Soundwaves

Dance Grammys, GLAAD Awards, Louie Vega in DC, and the future of Broadway

by Doug Rule
Published on December 11, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

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Bitch and Animal

GLAAD GRAMMYS… There are 105 categories in the just-announced 46th Annual Grammy Awards, and there's still not one specifically honoring Gay Music of the Year -- unless you count the Best Musical Show Album category. Wouldn't musicals be at the heart of any attempt to define “gay music?” Well, the problem is that most of the artists recognized through gay-popular categories such as that one aren't gay, and the theme of the recognized art isn't, either. So every year around this time our attention turns to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for our gay music fix. Among the many categories of its Media Awards, GLAAD honors the previous year's leading gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender musicians. For the 2004 ceremony, to be held in late March, the Outstanding Musical Artist category features a bountiful crop of nominees: the feisty lesbian pop-eclecticism of Bitch and Animal, R&B renegade Meshell Ndegeocello, naughty and haughty punk-pop rapper Peaches, pop-folk crooner Rufus Wainwright and last but not least our favorite, the madcap Danish dance-rock of Junior Senior

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Madonna: Remixed and Revisited

DANCE GRAMMYS… Junior Senior was one oversight among the Grammy nominees this year -- if any song deserved nomination in the Best Dance Recording category, it was “Move Your Feet.” Instead, divas dominate. Madonna racks up her only nomination of the year here, for “Die Another Day.” (Alert the media: American Life (Maverick) is now, officially, dead.) Cher somehow squeaks by with a nod for “Love One Another,” her unremarkable remake of a tune that earned Amber no recognition a couple years ago. Kylie Minogue is here with “Come Into My World,” as is Sunshine Anderson, indirectly recognized for her dramatic vocal performance on Groove Armada's neo-disco “Easy.” But odds favor Telepopmusik's airy “Breathe” to win if Madonna doesn't, since “Breathe” is the heir apparent to last year's winner, original Mitsubishi-branded dance tune, Dirty Vegas's “Days Go By.” A second dance music category honors best remixer, and previous Grammy winner Peter Rauhofer should claim it, for his mix of Christina Aguilera's “Beautiful.” His competition? Well, it should include The Scumfrog for Monica's “So Gone.” Or Gabriel & Dresden for Annie Lennox's “Pavement Cracks”), to name two obvious examples. Instead, Maurice Joshua appears again for his boring reworking of a Beyonce track, this time “Crazy in Love.” Also nominated: Martin Buttrich & Timo Maas  for Tori Amos's “Don't Make Me Come to Vegas,” Bill Hamel for Seal's “Get It Together” and the incomparable Masters at Work for The Latin Project's “Lei Lo Lai”…

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Junior Senior

HOUSE GIANT LITTLE LOUIE IN TOWN… In addition to its recognized remixing work, Masters at Work made probably the best house music artist album last year, Our Time Is Coming (Tommy Boy). Next spring, one of the two Masters, “Little” Louie Vega, will release his own artist album, Elements of Life (Vega Records), featuring uptempo, relentlessly upbeat songs infused with Vega's seeming conversion to new-age spirituality since the birth last year of his son. It's a blend of timeless-sounding soulful, God-fearing house, Afro-Latino rhythms and often Brazilian-styled chillout. While the album is heavier on rhythms than a typical Masters at Work album, it's also strangely sleepier, with a little too much focus on easy-listening sonics. Here's hoping Vega will concentrate his DJ turn this Saturday at Club Five -- see www.primacycompanies.com for information -- on tunes from his MAW repertoire as well as livelier tracks from Elements of Life, including the samba-oriented “Ma Mi Mama,” sung by his wife, Anané, the salsa of “Quimbombo,” and the improvisational Latin jazz of “Mozalounge”…

MAMMA MIA INDEED… Just to clarify our early comment: if musicals were ever truly gay, they're becoming increasingly less so. Excepting for Elton John, nearly every high-profile Broadway musical in development looks to be insufferably straight. Credit Mamma Mia! mania, as well as Billy Joel's Movin' Out -- and not the fledgling Boy George-inspired Taboo -- for the wave of musicals coming built around hit songs of aging rockers, or of musicals written by aging rockers. Not that there won't be gay appeal in next spring's Lovelace: The Musical, based on the life of late porn actress Linda “Deep Throat” Lovelace, written by the Go-Go's Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin and starring former Family Ties actress Tina Yothers and John Waters regular Mink Stole. And there may be some gay appeal in We Will Rock You, a musical about the future using 32 songs from Queen that will open sometime in the next couple years. And who wouldn't find appeal in next year's musical, tentatively titled The Lennon Project, based on John Lennon's post-Beatles songs, including “Imagine?” But Tonight's the Night, currently in London, based on Rod Stewart's greatest hits? Or All Shook Up, based on songs from Elvis Presley, set in the mid-1950s in “Anywhere USA,” and coming to Broadway in spring of 2005? This “gay music” lover will pass, thanks.

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Anne Rice: Blood Canticle

Gay musicmaker and increasing musical-maker Elton John, meanwhile, is working with his longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin to convert gay-popular author Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat into a Broadway musical, scheduled for 2005. In addition, John and Taupin's work has inspired, of all television networks, FOX, which plans to create a music-driven drama series, dubbed Rhapsody, with themes influenced by John-Taupin songs…


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