Friday, October 28, 2005

Le Passion Selon La Madonna.

So, it seems that every "gay" blog on the universe feels the need to comment effusively every time there is a new Madonna record (I'm talking about you, Andy!).
So allow me to comment. I hate that bitch.
No, hate is too strong a word. Loath might be better. Halfway between hate and disdain. I hate, however, having to blog about her. So let's get this out of the way.
Madonna is a middling talent, an 80's New York scenester who managed to put together a career by fucking the best producers of the day, like Jellybean Benitez and Nile Rodgers. They managed to craft some solid pop songs around her weak mid-range voice, and that's about it. She was however a marketing genius, and was smart enough to cultivate a following of fashionable New York fags who made her career and still worship her to this day. Anyone who has suffered the misfortune of hearing Madonna sing acoustically will testify to how thin a talent she really is.
But more than Madonna, I hate her influence. Hey, I like a bass-heavy song with a strong rhythm as much as the next guy, but the linking of club music and gay culture was one of the things that kept me in the closet for so long. I'm not joking! Music is important, at least to me. Music has seriously altered the course of my life on several occasions. The first time I heard the Saint Matthew Passion was the day that I decided to stop being a Mormon. Music has always worked to kick my ass into gear. But when I came out, it was the opposite; the music of the gay club and bar scene was tying to kick my ass right back in to the closet! I mean, here I was, this kid who loved hard indie rock and punk and alt-country, going to bars where they were playing shitty Madonna re-mixes at full volume. Maybe it works on crystal, but on a Thursday evening when you just want to have a cheap beer and a nice conversation, it was ridiculous.
Gays need to embrace this country's full musical heritage, not just that of fag hags and disco queens. I once went to a gay bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the DJ interspersed sets of dance music with sets of country top 40. The twinks would jump up for the Madonna, and the boys and girls in their cowboy drag would jump up for Garth Brooks. I just got dizzy. This was Tulsa. A gay bar. Had these folks never heard of Emmylou Harris?
One of the true reliefs of my life was when I came out of the closet and moved to Hollywood and discovered the East Side gay indie-rock scene. To go into a gay bar and hear the Pixies for the first time was almost an out-of-body experience. There are so many gay men and lesbians out there (I met a lot of them while making my film) who stay away from "gay culture" because they don't think it fits their lifestyle. They don't like the music, the bar culture, the cattiness, and the obsession with taste and shopping that is so egregiously demonstrated on Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. Like me, they watch that show and they emphasize with the poor slob whose life is being hijacked.
Queer or not, I don't see the appeal of Madonna. Or Celine Dion. Or Barbra Streisand. Or Bette Midler. Or Judy "what the hell?" Garland.
On the other hand, Courtney Love, there's a fucking gay icon!


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