My Top 10 Glee Performances

March 18, 2015

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After six seasons, the television show about high school choirs, Glee, is ending after showcasing over 600 performances. The show was a trailblazer of LGBT representation, especially in queer youth. I continued to watch the show during its peak (the first half of season 1) and some of its lows (the erratic seasons of 4 and 5). I laughed (Sue Sylvester’s first appearance), I cried (the death of Cory Moneith), I felt the love (Kurt and Blaine’s courtship), and I sang (every episode). It’s hard to choose my favorite songs so I decided to list my 10 ten favorites spanning 6 years. Enjoy the ride of nostalgia and cry this Friday for the epic 2-hour finale as it goes back to its roots (2009) to its rumored future (2020). In no particular order, because that would be cruel…

And bonus! my first article for dot429 was an op-ed piece of Glee. Read here:

1. Don’t Rain On My Parade (Sectionals: Season 1, Episode 13)

No one can be Barbra Streisand but if anyone is a close second it’s Miss Rachel Berry. Her performance was magnificent and there was no contest that the New Directions wouldn’t win Sectionals.

2. Push It (Showmance: Season 1, Episode 2)

“That was the most offensive thing I’ve seen in 20 years of teaching, and that includes an elementary school production of Hair.” That the was reaction of Cheerleader Coach Sue Slyvester and probably the thoughts of all America (and possibly worldwide). This performance blends what makes Glee so great: comedy with awkward teens doing awkward sexual acts. It’s so raw.

3. Bohemian Rhapsody (Journey To Regionals: Season 1, Episode 22)

Having Jonathan Groff guest star on Glee is one thing, but having him sing a Queen classic is a dream come true. And when you juxtaposition the performance with Quinn’s pregnancy, it concludes the first season’s most absurd yet amusing storylines (How can Finn think he was the father through a hot tub?). We’re all rooting for the New Directions, but Vocal Adrenaline rightfully wins Regionals (plus it gave the underdogs a reason for vengeance in Season 2). Without Groff, Vocal Adrenaline are sheep without a shepherd.

4. Teenage Dream (Never Been Kissed: Season 2, Episode 6)

When did you fall in love with Darren Criss’ Blaine Anderson? For me it was the moment he bumped into Kurt and then proceeded to dance into America’s hearts with the best rendition of Teenage Dream (sorry Katy Perry). And how can you say no to a man in uniform let alone an orgy of men in uniforms?!

5. I Will Survive/Survivor (Hold On To Sixteen: Season 3, Episode 8)

This show made a point that Teacher Will Shuester has his pet favorites (Rachel) and, let’s be honest, too vanilla in his song selections (I won’t even discuss his rapping choices). Showcasing urban flavor through some of my favorite female leads, Mercedes and Santana (along with Brittany) performed a disco (and gay) classic mashed up with Destiny’s Child’s modern day anthem of survival. This all-female vocal group, The Troubletones, was a highlight of season 3 and I was giddy with delight with their return in Season 6.

6. The Way You Look Tonight/You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile (Makeover: Season 4, Episode 3)

Sometimes, you just need a song to make you smile while you dress up. And with the dynamic duo of Kurt and Rachel, they teamed up with a style icon, Miss Sarah Jessica Parker. They picked a classic song and celebrated it with style.

7. Let’s Have A Kiki/Turkey Lurkey Time (Thanksgiving: Season 4, Episode 8)

The fact that Glee was able to take a gay cult song and make it a holiday favorite complete with vocals from Sarah Jessica Parker and an appearance from drag queen Shangela (I could do without Brody), is enough reason for me to include this song on this list. Like Comic Book Legend Stan Lee would say: ‘Nuff Said.

8. Make You Feel My Love (The Quarterback: Season 5, Episode 3)

For every Gleek, there is a general consensus that we were devastated by the death of Cory Moneith. To pay respects, the show ended his arc the only way they can with the death of his character. There were a lot of amazing performances in dedication of Finn, but real-life girlfriend Lea Michele gave the best performance as it was raw and heartbreaking. It’s hard to tell the difference between Lea Michele and Rachel Berry as this was the moment where the lines were blurred. The show has never been the same without him.

9. Old Time Rock n’ Roll/Danger Zone (Boys (and Girls) on Film: Season 4, Episode 15)

I can’t say no to men wearing uniforms and underwear. But to pair it with classic 80s film soundtrack songs is a fantasy in itself. Will Shuester said they tied with the girls in their mashups, but I object!

10. All You Need Is Love (Love, Love, Love: Season 5, Episode 1)

Hearing the Beatles play as Blaine proposes to Kurt in the spot where they first met is a wish fulfillment for every Glee fan. But it was so extravagant to have the four major choirs (New Directions, The Warblers, Vocal Adrenaline, Haverbrook School For The Deaf) help in Blaine’s proposal. Kurt just couldn’t say no. The audience would have had a BF (bitchfit if you’re unaware of the 2005 slang term).

Notable Mentions:

Seasons 1-5: Single Ladies, Maybe This Time, Dance With Myself, I Dreamed A Dream, Dream a Little Dream Of Me, Teenage Dream (Acoustic),Toxic, Disco Inferno, Boogie Shoes, Imagine

Season 6 (They’re all very fresh but these songs brought Glee back to its Season 1 glory): Tightrope, Lose My Breath, At Last, I’m So Excited, Somebody Loves You, It’s Too Late, I Know Where I’ve Been, Mustang Sally, Home

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10 noms for SF Pride Grand Marshal

February 6, 2015

I wrote my first article for the prestigious Bay Area Reporter. SF Pride announced their slate of nominees for Individual Grand Marshal. After reading my article, go to sfpride.org/vote and vote on these 10 fabulous activists!

10 Noms for Pride Grand Marshal

Ten Bay Area LGBTQ community leaders have been nominated for grand marshal of this year’s San Francisco Pride parade.

Public voting started this week online, and continues until March 2. The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee board is also expected to announce polling stations where people can fill out ballots in person.

In addition to the community grand marshal nominees, the board announced nominees for organization grand marshal and the pink brick, a faux award that is given to a person or group that has caused significant harm to the LGBT community.

Held during the weekend of June 27-28, Pride will celebrate its 45th annual parade. This year’s theme is “Equality Without Exception.”

Individual nominees are: Tita Aida, Brian Basinger, Patrick Carney, Belo Cipriani, Masen Davis, Judy Dlugacz, Alicia Garza, Mary Midgett, Caitlin Ryan, Ph.D., and Miko Thomas.

“It’s a great honor to be nominated with my fellow nominees,” said Carney, a gay man. “The recognition will help spread the word out about the pink triangle.”

Carney, 59, is best known for organizing the annual installation of the pink triangle on Twin Peaks for Pride. The installation and accompanying commemoration ceremony is meant to educate people about the history of the pink triangle, which was originally used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify and shame gays. It now represents a symbol of pride.

Like Carney, Cipriani, a freelance journalist who writes the Seeing in the Dark column for the Bay Area Reporter , is humbled to be nominated.

“It’s very humbling. I have a physical disability and it’s rare for us to get a spotlight,” Cipriani, 34, said. “It means a lot to me and shows that times are changing. I’m the first blind man to be nominated.”

Cipriani, a gay man, is an award-winning author for his books, Blind: A Memoir and Midday Dreams. As a disabilities advocate, he was the keynote speaker for the 2011 Americans with Disabilities Act celebration in San Francisco as well as for the 2012 queer conference at Skyline College.

Among the nominees, Davis and Aida are noted advocates for the transgender community.

Davis, a trans man, propelled the Transgender Law Center to become the nation’s largest transgender advocacy organization during his tenure as executive director from 2007 until stepping down February 1. Davis also had a vital role in ensuring that transgender students have access to facilities and activities that match their gender identity as he was an integral part of the coalition that helped pass California’s School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266). He was previously nominated in 2012.

“It is a great feeling to be nominated with so many amazing activists and it’s incredible to be one of them,” said Davis, 43. “I have to admit that a lot of work still needs to be done. But it’s exciting to create a buzz around Pride regardless who wins.”

Aida, a trans woman, who is a former Pride board member, has contributed to the LGBTQI community with her efforts in grassroots activism and community advocacy by spearheading several initiatives and programs in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. She currently manages the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center’s Trans Thrive Program, which is a drop-in center dedicated to helping San Francisco’s transgender community.

“I strongly believe that a vital part of this whole grand marshal voting experience is to get the community involved. Educate. Recognize the work that has been done to better LGBTQI lives,” said Aida, who joked that she’s “over 30.” “Encourage a sense of empowerment and foster leadership. The folks who are nominated can set as examples to the young generation who will hopefully continue the amazing work that has been planted to achieve equality for the LGBTQI community.”

Happy to be nominated among well-respected activists, Basinger, who was previously nominated last year, is a gay man who’s director of the AIDS Housing Alliance/SF, is a leading voice for the LGBTI and HIV communities facing poverty and homelessness.

“Tita Aida has been a friend and a huge supporter and I’m a fan of those nominated,” Basinger, 48, said. “If the nomination helps my work with the homeless, then I’m 100 percent happy that I’m being recognized.”

Midgett, Dlugacz, and Ryan are also nominees.

Midgett, 78, founded the Bay Area Black Lesbians and Gays and is an active speaker for Openhouse, an organization advocating for LGBT seniors. She also co-founded the NIA Collective in 1986, with which she is most closely associated.

Dlugacz, who’s in her 60s, co-founded Olivia Records and Olivia Travel, which offers vacations catering to lesbians. Dlugacz is also one of the founding partners of the USAID LGBT Global Development Partnership.

Ryan, a lesbian who said she is a senior, is a clinical social worker who has researched and worked on LGBT health and mental health issues for 40 years. She is director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University.

“I’m very honored to have been nominated for community grand marshal,” Ryan told the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday. “My work with LGBTQ children, youth and families keeps me running.”

Rounding out the community grand marshal nominees are Thomas and Garza.

Thomas, whose age wasn’t available, is a two-spirit writer and performance artist who is known more by his drag name, Landa Lakes, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the use of Native images as mascots. He has served on the board of the now-shuttered Native American AIDS Project as well as a board member of the Grand Ducal Council.

Garza, who identifies as queer, co-founded #BlackLivesMatter and serves as the special projects director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

“[My nomination] is a huge surprise and a great honor,” said Garza, 34. “SF Pride can represent the diversity of the community and support broad-based movements of black communities all over the world.”

Other nominees

The slate of nominees for organization grand marshal were also announced. They are the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Magnet SF, Openhouse, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Transgender Law Center.

For this year’s pink brick, the nominees are the American Family Association, Pacific Justice Institute, and the World Congress of Families.

To vote online, visit http://www.sfpride.org/vote.


Hooker’s Daily LGBT roundup, part 25.

October 21, 2013

I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.

US Olympic Committee to add sexual orientation to non-discrimination code

Hudson Taylor of Athlete Ally speaks to students about inclusion

Demonstrators arrested in Russia, both pro- and anti-LGBT

Conservative Catholics disagreeing with Pope Francis on social issues

France’s First Lady visits with lesbian couple in South Africa

Stonewall organization assembles new statistics regarding LGB hate crimes in the United Kingdom

Mikhail Baryshnikov, dance legend, criticizes Russia’s treatment of LGBT people

Managing editor of World Net Daily writes lengthy op-ed against the “LGBT lobby”

Gay swimmer Richard Alther: President Putin is “downright hot” while criticizing the Olympic boycott

Openly gay congress hopeful Carl Sciortino comes in third

Hillary Clinton accepts award from the Elton John AIDS Foundation

Cory Booker, LGBT ally, wins New Jersey Senate seat

Openly gay news anchor Thomas Roberts will host Miss Universe in Russia despite anti-LGBT laws

France’s high court rules that mayors can’t deny LGBT couples from marrying

 

 -Chris H.


Hooker’s Daily LGBT roundup, part 24.

October 13, 2013

I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.

Openly gay Olympian Matthew Mitcham brings more fun music and gayness to youtube

Russian athletes participate in N0H8 campaign as the Olympic debate continues

Russia restricts Sweden and other LGBT-friendly countries from adoptions

First openly gay NCAA division II basketball player comes out in essay

European Parliament schedules meeting to discuss homophobia

Professional boxer Orlando Cruz talks about coming out

Paris, France to host 2014 Gay Games

Betty White joins GLAAD

Group to launch in support of London’s Irish LGBT citizens

Robbie Rogers to publish memoir next year titled, Coming Out To Play

Australian federal government challenges the Australian capital territory’s equal marriage law

 

 -Chris H.


Hooker’s Daily LGBT roundup, part 23.

October 8, 2013

I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.

 

Center for Medicaid expands eligibility for same-sex couples in equality states

Olympic Committee asserts opposition to LGBT discrimination

Free and Equal release video of the United Nation’s first LGBT meeting

Census finds Fort Lauderdale has the most LGBT households

The National Guards of four states deny LGBT spousal military benefit, top democrats respond

Exclusive interview with entertainment veteran, Victor Lirio

Exclusive interview with distinguished singer and Disney legend, Lea Salonga

Pennsylvania politician compares marriage equality to “giving money out to peoples’ pets”

New study reported that bisexual teens may have difficulties improving their health

A Russian Imam advises his followers to boycott Elton John’s concert for “promoting homosexuality”

 

 

 -Chris H.


Hooker’s Daily LGBT roundup, part 22.

September 30, 2013

I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.

Sean Eldridge officially announces Congress bid

Todd Hughes voted in as first openly gay circuit judge

Italian political party protests lack of real LGBT protections with kiss-in

September 24 is the third annual Haberdash in San Francisco

Sir Ian McKellan comments on Winter Olympics

LGBT advocates ask Supreme Court of New Mexico to recognize marriage equality

Catholic military chaplains won’t be “forced” to serve LGBT couples, weddings, funerals

Russian lawmaker says anti-gay violence are “lies,” claims gay-on-straight violence is common

Conservative groups back House bill that would allow them to legally discriminate

Olympic Committee says locale is “magnificent” despite continued fears of LGBT community

New study explores lives of LGBT Asian and Pacific Islanders

United Nations holds meeting to discuss LGBT equality around the world

-Chris H.


Hooker’s Daily LGBT roundup, part 21.

September 20, 2013

I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.

Biden: marriage equality is “the issue of our day”

Nigerian student claims magnets prove homosexuality is unnatural

Louisiana refuses to recognize LGBT couples’ marriages for tax purposes because of state ban

Sir Elton John to perform at Sochi Olympic Games

Cardinal accuses Peruvian congressman of promoting his own LGBT agenda

Archbishop Tutu says God has compelled him to stand up for LGBT rights

Johnny Weir won’t be competing in Winter Olympics in Sochi

Rugby player Ben Cohen: “I like to break down stereotypes”

Young stars support Bailey House program for HIV+ and LGBT youth

Robert Redford stands up for equal rights at Equality Utah Allies dinner

Elaine D. Kaplan becomes second openly gay judge elected to Federal Claims Court

One Direction launches successful anti-bullying campaign

Carl Sciortino Jr. on coming out to his father….as a liberal

Tim Gunn discusses the wave of the future

-Chris H.