Tag Archives: performers

If Donald Trump held a concert, who might perform?

While Elton John and Katy Perry have hit the stage for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and supporters of opponent Bernie Sanders include Bonnie Raitt and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Rolodex of musicians-slash-friends is short.

Really short.

Instead, he’s found himself on the flip side of friendship since he announced his candidacy last summer, with musicians from Adele to the Rolling Stones asking Trump to stop using their music at rallies and in campaign ads.

Despite that, Trump wants to mix things up during the four-day Republican National Convention in July, where he says concerts could be useful to break up “plenty of political speeches.”

“The concept of some entertainment from a great singer, a great group I think would be something maybe to break things up,” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Here’s the short list of musicians who could potentially offer their talents at a Trump event.



While he’s probably struggling to sell concert tickets, Aaron Carter could find a new platform on a stage for Trump. The baby bro to Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter first said he was ready to vote for Trump but later changed his mind. “I’ve been bullied so badly because of it I don’t even want to vote now,” he tweeted. But would Trump endorse Carter singing his 2000 hit “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” in 2016? He may not have a choice. He’s got slim pickings.



If there’s anyone who can make Trump seem sort of hip, it’s Kid Rock. The candid Detroiter, who supported Mitt Romney in 2012, told Rolling Stone magazine that Trump’s campaign was entertaining but he also trusted his business acumen. “Let the business guy in there. It’s not really working too well running it not like a business,” he said.



Following Rock, Loretta Lynn, 84, could easily be the headlining act and highlight at a Trump concert. In fact, Lynn was predicting a Trump presidency all the way back in December when she told Billboard that he would be the next leader of the U.S.



Wayne Newton, aka Mr. Las Vegas, has made it clear that when it comes to Trump, he’s thinking “Danke Schoen.” “Number one, he tells the truth,” Newton told “Fox and Friends” in October about Trump. “He’s been where most of these guys want to be in terms of riding on his own plane. He doesn’t have to worry about what hotels he stays in. Doesn’t have to worry about how his family gets to Hawaii, so on and so forth.”



Rapper Azealia Banks, like Trump, is outspoken and used to taking heat for her opinions. In fact, her endorsement of Trump in February was part of a series of tweets, including one that said “I think Donald trump is evil like America is evil and in order for America to keep up with itself it needs him.” Just one problem though: it would be difficult to actually name a Banks song as she’s become more famous for her Twitter rants than her music.



Tila Tequila might be best known for her bisexual dating reality show and her anti-Semitic rants. But yes, she is a singer. Though not a good one. And Tequila has spoken highly of Trump. They also both have been at the center of controversy over questionable remarks: Trump was targeted early in his campaign for calling Latinos coming to the U.S. from Mexico “killers” and “rapists,” while Tequila called Adolf Hitler a “brilliant artist” and has defended him in the past.



“Know it, Donald Trump is the hellraiser America has needed for a very longtime,” rocker and gun-lover Ted Nugent wrote on his Facebook page.

The Sets List, February 26, 2015

Ariana Grande 
7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee. $27 to $67. bmoharrisbradleycenter.com.

The mantle of teen pop queen is a lofty one to bear. In 2015, the crown that’s anointed the brows of Britney, Xtina and Miley has been passed along to former Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande. But Grande’s got one thing her predecessors would have killed for: pipes reminiscent of a young Mariah Carey. Whether she will ultimately join the ranks of her foremothers or become this generation’s Jessica Simpson depends as much on how her fickle audience ages up as anything else. For now, enjoy having a nice whistle tone-toting songstress in the public eye once again. Special guests Rixton and Cashmere Cat open.

The Gaslight Anthem
8 p.m. March 12 at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee. $25. pabsttheater.org.

Sharing the same Jersey roots, it’s no wonder The Gaslight Anthem sounds like a classic Springsteen album. But frontman Brian Fallon isn’t content to just be The Boss Lite. With the band’s latest album Get Hurt, The Gaslight Anthem has shaken up its style, injecting arena rock, folk and pop influences into the heartland sound the members know so well. They’ll be preceded by guests Northcote and The Scandals.

8 p.m. March 1 at The Rave, Milwaukee. $20. therave.com.

It’s hard to figure out how to describe the exact sound of the Kongos brothers, until you look into their recent history. While the four-piece band of brothers may be based out of Phoenix now, they spent their childhoods in South Africa and their biggest hit, “Come With Me Now,” is heavily influenced by the 1990s era genre known as kwaito, characterized by a slowed-down house beat and accordion accompaniment. Sir Sly and Colony House open.

Count This Penny
7:30 p.m. March 6 at Stoughton Opera House, Stoughton. $15. ci.stoughton.wi.us.

Count This Penny doesn’t sound like a Madison band, and they almost weren’t. The city caught a break when married duo Amanda and Allen Rigell relocated from Tennessee to the Midwest and brought their recently formed Appalachian pop act with them. Now a four-piece, Count This Penny is one of the hottest bands in the state, with clear, harmonic tunes reminiscent of the defunct Civil Wars. They’ll play this one last gig before heading down to SXSW — so catch them now while you can still be ahead of the hype.

Gaelic Storm 

8 p.m. March 11 at the Barrymore Theater, Madison. $30. barrymorelive.com.

8 p.m. March 12 at the Meyer Theatre, Green Bay. $30. meyertheatre.org.

8 p.m. March 17 at the Pabst Theatre, Milwaukee. $30. pabsttheatre.org.

When you think of Celtic rock, you think of Gaelic Storm. (Unless you’re a Dropkick Murphys fan, in which case we’re deeply sorry.) The genre-bending band has been touring like mad ever since a cameo in Titanic catapulted them to fame, and 2014 marked the release of Full Irish, a greatest-hits album that collects the best tracks from their past decade. But it’s in performance that the band really shines, so you’re in luck: Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater has been the band’s St. Patrick’s Day home for years, which means they always make sure to drop in at venues elsewhere in Wisconsin, too.

Lily & Madeleine
9 p.m. March 7 at The Frequency, Madison. $10, $12 at door. madisonfrequency.com.

Neither Lily nor Madeleine Jurkiewicz has broken into a third decade of life, yet this sister duo already has two albums to their name and a big fan base in the folk music community. On the latest LP, Fumes, Lily & Madeleine face their approaching adulthood head-on, with ethereal, harmonic vocals that speak of two young women in transition. They’ve vowed to keep their audience happy with an album every year for at least three years, which means their current tour may be the origin point for that third album’s nascent tracks. 

Facebook apologizes to drag queens for names policy

Facebook is apologizing to drag queens and the transgender community for deleting accounts that used drag names like Lil Miss Hot Mess rather than legal names such as Bob Smith.

The world’s biggest online social network caught heat recently when it deleted several hundred accounts belonging to self-described drag queens, other performers and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Facebook has long required its users to go by their “real names” on the site for security purposes, to stand out from other social networks and so it can better target advertising to people. Now, the company says the spirit of its policy doesn’t mean a person’s legal name but “the authentic name they use in real life.”

“For Sister Roma, that’s Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that’s Lil Miss Hot Mess,” Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president of product wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Though the real names policy isn’t changing, the way Facebook enforces it might.

Last month, the company suggested that performers such as drag queens have other ways of maintaining their stage identities on the site, such as creating pages that are meant for businesses and public figures. But a fan page is not the same as a regular Facebook account and users were not happy with the suggestion.

While standing by the real names policy on Wednesday, Cox said “we see through this event that there’s lots of room for improvement in the reporting and enforcement mechanisms, tools for understanding who’s real and who’s not, and the customer service for anyone who’s affected.”

The Transgender Law Center, a San Francisco based transgender rights advocacy group that met with Facebook over the issue on Wednesday, said it is “excited to work in good faith with Facebook to address all the concerns raised in today’s meeting.”

“What was made clear today is that Facebook is ready to collaborate with our communities and shares our values of making sure everyone is able to safely be their authentic self online,” the group said in an e-mailed statement.

Cox also shed some light on why so many accounts with drag names and other stage names suddenly started getting deleted.

“An individual on Facebook decided to report several hundred of these accounts as fake,” he wrote. “These reports were among the several hundred thousand fake name reports we process every single week, 99 percent of which are bad actors doing bad things: impersonation, bullying, trolling, domestic violence, scams, hate speech, and more – so we didn’t notice the pattern.”

On the Web…

Facebook’s blog post: http://on.fb.me/10lE5I1 

Drag queens dress down Facebook over names policy

San Francisco drag queens are sparring with Facebook over its policy requiring people to use their real names, rather than drag names such as Pollo Del Mar and Heklina. But the world’s biggest social network is not budging from its rules.

In recent weeks, Facebook has been deleting the profiles of self-described drag queens and other performers who use stage names because they did not comply with the social networking site’s requirement that users go by their “real names” on the site.

Earlier this week, Facebook declined to change its policy after meeting with drag queens and a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors. The company said is usually deletes accounts with fake names after investigating user complaints.

“This policy is wrong and misguided,” said Supervisor David Campos, who was flanked by seven drag queens during a press conference at San Francisco City Hall.

The drag queens and others in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community say many Facebook account holders fear using their real names for a variety of reasons, including threats to their safety and employment.

“I have crazy family members who I don’t want contacting me through Facebook,” said a self-described drag queen who calls herself Heklina.

Facebook said it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted accounts for two weeks. After that they’ll have to either change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a fan page.

Campos and the drag queens, led by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – a San Francisco group of drag performers and activists that’s been around since 1979 – say they plan another meeting with Facebook and are hopeful that the company will ultimately alter its policy.

If Facebook doesn’t change its policy, the drag queens at San Francisco City Hall said they would organize protests and boycotts.

“Abused women, bullied teens, transgender people … (there are) a million different people with a million different reasons to use fake names,” said Sister Roma, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

Facebook says it policy “helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.”

The company says performers and others have other ways of keeping their stage identities on the site, including creating pages that are meant for businesses and public figures.

Many in the drag queen community are professional performers who rely on Facebook to publicize gigs. They said a fan page isn’t the same as a regular Facebook page.

“Your reach is limited, said Rosa Sifuentes, a San Francisco-based burlesque performer who goes by the name Bunny Pistol.

The company’s policy has been around just about as long as Facebook itself.

This isn’t the first time users have criticized Facebook’s policy.

Political activists have complained, especially those living in countries where they could face danger if their real identities are revealed. In 2011, Chinese blogger and activist Michael Anti, whose legal name is Zhao Jing, had his profile deleted because he was not using his given name – even though his professional identity has been established for more than a decade and is better known. Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has “merged” her stage name with her birth name on Facebook in an apparent compromise.

It’s not always easy to determine which names are inauthentic. Some people whose real names sound fake have had their accounts deleted, too.

For Facebook, the real names policy is not just meant to keep people accountable. The company and other website operators argue that requiring people to use true identities can reduce online vitriol and bullying. Real names also help Facebook target advertisements to its 1.32 billion users.

Facebook estimates that 6 to 11 percent of its monthly user accounts were duplicate or fake in 2013.

“We believe the percentage of accounts that are duplicate or false is meaningfully lower in developed markets such as the United States or United Kingdom and higher in developing markets such as India and Turkey,” Facebook wrote in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “However, these estimates are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts and we apply significant judgment in making this determination, such as identifying names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers.”

Mile of Music brings Americana artists back to Appleton

Appleton becomes Americana Central during the weekend of Aug. 7–10, when the Wisconsin city hosts the second Mile of Music Festival.

More than 200 performing artists will take the stage in more than 60 venues in and around downtown for a grand celebration of the Americana genre of music in all of its forms.

Included on the schedule are big names, such as Peter Buck and Mike Mills, both formerly of R.E.M., now playing in the Baseball Project; and Butch Vig, the legendary producer of Nirvana’s Nevermind and Smashing Pumpkins’Siamese Dream albums, playing with Emperors of Wyoming.

In addition to the name acts, top local musicians from throughout Wisconsin will perform.

The Mile of Music Festival launched last year, co-founded by Appleton natives Cory Chisel and Dave Willems. The first year was a great success, with more than 100 artists appearing at more than 40 venues, ranging from local bars to the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. The festival was advertised as a cover-free zone designed to celebrate original music and outstanding songwriting.

A highlight of Mile Of Music 2013 was the surprise appearance of Norah Jones with Chisel and his band The Wandering Sons.

Most of the events at Mile of Music 2014 are free, but $150 priority access passes are available. They will get you priority access to the top 11 music venues and the Lawrence University Chapel showcases.

But most performances are open to all, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The genre of music known as Americana is a loose combination of sounds from folk, country, blues and rock. The Americana Music Association was founded in 1999 to create a networking infrastructure to support recognition of the genre.

The association has sponsored the Americana Music Honors and Awards each year since 2002 to recognize outstanding achievements. Past recipients of album of the year awards have included Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Alison Krauss and Loretta Lynn.

In 2009, the Grammy Awards added the category “best Americana album.”

Americana also has emerged as a unique radio format dedicated to sounds connected with American roots music.

Chisel grew up in Babbitt, Minnesota, and Appleton. Key musical influences came from his uncle, who introduced him to blues musicians such as Howlin’ Wolf and Robert Johnson. His father, a Baptist pastor, exposed Chisel to the spiritual power of church music.

After touring extensively, Chisel and The Wandering Sons grew a core fan base that resulted in a major label deal with RCA subsidiary Black Seal Music in 2007. In 2012, they toured with Norah Jones.

Chisel was recognized by his Wisconsin peers in 2010, when he was named artist of the year by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry. 

At this year’s Mile of Music, be sure to catch Milwaukee pop-rock duo Vic + Gab. The sisters Victoriah and Hannah Gabriela Banuelos have received strong support from 88NINE Radio Milwaukee. They were named one of the must-hear Wisconsin bands by Paste magazine late last year.

Vic + Gab have placed a song on the MTV show Skins and are looking prime for an upward trajectory.

Also, look for the Oshkosh-based indie rockers The Traveling Suitcase, who delivered one of the most talked-about performances at last year’s festival. The trio’s Nicole Rae and Brandon Domer began making music together in high school but then drifted apart for a number of years before reuniting in 2010 to form a band that at one point counted seven members. It’s since been pared down into a trio with guitarist Bill Grasley. Rae is both lead vocalist and drummer, which gives the band a unique focal point onstage.

The definitively Americana Milwaukee-based band Hugh Bob and the Hustle also are worth catching in their return engagement at Mile of Music. Hugh Robert Masterson, aka Hugh Bob, refers to the band’s music as “north country.” It has roots in traditional country and folk music but its subject matter focuses on the lives of people who live up north. The band has received strong support from both Country Music Television and Paste magazine.

In just two years, Appleton’s Mile of Music has grown into one of Wisconsin’s top music events of the year. Artists from both coasts, Canada and places in between will present songs that celebrate roots music in all of its vast variety.

Whether you travel to Appleton for one night or the entire weekend, you can expect to be moved by the experience. For the schedule and other information, visit www.mileofmusic.com.

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Elton John, Lady Gaga, Netflix nominees for GLAAD awards

Elton John, Lady Gaga and the movie “Dallas Buyers Club” are among the nominees for awards presented by the gay advocacy group GLAAD.

The 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards honor outstanding images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in areas including music, movies, TV and journalism.

On Thursday, GLAAD announced 93 nominees in the English-language categories, with cable channels earning 28 bids and broadcast networks receiving 11. Netflix earned its first nomination for the series “Orange Is the New Black.”

There are 37 Spanish-language nominees, including a stand-alone bid in the novella category for Univision’s “Amores Verdaderos,” which included the wedding of a gay couple.

The GLAAD Media Awards will be presented in Los Angeles and New York this spring.

Sochi’s gay scene thrives despite Putin’s crackdown

A man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance.

Ravil’s spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays. The morality campaign – centered on a law banning gay “propaganda” – has threatened to overshadow the games as it provokes an international outcry.

Paradoxically, Sochi is a far cry from the conservative lifestyle that the president is trying to promote.

At club Mayak, for example, the dancers are as diverse as the city itself: a Muslim who is a former market butcher, an Armenian who owns a strip club in a nearby town, a Ukrainian who loves to sing like Whitney Houston and dress like Adele.

And the men behind Mayak are hopeful that Sochi can remain the exception to the rule as its entrepreneurial, anything-goes crowd prepares to welcome the world.

“This is a resort town,” says Andrei Tenichev, the owner. “We have a saying: Money doesn’t smell of anything.”

Tenichev moved to the south from the bustling boomtown of Moscow when he saw that Sochi desperately needed another gay hangout. Opening Mayak was a no-brainer – “money lying on the ground,” he says – and even on a rainy Monday in September the club’s cabaret show attracted at least 70 guests.

The club owner, who worked in a gay bar in Moscow before opening Mayak eight years ago, says the climate for his line of business is even better in Sochi. In Moscow, some liquor brands refused to sell to the bar, saying: “A gay bar isn’t our style.”

“(In Sochi) we sell more expensive liquor than anywhere else in this town,” Tenichev proudly says.

He expects tacit cooperation with the local government to last at least through the Olympics in February. The Russian Olympic Committee has not made any trouble for the club, he says, because “they don’t want the slightest scandal” ahead of the games. But he also hopes that gay culture in Sochi has a better chance of surviving than in other parts of Russia, despite Putin’s crackdown.

The city was a gay hub in Soviet times, a fact facilitated by the Soviet Union’s closed borders, an easygoing southern temperament and, for many visitors, a healthy distance from family and friends back home – giving the place a “What-happens-in-Sochi-stays-in-Sochi” appeal.

Valery Kosachenko, an enormous man in a Hawaiian T-shirt and tiny rain boots, is a regular at Mayak. He was born in Azerbaijan and spent much of his life working in a cafeteria in Novy Urengoy, a city on the subarctic tundra most known for its bountiful gas fields. Every year since the early 1980s, Kosachenko and his Ukrainian truck driver boyfriend would make the liberating trip down south.

Kosachenko, 56, still gets misty-eyed over Soviet-era gay culture, where gays would gather under the watchful eyes of the local Lenin statue. They referred to it as Grandma Lena, a disgruntled but beloved patron saint of their nightly romps.

Homosexuality was a federal crime in Russia until 1993, but in Soviet times cafe owners were tacitly glad to garner a reputation as a gay hangout: It brought extra cash flooding in, and a few extra bribes were enough to keep the police at bay.

According to Kosachenko, public affection with other men was easier than it is now. In his opinion, the laidback lifestyle and southern effusiveness for which Sochi was known meant that few people interpreted such casual displays as immoral – partly because of a widespread ignorance about homosexuality.

“Sochi is a multinational city, they’re relaxed about everyone,” he said. “And before, people didn’t know anything about it (homosexuality), and so no one thought much of a hug or putting your arm around someone.”

The ethnic diversity applies to Mayak itself, where Tenichev estimates that over 30 percent of his clientele is from the Caucasus – the mountainous ethnic patchwork that encompasses Georgia, Armenia, and much of Russia’s restive south. Next to Halloween, the club’s biggest events are its “Caucasian Nights” – in which dancers dress up like big-eyed Armenian girls or Chechen warriors.

Ravil, the lezginka dancer who had just turned 29, sat in the back of the club with three dozen roses in his lap and held hands with Sasha, his boyfriend. Neither gave their surnames in Russia’s current homophobic climate.

“There’s a tolerance here – both in terms of ethnicity and orientation,” said Sasha. “But you see for yourself what kind of laws our government is passing, how people relate to us, how religion relates to us. The iron curtain starts here.”

Sochi, however, isn’t an escape for everyone. Many gays who grew up here are chained to the same family and social pressures as in any other Russian provincial town.

Vlad Slavsky, 17, realized he was gay two years ago. He didn’t tell anyone at school, but his classmates found out – and he thinks they may have hacked his social network account.

“In school there’s a prison mentality, they live by prison rules,” he said, describing more than 10 physical attacks near his home and constant taunts from other schoolmates. He now carries pepper spray and takes a taxi if he’s coming home late.

But those at Mayak manage to live fluid and flexible lives.

While Mayak’s regulars have been able to adapt, they’re hardly activists. Baklykov said he was “apolitical” and didn’t want to be involved in the LGBT movement in its present state because he believes “it doesn’t have a leader.”

And while Sochi still serves as a refuge for Russian gays, the growing conservatism of the Russian public has meant that many find it easier – and cheaper – to travel abroad. Those who are left tend to be older or poorer.

Tenichev says that the number of gay visitors is naturally dropping, which has meant opening Mayak’s  doors more and more often to other visitors – in particular to straight women.

“It’s hard nowadays to call this a gay club,” he said, noting that the average age of the gay visitors is increasing, and is now easily over 30.

“I’m drawn by what’s abroad,” said Kosachenko, who described a recent trip to the Canary Islands as mind-blowing. “But this is my own, and I’m used to it. Here I feel at home, so I’ll learn to adapt.”