QUEER AS PITT... Pittsburgh -- or what passes for it on Showtime -- wants to teach D.C. a thing or two about nightlife. Plans are for the premium cable channel to bring "Queer As Folk -- The Babylon Tour" here in May as part of a 12-city DJ tour. The idea is to recreate the extremely fictitious Pittsburgh nightclub Babylon, as featured in Showtime's queer series, in one of our own clubs, through "elaborate productions that feature world renowned DJs, creative sets and lighting displays, live visuals and extensive sound elements," according to www.sho.com/queer. Information on the exact date and entertainment lineup for the D.C. stop was to be posted on the Web site Thursday. The show isn't really set in Pittsburgh, as anyone who's ever been there well knows. Still, you'd think the 12-city tour would include a stop in the Pitt. It doesn't, based on the current schedule. Ouch.
RELIGHT RICKY'S FIRE... Is Showtime lining up Ricky Martin for its queer tour? Billboard reports that Martin is putting finishing touches on his forthcoming album for Columbia Records. He's ready to end his nearly three-year absence from the public spotlight, and it seems as though he may be ready to put a rest to the rampant rumors about his sexuality, too: He has teamed with DJ/remixer/producer extraordinaire Hex Hector and singer Anastacia to cover the Dan Hartman disco classic "Relight My Fire." Hmm, working with a gay dance music legend, a gay-popular diva-esque dance singer, on a cover of a disco classic? Sounds like he's coming out, and he wants the world to know.
MASHUPS WASH UP TO THE MASSES... The word has been out since last summer, but getting a hold of 2 Many DJ's! was nearly impossible until this month, when Washington's own Tower Records store wisely began featuring a good stock of 2 Many DJ's!: As Heard on Radio Soulwax Part 2 ([Pias] Recordings). The other three editions are strictly underground since the copyrights haven't been cleared (it took three years to get Part 2 cleared). But musical mashups are said to be the new trend. What are mashups? Like dance remixes, mashups generally involve taking the vocals-only version of one pop song and laying it over the instrumental track of another. You're unlikely to know every song used here, which shows the two DJs (the Belgian brothers Stephen and David Dewaele) have the widest conceivable taste in pop music. Not every song they wanted was allowed, and they take those rejecting artists (Daft Punk, George Michael, Missy Elliott) to task on www.2manydjs.org. And not every mashup you may have heard is included either -- the insanely inventive meld of Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious" set to the music of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" to become "Smells Like Booty" isn't (Nirvana's agents wouldn't allow it). We do get a wonderfully, incongruously restrained "Independent Woman" on Part 2, as the vocals by themselves meet a subdued, soul groove. But not everything is so completely, imaginatively blended -- Dolly Parton's cubicle anthem "9 to 5" is included for a minute without editing, after which the song becomes the weird sonics of Royskopp's "Eple"– the two songs apparently act as oil and water, not cranberry and vodka. Still, the entire CD is a potent concoction that you couldn't, and shouldn't, refuse.
GENIE OUT A BOTTLE... "The song 'Beautiful' is about being or feeling unaccepted for merely being yourself, yet knowing through any hardships, we are all beautiful despite the differences or insecurities," says Christina Aguilera. "My video captures the reality that gay and transgender people are beautiful, even though prejudice and discrimination against them still exists." The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced that it will honor Aguilera next month for her mega-popular video featuring a kissing gay couple and a man dressing up as a woman that was directed by the mega-popular Jonas Akerlund (Madonna, Robbie Williams). The song itself was produced by lesbian Linda Perry (4 Non Blondes, Pink).
I JUST WANNA… The Deep Dish remix of Justin Timberlake's "Like I Love You" is finally here, on the British import Cry Me A River (Zomba) and the harder-to-find domestic Cry Me A River [Remixes Included] (Jive). Johnny Fiasco remixes the title track surprisingly well, given his surname, and it's on par with Basement Jaxx's convoluted but compelling reworking of "Like I Love You." But the Grammy-winning, D.C. duo Deep Dish blows all other remixers away with a faithful rendition of the original song's stylish pairing of electronic blips with acoustic guitar chords. Deep Dish has added a jarringly dark synth-stab, and right after it is introduced, the duo overlays Justin's whisper, "Don't be scared now." Naw, I ain't. A skill to thrill: no wonder Deep Dish's forthcoming album is highly anticipated.
FOLLOW ME DOWN, DEEP DOWN... Alison Limerick's Where Love Lives 2003 (Logic Records/BMG) is a song in need of a remix not because it's too slow. The Northstarr Radio Edit is actually too fast. So star remixers were enlisted to slooooow it down, but only so much can be done with a mediocre song whose three-chord titular chorus is the only thing of note. Too much cosmetic surgery -- Frankie Knuckles and David Morales's approach -- damages more than just Michael Jackson's nose. And too little doesn't work either (see trance pioneer Paul Oakenfold's half-assed, trance-less remix). Sultry-voiced Limerick even fails to follow through on the promise of her last name with her not-funny, four-part verses here.
Doug Rule can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.