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The Other Side: Homo-Hop – The Revolution Will Be Auto-Tuned

I’ve been commissioned by Outlook Columbus, Central Ohio’s premiere lgbt publication, to write a new monthly column titled “The Other Side” that will offer stories and detailed analysis about the plights faced by gay people of color. I’ll be posting an excerpt from the story here each month with a link to the full story on Outlook’s Web site. Please support those who support us! 

The Freaky Boiz

When famed lyricist and singer Frank Ocean declared to the world that his first love was a man over the July 4th holiday weekend, the world went berserk.

Facebook became overrun with closed readings of the lyrics in his songs (is he talking about men or women?!?) and sensationalized speculation (is he gay or bisexual?!?). Gays across the country, who had never even heard of Frank Ocean, let alone his music, before seeing his name, chiseled jaw line and the words “gay” pasted across a Huffington Post headline, clamored to preorder his new CD, Channel Orange, on and set their DVR’s eagerly anticipating his first appearance post “coming out” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

In just a matter of minutes Ocean became a gay icon, the first openly gay hip-hop artist in history…

Finish this article at


Lil Kim headlines Columbus LGBT event Memorial Day Weekend

Kigo Entertainment (the company of local promoter extraordinaire Kim Godfreed) is bringing the Queen herself to Columbus!

 Lil Kim is set to headline Saturday’s Memorial Day Weekend festivities at Alrosa Villa, 5055 Sinclair Road.

The woman behind hit songs “Players Anthem,” “Lady Marmalade,” “Lighters Up” “Now Matter What You Say,” “The Magic Stick” and “How Many Licks” will hit the stage Saturday, May 26 for an exclusive LGBT event.

Lil Kim, real name Kimberly Denise Jones, has been off the grid for some time, making a huge splash on the Billboard Charts in the late ’90s early 2000s, she later suffered some legal troubles and a stint in jail, but now is in the midst of making a comeback. She launched the “Return of the Queen Tour” May 17 that will span much of the summer.

“This is the biggest artist I’ve done as a promoter and I made sure that the event was strictly for our LGBT community here in Columbus,” said Godfreed, who is also the General Manager of Traxx Columbus, 95 Liberty Street, Columbus.

Just two weeks ago when Godfreed met with Alrosa Villa owners to finalize the details for Kigo Entertainment’s annual Sex Sells event the Saturday of Pride, it was suggested that she take over the promotions for the Lil Kim event. Godfreed agreed with only one caveat, the event had to be LGBT-exclusive, and Lil Kim’s team agreed.

Even though she’s only been given a short time to push out promotion for the show, Godfreed is counting on her 2o-plus years experience in event marketing and club management to make this show a success.

“With this event, I really want to show people in this city two things, 1.) Kim is able to pull off a citywide promotion without radio spots and 2.) there is money in the LGBT community and you can bring in mainstream people and make money, we are a hot commodity,” Godfreed said. “And Lil Kim is iconic. You’re talking about the Tupac and Biggie era. It’s a real privilege for me.”

Tickets are $10 at the door and $20 for skip-the-line VIP access. You can also purchase tickets online at Doors open at 10 p.m. For information call 614-226-2275.

Local Theater Spotlight: Shadowbox showcasing two hits for the holidays

Taking it’s cue from Santa, Shadowbox Live (a Columbus-based rock ‘n’ roll and sketch comedy troupe) is on overdrive this holiday season. They’re currently presenting two showcases: their annual “Holiday Hoopla” and “Scrooge,” a rock ‘n’ roll remake of the 1992 musical. Check out my reviews of both below:

Holiday Hoopla XX

For their 20th anniversary of fine-turned holiday outrageousness, Shadowbox Live decided to mix things up by turning their typical bawdy holiday sketches into a linear full length theatrical production.

The elements of a typical Hoopla were all there, the consumer parody, the pop culture/political spoofs, that quintessential Shadowbox laugh-a-minute comedic timing and Shadowbox house band BillWho?’s rock-tastic take on the holiday classics. Head Shadowbox writer Jimmy Mak’s popular character Dasher, the precision-crazed military reindeer, even makes an appearance. And, of course, the Santa Babies are there to close out the show as only they know how.

But instead of presenting a series of sketches in their normal style, Stev Guyer, Shadowbox founder and director, infuses all these elements into a two-act play. A sort of adult spoof on the popular holiday movie, “The Year Without a Santa Clause,” act one finds Santa (David Whitehouse) getting wasted at a bar declaring that Christmas this year is canceled. Using a series of flashbacks, Santa takes the bartender (Mary Randal) and a bar regular (John Boyd) through the unfortunate events that leads him to such a decision. An elf strike led by a temperamental elf named Shorty (Noelle Grandison), followed by bankruptcy and an attack in the media by the religious right, featuring a hilarious conservative senator spoof by Robbie Nance.

In act two Santa gives himself over to the corporate machine to fix his image and a telethon is thrown to help with his financial downfall (featuring local news media celebrities Andrea Cambern, Jym Ganahl, Johnny DiLorretto and even founder Walker Evans in a hilarious video sketch). The “Clausathon” is hosted by Mak’s always sarcastically slick Casey Kasem and features inspired impersonations of Lady Gaga, New Kids on the Block, Keith Ricahards and even Ozzy Ozborne.

BillWho? acts as the bar’s and the telethon’s entertainment, breaking up the dialogue with stellar performances of “Father Christmas” by The Kinks and “Christmas in Sarajevo” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. However, the BillWho? highlight for me is their version of “Children Go Where I Send Thee,” a rendition that always gives me goose bumps.

I actually think the way Shadowbox executes the show this year was pretty brilliant. The Shadowobx Holiday Hoopla is always something to look forward to in Columbus each year, a fact Guyer and his team are well aware of. But this year, instead of fully placating to the masses, they decide to take their age-old style and infuse it with fresh creativity.

There are a couple of missteps in the new process. Randal’s Ozbourne-inspired “I Am Santa Clause” goes totally off the rails (I’ve never quite liked Shadowbox when they head more towards the metal end of the rock spectrum). However, Kasem’s witty comment after her performance indicates it was meant to be a joke, but ultimately I’m not sure if the overly goth showcase is meant to be taken seriously. I hope not.

Also there are more than a couple of off-color gay jokes that took me by surprise. Santa takes some stereotypical jabs at his flamboyant, and newly out of the closet, assistant and there is a “Brokeback Mountain” joke that made myself and my guest cringe. But calling Shadowbox homophobic would be like calling Bill Clinton racist. There support of the LGBT community in Columbus is well documented. Hopefully this is just a one-time creative blip.

Despite the latter, Holiday Hoopla is definitely on par, or even better, than any Hoopla I’ve experienced in recent years. Definitely take the time this season to head to the Brewery District for Shadowbox’s always unique and enjoyable brand of holiday humor.

“Holiday Hoopla XX” runs at Shadowbox Live (503 S. Front Street, Columbus) Tuesdays through Thursdays (and Monday Dec. 19) through December 20. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students/seniors. For more information visit


Shadowbox has never been a place for young children. This is a fact on which the troupe has mostly staked its claim, presenting risqué rated R humor for adults who for years have gladly lined up babysitters for a night out at The ‘Box.

However, with their adaptation of the 1992 Leslie Bricusse musical “Scrooge,” they are, for the first time, offering a family show the kids can enjoy. Their rock-tastic rendition is still full of heart and hilarity whilst still keeping a PG angle.

When I heard Shadowbox was doing a family-friendly show, I have to admit I had my doubts. I love this place because of their envelope-pushing repertoire. This kind of show seemed like it was going in the complete opposite direction. But Shadowbox definitely rose to the occasion. They kept true to their comedic and musically poignant roots, by presenting a well-reworked version of the classic Charles Dickens tale from top to bottom.

Director Stev Guyer makes a few changes to the story, revamping the characters by switching Scrooge’s assistant Cratchit from Bob to Barbara, Tiny Tim to Tiny Tina and Jacbo Marley to Jackie Marley. He also taps into the needs of the child attention deficit psyche by allowing husband-wife rock duo Matthew and Jennifer Hahn (band leaders of Shadowbox Live’s house band BillWho?) to transform the Bricusse score into a credible list of splashy pop-rock arias. Company numbers “Father Christmas,” “December the Twenty-Fifth” and “Thank You Very Much” are perfect examples of this transformation.

And the troupe’s actors definitely rise to the challenge. Tom Cardinal completely disappears into the skin of cranky Ebenezer Scrooge. It’s probably some of Cardinal’s best character work to date, from the snarl to the squeaky tone to the belabored limp, he completely embodies the iconic character. But he also adds his own twist by giving Scrooge a biting wit that also makes the show enjoyable for the parents and other adults in the audience.

Michelle Daniels is perfectly prickly as the deceased Jackie Marley and Katy Psenicka is a sweet and affecting Ghost of Christmas Past, but Robbie Nance is a breath of fresh air as the scene-stealing Ghost of Christmas Present. Adding a rock star party edge to the character, he brings a bit of that typical Shadowbox flair that we’re used to.

“Scrooge” definitely runs long and seems a little song heavy overall, but in the end it’s the stellar performances that make the show shine. Definitely take your kids, your young nieces and nephews and give them a chance to experience Shadowbox in this new light.

“Scrooge” runs at Shadowbox Live (503 S. Front Street, Columbus) 2 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays through December 23 (also 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26). There are no shows Dec. 24-25. Tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for students/seniors. For more information visit

Glee-cap: ‘The First Time’

Quick-cap: McKinley High is all in a tizzy as the opening of “West Side Story” story approaches. Director Artie spends the episode playing matchmaker, telling WWS leads Rachel and Blaine they need to loose their virginity to help their acting, and fixing Coach Beiste up with an Ohio State University recruiter. Meanwhile Mike’s father returns and disowns him for being in the school musical (what???). Rachel and Finn go through a botched first time attempt, but then find their mojo oddly right after Finn discovers he wasn’t recruited to OSU. Blaine visits Dalton and is hit on by newly transferred Sebastian, who invites him and Kurt to a gay bar. Cue cute exchange with an mostly absent Karofsky and Kurt/Blaine’s own first time debacle. Like Rachel and Finn, Kurt and Blaine find their mojo after opening night and decide to skip the cast party.

And that’s what you missed on…”Glee.”

Fave moment: This may have been the best written episode of “Glee” to date. I loved how they inter-cut much of the show with scene from WWS. I have to admit I was concerned when they started off with Artie being the reason Blaine and Rachel wanted to loose their virginity, but the writers turned it around. And I’m pretty sure this is the first high school gay love-triangle and definitely the first high school gay love scene in prime time. I loved the moment when Kurt runs into Karofsky, the writers captured it perfectly and it was a great way to wrap up Karofsky’s story line.

Annoying moment: This episode was pretty flawless to me, though I do wish there was more of the Karofsky/Kurt interchange. If you beg to differ please sound off in the comments. 😉

Fave quote: Karofsky: “I’m what they call a Bear Cub.” Kurt: “Because you look like Yogi?”

Fave song: Blaine and Rachel did a pretty stunning version of “Tonight” and Santana was AMAZING as Anita during “A Boy Like That” and “America,” the girl took my breath away.

You can watch full episodes of “Glee” here.

Glee-cap: ‘Pot ‘O Gold’

Quick-cap: Britany thinks Rory Flanagan (the new Irish foreign exchange student staying in her home played by “Glee Project” co-winner Damian McGinty) is a real leprechaun that has to grant her three wishes. And in return he gets her “pot ‘o gold.” Flanagan, a virgin, thinks this is an innuendo and sets out to make all her crazy wishes come true. Santana and Brittany are officially and item, in secret. Mercedes convinces Santana and Britany to join Shelby’s (Idina Menzel) new all-girl choir, the Troubletones. Coach Sue’s campaign for Congress gets the school’s musical fund revoked, but Kurt’s dad, Burt, raises the money and decides to run against Sue. Britany learns there’s no such things as leprechauns and abandons Rory, but Finn swoops in and has him join Glee Club. Quinn sets out to frame Shelby so Child Protective Services will give her back her baby, while Puck does the opposite and falls for Shelby, ending the show with the show’s first teacher-on-student kiss.

And that’s what you missed on…GLEE!

Fave moment: Finally we get to see the whole Hummel-Hudson family together again. Finn and Kurt definitely don’t act like they’re brothers at all. I wish there were more of these family moments together. Also loved the Blaine-led version of “Last Friday Night,” but who can resist Darren Criss? (Especially after this.)

Annoying moment: McGinty’s solos were hideous. (I’m sorry, but there’s no other way to put it.) If you’ve watched “The Glee Project” you know how great this kid’s voice is, and they are so not make full use of it on the show.

Fave quote: “I heard. And I am literally horny with fear.” ~Coach Sue

Fave song: I loved the Troubltones’ “Candyman,” but was anyone else a little weirded out by these “highs-choolers” singing those lyrics??? The song choices this week were a little on the “eh” side. But next week’s “The First Time” episode should be pretty juicy and should produce a lot of top notch musical numbers.

You can watch full episodes of Glee here.

Glee-cap: ‘Asian F’

Quick-cap: Mike Chang gets an A – (a.k.a. “Asian F”) and his father wants him to quit glee club. Mercedes and Rachel vie for the role of Maria in “West Side Story.” After the role is double cast, when Mercedes is the clear winner, Mercedes decides she’s done living in Rachel’s shadow and quits both the musical and glee club to join Shelby Cocoran’s (Idina Menzel) new glee club. Mr. Shu meets Emma’s parents who are crazy, ginger fascists, who only associate with other red heads. Kurt and Brittany vie for Class President. Brittany shakes her butt during a pep rally and takes the lead in the polls. Mike decides to go after his dream as a dancer instead of listening to his father, which his mom supports. (Cue overly produced audition of “Cool.”) Even after getting the lead in “West Side Story,” Rachel decides to also run for Class President, which pisses everyone off. The “West Side Story” cast list also includes Blaine as Tony, Santana as Anita and Mike as Riff.

And that’s what you missed on…GLEE!

Fave moment: This week was out of control amazing. This episode definitely goes in my Top 5 Favorite Glee Episode to date. I don’t even know what moment to pick as the best. That Brittany-led “Run The World (Girls)” number was AMAZING! It stole the whole episode. I also loved that they finally gave Harry Shum Jr. (Mike Chang) his own full story line. It was perfectly written and Shum acted the hell out of it. He’s also not a bad singer. His vocals during his “West Side Story” audition were pretty great.

Annoying moment: This is kind of being nit-picky, but I thought it was kind of lame how they didn’t let Kurt and Blaine kiss after Kurt gave Blaine flowers for his expected win of the role of Tony. It looked like Kurt went in for the kiss but Blaine backed off. I thought Blaine was originally brought on to be the out and proud character that didn’t care what others thought? Seems fishy to me.

Fave quote: Coach Beiste is starting to take over Coach Sue’s role as the zing-master. She had many of this week’s funniest lines, including this one: “This is one of the hardest decisions of my life. And that includes when I had to sell one of my prize donkeys to pay my gas bill.”

Fave song: The remake of the “It’s All Over” scene from “Dreamgirls” was an amazing surprise I definitely wasn’t expecting. Loved it from top to bottom. I personally think it was “Glee’s” best moment thus far. But there were so many amazing numbers this episode. Loved Mercedes on Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight” and the diva-off with Rachel and Mercedes on “Out Here on My Own” from “Fame” was phenomenal.

You can watch full episodes of Glee here.

Glee-cap: ‘I Am Unicorn’

Quick-cap: This year’s school musical is “West Side Story.” Rachel is a shoe-in for Maria, but Kurt is having trouble landing the part of Tony. Apparently he’s too gay to play a leading role (is this art imitating life?). Coach Sue is still on her anti-arts-education kick and is ahead in the polls for Ohio’s Congress, which gives Mr. Shu an idea (wonder what that is). Kurt is running for class president and Britney decides to become his campaign manager. Brit goes way too gay (even for Kurt) and after Kurt turns down all her ideas she decides to run for president herself. Rachel’s real mom is back (yay Idina Menzel!) and teaching at McKinley High, which is causing major drama for Rachel, Puck and Quinn. Quinn decides to go back to her blonde goody-two-shoes self, but we realize it’s just a plot to get full custody of her kid (oh snap!).

And that’s what you missed on…GLEE!

Fave moment: I always love seeing Kurt’s dad, Burt (the incomparable Mike O’Malley), on the show, he epitomizes the dad I wish I had. He always give Kurt the perfect advice. “Dude, you’re gay. And you’re not like Rock Hudson gay, you’re really gay. You sing like Diana Ross and you dress like you own a magic chocolate factory.” The fact that he can pull this line off and make it sound like a compliment, makes me love the character even more.

Annoying moment: I wasn’t a fan of the whole Kurt’s-too-gay-to-be-straight story line. I just ringed homophobic too me. And didn’t also seem a racist when they were talking about wanting a non-white Maria. Or maybe it was just me.

Fave quote: Two from Sue: “And now after a long day of snorting Splenda and cutting class, she kills the pain the only way she knows how: Smoking corn starch.” and “The arts are like crack, William, but much more addictive and not nearly as glamorous.”

Fave song: Blaine definitely did it for me at the end during “Something’s Coming,” and Rachel’s “There’s a Place for Us” gave me chills.

You can watch full episodes of Glee here.