Martha, My Dear

Few disco divas can make the claim that Martha Wash can. Early in her performance career, Martha Wash sang backing vocals for the one and only gay disco icon Sylvester. Paired up with Izora Armstead as Two Tons O’Fun, Wash and Armstead can be heard singing on the classic Sylvester tune “Dance (Disco Heat),” among other numbers. Wash and Armstead also achieved superstar status with their massive 1982 hit single “It’s Raining Men,” performing as the Weather Girls. Wash made news in the late 1980s and early 90s when unscrupulous music producers and musical acts, including Black Box and C+C […]

Girls Scout An interview with Kristin Chenoweth

Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth could potentially have a Grammy Award in her sights with her new album For the Girls (Concord). On her most contemporary pop-oriented studio album in nearly ten years, Chenoweth pays tribute to several of her musical icons including Judy Garland, Eydie Gorme, Barbra Streisand, Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt, and Dolly Parton. Parton herself joins Chenoweth on a roof-raising rendition of the Dixie diva’s “I Will Always Love You.” Other guests joining Chenoweth on the album include Jennifer Hudson, Reba McEntire, and Ariana Grande. A longtime friend and supporter of the LGBTQ community, Chenoweth […]

Good as Gold

Nashville-based queer singer/songwriter Becca Mancari is an artist you must hear and one who’s name you should remember. Her 2017 debut album Good Woman, which received high praise from music journalist Ann Powers, landed at number 19 on Rolling Stone’s “40 Best Country and Americana Albums of 2017” list, as well as Brooklyn Vegan’s assemblage of “Five Overlooked Albums of 2017”. In addition to her acclaimed solo work, Mancari has also performed as one third of the trio Bermuda Triangle with Brittany Howard and Jesse Lafser. With a new album completed (and being shopped around to labels), Mancari is embarking […]

B Best

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the words, “Tin roof, rusted!”? If you answered “Love Shack” by the B-52s then pat yourself on the back. That 1989 single, the biggest hit of the B-52’s career, finally earned the group the widespread mainstream attention it justly deserved. It was also considered a comeback for the band from Athens, Georgia, following the devastating loss of co-founding member Ricky Wilson. Those in the know who had been following the B-52s since the band’s self-titled 1979 debut album (featuring the single “Rock Lobster”) were free to gloat as their friends […]

Timeless Teen

Imperial Teen delivers on the promise of the title of the band’s new studio album Now We Are Timeless (Merge), its first in seven years and its sixth overall. The aptly named second track, “We Do What We Do Best,” almost says it all when it comes to the ten tracks on the album. There are synthesizers, danceable beats, a variety of vocal harmonies, and a blend of humorous and serious messages. The current running through the irresistible opener “I Think That’s Everything” is au courant. “Walkaway” arrives on a sexy dance-pop strut, while “Parade” marches boldly forward, and “Somebody […]

More Than 50 Shades

The road to Bravo’s Project Runway hasn’t been as glamorous as you might think for fan favorite contestant Sebastian Grey. He gave up a career in Colombia and arrived in the US, where he worked as a housekeeper in a hotel. Something good did come of that – it’s where he met his husband Matthew. Additionally, he applied to compete on “Project Runway,” where his sewing skills, solid work ethic, and talent landed him a spot in the final four. Fort Lauderdale resident Grey was kind enough to answer a few questions in advance of the Season 17 finale. Gregg […]

Team Player

The importance of queercore band Team Dresch cannot be overstated.  The all-female Portland band, known for its quest for inclusivity, as well as acceptance of every gender and sexuality, debuted around the same time as the similarly feminist-minded Riot Grrrl scene that was also exploding in the Pacific Northwest. Along with contemporaries such as Sleater-Kinney, Tribe 8, Bikini Kill, and Heavens to Betsy, Team Dresch also offered listeners an alternative to the testosterone-fueled sound of the straight male-dominated grunge sound. To commemorate the anniversary of the release of Team Dresch’s highly regarded albums Personal Best and Captain My Captain, both […]

Maybe Stars in His Eyes

Queer singer/songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine is that rare out artist who isn’t shy about his faith. Raised in the church, Valentine has found a way to make those two sometimes conflicting aspects of his life work in harmony. For instance, the live performance schedule on his website (in July at the time of this interview) includes dates at both Pride festivals and churches. Talk about versatility! One thing’s for sure, chances are good that you will hear Valentine singing songs from his luminous new album Maybe Stars (BobbyJoValentine.com). Gregg Shapiro: Bobby Jo, when did you begin playing guitar and how […]

Girl Talk

Singer / songwriter Garrison Starr, a Grammy-nominee for her songwriting work on Margaret Cho’s American Myth album, is back in a big way. Girl I Used to Be, Starr’s highly-anticipated new album, is scheduled for release later this year. Working once again with producer Neilson Hubbard, Starr recorded the album in Nashville over the course of five days. Before the album is released, Starr is heading out on tour with fellow Tennessean Lolo on the “Tennessee Queens” tour during the summer months. I had the pleasure of catching up with her shortly before the tour began. Gregg Shapiro: In order […]

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 […]