2021 Summer Music Festival (Dance Medley Edition)

I’ve been doing a Summer Music Festival now for six years. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, it was an eclectic mix, but by 2019, I began more “thematic” installments, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. In the summer of 2020, it was a Jazz Edition. Folks who have followed the 1,866 “Songs of the Day” that I’ve posted since 2004 must know that I have an immensely diverse musical palette, which embraces everything from classical, jazz, musical theatre, and the Great American Songbook to R&B, rock, prog rock, and ‘Planet Rock‘ (hip hop). This year, however, it’s all about Dance Medleys! Yep! Unabashed, unapologetic, dance music—much of it even Disco, stretching from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, the very years that I was working part-time as a mobile DJ and MC, playing engagements, weddings, school proms and reunions, New Year’s Eve parties, and Bar Mitzvahs (see photo below, circa 1986). Not to mention doing custom-made mix tapes for people who attended those parties and for all my friends! (Heck, I even created dance mixes for Ms. Ski‘s [my sister’s] award-winning Dance Teams!)

So, let the Haters sit this one out! This fun, rhythmic music emerged from R&B, soul, funk, and Latino influences, with many of its early DJs coming out of an urban gay subculture. That might explain some of the hostility heaped on the genre in such events as “Disco Demolition Night” [YouTube link], which took place on 12 July 1979 at Comiskey Park. Alas, Comiskey Park is now history [YouTube link], but disco’s influence on house, techno, electronica, hip hop, and dance pop lives on. And we’re not even counting the hundreds of disco hits that have been “sampled” ever since by artists across all genres in the extension of their craft.

So, it’s time to dance down memory lane! Most of the featured medleys this summer are from Disconet, the New York-based “subscription” label founded in 1977 by Mike Wilkinson. Two of the medleys that I’ll post over the summer were created by me back in the 1980s, and will be making their debut on YouTube publicly for the first time! (And a special shout-out to my dear friend Ryan Neugebauer for guiding me through some of the YouTube tech issues! Thank you! ❤).

There were many fine DJ subscription labels, including Hot Tracks and DMC, but Disconet was the pioneer. I was very good friends with the late Bobby “DJ” Guttadaro, an award-winning club giant, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who was a member of the original team of remixers hired by the Disconet service. When we walked into a club where Bobby was mixing, I’d slip him a playlist, and could be certain that at some point in the night, he’d play virtually all of my requests! I dedicate this year’s Summer Music Festival (Dance Medley Edition) to his memory and the memory of all those heroic, trailblazing DJs who mastered the art of the mix. We start on June 20, for by Sunday night at 11:32 pm (ET), the Summer Solstice arrives! Watch this space!

^ Me (DJ’ing, circa 1986)

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (X)

The tenth installment of my series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is from the Francis Ford Coppola-directed 1972 film, “The Godfather”: The Baptism Scene. Filled with the tension of ‘payback’ justice and the symbolic depth of the inversion of “good” and “evil” through the interplay of the sacred and the profane, this film’s climax, highlighted by its superb film editing, constitutes the finale to my current series. I’ve got many more all-time favorite iconic cinema moments, so maybe we’ll do this again sometime! Till then: Leave the gun, take the cannoli [YouTube link]! (Coppola insists that actor Richard S. Castellano, who played Clemenza, improvised that line!)

Birds, Bees, and Commas?

The editor in me was just so turned on by this one … 😉

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (IX)

The ninth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes ranking among my all-time favorites is from the 1997 James Cameron-directed blockbuster, “Titanic”, the 11-Academy Award winner that tied “Ben-Hur” (and “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”) for the most Oscars for any single film. The scene: The Sinking of the Titanic, in which this film’s Oscar-winning direction, art direction, cinematography, costume design, film editing, sound, sound effects editing, and visual effects are all on full display. Not to mention a spectacular Oscar-winning score by James Horner that grippingly augments this harrowing epic scene.

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (VIII)

The eighth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is another stop motion animation gem, this one from the great Ray Harryhausen: The Skeleton Duel from the 1963 film, “Jason and the Argonauts“, aided by an action-packed Bernard Herrmann score.

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (VII)

The seventh in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites takes us from yesterday’s Big Ape to a Planet of the Apes (1968). Needless to say, if you have never viewed the film, the finale contains one of the biggest spoilers—and shocking endings—in cinema history. When I saw this film at the young age of 8, the audience was so shocked by the Rod SerlingTwilight Zone”-like twist, that the theater remained eerily silent, even as the credits rolled.

The “Homonograph” and DOL Available Thru C4SS Store!

Pardon me for this commercial break!

This being Pride Month, I am happy to announce that my 60+ page-monograph, Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation (2003) is finally available again for sale—though supplies are limited—through the C4SS Store (link to sale page). I donated virtually my entire personal inventory of the work to the store. The book may be out-of-print, but the copies are pristine and being sold for only $5 each!

Available Again thru the C4SS Counter-Economic Store

The “Homonograph” (as I’ve often called it) is a combination philosophical exegesis, sociological study, and political tract, which examines Rand’s impact on the sexual attitudes of self-identified Objectivists in the movement to which she gave birth and the gay subculture that she would have disowned.

I should also mention that our special discount sale of the anthology, The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom (coedited by Roger Bissell, Ed Younkins, and me), is now over, because the book is sold out! It is still available at a higher price (in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle) through Amazon (as well as Google Books and Lexington Books), but why would you pay a minimum of $40 when you can get the book for $18 directly from the C4SS Store (link to sale page)! I’ve autographed all the copies that C4SS is selling. It is also available as part of the C4SS Store’s special collection: “The Intros Bundle” (link to sale page).

I want to thank James Tuttle for making all of this possible. Check it out!

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (VI)

The sixth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is the Boxing Match between King Kong and the T-Rex in the original 1933 film version of the ape story. There are so many iconic moments in this film … but this scene remains a showcase for Willis O’Brien’s trailblazing stop-motion animation—and Fay Wray‘s screams!

Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes (V)

The fifth in a series of ten iconic Hollywood film scenes among my all-time favorites is the Chest-Burster Scene from director Ridley Scott’s 1979 film, “Alien”. “In space no one can hear you scream” was the tagline, but when I first saw this in a packed Brooklyn theater, the screams were palpable until the scene was over. Then … after a moment of silence, a little nervous laughter ensued.