana Molina, Seu Jorge, Keb Darge, Spanish Harlem Orchestra + Baaba Maal + Jamie Cullum + George Duke, Andy Caldwell, Eddie Palmieri + McCoy Tyner, Aaron Ross, Kim Hill + Joy Jones, J*Davey + Sy Smith + Black Thought, Volumen Cero, Si*Se, James Lavelle + Sasha, Guru, Waajeed, Amadou + Mariam, Sergio Mendes + Marcelo D2, John B
Kinky + Sidestepper, Belle + Sebastian, Bebe + Aterciopelados + Mexican Institute of Sound, Groove Junkies, India + Cachao + Arturo Sandoval, DJ Heather + Colette, Incognito + Jody Watley, Os Mutantes + Thievery Corporation, The Rebirth, Nortec Collective (live + banda), Ben Watt
Al Green, Charles Webster, Herbie Hancock, Gustavo Cerati, Andy Caldwell, Isaac Hayes + Millie Jackson + Alma da Batucada, Gotan Project + Zero 7 + Herbert + Jose Gonzalez
Timmy Regisford, James Brown + Angie Stone, Very Be Careful, Massive Attack, Miguel Migs
Louie Vega + Ultra Nate + Kenny Dope + Frankie Feliciano + Mr. V, Maceo Parker, DJ Heather + Colette, Groove Collective, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Andrew Hill, Roy Hargrove's RH Factor, Ornette Coleman, Bobby Hutcherson, Etta James, Dave Brubeck Big Band, Nickodemus + Mariano, Zakir Hussain + Charles Lloyd, Herbie Hancock + Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Spanish Harlem Orchestra + Cachao + Patato Valdez + Jimmy Bosch, Karsh Kale, Bobbito Garcia, Bebe, Atmosphere, Brazilian Girls, Maya Azuceña
Balkan Beat Box + Antibalas + Ska Cubano, Bobbito Garcia + Rich Medina, Seu Jorge + Jose Gonzalez + Cut Chemist, Baaba Maal, DJ Spinna, The Idjut Boys, J*Davey, Nortec Collective (live), The Brand New Heavies, Amadou + Mariam, Derrick May, Fertile Ground + Eric Roberson, Dego, Si*Se + Radio Mundial + Nickodemus + Mariano, Lisa Shaw, A Guy Called Gerald, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Joe Bataan
Los Amigos Invisibles + Belanova, Lenine, Alice Smith + RJD2 + Lyrics Born, Jody Watley, Talvin Singh (DJ set) + Asha Puthli + Prefuse 73, Herbert (live), Kenny Dope
Carl Craig + Gamal, Rainer Trüby, Cibelle
Carl Craig, Mark Farina + Q-Bert + Derrick Carter, Isotope 217, Kindred the Family Soul, Aceyalone, Lyrics Born, Corinne Bailey Rae, Rich Medina, The Streets + Lady Sovereign, Seu Jorge + Amadou + Mariam
Dimitri from Paris, Kokono No. 1, Kaskade, The Brand New Heavies, Etta James + Tom Jones, Tortured Soul, Four Tet, Derrick May, Roy Davis Jr., Barbara Tucker + Dajae + Danny Tenaglia + Maurice Joshua + Ralphi Rosario + Derrick Carter, Jocelyn Brown + Lady Bunny + David Morales + Jamie Principle + Terry Hunter, The Roots + Talib Kweli + The Pharcyde
Anoushka Shankar + Karsh Kale, Gustavo Cerati, George Benson, John Tejada, Lalah Hathaway
Jamie Lidell, Acid Mothers Temple, Nouvelle Vague
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Much love to my boy Remi for this – a Baltin-designed sticker on the mirror at the Hole in the Wall (gay dive) in San Francisco. Makes me feel nice and global, just like when my friend Nashio from the ineffably brilliant Nino Astronauta does DJ tours in Mexico and travels the country playing my comps... (FYI: this sticker is the Bellissima Idyll cover.)
Speaking of Worldwide, I just caught Gilles P.'s special Japan edition of his Worldwide, broadcast from Tokyo on 4/9/06, and reposted as always on Giant Step. Lovely as expected, starting with the 2 Banks of 4 remix of Jazztronik's "Pathways." Everyone who knows me knows well that I consider Japan to be home of the best electronica (and nu jazz) on the planet, so a Gilles survey is most definitely a beautiful thing, and well worth checking. Now I just need to find Double Famous' Brilliant Corners LP.
I had to post on some miraculously beautiful photographs of one of the world's most godly sublime men, Raging Stallion's Manuel Torres on the aptly-named Beautiful blog. Venezuelan-born Manuel is purely, crushingly lovely (to criminally understate his beauty), and it is one of the greatest claims of my life that I briefly ate his ass in the ladies' room at Micky's earlier this year. Needless to say it was f*cking EXQUISITE and I will always love this sex god of the world. Now if only he'd bottom on film already... Till then, these magnificent pics (by Joe Oppedisano) will do just fine. Manuel's best film? That's easy – Chris Ward's breathtakingly miraculous Arabesque. (Though his pairing with Mario Cruz in Passport to Paradise and his helping gangf*ck (my true dream husband/most beautiful man alive) Cory Koons in the Parker Williams-directed Lube Job are mightily gorgeous as well.)
I had the massive honor of seeing the mighty Dee Dee Bridgewater at Catalina here in L.A. last Thursday, and it was every bit as miraculous as the first time I saw her. Less afro-Latin fire/jazz-dance killers this time around (a good thing because one of the worst things about a staid jazz club is of course that you cannot dance), and more deep, slow-burning funk. And most astonishing was that she opened with her stunning version of "Afro-Blue" (the 1974 Trio version of which is one of her most sublime vinyl sides). Also included were an only slightly truncated version of "Love for Sale" (meaning that it clocked in at only 12 minutes rather than the 18-minute take included on her (ESSENTIAL) Live at Yoshi's), and a rare as hell Neal Hefti song called "Girl Talk" that was transmuted into a colossal bit of funk. (When introducing a Neal Hefti feminine anthem I quite naturally assumed that she was about to tear into "Sex + the Single Girl." No such luck, but it was still lovely.)
Her vocal prowess continues to be neck-snappingly brilliant at every turn. This woman can do ANYTHING vocally, and sound achingly beautiful doing it, and why I hold her to clearly be the mightiest jazz girl in DECADES (for the simple reason that she absolutely f*cking is), and why when talking to her after I straight-up told her that she is the goddess of the world (at which she kissed me and thanked me profusely – gorgeous!). I also tripped her out by telling her that I nearly yelled for "Flying Saucer" (at which she asked me how the hell I knew about that song – naturally because I love United Future Org.). If you EVER have the chance to see and her Dee Dee live, you OWE IT TO YOURSELF to get your ass there. xo, B.
I've been meaning to post on this since before I left for Spain: I made a sublime discovery a few months back per a crush that dates back years – Roswell alum Brendan Fehr (one of the most beautiful white boys on the planet, in a cast that included two other godly boys, Adam Rodriguez and Jason Behr) once played a gay hustler in a Canadian indie film called Sugar. Yes, you do see his (magnificent) ass, and he roughly (faux) fucks another boy. It's a LOVELY thing, and available from TLA Video.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
Monday, May 29, 2006
I had been meaning to post for some time on why Anthony Bourdain is the greatest wit of our time, but as I watched him in India, I can hesitate no longer. Derided as being impotent by a guru, begging for a mint julep at camel races, and reluctantly dismissing his hatred for vegetarian cuisine, it's abundantly clear that he is to our time what Vera Caspary and Joseph L. Mankiewicz were circa 1947 (that'd be Letter to Three Wives for any neophytes), and I cannot help but worship this man. All this on the heels of his miraculous Mexico-US border special of last week, demonstrating, as I've attempted to elsewhere already, why the immigration conflict is a matter of pure racism toward a culture leagues richer and more vibrant than ours could ever be (and one I still consider to be my own, as I know I was secretly switched at birth and am pure Mexicano through every inch of my bloodstream), and intolerance/cracker scumbag mentality. Leave it to Anthony to elucidate so well, and remind me why he's already made me long to move to Saigon and (theoretically) go to Moscow to eat reindeer solely to scare the hell out of American children. Did I say yet that I love this man? (Last sidenote: while I've accepted my tentative embracing of/fondness for Rachael Ray, I do still also love his rabid hatred of her.) xo, B.
First off, I'm leaving Cybersocket as of this week (final brilliant issue out on Friday before it inevitably reverts back to fluff, as I attempt to limit my writing to this page and stick to the graphic endeavors I'd much rather be pursuing elsewhere), so any new work leads, freelance or otherwise, are much appreciated at the moment.
In the meanwhile, to populate this blog with something (namely sublime eye candy in the form of my Kinky boys, after hearing that they'll be performing for free – with Sidestepper – on the lovely Water Court at California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles on July 1, to be followed by Nortec with live tuba/banda musicians on July 28), I thought I'd add the track list of a DJ set I've been hard at work orchestrating on this Memorial Day. The ultimate destination may or may not be a loft party on June 6, but either way it never hurts to have an alternately blistering and tropically tranquil (and, as ever, eclectic) set in the arsenal.
Hope you dig/get your own dose of inspiration:
Anjali, Lazy Lagoon (Wiiija)
Nina + Chris, Agua (Far Out)
RSL, Inside Looking Out (Players)
Gotan Project, Queremos Paz (XL)
Funky Lowlives, Irreplaceable (Stereo Deluxe)
Oi Va Voi, Refugee (Matthew Herbert Big Band Mix)(Resist)
Rosalia de Souza, Samba Novo (Gianluca Petrella Mix)(Schema)
Wakal, El T'Nel (Prodisc)
Kinky, Soun Tha Mi Primer Amor (Bostich Mix)(Sonic360)
Barrio Jazz Gang, Linda Cancao (Sonic360)
Mojo Project, Free (Love Monk)
Directions, Don't Hold Back (Diaspora)
Los Amigos Invisibles, Ease Your Mind (Luaka Bop)
Jazztronik + Flora Purim, Dentro de Mim (Takuma)
Simon Grey, The Galactica Suite (Domu Mix)(Especial)
Reel People + Dyanna Fearon, Washing Away (Defected)
Nortec Collective, Olvidela Compa (Nacional)
Swing Out Sister, Happy Ending (Universal)
Bebel Gilberto, O Caminho (Guy Sigsworth Mix)(Ziriguiboom)
Ely Guerra, Yo No (Higher Octave)
Troubleman + Nina Miranda, Paz (Far Out)
Cheo Feliciano, El Raton (Tico)
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Saturday, May 06, 2006
I was shocked and saddened to say the least when I opened my email the other day and discovered that DJ Dusk had passed away. Dusk was a beautiful man (and sonically lovely DJ who helped inform my salsa and Latin funk education), and I had had a giant crush on him since at least '98 or '99, going back to the Ritual Events days when the original incarnation of the Rebirth were just starting. I had just seen him at last month's Descarga at Little Temple, less than a month ago. I had also been having a hard time finding out details of what had happened, despite many memorial postings on Fusicology, the Root Down and Descarga pages, Z-Trip's MySpace page and more, but ran into Jun at the Brand New Heavies + N'Dea gig @ the Roxy on Thursday, and he told me that Dusk had been run over by a reckless driver. Another page I've read since has indicated that Dusk was walking a female friend back to her car and ducked in front of the path of her and the oncoming vehicle to save her life and take the hit himself. This is a horrendous loss of a lovely, lovely man, and will affect the L.A. music community – that he largely helped save from the malaise that had swallowed it up for decades via his contributions to the acid jazz scene and the development of such groups as the Rebirth, Build an Ark, Bat Makumba and more – for years to come. The remembrance I'll be going to will be Sunday's Lovely Day @ the Lost Souls Café downtown – with none other than the mighty Bembe Segue and Joy Jones. It's easy to feel guilty enjoying one's self, but by all accounts Dusk would want all of us to celebrate his memory. I'll also be saving to contribute something to the family via their MySpace page, and encourage anyone else to do the same. Rest in peace Dusk. xo, B.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Sorry to say I've been criminally neglecting this blog, but I did indeed go to Spain, and it was transcendent/shimmering/religious and genuinely sublime. Unfortunately I had only 5 days to write my diary for the magazine, but it covers all the high points (a brilliant live deep house combo in the cavernous Girona nightclub Platea, the resplendently orchestrated Dalí Museum, the achingly beautiful fag hotel Axel in Barcelona and the Wallpaper*-worthy AC in Girona, our godly radiant driver Jordi, and on and on). Since it was rather a bitch to write, I'm reprinting the article in its entirety here. Enjoy...
Valé en España
Luxuriating Along Spain’s Magnificent Costa Brava… the Queer Version
I have always been an armchair traveler… daydreaming of resplendent, exotic locales, fueled by my love for Brazilian music, Japanese film, British design, and, though it could go without saying, Rachael Ray and Tony Bourdain. Then factor in virtually everything I had known of Spain – sun-drenched vistas, its own ineffably lustrous architecture and design, the ubiquitous deity Almodovar and his empresses Cecilia Roth and Marisa Paredes, brilliant electronic music group Mojo Project, the yearly Sonar music festival, and a select group of porn gods/the most beautiful men alive (Edu Boxer being my true love).
So when offered a spot on a gay press trip to Costa Brava and Barcelona, the prospect was too miraculous and far far too alluring to even think about declining. The tenet in Spain is “vale,” basically meaning, “it’s all good,” and you’ll quite possibly hear it at least once in every sentence ever uttered by a Spaniard. It epitomizes the Spanish way of life: chill, effortlessly relaxed. Forget the country’s history as a staunchly Catholic nation – most of the younger generations (thankfully) have. Sexuality is a non-issue, such that it makes it an ideal gay travel destination. Don’t misunderstand – while my junket was geared to gay travel, most of the vistas we took in were more suited to honeymoons or romantic idylls (and for those they were emphatically flawless) than cruising or the life of a gent on the make (until Barcelona, which is a whole other (beautiful) beast). The other obvious enticement for single blokes is exploration of an ineffably vibrant culture (past, present and future), and to meet some of the warmest and loveliest people you’ll ever encounter.
Such was the case with our magnificent and cool as hell tour guide Ana Ramiro of the Spanish Tourism bureau (www.okspain.org), which bureau’s incredible generosity enabled myself, 6 other gay journalists and one straight girl (working for a gay publication) to discover these most radiant of jewels along the northeastern coast (Costa Brava), with the help of our sublime driver Jordi (whose grin and tousled and lustrous jet black hair (I always fall for boys with that whole middle-part/nape-length cut) I completely fell in love with… which point I’m only elucidating to drive the point home that Spanish boys are by and large an exquisite lot)). Here then, is my log:
After a grueling, to put it kindly, trip via Iberia Air (the only negative aspect of our entire jaunt – do not ever fly Iberia if you can help it; search Travelocity.com for many other options), we arrive in the ripped-directly-from-the-pages-of-Wallpaper, ultra-modern (though better aesthetically than logistically) spectacular feat of architecture and design that is Madrid Airport (also boasting what has to be the most gorgeous airport staff on earth, all draped nicely in Technicolor lime green blazers), for a connecting flight on to Barcelona. From there we venture far outside the city (roughly a two-hour drive) to the Torremirona Resort (www.torremirona.com), a decidedly secluded hotel combining rural charm with modern amenities and flawless service, and home to one of the country’s premiere golf courses (a fact sadly lost on a bunch of gay boys), along with the first of many stellar wine and cava (the luscious Spanish equivalent of champagne) selections and a superb restaurant. After retiring I begin my cultural education: Everwood dubbed in Spanish – which brings me to another major point for Anglo travelers: though my Spanish is negligible/essentially nonexistent, I had very little trouble. Roughly 60% of the Spaniards I met spoke at least some English (with a majority fluent), and communicating otherwise is not difficult. For myself I generally had only to sit down at a bar and say “cerveza” or “San Miguel” (the best of the country’s three major beers, the other two being Estrella and Mahao). Otherwise language was only a barrier inasmuch as I couldn’t exploit the opportunity of seeing Volver (Almodovar’s newest epic) two months before it’s US release. Without subtitles it would’ve been rather frustrating, despite the eye-searingly lovely visual aspect.
Our first destination this morning is our first taste of an archetypal Spanish village, a rustic metropolis (that’s to say a rustic destination inexplicably imparted with the character of a modern urban center) of a sort that has no U.S. equivalent: Castelló d’Empúries (www.castelloempuries.net). Along the way, we see major construction, and one fact is blazingly clear: all of the boys working these roads are absolutely beautiful. Empúries is likewise entirely idyllic – renovated farmhouses (one of which sports my favorite bit of Spanish graffiti: the word “Follame” (translation: “f*ck me”) with a peace sign replacing the “o”), diverging cobblestone streets, a disused gothic plaza – and the sublime Hotel Restaurante Moneda (www.hotelmoneda.com). Run by an impossibly sweet-natured (i.e. maternal) dyke, the Moneda is small (13 rooms), but feels larger via its height (six floors joined by stairs of immaculate white marble), and the rooms themselves speak to the hotel’s monumental charms. From the limestone restaurant and bar to the swimming pool-inlaid terrace, the Moneda once again manages to be effortlessly burnished and modern while retaining all of its antique character.
(One other priceless insight garnered before leaving Empúries: Spaniards do not like little dogs – they favor gigantic dogs, the size of Shetland ponies. Rather than inspiring fear, these dogs, that by and large were bigger than me (I’m 5’7”), have the most relaxed and adorable temperament you’ll ever encounter, and the upshot is, I want a huge Spanish dog.)
From there we venture out to one of the two most transcendent locations on our agenda, in the town of Figueres: the Dalí Theatre Museum (www.dali-estate.org). This shrine to the brilliant Salvador is one of a trifecta of three sites envisioned by, and dedicated to, the master. What’s remarkable is the degree to which Dalí orchestrated every inch of this particular site. My own favorite Dalí works had heretofore been his Vogue covers from the mid-30s, and his iconic backdrop for Hitchcock’s Spellbound, but the museum gives you a radically different take on his entire oeuvre. Transmuted from the town’s historic theater, the museum retains the structure’s archaic feel, but otherwise is entirely steeped in Dalí’s trademark wit and playfulness. The addition of a massive glass cupola (or geodesic dome) – and multiple giant eggs – renders it visible for miles. The museum’s courtyard contains a dilapidated Cadillac, several sculptures, and shrubs manicured to spell out the name of Dalí’s wife and muse, Gala. Most aesthetically priceless among the actual works are a collection of rare as hell (and seldom seen) Salvador-designed jewels, a stunning dress made of plastic cylinders joined by chain link done in collaboration with Paco Rabanne – and an utterly sublime book/art object titled “10 Recipes for Immortality,” the “cover” of which is two illuminated glass lightboxes etched in exquisite type. Most powerful, though, may be the stately crypt in the stage floor (visible from below). That’s right, Salvador is actually buried here, and that fact registers as overwhelmingly potent.
For dinner we adjourn to yet another resplendent hotel. Converted from a renovated farmhouse, Mas Falgarona’s (www.masfalgarona.com) limestone and brick restaurant is lovely, but does not prepare you for the unmitigated splendor of the hotel’s rooms. Though the trappings are ascetic (white walls, wood floors), every other bit of décor is absolutely breathtaking, and the hotel’s art collection is likewise staggering (an original Rothko painting, blunt Larry Clark-esque black and white photographs, a lamp made of delicate scraps paper with handwritten characters in multiple languages (including Chinese and Japanese) strung together). That each room features a library with books by several of our Food Network loves (though without a kitchen the enjoyment is purely aesthetic (the way I relate to food anyway)) and various art monographs completes the considerable lure.
On this morning we venture out early to follow a treacherous road to the Monastery of Sant Pere. True, the architecture of this disused medieval fortress is astonishing (and very Black Narcissus), but I cannot stop staring at our even more beautiful guide, Tavy (whose shyness and nerves (to say nothing of his miraculous aquamarine eyes) are peerlessly adorable).
Our next stop: the vineyard/winery Castillo Perelada (www.perelada.com) for a distillery tour, tasting (their rosé Cava Brut is (not only beautiful in color but also) absolutely addictive), library (housing an extensive collection of rare art manuscripts), museum of wine artifacts (many of which look amusingly like torture devices) – and wine bath. Yes, at Peralada you can immerse yourself in a water bath while a lovely boy named Jordi (another one) soaks you in Merlot. It sounds more glamorous and exotic than it is (and the “therapeutic aroma” smells of sulfur), but it makes for nice cocktail party banter.
For dinner we head to the Michelin-starred Mas de Torrent (www.mastorrent.com). While the atmosphere here is as prim as you’d expect, the staff is so sweet and accommodating that it’s easy to forget where you are – until you bite into the supernaturally magnificent monkfish risotto, lamb and cous cous, fava and broadbean ragout… well, you get the idea. There’s a reason Mas de Torrent is reputed to be one of the finest gourmand destinations in Europe.
The only thing that may win out over our meal for experiential luxury and pure radiance is our hotel for the next two nights. Mas Crisaran (www.mascrisaran.com) is (once again) in a converted farmhouse, but its boundlessly sweet and welcoming proprietress has given it a drastic aesthetic redesign – with art from Africa, India, the Caribbean and beyond. The (lovely) rooms are even each named for a distinct exotic port. It seems entirely apt in this setting that, when turning on the television at 2AM, I find an entire concert by Moloko goddess Roisin Murphy. (Reminder to self: I must move to Spain.)
Our first relatively uneventful day, and it’s nice to have some respite. We visit the beatnik/bohemian coastal village of Llafranc (www.palafrugell.net), and traverse some spectacular trails overlooking the loveliest beach you’ll ever see, and water that redefines the word “crystalline.”
Also on the agenda: the goth-lovely medieval village of Pals (www.pals.es), to be escorted by the mayor himself (who happens to be utterly endearing/ an absolute sweetheart). Then back for another night in the Shangri-La that is Mas Crisaran.
Another rather chill day, to soak in the warm Costa Brava vibe – boating through the startlingly beautiful canals of Sant Feliu de Guíxols (www.goletas.org), and exploring another goth-picturesque village (Besalú), before retiring to our most secluded hotel yet, the charming Cal Sastre (www.calsastre.com).
While all of our rural destinations have been ineffably lovely, it’s nice to be in an urban center – Girona. The most pronounced facet of our visit here is that we’re staying in a f*cking sublime hotel, the AC Hotel Pallau Bellavista (www.ac-hotels.com). To merely describe the AC as a Wallpaper idyll is to do it a great disservice. With its glass façade and ultra-lustrous décor, the hotel is a marvel of design, and hopefully my future home (a complimentary mini-bar doesn’t hurt either).
After touring the city’s Jewish quarter (reminding me that I know nothing about my religion), we retire to the nightclub Platea (www.localplatea.com). Never mind that it’s so nice to finally be in a club, when entering this incredibly beautiful (renovated theater/church) spot we hear the strains of what sounds simply like pleasant nice deep house. When venturing further, I discover that there’s actually a live band playing this locomotive blend. If you know deep house at all, you know that live bands are a rarity (there’s Tortured Soul, Directions, Los Amigos Invisibles, and that’s about it), but this group (who I sadly was never able to find out the name of, despite much effort), comprised of drums, keys and bass, are genuinely miraculous. Whether it was the music, the atmosphere, or the friendliness of the locals, this night turned out to be genuinely religious, and I kept going back for more, long after my colleagues retired.
At last – the loveliness that is Barcelona (www.barcelonaconnect.com), Spain’s gay Mecca. Our temporary home here is the Axel (www.axelhotels.com), boasting the distinction of being one of the planet’s first exclusively gay hotels (not resort or b+b, but cosmopolitan, exquisitely lovely urban hotel – that’s to say it makes for another Wallpaper ideal), and the staff is every bit as gorgeous as you’d expect (as is the hotel’s Brazilian manager, Michael Cleaver). Apart from its magnificently fine staff, stunning décor, superb restaurant, and location in the center of the city’s gay neighborhood (El Born), the Axel also has a stellar music selection going for it: during our brief stay I heard Gotan Project and Slow Train Soul, among many other precious sonic baubles. Try to match that in a US hotel.
Nothing on the itinerary, so I’m free to just explore. I’m told strictly not to even bother venturing out before midnight (clubs here begin to fill up at 12 at the earliest, and most close at 6). With the rest of my group unable or unwilling to leave the hotel, I commence my solitary bar crawl. First up: Dietrich. One, I of course love this name, and the fact that there’s a giant projection of the goddess Marlene makes it even lovelier. The crowd is attractive, but shy and bookish/not cruisey at all (barring one that I’ve fallen in mad love with), and a (not terribly hot) go-go dancer doing a bizarre variation on flamenco with a walking stick is mightily entertaining. From there, I head to Z:elta’s, a limestone and brick-walled spot with a radiant design sense – and even more discomfiting go-go boys rocking a sort of Fischerspooner meets Chewbacca look. Then Sra’s, Amante, and the sex shop Nostromo (with a selection of several Latin studios unavailable in the states, leaving me to ache for an all-region DVD player, along with the requisite Kristen Bjorn and Eurocreme).
My final stop for the evening is the afterhours club Salvation (www.matineegroup.com). While I’ve heretofore seen many fine-ass men, this is the Holy Grail – the tradeoff being that it’s so ludicrously crowded that I nearly have my ribcage crushed while being herded into the restroom. It’s what I imagine the ninth circle of hell to be like, albeit with plenty of eye candy (and an olive-skinned go-go god who sadly has not yet done a Bjorn film (once again I’m in love)), but unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in any stateside queer bar, and worth the ordeal just to chalk it up to experience.
When I return to the Axel at 4:30AM, a mightily hot (Spanish or Italian) gent across the hall is standing in his doorway naked with a raging hard-on waiting for company. I hesitate for a moment (or rather check my email as a stall tactic), then of course join him to keep the trip from being entirely chaste. It seems a fittingly lovely cap to an altogether transcendent excursion.
Many things to add since before and after my travels (seeing my dream husbands, Kinky, and the mighty Eric Roberson to start with), and I will endeavor to post on them as well momentarily. xo, B.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Experiencing deadline hell again, but just writing a piece (for the mag) on brilliant blogger Ultrasparky, who's spent time in a London replica of Space: 1999's Moonbase Alpha and is emigrating to the UK capitol full-time. Crazy jealous on that point as always, but at least if all goes well it looks like I am ON MY WAY TO SPAIN, April 1-8, to find my own (sex god of the world) Edu Boxer.
Not much else going on. Went to the GayVN Awards last week (I'll post on that shortly), and have also been writing in this issue on Coachella (not sure if I'm going, but at least it gave me the chance to preach once again on why Gilles P. is the god of the world), my girl Tessa Souter, once again the fact that I'm in (mild) lust with Infected Mushroom's Erez, the new Hothouse film At Your Service, with my other loves Nick Piston and Matt Cole, and Los Amigos' new Amigos Invisibles Radio on Giant Step, among other things.
Finally procured a copy of RSL's Every Preston Guild on CD, after a ridiculously rough ordeal that's taken nearly 6 months and involved my also buying it on vinyl much earlier (can't record vinyl at the moment, so nice to have if I ever have the need to spin vinyl again, but not good for a thorough listen). It is resplendently lovely in that UK connoisseur-filtering-Spain, Puerto Rico and Brazil mode of Bah Samba, Grupo X, et al. Still, there is something sweeping and distinctly, colossally RSL about it. (Will they ever come to the US? Fucking unlikely unfortunately.)
Volumen Cero (with my other dream husband, Luis T.) and Dimitri from Paris both this weekend. Not sure if I'll be heading to other, but they're certainly possiblities... xo, B.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Been crazy busy so haven't posted in a bit, but wanted to get back in by adding some thoughts on the goddess Monday Michiru's Routes. The only hiccup in Monday's otherwise sublime career was 2002's Episodes in Color. Any misdirection there was absolutely rectified on '04's miraculous Moods. The new disc most definitely sustains that momentum, with moments of awe-inspiring pure jazz Technicolor radiance. Things start off slow, with the odd 2-step-inflected "Right Time," and several gentle cuts, but by track 9 – the mighty jazz thunder of "Don't" – she's settled into a flawlessly lustrous groove, that takes off into absolutely fucking ecstatic speed-jazz-dance orbit on the staggering "Yellow Light" (already set to be among the most incendiary dancefloor killers of '06). "I'm Still Here" reverts back to the r+b/sing-song melody of her Optimista-era, but that can be a lovely thing. The plaintive faux-Latin "I Couldn't See" continues in Optimista mode, to beautiful effect. But it's the sitar-dusted, epically deep-percussion-anchored "New Way" that sends the album out in a stunning cascade of psychotropic jewel/densely saturated sunburst fervor. Granted, there is one more track, and it's nearly as lovely: the broken-beat, gently syncopated "Sketches of Myself." All that said, I respect Monday's ArtistShare/purely indie status, but for myself it was much easier (albeit costly) to just wait for the Jap-only Geneon release (with a lovely package once again). Now all I can say to the girl herself is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE travel further west than Chicago already!!!!!
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Of course, just because I was so thrilled about Quantic and Francisco, I ran into a slight medical emergency that precluded my going, and I'm REALLY not happy about it but... gotta press on. I've just recently started working on Swink issue 3. I don't remotely have time, but I must say I do love being able to say I'm Creative Director of one publication while Editor-in-Chief of another, however modest they both are. Check the new cover above, while issue #2's cover's below for those who never saw it. Also somewhat placated because I did get more sonic loveliness in the mail today from Dusty Groove: my girl Monday Michiru's new disc, Routes, Sambass 3 (the best thus far, starting with the heraldic strains of Patife and Cleveland Watkiss' RADIANTLY LOVELY take on Stevie's "Overjoyed," and catapulting itself on from there; also in a nice package complete with an envelope of raw sugar), and Bah Samba's Eclectica, Volume 1 DJ set (narcoleptic in Migs mode, but still nice, and worth it just for the beautifully designed faux-Japanese cover.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Since I just learned this at work earlier today and couldn't scream then, I'll do it virtually now: Quantic is spinning a Latin set on a bill with the god Francisco Aguabella's full 8-piece group tomorrow night in the most beautiful bar in Los Angeles (Little Temple, beautiful but sadly straight) three blocks from my house. F*CK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Had a decision last Saturday between either going to see Saint Etienne or Alice Coltrane. It wasn't really a decision because the goddess Alice was at UCLA, and being carless on the eastside of Los Angeles, it is just patently impossible (or hell on earth) to get to Westwood via MTA. I just won't do it. So I had really made my decision weeks before (partly to salve the sting of Incognito doing ONLY an East Coast tour... which I'm sorry, might've been acceptable in 1993, but not f*cking in 06) that I was going to see SE.
After a criminal warm-up set of Motown pastiche (the most obvious triteness ("You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (I love Marvin and Stevie as much as the next boy (though Terry Callier and Leroy Hutson are my real gods), but those songs don't speak to either of their genius)), the SE selections kicked in, starting off with some nice deep funk, then moving into more cliche but still sweeter terrain ("Working My Way Back to You...") before the brilliant ones actually came out. Like most, I've always loved Saint Etienne, and recall "Nothing Can Stop Us" as one of the three most seminal songs in my sonic development (the other two being Massive's "Safe from Harm" and Galliano's "Welcome to the Story" (my true anthem) – all three first heard on KCRW's SNAP circa 91-92). But deciding on Swing Out Sister as my religion (they are the most flawlessly burnished/purely SUBLIME outfit of the past three decades, and Somewhere Deep in the Night, Filth + Dreams, and Shapes + Patterns are all now in my ten most crucial discs, ever) has slightly taken some of the SE lustre off. That doesn't mean I don't still worship them, and I do think parts of Turnpike House are the most shimmeringly lovely sides they've cut in years.
All that said, much of Turnpike sounded gorgeous live ("Stars Above Us" (much better than on record) and the Bacharach-bossa "3rd Street" chief among the best-in-translation), "Spring" and "Nothing" were as transcendent as ever (and I did kick some bitches out of the way to give me enough room to pony), and it was, though far from religious, a beautiful night out.
I've been meaning to post for weeks about an Infected Mushroom showcase I went to a little while back. You wouldn't expect that I'd like IM because I tend to find trance sterile and generic, but I was invited (through work) by their boundlessly sweet and cute as hell Asian PR girls at Funky Dumpling, and had to go see for myself because my five true dream husbands/the foxiest men on earth (yes, that would be Kinky) are recording with IM (and were rumored to be there, but no such luck). I didn't fall in love musically, but their set is warm and sweeping thanks to their obvious Krautrock inspirations, and for powder-keg combustible, dance your ass off kinetics, it was really rather nice. All that said, I DID fall for half of IM, sublime long-haired Erez, who is just BEAUTIFUL. Worth going for that, and, by the same, token, I have NEVER seen so many godly magnificent (mostly white) boys in one place. If you want to drench yourself in leagues of eye candy, RUN (don't walk) to the nearest Infected Mushroom gig.
Saw Mick Angelo up the street from the Arclight last night while on the way back from Amoeba, and if I wasn't going to post on that, I'd truly probably not be motivated enough to post on anything. Mick is a beautiful boy who used to do dildo shows on Live and Raw, and never did any other porn, apart from one film for Channel 1 (Camp Freshmen, which also had my dream boy Cory Koons). My favorite thing about Mick? A lovely grin that he tended to sport while pumping his ass, and a general sweet demeanor. My other favorite L+R boy that nobody's ever heard of? Chris Wieland, who I once saw from an MTA bus window...
Saturday, February 18, 2006
I've been getting new sonic loveliness in droves over the past few weeks, the most absolutely SUBLIME of which is Especial's new Inspiration Exclusives set. I will keep saying that Ryota Nozaki is the god of the world, because he is. That said, the beautiful Okino brothers (I am madly in love with both Shuya and Yoshihiro, and have been for years) have a miraculous touch when it comes to producing seminal, virtually flawlessly lustrous comps, with Crossbreed 1 + 2, For KJM, and now this, ranking alongside Mo' Wax's Jazz Hip Jap and the first Bossa Trés Jazz and More Bossa sets as, not only the best Japanese electronic comps of all-time, but the best electronic comps, period.
This bit of sun-kissed magnificence starts with the inimitable Miss Bembe Segue narrating a brief sonic interlude over warm keys, and it's instant ascend into orbit from that moment on. DJ Spinna drops some beautiful female-vocal driven heavy broken beat soul, and the man like Fukutomi does the same, with more of a syncopated house touch. Domu gives Simon Grey's lovely-as-male-soul-vocals-get "Galactica Suite" a locomotive treatment worthy of Afronaught's "Transcend Me" and Nozaki's seminal remix of Mondo Grosso + Tania Maria's "Samba do Gato." As for Ryota-san's contribution here, he offers the beat-skipping, Ashley Slater-aided "Summer On My Mind," and though it's not the most beautiful thing he's ever done, it's still shatteringly brilliant. Best on the whole set though may be DJ Mitsu the Beats' MIRACULOUS collaboration with gorgeous Ivanna Santilli, "Living Love Song." What makes this rather straight nu soul/r + b over a ribcage-shattering beat song so trascendent is rather ineffable, I'll say you just have to hear it (if you absolutely need a reference point, think Dred Scott's remixes for Monday Michiru back in the day, times 1000 per the sonic beauty quotient).
Also in the last few rounds of releases was the new Incognito remix comp, Feed Your Soul. Incog's record for the last few releases has been that the original albums are a tad bland, with one or two cuts standing out as lovely on each, then the remix albums come and tend to be blindingly radiant. (The Love x Love remix collection also stands as one of the loveliest panoramas of the Technicolor Japanese scene.) This time, though it's for now a Japan-only release, the remixes originate elsewhere on the map, and as a result, it has moments of beauty but doesn't devastate throughout. Still, its best is sure to be one of the dancefloor killers of the year – Yam Who's F*CKING RESPLENDENT fast-clip-house rethink of the Carleen Anderson-aided "Show Me Love," the original of which registered as another faux-bossa not as good as "Principles of Love." Now, it's a whole other beast, careening along at "Evil Vibrations" tempo with Carleen's vocals magnified to the point where she HAS NOT sounded more sublime since the Young Disciples days.
Other releases new to come in include the Nostalgia 77 Octet live disc (beautiful cover by Nothing to See Here, and the N77 live set moves along at a strident breaks tempo that has less of a jazz-dance flavour than you might expect, but retains plenty of lustrous charm, and the 18-minute bonus "Hope Suite" is pure Archie Shepp-circa-Attica Blues righteous soul majesty), the new Rosalia de Souza (way too trad bossa, but I am PRAYING for a remix collection since Garota Diferente is for me possibly the best Brazilian electronic collection... ever.), the Dom Servini-selected Nascene Beginner's Guide to Afro-Lounge (mostly quality, and better than the rest in the series), Akiko's much-heralded and Sunaga T-produced Mood Indigo (yes, I know I'm late on this; I'll just say that her take on "Little B's Poem" is exquisite, but I can't ever think of anything but the pristine Doug + Jean version, and I'm more taken with the Monday-circa-Moods-esque "I Love You"), and the 3-CD Funk Como Le Gusta collection.
The upshot of all this loveliness is that I've finished a new disc (sonically at least, still no cover yet) going by the moniker Rare Mint Nectar. Here's the track list:
Timi Yuro, It'll Never Be Over for Me
Saint Etienne, Sun in My Morning
Nina + Chris, Agua
Jazztronik + Marcos Valle, Rio, Sol e Mar
Cecilia Stalin, Bogaloo Boy
Incognito + Carleen Anderson, Show Me Love (Yam Who? Version)
Cosmic Village, TBD (Restless Soul Mix)
DJ Mitsu the Beats + Ivana Santilli, Living Love Song
Akiko, I Love You
4Hero, Les Fleur
Oliver Nelson, Stolen Moments (Telefon Tel Aviv Version)
The Mothers + Zero 7, You
Lou Rawls, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (awayTeam Mix)
Walter Jackson, It's an Uphill Climb to the Bottom
Mable John, Able Mable
Alice Russell, All Over Now
Mo' Horizons, Foto Viva
Offworld + Marcos Valle, Black Magic Power Ride
Jazztronik + Rob Galliano, City of the Rivers (Riding the B Train)
Simon Grey, The Galactica Suite (Domu Mix)
Isabelle Antena, Easy Does It (La Malice Mix)
Louie Vega + Blaze, Love is on the Way
Funk Como Le Gusta, Latina
Soil + Pimp Sessions, Waltz for Goddess
The Nostalgia 77 Octet, The Hope Suite (Parts 1, 2 + 3)
Hector Rivera, Ya Se Formo
Cover soon come... xo, B.