Two to Avoid

If we’ve learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that time is precious. There isn’t that much of it and as the numbers of the dead increase at an alarming rate, we are reminded of how important it is not to waste what little we have. One recommended way of not being wasteful is by avoiding movies that don’t deserve to sap your hours and minutes. Kevin Bacon, still hot to the touch in his early 60s, has a longstanding relationship with the horror genre. From his memorable appearance in a Speedo in the first Friday the 13th (1980) to […]

Pandemic pals

Looking for musical friends with whom you can pass the time while the country shuts down (again!) as the pandemic continues to rage? The following albums are worth hearing while being in lockdown. I’ve always thought of Steve Earle as the Bruce Springsteen of modern country. With his similar vocal style and his songs about the common man, Earle makes music that could be described as Springstwang. This has never been truer than on Ghosts of West Virginia (New West) by Steve Earle and the Dukes. The songs are intended to be a musical companion piece for playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s […]

Latest and Greatest: an interview with Becca Mancari

It’s only July, but rest assured that The Greatest Part (Captured Tracks), the breathtaking second album by out singer/songwriter Becca Mancari will not be forgotten when folks assemble their end-of-the-year, best of 2020 albums lists. The Greatest Part, available in a limited edition clear pink vinyl LP version, is a sonic departure from her Americana-laced 2017 debut Good Woman. Working with musician/producer Zac Farro (of Paramore fame), Mancari has created a forward-thinking audio landscape for her deeply personal lyrics, some of which deal with being raised in and surviving a strict religious background. Songs such as “Hunter”, “Stay With Me”, “First Time”, “Like This” and “Tear […]

House music

Let’s face it, things are getting ugly and scary out there. As this is being written, confirmed COVID-19 cases have reached more than 10 million worldwide, with more than half a million deaths and counting. Self-quarantining is the hottest (and healthiest) trend in years. For those unable to get to their workouts at the gym or favorite dance club because they’ve been shut down again after reopening too soon, here are some new releases sure to get your heart rate up and your body moving. Play them loud and if the neighbors complain, dance harder.   Suddenly (Merge) by Caribou (aka musician and […]

As “Perfect” as Trump

Nannies get a bad rap. As portrayed by Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins may have made nannies safe for moviegoers in 1964, but a year later, Bette Davis changed all that in 1965’s The Nanny. As you might have guessed from the title, The Perfect Nanny (Icarus/Distrib), which shares its title with a song from Mary Poppins, and is based on the bestselling novel by Leila Slimani, is about a nanny who is anything but.   Paul (Antoine Reinartz from the incredible 2017 gay film BPM) and Myriam (Leïla Bekhti) are a young married Parisian couple, the parents of five-year-old Mila (Assya Da Silva) and toddler […]

“Red, White and Griffin: Kathy Griffin Shares a Hell of a Story with Charm City”

Bold. Unyielding. Independent. Relentless. Survivor. These are just a few characteristics of the word patriot. As America prepares to honor Independence Day against the sobering backdrop of a global pandemic and racial injustice, Americans find themselves reflecting on the ideals of what it means to be an American patriot. Many have recently wondered if comedian Kathy Griffin is among the type of courageous patriots that this country needs during these trying times. The lioness of standup has roared back with Baltimore OUTloud and, boy, does she have a Hell of a Story to tell. “Honey, how is anybody doing, right […]

Author Spotlight: Baltimore’s Kirkland Hamill

Baltimore resident Kirkland Hamill’s memoir, Filthy Beasts, hits the bookshelves on Tuesday, July 14th.  A tender and heart-wrenching memoir about a family’s fall from grace, a mother’s inner demons and a son’s blind allegiance, Filthy Beasts is a fascinating window into the life of extreme privilege and a powerful story of self-acceptance.  The book recounts Hamill’s unforgettable journey through luxury hotels and charity stores, private enclaves and public shame as he confronts his family’s many imperfections, accepts his unconventional childhood, and finally comes to terms with his own hidden secrets.  Hamill recently chatted with Baltimore OUTloud regarding his upcoming book, […]

(Beautiful) music men

When Orange Crate Art (Omnivore), newly reissued in an expanded double CD or LP set, was originally released in 1995, it was the first time that music legends Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, both known for their distinctive SoCal musical styles, had worked together since Parks collaborated with The Beach Boys on the notorious SMiLE album in the 1960s. Orange Crate Art turns out to be a collaboration that makes perfect sense on paper, if not in actual execution. Unlike say Nilsson Sings Newman, on which Harry Nilsson sang the songs of Randy Newman, having Brian Wilson (whose voice […]

Out, loud and proud: an interview with SONiA

Baltimore native, out musician, activist, and even a bit of a mystic, Sonia Rutstein, better known to her fans and followers as SONiA of disappear fear, has a musical gift for everyone. The new 12-song CD compilation Love Out Loud (soniadisappearfear.com) collects some of her queerest and most uplifting songs resulting in the perfect soundtrack for your 2020 Pride observances. Drawing on selections spanning almost 25 years, including solo work as well as those recorded with her sister Cindy (from disappear fear’s early days), the album is as much a musical history lesson as it is a celebration of the […]

All hail The Queen

It may be hard to believe today, but laws known as Masquerade Laws — some dating back to 1845 — declared it a crime to have your ‘face painted, discolored, covered, or concealed, or [be] otherwise disguised… [while] in a road or public highway.’ This was typically aimed at farmers who would dress up like Native Americans to fight off tax collectors, but as fear and panic over LGBTQ people increased in the early 20th century, these laws were applied to people dressing up in clothing of the opposite gender, even though the Masquerade Laws never specifically mentioned the type […]