For her documentarian directorial debut, actress/comedian/activist Whoopi Goldberg chose the late comedy legend Moms Mabley. Goldberg’s doc, Moms Mabley: The Original Queen of Comedy (HBO Home Entertainment) begins with the premise that Mabley, who died in 1975 at 81, had a profound impact on Goldberg, and then proceeds to give examples of comedians and others on whom her effect was equally great.
The Pirates of Pittsburgh may be having an off-year, but The Pirates of Penzance, currently playing at Toby’s, the Dinner Theatre of Columbia, looks sharp and is likely to have a strong summer. This take on Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1879 good-humored, mischievous work is an enjoyable experience filled with frivolity and tinges of slapstick that will keep you laughing throughout.
The comic opera’s music was written by Arthur Sullivan and the clever libretto penned by his co-collaborator W.S. Gilbert. The Pirates of Penzance was one of the duo’s most popular works—others including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado, and The Sorcerer—and is one of the very few productions from that era still being performed.
For a while there, it looked like Canadian singer/songwriter Loreena McKennit might become as trendy as Enya. The similarities in their Celtic-influenced musical styles certainly made them worthy of comparison. McKennitt did have some hits (although not as many as Enya), earning her a devoted following and a reason to release a compilation such as The Journey So Far: The Best of Loreena McKennitt (UMe/QR). Drawing on songs from her 1990s period, when she was at her most popular, from albums including The Mask and the Mirror, The Visit and The Book of Secrets, the collection features “The Mummer’s Dance,” “The Mystic’s Dream” and “The Lady of Shallot,” to mention a few. The deluxe edition includes a second disc containing highlights from McKennitt’s 2012 Midsummer Night’s tour, recorded in Germany.
Faithful readers of Baltimore OUTloud should easily recognize the name Gregg Shapiro. Since the paper’s inception Shapiro has contributed mightily to the paper’s Lively Arts section with a wide assortment of previews and reviews of movies, CDs and poetry and a plethora of interviews of entertainment personalities—all with an LGBT angle and perspective.
The entertainment journalist is now “on the other side of the mic,” as he put it, and has penned a book about his gay experiences in Chicago. Titled Lincoln Avenue: Chicago Stories, the book of short stories will be released on September 2 by Squares & Rebels, an LGBT imprint of Handtype Press.
Some musical genres are less welcoming to LGBT folks than others. Jazz and hip-hop, come to mind, although there have been dramatic shifts within both, and increasingly one can find queer artists within the ranks. The same can be said for heavy metal (and sub-genres such as progressive rock, death metal and hardcore), and yet, few and far-between as they are, LGBT musicians such as Rob Halford of Judas Priest, are coming out and rocking out. Add the names Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert of the prog/math rock trio Cynic to the list. Like Husker Du, another influential rock band in which 2/3 of the members were gay), before them, the gay majority in Cynic is changing head-banging minds by simply living their lives as out gay men. I spoke with Masvidal and Reinert in June 2014, LGBT Pride month, fittingly enough, about coming out and the music of Cynic.
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