Too cool. Via.
Well, it's Monday and we're back to work. Something's been gnawing at me over the long weekend, and it wasn't the long lines for Black Friday, Small Saturday or today's Cyber Monday.
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, as everyone who's still reaching for some anti-acid knows. Our belts are still let out two notches too many and we're still shaking our heads over some of the conversations with distant (in some cases from reality) relatives that we now won't have to have endure until next November.
A standard piece of tradition fare for me and my family is and has been for over half a century the watching of at least some of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Face it, it's a staple item and as much a part of the holiday as the pumpkin pie, the turkey itself or the tryptophan-induced coma after eating.
In scanning the globe for stories as I do each day, plus monitoring the Twittersphere, looking for instantaneous reactions to the world at large, I was shocked and amazed and the outrage and uproar one of the performances generated from the televised parade.
It was this performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, Kinky Boots.
Here's a sampling of the uproar of tweets this performance generated:
Now I have to explain "Kinky Boots" to my kids. Thanks, Macy's. #MacysParade
— Jonathan Becker (@jonbecker) November 28, 2013
And then then there was this one:
— First Flight (@Kittyhawken) November 28, 2013
Now these are but three samplings of the fear and potential hate that are being demonstrated by some pretty opinionated folks. What are they really afraid of?
They seem to feel that indicating any alternative lifestyle is harmful. What is it in this family-friendly clip they are compelled to explain to their children, or even worse, protect them from?
This is a celebration of life. Do these shallow people think that LGBT people have an illness? Haven't we gotten past that yet? This is no more a choice than the zebra having stripes or the peacock having feathers. Being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender is a part of life. A healthy part. And perpetuating fears isn't helping anything or anybody. Being LGBT is not contagious nor are they recruiters to their "sexuality." Recruitment is left to missionaries, sports coaches and the military. Three fears your children should be warned about more than something that's not a choice.
Ignorance is what's at hand here. And it's the tweeters who are demonstrating fear and perpetuating hate. If you want to "educate" your children, or America in general, and protect them, warn them of the dangers of ignorance and intolerance. That's going to do them much more good than scaring and misinforming them.
Don't be a poster child for stupid. Be a leader in smart.
So perhaps if you feel you need to explain anything to your children, it should be tolerance, acceptance and if you're really progressive, a sense of high, snappy, fashion.
This week in the entertainment industry is actually quite memorable. During this week, but in the past, there were some landmark productions from a kid friendly TV series, to a sexually/racially controversial Micheal Jackson video, to a movie that launched a thousand "Ahhh's" and four sequels.
So, here's a bit of nostalgia for you--
On November 10, 1969, 44 years ago today, a classic which endures and continues strongly today: Sesame Street. Here's the first time the audience was asked if they knew how to get to Sesame Street.
On November 14th, 1991, Micheal Jackson caused quite an uproar with the release of this music video. Remember when we used to watch those? Back when MTV had VJ's? And look who's the young lad who carries the narrative. And we all will recognize the man who plays his father. So here's the video that set tongues wagging for controversial and overt sexuality, not to mention a message of black/white unity.
Finally that brings up another celebrant whose start came on this week. Home Alone, on November 16th, 1990 made Macaulay Culkin, as Kevin, a household name and spawned four sequels. "Ahhhhh!"
So this was surely one memorable week in entertainment. I wonder what this week, in 2013, will bring? So far, the biggest expectation is the return of Thor. In comparison to these landmarks, is that the best we can do?
This week we lost Lou Reed. Many remember the name, but all remember his music. His career included stints with the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist. But one song stands out to me more than all the rest. It's the 1972 song, Walk On The Wild Side from Reed's album, TRANSFORMER. It was produced by legendary great David Bowie.
The song is about transvestites who come to New York City and become prostitutes. And Reed's inspiration was real life. The "girls" were "Holly," "Candy," and "Jackie." They are based on Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis-- three real drag queens who appeared in Andy Warhol's 1972 movie Women In Revolt. And each verse introduces a new character, all real and all cronies at the infamous Andy Warhol Factory, where Lou often hung out.
"Take a walk on the wild side" is what these rental transvestites would say to potential customers.
If the public understood what he was writing about, it would have certainly been banned. Remember, this was 1972. Rob and Laura Petrie weren't even allowed to sleep in the same bed though married. A female character on TV wasn't allowed to be divorced. Yes the times were a lot different then. There was a lot more to the song than "And the colored girls say, Doo, doo-doo Doo, doo-doo Doo, doo-doo.
In a 1972 interview with Disc and Music Echo,
Reed described Walk On The Wild Side as an "outright gay song," saying it was "from me to them, but they're carefully worded so the straights can miss out on the implications and enjoy them without being offended. I suppose though the album is going to offend some people." '
This came out at a time when audiences were intrigued by cross-dressing and homosexuality in music. "Glam Rock," where the performers wore feminine clothes, was big, and artists like David Bowie and Elton John were attracting fans both gay and straight.
He was certainly ahead of his time with his socially conscience awareness and his anecdotal tunes. He knew he was pushing the envelope and yet he was able to get away with it overall. From Songfacts:
This [Walk On The Wild Side] was not banned by the notoriously conservative BBC or by many US radio stations because censors did not understand phrases like "giving head." Depending on the regional US market, the song was, however, edited for what we now call political correctness. Reed leads into the female vocalists' "Doo, doo-doo" hook with the words, "And the colored girls say," but some stations played a version that replaced the phrase with, "And the girls all say."
So while we pause to pay tribute to an amazing artist, why not watch and listen to this great version by Lou R himself.
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