2020 Winter Reading List

It doesn’t matter if you have perfect vision or if you need to slip on a pair of reading glasses, the following books, to be released in early 2020, all deserve to have your eyes on them. Fiction for adult readers Peter Kispert’s debut short story collection I Know You Know Who I Am (Penguin, 2020), is separated into three sections – “I Know”, “You Know,” and “Who I Am” (clever, right?) and focuses on lying liars and the lies they tell themselves and others, mixing the real (“Touch Pool”) with the fantastic (“How to Live Your Best Life”), in […]

Too ‘Goo’ to be True

Chris Hamill, best known to all as Limahl of new wave act Kajagoogoo (“Too Shy”) fame, is having a heck of a year. The out singer / songwriter’s biggest solo hit, the theme song to the beloved 1984 family fantasy movie The Neverending Story, written and produced by Giorgio Moroder, was back in heavy rotation following its inclusion in a pivotal episode of the third season of Stranger Things. Meanwhile, “Too Shy” continues to be heard in regular rotation on oldies radio and was included in the Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch. Additionally, Limahl took the leap into holiday music with […]

Songs of Long Ago

It must have sucked to be Frank Sinatra during the 1960s. After being a dominant musical force throughout the 1950s and recording some of the most timeless albums in pop music history – including In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, Come Fly with Me and Only the Lonely – he was suddenly adrift. To add insult to injury, The Beatles, who were kicking Sinatra’s proverbial ass, were Capitol Records’ label-mates, essentially pushing him aside. But Ol’ Blue Eyes had a few more tricks up his sleeve and his 1969 album My Way (Capitol / UMe / Signature […]

All the Way

Have you ever watched a movie or a TV show set in or near where you live or socialize? There’s a kind of thrill of recognition that takes place when you do. It’s fun to see streets, bars, restaurants, and other businesses, even people you recognize, on screen in an area that you frequent. The 2019 doc, All Male, All Nude: Johnsons (Breaking Glass), filmed in and around Wilton Manors, is a follow-up to director / writer / actor Gerald McCullouch’s All Male, All Nude, a 2017 doc which focused on the notorious Swinging Richards male strip club in Atlanta. […]

Here, Queer

Currently at a laughable 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, the winter holiday rom-com (and waste of a perfectly good Henry Golding) Last Christmas may be better remembered for the 15-track album Last Christmas: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack featuring the Music of George Michael Wham (Sony / Universal) than anything else. Movies inspired by songs (The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Convoy, Ode to Billy Joe, Harper Valley PTA) don’t have the best track record. Nevertheless, the gathering of these songs on the soundtrack, including the title tune, “Faith,” “Praying for Time,” “Waiting for that Day,” “One More Try,” […]

Cuts Both Ways

In the interest of full disclosure, dear reader, it’s best that you know that Rick Karlin, author of the memoir Paper Cuts: My Life in Chicago’s Volatile LGBTQ Press (Rattling Good Yarns, 2019) is my husband. We are in our 28th year as a couple and have been officially married since 2014 (the 5,100th same-gender couple married in Illinois to do so). That said, even after all these years together, it doesn’t make it any easier to read a book in which you are one of the main characters. To his credit, Rick writes about us in the most respectful […]

Candy-Colored Christmas

Look out Mariah Carey! Randy Rainbow has released a Christmas album that rivals yours. Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas (Broadway Records) has everything you want to unwrap in a Randy Rainbow holiday recording. The title track, co-written by Rainbow and Marc Shaiman, is seasonally sassy, combines a sense of humor with the spirit of the holidays. Rainbow’s take on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” features Kathy Griffin and Alan Cumming playing his shrink. Norm Lewis joins Rainbow for the more straightforward “Merry Christmas Darling / What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” medley, which is followed by the hilarious “My […]

Yesterday Today

More than 50 years into his solo recording career, James Taylor shows no signs of slowing down, still performing concerts to sold out houses. Taylor, the first non-Beatle artist signed to Apple Records, went on to record six studio albums for Warner Brothers, followed by a long association with Columbia Records. Taylor’s WB albums, released from the early to mid-1970s, have been reissued in the creatively titled little box set, the Warner Bros. Albums 1970-1976 (WB / Rhino). Taylor set the bar (almost too) high with the first two, 1970’s Sweet Baby James and 1971’s Mud Slide Slim and the […]

The Gifts That Keep On Giving

Memoirs and memories – No other queer book published in 2019 fits in the “memoirs and memories” category than Tell Me About It 2: LGBTQ Secrets, Confessions, and Life Stories (Rattling Good Yarns Press, 2019), compiled by St. Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen. A global assortment of participants submitted answers to 15 questions, ranging from “When was the first time you realized you were different?” to “How did your parents react when you came out to them?” and “Where is the wildest place you ever had sex?” A third edition of Tell Me About It is currently in […]

Christmas Greetings from JohnWaters

There are almost too many words from which to choose to describe John Waters. Groundbreaking filmmaker, actor, writer, raconteur, and artist are just a few that come to mind. In December every year, Waters is a torchbearer and flag waver of Christmas in the way that only he can do it. His “A John Waters Christmas” show and tour is the stuff of legends and laughs, and the 2019 edition is sure to be no exception. Additionally, Waters’ recently published book, Mr. Know-It-All (FSG, 2019), an entertaining and informative memoir crossed with a how-to, would also make for an ideal […]