Learning to Love Tommy — My Latest for Splice Today

I was 10 when I first discovered The Who’s Tommy. I rented the cassette tape of the 1975 movie soundtrack, and fell in love with the story of the deaf, dumb, and blind boy who could play a mean pinball. Four years later I watched the movie, and hated it. It was over-the-top and confusing. Luckily I bought the original 1969 Who album shortly after, which washed the awful taste of the movie out of my mouth. It’s still one of my all-time favorite albums.

Now almost 35, I’ve grown to appreciate director Ken Russell’s cinematic interpretation of Tommy. Not only did he bring Pete Townshend’s vision to life, but also added his own interpretation to the story. Tommy tells the story of a boy who becomes psychosomatically deaf, mute, and blind after watching his father kill his mother’s lover. He experiences the outside world through vibrations, and his parents subject him to the abuse of his Cousin Kevin, Uncle Ernie, and the Acid Queen. Despite his disability, Tommy becomes a pinball champion, and when he finally regains his senses he’s hailed as the new messiah. Unfortunately, he abuses his power, his followers disown him, and the story ends with Tommy realizing true enlightenment comes from within.

Read the rest here.

My Top Five Favorite Bowie Albums — My Latest for Splice Today

David Bowie gave all the Jean Genies of the world permission to let themselves go and be their true kooky selves. For the two-year anniversary of his passing, here are my top five favorite albums of his.

5). Earthling (1997)

Electronic dance music (EDM) was inescapable in 1997, so Bowie took the opportunity to reinvent himself once again for a new audience. The result is his most underrated album. From the drum-and-bass rhythm of “Little Wonder” to the industrial rock paranoia of “I’m Afraid of Americans,” Bowie proved he could survive pop cultural natural selection by adapting to the evolving musical landscape.

4). Station to Station (1976)

By the mid-1970s, Bowie removed the make-up and dresses for good, and introduced the world to a brand new persona: the Thin White Duke, a “very Aryan, fascist type; a would-be romantic with absolutely no emotion at all but who spouted a lot of neo-romance.” This character was less sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, and more cocaine, Hitler, and the occult. But even out of this chaos, Bowie was able to create the dancing star known as Station to Station, a synthesis of the American soul music of Young Americans and his follow-up Berlin trilogy. Highlights on this album include the funky “Golden Years,” the soft “Word on a Wing,” and the haunting epic title track.

Read the rest here.

This will probably be my only ST article for this week because I’m working on two articles for Ravishly, two interviews for the Bi Any Means Podcast, next week’s episode of the Biskeptical Podcast, and my portion of the workshop I’m co-leading at this month’s Creating Change conference.

The Spin Off #1: In the Court of the Crimson King

Well, friends, it’s finally here: my new side-project podcast, The Spin Off! It’s a monthly podcast where Jeremiah Traeger from The SJW Circle Jerk, Chris Watson from The Podunk Polymath, and I review our favorite prog rock albums. In our first official episode, we review King Crimson’s 1969 debut “In the Court of the Crimson King,” arguably the first prog rock album.

Enjoy!

Listen to “The Spin Off #1: In the Court of the Crimson King” on Spreaker.

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