Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Madonna Part Two! She's Not Me, and Wonder Woman can relate!

This is the second part of my Madonna Sticky And Sweet post-orgasm concert report, and this time I'm focusing on the magic of She's Not Me. This song was performed with a sassy Madonna taking on her own former iconic personas. I loved this not only for the tongue-in-cheek playfulness of the number, but because it reminded me of Wonder Woman's latest struggle against her own previous personas. The song began with Madonna singing in front of gigantic backdrops that flashed some of her most famous images. Below is a pic of little Madonna (Sticky & Sweet Tour) versus Giganta-Madonna (in a still from the Hollywood video).

But then the performance gets really interesting when four Madonna doppelgangers rise up on to the stage and Madonna does battle with them! In the pic below you can see the first three of the four imposters! On the left is Open Your Heart Madonna, the middle is Like a Virgin Madonna, and the right is Marilyn / Material Girl Madonna!

Below, the pic shows Madonna starting to fight with the Marilyn / Material Girl doppelganger, and if you look at the far right you see the fourth wannabe, the Vogue / Blonde Ambition Madonna!

For comparison, look at the below image lifted from the recent Wonder Woman #25 (Nov. 2008) written by the awesome Gail Simone. You can see the current Wonder Woman in the middle being lassoed by the George Perez Wonder Woman (top left), Golden Age Wonder Woman (top right), Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman (bottom left), and last but not least Lynda Carter Wonder Woman (bottom right.) When I first saw this page I shouted "Oh my God!!!" I loved seeing the previous Wonder Women represented in the modern era, and loved that Madonna used a similar idea for her own show!

So what have we learned my Frothy friends? A true Diva icon shall never escape her previous incarnations, but she will rise to the top by battling them! Take a few minutes to reflect on that one.

Totally Inappropriate Comic Book Panels!

While thumbing through an old Archie Comics Digest (Laugh Comics Digest #60, Sept. 1985 to be exact) I came across a reprint of a 1950s Pat The Brat tale. But what made me take notice, and laugh out loud was the totally inappropriate innuendo that can be read into the exciting half-page gag titled "Tasty Examination." (Maybe gag isn't the right word to use in this case.) Check this out:

Aside from the fact that the story title sounds like it was lifted from a bad porn movie, it involves two boys playing doctor, and a lollipop being used to take temperatures! Just wowsa....I'm not even gonna touch the fact that one of the boys is named Pee Wee!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Madonna Is Freaking Phenomenal

Greetings my Frothy Folks! Today's entry is simply to gush about attending this past Sunday's Madonna concert, her second night in Toronto as part of her Sticky And Sweet Tour. Let me tell you, getting to that day was a journey in itself! Sometimes very sticky, and definitely not that sweet at times. When tickets went on sale in May, I was determined to get a good floor seat. In the process, I ended up with two single tickets. One, for the Saturday show, was a so-so seat just above the floor level priced at $350. Then, when the second block of tickets went on sale, a sweet pair of pals helped me grab an INCREDIBLE floor seat for the same price. I figured I could sell the first ticket to someone without any problems. After all, it's Madonna, right? Yet, I soon realized not many folks wanted to shell out $350 for a not-so-great single seat. One acquaintance insisted I meet him downtown so he could buy the ticket, and after I trekked all the way down there, he then revealed he couldn't afford it due to an emergency. (How real the emergency was is, at least according to some friends, a tad suspect.) He did, however, make time to drag me into the backroom of an adult video store for a sticky and sweet session of our own. (I guess we were recreating the Erotica era.) It was hard to be angry that a delicious hunky tart wanted to lure me into sex, however, I was still stuck with the ticket. I then attempted to sell it via craigslist and nearly got swindled in an "overpayment" scam that would have bilked me out of $2850. (Not to mention the hilarity of one "Anita Baker" trying to pull the same scam on me via Facebook. Isn't she famous enough to get tickets for free?) Losing that much dough would not have been sweet, and I really didn't knead all that stress. Eventually I sold it to a friend at a loss, but for a very real $250.

The stress, the sticky, and the sour gradually melted into the sweet as I sat in my floor seat Sunday night. My seat was 18th row, seat 41, which was only about 7 or so seats to the right of the MAIN catwalk Madonna would be using during the performance. My legs got jittery and my Heartbeat was palpitating. I met a nice fan who sat beside me and had gone through similar attempts to get a great floor seat. We were both excited about seeing our icon that close. Highlights were many, and the performance was incredible. (I was also thrilled that, unlike her previous tours, there were no restrictions on picture taking during the concert. As a result I've peppered this entry with some of the better shots I got!) But what really solidified itself to me was how much joy came across from Madonna when she performed. When pointing out to the audience during "Like A Prayer" she very well could have been referencing herself and the fans when singing "I hear you call my name, and it feels like home."

No matter what is true about her life off stage, or who gets ordered not to look at her, or how cranktacular she can appear, you just "get it" when you see her live. She thrives on the energy of performance - that temporary, yet completely absorbing connection between the audience and herself. Her banter with the audience was especially cute when she took requests in the middle of the show to sing an old song acapella. A whole group of fans held up homemade signs that read "Causing A Commotion", but instead she chose to do "Dress You Up." (She complained about one song that a fan shouted out, and I couldn't tell whether she was referring to Commotion or another track.) Later on in her final number, "Give It 2 Me", she held the mic up to fans in hopes they'd sing the chorus. More often than not she got "Give it to me....I LOVE YOU MADONNA!!!" To which she snarked "Um, those aren't the lyrics."

The other hightlight was my newly made Madonna buddy pointing out that Avril Lavigne and her Sum41 hubby were there right in front of the catwalk, and I snuck a few "paparazzi" shots of them. (Look closely in the middle of the pic above and you'll see half of Avril in the middle of an Air Canada Centre security guard at left, and a Madonna security guard at right.) That's the clearest shot I got, the rest are harder to make out.

Long story short, as frustrated as I can be with the way I feel Madonna sometimes treats her fans, she is still one of my major icons for a reason. She is an incredible performer and it was an absolute thrill to be able to experience her like this, and I don't even think this blog entry can capture what the moment was like! There are times when it felt surreal to be that close to a woman who has been a part of my life since I was a kid, a woman who has inspired so much in me and millions of others. Maybe this will trigger a series that traces my love of Madonna back to its roots and explores all that I adore in her!

Signing off for now, with a few more pics that I took during the Tour:

Monday, September 15, 2008

(Il)legally Blonde? Eurodance act JK!

Greetings my frothy peeps! I haven't written much since spending the summer fighting off a bad throat infection which, funnily enough, began right after Gay Pride in Toronto. Now I've got a clean bill of health, but a root canal coming up for me is not such a frothy pop treat. But there's been an entry I've wanted to write for a long while, and it will be the first of a few blog entries about Eurodance "frauds". The music groups that churn out deliciously disposable dance music who have a team of producers and vocalists who create the hits that more glamourous "models" lipsynch to. This practise seems to be totally frowned upon in North America (especially after the Milli Vanilli scandal), but in Europe it seems to be pretty common. (One thing I learned from Eurodance forums awhile back is that a front person of a given act is most likely the real vocalist if they write the lyrics to the songs they perform.)

So with all that build up, I bring you JK! Her name may as well be short for "joke" since the producers couldn't even maintain the same vocalist for all her lipsynching duties. Imagine getting the blondest, whitest woman around (model Marta Simlat) and then giving her progressively more "black" sounding voices to lipsynch to (including - but not limited to - Jenny Bersola and Sandy Chambers). You have to see the way it plays out in her videos. The first voice assigned to JK belongs to Jenny Bersola (known more commonly as just Jenny B.) Jenny sang about 3 of JK's songs before they switched to another singer. The most famous is probably "You And I" featured below:

The high concept video involves model Marta flailing around in a dirty, empty swimming pool. Watch the over emotion in her lipsynch at the 0:20 sec mark, and watch as vacant male models eventually pace around her, completely bored as she flaunts her legs, loses her high heels, and pouts. Things get even weirder when Marta's dogs show up in the middle of the vid, and there's no place more perfect to take them for a walk than the dirty, empty swimming pool. One thing I'll give Marta - she's really good at flipping her hair. Eat your heart out Blair Warner! (I think I was done with the idea of Marta "singing" when I saw her lipsynch this on Canadian dance show Electric Circus, and then she brought out a translator for her interview with host Monica Deol afterwards!)

For perspective, here's a video featuring true vocalist Jenny Bersola totally ROCKING out on a live cover of "Knock On Wood" for an Italian TV show:

Now, what puzzles me is that Jenny B is an attractive woman. So why go out of your way to use a model like JK to lipsynch to her vocals, when Jenny herself could be the whole package? I suppose to Eurodance producers, a woman who has real curves and looks a bit like America Ferrara or Jordin Sparks is not as "attractive" to an audience as a blonde mannequin. I think that if Jenny B had been properly credited on the many songs she's been featured on, she could have been a huge star. (Her vocals are featured on dance classics such as Corona's "The Rhythm Of The Night", Playahitty's "Summer Is Magic" and many more.) But then again, maybe not. Think of this - if a record company can create multiple hits by having several "new" artists coming out with popular songs created by a house team of writers-producers-vocalists, then their star talent doesn't waste time getting caught in the trappings of fame. They get their cut out of songwriting cheques, session singing fees, or any number of roles behind the scenes that allow the machine to be well oiled and keep chugging along. If an act loses popularity, they can create a brand new one to replace it - which is almost cynical, but symbolic of the disposability of the product being packaged. Imagine if Jenny B had been allowed to be the face of her own hits. After a smash single like "Rhythm Of The Night" would critics see her follow up songs as disappointments? (See the above JK song, the chorus is almost a direct steal from "Rhythm Of The Night".) Especially in North America, dance acts are often seen as one hit wonders regardless of their output or talent. So if the house team works to create buzz for several different "artists", it allows the team to continue putting out hits, which allows for greater success all around. It's just a shame that sometimes it takes something as obviously vapid as a "pretty" model to sell you different songs from the same production team.

But with my mini-rant fini, we're on to more JK gems! Our next video treat features the vocals of Sandy Chambers (mostly heard on Corona productions, and later on various Benassi Bros. songs.) Here comes "My Radio" as Marta lipsynchs on and on forever:

Now she looks like Christina Applegate....playing a flight attendant....with a blowing scarf. Hmmmm.....I guess the main thing to watch is how much the voice starts disconnecting with her looks at this point. The first video....you could maybe get away with. This one? I actually said to a friend "This sounds like Corona," when the song first came out.

Then we reach her third video with yet another vocalist! This one is called "Sweet Lady Night" and I can't even tell who really sings this one:

I at least give Marta props for upping the Diva ante in this one. Nice Diva poses, and get a load of her vamping it up as a sexy spider! Either she's getting more comfortable in her modelling, or the stylist was very gifted. Yet look at how the voice drifts even further away from any credibility it had being attached to Marta.

Three videos, three voices, and one lipsynching model! Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our Frothy Pop Treats!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My New Mariah Carey Remix!

I came out of "semi-retirement" to finish this new remix for a Mariah Carey contest! It's a mix of her current single "I'll Be Lovin' U Long Time" and you can hear it here:

If the above flash device doesn't work, follow this link:


I was aiming for a classic house sound, fashioned after the amazing producers Love To Infinity, Moto Blanco and the Freemasons. I tried to make it bouncy piano goodness with some strings slipped in near the end, and a darker bridge/breakdown. The pieces for the mix were all separated and I found a neat set of background vocals that were buried in the album version and brought them to the forefront (they sounded a lot like the old Love To Infinity backup singers that they used in their mixes.) I also kept the BPM to only 120 since the timestretch was challenging! Help me by voting for this mix on August 28th and beyond!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Power Of....Escaping Gangsters?

I was on a You Tube binge recently (I call it "binge" since, like all the finer things, junk food, alcohol, etc., I don't realize I've had too much till I'm passed out on the floor.) Anyhow, searching out Laura Branigan videos led me to remember her soaring rendition of the ballad The Power Of Love. My parents weaned me on this version, as they loved Laura and I heard her a lot when I was a kid. I came to think of her version as being vastly superior to Celine Dion's later cover. But I was also interested in checking out the original Jennifer Rush version, since I'd never heard it. But when I checked out the videos, they were all so different, so diva, so....bizarre? So here, my Frothy friends, is a DIVA SHOWDOWN between Jennifer, Laura and Celine!

May the Power Of Love unite us in dissecting these three video treats:


The video opens with what appear to be "shady characters" doing something....er....shady? Then - wait for it - the male love interest in the video just happens to be spying on the "shady characters" who are peering out the window as police sirens blare. Cut to a very 80s glam looking Jennifer beginning the ballad as she strolls away from Madison Square Garden. At the 1:16 mark, watch Jennifer sing in the kitchen while streams of glittering fringe cascade from her shoulders! Soon enough she Rushes into an elevator to continue her love ode. Nothing wrong so far, until [cue ominous music] it's the return of the "shady characters". As soon as Jennifer sings "there may be times when I'm far away," the gangsters drag her man into the adjacent elevator to torture him! I guess bad things happen when she's far away. While she's going up, they're going down (and not in the fun way). Yet, she keeps singing in the elevator next door in glamourous oblivion. As he's being taken away to be tortured, maimed, or hurt she coos, "never wonder where I am, cause I am always by your side!" Sure, she's right there beside him....in the next elevator....singing. Then the beat kicks in, she starts waving her arms with that 80s "oomph", all shoulderpads in-your-face! Cut to Jennifer arguing with an old man and then donning sunglasses. Oooh....so mafia! She's involved with the "shady characters" too? They show a pier, just as they did at the start of the video, so I guess that's where the "shady" happens. Then, shadowy figures, deals get made, and BOOM the call gets put out for one of the gangsters to run down Jennifer's man. Check out the 3:38 climax where the guy's all dramatically "Whooaaa" and then gets hit. But watch when he hits the ground....it looks like he's lipsynching to the high note Jennifer's singing. Even in his pain, their love still connects them when they're light years away from each other. Then, it's all Jennifer left to finish out the song! No more man, no more "shady", just Jennifer belting out the final chorus. I was all, "That's it??? Where's the ending?" I wanted the full Lifetime Movie Of The Week deal where I find out that Jennifer escaped the mob, joined witness protection and has an adorable tyke to look after, all the while maintaining her glamourous kitchen attire. (See: streams of glittering fringe mentioned earlier.) I wondered if this was from a movie soundtrack because of the bizarre plot tied to the song and video, but it appears this actually was the video's own original plot. So be careful if Jennifer Rush sings a soaring love ballad to you, because while she gets a hit, you'll just get hit by a car.


Solid Gold! Laura Branigan! And an intro from Alan Thicke! Whooo! Since there's no actual video for this that I'm aware of, this will have to do. This is a lipsynch (as seemed customary for Solid Gold), but still....watch as Laura tears into this song as if it were a big juicy musical steak! There isn't much to say since it's one of the standard "in the middle of a stage" performances. (Though it is a bit cute to see Laura lipsynch with such overemotion towards the end. She really gets into it, with nearly as much abandon as the "shady characters" did in torturing Jennifer Rush's boyfriend.) But just listen to the vocals.....WOW! Even when Laura pushes her voice to the limit after the key change in the middle, the strain adds grit and character to the song's urgency. Just listen to her belt "Somewhere AAAAIIIIIII'VE never been!" Although I'm biased, this interpretation is my pick of the three. Not as smooth as the Jennifer Rush version, but far more depth and emotion than the version by....


Hmmmm.....this can be summed up much more quickly than Jennifer Rush's interestingly misguided video. Picture Celine. See her eyes. See her in a fluffy white dress. See the soft focus envelope her tiny, tiny body as she runs around in a slip. See her roll around on a bed. See her caress her own hands and touch herself as she sings about how much she's in love. Wait a minute, I get the plot of this video. It's Celine's love ballad to herself! The camera just eats her up with emphasis on her flowing poses, while she strolls around and proclaims her love. But this is where things get sticky. I really don't like this version of the song much. I think Celine has a fabulous voice, but on this particular track she sounds totally whiny. Compare this with either of the above versions. It's more or less gutted of any of the grit in Branigan's version, or the heartfelt tone of Rush's (ignore the gangsters and concentrate on the song, since it is a pretty sincere delivery.) Honorable mention goes to a GREAT remix of Celine's version by talented remixer OrangeFuzzz! (Check out his site.) His remix throws Celine's vocals into a Hi-NRG over the top Diva workout, where the histrionics make sense! But if we're speaking of originals, I think Celine comes up short in this Diva showdown.

Signing off, one Frothy Pop Treat at a time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Banned In The UK: Barry Pepper!

I've recently been working on a project I call "The Dance Archives" where I'm making mp3 CDs of all the old mixtapes I made in the 1990s. Part of it is to preserve all the records and tapes that I don't have digital copies of, and sometimes when I'm compiling the songs I discover new things about the artists. One such artist is Banned In The UK, a Canadian dance act that apparently only put out one song, a 1992 track called "C'mon And Get My Love". They would be a mere musical footnote if it weren't for the fact that actor Barry Pepper is the lead singer! A friend told me that he gave a great portrayal of a Southern solider in "Saving Private Ryan," but nothing could save him from early 90s rocker hair in the video clip you can see here:

Download the song (lovingly ripped from one of my tapes) here:


The video itself it hilarious due to the guys looking like the early 90s idea of "rockers" (long hair, denim & leather) getting all funky to a dance song with "hot" women parading around and....er....fighting? And why were they banned in the UK? The other noteworthy thing about this song is that the main riff is a total steal from Jomanda's house classic "Got A Love For You". (Produced by Steve "Silk" Hurley!) Watch the Jomanda video on You Tube here:


Listen to the Jomanda keyboard riff at the 0:15 second mark after the horns. It's the same keyboard riff that goes throughout the Banned In The UK song. I guess the Banned In The UK song wasn't big enough for Jomanda to know about it or take legal action.

Signing off for now, one frothy pop treat at a time!

The Beginning: Frothing From The Mouth!

Hello everybody!

My name is Garth, and this blog will present anything I consider a "Frothy Pop Treat"! This will include, but is not limited to, music, comic books (Archie & Wonder Woman), and other pop culture gems. I might also go off on personal rants occasionally, and this is also a gay friendly blog. So be warned, it will be fabulous! Thanks for reading, and enjoy!