Tag Archives: RIP

George Michael 1963-2016

gm_whitelight_3

I woke up on Christmas morning by a text reading  George Michael died. A tear rolled down the side of my face. Here’s why…

When I was around 8 years old, I remember driving in the car with my sister, her friend Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s mom on the way to the bowling alley in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! played on the radio. We just loved the song and sang with joy. In this moment, life was perfect…

By 1987, I was in the 7th grade and although I attended Catholic school, I  knew exactly what George was singing about in his “I Want Your Sex” video.  George Michael by then  was a bonafied MTV solo star.  He shook his ass and donned a dangling cross earning. All while promoting monogamy.

The single “Freedom! ’90” was released in 1990 on the acclaimed Listen With Out Prejudice Vol. 1 and “Too Funky” on  the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Dance. George began to shy away from the camera focusing on an elite group of “Super” models – he  blended music, art and fashion.  Two of the most iconic music videos of all time and personal favorites.

Six years later, while in college at SUNY Oswego, I discovered an “Older” sense of self and George Michael.  His music continued to speak to me and well as his sexy look in the “Fastlove” video. I wanted to look just like him when “I grew up.”

In 1998,  George Michael got busted for performing a “lewd act” in a Beverly Hills public restroom.  He proudly came out as gay and made ZERO apologies. I too was out as a young gay man and appreciated his f*ck you attitude. He even poked fun at the situation with the release of  the cheeky dance track “Outside.”

In 2004, I stayed out all night and fell in love with a bartender who worked the bar Eastern Block in NYC. Gabe and I shut the place down with his friend, preformed drunk yoga  and listened to “Amazing.”  The next day at work, I sat at my desk and played the song thinking of my wild night. I never saw Gabe again…

In 2008, my friend Eric invited me to see George Michael’s 25 year anniversary tour at MSG. It was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve ever seen. George Michael’s voice was razor sharp, one of the best. I watched and listened in awe of his great talent. A wonderful memory.

George Michael will be greatly missed by myself and millions around the world. A truly beautiful man…

Thanks for the memories.

Photo via http://www.georgemichael.com

Bigger Is Better

big

I believe a persons true character is measured  by the amount of people they touch. This week we lost a beautiful soul, Angela “Big Ang” Raiola. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Angela Raiola was the niece of Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi, a drug dealer in the Genovese crime family. As a young woman, she worked as a bartender and was known to date mobsters. She lived an extravagant  lifestyle which caught up with her in 2001 when she was indicted for selling cocaine out of the bars she worked. Angela did her time being placed under house arrest for four months.

In 2011, Angela joined Season 2 of the VH1 reality show Mob Wives. Angela became an instant fan favorite because of her colorful larger than life persona, her big lips and even bigger boobs. Angela believed that bigger is better – which is true of her heart and spirit. She would go on to star in two VH1 spin offs. Angela was a star.

drink

She was the peacemaker, the voice of reason, the person who would bring people together. She was a loyal friend, loving mother and adoring grandmother. I know this not only because of TV but by all the wonderful things people are saying about her. Personally, she brought joy to my life and made me smile. I loved her raspy voice, zany one-liners and authentic “tell it like it is” attitude.  I met her once.  My cousin has been a family friend for years and I have another relative who worked at The Drunken Monkey, the bar she used to own on Staten Island.

12729122_10153634568314580_8236422599203262396_n

My cousin told me how she met Angela back in the day. Angela was working at a bar in Bay Bridge, Brooklyn. Apparently, she had too much to drink and need help behind the bar. The bar owner asked my cousin Francine to pitch in and the rest is history. My cousin told me, “Angela is the type of girl who would take a limo wearing a feather boa to a Chinese restaurant. She was always the center of attention.”

Many of us are saddened by the loss of this bright light who bravely fought cancer in the public eye with beauty and grace. If you can make that kind of impact on so many people – you have done something right! May she rest in peace and harmony.

big-ang-dead-mob-wives-funeral-plans

Photos via VH1.

Brittany Murphy: Six Years Later

1384874614000-AP-Obit-Brittany-Murphy

Today marks the sixth anniversary of Brittany Murphy’s tragic passing. A Hollywood mystery that has left family members and fans wondering what really happened to Brittany and husband Simon Monjack, who died of the same mysterious circumstances just five months later.

t1larg

Murphy’s elderly father Angelo Bertolotti, has since provided evidence (through independent testing) of unusually high levels of toxic metals found in Brittany’s system. Famed pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, has gone on record agreeing that the circumstances surrounding her death are far from normal.  Bertolotti believes Brittany was poisoned and has accused Brittany’s mom Sharon Murphy of foul play.  Sharon was present at both times of death – allegedly hastily seeking medical attention for her ailing daughter.  The LA Coroner’s office has ignored the claims refusing to re-open the case.

Kevin Mazur (C)2006
Photo: Kevin Mazur (C)2006B

Bertolotti recently tweeted, “been working for months with the Reelz Channel on a documentary.”  Hopefully, the documentary will shed light on Brittany’s case and do a better job of celebrating Brittany’s legacy than last year’s disastorous Lifetime film “The Brittany Murphy Story.”

Here’s a look at Brittany’s “Hits Not To Be Missed” as told by The Hollywood Reporter.  RIP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan Rivers – I’ll Remember You

400_300_rs_560x415_140828173201_560_2joan_rivers_cm_82814_copy_

My love for Joan Rivers goes back 30yrs. Like many of you, I am deeply saddened by her passing. Although Joan died at 81yrs old, I thought she would live forever; her designer face seemingly timeless. She was smart, funny and had the energy of the Energizer Bunny – Joan was unstoppable!

I remember her on the Tonight Show, giving advice to Miss Piggy at a cosmetics counter in Muppets Take Manhattan and from  her appearences on Hollywood Squares.

She was over the top outrageous and always made me laugh. As a kid, I remember writing for tickets to her talk show. I was so excited when the tickets arrived, I begged my Mom to take me and even got to miss school! The Joan Rivers Show was filmed at CBS on 57th street which was like a world away from my row house in Midwood, Brooklyn. My first glance into the world of entertainment. Lights, camera, action and LiZa! That’s right, LiZa was her guest!!!

Before the show started, Joan would come out to greet the audience and introduce her friend Hesta who would do the warm up. Joan’s pup, Spike would also make the rounds. On another visit, an audience member took ill. Joan stopped the show and rushed to the woman’s aid. Joan helped walk the woman down the stairs and slipped her daughter her phone number, insisting she call with an update once they got to the hospital. This is why I loved Joan Rivers, she had a heart of gold.

As an adult, we would meet again. Once in Bryant Park on my lunch break where she was interviewing people for a Court TV segment. Yes, I made it on-air! A few months later, my friend (who ironically worked at Court TV) asked if I wanted to film a promo with Joan in Times Square for a show called Hollywood Heat. A group of us dressed up in various costumes – a cop, super hero, judge etc. I was a doctor. We all took turns climing out of a limo – a clown car of sorts – Joan to emerge last. While I was in the car, the pants provided by wardrobe split!!!! Can you believe it? I never laughed so hard!

I would meet Joan AGAIN a few years ago – catching her stand up act. We took a picture and when I asked if she wanted to see it – she said “NO,” (how dare she)!

It’s so amazing how life can come full circle. When I heard Joan passed, it was like a part of me died as well. I cried at work and was not able to sleep through the night; staying up watching clips on YouTube. I will remember Joan Rivers for the incredible person she was and for always keeping it real. Thanks Joan for the memories. ❤️