Monday, December 13, 2010

A little respect: Andy Bell brings it

I have known for a long time that I am Gay, and I have been “out” for a very long time (I put it at 1980 or so). However, it wasn’t until the early 90’s that I really started diving into LGBT culture with gusto. I have never denied that I am Gay, but for a long time I was very hesitant to show it outwardly. That all changed the night that the Latino-who-shall-not-be-named and I headed to Detroit to see Erasure in all their glory for their “Chorus” tour back in 92 or 93. I had all their CDs and loved the vibe that came from lead singer Andy Bell. In watching their early videos, you’d have to be in a coma to not realize that he is Gay. He drips Gayness from every pore in his body. He is unabashedly Gay and quite fabulous to boot. So when the Latino-who-shall-not-be-named and I got to Detroit to see the show, there were Gay folk everywhere. It was something to see. Many came in costumes, many in drag. Many just came as themselves, a spectacle for some, for others, like me, it was the start of coming out publicly. There were a few vendors there selling everything from T shirts to posters as well as then new to the scene Freedom (or Pride) Rings. They are a rainbow assortment of anodized metal rings that hung around your neck on a chain and were the “must have” accessory for every junior ‘Mo and Club Kid that year. The Latino-who-shall-not-be-named scoffed at my purchase of these rings, and wondered out loud why I would want to advertise the fact that I was Gay. This coming from a man who never once said to me that he himself was Gay and hid his sexuality from his family and his work and was in fact at an Erasure concert with his boyfriend. Go figure.

So, with my newly purchased Freedom Rings dangling from neck, I danced my fool ass off at one of the best concerts I have ever attended. The staging and costuming for the tour was over the top at all levels. The opening song had Andy driving around the stage in a swan/motorcycle contraption while singing “Siren Song.” Pure drama, pure theatrics, and possibly the Gayest thing I have ever seen in my life. You can see a bit of it here:
I have considered Andy to be one of my personal heroes for a long time. His voice, his talent, and his support of LGBT issues have endeared him to me as well as his many fans from all over the world. I was a little skeptical when I heard that they were redoing "A Little Respect," with all proceeds from downloading it going to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, the home of the Harvey Milk High School in New York, and to the True Colors Fund. I am usually not a fan of remakes as they often stray so far from the original that the original essence is lost. I am happy to say that the new song is great. I watched the video for it last week and found myself clutching a tissue wiping away tears as I saw the next generation of LGBT youth frolicking and dancing with my hero Andy. The glow paint is a bit off-setting, but the message of respect still rings true.

You can download the song here:
I highly recommend that you do.