Hell, Yes

Since the late 1990s, queer singer / songwriter Erin McKeown has been making a name for herself as a distinguished performer with a rich and pure distinctive vocal style. McKeown expanded her creative horizons with the stage musical Miss You Like Hell, a collaboration with Quiara Alegría Hudes, for which she wrote the music and lyrics. As you can hear on Miss You Like Hell: Original Cast Recording (Ghostlight), the play is about the reunion between troubled mother and undocumented immigrant Beatriz (Daphne Rubin-Vega), who is facing the prospect of deportation, and her teenaged daughter Olivia (Gizel Jiménez) and the […]

You’ll Love Lucy

The breathtaking Historian (Matador) by out singer / songwriter Lucy Dacus was present near the top of several “best albums of 2018” lists, and rightfully so. You’d never guess listening to Historian that it is only Dacus’s second album. In her early 20s, Dacus is one of those wise beyond her years artists whose songs are sure to strike a chord with listeners from all walks of life. Her talents weren’t limited to her own album, as she collaborated with queer singer / songwriter Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers, forming the trio Boygenius and releasing an acclaimed six-song eponymous EP […]

Health & Happiness

We may only be a few months into the new year, but it’s safe to say that Health (FatCat) by gay singer/songwriter C Duncan will find a place on my 2019 best-of list at the end of the year. At turns gorgeous (the title track, “Care” and “He Came from the Sun”), undeniably danceable (“Pulses & Rain,” “Impossible”), irresistibly retro (“Stuck Here with You” and “Somebody Else’s Home”) and sometimes all three at once (“Talk Talk Talk” and “Holiday Home”), Health is music that is good for you. I spoke with Duncan about the album shortly before its March 2019 […]

Bob Mould Wants to Sunshine Rock

For fans of gay indie rock legend Bob Mould, whose solo albums have borne titles such as Black Sheets of Rain and Beauty & Ruin, the name of his latest, Sunshine Rock (Merge), might come as something of a surprise. But it’s a completely fitting moniker, especially since the sun rises in the names of four of the record’s songs. Sonically, the album is also more radiant, a deliberate shift on the part of the man also known for his previous bands Hüsker Dü and Sugar. But fear not, there is still plenty of loud, crackling guitar on Sunshine Rock. […]

They Will Rock You

First things first, for all of those concerned about the way that Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality is depicted in the Bryan Singer’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, you can relax. From the minute you first see Mercury, played brilliantly by Rami Malek (complete with prosthetic teeth), there is no doubt that the king of Queen was, in fact, a queen. Yes, his relationship with “fiancée” Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) gets a fair amount of screen time. But, so do his same-sex attractions, from being cruised by a trucker outside of a men’s room to his relationships with manager Paul (Allen Leech) and […]

Putting the Spice in Advice An interview with Bianca Del Rio

When I first heard that Bianca Del Rio had written a book, in true Bianca Del Rio fashion I thought, “Wrote a book? I didn’t even know she could read a book!” Cue the laughs. Undoubtedly the greatest success story that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” ever launched out of the starting gate, Del Rio consistently sells out concert venues for her live shows, has graced the silver screen in Hurricane Bianca and its new sequel Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With Hate (Hurricanebianca.com), and now has a new book of advice, Blame it on Bianca Del Rio (Dey Street, 2018) to her […]

A Celebration of Love & Life at Sundance

The celebration of the year is happening at Rehoboth Beach this weekend. Join CAMP (“Create A More Positive”) Rehoboth at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center on September 1st and 2nd as they celebrate love and life at Sundance 2018 – Rainbow XXXI: In the Name of Love. This annual fundraising event is one you won’t want to miss. Sundance began in 1988. Founders Steve Elkins and Murray Archibald were celebrating their tenth anniversary and wanted to do something special. “It was the height of the AIDS epidemic, and our friends were dying,” says Archibald. “We lived in New York, and […]

The Disco Diva’s Diva An interview with the legendary Linda Clifford

As disco divas go, few are as down-to-earth, warm, and genuine as Linda Clifford. Forty years after the release of her breakout album If My Friends Could See Me Now was released, featuring the chart-topping dance club hit title track, Clifford is still hard at work, regularly touring as one of the First Ladies of Disco (along with Martha Wash, Evelyn “Champagne” King, and Norma Jean Wright) and performing at various festivals and fairs. Four of Clifford’s most cherished albums, the aforementioned If My Friends Could See Me Now, as well as 1979’s Let Me Be Your Woman and Here’s […]

One of the Great Believers-An interview with writer Rebecca Makkai

If you’ve been waiting for the arrival of the best book of 2018, look no further than The Great Believers (Viking, 2018), the new novel by Rebecca Makkai. Starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly, as well as an A- review in Entertainment Weekly, are not exaggerations. Makkai’s dazzling epic about the AIDS epidemic and its impact on a group of friends in Chicago during the 1980s is insightful, sensitive, revelatory and nothing short of a tearjerker. I had the privilege of speaking with Rebecca on June 19th, the publication date of The Great Believers. Gregg Shapiro: Rebecca, I’d […]

Addiction & His Muse

When it comes to album titles, gay singer / songwriter Steve Grand came up with a good one for his second album. Not the End of Me (Stevegrand.com), on which Grand deals with his pre-sobriety downward spiral, is definitely fitting. Facing his demons head on, Grand has written some of his most visceral songs for this album (check out “Disciple”). Nevertheless, Grand knows his fan-base well enough to also include the kinds of songs his devoted followers will appreciate, as in the case of “You or the Music.” We spoke about the new album and his newfound clarity in July […]