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Brasil 2 Mil (Brazil)
Brasil 2 Mil (Brazil)
Offered by USA CD SELLER
Price: CDN$ 8.49
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.56

2.0 out of 5 stars For American twenty-somethings, Dec 2 2002
This review is from: Brasil 2 Mil (Brazil) (Audio CD)
A relentlessly trendoid pastiche intended for the North American kewl market. It cobbles together the offerings of many fine and varied artists, but the association implies that there is a "new thing" here - in the sense of the original bossa nova or tropicalia, which isn't the case. Rather being something new, it is an example of unassimilated influences. Some North American influences have been "eaten," perhaps especially by artists connected with Bahia, but that's not really on the table here. Virginia Rodrigues career has been stalled from day one because she is essentially unable to use her great voice - she simply can't move her butt stylistically - thus, her inclusion here is a bit of unintentional irony. Brasil has a tremendously complex folk and pop musical reservoir and a sophisticated modern music industry - this stuff is definitely not the sharpest tooth of the cutting edge.

Ptown: Art, Sex and Money on the Outer Cape
Ptown: Art, Sex and Money on the Outer Cape
by Peter Manso
Edition: Hardcover
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.07

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, if ultimately sad, story of fabulous Ptown, Sept. 23 2002
I first visited Ptown just after the mid-Sixties when two gay artist friends of mine bought a house there and turned it into a very barebones B&B with a gallery attached. Ptown was a great place, and I have returned there many times since.
I found Manso's book to be well written and entertaining, despite a minority of Amazon reviewers who found it quite otherwise. His style is straightforward, and the narrative is a combination of history, storytelling and gossip interwoven in a very deft manner. He develops various topics in the story of Ptown and does an excellent job of weaving in the life stories of a wide spectrum of Ptown's inhabitants. If you have a problem reading Manso's book, then "walk/don't walk" signs must be daily life threatening situations.
The author sketches in the pre-colonial and 19th century history of Ptown with interesting anecdotes; however it is in his presentations of the development of the Portuguese fishing community, the beginning of the arts colony and the arrival of the earlier gay settlers in the 60s and 70s - and their battles, cominglings and final integration - where he excells. The lives of many people are explored and they weave in and out of the Ptown story over the years so that one gets a real feel for the community.
There were three reviewers who claimed that the book is homophobic, though one of those reviews has now disappeared. As a gay man, I really feel compelled to comment on those claims. And my response is "{crud}!" One of these complainers after making that assertion, then goes on to also complain that certain topics are treated at too great a length - one of them being a gay man who has been at the center of Ptown's life for decades, and has been involved in many of community service projects. Maybe she read so fast she didn't realize he was gay.
Several members of the established gay community are featured repeatedly, prominently and positively in the book. Manso has certainly balanced his attentions very fairly among the Portuguese, artistic, and gay communities of Ptown, and he has done a great job showing how the town various elements could pull together when faced with crises.
However, in the end this is not just the story of the life, but the death by strangulation of an old diverse - get that word, "diverse" - rock 'em, sock 'em town funky old place. The impact in the Nineties of luxury real estate development aimed overwhelmingly at wealthy gay people and a flashy commercial environment for gay visitors has all but killed the town. The powerful arts and business conglomerates - very heavily gay in their makeup - are advocating more and more economic development and centralization; however, failing to point out that it will primarily benefit them, and not the old long time communities of Ptown.
The Portuguese, the artists and the old time gay residents are not only being pushed out by the sky-high costs of life in Ptown, they are not wanted by the wave of gay arrivistes who are indifferent, when not antagonistic, to Ptown's past history and traditions - and the new arrivals make no bones about. It is ironic that we gay people who make so much - in our political campaigning - about diversity are actively and with malice destroying it in Ptown. Manso is not homophobic on this score even, from my own personal experience I would say he's been, if anything, extremely lighthanded.
I had decided in the 90's to investigate Ptown as a place to settle in year around. I was fortunate enough to have enough money to consider purchasing an apartment there and felt that if it were well enough situated I could deal with the hordes of summer visitors that almost suffocate Ptown. However, I wanted to get a picture of the all-year residents, and, therefore, stayed for three off-season months with two gay friends who lived in Ptown. During that time they seemed to be constantly and unwillingly sucked into "us against them" conversations. Twice they were visited by recent gay female residents who proceeded to instruct them on what their attitudes should be on local issues, and in each case departed with a shameless warning that "If you don't support us, you'll be sorry you live here." I was stunned - my friends were established gay residents in town. I left convinced - and Manso's book confirms the rightness of my decision - that the new Ptown was not run by the kind of people I would want for neighbors. Ultimately I found that Europe offered more congenially integrated gay-straight society.

New York Tendaberry (Rm)
New York Tendaberry (Rm)
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 31.95
6 used & new from CDN$ 8.11

2.0 out of 5 stars A voice from the land of Fan Culto, Aug. 2 2002
Throughout her performing and recording career Laura Nyro remained firmly out there in fan cult territory with only rare exceptions.
She howled, she yowled, she shouted and brayed, and she did an awful lot of mumbling in all those modes. Sometimes she even sang a few snatches of comprehensible lyric. Nyro kept a tight rein on her career and in the process fairly choked it to death, as it allowed her to tenaciously hold onto all of her egregious vocal mannerisms. This recording shows all of her faults (and her live performances were far, far more self-indulgent, and I sat through a couple.)
This was more than unfortunate as she was not only capable of writing interesting lyrics sometimes the equal of those of Paul Simon and Dylan - but she was capable of turning out a terrific vocal performance, though she rarely rose above the sloppy vocal habits of self-engrossment.
"Save the Country" and "Time and Love" give a taste of Nyro as a disciplined performer and song writer; while the rest of the cuts display her performance flaws in abundance. Her songs were far better served by other artists, e.g. Earth, Wind and Fire, Barbara Streisand, etc. and this is by and large how they escaped from the world of cult fandom to be appreciated by the public at large.
Her absolute best album is "Gonna take a miracle." But this production had three important components that she rarely submitted to. First, it was produced and directed by Gamble and Huff - top music makers - and not by Nyro herself. Second, she was recording with Labelle, again top music professionals. Finally, she was recording for the most part songs that already had "Classic" stamped all over them. The result: Laura Nyro is so hot she's radioactive! A virtually flawless album, something that she never came close to achieving again.

Nightclub
Nightclub
Offered by FastMedia "Ships From USA"
Price: CDN$ 41.50
6 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

2.0 out of 5 stars One problem only, July 18 2002
This review is from: Nightclub (Audio CD)
The instrumental playing is fine on this album. However, this woman proves - once more - that she cannot carry a tune. And the usual lapses into her mumbling vocal mannerism are here again. She sounds like she's wearing Doc Martens on her tongue.
Hype and cult following just don't make up for these flaws.

Mended
Mended
Price: CDN$ 9.49
44 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars Waste of his talent, waste of your cash, June 5 2002
This review is from: Mended (Audio CD)
Marc Anthony is a major international star.
This album is a major U.S. bust....at best. It's a classic example of what is done to top talent from other countries and cultures to make them palatable to Americans. Spare us, guys, you got that Spears person to make the sugar-coated goo for Middle America, let the real talent loose.
Skip this soggy offering. Buy Marc's Spanish language recordings - it won't matter that you can't "do" Spanish, they burn!

Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture
Queering the Color Line: Race and the Invention of Homosexuality in American Culture
by Siobhan B. Somerville
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 27.08
17 used & new from CDN$ 20.78

2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, May 31 2002
The chosen gay jargon of the "closet" is so woefully inadequate to the historical condition of gays dealing with passing for straight. I hoped this book might have really seized on the similarities in the dilemma of passing as it affected Blacks and gay people, but unfortunately this isn't the case.
The author seems to begin with those intentions, but after presenting some interesting thoughts she simply follows them up with a set of four jargon-laden book reports on works of fiction and that's that. What she has produced could be a text for yet another multicultural lit course, but it sadly misses as a discussion of the phenonmenon of gay passing. The survivors of the era in which gay passing was a norm for homosexuals are fewer and fewer. And the passive imagery of "the closet" remains in place, misleading and inappropriate as is to much of the gay past.
It is a shame that there are not traditionally-oriented gay historians dealing with the actual dynamics of gay passing as it affected the lives of millions of men and women. This doesn't come close to being that book.

Jazz Samba Encore
Jazz Samba Encore
Price: CDN$ 13.69
37 used & new from CDN$ 7.14

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of suinge!, May 12 2002
This review is from: Jazz Samba Encore (Audio CD)
Though I am very fond of the previous album, Jazz Samba, over time this one has edged it out. The first venture sometimes seems like disconnected pieces assembled into an album, whereas this Jazz Samba Encore has a sustained swing and drive that give it an overall all sense of direction and unity that Jazz Samba now lacks for me.
Also there is, in my estimation, more artistic balance on this album - Bonfa's playing and Toledo's singing are right there at Getz's level all the time, every time.
This is a superb effort, there isn't a slice of turkey on the entire album. Pure pleasure.

The Other Side of Silence: Men's Lives & Gay Identities - A Twentieth-Century History
The Other Side of Silence: Men's Lives & Gay Identities - A Twentieth-Century History
by John Loughery
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 25.95
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.38

4.0 out of 5 stars History - not half-truths and myths!, March 23 2002
It is refreshing to see someone attempting something approaching an actual popular history of gay people in America rather than the constantly invoked mythologies and distortions that usually pass for it.
This is an accessible book intended for the average reader, and if it gets widely read it could be a boon to rectifying the distorted picture American gay people have of their past. The bizarre idea that there was no such thing as being "out" prior to the Stonewall events and that there was no substantial gay subculture prior to then - vibrantly lived in the face of the overwhelmingly negative social environment - can finally be pitched into the waste basket where it belongs. The events surrounding the Stonewall raid opened up the eyes of many closeted men and women to the fact that thousands of gay men and women had already created a thriving subculture, and that given the extreme liberal drift in late 60s and early 70s it was safe to come out and participate in it if you dared.

What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
What Went Wrong?: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response
by Bernard Lewis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.87
61 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars An "Instant Best Seller" effort, not his top level work, March 17 2002
I've enjoyed his previous books and respected his scholarship; however, this time around I think he's cobbled something together to hit a hot market. This is his post-WTC New Yorker article pumped up. The "What Went Wrong" in the title could be applied to his doing only part of the job on this subject.
He seems to carefully avoid telling his American readers anything that might lead them to examine themselves, their country's policies, etc. In other words, he skilfully points his finger at Them most of the time, and thus avoids the possibility of being the target of any brickbats in an overheated time. He travels very, very safely over any ground that might upset Americans. Given his scholarly expertise this is a good book, but a "soft" one.
A good scholar doing lightweight and very safe work.

Mirror Conspiracy
Mirror Conspiracy
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 11.25
23 used & new from CDN$ 9.61

3.0 out of 5 stars Aural pablum, March 16 2002
This review is from: Mirror Conspiracy (Audio CD)
This recording is perhaps best described as Easy Listening Lite. A little bit of this, a little bit of this - all pasturized, homogenized, pre-masticated, synthesized and blended into an unidentifiable aural pablum. Buy in complete confidence, there is absolutely nothing with enough edge to offend anyone; in fact, you could leave the room in the middle of track one and come back fifteen minutes later and be forgiven for thinking that the same song was still playing.
Novacain for the brain. What's to complain about?

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