Category Archives: Music

RFD: 35 Years – Remarkably Festive Divas


Join the NYC Circle of Radical Faeries for an evening of readings, ritual, high drag and magic! Celebrate the 35th anniversary of RFD,

the digest of the Radical Faerie community.

Saturday, May 30th at BLUESTOCKINGS

6:00 PM Meet, Greet, Drum and Chant

7:00 PM Readings…and…


RFDIssue132 The current issue explores the relationship between the Radical Faerie's ritual practices and Starhawk's Reclaiming Collective. It includes articles on the life of Faeries and Witches in the 1970', 80's and 90's
as well as meditations on the current practice of Faerie Ritual. Rare back copies from the last 35 years of quarterly publication will also be available for sale. 

a bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center
in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
172 Allen St.
New York, NY 10002
Bluestockings is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington, one block south of Houston and First Avenue.

By train: F train to 2nd Ave , exit at 1st Ave , and walk one block south.

By car: If you take the Houston exit off of the FDR, then turn left onto Essex
(a.k.a. Avenue A), then right on Rivington, and finally right on Allen, you will
be very, very close.

I’m Hip…and I’m sad…

Blossom Somehow it is appropriate that she would leave this world the night before the Grammy's. I don't think she ever won one, which says more about the Grammy's than it does about Blossom. Anyway, she would never be bothered with such folderol. She had songs to sing.

She wasn't Gay gay…but she was a delicious throwback to the time when gay meant gay…light, witty, charming. A soubrette…a chanteuse…even into her 80s…But a Gayer icon there never was. And you've just got to love a woman who hated Andrew Lloyd Webber.

So it is with a sad heart that we report and mourn the passing of Margeurite Blossom Dearie…the inimitable, the one, the only Blossom Dearie.

There was no one like her. Singing her jazz in her kittenish, sly voice, she ruled the roost at Danny's Skylight Lounge (now also gone.) She could go funny, hip, romantic, smart and sexy with the flick of a wrist on her keyboard. [click on any one of those links to get a taste of the lady's wares.] Stephen Holden, in the New York Times, called her rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim's Wave "definitive." [You can buy it at Amazon if you click that.]

If you came to New York and didn't see Blossom Dearie…you didn't really come to New York.

Some thoughts on the Inauguration…

ArethaOK…is it just me? Sylvester

…or is Aretha Franklin sounding more and more like Sylvester these days?   

Obama's inaugural address is one that bears repeated readings and/or listenings, I'd say. This was a wake-up call for sobriety, to a nation that's grown drunk on celebrity and wealth.

I hear a lot of people expressing disappointment…not enough this, not enough that…much of the same sort of thing we heard early on in this intriguing man's campaign…not "black enough" "not experienced enough"…it's time to stop bringing our expectations to this man and trying to fit him into them, and let him do what we put him there to do. Some people expected more reference to Martin Luther King…missing, I think, the point that this is not just the first African American President…with no diminishment for all that means…this is The President. And I think that's what he was letting everyone within earshot know. And is this the first time a President has acknowledged "non-believers"? How refreshing.

It has been noticed that, within seconds of President Obama's swearing in, the official home page of the White House was updated with a lengthy list of commitments to further LGBT rights. It doesn't go far enough and we will see if he is really committed to it, but there's an opening. Perhaps the only way you aren't going to be disappointed by this man is if you are looking for disappointment. There he will not disappoint.

That said, the expectations for this man are so high, and one suspects so unreasonable, that it is inevitable that he will disappoint: he's already disappointed me with the Gene Robinson snub. I don't care who's decision it was to censor him, the buck still stops on Obama's desk. This wouldn't (and obviously didn't) happen to Rick Warren.

Warren's Christ-centric blather seemed to be generally ignored, to my ears, with nary an "Amen" joining in from any corner at the end, that I could hear. Reverend Joseph Lowery was sweet and funny…though, as my friend Ellen pointed out, after "the black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right"…he left out "And Gays will have their day."

Wow…Gays were left out. What else is new? President Obama is asking us all to "rise above" and leave childish things behind (Are you listenting Senator John Cornyn?…what a numbnuts.)

Anyway, while we're at it…how about putting homophobia on that list of childish things we leave behind?

(…I'm not a cynic, but it's only been three days and I am already finding and Oprah's "America's Song" insipid.)

A Great Voice Silenced

I woke up this morning to hear the sad news of the death of a great woman, one of the single name wonders in the world, Odetta. I have no idea of Odetta's sexuality, but I know her, personally, from many years ago when we were fighting another anti-Gay initiative in California, the one in the new film about Harvey Milk, Prop. Six. One of the many ways we raised funds for that fight (including an art auction and a state-wide Hair-cut-athon) was a fantastic concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) performed and so did Odetta.

I honestly don't remember what she sang that day. But it is impossible not to remember her voice, her incredible voice that was like a force of nature itself. I remember her devotion to civil rights.

I remember, even then, how her presence was a blessing on a campaign we were none too sure was going to go our way.

I remember, when she agreed to come, I offered my profuse thanks to which she responded "Where else would I be?"

Indeed. Once more, the LGBT community has lost a friend and ally.

WC78 – Music Review of Theo Bleckmann

Rvu_bleckmann-lasvegas Rvu_bleckmann-berlin Theo Bleckmann
Berlin: Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile/Winter&Winter 910 138-2
Las Vegas Rhapsody/Winter&Winter N° 910 116-2

Reviewed by Bo Young

Genre-bending, -skipping and -skirting vocalist and composer, Theo Bleckmann has been a force in the music scene in New York for over 15 years. Since moving to Manhattan in the late 80’s from his native Germany, Bleckmann has forged a unique sound in jazz and contemporary music, drawing from jazz, ambient and electronic music, integrating extended vocal technique as well as live electronic processing and looping.

He has performed worldwide on some of the great stages including Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, the Sydney Opera House, L.A.’s Disney Hall, The Whitney Museum and the new Library in Alexandria, Egypt. The New Yorker called him a “local cult favorite”, Downbeat a “ “mad” genius”, The New York Times “excellent” and according to OUT Magazine, Bleckmann is “a singer who has only recently fallen to earth“ and indeed Bleckmann's style has something otherworldly and ethereal.

For the past two years, Bleckmann has been voted into the small group of artists called "Cultural Elite" by New York Magazine and was recently interviewed by Terry Gross for NPR’s Fresh Air. That podcast is here.

In 1989 Bleckmann moved from his native Germany to New York City after meeting legendary jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan at a workshop in Graz, Austria, who remains an influential mentor and supportive colleague to this day. Together they can be heard on Sheila Jordan's "Jazzchild" (High Note). Since his move to Manhattan (and ultimately taking on US citizenship in 2005) he has worked with such artists as Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk (whose core ensemble Bleckmann has been a member of since 1994), Michael Tilson Thomas, John Zorn and the Bang On A Can All-Stars and was a featured soloist with the Albany Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, Estonian Radio Choir, Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Mark Morris Dance. The boy moves in heady circles..

For all his vocal experimentation with electronics and ambient, his most recent recording is a virtual classic venture in tradition, again with Fumio Yasuda, Berlin: Songs of Love and War, Peace and Exile. I purchased his delightful Las Vegas Rhapsody. The name is a tad odd…the boy is queer you know…the songs are all Broadway and film classics…but the performances and the production are first rate.

I’m as enamored of the great divas (Lady Day, Sarah Vaughn, Garland, Midler, Ross, the Pattis) as the next card-carrying homosexual conspirator — but I have a preference for the male voice singing love songs. And here we have some of the most beautiful, most romantic love songs ever written, sung in Bleckmann’s Berlin insouciant alto: We Kiss in A Shadow (The King & I), Out of My Dreams (Oklahoma). The Night They Invented Champagne (Gigi) and …this is the kind of music you stay at home with someone special, draw the blinds, and cuddle up on the couch..and sip some champagne! Lush satisfying arrangements by Fumio Yasuda with the Kammerorchester Basel only add to the pleasure. There are times, he evokes Nico at her most androgynous best.

Bleckmann range, vocally, emotionally and physically (he  was once a junior ice dancing champion), inspired some of today's great composers to create pieces especially for and with him. He teaches on the jazz faculty of New York's Manhattan School of Music and has been an adjunct at New York University, The New School and Queens College and teaches voice privately and in workshops and masterclasses worldwide.

Give Berlin and Las Vegas a taste. You’ll be delighted.

This is just an excerpt from this issue of White Crane.   We are a reader-supported journaland need you to subscribe to keep this conversation going.  So to read more from this wonderful issue SUBSCRIBE to White Crane. Thanks!