IN DA CLUB BABYLON... Finally, we can tell you all about the Queer as Folk Babylon Tour. (I just know you were waiting with bated breath.) The tour, which has expanded from an original 12 cities to 15, will be helmed by DJ Peter Rauhofer at some stops, while Tracy Young will work others, including right here in her native D.C. The tour stops at Velvet Nation on Saturday, May 17. Gay clubbers' best straight girlfriend Kristine W. will powerbelt her hits at select events, but sadly, not here. Ed Bailey, Velvet's promotional director, informs that Miami's risqué performance duo RKM will provide Babylon-style entertainment, and the club will be all decked out with go-go boy cages and other flourishes direct from the show. Billboard reported that Showtime is seeing to it that the tour meets “the same high quality and standards of the series.” Well, it had better -- or else I'll be tuning into HBO from now on.
COME GO WITH ME... Music is a crucial element of QAF, and if you happen to catch the show this Sunday, you'll hear the latest straight girl trying to recruit us into her fold: “Let Me Be The One,” Gioia Bruno screams. We've heard her before as the sultry vocalist with the strongest pipes in the phenomenally successful ‘80s dance-pop girl group Exposé. The benign tumor on her vocal chords that essentially ended Exposé is now gone, and Junior Vasquez has remixed her latest solo track, “From The Inside,” which will debut on the show at Babylon (of course). It's a typically joyous peak-anthem house song, so expect to hear Gioia (pronounced joy-ah) and her insides at a Babylon near you, too.
QUEER AS NERVOUS NELLIES... Don't you just wanna scream in despair about how much space Queer as Folk is getting here? Well, this is the last of it, I swear. After Queer as Nervous (Nervous Records), you'll scream and swear in despair, too. It's not a bad compilation of dance hits; it's certainly no worse than the periodic official Queer as Folk compilations, another of which will appear from Tommy Boy Records next month. It plays like an episode of the show, with full earnestness, mediocre acting, melodramatic plot points and predictable resolutions. Okay, so you can hardly describe a record like that, but suggesting that this is a “record” and not the slopped together buffet of diva anthems that it is would be your first mistake. The other would be paying for it. If I'm going to pay fifteen bucks or more on music, I'd hope for something more than a disposable collection of songs -- many of them songs from eons ago, to boot (“U Turn Me,” “Dive In The Pool”) -- that no thought went into. Like the album's coverboy, it seems the Nervous people responsible for this spent too much time focusing on the brawn, not the brain.
A WINDY CITY TIT FOR TAT...Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson may be gone as Billy Flynn, but Broadway's Chicago continues to razzle-dazzle with big-name pop performers. No, Queen Latifah won't be joining the cast, but in her stead as Matron “Mama” Morton is Angie Stone. The neo-soul crooner cum dancefloor belter (via last year's “Wish I Didn't Miss You”) made her Broadway debut in the role this past Monday.
WAKING UP FROM A NIGHTMARE... What did I ever do to deserve Aphex Twin's 26 Mixes for Cash (Warp)? The second in the double CD set is the noisiest dance disc I've heard, e-v-e-r. Oh, all right, yes, that's a tad exaggerated. But it is downright unlistenable. The first CD is quite pleasing, in a mostly laid-back chill-out movie soundtrack kinda way, and there are moments when the music makes you sit up and take notice, for good -- a truly inspired mash-up of a moody Philip Glass score meets David Bowie's “Hero” a capella, for instance. But the second CD is all for bad. Mescalinum United's “We Have Arrived” opens to the sound of an air pump adding needed pressure to your low bike tires, but then as more sounds come in you realize this isn't a bike shop. It's an industrial machinery repair shop, the likes of which you've probably never known before, nor wanted to hear -- there's the banging metal, the pounding drills, the...oh, I don't remember. But my eardrums sure remember -- they're still recovering from the pain.
Doug Rule can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org