Happy Birthday Debbie Gibson!

For those of you who don’t know, Debbie Gibson was the original Britney, the queen of teen pop in the 1980’s–if Britney wrote all her own songs, that is. In 1988, Debbie was the youngest person to ever write, perform, and produce a #1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100.  Today, Debbie Gibson, forever 15 years old in my little pea-brain, turns a mind-boggling 42 years old!  And to celebrate, here’s one of her hits, my personal favorite from 1987, Only in my Dreams, which features an atrocious hair bow, and a pair of gloves that could only be described as truly unfortunate. Ah . . . 80’s fashion!  Enjoy!  Also, can someone please tell me why, exactly, Debbie’s bed is on the beach?

Flashback Fridays Winner!

is FreakChiq!  Sorry I’m super late with this announcement, but I’ve been busy working on my new novel, SILENT ALARM, which will be released from Putnam in 2014, a year after WHITE LINES is published. Aren’t you excited now?  Hooray!

For a chance to win this week, please post your favorite 80’s videos in the comments section of this post!  And now, back to work!

Flashback Fridays Winner!

I’m baaaaaaack!  Did you miss me?  Sorry about the late posting of the winner, but me and the bf took a much-needed trip to Lake Arrowhead this past weekend, and I’ve only just gotten back in the swing of things. Needless to say, the lake was perfect. We rented a cabin in the woods, made lots of long, beautiful dinners, and went blackberry picking (guess who’s in the kitchen right now making peach-blackberry pie? Hint: it’s not me)

Did I mention that the cabin had no Internet? Yep. I really didn’t think I’d make it through the four days we spent up there, but survive I did! But I digress . . . There could really only be one winner this time around. A girl who posted so many great 80’s videos it made my head spin! A girl who commented on posts with equal parts intelligence, wit, and humor . . . Jenna (I think her name’s Jenna–she never posted it!)–at MTG reviews! You won, girl!  So send me your address! What really pushed her entries over the edge was the inclusion of two of my favorite Duran Duran videos of all time “The Reflex” and “Rio.” And if you don’t know who Duran Duran are, go immediately to YouTube! That’s an order!  🙂

And remember, if you didn’t win this week, it’s not over! You have a chance EVERY WEEK before the release of WHITE LINES to win an ARC! Just post your favorite 80’s video on the comments section of this post!

Buffalo Stance

Nobody’s posted this video yet, so I’m going to since it’s so classic! I love Nenah Cherry, and this song is so iconically 80’s that I barely know what to do with myself whenever it comes on the radio. Check out the cheesy graphics! The neon! The hoop earrings! The turntable and scratching! The gold dollar sign necklace!  OMG.  And, yes, it really was the beginning of Hip-Hop as we know it. There were not many female MC’s in the mid-80’s, and Nenah Cherry was one of the best. Even though my novel takes pllace at the end of the 80’s, I listened to this song so incessantly while writing WHITE LINES that I probably should’ve thanked Nenah Cherry in the acknowledgments, lol.

“No money man can win my love . . . It’s sweetness that I’m thinking of . . .”

Thank You, Frank Ocean

I’m in love with Frank Ocean’s CHANNEL ORANGE, and I’m blown away by his bravery.  Apparently, there are many people who feel the same way–including Jay-Z. Here’s an amazing letter to Frank Ocean from Jay-Z, recently posted on Jay’s blog:

“Thank you, Frank Ocean.

It’s true, we are a lot alike… “spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to.” In your opening few lines, you simultaneously established your humanity, a burden far too often asked of same sex lovers, and acknowledged that in this age of hyper self- awareness, amplified in no small part by the social media medium in which you made your announcement, we are desperate to share. You shared one of the most intimate things that ever happened to you – falling in love with someone who wasn’t brave enough to love you back. Your relieving yourself of your “secret” is as much about wanting to honestly connect as it is about exhibition. We are all made better by your decision to share publicly.

You and Anderson Cooper have the same coming out calendar week in common, but in many obvious ways, you couldn’t be more different. Anderson Cooper is an heir to one of America’s great Industrial Age fortunes and a network professional whose maleness and whiteness backed by his considerable accomplishments guarantee him work. You are a young Black man from New Orleans who fled your still struggling city. You didn’t arrive in Los Angeles with generational wealth and privilege, only the beautiful lyrics and melodies that danced through you and your dream of making it in a music industry whose sand castles were crumbling.

You are in fact, connected to one of hip-hop’s great cadres, in the tradition of Oakland’s Heiroglyphics, The Native Tongues and The Juice Crew. Your music family, like all the rest, will likely grow apart, but in this moment Odd Future bends hip-hop’s imagination with utter abandon. You fulfill hip-hop’s early promise to not give a fuck about what others think of you. The 200 times Tyler says “faggot” and the wonderful way he held you up and down on Twitter today, Syd the Kid’s sexy stud profile and her confusing, misogynistic videos speak to the many contradictions and posturing your generation inherited from the hip-hop generation before you. I’m sure you know a rumor about Big Daddy Kane having AIDS and with it, the suggestion that he was bisexual, effectively ended his career. You must have seen the pictures of pioneer Afrika “Baby Bam” from the Jungle Brothers in drag and read the blogs ridiculing him, despite the fact that he’s been leading a civilian life for nearly two decades. I know as a singer you love Rahsaan Patterson and bemoan the fact that homophobia prevented him from being the huge star his talent deserves. Only last month Queen Latifah unnecessarily released a statement denying that her performing at a Gay Pride event meant she was finally affirming her identity for thousands of Black girls. Imagine if Luther had been able to write, as you closed your letter, “I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore…I feel like a free man.”

But you’re not an activist. You’re a Black man in America whose star is on the rise, working in hip-hop and soul, where gender constructs are cartoonishly fixed. Your colleague Drake is often attacked with homophobic slurs when he simply displays vulnerability in his music. He seems to respond by following those moments of real emotion with bars that put “hoes” in their proverbial place. But you’re a beautiful songwriter (your question to Jay and Kanye, “What’s a King to a God?” on their own song on an album about their kingdom, was brilliantly sly). Your letter is revolutionary not least of all because it is about love. It is about falling in love and feeling rejected and carrying both that love and rejection with you through life. The male pronoun of the object of your desire is practically incidental. We have all been in a love that felt “malignant…hopeless” from which “there was no escaping, no negotiating.” Your promise to your first love, that you won’t forget him, that you’ll remember how you changed each other, is so full of love and grace.

You were born in the ’80s, when gay rights activists were seizing the streets of New York and other major world cities, fighting for visibility and against a disease that threatened to disappear them. The cultural shifts created from those struggles in some ways make your revelation about your fluid sexuality less shocking than it would have been decades before. Still, there are real risks with coming out as a man who loved a man. I hope you hear and are reading the hundreds of thousands of people who have your back.

We admire the great courage and beauty and fearlessness in your coming out, not only as a bisexual Black man, but as a broken hearted one. The tender irony that your letter is to a boy who was unable to return your love until years later because he was living a lie is the only truly tragic detail about your letter. A million twirls on this spinning ocean blue globe in this vast endless blackness for you my love.”

Full text is here:  Jay-Z thanks Frank Ocean.

Flashback Fridays Winner!

is Hilda! Hilda picked Madonna’s classic track “Like a Virgin,” and since Madonna is one of my all time favorite artists (especially the early years), I had to pick it! Also?  THERE”S  A LION IN THE VIDEO!!!!!  So here it is for your viewing pleasure.  And, just because it’s my favorite Madonna video of all time, I’m also including “Borderline.” What I love about Madonna’s videos in the 80’s is that she really understood that the medium was a platform to tell stories–you can see this working really clearly in the “Borderline” video. In fact, I’d argue that no artist understood the format as well as Madonna–with the possible exception of Michael Jackson.

Congratulations, Hilda!  You’ve won a hard to get ARC of WHITE LINES! Remember though, I’ll be giving a copy away every Friday–all you have to do is post an 80’s video in the comments section of this post to win!

Don’t You Want Me?

The Human League’s song “Don’t You Want Me?” is definitely one of my favorite 80’s videos of all time, and since no one picked it this week, I’m posting it now! Most people these days think Gotye’s “Somebody that I Used to Know” is so original, but The Human League did it in 1982, and, in my humble opinion, did it better. This is one of the best dance tracks of all time. Plus, Gotye’s feet are seriously gross in the video 🙂 Although I really love Kinbra’s voice . . .