Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Kirsty MacColl

Kirsty MacColl October 10, 1959 – December 18, 2000
It’s that time of year when I listen to the song “Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl on repeat every day. It makes me think of Kirsty and what kind of music she would be making if she were alive today. Today is the anniversary of Kirsty’s passing. Kirsty was tragically killed while on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico when she was swimming with her two sons. While surfacing from a dive, a powerboat sped at them. She pushed her son out of the boat’s path but was hit herself and killed instantly. She died while saving her child. MacColl enjoyed a successful career as a pop singer in the 80s before her heartbreaking death in 2000. As well as her own hits, she contributed her talents to other artist’s music like the Smiths, Billy Bragg and the Pouges. She sang backing vocals on the Smiths’ “Ask” in 1986. She also sang a cover of the Smiths’ song “You Just Haven’t Earned it Yet Baby” which was featured on the “She’s Having a Baby” soundtrack in 1988. One of her biggest hits was a cover of Billy Bragg's "A New England" in 1985. MacColl’s version of the song included two extra verses specially written for her by Bragg. Since her death Bragg has always included the extra verses when performing "A New England.” Some of my other favorite songs by MacColl are “Terry,”He’s on the Beach,” and the heartbreaking “As Long As You Hold Me” from the “Mad Love” soundtrack. Her voice was so pretty.
A few more interesting facts: In the music video for MacColl’s song “Terry,” her boyfriend is played by British actor, Adrian Edmondson who was most famous for playing the role of Vyvyan on the 80s, British sitcom The Young Ones. Actor Matt Dillon makes an appearance as a police officer in the video for “Fairy Tale of New York.” MacColl originally wrote and recorded the song “They Don’t Know” in 1979 which later became a top ten, US hit after it was covered by Tracy Ullman in 1983.
For more info on the life and death of Kirsty MacColl visit her official website or the Justice For Kirsty campaign website run by her mother, Jean. She was a great talent. RIP Kirsty we still love you and miss you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Very Sad Day

It was a very sad day today when the second worst school shooting in US history took place in Connecticut. At around 9:30 am a 20 year old male entered Sandy Hook Elementary School where he opened fire. As of this posting, 26 people were being reported dead. Among them are 20 children, 6 adults and the shooter. President Obama addressed the nation from the press room at the white house at 3:15 pm where he emotionally stated:
He further called for the country’s leaders to take ‘meaningful action’ after the Connecticut shooting. This was his fourth national speech on gun violence. Later it was reported that Brian Fischer, spokesman for the radically conservative group American Family Association, used the tragedy to push for his religious agenda of eliminating the separation of church and state, saying the children died because the school did not embrace god. Fischer further said that God allowed the shooting to happen because prayer, The Bible and the Ten Commandments aren’t taught in public schools. Later a host for the republican political operation, Fox News Channel, followed suit advocating for government mandated Christianity, saying that schools, "Become a place of carnage" when "We systematically remove God."
Connecticut state police continue to give updates on the day's events and news is still murky about the shooter. With Connecticut police reporting that the investigation is ongoing and that all information won’t be known until tomorrow.
*Update*  Police have now identified the shooter as 20 year old Adam Lanza

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

At the Laundromat 5

Part 5 of my "At the Laundromat" series. Previous works in the series can be viewed here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

At the Laundromat 4

Part 4 of my "At the Laundromat" series has a holiday theme. Here are the previous works in the series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Made with the iPad.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hillary Clinton 2016

There's been speculation since forever that Hillary Clinton will run for president once again in 2016. Today an article in The New Yorker all but claimed that Clinton is "running." I was so excited I almost peed my pants. I can just imagine it: Madam President Hillary Clinton. I think it has a nice ring to it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Daniel Craig

I’m so crazy in love with Daniel Craig. We are getting married someday although he doesn’t know it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

It was a very historic moment when President Obama met with New Jersey's Republican Governor, Chris Christie on Wednesday after the city was devastated by hurricane Sandy. Christie is well known for his criticism of Obama's policies in the past however, both politicians put aside partisanship to organize help for the victims of the superstorm. Later Christie uncharacteristically praised the President for his coordinating efforts. Personally I think it's uplifting to see politicians working together in times of crisis and cementing the motto, "United we stand, divided we fall."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Presidential Debate 2012

The first presidential debate airs tonight and I am stoked.  Today also happens to be the Obama’s 20th wedding anniversary and it was reported that Michelle wants Obama to write “Love you, honey” on his hand in tribute to their anniversary. Millions of viewers will be watching and there’s been much talk about which topics will be discussed, if there will be any zingers and which candidate will have the best overall outcome. I’m corny because I’m just waiting to see if Obama writes “Love you, honey” on his hand tonight. The debate airs tonight at 9pm ET pretty much everywhere.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Romney's Toast

It was a huge news day today when Mother Jones’ David Corn broke the story of a secret Mitt Romney video recorded at one of his millionaire fundraisers. In the video Romney said that 47% of Americans will vote for Obama because they are “dependent upon government.” He goes on to say that these 47% of Americans “believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”  After this he finally tells his millionaire donors: “My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Once the story broke on Mother Jones it was picked up by Huffington Post and then The Washington Post and the New York Times and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and then pretty much everyone. A link to the original Mother Jones article was even tweeted by the official Barack Obama twitter page to its 19 million followers. In the tweet Obama's 2012 re-election campaign manager, Jim Messina said of Romney: "It’s hard to serve as president... when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”  Later on the Rachel Maddow show, David Corn made an appearance and revealed when and where the secret Romney video was recorded and who sponsored the event. Finally, before midnight, Romney responded to the leaked video in a press conference and said his recorded remarks were 'not elegantly stated,' but he didn’t back down. What a day! My thoughts on all the controversy: Romney’s Toast.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

J. Christopher Stevens

J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya was killed Tuesday night in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Stevens was a career diplomat, a graduate of Berkeley and a former Peace Corps volunteer. He was the first U.S. ambassador killed on duty since 1979. In an emotional response to the attack, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton gave tribute to Stevens and reminded us all, "We must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya." Clinton further said of Stevens, "Chris was committed to advancing America's values and interests, even when that meant putting himself in danger," in a statement posted on the official Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. President Barack Obama said in a statement on Wednesday that Stevens was a "courageous and exemplary representative of the United States.” Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney politicized the tragedy and smeared the President in a statement he made Wednesday morning before cameras.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Julian and Joaquin Castro

Julian and Joaquin Castro, twin brothers and emerging Democrats with a favorable green record in the red state of Texas.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3: A Wave of Mutilation

AMC recently announced a date for The Walking Dead’s return: Oct 14. And something every walking dead fan wants: a season 3 trailer! But my obsession reached a fever pitch today when I learned that this week's Entertainment Weekly features four covers featuring characters from The Walking Dead. I’m really going to miss Shane when season 3 starts. I did mention in an earlier blog post that I was so angry to see Rick and Shane split up that I might not watch it but of course I didn’t mean it. I’m so obsessed with the show, its characters, writing, producing, directing, special effects etc. now that it’s become ridiculous. It is a very special show to me indeed. Is it possible that a television show could make someone lose their mind? In honor of the show returning in October and the announcement of the season 2 DVD release August 28th, I made these fan art illustrations of some of the characters on my iPad. These were made with the Brushes app.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Painting On The iPad

Just some more painting I did on the iPad. This was made with the Brushes App.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

E. J. Dionne

E. J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist and author of the new book, "Our Divided Political Heart." Dionne recently talked with Rachel Maddow about his new book and returning to the path of political balance in America.

Monday, May 21, 2012

RIP Donna Summer

Donna Summer died this past Thursday after battling cancer. Summer was known as the “Queen of Disco” and, like so many other gay men, I grew up listening to Summer’s extraordinary music. Some of Summer’s risqué '70s hits like "Hot Stuff," "Bad Girls" and "Love to Love You Baby” played an important part of the gay community celebrating our own sexuality at the time. New Zealand artist Natasha Bedingfield sang Summer’s hit “Last Dance” in tribute to her at this past Sunday’s Billboard Music Awards. Bedingfield said of Summer, “if we can remember her through her music, this will never really be her last dance." Summer was 63 years old. RIP Ms. Summer, we loved you so much and you will be missed enormously. (Illustration made with Brushes for iPad)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dan Dicker

Dan Dicker, CNBC contributor and author of "Oil's Endless Bid." Made with the Brushes App for iPad.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ahmed Rashid

Ahmed Rashid, journalist and author of  "Pakistan on the Brink."  Made with SketchBook Pro for iPad.
Here Rashid and Rachel Maddow discuss the effects of the tension between the United States, Pakistan and the Taliban on U.S. military supply lines and the politics of withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eyal Press

Eyal Press, contributing writer for The Nation and author of Beautiful Souls. Made with SketchBook Pro for iPad.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Frank Rich

Frank Rich, writer-at-large for New York magazine. This is the first thing I ever made on my iPad. I had so much fun painting on my iPad that I think there will be more to come.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Benson

A friend of mine gave me the new Madonna CD, MDNA so I made this illustration of his dog, Benson for him.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One Direction

The British pop band One Direction recently performed on Saturday Night Live.  Check them out for some totally nontoxic, fun entertainment. Okay fine I made this for my niece. I don't care about One Direction.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Michael Mann

Michael Mann, climate scientist, professor at Pennsylvania State University and author of the outstanding new book "The Hockey Stick And The Climate Wars." Mann recently spoke with The Huffington Post about his new book and his disappointment in Obama's global warming record. Here Mann talks with George Stroumboulopoulos about the concerted effort by those with monied interests to silence the facts that we are changing the climate with fossil fuel emissions.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Walking Dead: RIP Rick and Shane

I’m writing this blog post to express my beef with the writers/producers of the television show The Walking Dead. I think they made a huge mistake by killing off the character Shane and in effect ending the outstanding bromance between the characters Rick and Shane. The Walking Dead is a show on AMC that is based on a comic book series of the same name. The show is so hot that AMC even airs a half-hour long show right after every episode entitled The Talking Dead where special guests and actors from the show discuss the characters and take questions from viewers. I unfortunately got sucked into it all and became obsessed with the world that is The Walking Dead. What follows in this post is the mess I have become ever since. If you don’t want to read the ramblings of The Walking Dead from the perspective of a fanatic gay man then read no further.
This post is mainly for other Walking Dead fans but for people that aren’t in the know I’ll give a quick rundown. The characters Rick and Shane were police officers, partners and best friends before the zombie apocalypse. After the zombie apocalypse happened Shane had an affair with Rick’s wife, Lori but only because Shane and Lori believed Rick to be dead. During the time they thought Rick was dead Shane cared for Lori and Rick’s son, Carl until Rick’s surprising return, ergo an intense love triangle was created. Rick and Shane had a great friendship until Shane ended up killing another character in the show in order to save Rick’s son, Carl. Then things took a turn for the worst and Shane seemed to go mad until ultimately his character was killed by Rick.  In Shane’s final episode he tricks Rick by luring him into the woods and tries to kill him. Finally Rick stabs Shane in the chest in self defense.
There was a homoerotic aspect to Rick and Shane’s relationship which I had never seen before in a television show. This made The Walking Dead unique and special to me. I think the homoerotic undertones of Rick and Shane’s relationship may have just happened as a sort of happy accident in the translation from comic book to TV show that the writers chose to exploit sometimes and sometimes not. Actor and director, Kevin Smith mentioned the homoerotic aspect and the complexities of Rick and Shane’s bromance when he discussed a fight scene on one of The Talking Dead bonus segments. It was the love triangle and the relationship between Rick and Shane that kept me viewing. This mixed together with a zombie apocalypse of course.
This brings me to my beef with the writers. In my opinion everything that happened between Rick and Shane up until Shane’s death was ruined because Rick kills Shane and that will always be the outcome and that’s wrong. In this interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jon Bernthal, the actor who plays Shane, discussed his final episode and said there was conflict between the writers/producers/actors over how Shane’s last scene should have played out. To me this is just further proof of what a mistake killing Shane was because when things are right they go smoothly. I think the writers had a chance to really keep the story arc going but now it’s just another zombie show. I’m not even sure if I will watch season three because I have no emotional investment in the show anymore. However long the series lasts, season one and two will be the only ones that exist for me because of Rick and Shane. When I go back and watch some of the older episodes the interpretation could be that everything Shane has done he did for Rick because he loves him. He killed a man to keep Rick’s son alive for Rick. He took care of Rick’s wife and son for Rick. It could also be said that Rick loves Shane. Rick forgives Shane for having an affair with his wife and Rick gave Shane several chances after he spiraled into madness. In one of my favorite scenes on the show Rick is pleading with Shane to stay on the farm (where they live) so that they can keep it safe. He says “we can make it safe.” Ergo they can make it safe “together,” safe for their loved ones and safe for each other.  I feel like that’s a kind of bond even straight men could relate to. Two men who love each other; their relationship may or may not be sexual.
          The writers sort of left Shane’s death scene open to interpretation. The way I tried to accept Shane’s death is to believe that Shane wanted to die. That he tricked Rick into killing him because that was his way of suicide. Maybe Shane wanted to die because he loved Rick and couldn’t handle it. Most viewers would say Shane loved Lori but in my head I’d like to think that it was Rick that Shane also loved. It was Rick that he did everything for. Shane’s self destructive behavior in the end was indicative of his suicidal tendencies and there were other clues to this. For example, in the lyrics to a song that was played right before the end credits in one of the episodes leading up to Shane’s death (18 Miles Out.) The lyrics of the song include: “I am nothing without pretend, I know my thoughts, can’t live with them.” And further, “I am nothing without a man, I know my faults but I can hide them.” I’d like to think the producers, or whoever, chose this song carefully as a clue to how Shane was feeling at the time. The song is entitled “Civilian” by the band Wye Oak. A fan posted the song on Youtube which can be viewed here. I highly recommend it for Shane fans.
        There’s been speculation that Bernthal wanted to leave the show after the show’s developer, Frank Darabont departed early in the series. However Bernthal dispelled those rumors in this interview with EW where he said it wasn’t true. Glen Mazzarra one of the show’s producers mentioned in a separate interview with MTV that they were going to keep Shane alive. "At one point, we considered not killing Shane," he said. So why didn’t they keep Shane alive? Of course that question was never asked which I desperately would like to know the answer to. I never read any of the comics but I do know that apparently the writers kept Shane alive much longer on the show than in the comic series. I’ve actually read comments online from TWD comic fans claiming that if the story went any different other than Shane dying it would be “an insult to his character.” Give me a break. Oh, and my personal favorite comment from comic book fans: “Shane had to die.” Um, no he didn’t it’s a television show with writers and they can make the characters do whatever they want. After reading comments like that I think I’ve just come to the conclusion that the writers killed Shane off to appease comic fans clamoring for Shane’s death. What a waste.
 I have this idea in my head about what I wish would happen next on the show. My idea is that Rick would find a suicide note from Shane. Maybe Shane tucked the note away in one of Rick’s pockets or in one of the cars for Rick to find. Of course, in the note would be a whole wish list of things I wanted Shane to say to Rick but were never said. Shane would confess that he tricked Rick into killing him because he wanted to die. Shane could say in the note that he wanted Rick to be the one to kill him but he knew the only way Rick would do it is to trick him. Finally, Shane would reveal that he loved Rick and that he couldn’t live in a world anymore where Rick didn’t trust him; a world where they were at each others throats. I know that’s not very mainstream and it would never happen on the show but it’s in my head because I was so emotionally invested in these characters. Overall I guess that is what makes the show so exceptional. Great creative writing, acting and producing makes The Walking Dead so awesome that you think about the characters like they are real people or something. It is a great escape and tremendous entertainment. A million thanks go out to the Walking Dead creators. I suppose I love you as much as I hate you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jay Smooth

Jay Smooth, Host of the video blog Ill Doctrine & founder of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI-FM's "Underground Railroad".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Michelle Goldberg

Michelle Goldberg, writer for The Daily Beast and author of The Means of Reproduction. Goldberg was recently nominated for a Digital Ellie award for commentary by the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald, author of With Liberty and Justice for Some and columnist for Salon. Greenwald just wrote this amazing, explosive article for Salon about Mitt Romney’s billionaire backer Frank VanderSloot. Not only does the article focus on VanderSloot’s tactics to silence his critics but it also exposes, in detail, his history of radical, anti-gay activism. The article is so revealing that Rachel Maddow actually called it an “act of bravery.” I highly recommend reading it for everyone. The article itself epitomizes what real, quality journalism is in my opinion. Kudos and a million thanks to Greenwald for the outstanding work.