Celebrate the Fourth of July with Red, White, and Boy, Erm–Blue; Catch Steve Grand’s New Single and Video

I enjoy gay shorts–gay short films, that is.  They have been a staple of gay film festivals for years, and many classics as well as recent productions are available with just a brief search of youtube or dailymotion.

“All-American Boy” by out, country singer Steve Grand could stand as a short film on its own, but add the lyrics and music and this video becomes something special.  Not to mention Steve is one pretty fine firecracker.  

Download the song and read more at http://stevegrand.bandcamp.com

Get more of Steve on Twitter @stevegrandmusic and http://www.facebook.com/SteveGrandArtist

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Tegan and Sara Just Might Be the New Best Thing

This duo caught my ear on the work commute a few months back on Sirius Radio’s 108 (OutQ).  I don’t know all that much about Tegan and Sara except they’re twin lesbians originally from Canada (more here).  The single that really gave a yank to my ear is “I’m Not Your Hero” (check out the Eo3 remix below).  It’s a piece of ear candy that I want to listen to over and over again.

However, after trying out a number of of their other songs on youtube, I found most of them just kind of unpolished, though that sound may be a draw for some of their fans.  This past Monday night Tegan and Sarah were one of the groups performing on Logo‘s NewNowNext award show.  That live performance, too, left me wanting something.  The energy they give off is akin to that of a graduate student in a professional writing program.

That last analogy hits you as over-harsh, but should this pair keep on with the sound, on what I take is their latest single, “I Was a Fool,” Tegan and Sara may just be the new best thing.  This new one is clean and the lyrics pull you in.  Hope you take a listen.

Trip to the Outhouse–Blogging, Four Years and Counting . . . and It All Started with Hurricane Ike and Matthew Mitcham

Matthew Mitcham, having fun, before the start of the 2012 London Olympics (photo @matthew_mitcham)

It’s hard to believe that four years have gone by since I first started this blog.  It’s doubtful that I would have put in this much continued effort were it not for two big topics that I blogged about back in 2008, the devastating Hurricane Ike, which passed through southeast Texas, and gay Australian diver, Matthew Mitcham, who was a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics.

There’s not that much evidence of the extensive damage that Hurricane Ike caused, even when you head down to hard-hit Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.  Galveston, though still trying to recover population numbers, is once again bustling with out-of-state tourists and day-trippers from nearby Houston, who are attracted by the warm water, great restaurants, and new entertainment venues.  If you take the ferry and cross to Bolivar Peninsula, you pass by new sub-divisions of beachhouses, most of which rise high off the ground to protect them from rising water.

When it comes to the second topic, Matthew Mitcham is back, once again competing in olympic diving, this time in London.   After winning his gold medal in the 10 meter platform dive, Mitcham, at age 20, became one of the most–if not the most–well-known out gay athletes in the world.  For some so young, being such a worldwide celebrity might have been a heavy load to carry.  However, Mitcham, as athlete, activist, and product spokesperson, has worn all of his hats well, and once again is back competing in the London 2012 Olympics.

While this blog attracted many readers because of my telling of the events happening to me personally and that of Houston during Hurrican Ike and the days after, thank goodness there has not been another hurricane that has headed our way in these past four years. 

On the other hand, my blogs about Mitcham’s victory in the Beijing 2012 Olympics still bring readers to this site, showing that he’s still–if not even more–popular.   I still admire Matthew Mitcham, not only because he’s such an amazing athlete and role model, but also that in spite of his célébrité, he has been able to keep a good sense of himself and just be a normal early-20s guy.

Check the early posts (2008) for more about Hurricane Ike and Matthew Mitcham on this blog.  Also a good way to keep up with Matthew Mitcham is through Twitter (https://twitter.com/matthew_mitcham), where he posts lots of photos.

On the Road Home: Those Sirius XM Channels Can Lead to a Place . . . Well, a Place where the Music Is “Musique”

How the 9 button got pre-set to 155 I don’t know, but luckily this mystery put me onto a kind of music I probably wouldn’t have tried.  My car came with 6 month’s worth of Sirius XM satellite radio on it, and I liked more than enough channels to renew it when the free time was over a couple months ago.

There are so many choices in music and talk that I only randomly switch over to a local Top 40 station these days.  Anyway, how many of the repetious songs about gettin’ drunk at the club or seein’ what’s hidin’in somebody’s CK briefs can a person listen to?

This Channel 155 was a refreshing change almost from the instant my fingertip hit the button.  And I couldn’t understand a word of the lyrics.  Latitude Franco is a French Canadian channel with just fun, pleasing-to-the-ear, mostly pop music.   I don’t know if all the songs are Canadian or not, but they are all in French.  I’m enjoying the music so much that I would almost start studying another language again.  I did say “almost”.
Un Jour Sur Deux by Stefie Shock

Québécois singer-songwriter, Stefie Shock

I can’t get the song above out of my head.  Of course, I could use a translator to get “Every Other Day” from “Un Jour Sur Deux”, but I’ve tried to find the full lyrics; so far no luck.  However, I’m almost certain this fun song by Stefie Shock doesn’t have much to do with getting trash-faced in the neighbor’s pool last summer. The sound and the voice do make me think of David Bowie, or even more, Miguel Bosé of Spain.

Give it a play and you might get hooked like I did.

Saturday Morning Bits and Pieces, But the Rain Gauge Is Back in Place (With Even Some Rain in It)

Another magnificent jungle cactus bloom--just the thing to spark up a drab July.

Here we are at the end of July, and this is only my second post of the month.  Blame it on the heat.  (“Don’t blame it on the bossa nova.“)  It’s been that kind of month; one that has seemed to drag on, maybe because it has days in six different weeks.

Our temps here in the Houston area haven’t been so far out of range, like in some places.  However, they have been about 5-6 degrees hotter on most days than the low 90s that we usually have most summer days.  Also, the spring and summer have been very dry this year.  Now, though, the spotty, summertime showers that come in from the gulf seem to have returned.  Here at my house, there has been some sort of shower each of the last four days.  How much Tropical Storm Don has played in this, I don’t know, for, in general, that storm has been pretty much of a bust.

Because of these recent showers, I finally remembered to replace my rain gauge.  The previous one fit into that category:  “they don’t make’m like they used to.”  With the new glass tube in place, I can report that here near Huffmeister and 529, we had .20 of an inch of rain early this morning.

Obviously, the plants respond to the rainwater much better than that out of the hose.  However, I’ve kept the tomato plants alive, and if August doesn’t burn them up, they might produce some fall fruit.  The plants in the flower beds and pots are holding their own for the most part.  The July highlight was the second bloom ever on one of the jungles cactuses (epiphyllum).  This time I saw the bud the evening before.  I looked before I went to bed, but it still had not opened, but there in the morning, when Annie and I went out to the yard just before daybreak, there it was, fully opened.  At that early hour, this bloom was still pristine, unlike the first one in June that was starting to wilt, as it was already becoming light when I discovered it.  It’s such a pity that the life of these beautiful blooms is so fleeting.

With all this heat, stay inside with the A.C. is about all one wants to do.  It’s kind of like what winter forces upon people in some places.  Anyway, it’s gotten me in the mood to start a new quilt, something I haven’t done in a long time.  I’m piecing it by hand.  I’ll do a bit of “show and tell” as it gets a bit further along.

Looking out further afield, I’m happy that the certification of the lifting of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been done, pleased that marriage equality has come to New York (now to overturn DOMA), and dismayed that all those people who got elected to congress to help improve the jobs situation are so stubborn (no, “stubborn” is too mild of a word) that they would send the county on its way to ruin, rather than move one inch to compromise.  (They should have a lit M-80 stuck in their pieholes.  No, sorry, wrong hole.)

It’s Saturday morning.  The coffee in the cup is cold now.  Annie is happily chewing on a sparerib bone.  It’s not even nine quite yet.  Still a lot of the day to look forward to (Sometimes only fragments will do.)

Houston Gay Pride Parade–Version 2011

Houston Gay Pride Parade 2011 is off and running!Jonathan Lovitz, from LogoTV's "Set Up Squad" was one of this year's honorary grand marshals.

The 2011version of the Houston LGBT Pride Celebration (commonly known as the Houston Gay Pride Parade) was attended by a large crowd.  (I’ll be interested in what the official count will be.) The parade was lead off by the traditional HPD cruiser and contingent, followed directly by Houston’s own gay mayor, Annise Parker, with her partner, Kathy Hubbard at her side.

The crowd gathering before the start of the parade, here in front of Tomo's.

A broad mix of people came to view the Pride Parade. A few of them entertaining themselves before the start.

The unexpected is always expected at the parade.

Jonathat Lovitz, of LogoTV's "Setup Squad", one of the honorary grand marshals.

There was no lack of other politicians riding in the parade, including many of the current city council, and council wannabees, as well as state representatives and congresspeople.  There were a large number of groups representing a wide variety of gay interests, many who have participated year after year.  However, every year there are new participants.

Many things have changed about the parade have changed over the years.  For one there is a lot less police “presence” along the parade route.  Maybe that’s due to having a gay mayor.  There are perhaps more straight people than gay people that attend these days.  Sometimes, I wonder if they are really interested in the groups, or just want to get the beads that are thrown.  I saw more drinking than I have seen before, as illustrated by a 50-something woman, who eased in next to me, and screamed at every float or group.  Her name was Julie.  Yes, that’s what she screamed, “Hey, it’s me Julie.”  I hope she enjoys all her loot.   Yes, the Gay Pride Parade has changed.

The colorful float of Bunnies on the Bayou.

Gay Asians & Friends--this group is uniquely costumed year after year.

The Texas Gay Rodeo Association's entry.

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's entry illustrates the parade theme "Live, Love, Be."

A perennial favorite, the boys of South Beach.

One of the many colorful contingents in the parade–this one is Jenni’s Noodle House.

See story and photos of 2010 Pride Parade here.

 

Houston Pride Festival 2011 Attracts Large Crowd Despite the Heat

Gay flag is waving under the hot Houston sun at the Westheimer entrance to the festival.

Sunscreen applied, I drove in to Houston’s Montrose area around 1:30 PM.  I felt the sun blasting down on me as I dashed from one shaded spot to another one the few blocks to the main festival area, just off of Montrose and Westheimer.

The number of vendors and organizational booths increases every year.

It’s getting to be a better festival each year.  There definitely was more of everything this year that last: more people, more booths, and, especially more heat.  It was so hot out on the pavement that it was difficult just to stand anywhere for a short while.  Thankfully, there were vendors and other booths passing out glasses of ice and other refreshments.

Pride Festival attendees take refuge from the heat under live oak trees along Lovett Boulevard.

The crowd appeared quite a bit larger than last year, maybe because it started one hour later.  I realize upon looking at the photos that I took that they don’t represent the large crowd that was in attendance.  After taking a good look at everything and listening a bit to a local Houston rock band (Osirus), the heat took its toll on me and I was ready for the AC of the car.

Local rock band Osirus performs on the festival's main stage.

 Check out 2011 Pride Parade post and pics here.