Jackson Browne and James Taylor Concert, June 30, 2016, Wrigley Field

While it pains my soul as a die hard Cardinals fan to say this, I don’t like the team within its confines, but I do love Wrigley Field. On June 30, 2016, I found myself present at this old ballpark that I do love due its longevity and history, but I wasn’t there for a baseball game. This night, I was there for a concert of epic proportion. The weather was absolutely perfect this evening even though a few clouds rolled through that looked dangerous. With a light wind coming off Lake Michigan and stars that were clear up above, it was the perfect setting with a mixed crown of young and old alike.

James Taylor headlined the show which called for a big name opener. That was none other than Jackson Browne. While I have seen Taylor several times, I have always missed Browne’s shows when he has passed through town. When I heard about this show, I vowed not to miss it, so it was up to Chicago we went and attended with friends. Browne walked out casually and the place went bonkers.

Browne opened the show with “Rock Me on the Water,” and it sounded simply beautiful. His voice sounded like it did when he started in the business with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1966 and when he first went solo in 1971. His voice echoed throughout Wrigleyville. Midway through the set, he played “Somebody’s Baby” and it definitely pleased the crowd, especially the women. To the delight of all in attendance, Taylor came out on stage and helped Browne close his set. They sang “Take It Easy” (which Browne and the late Glenn Frey wrote together) and “For a Rocker.” Browne’s set was exactly one hour long, but definitely left you wanting more! He appeared gracious and humbled by the reception he received. He talked about his love of Taylor’s music and how he was ecstatic to be playing for him. I was thrilled I finally made it to a Jackson Browne show, and I will definitely see him the next time he comes through St. Louis!

It took the crew exactly 30 minutes to set the stage for Taylor. I should mention that the city of Chicago has a curfew with concerts at Wrigley now due to the fact a certain Pearl Jam front man refused to stop playing after the band’s show was delayed by rain. From what I have heard, it went until about 1:00 a.m. You give the crowd what they came for and paid for if you ask me.

Taylor came on exactly at 8:30 p.m. Much like Browne, he strolled to the stage, grabbed a stool, and opened the show with the mellow number “Something in the Way She Moves.” Taylor wore his trademark hat and tipped it often to the crowd. He was also very thankful to the crowd and you could tell he was excited to be there. Taylor’s voice was also flawless and as the sun went down, you could not help but take in the nice evening. I caught myself just shutting my eyes and listening to Taylor’s silky, smooth voice.

Taylor paid homage to the rooftop bleachers around Wrigley as well as the highest seats in the stadium by playing “Up On the Roof,” a song written for him by his friend, Carole King. He played another King song back to back with “You’ve Got a Friend.” Taylor played one of my all-time favorite songs during a two-song set about his home state, North Carolina. “Copperline” was the first song (and said favorite) followed by “Carolina in My Mind.” Between songs, Taylor would introduce a member or two at a time in his band. His band was like a who’s who of his or her particular talent. While I cannot mention them all, due to the number in the band, I will mention a couple of noteworthy performers. Lou Marini was on horns. Does his name sound familiar? If you are around my age and loved the Blues Brother, he is that Lou in the Blues Brother’s band as well as the original Saturday Night Live band. Andrea Zonn was on the fiddle along with providing background vocals. She is an artist in her own right and recently put out her own album. All the band members were incredible, really!

Taylor performed many of his biggest hits such as “Fire and Rain,” “Shower the People,” and “Your Smiling Face.” Taylor had me choked up a bit when he sang “Sweet Baby James.” On a personal note, I sang this song a lot to my niece and nephew when they were babies (they are 13 and 6 now). It definitely had me in a great memory mode. A song that surprised many people was a cover of “Knock on Wood.” He had a lot of fun with that number, as did the band.

I did not mention that when Browne’s set was over, I found myself a little sad due to the fact he did not play my very favorite song. The next thing you know, at the end of show, Browne walks on stage and they did another song together, “Doctor My Eyes.” At the end of the song, you could tell Taylor was not ready to leave the stage, and he was frantically talking to the band members including Browne. He then looked to a Wrigley employee at the side of the stage who was on camera for all to see and he asked if they could do one more song. His request was granted, and they all performed the last song of the evening, “You Can Close Your Eyes.” The crowd gave what was many standing ovations and the whole gang on stage bowed together in thanks.

To see what songs were played at the show, you can view Jackson Browne’s set list and James Taylor’s set list. This was a once in a lifetime concert because the two are not touring together this year as Browne joined him specifically for this show at Wrigley Field. You can catch the duo this summer at Fenway Park on Aug. 3, 2016. Again, Browne is a special guest for the ballpark show only. However, this show is sold out and you may have to pay a pretty penny going the alternate route for tickets. I think it would be worth it. Both artists are on tour this summer, so I invite you to look at Jackson Browne’s tour dates and James Taylor’s tour dates. I was thrilled to be a part of the crowd for this show! If you were there, let me hear your thoughts in the comments section. | Tracy Fort

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.


Orange Is The New Black, Season 4 Review, July 1, 2016

Before I get started, let me tell you this: SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD! Now you can’t say I didn’t warn you…

If you watch this Netflix show, you know that last season we were left with the girls getting outside the fence and enjoying some lake time. We were also extremely concerned that Alex Vause (Laura Prepon) was about to meet an untimely death. What’s going to happen to Sophia (Laverne Cox), who was sent away to solitary for “protection” as a transgender prisoner? And a big question at the end of season three (for me, anyway) was this: Is Nikki (Natasha Lyonne) coming back? Hang on to your hats, because we get all of that and then some.

The season kicks off to a big surprise for the women of Litchfield. While the inmates have been playing at the lake, they come back eventually (well, most of them) to find their dorm space has been doubled by the addition of bunk beds. A private, for-profit business is now in control of the prison, so the more, the merrier is their motto. (It is way too much like real life, sadly.) You can only imagine how this goes. We meet many new prisoners this year, among them Judy King (Blair Brown), a celebrity inmate chef (sound familiar?). Vause is rescued from the hitman by Lolly (Lori Petty). A comedy of errors ensues from this rescue, because the hitman (disguised as a guard) is killed and—you guessed it—a burying of the body must occur. This has a huge impact on Vause throughout this season.

Officer Healy (Michael Harney) hones in on his pet project for the season, which this year is Lolly. We learn Lolly has some serious mental health issues, as we see her back story and how her illness has been misdiagnosed/not treated for years—again, another issues the prison system overlooks. Healy believes he can “fix” her, as we learn his mother also had mental health issues. Instead of getting proper care such as medication, however, Lolly is left to her own demise in the end.

I was starting to think several shows in that Nikki wasn’t coming back, but suddenly we see her at maximum security. She also has contact in solitary with Sophia. All I am going to say about Sophia’s story is that you are in for a shock, which will anger you. The for-profit prison chooses to deal with Sophia—and the fact she is a transgendered person—by sticking her in solitary confinement. Nikki is finally brought back to the minimum security wing, but we see that maximum has impacted her life. While you see a dramatic change in Sophia, Nikki also has a big change for a large portion of the season.

Piper (Taylor Schilling) is still in the panty-sniffing business run from the prison, as we saw last year. She suddenly believes she is the “head dog” of Litchfield. Sadly, we see this deteriorate quickly while gangs and allegiances are formed. She soon finds herself in the middle of neo-Nazi/Skinhead type of arrangement, which comes back to haunt her. The Latino inmates form a solid force to be reckoned with, as do other parties. It is this group that Piper really pisses off and she pays a dear price. In good news, Alex and Piper do appear back together by the end of the season, as they have really been healthy (well, as healthy as you can be) and supportive of one another.

While I have given some spoilers, I am trying to leave the parts out that you must see. The next is one of those scenes that makes the season. I hate to inform you, but we lose a beloved character this season. Many in the LGBTQ community are very angry about this loss, as we have had too many lesbians “killed off” on television. I agree this must stop. However, I believe what the writers were trying to get across and bring attention to a worldwide problem regarding misuse and abuse of power by people in roles of authority. This individual was the only one this could happen to due to her stature and gentle nature. I cried like a baby; I hate to see this character off the show. However, I will admit this was the only way to make it as effective as possible.

After this unimaginable event, many things take place that are so disrespectful to this inmate. Taystee (the amazing Danielle Brooks) has been given a new job this year, and it is as the new warden’s secretary (the new warden is none other than Caputo, played by Nick Sandow). In true Taystee fashion, she is in the middle of everything. Sadly, she is in the office when Caputo declares the fatal incident an accident; that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, if you will. Taystee was the best friend of the dead character (another hint for you), and she is enraged after hearing this. The show ends with all sides coming together and Taystee leading the charge. Now we must wait one year for Season 5; I am willing to bet that it will be one hell of an opener next year.

In a nutshell, Season 4 is by far the best of the show, hands down. While all seasons have been strong, this slays the other three. This season had two main themes: (1) the lack of mental health treatment inside prisons; and (2) the misuse of power by those in positions of authority, be it a corrections officer or police officer. These are real-life issues that must be tackled. Although those are not the only two themes, I believe they are the two that not only impact the imaginary world of Litchfield, but also us in the real world. I think author Piper Kerman’s influence as consultant was really seen this season, which is a very good thing. If you have not watched yet, grab your favorite snacks and settle in for the weekend to binge watch. It is truly the only way to watch the series that started binge watching to begin with, right? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. | Tracy Fort

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.

The BFG – 3D (Walt Disney Movie Studios, PG), July 13, 2016

If you were fortunate enough to have Roald Dahl books in your home or at school as a kid, you must know the story of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I was a little too old when the book came out in 1982, but I do remember my sister loving all the Dahl books. And what a precious book it is. Take a Dahl book and mix it with Walt Disney Movie Studios along with Steven Spielberg as producer, and you have hit movie pay dirt!

I have to immediately point out the cinematography and effects in this movie as out of this world, but between Spielberg and Disney, I would not expect any less. Everyone (including myself) was mesmerized when the story literally comes alive on the screen. The 3D effects make this an even better experience.

It opens in the city of London, and you feel as if you have been captured and taken there yourself. We meet our star of the movie, Sophie, played by Ruby Barnhill. I was amazed to find out The BFG was Barnhill’s first serious acting gig. Barnhill is an 11-year-old young lady from Cheshire, England, where she is involved with the local youth theater. She is also the daughter of British actor, Paul Barnhill. This young lady steals the show! A simply flawless performance by the young actor. If this child actor can stay away from the pitfalls some have fallen into, I think we are seeing the birth of another delightful British actor! Barnhill is a force to be reckoned with in this film.

Sophie is housed at a London orphanage where the lady who runs it may not be the nicest or most responsible individual. We see Sophie taking on many roles of an adult throughout the home. She goes back to her bed late at night after doing these many activities the orphanage director should be doing and they occur around the “witching hour” (3:00 a.m.). Sophie goes to bed with her trusty flashlight and book in hand! She crawls under her blanket when she is suddenly alerted to something outside window. This is the point where the giant enters the picture.

The giant (voiced by Mark Rylance) is forced to take little Sophie to “Giant Land”. I must interject that Rylance gives a soulful performance as The BFG. The pair form a unique bond where they must rely on one another to get from different situations to another which include battling the carnivorous giants that The BFG must deal with on a daily basis. Their adventure lands them eventually a visit with the Queen of England herself.

The BFG assists The Queen and her royal forces to take down the giants in “Giant Land” as mysterious things have been happening all over England. Everyone is quite certain these giants have something to do with this mystery. Before attempting to conquer the giants, the BFG is given a hero’s welcome which is a tear-jerking sight; I can admit, it was not the only one.

The bond between Sophie and the BFG is a strong one between a fatherly figure and friend. There is nothing that the BFG would not do for Sophie as he shows throughout the movie. It is a classic tale of good and bad plus the bond that can occur between humans. If the world took the approach of being able to connect to people different than them, it would be a much better place. You will also notice other actors involved in the movie such as Bill Hader, Rafe Spall, Penelope Wilton, Jermaine Clement, and Mary Hall. Good definitely wins out over evil.

Whatever you do, I recommend reading the book especially with younger children. It will help prepare them for the premise of the movie. My almost 5-year-old assistant, Jonah, did great in the movie, but I can see how kids could get easily frightened in parts. Plus, this book is a treasure in addition to the movie. Watching The BFG come to life on the big screen is something to see. If you can handle 3D movies, I highly recommend that you see it in 3D as I said. My assistant gave it two thumbs up and an “Awesome!” Jonah, I have to agree with you, buddy! Awesome indeed. Take a look at the trailer and judge for yourself. The BFG comes to theaters near you on July 1, 2016. | Tracy Fort

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online atwww.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.

Butch Vig Interview, June 30, 2016

I had the honor of interviewing Butch Vig, known to most as the drummer for the band Garbage. However, he is also well known for his role as producer of many influential albums, chief among them Nirvana’s Nevermind. He has worked with countless other artists, including, Foo Fighters, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Green Day.

So the new album—I just have to tell you I love it so much. I find that Garbage has their own sound that nobody can mimic, and with this album I really find myself thinking of some of the older Garbage albums. Do you feel that is at all accurate?

I think that our new record sounds much like our first album. Even though texturally they’re quite different, there’s something about the vibe in it that feels similar to me. It’s probably not the experimental aspect we took on Strange Little Birds, but it’s really prevalent on our debut album. We do have a sound and I don’t usually know how to describe what that sound is. Part of that is held together by Shirley Manson. She just has such an amazing voice, and that’s a reason why we can do different things with the music. Shirley allows us to hold it all together; she’s the glue, really. But we share a sensibility between the four of us and I guess that’s what comes across in the melodic ideas, the sound textures, and the feel of the grooves. It’s hard for me to define what that is, but when you hear Garbage songs, for better or for worse, you know it’s us.

You really can. I always like to ask how bands come up with name for their albums. I know that the song “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed” mentions “strange little birds,” but how did you ultimately decide on that title?

Well, Shirley—I think she felt like it was a good line that referenced a lot of things. It referenced the songs on this album, which we feel are a little left field for us. I think it refers to us as a band. We all felt like we never quite fit in, that we were alternative-rockers-meets-ultra-rock, whatever that is. And I think that also it speaks to our fans, because our fan base might feel like they’re out of left field. At least for us it works out on all sorts of levels.

I love all the songs, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be “Amends.” Can you tell me the story or thought process behind this song?

Pretty much all of the songs were written, and then usually the recording was done here at my home studio in Silver Lake, which is very casual; it’s not really a studio. It’s like a bedroom with a ProTools setup and a piano and some drums, a couple guitars and amps. Then we jammed and it was very freeform. Then Shirley came up with these words and stops in the middle of nowhere—strumming the guitar. We didn’t really know what to do with it, and then we started layering different textures. It’s not really a verse-chorus-verse-chorus pop song; it just has all these different textures and kind of builds. Then Shirley changed the melody to what’s on the final record. She wrote all these lyrics and it’s a very personal song for her. It comes from the heart when she sings it. She’s the glue that really ties that arrangement together, because it’s a very powerful arrangement. That’s why I think it works, because her voice is kind of—I kind of get emotional.

What is one thing you could tell me about yourself that fans might not know?

I don’t have very many hobbies. I pretty much listen to music and work on music every day of my adult life—although I am a Green Bay Packers fan and most of my close friends know that.

I know Garbage formed in Madison, Wisconsin. How did you all meet?

For a long time, we started playing in bands together when I was in college. I went to the University of Wisconsin and that’s where I also met Steve [Marker: guitar, keyboards]. We started playing in bands and Steve was our roadie and started working for us. Steve and I started messing around, recording in his basement where we wrote. We eventually built a studio, and that’s where a lot of our old bands started producing and rehearsing full-time. That was in 1984, and I had a whole crazy career which just took off in the production world professionally, working with Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana in mainstream.

Some fans may not know you were the producer behind Nirvana’s Nevermind. What projects do you have going on or now, what is the most recent one you’ve had as a producer?

The Garbage record: We just finished it in March and we were recording in February of this year. I spent most of last year working on that, and before that I was heavily involved with the Foo Fighters. I worked on Sonic Highways, which was just an incredible experience. I worked with a new band for a while, but we’re right in the middle of Garbage at this point so I’ve just been trying to focus on that.

I think that I’m very lucky to make so many records that have gotten great critical acclaim, as well as commercial acclaim. I, like most artists, like to keep moving ahead, and when I finish a project I pretty much just jump into another project and keep going. I never really sit around and put my records on and say, “Man that sounds good.” But I do think some of the records I made still sound really fresh, and they are reminders that I’ve done a lot of records over the course of my career but I just keep moving forward.

Who is the prankster or the clown of the group?

Duke [Erikson: bass guitar, keyboards, guitar]. Duke is very funny and he’s very witty and very good with one liners. He’s a good mimic and he keeps us laughing constantly.

When you get to a town, what is a typical day like before you get to the venue? Do you guys go out and do stuff in the town or do you just hang out?

It depends if we have a day off. We like to go to good restaurants if we get in the night or day before and have that day off go out. If we play the night before, we drive and get there around 6 a.m. check into the hotel and try to sleep for four or five hours, and then try to find a good place to go out for lunch. You can’t always go out to a super nice restaurant because it’s just not practical. If we have a night off somewhere, we usually have a list of some of the popular restaurants and try to go somewhere and check it out.

We usually get to the venue around 4 o’clock, and sometimes before that we end up doing press in the town. We might go to a radio station and do an interview. Once we get to the venue, we usually hang around and do a sound check, then we play music backstage. We’re pretty close as a band so we enjoy each other’s company. I think that’s one of the reasons we’re still here after so many years. We rock out for a couple hours.

Do you personally, or the band as a whole, have any pre-concert rituals?

We listen to music and I start warming up about an hour beforehand. I usually get out a pair of drumsticks and start stretching and loosening, playing just to kind of loosen my arms and wrists out. Really, a lot of it is just music. We just play a lot of quite interesting mixtapes backstage: punk rock, ’60s style; could be hip-hop or crazy electronic music. Whatever we’re feeling that day we’ll put on to listen before a show.

Why should our readers come out to see Garbage on tour?

Well, I think our new record sounds pretty amazing, if I do say so myself; we’re going to be playing a bunch of songs from that, as well as our other albums. I think we play pretty well as a band, and Shirley Manson is on fire with her dynamic of singing; she’s a charismatic stage person. If you’ve never seen us before, you should definitely come out and see us—and if you have, then you know why you should come out and see us! | Tracy Fort

Garbage plays at The Pageant in St. Louis on July 12. Full U.S. dates are as follows; more information is available on the band’s website.

07.06 | Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI
07.07 | Skyway Theatre, Minneapolis, MN
07.08 | SumTur Amphitheatre, Omaha, NE
07.10 | Uptown Theatre, Kansas City, MO
07.12 | The Pageant, Saint Louis, MO
07.13 | Z104.5 The Edge 21st Birthday, Tulsa, OK
07.15 | Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, IN
07.16 | The Fillmore, Detroit, MI
07.17 | Promo West Fest, Columbus, OH
07.19 | The Mill and Mine, Knoxville, TN
07.20 | Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
07.22 | Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
07.23 | Fillmore, Charlotte, NC
07.25 | The National, Richmond, VA
07.27 | Starland Ballroom, Sayerville, NJ
07.28 | House of Blues, Boston, MA
07.30 | The Fillmore, Philadelphia, PA
07.31 | Rams Head Live, Baltimore, MD
08.01 | Summerstage, New York, NY
08.03 | The Lincoln Theater, Washington, DC

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online atwww.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.

The Most Influential LGBTQIA Television Shows, June 24, 2016

The Most Influential LGBTQIA Television Shows (Top 10 – 1)

Soap| While some critics criticized the stereotypical behavior of the character Jodie Dallas, played by an up-and-coming actor named Billy Crystal, this show was groundbreaking in 1977. It was extremely controversial and ABC took a lot of wrath for this. Soap clip “We Don’t Have Homos in Texas”

Glee| While there have been other shows before and after Glee that look at life as a teenager as well as what it is like to be a teenager and gay, Ryan Murphy and team did an outstanding job of making each LGBTQIA kid different, bringing several great story lines surrounding their lives. Glee “Santana Comes Out” clip

Oz| I chose Oz because of the fantastic following it had among the LGBTQIA community. While much of the show was extremely graphic, the show was the first one-hour drama produced by HBO and has several gay characters. Fans of Chris Meloni must watch this show. Oz Winthrop and Keller Scene (WARNING)

ModernFamily | There is so much that can be said about this show. How many of us see our family when watching? I know there are moments I see mine. Modern Family has provided us with a fun look at what families can look like, including the hilarious gay couple, Mitch and Cam. Modern Family provides insight into family that you rarely see on TV, and I appreciate that in the show. Our idea of what family looks like has changed because of it. Modern Family Mitch and Cam scenes

The L Word| Showtime brought us this wonderful look into the lives of a group of L.A. lesbians. While I never knew anyone with this type of friend circle, it sure brought the drama and was one of a kind. We were gifted 70 shows of wonderful lesbian drama. I know I would much rather watch it on TV than see it unfold in real life. The L Word clip “Self Defense Class”

Will & Grace| It is often said that Ellen DeGeneres paved the way for Will & Grace after she came out on her sitcom (see #2). In Will & Grace, we have a cast of four characters who were all contributors. Jack and Will were the two gay men on the show, and they could not be any different from one another if they tried. Grace is Will’s best friend, and you see the unique bond between the two throughout the show. And then there is Karen Walker. What can I say about this woman!?! She stole the show for me, between her and Jack’s shenanigans. This show will go down in history as one of the best of all time, along with one of the best LGBTQIA shows ever. Will and Grace clip – Jack Meets Cher

Transparent| Amazon knocked this series out of the ballpark. A dysfunctional family learns to cope with life and a newly revealed secret about their father, who has come out as transgender. This takes viewers on a journey with the entire family as they learn and grow. While it has only been out two seasons, this has become one of my favorite television shows by far. Transparent clip “I’m Maura”

Orange Is the New Black| Jenji Kohan has assembled on the strongest cast on television today. Netflix knew what they were doing with this show, based loosely on Piper Kerman’s book of the same name.OITNB tackles every hard issue for women in prison, including abuse, rape, mental health, and more.Orange is the New Black – Season 4 trailer

Ellen| It was a historic moment when, in 1998, in the final season of Ellen’s four-season run, not only did her character come out, but DeGeneres did as well. At the time, Ellen and the network caught a tremendous amount of fallout from this, which would eventually lead to the cancellation of the show. However, the show made a tremendous impact on the world at the time (including this writer). Ellen“The Puppy Episode” clip (Come Out Already)

Queer as Folk| This show aired in two countries, with separate casts in the U.K. and the United States. I watched both, and they were both good. I am a little partial to the U.S. version, as the cast seemed more cohesive and blended well together. Queer as Folk was a show about your average American city and a group of friends who are part of the LGBTQIA community. The show ran on Showtime from 2000 to 2005, becoming an instant hit not only among LGBTQIA people, but for others who appreciated a good drama. You can still catch both versions on Netflix. I highly recommend a good binge watch! Queer as Folk clip “Now, Let’s Piss Off Some Heterosexuals”

Thanks for taking the time to read! I want to hear from you about ones we may have omitted. What are the most influential to you? Please let us hear in the Comments section. Have a Happy Pride, everyone! | Tracy Fort

June is LGBTQIA Pride Month! To celebrate and make sure readers know we are united with them, I decided it would be meaningful to come up with a list of most influential LGBTQIA movies, music, and television. As a part of the community, I felt as if I owed this piece of work to the LGBTQIA community. Here is my piece of work from all of us with love!

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online atwww.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.


The Most Influential LGBTQIA Musicians, June 24, 2016

Music is my passion, as many of you readers may have learned by now. Coming up with a Top 10 list in this category was difficult, as well. I had to not only look at the artist’s body of work, but the influence they have had on others. I have provided music videos with their music, so I hope you will check that out.

The Most Influential LGBTQIA Musicians (Top 10 – 1)

 Sylvester| Many of you may be asking who in the world is Sylvester? Only a well-known disco act known for being flamboyant as well as androgynous. He was also known for his beautiful falsetto voice. Sylvester was out and proud during the fabulous disco days of the 1970s. Sadly, during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, his partner was diagnosed and passed away fairly quickly. Sylvester was eventually diagnosed with the same disease and passed away in 1988. He will be remembered for his individuality and being out well before it was accepted. You can take a listen and watch the video by Sylvester to get a better sense of who he was; he was truly ahead of his time.Sylvester “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” video

Tegan and Sara| This Canadian indie duo (also twin sisters) debuted in 1995. These two came along during a time where people were becoming comfortable with the thought of being a part of the LGBTQIA community. This power duo has been open about themselves from day one, supportive of the community in many ways. They are on this list for their importance, especially for the younger listener, although all ages listen to them. Tegan and Sara “Boyfriend” video

Indigo Girls| It would be a travesty not to have this duo, composed of Amy Ray and Emily Sailers, on this list. From their debut in 1987, the Indigo Girls have consistently been an active part in the LGBTQIA community. Never backing down from who they are, they have also served as ambassadors to many causes. Each song is written from the heart and always has a true purpose. This list would not be complete without them.Indigo Girls “Galileo” video

Melissa Etheridge| Here is another artists who absolutely cannot be excluded. With the release of her self-titled album in 1988, an influential artist was born. What can you say about Etheridge that has not been said? Her public coming out at President Bill Clinton’s inaugural Ball in 1993 was influential to many. She has battled breast cancer publicly, and has lived her whole life out loud. With those raspy vocals, there is only one voice like hers.Melissa Etheridge “I Want to be in Love” video

k.d. lang| Here is another female artist who lived her life front and center as gay woman without apologies. Denied by Nashville, lang took her craft in different directions and still made an impact in country and pop music. She has finally received the respect and accolades she so richly deserves. From Roy Orbison’s “Crying” remake to duets with Tony Bennett and everything in between, she has proven herself time and time again.k.d. lang “Constant Craving” video

David Bowie| I can remember the first time I saw Bowie on TV. Who was this person? Was Bowie a he or a she? Did he care about gender confirmation? Absolutely no way! I remember looking to him and knowing he was different, but not in a bad way—even though people in Mississippi, where I grew up, did not get him. Bowie made no bones about his bisexuality, which was the first time I ever heard this term. I knew Bowie was the person for me to watch, as he just did not give a damn what people thought. His music opened a whole different side of me.David Bowie “Rebel, Rebel” video

Joan Jett| I have to give full disclosure here about Jett: As she came on to the scene with the Runaways, this is when I knew I was into girls. While I did not come out for some time, I always admired Jett. She took charge of her career, even after the Runaways folded. When a major label would not sign her, she started Blackheart Records. Jett truly does not care what others think of her and makes no compromises, even in her early part of her career where that was unheard of for women. She set the stage for many female artists: a strong female who—oh, yeah—is a part of the LGBTQIA community. Her influence is underrated to this day, but I think people are finally beginning to give her the props she deserves, starting with her recent induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Joan Jett “Bad Reputation” video

Rob Halford| Some may question why I have Halford so high on this list. You have to think about what genre in music he is coming from: heavy metal. In a period where being out was not a good career move (late 1970s/early 1980s), Halford raised questions when he appeared in his “leather daddy” outfits. Was he gay, just really a badass in leather, or both? Halford is best known for fronting the band Judas Priest. In 1998, following issues that had recently occurred in the LGBTQIA community (the Matthew Shephard murder, for one), Halford revealed his was gay. He is ahead of his time, especially in the world of metal.Judas Priest “You Got Another Thing Comin’” Video

Elton John| Sir Elton John: I am not sure what I can say that has not been said already. John started as a pub pianist in England, which blows my mind when I think about it—but everyone must start somewhere. While he first came out as bisexual, he later announced he was gay. John and his partner, David Furnish, have become leaders in the community, both by being directly involved in many projects, but also by giving of themselves financially in a big way.Elton John “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” video with Kiki Dee

Freddie Mercury| Mercury was a musician, songwriter, and producer best known as the lead singer in Queen, a British rock band that formed in 1970. He was known not only for his stage presence, but also for having one of the best voices in rock ’n’ roll. Initially, Mercury often gave vague answers to questions about his sexual orientation; however, he maintained his flamboyant stage persona. When Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, the British press grabbed ahold of this information, reporting some truths, but also a lot of false information. By this point, the artist was living an out lifestyle. His HIV turned into full-blown AIDS, as the world lost one of its best talents on November 24, 1991. His death was also an eye opener for the HIV/AIDS movement, with Mercury becoming one of its public faces.Queen “I Want to Break Free” video

Thanks for taking the time to read! I want to hear from you about ones we may have omitted. What are the most influential to you? Please let us hear in the Comments section. Have a Happy Pride, everyone! | Tracy Fort

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online atwww.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.

The Most Influential LGBTQIA Movies, June 24, 2016

The Most Influential LGBTQIA Movies (Top 10 – 1)

Desert Hearts(tie) | This movie was the first lesbian movie I ever watched. It is known as a classic among many, the first film that actually showed a happy ending for the two involved. It is often identified as the first, most significantly impactful portrayal of a lesbian relationship. For a movie made in 1985, it certainly pushed boundaries. Desert Hearts traile

Tangerine(tie) | Shot completely with three iPhone 5s smartphones, this movie follows the lives of transgender sex workers. The movie and the actors in it created a great deal of buzz around awards season. While the Oscars did not pick it up, the cast and crew won many other awards, and rightfully so, as the movie took a real look at transgender women. Mya Taylor stole the show in this one. Tangerinetrailer

Making Love| Here is a movie that you may not have heard of in 2016, but it was way ahead of its time in 1982. Starring Kate Jackson and Harry Hamlin, Making Love is the story of a married couple, but the husband was struggling with his sexuality. It is often credited as the first mainstream LGBTQIA movie, and had the theme of struggling with identity, along with the impact this could have on marriage.Making Love trailer

My Own Private Idaho| This 1991 independent film starring River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves was another coming-of-age film that was ahead of its time. The pair played street hustlers who often “tricked” for money, as needed. It takes a look at the pair’s adventure and even the struggle to figure out their identities. My Own Private Idaho trailer

But I’m a Cheerleader| This is absolutely one of my favorite LGBTQIA movies of all time. Starring a young Clea Duvall and Natasha Lyonne, the story takes Lyonne’s character to a “conversion therapy” camp, as her family and friends stage an intervention about her “lesbian characteristics.” While the movie is fun and campy at time, you know these things actually exist around the world, and you feel sadness in parts. But I’m a Cheerleader trailer

Torch Song Trilogy| This is a collection of three plays by Harvey Fierstein. The story centers around Arnold, a torch song–singing Jewish drag queen who lives in New York City. We see each phase of his life throughout the movie. The theatrical production of this play occurred in 1978, and then was adapted into a movie in 1988. The play and its adaptation are considered groundbreaking; Fierstein’s search for love and acceptance is beautiful. Torch Song Trilogytrailer

Carol| Many may be upset I did not rank this movie higher. While it deserves extremely high praise, I felt the four in front of it deserved to be where they were as far as being influential movies. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are completely perfect in this film, both as individuals and together as a couple. We see a story that probably happened too much in the 1950s, the time period for this movie. The film received accolades from many sources, but escaped the Oscar nods, which caused yet another big stir regarding the lack of diversity. Carol trailer

Brokeback Mountain| This movie won an Oscar in 2005 which was well deserved as it was a true gay romance story told so beautifully on the big screen. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal’s performances in this movie are ones of Hollywood legends. It was such intimate look into the love, the pain, and the desire of these two characters. The conclusion of the movie is such a gut wrench of epic proportions. It was truly a one of kind movie. Brokeback Mountain trailer

Philadelphia| Tom Hanks has never been one to back away from difficult roles, and this was no exception. The movie stars two legendary Hollywood leading men in Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington; we are also introduced to a fairly new actor, Antonio Banderas, who played Hanks’ partner.Philadelphia was the first movie to really tackle homophobia and the AIDS epidemic. Hanks won an Oscar for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett, a “whiz kid” attorney who loses his job when his firm finds out his HIV status and sexual orientation. This movie won many accolades throughout awards season, and also had a powerful soundtrack led by Bruce Springsteen—who won the Oscar for Best Original Song, “Streets of Philadelphia.” Philadelphia trailer

Boys Don’t Cry| Hillary Swank played the role of Brandon Teena, a transgender male, and a brought this true story to the big screen. (If you are not familiar with Teena’s story, I encourage each one of you to find out a little more.) The story deals with Brandon’s life, the ups and downs he faced on a daily basis, and the tragic way his life ended. This brought a lot of attention to the danger many transgender people face on a daily basis. The film was critically acclaimed by critics, and Swank topped off the performance by winning the Best Actress Oscar. Boys Don’t Cry trailer

Milk| This 2008 film is a biographical piece on the larger-than-life gay rights activist Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn, who brings the man to life. We see the transition of Milk from his early days, to his beginnings and subsequent growth as an activist for the gay community. (For more about Milk’s life,here is a good place to start.) Milk led a one-man revolution, inspiring a group of young people to become gay rights activists. After running for public office several times, he finally succeeded in winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Advisors, becoming the first openly gay person to be elected to office in the State of California in 1977. Sadly, Milk and the Mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, were assassinated by a disgruntled board member. The movie won many awards, including the Best Actor Oscar for Penn. Milk trailer

Thanks for taking the time to read! I want to hear from you about ones we may have omitted. What are the most influential to you? Please let us hear in the Comments section. Have a Happy Pride, everyone! | Tracy Fort

June is LGBTQIA Pride Month! To celebrate and make sure readers know we are united with them, I decided it would be meaningful to come up with a list of most influential LGBTQIA movies, music, and television. As a part of the community, I felt as if I owed this piece of work to the LGBTQIA community. Here is my piece of work from all of us with love!

Check out Tracy on her internationally acclaimed radio program, The Tracy Fort Show, online at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetracyfortshow or via internet radio apps. In addition to live streams, you can listen to podcasts of previous shows. Follow The Tracy Fort Show on Twitter at @TracyFortShow.