Showing posts with label Year in Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Year in Review. Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: The Year of Greatest Accomplishments for the LGBT Movement

"Since the beginning of the LGBT rights movement, we have never come as far or as fast as we have this past year," says HRC President Chad Griffin. 

Click here to for a list of accomplishments and progress made in 2013

And click here to read why MileHighGayGuy's Todd Craig calls 2013 "The GAYEST Year in American History." Yay, us!

The MileHighGayGuy Guide to 2013’s Top Albums Featuring Drake, Pet Shop Boys, Lorde, and More!

By John Hill

If someone asks you about music in 2013 and you think of Miley Cyrus, chances are you weren’t paying close enough attention because a LOT of quality music came out over the past 12 months. Pop, rock, hip hop, dance, country…a lot of genres had great records to talk about and listen to. Here are ten of those albums in no particular order that are worthy of being considered the best of the best.

Drake/Nothing Was the Same
The impressive thing about Drake is that he is still considered legit by the hip-hop community while courting a large mainstream fan base that loves his more pop-leaning tracks. 2013 saw Drake maintain that dichotomy by first releasing the back to basics “Started from the Bottom” which debuted the night he won a Grammy for Best Rap Album for 2011’s Take Care. “Started” peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100, followed by the even bigger pop hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” which made it up to number four. The way that Drake brags about his prowess in business, on the mic and in bed while still maintaining a level of accessibility and vulnerability that keeps him edgy and relatable is impressive, and that dynamic that will keep his fans coming back for more. Highlights: “Started From the Bottom,” “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” “The Language”

Sara Bareilles/The Blessed Unrest

Pretty much everyone in the industry was caught off guard when Sara Bareilles garnered an Album of the Year Grammy nomination for The Blessed Unrest at the 2014 Awards. That surprise fell into two categories: those who hadn’t paid attention to the album, and those who had but figured it didn’t stand a chance. Count me amongst the latter…on her fourth full-length studio album, Bareilles expanded her musical palette outward from her piano-driven pop to a more eclectic collection, but the album seemed overshadowed by higher profile releases like Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake. Now that her name is up for consideration, she may actually have a chance if the Grammy voters are in an underdog kind of mood. No matter which direction that vote goes, check out The Blessed Unrest and its diverse body of work, including the instant gay marriage anthem “I Choose You.” Highlights: “Brave,” “Manhattan,” “I Choose You”

Lady Gaga/ARTPOP
When hype overwhelms art, there is no way that art can be taken at face value. Such is the dilemma that Lady Gaga experienced upon releasing ARTPOP. Gaga created such an enigma around her latest disc that even a classic album like Thriller wouldn’t live up to that much hype. That’s a shame, because ARTPOP is a solid album filled with the Lady’s trademark anthemic hooks. “Applause” grabbed my attention on first listen and I instantly declared it the winner in the Gaga vs. Katy Perry showdown. However, the big surprise on this record was the inclusion of a duet with none other than R. Kelly on “Do What U Want.” Crazy thing is that it’s not a stunt: it works! Highlights: “Applause,” “Do What U Want,” “Gypsy”

Haim/Days Are Gone
What is it about sibling trios recording solid pop/rock music? Hanson, the Jonas Brothers (I heard your eyes roll), the Bee Gees…whatever your opinion, these groups had catchy songs combined with tight harmonies. In 2013, music lovers all over the globe added Haim to that list. In fact, their album debuted at number one in the UK, preventing the second edition of Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience from hitting the top of the chart. Haim are part 80s dance pop, part 80s yacht rock, and 100% grounded in the present with tight harmonies and great studio production. Highlights: “The Wire,” “Falling,” “Forever”

Kacey Musgraves/Same Trailer Different Park
“Make lots of noise/kiss lots of boys/or kiss lots of girls if that’s something you’re into.” That was potentially the most talked about lyric in Nashville this year, thanks to singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves. Upon first listen, radio programmers said “we love it, but we’ll never play it.” True to their word and despite a well-received performance by Musgraves on the Country Music Awards in November, the single stalled at Country radio. However, let that serve as a great reason to dig in to the rest of her album. Kacey mixes traditional country instrumentation with modern takes and circumstances to deliver an album both country lovers and non-believers can relate to. It might be seen as crude by some, but the picture Musgraves paints is vividly real. Highlights: “Follow Your Arrow,” “Merry Go Round,” “I Miss You”

Pet Shop Boys/Electric
How do you criticize a band that’s been blazing trails for over 25 years and is beloved within the gay community? It’s tough, but the Pet Shop Boys earned some of that criticism with their last album (Elysium) that was uneven at best. Fortunately, Neil and Chris decided to dedicate their newest album to the dance floor and brought in producer extraordinaire Stuart Price to helm the project. The resulting album is Electric, and it is easily their best album since Very back in the early 90s. From the anthemic “Love is a Bourgeois Construct” to the modern “Thursday” with rap interlude included, the Boys sound like they’re having fun, and it’s great to hear that. But it is album closer “Vocal” that really struck home. “I like the people/I like the song/This is my kind of music/They play it all night long” That’s the club I want to be at, and Electric is the soundtrack I want to hear. Highlights: “Vocal,” “Thursday,” “Love is a Bourgeois Construct”

Lorde/Pure Heroine

Normally when a song spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, I get to a point where I can’t bear to hear the song for a good month. That didn’t happen with “Royals,” which I still can’t get enough of. There is something so unique and fresh about the song and Pure Heroine that keeps it from getting stale, and the singles that have followed (“Team,” “Tennis Court”) have kept Lorde’s momentum rolling. Pure Heroine ended up being one of the best debuts of 2013, even if the Grammys neglected to nominate Lorde for Best New Artist. Highlights: “Royals,” “Team,” “Tennis Court”

St Lucia/When the Night
I’ve spent the better part of 2013 raving about St. Lucia based on seeing them open for Ellie Goulding back in February. As the buzz around them built, the release of their first full-length album When the Night became something to get excited for. Fortunately, the record dropped and was even better than you could expect from a debut. St Lucia’s sound is very reminiscent of the 80s New Romantic/New Wave sound of groups like Spandau Ballet, Thompson Twins and even Peter Gabriel and his most commercial point. Lead single “Elevate” is a joyous party, “Closer Than This” is synthtastic, and “All Eyes On You” has that awesome end of a John Hughes film vibe to it. Best played on repeat over and over. Highlights: “Elevate,” “All Eyes On You,” “The Way You Remember Me”

Jason Isbell/Southeastern
Somewhere between Country music and Folk music lays Alt-Country or Americana, and the sub-genre was responsible for some of the best music to come out in 2013. The Mavericks, Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison, Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell…all of these folks released stellar albums, but none could surpass the emotional depth and passion that Jason Isbell captured on Southeastern. Frank, raw tracks like “Traveling Alone” and the heart-wrenching “Elephant” are musical stories of the finest kind. Highlights: “Traveling Alone,” “Elephant,” “Cover Me Up”

Jessie Ware/Devotion  

One of the most promising artists on the rise in 2012 was Jessie Ware, and she delivered in spades this year when she finally released her Devotion album here in the US. Songs that we had already heard last year like “Wildest Moments” and “Running” were paired with new gems like the disco-tastic “Imagine It Was Us” to make her US debut a memorable one. Here’s hoping that her record company hangs in there with promotion so more of America gets to hear her amazing voice. Highlights: “Wildest Moments,” “Running,” “Imagine It Was Us”

I hope you all have an amazing New Year filled with new experiences and amazing music. I will be kicking off the New Year by counting down my Top Songs of 2013 over at Pop Music Notes.

While his full-time job is in education, John Hill also writes a successful music blog titled Pop Music Notes. He is also active on Twitter @popmusicnotes and lives in Denver with his partners in crime James and Bruiser.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The MileHighGayGuy 2013 Year In Gay Sports Retrospective:

By Todd Craig and David Smith

2013 saw hard-fought progress for LGBT equality on several fronts: in federal law books, in the church pews, and amongst the population as a whole for starters. Yet on the hardwood courts and the grass fields of the sports world where Americans prefer their athletic heroes with equal parts testosterone and John Wayne bravado, the discussion about gay rights and gay acceptance erupted like it never has before.

One of the biggest sports stories of the year, and the one that ushered gay rights to the forefront of the sports world, was the coming out of NBA basketball player Jason Collins. The story, which broke on the May 6 cover of Sports Illustrated, began with the line, “I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.”

Of course, athletes have been coming out of the closet for years, and coming out on the cover of a magazine hasn’t been unheard of either. Yet, none of those celebrities stood seven feet tall. Nor had they out-muscled the NBA’s best over the course of a twelve-year career on the hardwoods. None of those magazines happened to be Sports Illustrated either.

The story served as flash point for the sports media, athletes, and the country as a whole. Reactions twittered in from athletes all over the sports world. The vast, overwhelming majority proved positive and supporting. Even the story of writing the story became a part of the news cycle. Gone, it seemed, were the Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova days of tearful admissions, lost sponsors, and tabloid stalkers. The sports world, it seemed, had evolved.

Even before Collins had come out, Nike offered a sponsorship to the first openly gay athlete who is currently active, even going a step further by producing and selling products and merchandise to celebrate Pride and the LGBT community. From shirts to rainbow shoes, making a significant statement at LGBT and Non-LGBT events all year.

As the discussion reverberated throughout the sports world, more athletes and more sports became involved. Professional soccer player Robbie Rogers came out of the closet and then came out onto the field to play as an out and proud gay athlete. Orlando Cruz, a professional boxer, announced his orientation to the world before a big fight, even going so far as to pose in a rainbow pride undies at his weigh-in.

Rumors also swirled that the National Football League would also soon have its own openly gay player. Sports Illustrated's lead football writer Peter King used the Jackie Robinson movie 42 as an analogy to the trailblazing place where the sports world was with gay rights. His football website for Sports Illustrated even went as far as to detail two gay former NFL players’ lives, their coming out processes, and feelings about the out players playing in the NFL here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The MileHighGayGuy Year In Review: 2013 - The GAYEST Year in American History?

By Todd Craig

It occurs to me that now is as good a time as any to be gay. In fact this past year, 2013, has been anything but unlucky for us. History, when it looks back on this year, will have no choice but to view it through rainbow-colored glasses.

With that said, it’s time to crown 2013 as the GAYEST Year in American History.

Why? For decades it seemed that our progress and acceptance had been limited to certain areas: New England states, the genre of dance music, and Bea Arthur sitcoms to name a few primary ones. But 2013 has seen major changes in our LGBT favor in areas that haven’t traditionally changed very easily at all. Let’s review the good news, shall we?

1. Back in June, the Supreme Court took on DOMA and kicked its worthless, discriminatory ass out of the federal law books of our country. Sure, it wasn’t the wide-ranging decision that many activists had hoped for, but those sneaky Supremes made it abundantly clear what can and can’t happen in regards to marriage law, and in so doing gave attorneys everywhere a step-by-step plan for eviscerating every gay marriage ban in the country. Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii, Indiana, and New Jersey all began marrying same sex couples in the six months after the ruling. Of course, we here in Colorado aren’t quite so active, but at least we can appreciate the victories of others while we wait.

2. Second to the Supremes, we gays took a big leap forward when the newest Pope uttered the words, “If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” With that one phrase, Pope Francis hit a control-alt-delete on years’ worth of fear mongering, hatred, intolerance, and well, judgment from the Catholic 

hierarchy and their followers. Of course, he also added that homo-sex is still a sin, but whatever. Catholics, both old and young, have a new leader and a new perspective, which has given rise to such stories as this one from last week about students at a Catholic school protesting the forced resignation of their vice principal for marrying his husband.

3. Not only did the Catholic Church backpedal on their fight against all things gay, but so did the Mormon Church. Mormon history, when it came to us gays, is one filled with hideous examples of shunning and cruelty, a persecution ironically not unlike what many early Mormons went through. In their checkered past the Mormons have never been the most inclusive, only allowing African Americans into their flock in 1978, and their attitudes and actions towards LGBT folk certainly weren’t much better. The high point of Mormon involvement in gay hating came with the passage of Prop 8 in California, much of which was credited to the financial and vocal support of the Mormons. Yet, for winning the battle, they lost the war, as was brilliantly written on Mother Jones here. Consequently, the Mormon Church, like the Catholic Church, is preaching a new perspective based on inclusion and love. Sure, they and their members still have a ways to go as seen with whack-o sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card, but then again, every step forward is a step in the right direction.

4. The Boy Scouts of America also took a step into the 21st century with their decision to allow gay scouts to participate in their ranks. Their hardline stance against gays earned them nothing but bad press, dwindling participation, and lost donors. While the decision disappointed many who wanted acceptance of gay scout leaders, too, the pressure is still on the organization to continue expanding its inclusive ways. This has been seen in recent stories about aircraft giant LockheedMartin withdrawing their financial support as well as in smaller contexts as with this church in Cheyenne, WY who refused to allow its building as a meeting place over the continued banning of gay scout leaders.

5. When it comes to the music industry, we gays have both been loved and scorned – often times by artists on the same top 40 list. This year though, two artists made big splashes in genres where LGBT people aren’t usually celebrated, much less sung about. For the better part of the year, listeners couldn’t turn on their radios without hearing Macklemore’s Same Love while the video garnered over 100 million hits on YouTube alone. The rap song about inclusiveness and the love of queer folk would have been unheard of years ago, and yet in 2013 it’s a career-launcher. Similarly, no one’s ever started a country music career with a song about two boys falling in love while drinking around a campfire, but that’s exactly the trick Steve Grand pulled off this summer when his All-American Boy video went viral. 


So as 2013 draws to a close, it’s important to step back and appreciate our progress this year whether it be in the federal law books or on the R&B music charts. We may not have equality for all in 2013, but we’re a helluva lot closer than we were in 2012. Our federal laws have changed. Our biggest opponents have evolved in their attitudes and actions towards us. We have gay-proud faces and role models in communities where they have always remained hidden and silent.

And that progress is certainly history in the making and well worth celebrating.

Monday, January 2, 2012's hottest stories of 2011

From the gayest TV characters ever to the sluttiest cities in the USA, check out's roundup of their hottest stories of 2011.

Monday, January 5, 2009

MileHighGayGuy 2008 Year in Review: Weekly Poll Results

2008 was a crazy year – lots of ups and downs and lots of winners and losers. But in the weekly MileHighGayGuy polls, you voted and made your voices heard with the following results:

Favorite Colorado GLBT publication: Metromode (36%) (Are they still around? Somebody let me know!)

Best gay bar/club in Denver: The Wrangler (52%) (Looking for a few good men? Look no further!)

Pick for President: Hillary Clinton (42%) (She didn’t make the Oval Office, but she’ll more than fill Condi’s shoes as Secretary of State.)

Favorite Denver restaurant: Hamburger Mary’s (42%) (Go for the food, stay for the fun – and the cute guys … and the great parties … and the drag queens … and the patio in the summer … and so on.)

Best Colorado festival: PrideFest (66%) (250,000 queens and queers can’t be wrong.)

See the rest of the results, including how many MHGG readers have slept with someone of the opposite sex or been gay bashed, after the jump.

New Colorado Sunday liquor law: It’s a good thing (68%) (Who doesn’t enjoy a little holy water on Sundays?)

Concerned about the economy?: Hell, yes! (42%) (We’re all in this together – we just didn’t know “this” would be the poorhouse!)

Ever slept with someone of the opposite sex?: Yes (57%) (We all experiment in high school.)

Ever been gay bashed?: No (37%) (This was a close one, because while 37 % haven’t, 35 % have, and for 27 %, a failed attempt was made – we’ve got a long way to go, and Rick Warren ain’t helping things, Obama!)

Favorite national gay publication: Instinct (46%) (You must have seen MHGG in there – right?)

Who do you think you are?: Normal (36%) (Define “normal.”)

What’s your sport?: Swimming, hockey, and tennis tied (28% each) (Hot sex wasn’t among the choices.)

Did Angie Zapata provoke her own murder?: No (61%) (You said it – being closeted isn’t a crime, and nobody deserves to die for who they are.)

Clay Aiken coming out: No surprise (54%) (His macho-butch-he-man act didn’t fool MHGG readers.)

Should straight dating services be legally bound to cater to gays?: No (50%) (If they’re forced to find you a match, imagine who you could end up with! Stick to the bars, where you can at least see what they really look like after you sober up!)

Call in gay to work on Day Without a Gay?: No (62%) (If you’re on the Internet reading MHGG, I KNOW you’re at work!)

Boycott Utah?: Yes (54%) (Umm, we didn’t really go there BEFORE the Prop. 8 vote anyway.)

Date a transguy?: No (64%) (MHGG readers are into heavy equipment.)

Who should fill Ken Salazar’s shoes?: Mayor John Hickenlooper (64%) (Sorry, Hick. You got bumped by Michael Bennett – not the Broadway choreographer or the Chargers running back, but the DPS superintendent. But some of us are happy about that – we want you to stay right here in Denver!)

Has Rick Warren affected your opinion of Obama?: Yes (42%) (This was a close one, but MHGG readers don’t like to be stabbed in the back – maybe that’s why they chose Hillary in the primaries.)

You said it in 2008. Thank you for your votes and opinions. Keep reading MHGG and be sure vote the polls in 2009.