GAYBO: Horny Weather At The Prince

gaybo.JPGBY TOMMY ZANE ?Leslie, Lena. Lena, Leslie.? Dropped by the Prince Music Theatre to catch a sold-out performance of Stormy Weather: Imagining Lena Horne, starring the incomparable Miss Leslie Uggams and a strong supporting cast. The era of Sharleen Cooper Cohen?s Stormy Weather was an ugly period in American race relations, i.e. separate water fountains for blacks, etc. Lena Horne is the first black woman to sign a major contract with a Hollywood studio (MGM) and dared to forge a career as a Leading Lady in Hollywood at a time when black performers were resigned to play mammies and maids, stereotypical and demeaning lower class roles. Ms. Horne defiantly turned down roles she found unsavory and was frequently edited out of movies to pass censors in parts of the South. Ms. Horne was also politically active, even blacklisted as a communist sympathizer during the heyday of McCarthy?s witch hunts. To compound this, she had two children with one man and married a white, Jewish arranger named Lennie Hayton, at a time when interracial marriage was illegal. Despite the difficulties, Lena Horne created an indelible place in popular jazz music, recording standards such as the Duke Ellington prot?g? Billy Strayhorn?s ?Take The A Train.? She also was the toast of Europe, performing and recording stunning versions of Cole Porter?s ?From This Moment On?, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer?s ?Come Rain or Come Shine?, and her signature tune, Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler?s ?Stormy Weather.? Leslie Uggams is excellent as Lena Horne, and brings the experience of her own legendary Broadway career straight into the role. Ms. Uggams started singing as a regular on Sing Along With Mitch Miller, an early ?60s TV variety show. She won a Tony for 1968?s Hallelujah, Baby! and was nominated for an Emmy as Kizzy in Roots. Uggams also starred in the 1975 film Poor Pretty Eddie, in which she portrayed a popular singer who is abandoned in the deep South and abused and humiliated by the members of a backwoods town. The similarities between Ms. Uggams and Ms. Horne?s lives are apparent, as Ms. Uggams brings a gritty, contemplative and often emotional quality to her role. Stormy Weather: Imagining Lena Horne runs through March 4th.


Lena Horne brings it home singing Cockeyed Optimist/Some People in 1962.

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IT?S ALL ABOUT THE GOSSIP
Not why Britney shaved her head or where will Anna Nicole be buried, I?m talking about the Portland-based band The Gossip. Their single, ?Standing in the Way of Control,? rises from 17-13 on the British singles chart.

Lead singer Beth Ditto reportedly wrote the song as a response to the U.S. government?s attempts to deny gay people the right to marry. The Gossip?s female punk sound is most frequently is compared to The Slits, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, and having built a cultish following since 1999, The Gossip seem to have really broken out in the U.K. Personally, I love me some riot grrrrls! Give it up for The Gossip!!

Watch the video for Standing In The Way of Control here:


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THREESOME OF THE WEEK
Recently deceased pioneer of the modern gay rights movement Barbara Gittings, first out lesbian to host The Oscars and damn funny too Ellen DeGeneres, and I-knew-she?d-win-that-statuette-Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson.

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