Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Madonna Conquers San Jose!

Madonna Conquers San Jose

By the time the Madonna concert was over I think I was more exhausted from watching the show than anyone in it, including the unstoppable Material Girl. In what is her most audience-friendly tour ever she wowed the crowd over and over, running from the middle of the arena, across the catwalk to center stage, then off to either side of the jutting side stages to the people in the stands. Everyone was offered a glimpse, and from the stage design that people saw before the show, they knew it before it even happened.

The energy was high just entering the parking lot. From drag queens dressed from every era of her career, to old school Madonna wannabees, the excitement started building before you even entered the arena. Once in, the fans ate up the merchandise at the various stands and entered into the dimly lit, purpley hazed arena. The show of course started 45 minutes late, and the tension was through the roof. Fans in 20 rows back and further discovered that the catwalk extended right out to them, and fans in the stands saw the side catwalks extending to them. The most famous diva in the world was going to be dancing right in front of them. Screams shot out randomly and even some tears were shed when fans saw how close they were to the catwalk. It might sound crazy, but Madonna fans have stuck with her for over 20 years now, so it was no surprise emotions were high.

I cannot wait to give you all the details in next weeks review of the show. Needless to say it was one of the most amazing performances I have ever seen live. After the show, some of the fans hit Splash, the only gay club in San Jose. Surprisingly it was a little bit of a quiet night. I think most people were spent after such a high energy show. After a drink we hit Original Joes Bar and Grill, where many of the shows crew were dining for some late night grub. Of course we were all on the lookout for some of Madonnas dancers, but none showed up.

There are still shows left, and if you are contemplating a trip to see her do what you can to get there. Check out my show review in the June 9th issue!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tony Awards Central: Seattle connections

My name is Spencer Fairbanks and I am doing a special to the SGN in anticipation of Broadway's biggest night, The Tony Awards, broadcasting live from Radio City Music Hall Sunday June 11. I am an avid fan of theatre and a local actor who makes frequent trips to the Big Apple to see the latest plays and musicals. Here is my first preview leading up to the awards. We will look at the highlights and hottest contests in this year's race for the coveted prize.

Check back here for more Tony news and be sure to read the June 9th SGN for aTony Awards Preview!

What makes this year so exciting is the Seattle connection to the Tony's. Intiman Theatre has recieved eight nominations and has won the Tony for Best Regional Theatre in the country.
Director Bartlett Sher continues his winning streak, with six nominations for his production of AWAKE AND SING. And there are more Seattle connections. Former Spectrum Dance leader Donald Byrd is nominated for Best Choregraphy for THE COLOR PURPLE. And our own 5th Avenue Theatre has birthed another hit with THE WEDDING SINGER, garnering five nominations including Best Musical.

This year the category is a mixed bag of high drama, bubbly spoofs, tuneful retrospectives and old fashioned love stories. Anyone could win this one, however it is my opinion that it will come down to a duel between THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and JERSEY BOYS.

THE DROSWY CHAPERONE, starring Tony nominated Sutton Foster, is a frothy homage to the silly musicals of the 1920's. It came out of nowhere and captured thirteen nominations! It is a critical hit and a favorite of Broadway audiences. JERSEY BOYS has tremedous momentum, with prospects of a long NY run and a touring vehicle for the next few years. JERSEY BOYS, follows the rise of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, using vintage jukebox hits as it's score. Strong word of mouth has propelled this show to sell-out status, and gathered a total of eight nominations. Oprah Winfrey's name hasn't hurt the box office at THE COLOR PURPLE. Despite mixed reviews, the production has gone on to recieve eleven nominations, and a tour is already underwa, opening in Chicago this fall.

In a very unpredictable year, The Tony Awards may spread it's love over several productions.
A Tony win is a must for a struggling show trying to reach an audience, and usually an assurance of a healthy box office. Tony voters are made up from Members of the Academy and are spread out across the country. Members are actors, directors and producers of the American Theatre Wing.

Stay tuned for more on the 61st Annual Tony Awards.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sasquatch Music Festival - post thoughts

Our apologies for not getting a Sasquatch Music Festival thread going before the start of the three-day long concert. We actually had a slight problem with our blogsite at the start of the weekend. It has now been fixed. Our intentions were to inform everyone that the festival had completely sold out in advance. I bumped into a lot of folks in the parking lot wanting tickets, surprised to find out there weren't any available at the box office and unwilling to pay the $150 scalper's fee.

For those of you who couldn't make it, I'll have a festival wrap-up in my column this week. But here's a taste of what took place at The Gorge:

* It hailed (HAILED!!!) for about ten minutes Saturday, just after Iron & Wine finished his set. Neko Case was onstage and got through about three songs into her performance before politely excusing herself to run for shelter. My friend and I huddled with wet, jublilant drunk people in one of the indoor on-site beer gardens. It rained afterwards, creating a muddy experience.

* Matisyahu and Queens of the Stone gave two of the festival's strongest performances. My head is still spinning from the Queens' set! And on a secondary stage, We Are Scientists drew a gigantic crowd and wowed everyone. They were incredibly good. I'm so proud of those guys. I gave lead singer Keith Murray a hug afterwards, and said hello to the whole band as they signed autographs at the Easy Street Records booth. I knew them when.

* Gay boys at an alternative rock festival? You bet. I ran into several gay boys there, and my friend witnessed a thirtysomething gay couple making out in the VIP Lounge.

* Speaking of Matisyahu, he used the restroom in the VIP Lounge just before I did. Nice guy. Then he later met Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie near his tour bus. And he and Ben Lee went for a walk together.

* Beck gave an oddly cool performance, complete with a slacker pimp outfit and puppets (??!!). Songs on his set list included "Loser", "Where It's At", "Devil's Haircut", "Hell Yes", "Que Onda Guero", "Clap Hands" and "New Pollution". Apparently, Beck watched Queens of the Stone Age from the side of the stage.

* Let's talk beer: The Gorge now allows you to roam about the grouds with beer, providing you buy them there. Before, you could only drink in the beer gardens or designated beer areas. I chugged a 24-ouncer right in front of We Are Scientists during their performance.

* Did Arctic Monkeys deliver on the hype? Good question. They were amazing. I was in the pit during their entire set and got hit in the head by a crowd surfer. I'd have to say that for as much press and attention as they've received - I expected to be blown away and I wasn't. At this festival, they were definitely out-performed. Lead singer Alex Turner, however, looked fantastic in tan-colored cords and spiky hair. The geekiest sex symbol in rock at the moment.

Read more about the Sasquatch Music Festival, and the annoucement of a very cool band coming to Seattle this summer for a big show, in my column this Friday.

Photo of We Are Scientists, courtesy of Virgin Records.

Friday, May 26, 2006

'Gay marriage' controversy in the 43rd

Who knew "Gay marriage would be such a controversy in the 43rd LD?

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Friday, May 26, 2006
Gay marriage issue stirs up race in 43rd District
Savage's remarks ignite dispute in legislative contest


Jamie Pedersen was hoping to distinguish himself as a champion for gay rights among a field of six liberal Democrats vying to succeed Ed Murray as Seattle's 43rd District state representative.

Instead, he got singled out.

The gay editor of Seattle's most gay-friendly newspaper accused Pedersen, the only gay candidate in the race, of being a dishonest "weasel" in his pursuit of gay voters.

Click here for full article.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Alt Tuesdays" 1-year anniversary with tickets, CDs and sweet stuff to giveaway at Manray Video Bar

Tuesday night is the big night. It's the 1-year anniversary of "Alternative Tuesdays", a weekly club event for the non-pop listener, at Manray Video Bar.

As we do each week, we'll play music videos by the coolest alternative artists like Radiohead, Scissor Sisters, Goldfrapp, The Killers, Fischerspooner, Franz Ferdinand, Bjork, Ladytron, Siouxie and the Banshees, Travis, Morningwood, and many many more.

But this Tuesday is different. We're celebrating 52 weeks, and running, of "Alternative Tuesdays" and we're combining it with a preview for the Sasquatch Music Festival. Three pairs of tickets, one for each day of the three-day weekend-long concert at The Gorge, will be given away. Plus, CDs by festival artists We Are Scientists, Arctic Monkeys, Matt Costa, Beck and Death Cab for Cutie. Double-plus, we have some cool stuff, such as artist stickers from Wolfmother, Matisyahu, Queens of the Stone Age and We Are Scientists to pass out. Triple-plus, for those that arrive early - a sweet treat when you walk in the door. Hint: it has icing.

Bring a friend or come solo. Either way, the gay boys and gals who dig alternative sounds will be hanging out at Manray Video Bar (514 E. Pine) this Tuesday, May 23. Start time is 9:30pm. No cover charge ever. 21-plus admitted. No charge for entering to win tickets. For those in the mood to cocktail, drink specials will be available by Stoli.

For a Sasquatch Music Festival preview highlighting eight must-see artists and an exclusive interview with Wolfmother's Myles Heskett, pick up a copy of this week's Seattle Gay News on the streets now.

Photo of Wolfmother, courtesy of Interscope Records.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Elton John announces Seattle concert at Key Arena

As mentioned two weeks ago in "The Music Lounge" in the Seattle Gay News, Elton John is coming to Seattle this fall to play Key Arena. Details are below. This show is expected to sell out. Don't waste time thinking about getting tickets, just buy them immediately. Seattle Gay News is pleased to provide Sir Elton John with coverage for his upcoming, much anticipated performance. We'll see you at the show!

Elton John
with Davey Johnstone, Guy Babylon, Bob Birch, John Mahon and Nigel Olsson
Friday, September 22 - 8:00pm
Key Arena

Tickets on sale Monday, May 22 - 9:00am
Ticketmaster locations, online or charge-by-phone
$45, $65, $85

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

SGN heading to Madonna's "Confessions Tour" in San Jose

Need your Madonna fix? We've got the remedy.

Seattle Gay News is bringing you all the excitement of Madonna's "Confessions Tour" when it makes a stop in San Jose, California at the end of May. SGN writer Richard Kennedy is making a special trip to the HP Pavillion to check out the show, and to scope out the pre/post parties surrounding the concert.

You'll get details about the show following the pop diva's May 30 performance right here on this blog site, and a full review of the concert in our June 2 issue.

Seattle Gay News --- Madonna --- San Jose --- We're there.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Sasquatch tickets, free CDs up for grabs at "Alternative Tuesdays" 1-year anniversary

Seattle Gay News is pleased to announce the 1-year anniversary of "Alternative Tuesdays", a weekly club event at Manray Video Bar (514 East Pine). To celebrate the 52-week mark of this club night, we're throwing a party on May 23 and giving away three pairs of tickets to the Sasquatch Music Festival at The Gorge, one pair for each day of the big music concert. Plus, we've got CDs by festival artists We Are Scientists, Beck, Arctic Monkeys, Death Cab for Cutie and Matt Costa to give away. Other goodies, like artist posters and stickers, will be up for grabs too.

Party time is 9:30pm on May 23, only at Manray Video Bar. While you're there, see and hear music videos by your favorite alternative music artists including Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, We Are Scientists, Bjork, The Strokes, Green Day, Bloc Party, Death Cab for Cutie, Ladytron, The Sounds, Nine Inch Nails, Morningwood, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and many more. "Alternative Tuesdays" is sponsored by Seattle Gay News and Manray Video Bar, with weekly drink specials by Stoli.

Photo of Arctic Monkeys, courtesy of Domino Records.