Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Thursday, December 25, 2008

    Happy holidays. If you are looking for a good movie to watch over the holiday season, check out my review of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is in theaters today.

    Another redemptive quality, the flawless acting, Pitt and Blanchett deliver… even though some scenes feel like an Ikea commercial when they dance in their new apartments and travel the world.

    Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 1:05 AM :: 2 comments

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    Monday, December 22, 2008

    On Friday night, me and a sold out crowd trekked to Harlem USA in a massive snowstorm for Labelle's opening night of their reunion tour. Their first concert in thirty-two years opened at the Apollo, bringing Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash back to their soul and funk roots. The legendary Whoopi Goldberg introduced the icons and within seconds they opened with their emotional rendition of "Miss Otis Regrets."

    Song after song, Labelle proved thirty extra years ain't nothing. However, about twenty minutes into the show, the amplifiers blew out during "Candlelight," a song on their Back To Now album.

    The Apollo is truly the wrong crowd to have microphones go out when some paid $200 for a ticket (it's good to have the perks of being a writer!). People chanted, "Fix that mike!" Neck rolling and shouting -- but what struck me was the professionalism of Labelle. Lawd knows, some of these artists of today (or even yesterday—you know I loves some Nina Simone but she would stomp off stage if the audience clapped too loud!) have no idea how to handle the unexpected on stage. Labelle absolutely would not leave the stage and tried to make it work, looking equally as disappointed as the crowd.

    Eventually, they were instructed to take an "intermission" and hopefully the sound would be back up. Miss Patti was still reluctant to leave—they practically had to pull Patti-Patti off that stage. Now that is a performer -- this is a group who performed on the chitlin' circuit when they didn't even have microphones!

    We waited over an hour and every 15 minutes or so some dude came on stage who stressed he didn't even work for the Apollo (great thing to say!), but there was a power surge that blew out the electricity. Right on cue, about 30 people from the crowd yelled, "Well, why the lights still on!"

    Labelle eventually returned, but the sound didn't. Nona calmed the audience, reminding me of that scene from Selena when the crowd was rowdy, a few motions of the hands, everyone cooled down. Labelle sang two songs acapella with a choir—"(Can I Speak To You Before You Go To) Hollywood" and "What Can I Do For You." The ladies ripped it with just pure voice while Patti repeatedly apologized to the audience with her hands. The Apollo said they would honor our tickets for tomorrow night, same time.

    Labelle returned on Saturday night (a raunchy Paul Mooney introduced them -- Lawd that grandma joke made the crowd gasp!) and opened with "Miss Otis Regrets" again. While I didn't think Patti could humanly sing that song any better than the previous night—Patricia Louise Holte annihilated that melody, as SoulBrotha said from last week, "TESTIFYIN' to you, the ancestors, Jesus, God and homeless aliens on Pluto!"

    The harmonies were utopian, penetrating my tainted ears that's used to the tawdry vocals from the girl groups of the past ten to fifteen years. They sang songs like "You Turn Me On" and "Nightbirds," which was written in memory of Janis Joplin. It's almost impossible to see a show like this and appreciate the R&B-pop bummers of today. They either have no work ethic, can't sing, or just have no soul. Labelle has all three elements and proved it once again. It's never about endorsements, lip-synching, a pretty face, a cute hair cut, reality shows, or being "marketable." It's about the soul.

    I am so grateful I was able to see Labelle perform live. Even if you don't know a lot of Labelle's music, it's a must to see these women in concert. Their next show in New York is February 26th at the Beacon Theatre. They will also be in Atlanta on Valentine's Day -- I know most of you are single, or will be by Valentine's Day, so this is the perfect outing for you!

    Click here for their upcoming tour dates in Chicago, DC, and Oakland, CA.

    Check out this performance of "You Turn Me On." Anyone who uses "shugah dumpling" in a song is a friend of mine!




    Check this out...
    Labelle Interview
    New Year's with Miss Patti

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 7 comments

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    Friday, December 19, 2008

    Check out my review for Seven Pounds over at BET.com.

    Currently, Seven Pounds is thriving off its mystery, which might be the biggest flaw. Marketing the “mystery” of Seven Pounds sets the viewer up for a completely different experience and will leave some disappointed. Imagine going to see Soul Plane and you thought it was a story about the Tuskegee Airmen!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 9:46 AM :: 4 comments

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    Monday, December 15, 2008

    "Giving Up" is a legendary song that was made famous in the 1976 movie Sparkle. The song was sung by Lonette Mckee who played Sister, but in 1972 the torch song was recorded by Donny Hathaway. Donny sang the song like he had given up, aching, sad, controlled, and terribly painful.

    In 1987 Broadway diva, Jennifer Holliday, sang the song for her Get Close to My Love album. Holliday gave the track a whole new life -- ripping through the over eight-minute epic like she was frying chicken and baking blueberry cornbread in the midnight hour just waiting on her man!

    Before you judge, listen to both versions -- I know any comparisons to the late-great Hathaway we tend to disregard as blasphemy! The feeling, the vocal -- tell me -- who sang it better?


    Giving Up - Donny Hathaway


    Givin Up - Jennifer Holliday

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:58 AM :: 23 comments

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    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Thank you for submitting your questions for Brandy! I interviewed her earlier this week for Advocate.com. Her new album hit stores on Tuesday and the former teen-queen definitely showed love to the gays in this interview.

    The "Brokenhearted" diva (still my favorite song!) was very candid and talked about everything from fighting Monica, Diana Ross (Brandy as Billie Holiday?) and how she really felt about Barbara Walters pulling her mane. Click on the link below...

    Advocate.com: Brandy Grown Up

    In case you forgot, here is the clip of Barbara Walters and Brandy...


    Barbara likes Hair

    Barbara is really fascinated with the hair of the Negress. Remember when she grilled Diana Ross if her hair was real? I want someone to ask Babs, "Is that face real?"

    Check this out
    No more Negro Day on The View!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 2:25 PM :: 7 comments

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    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    I lovingly dedicate the song below to the ex-gays, closeted church queens and pastors, homophobic DL celebrities, slut puppy power bottoms who are damning people to hell, and all the other savages who are going through an internal war -- trying to infect others with their toxic insecurities ... the song is appropriately titled "10,000 SCREAMING FAGGOTS."

    Oh, this goes to my old school house heads too!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 11:00 AM :: 8 comments

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    Tuesday, December 09, 2008

    Miss White Soul Mama does it again! Not only has she paid flawless tributes to James Brown, Etta James (those other versions sound like characters on Sesame Street!), and Donny Hathaway -- she now uses her golden pipes to honor the late-great Nina Simone. This immaculate performance proves that Christina Aguilera leaves dust in the tracks of all these other so-called singers.

    The great thing about Christina's tributes is that she really appreciates these artists. Not, "I wanna win an award! Oh! Let me sing that!" You can tell she grew up with this music and understands the importance, passion, and has great respect for the art form.

    Besides Fantasia, Aguilera sings monsoons around any of these gals of this generation in mainstream music -- Pink and Alicia Keys -- all artists who can sing, but don't want one single day from one of the most soulful artists of today. With all that said, Aguilera suffers from what most great singers suffer from today -- just like Fantasia, her voice doesn't translate well in the studio (J-Hud is another one). I could listen to Fanny and Chrissy sing live for hours, but I could never listen to either of their albums from beginning to end -- I could do that with Alicia Keys and especially Pink.

    Whatever the case, check out the performance from the former X-Tina singing Nina Simone's version of "I Love You Porgy"! Nina was a hard woman to please, but I think even she would've been happy.



    Check this out
    Christina Aguilera is Soul

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 9:58 AM :: 34 comments

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    Monday, December 08, 2008

    Brandy's new album, Human, is in stores Tuesday. Do you have a question you've always wanted asked? Please submit your questions in the comments! FYI - this interview is for gay press.

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 9 comments

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    Friday, December 05, 2008

    Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Fantasia and many others need to take some serious notes! Damita gets a lil' case of "vertigo" -- 30 minutes before show time -- and cancels. Whitney gets a lil' tickle in her throat and can't hold a note. Fantasia, who I love, canceled more shows of The Color Purple on Broadway than she actually performed. However, a 69 year-old woman who once picked cotton in Tennessee was hooked up to an oxygen tank just a day before her concert in New York City and still performs a two and a half hour set—getting rave reviews. Please don’t tell me Tina ain’t really a “singer,” anyone who says this doesn’t know Tina’s catalogue and surely hasn’t seen her live.

    Why does Anna Mae Bullock have this type of stamina in her older age and you got other celebrities, twenty to thirty years younger, passing out from "exhaustion" and "dehydration"? Well, this is the same woman who performed at any cost -- broken bones, seven months pregnant, and massive physical and mental abuse. I guess work ethic stays with you.

    I saw Tina Turner in concert last week and it was the greatest stadium concert I have ever seen. She was regal, passionate, and completely breathtaking. Tina didn't just perform well for a 69 year-old—she performed amazing even for a 21 year-old! One example was the air conditioner, when I saw Stephanie Mills, the Broadway diva demanded the air conditioner be shut off due to her voice. Madonna insists on no air conditioner -- so when I saw her in October the stadium was sweltering. But, Anna Mae was performing, air conditioner on full blast -- she didn't lip-synch a note and sounded much better than Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan currently sound in concert.

    I'm not sure how true this, but I heard Tina Turner has only had one concert cancellation since 1986! Lawd, I was feeling kind of sick the other day and I had a long day a head of me. I put “Simply the Best” on my iPod, thought of Tina and kept it moving!

    Check this out
    Aretha strikes back: "I never figured her to resort to tacky press just to sell a few tickets!"
    Tina to Aretha: "Aretha has always been like that!"
    Tina Turner Can’t Believe She Ain’t Indian!
    Give Ike His Respect!
    Happy Birthday Anna Mae

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 15 comments

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    Wednesday, December 03, 2008


    Tomorrow I'll be interviewing Oscar winner Jamie Foxx. His new album, Intuition, is in stores December 19th. Also, he is starring in The Soloist with Robert Downey, Jr., which is in theaters this spring.

    Please submit your questions in the comments!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 5:41 PM :: 15 comments

    ---------------oOo---------------
    On Friday, November 21st, I had the pleasure of reviewing a Stephanie Mills concert for the EDGE. The Broadway and R&B legend brought the house down at B.B. Kings Blues Club in New York City like it was 1989. The show was excellent, she sang all of her hits, plus some songs I never heard -- BUT she left out "Comfort of a Man," her last top ten R&B hit.

    Check out the review and a clip from the show.

    Review: Stephanie Mills Live in Concert



    Check this out

    Best Female R&B of the '80s and '90s
    Throwback: Starring Stephanie Mills
    Divas Live

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 9:09 AM :: 3 comments

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    Monday, December 01, 2008

    The D-list ex-gay who once told me, "I am physically attracted to the spirit of Christ,” Charlene "You Follow Me?" Cothran, is now begging for coins—all under the name of God and prayers. Alicia Banks forwarded me Cothran’s holiday email to convert the gays because "preservation of the family is what Thanksgiving celebrates"—damn, are the gays now a threat to Native American genocide day?

    Her former LGBT magazine, Venus, has fallen to pieces and Cothran needs serious dollars for The EVIDENCE Ministry, Inc. A new organization she probably conjured up while feeling her beaver swell as she obsessed about being “entangled with the bondage of lesbianism.” Her email read, “carefully lay the foundation for a loving ministry whose mission is to reach those who want to be free from homosexuality with the gospel of Jesus Christ, to offer tools to prevent homosexuality in today's youth and to offer hope & spiritual healing to parents and family members of gays and lesbians.”

    Well, Cothran is asking to folks to write a hefty check for this mission impossible. She says, "Our prayer is that God will send 100 people to make a one-time donation of $300 or more or to donate $30 a month for one year." Sweet demonic, labia lips Jesus! Even Barack Obama started off asking for $5! Char is going right for the pocket and in these rough economic times. Well, I guess the only good thing about this is she will need some dollars to maintain that new perm and dye job.

    Oh and where exactly will the money go? A radio program, hosted by Cothran herself... that should be a treat, hours of obsessing over lesbianism and inserting Jesus every time she needs to buy a new soft-butch pantsuit. Also, technical equipment to create a DVD teaching series—imagine the gems of wisdom that DVD will offer! Plus, Cothran and her “talented Board of Directors,” who are not named, want to launch a web site and prepare for mini conferences in 2010. Her hope is, “built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!”

    This is kind of like those modeling agencies in New York City that are advertised in the back of The Village Voice -- if they have to ask you for money, it isn't legit.

    PS. Don't forget today is World AIDS Day. Ideas like reparative therapy, ex-gays, and begging for cash does nothing to help the battle against HIV/AIDS. If someone has convinced you that the supreme being views you as an abomination -- why would you put on a condom to protect your life?

    Check this out
    Ex-Gay Aftermath
    INTERVIEW WITH EX-GAY CHARLENE COTHRAN

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 12:00 AM :: 10 comments

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