Thursday, April 06, 2006

Faded "Divas"

First of all, let me apologize for my use of a word I have come to personally despise: diva. Or divas. Never have I seen a word more heinously abused in our culture in the last decade than this word. Now, I am no fan of opera myself, but seriously, unless some woman is dressed like Brunhilde and belting out an aria or thirty, please do not let me see or hear the word diva associated with her in any way. And dear sweet baby Jesus please let me not see it all bedazzled on the shirt of some Midwestern white girl who spends 3/4 of her life shopping at Wet Seal and Forever 21. This causes me the kind of pain that I think Superman must feel when Kryptonite is near. I once hooked up with this super hot guy who had many a tattoo on his body. It wasn't until I was tongue deep in his ass that I noticed the word DIVA tattooed on his upper back in huge letters. Since I am never one to let good ass go to waste, I continued with the task at hand. But I will tell you truthfully, I couldn't really bring myself to consider a return engagement.

But I digress from the original reason for posting this. There is a record store in my neighborhood called Medium Rare Records. Now the website linked to focusses on some kitschy cool rarities of which this store has plenty. But it's main stock in trade (and what is heard pumping out of it's external speakers all day long) seems to be really bad dance music. The number of times I have walked by to see a TV screen playing the same live Kylie Minogue DVD are too numerous to even count. And every now and then they have a banner up in the window for a live in-store appearance. And more often than not it's for some washed-up songstress who hasn't had a hit in 12 years of Sundays and, while most likely trying to promote a new album/sound/tour is really on hand because people want one thing and one thing only from her: her hit(s).

A few months ago it was Jody Watley who is now working this wannabe neo-soul look and seems to have some very Serious New Music to give us. Currently they have a banner up announcing the instore appearance of Freda Payne. She of "Band of Gold" fame, singing about how her man dissed her on her honeymoon (which is just plain sad) and now apparently of hideously age-inappropriate sleeveless shirt fame as well. And last night I saw the cover of some LGBT entertainment rag letting me know that they had an in-depth interview with Taylor Dayne and her huge lesbian fanbase. Really? Huge? Lesbian? Wow.

I really just don't get it.

What is it with my fellow homos and this love for these faded, one-hit (or three hit) wonders of yore and their need to drag them out of mothballs every few months? I seriously don't understand it, even from an ironic "Wasn't 'Tell It To My Heart' so bad it was good" point of view. And do these ladies even enjoy it? I mean sure, they're still working and all, but at what price. I just imagine someone like Crystal Waters walking offstage after her performance at Gay Pride Peoria being like "If I have to sing '100% Pure Love' in front of one more group of chest waxed, tan-in-a-tubed, eyebrows plucked within an inch of their lives group of nellies onre more time, I swear to God I am going to shoot myself in the face!" Or maybe she loves it. Maybe they all love it. Maybe the two remaining members of one of my favorite childhood groups, Bananarama like nothing more than to have to sing "Venus" again and again for European Pridefests all over the continent. But it all strikes me as more than a little sad on all sides. Whether it's the faded popette willing to sing her song again and again like a wind-up toy or the hordes of homos willing to rush to see them do so, it just kind of bums me out.

Maybe it's just another version of a post I made last year about our culture's need to rehash and reunite all old music/musicians. Or maybe it's a little more personal. The band I'm the drummer for, Ex-Boyfriends has gotten a fair amount of coverage in the gay press. And while I love that a lot and it makes sense since two of us are queer and yay for gay mags having some decent taste in music and all, I fear us becoming a niche act. A novelty. Pigeonholed. As much as I love the fuck out of queer people in many ways, I don't want to be like, 50 years old and getting together at some Pride event in the middle of fucking nowhere to sing "Him for Me". And while I know there is a huge difference between my band and say, CeCe Peniston, it still is something I worry about. And who knows, maybe then I will be so grateful for the work. Assuming I ever get to be a "working musician".

So for now, I will just thumb my nose at the throngs of lads who dash off to see these ladies of yore ply their tattered pop wares. And just cross my fingers that I'm marginally cute enough to have them come watch me bang the drums when I am old enough to qualify for Social Security.


At 4/10/2006 6:29 PM , Anonymous MikePod said...

I know what you mean about not wanting to be pigeon holed as a gay band. I fear that with my podcast, and have resisted labeling it as a gay show because I have so much more to share and investigat than tired old faggishness.

At 4/11/2006 1:00 PM , Blogger ohnochriso said...

Yeah. We have a little les control over that since people write about us and are all "blah blah GAY BAND blah". It's not like we would ever pretend two of us aren't queer, that isn't the issue. It's more about being seen as a novelty or a one trick pony like Pansy Division or something. *shudder*


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