How high

While watching “The High Note” (Focus), Tracee Ellis Ross’ first major motion picture role as a lead actress, don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking, “Well, this could have gone either way.” Even in the more than capable hands of lesbian filmmaker Nisha Ganatra (“Late Night” and “Chutney Popcorn”), and without the star power of say, Emma Thompson, “The High Note” could have gone sour. As it is, it can be kind of pitchy. Ross, the daughter of diva Diana Ross, plays Grace Davis, a celebrated recording star with 11 Grammys to her name struggling to stay relevant in an industry […]

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Unites Community Through Sound

In these trying times, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has used music as the universal language to unite our community. Baltimore OUTloud recently spoke with Tonya McBridge Robles, the Vice President and General Manager of the BSO, regarding engaging content that has reached the masses through both online mediums and social networks. Frankie Kujawa: Could you explain for our readers how the BSO is engaging with audiences during this time of social distancing? Tonya McBridge Robles: During this time of social distancing, it is vital to the BSO to continue our mission of engaging, inspiring and educating audiences through music. […]

Taylor-made: an interview with Holland Taylor

According to Ryan Murphy, “Casting a television show is like casting a dinner party. It’s like, ‘Well, who do I want to sit next to for the next six months of my life?’” In the case of his new Netflix series Hollywood, premiering on the streaming network on May 1, 2020, he set an amazing table, and seated his guests just so. One such guest is out actress Holland Taylor who plays no-nonsense 1940s movie studio exec Ellen Kincaid. Ellen is someone we can fall in love with immediately; a smart, tough, single career woman who plays a big part […]

Your 2020 quarantine reading list

True stories In 1988, shortly before his death, disco legend Sylvester did an interview in which he talked about working with legendary record producer Tommy LiPuma. That record never came to be, but LiPuma did work with countless other music icons including  Barbra Streisand, Randy Newman, Patti Austin, Jennifer Holliday, Diana Krall, Brenda Russell and Paul McCartney and you can read all about LiPuma in The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma (Nardis, 2020) by Ben Sidran. Now available in paperback, Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our America (Vintage, 2019/2020) is the memoir by Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Milk, […]

Baltimore Center Stage’s Innovative Online Resources For Public During Pandemic

The arts community in Baltimore is showing just how resilient and resourceful it can be during a time of crisis. While the onset of COVID-19 caused many theaters to physically close their doors in Baltimore, many have sprung to online platforms to continue to entertain audiences. One theater, Baltimore Center Stage (BCS), has led the forefront with its creative online content and innovative access to resources. Baltimore OUTloud recently chatted with Baltimore Center Stage’s Director of Artistic Partnerships & Innovation, Annalisa Dias, who talked about what BCS has to offer to the Baltimore community both online and offline. Frankie Kujawa: […]

The art of love

When gay actor turned writer/director Mike Doyle’s feature-length debut played the festival circuit it went by the terrible title “Sell By”. Opening in theaters this spring, the movie is now called “Almost Love” (Vertical Entertainment), which we can all agree is also very bad. Thankfully, the movie itself is so much better than either of its names. Adam (out actor Scott Evans, younger brother of Chris) is a painter in New York. He (barely) makes a living (by NYC standards) producing paintings for famous artist Ravella Brewer (Patricia Clarkson) whose signature at the bottom of each piece brings in an […]

Vinyl destination

All things considered, when you factor in her health, as well as her stated distaste for the music industry, 2007’s Shine (Craft Recordings), newly reissued and making its (180-gram) vinyl debut may be Joni Mitchell’s final studio recording. Mitchell, who became an increasingly outspoken critic of contemporary culture, especially in the 1980s and 1990s on albums such as Dog Eat Dog, Chalk Mark In A Rainstorm, Turbulent Indigo and Taming the Tiger, doesn’t relent in the least on Shine. Narrowing her focus to the destruction of the planet (“This Place”, “If I Had A Heart”, “Bad Dreams”, “Strong and Wrong” […]

“Feeling” good: an interview with Pam Tillis

Pam Tillis is country music royalty. The daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis, Pam has had her own lengthy career as a singer/songwriter with hits including “Maybe It Was Memphis”, “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial”, “Spilled Perfume” and, of course, “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)”. Looking for a Feeling (Stellar Cat), Pam’s 11th studio album and first solo album in more than a dozen years, is the kind of comeback we’ve been waiting for. A compelling combination of modern and traditional country tunes, featuring outstanding originals including the title track, “Burning Star”, “Karma” and “Last Summer’s Wine”, as well […]

Three (cock)ring circus

Queer filmmaker/performance artist Rachel Mason gets personal with her new documentary “Circus of Books” (Netflix/Future Clown), debuting on Netflix in late April 2020. The daughter of Karen and Barry Mason, the straight, married couple who owned and operated the titular legendary XXX adult emporium in WeHo (shuttered in early 2018) and a short-lived Silverlake location, Rachel has crafted a revelatory, warts and all family portrait, that is equally emotional and informative. Journalist Karen and movie special effects designer/inventor (and UCLA classmate of Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek) Barry, the unlikely proprietors of Circus of Books, didn’t set out to become […]

Family affairs

 Extraordinary singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson knows a thing or two about good genes. Her father, Terry Gilkyson, was also a singer and songwriter with a fascinating career. In addition to writing hit songs for others, he sang on The Weavers’ hit “On Top of Old Smokey” and was nominated for an Oscar for writing the song “The Bare Necessities” from Disney’s 1967 animated feature The Jungle Book. Eliza’s brother Tony is also a musician and was a member of the important L.A. bands X and Lone Justice. Eliza herself has been a recording artist (under her own name) for more than […]