George Michael | 1963-2016

by Jamie Sanford on December 28, 2016

This is the 3rd time in 2016 that I have felt compelled to record something in response to the death of a musician. This time, George Michael.

I don’t remember when I first was exposed to the music of Wham! but I can definitely attribute it to having a teenage sister in the 1980s. No one listening to pop music didn’t hear the music of Wham! and George Michael in his solo days. I remember when the Faith album came out and people were losing their minds over his sexiness. I remember the “I Want Your Sex” video being controversial and that I wasn’t allowed to see it.

(I post a link to this video on my Facebook every year. Not only is the song great, but this video is an 80s masterpiece. George with that feathered hair and the fur-lined coat? It’s the best.)

Listen Without Prejudice came, and along with it, a video that EVERYONE knew was iconic from the jump. It was the early days of “supermodels” and George was on top of it, naturally. It would actually be the second model-centric video, for “Too Funky,” that I would like even more.

I’m gonna be the kind of lover that you never had, you’re never gonna have another lover in your bed…

I was continually interested in George’s music throughout the 90s. Even people in my age range, all graduating high school in the late 90s, we all seemed to identify with George’s music, the hits in particular. I listened to “Father Figure” a LOT. I had the best-of compilation Ladies & Gentlemen, which was on constant rotation. I got to college and suddenly had high-speed internet for the first time, and also Napster. I ended up with a LOT of George Michael in my computer. The Older album was long-awaited and worth it. There are so many strong songs on that album, and “Fastlove” was quickly one of my new favorites.

Fast forward to 2004, and George has a new album out and a Behind the Music to go along with it. I remember watching the special multiple times, and totally getting into his sexually-charged single “Freeek.”

The height of my George Michael experience came in late 2006, and completely by accident. Will and I went to London for a short honeymoon, a few weeks after our wedding. On the night of our arrival, we were forced out of a different exit than the one we wanted, and upon exiting, we saw this:

I’m pretty sure I freaked out immediately. However, we then noticed that all of the dates were crossed out, suggesting a sell out.

We were not dissuaded and proceeded to go over to the venue on our last night in London to see if we could get some tickets. I ended up negotiating with a random ticket scalper to pay face value for 2 tickets to the show. As I was at the ATM, taking out hundreds of pounds, it didn’t even occur to me that we didn’t even know where the seats were, since we knew nothing about the venue. In addition, the tickets were very large and didn’t look like what we see in the US, so we didn’t even know if they were real. We both held our breath waiting for them to scan, and sighed with relief when they did.

Little did we know that we had purchased tickets for the second row, in the absolute center. We were maybe 15 or 20 feet from George for most of the show. (Here’s the setlist.) I distinctly remember getting to our seats and both of us freaking out when we realized how insane and lucky our purchase was. We just wanted to go to the show, but this was now going to be a THING.

All that we have are terrible 2006 cell phone photos, but this is everyone behind us.

See those silhouettes in the front of the stage? That’s where we are.

So close. This show was AMAZING.

We really had such a great time. It is hard not to, when you’re this close, but the tour was specifically for the Twenty-Five album, another greatest hits effort, so obviously the setlist was really strong and a total crowd-pleaser. We both liked George before, but this really cemented our mutual love for George and his amazing talent and music.

George Michael has been in my regular music rotation for as long as I can remember. I cried and drank wine and watched the Ladies & Gentlemen DVD (yes, I have a George Michael DVD) at least twice after finding out that he was gone, trying to wrap my head around the loss of someone I didn’t know, but that still had such a significant place in my life, through the constant presence of their music.

I love you George. Thanks for sharing your gifts with the world.

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Sights & Sounds 37: Sahara Davenport Edition

by Jamie Sanford on October 2, 2012

Sights and Sounds #37: Sahara Davenport Edition

Click here for all of the Sights & Sounds posts.

I love drag. For anyone new to this blog, I have been going to drag shows regularly since my first one, sometime close to turning 18. I have made many friends who are queens in the last few years while attending shows in NJ and NY, and have been a crazy superfan of RuPaul’s Drag Race.

I was devastated last night to read that Sahara Davenport (Antoine Ashley as a boy) passed away earlier this week. No matter the details, the drag world has lost a gorgeous queen and wonderful performer. My heart goes out to Sahara’s family, Antoine’s family, and of course, Karl/Manila, who has been in a relationship with Sahara/Antoine for years. I wish these families all the best.

Sahara Davenport (right), with Manila Luzon.

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Sights & Sounds #26 – Amy Winehouse Edition

by Jamie Sanford on July 23, 2011

Sad edition of Sights & Sounds, Amy Winehouse was found dead today, at age 27.

I am unhappy to see people online talking about her in such a negative way – when you’ve dealt with someone with an addiction (to drugs, alcohol, gambling, whatever), you quickly learn that someone can be a wonderful person and still an addict, they can mean well but turn around and do something ridiculous and destructive to feed that addiction.  I think it is something you have to experience firsthand to understand. We will all take a lot of shit from someone that we love because we love them – and unfortunately, no matter how much help and assistance you offer to someone, sometimes it just isn’t enough.  I have a feeling that this might have been the case with Amy, who was immensely talented.  My thoughts are with her family and friends.

Here are some of my favorite Amy Winehouse moments.

“F**k Me Pumps”

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And my absolute favorite:

“Back to Black”

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Rest in peace, Amy.

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RIP Lena Horne.

by Jamie Sanford on May 11, 2010

I was so sad to hear of the death of Lena Horne.

More about Lena here.

I sing a tiny bit, so I think I have a special appreciation for singers.  Here’s a video of Lena and her classic “Stormy Weather.”

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RIP Alexander McQueen

by Jamie Sanford on February 12, 2010

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