Thursday, October 30, 2008

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

It's official. I'm going to Hell. So sayeth The Worldnet Daily - one of those whacked out "news" sites for conservative Christians. You simply cannot support Barack Obama and be a "Good Christian:" "Obama will use your tax dollars to kill innocent children, and then he'll take your paycheck and use it to 'spread the wealth around.'"

Sound familiar? It's almost like reading the McCain campaign's talking points. It's not just coming from The Worldnet Daily -- the Catholic Church has also thrown it's hat into the ring with the logic that abortion is the sine non qua for being a "Good Christian." Never mind that there are other issues out there -- like torture and the occupation of Iraq. Never mind that the economy is in the shitter and that people are tired of sending tax money to bail out giant corporations.

None of that matters. "To those who think that God's grace gives them license to willfully disobey Him without consequences – think again... Then obey Him in the voting booth and out of it." It's so painfully clear: OBEY. You MUST obey! Do what we say or you will be punished... if you think it's bad now, wait until your father gets home. Yesiree, I'll give you something to cry about!

It's been around 2000 year since Christ, or so we're told, and despite all of his divine goodness, the church of the day is still telling the people to obey and fear, rather than to love and trust. Give me that old time religion, indeed.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008


(Thanks to Scott at Bill in Exile for this!)

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dear Universe...

Dear Universe,

Hope you're doing well -- I just wanted to drop you a line. I'm sure you know my birthday is coming up. I've had quite a few people tell me that they get frustrated because I don't tell them what I'd like as a gift. FSM knows that I don't need any sweaters, candles, or bath products. As such, I figured I'd clear that up right now.

Ok, I know this one is straight and maybe 10 years too young for me, but you get the idea. You're the Universe and include everyone and everything in it, so just how hard can it be to find a little bit of something special for one of your favorites, right? Hell, if Sarah Palin can get $150k in clothes for spewing hatred and bile, certainly it's no effort to find me the husband of my dreams. I promise to feed him, keep him clean, and touch his bits n pieces, although not specifically in that order.

Oh yeah, and a new MacBook Pro. That would pretty much make for the best birthday ever.

Thanks and hope to see you at whatever sort of birthday celebration develops!



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My Eyes... THEY BURN!

Okay, I applaud Ron Howard for what he's trying to do and all... but let me tell you, Ron Howard has not aged well. He's in Nicholas Cage territory now. While they're both balding and resemble the Crypt Keeper, there's one horrific difference... that this video made abundantly clear -- HOLYFUCKINGSHIT I just got subjected to seeing Ron Howard shirtless. The sound you're hearing right now is the baby Jebus weeping.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Beatport New Releases - 10/20/08

Marc's Top 5 House New Releases
  • Kid Massive feat. Yota - Just Want U (Original Mix) & (Raul Rincon Rootz Mix)
    One of the things I love about Beatport is that they have a very deep catalog, so I always find great tracks that I don't often hear anywhere. This is a great example -- the Original Mix is piano based that mesh well with Yota's vocals. Raul Rincon's mix keeps gives the track a funkier, dubbier feel with less piano. I really dig both tracks.
  • Warner Powers feat. Alec Sundrae - Dirty Games (2008 Vocal Mix)
    I've mentioned before that I like groovy tracks and this one has a great classic house/disco vibe. I confess, I missed this track when it originally came out in 2007. The 2008 Mix isn't too far off the original, just seems more filled out with the additonal vocals. Makes me long for the days of Studio 54, unprotected sex and cocaine. Never mind that I'm not really old enough to remember those days, but this is a great track.
  • ATFC feat. Lisa Millett - Bad Habit (AFTC's Lectrotek Revisit)
    Ok, I remember hearing AFTC's Bad Habit from around 2000 from a great local DJ and my DJ "Godfather" (or Godmother?) DJ Timmy. Just one of those quintessential tracks that screams, "I am in a gay bar and I love it here!" Thanks ATFC for updating this track. I found another remix not too long ago that didn't quite work for me. This time, ATFC updates the more classic disco sound with an electro feel that still has plenty of energy and ends up still being playful.
  • Alex Baratinni feat ELO - Last Train to London (Extended Mix)
    Speaking of Studio 54, unprotected sex and cocaine, a remix of ELO! You don't get much more disco than that unless you're Cheyenne Jackson in Xanadu. Another one for you disco afficionados. Honestly, I've been looking for other styles but it looks like there's just a TON of really great groovy/disco feeling tracks that made it in this week. Many more than I'm mentioning.
  • Ian Carey & The Good Guys - Lose Control (Stefan Gruenwald & Oliver Backens Remix) & (Jerry Ropero & Denis the Menace Remix)
    I confess that while I've spent most of my time in the gay dance scene, I have an affection for the spirit of house music as a whole. This is a track that celebrates that spirit -- that the dance floor is a place for everyeone to be themselves and to let go. Gruenwald and Backens go with a groovy, guitar based track while Ropero & Denis go with more of a tribal, big room style. At the moment, this track seems to be territory restricted -- so it may be a while before we can buy it in the US... which means I'll have to find less legal ways of getting it. Idiots!
Bonus Track: Victor Imbres feat. Francisca London - Don't Let It Get to Ya (Submerge Mix), (Surface Mix) and (Bounce Mix)
Ok, I recommended a track that you couldn't buy, so here's a make-up. One of the things I love about house music is that it has so many different shades and feels and vibes. One of my favorites is tracks that openly try to uplift you and help you let go of life's disappointments and frustrations. As such, two of my favorite tracks of all time are Chicane's Strong In Love (which can still make me cry) and Alright by Red Carpet. Don't Let It Get to Ya is in that same spirit, if not necessarily as emotionally moving as those two tracks. My favorite is the Bounce mix, which has a balance between a stronger bass line and lighter synth elements that give it a substantial feel in my book. The Submerge mix is a close second -- still a strong bass line and a good feel of building energy. The Surface mix isn't bad, just doesn't quite have the same feel as the other two.

Marc's Top 5 Trance Tracks
  • Armin Van Buuren feat. Sharon Den Adel - In and Out of Love (Richard Durand Remix)
    I love Armin and I got the original of this track over the summer. Loved it, though it didn't really work as a dance track -- mainly because Armin went with more of a break beat instead of your standard dance 4/4 beat. I was glad to finally see a remix, although Durand gives the track a more aggressive bass line that initially didn't sit well with me. Now that I've listened through it a few times, it makes more sense in the context of the track as a whole. Definitely a track worth getting. Sadly, I couldn't buy it at Beatport, but I did get it at Masterbeat. (Stupid record labels making it hard!) Also worth getting is the Blizzard Remix. The Push Trancendental Mix is pretty but feels a little too happy and bouncy to be appropriate.
  • Filo & Peri feat. Eric Lumiere - Shine On (Activa Remix) & (Aly & Fila Remix)
    Ah, trance at it's very best -- happy, euphoric and soaring. I loved Filo & Peri's last track with Eric Lumiere - Anthem. It's great to hear them go from singing an anthem for the one that got away to the heights of Shine On. Lumiere's vocals aren't as textured as they were in Anthem, but they're still easy on the ears. Both the Activa and Aly & Fila Remixes are good, similar in feel.
  • Ascension - For A Lifetime (DJ Shah Remix)
    What happens when you pair one of my all time favorite trance artists, Ascension (aka Lustral, Chakra, The Space Brothers), with one of my recent favorite remixers, DJ Shah? For A Lifetime isn't one of my Space Brothers/Ascension favorites but DJ Shah gives it a good update. You still get a taste of DJ Shah's more relaxed style at points but it retains the feel of the original overall. I'd love to see DJ Shah take on Someone or Everytime.
  • Kim Sozzi - Feel Your Love (Extended Mix)
    This isn't the first time Kim Sozzi's gone from your typical house diva style to trance. In this go around, it's hard to hear the Kim Sozzi I remember from "We Get Together" back in 2001 in this track. Not a good or bad thing, it's just impressive that Sozzi sounds like she's been doing trance vocals for years, which is probably a much better career move because trance is MUCH more commercially viable, at least in Europe. While this track didn't blow me away, it's enjoyable and worth a space in your newest playlist.
  • Giuseppe Ottottaviani feat. Stephen Pickup - No More Alone (Original Mix)
    One of the tough things about trance is that a lot of it winds up sounding the same. The genre has been undergoing some growth -- there's hard trance and you've also got the Eurodance sound -- neither of which really appeal to me. One of the ways to stand out is to use a different sound for the synths -- No More Alone takes this approach. I'm not sure if I like it, but I tend to be a little picky on small things like that. Overall, another decent track worth mentioning.
A quick note -- while these are Beatport releases, I did have problems linking to a couple. I ended up linking to them at Masterbeat, so you can listen and maybe purchase.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Masterbeat New Releases Week of 10/17/08

Marc's Top 5 House Releases
  • UPhonic Records Presents Darrell Martin - One Nation (Darrell Martin & Steve Harwood Mix)
    A fusion of House and a more reggae style vocal. For those of you who enjoyed Bob Sinclar's recent tracks like World Hold On & Together (both featuring Steve Edwards) and Love Generation (featuring Gary Pine), One Nation is very much in that mold. Personally, I preferred the instrumentation of the Groovepusher Mix - it's got a great happy and bouncy vibe, but the vocals are off key and that drives me nuts. The Darrell Martin & Steve Harwood Mix has more of a traditional club feel and their use of the vocals works. I'd still prefer the Groovepusher Mix with vocals that were on key.
  • Hani feat. Andrea Martin - No More (Original Vocal Mix) and (Dino Velvet Mix)
    I know some people love their screaming Divas. Andrea Martin doesn't really scream, but for those of you who like diva house, this track gives you a good taste of diva, although the energy level in both mixes is a little more subdued. The Dino Velvet Mix has gives it more of an electro flavor while the Original Vocal sticks to a more traditional house feel. Not really a "throw your hands up in the air" kind of track, as a DJ it's something I'd play to let the crowd catch their breath and regroup.
  • Pleasure Bar - My Love Will Lift You Up (Original Mix)
    Okay, I love groovy house and my ears picked up the moment I heard this. This track is light and groovy -- something that would be great getting you moving and in the mood to dance -- and still has enough energy to move you into something a little more aggressive. Enough energy to separate it from lighter "deep house" tracks. This is a track I'd love to hear out on the dance floor and something I'd love to play or listen to just about any time of the day.
  • Mary Mary - Get Up (George Mena & Frankie Estevez Fuzion Mix) & (Jamie J Sanchez Mix)
    I was introduced to Mary Mary by the often played Shackles (Praise You), back in 1999 - 2000. Get Up is another crossover track, there are quite a few mixes. Both the George Mena & Frankie Estevez as well as the Jamie J Sanchez mixes have a good mainstream dance feel to them. The beat in the George Mena & Frankie Estevez mix has a bit more punch, but overall I lean toward Jamie J's mix. A good track with Mary Mary's great voice and uplifting lyrics. If you're used to the Circuit vibe of the past several years, Jamie J's track is very much in that vein.
  • Janice Grace - Wanna Be Beautiful (Dave Audé & Claude Le Gache Club Mix) & (DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Mix)
    Think of Fergie and The Pussycat Dolls. This track is the exact opposite, as least in substance. Janice Grace takes a shot at the highly produced, looks obsessed artists that seem to be dominant in pop culture right now. A good track, the Dave Audé & Claude Le Gache Club Mix have a little grittier feel with the electric guitar while the DJ Escape & Tony Coluccio Mix has a more disco feel and sounds like something you'd have heard in most gay bars 10-15 years ago. Twisted Dee also has a mix and I'm a big fan of her remixes -- the Twisted Dee Dub is good but something in the Vocal Mix didn't sit right with me. Wasn't Dee's fault -- some of the vocals have a very processed "vocoder" feel that is the rage right now... which is ok, but if you're singing about how you don't want to be packaged like other artists, perhaps your vocals shouldn't be so processed.
Bonus Track: Debby Holiday - Joyful Sound (Scotty K's Sordid Club Mix) & (Wayne G & Porl Young Atlantis Anthem)
For those of you who remember Debby Holiday's big club hit, Dive, a few years ago, along with Half A Mile Away, Debby's classic diva style is candy to our gay ears. Debbie's back with a brand new track. While Hani and Andrea Martin never get to a "hands in the air" energy level, Debby takes you there with ease. Debby has many of the big names remixing the track that are familiar to gay club goers - Scotty K, Wayne G, Hex Hector and Tracy Young. Having done a mix of Dive, Scotty K's mix has a similar feel. Tracy Young's mix is a little too tribal for this track -- the track deserves more instrumentation than this mix gives it. Wayne G & Porl Young's Atlantis Anthem probably comes closest to giving this track the energy it deserves.

Marc's Top 5 Trance Releases
When it comes to trance, I prefer vocal trance -- while there's some great instrumental trance out there, it can get a little repetitive and boring for my tastes. Usually an instrumental track has to have something in it that really jumps out for me to want to listen to it.
  • DJ Shah feat. Inger Hansen - Don't Wake Me Up (San Antonio Harbour Mix)
    DJ Shah is one of my favorites of the past couple of years. His tracks usually have a lighter, more etherial feel to them while still having energy to them. Don't Wake Me Up isn't my favorite of his tracks -- I like the vibe but something about the vocals is just a hair off. Not enough to dislike the track, but enough for me to notice every time I listen. Still, worth getting.
  • Thrillseekers feat. Fisher - The Last Time (Simon Bostock Remix) & (Original Mix)
    The Thrillseekers have been around forever and always come out with great tracks. This one is more traditional trance -- light female vocals, standard buildups and breakdowns and floating synths. Nothing struck me as outstanding, but everything is done well, which is what I'd expect from the Thrillseekers.
  • Offer Nissim feat. Maya - For Your Love (Sied van Riel Remix)
    For the record, I'm not the biggest Offer Nissim fan -- his tracks all have a very distinct sound... on the darker, heavy side, as well as being melancholy and melodramatic. I know some people love, love, love him, and I don't mean to suggest that he doesn't have some great tracks... they just all sound so similar to me as to all be interchangable. Sied van Riel doesn't change the overall mood of the track but gives it a very different feel. Lighter, but still melancholy (you can only do so much, right?). Maya's vocals float, instead of the usual feeling of yearning or lamenting that I'm used to hearing from her. A great change of pace.
  • George Acosta feat. Aruna - Fallin Backwards (Dunderstadt Uplifting Remix)
    Another melancholy track, in line with the other tracks in the batch. The vocals remind me a little of Do's vocals in DJ Sammy & Yanou's Heaven. They have a younger feel while also being expressive.
  • Sunlounger - Agua Blancas (DJ Shah's Original Mix)
    As I mentioned before, I prefer vocal trance, but this track from Sunlounger is an exception. Again, I love DJ Shah's work and he is in fine form here. Relaxed, with a guitar line that draws you in. It makes me think of sitting on the beach, watching the sun set over the water. Just a great track.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

One Crazy Bitch...

I refer, of course to the power-abusing Sarah Palin. Betty White, on the other hand, is amazing.
(From AmericaBlog.)

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Say Hi To Your Mother For Me

With Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin, my interest in Saturday Night Live is renewed. I was watching one sketch and noticed that Will Forte is kinda hot. Even when they're trying to make him rather frumpy, he still manages to be strikingly handsome. Another one of my favorites is Andy Samberg, who I also find to be rather hot. Lest you think my interest is purely physical, here's a video of Samberg doing an impression of Mark Wahlberg that is spot on. Enjoy, and say hi to your mother for me.

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Marc's Midweek Beef With Wood Haiku

Such a sweaty beef,
it feels good to know you work
hard to give me wood.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

My Life's Motto

Found this past Friday night. I can't think of truer words.

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The Gloves Are Off

I know I've already voted, but the campaign isn't over. In the wake of McCain's flagging poll numbers, the McCain campaign has decided that his last tactic is to smear Obama. Teddy RuxpinSarah Palin has already started the smears. The Obama campaign has finally decided to take the gloves off and hit back with the one issue that we haven't heard about at all this campaign -- John McCain's involvement with Charlie Keating & the S&L disaster. The Obama campaign just released this new, 13 minute video about the Keating scandal and has even launched a new website - Look for much more about the Keating 5 scandal in the next month.

Yeah, a maverick and reformer. You asked for this, John.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

VP Debate Reaction

I was chatting with my friend Mikey today about the VP debate. He thought Biden was a little off his game. I explained that Biden had to really tone his usual shtick down because Palin has a vagina. That's a little too harsh because it wasn't just that Palin has a vajayjay, it's that she has a vajayjay and is completely unqualified. So that means we have to be super nice.

Because of that, Biden had to take a different tone -- show that he was intelligent, knowledgable and in touch with voters' concerns. He also did a great job hitting at John McCain and tying him to the Bush Administration. From what I've read and seen about reactions from undecided voters, they responded to him well.

Palin did a much better job than expected. She didn't make a complete ass of herself and as a human being, I have to admit that I was relieved. Beyond the underlying train wreck factor, Palin demonstrated that she's every bit as good as a Teddy Ruxpin. She can say anything you tell her to say and by golly, the eyes and mouth move along with the recording! It became painfully apparent that she was either not willing or not capable to do anything beyond that -- the most illustrative point on that was when Biden got choked up talking about knowing what it's like being a single parent worrying that one his sons wouldn't make it... Given Biden's family history, the human response would be to acknowledge that and show some compassion. Instead TeddyPalin immediately launched into how John McCain is a maverick.

By golly, the eyes and mouth move along with the recording!

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Time to Choose

Arizona has already started sending out early voting ballots. In fact, mine just arrived in the mail today. I just filled mine out, although I haven't mailed it back yet. (It's only been here 15 min or so, not like I'm stalling, here.) In any event, I'm glad to be able to finally put my two cents in officially, even if I don't expect Arizona to end up in the Obama column.

While I'll enjoy watching the last few weeks of this drama play itself out, regardless of what happens (by that I mean, regardless of the margin of Obama's win), it's time to quit agonizing over the choices and just choose. Choose something and take a step in that direction. That's something I've needed in my life -- less contemplation about what direction I should go and more confidence in the notion that movement in whatever direction I've chosen will yield rewards. And while this particular choice is important, both for the country and those personal choices in my own life, the truth is that they're not the only choices I or we will ever make.

I guess that's the trick -- no matter how good a decision is, or how poor it is, there is always an opportunity to choose again. Sometimes I lose sight of that... sometimes I forget and think that the choices of the past bind me, when in truth I've always had the ability to go in whatever direction that really inspires me.

"Yes, there are two paths that you can go by,
but in the long run,
there's still time to change the road you're on."
- "Stairway to Heaven", Led Zepplin

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