Saturday, June 11, 2011

Best Drummer Ever?

At last night's Rush show, there was some discussion about Neil Peart being the Best Drummer Ever.

Back in high school, I played along with Neil Peart in my bedroom with my drum sticks (uh, my dad's screw drivers), dreaming of making a living as a drummer. I also drummed along with John Bonham, Keith Moon, Sib Hashian, Carl Palmer and others.

Through the years, I have had two friends who actually made their livings as drummers in bands.

Marc, whose band put out two CD's here in New Orleans in the early 1990's, played with the same tree-trunk drum sticks that John Bonham preferred and - at least to my ear - tried to emulate his sound.

Kyle, who is the only person that I know personally that has a Wikipedia entry (sorry, no link, I try to keep this blog a bit anonymous), was the third drummer for a still-successful New Orleans rock band. He even played on one of their best-known hits. When he's drumming, he looks and sounds like Keith Moon. His all-time favorite drummer, however, is Ringo Starr.

My point is that Neil Peart is a great drummer, but the title of Best Drummer Ever depends of one's taste.

Who is your all-time favorite drummer?

Incidentally, my all-time favorite drummer is Don Henley...

Eagles - Hotel California by hushhush112

Playwright Albee Defends 'Gay Writer' Remarks

I heard this on NPR's Morning Edition earlier this week and really agreed with Edward Albee's position.

June 6, 2011

Edward Albee's recent remarks about being labeled a "gay writer" sparked controversy within the gay community, but the playwright insists such definitions are "prejudicial."

"Maybe I'm being a little troublesome about this," Albee tells NPR's Renee Montagne, "but so many writers who are gay are expected to behave like gay writers and I find that is such a limitation and such a prejudicial thing that I fight against it whenever I can."

Albee was recently criticized for a speech he gave while accepting an award at the 23rd annual Lambda Literary Awards. The ceremony, held May 26, honored work by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender authors. Albee — who is best known for plays such as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Zoo Story and A Delicate Balance — was presented with the Pioneer Award, meant to honor those who have broken ground for LGBT literature and publishing.

In accepting the honor from Lambda, Albee told the audience, "A writer who happens to be gay or lesbian must be able to transcend self. I am not a gay writer. I am a writer who happens to be gay."

He continued by saying, "Any definition which limits us is deplorable."

Some artists in attendance felt Albee's tone was inappropriate for the event and have said that creating and supporting work that is specifically gay is important to the visibility of the gay community.

"The only part of the evening I truly found disappointing was the acceptance speech given by Edward Albee for his Pioneer award," attendee Sassafras Lowrey wrote on her blog. "He spent the majority of it talking about why writing from a queer experience was a lesser art form, how his 'sexual proclivities' have nothing to do with his art."

The Wall Street Journal's Speakasy blog and lesbian website Autostraddle also wrote about Albee's comments and the debate they have ignited about the future of gay writing and publishing.

Albee tells Montagne he has always fought for gay rights and points out that other artists are not put into such categories.

"Who goes around talking about abstract expressionist painters and making a definition or a distinction between those of them that were straight and those of them who were or are gay? Nobody does it," Albee says. "People only do it with writers and I find that so ridiculous."

Albee says he remembers being discriminated against by theater critics who knew about his sexuality early on in his career. He says when Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf — about a professor and his wife throwing a party for a new professor and his spouse — debuted in the early 1960s some critics wrote in their reviews that Albee was likely portraying two gay couples.

Now, at age 83, Albee says he's working on a new play. He isn't giving any details yet, but he says it explores various prejudices.

"None of which, oddly enough happens to concern being gay," he says, "but it concerns itself with prejudices that involve us a great deal more as a society."


Here is the original NPR story, where there is also a seven-minute audio version of the story for those reading averse.

Post Scrips

Here are updates to some of my past posts.

In my post Top 10 Artists: Badfinger, I mentioned my friend Kyle. This past Thursday, he called me. Besides a few brief conversations about four years ago, I hadn't really spoken to him in at least 10 years.

He called to tell me that his step-dad, the one who along with his mom raised him from an early teenager, had died on Monday (June 6th). After further questioning, Kyle told me that he had actually killed himself, one day after his 62nd birthday, apparently distraught about money issues.

I attended the visitation Thursday afternoon.


In my post List: Top 5 Classic Rock Bands, I discussed Rush in detail. I have seen them live once before, in 1988 in Shreveport. Last night, Amy, Carlos, Debbie, Lloyd, Morgan, Steve, and I saw them live for their Time Machine tour, one of the highlights being that they played their 1980 album Moving Pictures in it's entirety.

Thursday night, the night before the concert, Carlos, Debbie and I watched Rush: R30, 30th Anniversary Concert - all the while blind taste testing Canadian beer, in honor of Rush's home country.

Carlos and I both picked Labat Blue as our least favorite. (Debbie came too late for the taste testing.) He picked Molson Canadian as his favorite; I picked Moosehead as mine. Truthfully, all three really tasted the same.


In my post Judgment Day, I mentioned in passing my current Favorite TV Show Ever (This Week) Supernatural.

I first discovered the show while the TNT network was running season four. I have now seen all of seasons four, five and one - with the TNT network starting over the showings after season five. The show is currently in its 6th season on the CW network. I am watching the new episodes too. I have a big gap in the middle of the series, having never seen any of season three and only at the beginning of season two via TNT.

As I did with my other Favorite TV Shows Ever (This Week) Criminal Minds and Ninja Warrior, I have printed out a complete episode list and am crossing them off after viewing.


Postscript to the above postscript:

When Morgan came over Friday night to pick Carlos and I up, I was watching an episode of Supernatural. His reaction was, "Oh, isn't that the show with that guy that used to be on Gilmore Girls." True, but not the connection that I expected from one of my straight friends. I guess Gilmore Girls is just that good of a show. (More on that TV show another day.)