So, about a month ago I presented my list of the Top 10 Songs of 2011, with the caveat that I wasn't sure if even five albums warranted a 'best of' label for the same year. Well, I can positively say that, yes, there were five albums from 2011 that were quite good and, without further adieu, here they are.
This is likely to be an angry post. I (kind of ) apologize in advance, but, there you go. It has been a Matt-truism for decades that I've long been a very sensitive person. No point in going into all the possible reasons why at this juncture. It's simply a part of who I am, although I try every day to keep it in check, to not let it overrule my better nature. Yet, decades later, I seem to find myself back at square one when it comes to sensitivity in regards to interactions with people. It's a deflating, pathetic, lonely, maddening feeling.
Actress Cynthia Nixon seems to be making headlines this week, due to remarks she made at a recent LGBT conference, in which she said that being gay/lesbian is a choice. Here's what she told the New York Times magazine: “I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me.” Honestly, I'm not offended by Nixon's remarks. For one, she makes it clear that she's speaking for herself, and no one else. For another, I do think it's possible that being gay could, perhaps, be a choice for some. Now, before my gay brethren whip out the pitchforks, let me be clear: I believe sexuality to likely be a product of nature and nurture. After al…
From time to time I check out the TV Shows On DVD web site to see if there's going to be a release of the Murder, She Wrote TV movies collection. To clarify: Murder, She Wrote ran for twelve seasons on CBS, and was a favorite of mine. I watched it religiously, and have collected all twelve of the DVD season box sets. All that's left now is the release (if there is to be one) of the four TV movies Angela Lansbury starred in after the show went off the air. They aired from, 1997 to 2003. Their release would be a bittersweet occasion for me.
There's something amiss with pop music fans these days. I don't mean that they're fans of pop music, more so that they seem to be fans of old pop music. This, in and of itself, isn't a bad thing per se, but it is a situation fairly unique to the last 45-50 years of popular music. And, with the current crop of singer/songwriter output being at such a low mark of quality, I do wonder if our culture's tendency to cling to the music makers of the past is perhaps harming the ability to progress in a new, even better direction?
It's been awhile since we've had a Pic of the Week. My apologies. This week, we make up for it by featuring the dishy actor Rob James-Collier, better known as the gay house servant Thomas on the hit British series DowntonAbbey.
Here you go...
It should be noted that James-Collier is a former model, and before Downton Abbey he starred in the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street. It's also interesting to learn that the gay kiss featured in Series 1 of Downtown Abbeywas his idea:
He admitted that it was his idea for Thomas to kiss a visiting Duke, played by Charlie Cox, in the first episode.
"It wasn't actually in the scene but at the second rehearsal it dawned on me that there was a moment missing and we could improve it," he said. "I'm sure my friends back in Manchester will have a few things to say. But you play a character who happens to be gay. It's not an issue."
This probably won't be one of my more popular blog entries. It has to do with being gay, with society, with the hardships that life throws our way, with wanting to belong, and joining a trend. And it has to do with suicide -- never an easy subject. Yet, I feel compelled to put pen to paper (so to speak), if for no other reason than to collect my own thoughts on the matter. So, I'm sorry if I offend you during any portion of this post. Having said that, let's begin.
Tonight marks the (American) return of the hit British television series Downton Abbey. For the uninitiated, the show takes place in England during the early twentieth century, when noblemen were, well, noble, and servants ran vast estates and were, for the most part, content with their lot in life. Or so the story goes. Actor and Academy Award winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes is the creative force behind Downtown Abbey, and writes with an empathetic flair for the human heart. It is this empathy that has, in my opinion at least, made the conservative Fellowes' production such a big hit, on both sides of the pond. Irin Carmon of Slate.com is challenging this notion, wanting an answer to the question of "Why Liberals Love Downton Abbey." The piece struck me for a few reasons. For one, it picks up on the aforementioned stream of empathy that seems to embody the upper class of Abbey. For another, it doesn't shy away from asking why we (at least we as Americans, whose …