Adam Schlesinger: Not Just The Guy On The Right

When Adam Schlesinger died of coronavirus three years ago this week, I was skeptical that he would have received as many tributes if we were living in normal times. With everyone stuck in quarantine staring at their computers, there was an outpouring of tributes. This seems to have continued on, as every year the anniversary brings new articles and remembrances from friends and creative cohorts.

Fountains of Wayne and Ivy were two of my favorite bands for many years. I always seemed to be pointing him out in performance clips – “the guy on the right is Adam Schlesinger….” followed by an overshare of information about his career.

Entertainment Weekly (2003)
Ivy (l-r): Andy Chase, Adam Schlesinger, Dominique Durand (1996)

In the press, Adam’s “side project” was whichever band was not promoting a new release. And while Fountains of Wayne was the first to be mentioned in tributes after his death, Ivy is now garnering considerable attention as the band has recently regained control of their back catalogue and increased their social media presence. Their first remastered re-release is Apartment Life (1997) featuring previously unreleased tracks and a vinyl-only reconstruction of the LP using the original demo recordings.

Adam Schlesinger: A Musical Celebration was a two-hour virtual tribute concert helmed by Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter. Recorded in May 2020 as a pay-per-view streaming event, it is now available for free on YouTube. Highlights include Courtney Love’s take on “Hey Julie,” Sean Lennon performing “Fire Island,” and Butch Walker debuting “Guitar Center,” an unreleased song written by Adam.

The performances are interspersed with commentary from celebs like Drew Carey and Sarah Silverman, who said; “People are so funny how blown away they are at all that he’s done … I don’t think people realized because they know him from one thing or another thing or another thing but the whole picture of what he got done… it’s something. I fucking miss him.”

Here are 15 Adam Schlesinger-related performances to give a more complete picture:

1) Besides his work penning the music to Sarah Silverman’s autobiographical stage musical The Bedwetter, Adam produced this 2013 song co-written with Sarah and featuring

2) In 2009, Adam was a member of the super group Tinted Windows, which featured Taylor Hanson, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. The surviving members reunited to perform “Back With You” in the tribute concert. Here’s the music video for “Kind Of A Girl,” another single from their sole album.

3) One of the most surprising covers in Adam Schlesinger: A Musical Celebration is by The Minus Five – a band featuring Joe Andragna, Peter Buck (of R.E.M.) and Scott McCaughey (of Young Fresh Fellows). Their song choice was “I’ll Say It” – written by Adam in 2012 as the theme to Kathy Griffin’s TV show:

4) Several Fountains of Wayne performances are interspersed throughout the tribute concert, including their appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien a few days after 9/11, covering The Kinks “Better Things.” Two months later, Adam was back on the show with Ivy to perform their latest single, “Disappointed.”

5) In September of 1997, Adam made a solo radio appearance on XFM In Session. This was after Chris Collingwood was injured in Germany (see sidebar article referring to this as a low point in their career). Besides the interview, Adam does acoustic versions of “Utopia Parkway” and “Carpet King.”

6) In 2006, Adam co-wrote the song “High School Never Ends” with Jaret Riddick, lead singer of the band Bowling For Soup. This was the lead single on that band’s 6th album and a minor hit in the U.S. and U.K.:

7) Mike Viola and Adam Schlesinger perform their Oscar-nominated song “That Thing You Do” on May 4, 2007 at the Tribeca/ASCAP Music Lounge during the Tribeca Film Festival:

8) Also in May 2007, Adam and Chris joined Neil Sedaka onstage at Joe’s Pub in New York City to sing his 1961 hit “Calendar Girl.” Neil flubs his own lyrics. Adam and Chris do not. In April 2020, Neil posted this clip on Twitter as a tribute to Adam. Chris responded “It was an honor and one of the coolest things we ever did.”

9) In October 2011, Fountains Of Wayne performed a Tiny Desk Concert on NPR.
Set List:
“The Summer Place”
“Valley Winter Song”
“A Dip In The Ocean”
“Troubled Times”:

10) One of the Rolling Stone tributes published after Adam’s death was an interview with Chris Collingwood. He remembers trying to talk Adam out of recording “Stacey’s Mom.” He was sure it would be a hit… and also a curse. “He was too good a writer to have that be his calling card, and the success of a novelty song means that’s just what you are to the public, from that moment on – forever. It’s sad to me that people reading his obituary will all know that song, and only a very tiny percentage of them will ever hear ‘I-95’ or ‘The Girl I Can’t Forget.'” 

Here’s the latter: an entire rom-com in under four minutes.

11) An unreleased demo of Adam performing a song called “Something Happened” recently popped up on YouTube. I can’t confirm that he wrote it about Chris Collingwood or the end of Fountains of Wayne, but it’s certainly a poignant performance:

12) In November, 2018 Adam joined Wesley Stace & The English UK onstage at City Winery to perform “Hey Julie”:

13) Along with Rachel Bloom & Jack Dolgen, Adam co-wrote the music for the television show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, winning his third Emmy in 2019 for the song “Anti-depressants Are So Not A Big Deal.” At a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Live In Los Angeles show in 2018 he performed “What’ll It Be?” in the style of an obscure Long Island singer named William Joel.

14) One of Adam’s final projects was his work with Fever High, a Brooklyn duo for whom he was the primary producer / songwriter. In 2019 he accompanied them for a three song “tiny desk” concert at Paste Studio.
Set List:
“Just A Ghost”
“Looks Good On Paper”
“Cast My Spell”

15) In late 2021, Dominique Durand and Andy Chase of Ivy released a 25 minute tribute video on their YouTube page. “We knew Adam Schlesinger for 30 years, and felt we should finally create an official Ivy statement about who he was to us. We wanted to show a more intimate, human side to Adam – the friend, the father, the band mate, the whirlwind force that he was – so we made this short film using exclusive home movies and photos. Hopefully this will help add more weight and color to the extraordinary legacy that Adam left behind.”

In a 2020 Rolling Stone piece, playwright David Bar Katz paid tribute to his lifelong friend: “There are songs we would all have known by heart that we’re never going to hear. There were going to be musicals we’d have waited in line to see that will never be composed.” We will never know just how much we have lost.

Emmy Awards ‘In Memoriam’ Segment

See also:
Dusty Springfield Sings Kate Bush
On The Life Of Brian… During The Pandemic
Photographer Lucas Murnaghan has died at 45
10 Forgotten Cher Moments

¿Dónde Está Santa Claus (& Augie Rios)?

When I was a child in the 1970’s, one of my favorite pastimes was playing my parents’ old discarded 45s on my Fisher Price record player. One single that received considerable airplay was a Christmas record by Augie Rios called “Ol’ Fatso,” which featured a sassy child giving Santa Claus a hard time with the repetitive chorus of “Don’t care who you are Ol’ Fatso / keep those reindeer off the roof.” What was not to love?

The flip side of this blue Metro 45 with the lion on the label was another Christmas song: “¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?” I would later learn that this was actually the “a” side of the record. At that age, I had to rely upon my own underdeveloped musical tastes to figure out which side was the hit. For this reason, I am still partial to Dusty Springfield’s self-penned b-side “Something Special” over the faux-Spector bombast of “Stay Awhile.”

As you can imagine, the rather un-PC “Ol Fatso” does not get covered a whole lot. Or at all. “¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?” on the other hand, has some other versions that have become favorites of mine.

Toni Stante (aka Antoinette Binastante) released a version on the Parkway label in 1965. This single has been the highlight of my Girl Group Christmas playlist for many years.

Later in the 60’s, The Thomas Sisters recorded what is now my favorite version. It is harder to find, though: It’s not on Spotify and keeps getting removed from YouTube. We’ll see how long this link remains active:

Other notable covers of the song: Charo’s 12″ disco version and the band Guster’s 2004 take of the tune.

But back to the original version and our titular question: ¿Dónde Está Augie Rios?

Augustine Rios was born in 1946, the son of Puerto Rican immigrant factory workers living in New York City. He began performing at a young age and had made some local television appearances before being cast as Lena Horne’s little brother in the 1957 Broadway musical Jamaica, which also starred Ricardo Montalbon and Ossie Davis. The role was originally only a few lines but Augie was such a standout in the out of town performances that it was expanded. By the time they hit Broadway, he was sixth on the cast list among the well established stars.

New York Age, Sept. 21, 1957

Broadway cast recording of Jamaica with Augie Rios, Ricardo Montalbon and Ossie Davis (1957)

Augie had been in Jamaica for over a year when he cut his first single for Metro records. “¿Dónde Está Santa Claus? was co-written by his manager, George Scheck and released just before Christmas, 1958.

Jamaica continued its run on Broadway for a year and a half, closing in April of 1959. Despite having a hit record and making television appearances during the run of the show, the press noted that Augie had never missed a performance.

Augie Rios with Carol Lawrence and Howard Keel in Saratoga (1959)

In December of 1959, Augie appeared as “Shorty” alongside Carol Lawrence and Howard Keel in the Broadway musical Saratoga, an adaption of the Edna Furber novel Saratoga Trunk with music & lyrics by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer. Although Cecil Beaton did win a Tony award for costume design, the show was not a success and closed in April of 1960.

Meanwhile, Augie had two follow-up singles released on Metro in 1959, followed by another bilingual Christmas single on MGM in 1960: “Felice Navidades (Merry Christmas To All)”:

Augie continued to work in theatrical productions on tour and in summer stock. He also made numerous television appearances. By 1963, he was performing with his own vocal group, Augie Rios and the Notations. They released a single on Shelley Records followed by two additional solo singles credited to Augie in 1964. Of course there have also been numerous reissues of his original Christmas classic single through the years.

Back in the early 2000’s, I came across an internet post about Augie Rios on a 1950’s music website. Augie himself had responded in the comments section, thanking everyone for their continued interest and also giving an update on what he had been up to in recent years – retired from his post-performance career and still living in the tri-state area. Unfortunately, the website is long gone, so I cannot locate details. There is also this video on YouTube, which seems to memorialize him in 2019 with a home audio recording and photo montage of his life.

¡Feliz Navidad Augie Ríos! Gracias por la música.

Etta James: Advertising Zombie

It has been 10 years since the passing of the other Queen of Soul – the great Etta James. Thanks to the big wide world of commercials, every year we are treated to a different song from her catalogue permeating our consciousness. Case in point: Google’s current ad campaign featuring her 1967 recording of “Security.”

This trend started in the 1990’s when these commercial placements would spur renewed interest in Etta’s work. She was still active at the time and able to capitalize on this with new records and more live shows and television appearances. The selling power of her recordings has only increased in the decade since she left the building, which is why I have dubbed her an “advertising zombie”. She may be gone, but her recordings are still working overtime on Madison Avenue.

Etta’s fiery voice had been used to sell products dating back to the 1960’s, as evidenced by this 1968 radio commercial for Blizzard Ice Tea:

Here’s the thing: Like most people, I don’t actually watch commercials. I usually have my face in my phone or computer. But I hear them. I have been singing the jingle “Nothing is everything… whoa uh oh whoa oh!” for several years now. I have no idea what they are selling. I assume it’s an antibacterial of some sort.

This is why I appreciate the used of Etta’s catalogue. When I am treated to a 30 second blast of that legendary voice during a commercial break, my ears perk up, even if my eyes do not.

Here are ten Etta James recordings that are most often and/or effectively used in commercials:

1) At Last – The jewel in the crown. When Joni Mitchell covered this song on her 2000 Both Sides Now LP, she said “I first heard this song on a tampon commercial and then again in a Jaguar ad. Funny way to find a masterpiece.” Etta’s omnipresent 1960 recording has been utilized in all manner of advertisement through the years, including Jaguar (1995), Applebees, Hoover, State Farm (2014), Cadillac (2018), and this ad for Guinness:

1996 UK 45 picture sleeve

2) I Just Want To Make Love To You (aka The Diet Coke song) – This one was an integral part of a classic 1996 ad campaign that became something of a cultural touchstone and launched the brief career of Lucky Vanous. Etta’s 1960 recording of the Willie Dixon tune was originally the B-side of her “At Last” single. Due to the popularity of this commercial, the song was re-released as a single, garnering Etta her first top 5 pop hit in the UK.

3) Sunday Kind Of Love – This standard dates back to the 1940’s with a version by co-songwriter Louis Prima and his Orchestra. Etta’s take was recorded for her 1960 At Last LP. It has been used in films (The Other Woman), television (9-1-1), a 2006 Dockers ad campaign and a 2015 commercial for the NFL Network, just to name a few.

4) Tell Mama – The title track of Etta’s classic 1967 LP was also her biggest chart hit in the U.S. Unfortunately, Etta was not a fan of the song. She wrote in her 2003 memoir Rage To Survive:

I have to confess that it was never a favorite of mine. Never liked it. Never liked singing it – not then, not now. I almost never perform it. It’s not that I don’t admire the chart and the songwriter. Clarence Carter is great. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t like being cast in the role of the Great Earth Mother, the gal you come to for comfort and easy sex.

T-Mobile took the title more literally with a series of 2020 commercials featuring actor Kevin Anderson and his mama.

5) I’d Rather Go Blind – The b-side to “Tell Mama” was an original Etta James composition and one of her favorites. A staple of her live act, Etta re-recorded the song several times throughout her career. The original 1967 version has been featured in films (Suicide Squad), television (Ozark, Pretty Little Liars) and a 2012 Kraft Dressing commercial, among others.

6) Good Rockin’ Daddy – Etta was just 17 years old when she recorded this Richard Berry tune in 1955. It was her third single release. This is the only song on the list that is not from her 15 year tenure at Chess/Argo/Cadet records. The song was used in the television show Lovecraft Country and in this 2013 HSBC commercial:

7) Something’s Got A Hold On Me / Good Feeling / Levels – This cash cow came from out of left field. Etta’s 1962 recording was sampled in two monster hit records of 2011: Avicii’s Levels and Good Feeling by Flo Rida. As a co-writer of the original song, she now has songwriting credits on all three. They were each used in multiple commercials for Citi Mobile, LG G6, various cars, a cruise line, you name it.

8) Trust In Me – This standard was originally associated with Mildred Bailey in the 1930s. Etta’s cover is from her 1960 At Last LP and has been used in multiple television shows (Betrayal, Mad Men, Memphis Beat). Commercially, it was used by Simplisafe in 2018 as well as Samsung the following year.

9) I Got You Babe – This non-lp 1968 single – a cover of the Sonny & Cher hit – was used for Wal-Mart’s series of Christmas commercials in 2021. An overlooked gem in Etta’s discography.

10) Security – This season’s Etta song is part of Google’s current ad campaign focusing on … uh… security. Recorded in 1967, this was the first of many Otis Redding-penned tunes that Etta would cover throughout her career. The pair were mutually fond of each other and had agreed to record an album together before he was tragically killed in a plane crash that same year.

The track was featured on Etta’s Tell Mama LP and was the follow up single to the title song. Click here for the Google commercial.

Honorable mentions:

Fire – While Aretha was wailing for “Freedom,” Etta growled about “Fire“. Another song from the pen of Willie Dixon (see #2), Etta’s incendiary take was the b-side of a 1968 single. I remember this being used to sell hot wings a few years ago, but I can’t recall the restaurant. It has also been placed in films (Rush Hour) and television shows (Mrs. America, Hacks). UPDATE: Now featured in the 2022 Infinity car commercial.

Seven Day Fool – This 1961 single from her Second Time Around LP has been used in several commercials, although I cannot recall the products.

Watch Dog – Another track from Etta’s classic 1967 Tell Mama LP.  Again, I know it has been used in commercials but can’t recall what product. Security systems? Dog food? If readers would like to enlighten me, I will update.

You Can Leave Your Hat On – Etta’s funky 1973 rendition of this Randy Newman tune was used in the film Sex Tape and is a strip club staple.  In terms of selling power, it has been instrumental in getting many dollar bills stuffed into g-strings. That counts for something, right? Yay commerce!

Christmas At St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School pt. II

Dear Readers,

It’s that time again… due to popular demand, it’s our fourth installment of WWII-era photos featuring the jockstrap-clad pre-flight training school cadets at St. Mary’s College in California. You can view the first one here. Part II was from last Christmas. Part III was the boys of summer. And now here we are with another look at these strapping young men – many away from home for the first time – photographed as they trained to go to war during the holidays.

I first became aware of these black and white 5″x7″ triptych photos through posts on the Vintage Workingmen Beefcake Facebook group. Listings also turn up on auction sites, where the photos are often accompanied by the index card used to record the physical training progress of the cadet.

The earliest photos (from June 13, 1942) feature the men completely nude, but all subsequent photos feature the cadets in jockstraps, standing behind some sort of grid fencing to better detect posture misalignment and spinal curvature.

There is still some confusion between these photos and the Yale / Ivy League posture pics, since the Navy photos were sometimes used to illustrate stories about the Yale pics. Note that all of these images contain a visible U.S. Navy / St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School placard, even if they have been cropped out in some posts. Similarly the Yale University photos are identified as such within the frame of the photos:

Fortunately for us, multiple photos of some cadets have surfaced, allowing for comparisons of their training progress:

Before / After 7 weeks of training, Sept. – Nov. 1942

And while there is a lack of ethnic diversity, there are a variety of body types.

Before / After a month of training: 12/8/43-1/12/44

My collection now includes close to 600 jpegs of different cadets. While some of these men did perish during WWII, the largest majority that I have researched lived to ripe old ages.

Any surviving cadets would now be close to 100 years old. I recently discovered one who passed away a few months ago at the age of 103.

One thing these young men have in common, as they were documented in timeless photos of their physical prime: they were far from home during the holidays, training to fight for their country.

At this time of year, nearly 80 years later, we again salute The Greatest Generation for their fine forms and dedication.

See more here:

Men of St.Mary’s Pre-Flight School

Boys of Summer: St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School

Christmas At St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School, Pt. I

80 Years Ago: The Men Of St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School

More Men Of St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School

The Yale Posture Photos: James Franciscus

Alexis Arquette’s Lost Porn Flick

Hard to believe that it has been 5 years since the dynamic actor/actress, performer, reality television star Alexis Arquette passed away. The youngest member of the Arquette clan was just 47 years old.

Fun fact: 12 year old Alexis was featured in The Tubes’ music video for She’s A Beauty.

Days after Arquette’s demise, the streaming site XHamster released a statement where they pat themselves on the back for executing a “catch and kill”: allegedly paying $25k to acquire and destroy a sex video peddled by one of Arquette’s ex-paramours. In a blog post about it, KennethInThe212 points out that: a) it seemed like XHamster was pulling a publicity stunt, b) if they were protecting Arquette, why mention a video that nobody previously knew about, and c) how could a sex tape embarrass the free-spirited Arquette, a person who gave zero fucks about other people’s sexual hangups?

When I read about this alleged sex tape, I was reminded of something I had not thought about in years: Piccadilly Pickups, the 1999 hardcore gay porn flick that Arquette appeared in, and that I had seen it at a screening in New York City with Arquette in attendance.

I read an article in the November 5, 1999 issue of The New York Blade about the MIX Film Festival, which featured experimental works. Arquette was hosting a part of the festival called “The Honcho Midnight Blue Movie Series,” which featured midnight screenings of Andy Warhol’s Couch along with other titillating avant-garde fare. Next to this article was a second one detailing Arquette’s recent foray into gay porn, as the resulting film, Piccadilly Pickups would also be shown.

In 1999, Arquette was still publicly identifying as a bisexual male. He was an indie film darling – a member of Hollywood royalty who dared to push the envelope with unconventional film roles and an outspoken personality.

I was intrigued… so I went to the screening at midnight on Saturday, November 13, 1999. Surprisingly, it was, as advertised, a full-on hardcore gay porno. Unfortunately, it was not a very good one. It wasn’t particularly erotic and the attempts at campy humor fell flat. There was also an extended sequence with a character in blackface. Arquette appears in and out of drag as Henri de la Plus Oooh Aaargh, a wealthy American who wants to exploit the hero of the story. The climax of the film is a group sex scene with Arquette joining in.

Hard to stay gender neutral here, but at one point in the group scene Arquette bends down and sucks their own dick. In the audience at the screening, there is applause. Arquette, in drag, goes on to fuck one of the twinks before producing a climactic money shot which also garnered an enthusiastic audience reaction. And that’s about all I remember about this forgettable film.

A few times throughout the screening Arquette, in the audience, drew laughter with comments about the action onscreen, but I was not sitting close enough to hear this real life version of MST3K.

After the screening Alexis got up, took a modest bow and said a few words, leading off with “I know it’s not exactly Citizen Kane.. but thank you for coming.”

And then the film vanished. Although there is an IMDB listing, I was unable to find any reference to the film online for many years, which is odd, because even the vaguest whiff of a mainstream actor appearing in anything close to porn is recycled and re-discovered across the internet repeatedly. (see Stephen Geoffreys, Simon Rex or even Sylvester Stallone, just to name a few.)

Recently a cut of the film popped up on gay torrent and streaming sites. This watered down version appears to have come from a UK DVD release, which is edited like cable porn: Still an X but not XXX. The autofellatio, penetration and money shots are gone, so why bother, really?

Arquette was a favorite subject of Hollywood photographer Greg Gorman, including some nudes featured in his 2004 book As I See It.

Arquette would go on to become a vocal activist and visible leader in the transgender community. The diversity and complexities of this fearless artist should be remembered and celebrated, even if Piccadilly Pickups is not.  

The Yale Posture Photos: James Franciscus

The fabled Ivy League nude posture photos have been written about but seldom seen. Incoming college students were photographed fully nude to gauge posture, detect scoliosis, and address other correctable body issues… all while emotionally scarring the participants. Talk show host Dick Cavett joked about it in his early stand-up routines but had a much darker view of the experience 50 years later in a New York Times Op Ed piece.

In recent years, the Yale photos have garnered the most press, with tongues wagging at the possibilities of seeing our country’s best and brightest in the buff. The photos in question were so rare that most online articles on the subject did not actually feature any of them, opting to show similar medical textbook illustrations or military posture pics such as the WWII-era St. Mary’s College Navy Pre-Flight School photos, which I have written about here and here.

In the past year, choice examples of the photos featuring male freshman Yalies from 1937-1960 have begun to trickle out on eBay. It was only a matter of time before some familiar names began to pop up. Writer Calvin Trillin‘s photo went for a little over $100, while the pic of late actor James Franciscus pulled in a whopping $1,225.

Younger readers might not remember Franciscus – the dashing star of half a dozen television series and over 30 films. There is a fan site that dubs him The Patron Saint Of Cool. He was not afraid to show some skin over the course of his career, particularly in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970).

In her memoir and in a recent segment on The Tonight Show, Jane Fonda remembers him as her first love…and the best kiss she ever had.


They met while working together in summer stock when she was 18 and he was 20.

“He walked me out to the end of a pier and he kissed me,” she recalled. “The stars began to whirl and the pier began to shake, and my knees gave way and I slid down to a pile at his feet…. I’ve never had a kiss like that ever since.”

As for his Yale photo, which was taken the year before…. unfortunately, we don’t get to see the full Franciscus. The image posted for the public auction has a strip of paper blocking the view. For just $1,225, the high bidder is now enjoying the unedited 8″x10″ all by themselves.

See also:
Men of St.Mary’s Pre-Flight School
Boys of Summer: St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School
Christmas At St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School, Pt. I
Christmas At St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School, Pt. II
80 Years Ago: The Men of St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School
More Men of St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School

If You Meet Me In The Bathroom, Be Sure To Shake My Hand

For 10 years (1997-2007) I produced and hosted a late night public access program on the air here in New York City called Bri-Guy’s Media Surf.

1998 Media Surf flyer

This 1998 flyer features the stop-action roiling sea of celebrities used in the opening credits to the show. Amongst the beefcake models and my first grade class photo, we also have: Bette Midler (3x), Goldie Hawn (2x), Diane Keaton (First Wives Club), Erasure (2x), Dusty Springfield, James Dean, Madonna, Lisa Loeb, Mark Wahlberg, Rupaul, Paula Cole, Keith Haring, Greg Louganis, Michael Stipe, kd lang, Julia Fordham and James Dean.

The quote at the bottom is a nod to legendary NYC late night hostess Robin Byrd.


One of my faithful viewers (Tammy) Remington Write recently reached out about doing an interview and has written a wonderful piece for Medium. Thank you so much for remembering, Tammy!

mediumIn the article she recounts when we first met on the street back in 2005. Viewers did not approach me often enough that I ever got used to it. I was always thrilled to be reminded that this thing I was creating alone in my apartment was being broadcast and people were watching.

I was going to just post the link to the Medium article here and leave it at that, but while looking for something unrelated on a backup computer disc, I came across this piece I wrote in 2006 for a MySpace blog that I had completely forgotten about:

Every once in a while I’ll hear from a viewer of my NYC public access program, Bri-Guy’s Media Surf. It’s still running, mostly in repeats, on MNN in Manhattan.

Media Surf promo shot (1997)

I got an IM yesterday from a viewer that I have conversed with from time to time over the years. He’s a nice guy – perhaps a little off, but aren’t we all in one way or another? He still hasn’t gotten over the fact that sapphic little Dana Owens who worked in his record store in the late 80’s morphed into Queen Latifah. He brings it up in every conversation. That, and his obsession with Sylvia Miles. I’m not kidding. He scared her and now she won’t talk to him.

He lives in New Jersey but a friend would tape my show and pass him VHS copies. That ended at some point a few years ago and I wasn’t sure if he was still watching it. I don’t hear from him for long stretches of time and then he will suddenly IM me out of the blue.

This was today’s exchange in its entirety:

(curtain up)

Him:  I used to trick with a fuckbuddy in Harlem so I could see your show
Me:  You what?
Him:  I would time it just right
Me:  How funny.
Him: Sex after your show – I am not kidding
Me: That’s so sweet!

(curtain down)

Now… who could ask for a better compliment than that?

2003 Briguy FIXED copy
Media Surf promo shot (2003)


This is actually the second person to extol this type of adulation. Last summer a guy came running up to me on the street to let me know how much he loved Media Surf, and that he had a regular Friday night tryst with his “one night a week boyfriend.” This had gone on for years: they would get together to watch the show and then have sex. Or vice versa. In their case, I’m not sure if the show was an appetizer or dessert. The point is, it was on the menu.

This is my fan base, if you will. For a while, it seemed like viewers who recognized me would only come up and talk to me when I was trying to pee in public. Apparently I am most approachable in public bathrooms. Not that I make a habit of hanging out there. Shut up.

Once after I disembarked from a flight at La Guardia Airport, I entered the restroom with some urgency and a member of the janitorial staff greeted me with a hearty “Hey Bri-Guy!”

surf pic 01a HI_RES copy
On the set: Media Surf (2005)

It wasn’t a terrible welcome back to New York City – the one place where I have just a smidge of recognition.

A guy reached over the toilet stall to shake my hand as I stood at the urinal one drunken evening in Dick’s Bar. I guess I’m less intimidating with my fly open. Or more vulnerable, at the very least.

In the realm of things, hearing that someone would choose their rendezvous to accommodate Media Surf’s broadcast schedule is high praise, considering that after 9 years on the air, I rarely bother to stay up late enough to watch it myself.

It means enough to these people to approach me and let me know that they like the show that I put together. To be a part of their philanderings – in some tangential way, without ever taking my clothes off or having to shower afterwards – is kinda cool.

Isn’t it?

Or am I just reeeally starved for attention?

Some Thanksgiving Treats For You

Happy Thanksgiving! I have arrived at your holiday feast bearing a cornucopia of tasty Turkey day treats, both bitter and sweet. Enjoy!

When it comes to holiday music, unfortunately Thanksgiving is lost in the long shadow of Christmas. There’s a severe lack of Thanksgiving songs, aren’t there? All we’ve got is Let’s Turkey Trot by Little Eva, and even then it is not really about Thanksgiving at all. The song’s title refers to the Turkey Trot, a dance step popular back in the early 1900’s.

Dimension DollsLet’s Turkey Trot was Eva Boyd’s third single, released in 1963 with the hopes of recapturing the #1 success of her debut platter, The Loco-Motion. Let’s Turkey Trot gave Little Eva a respectable showing on the charts, peaking at #20, although it should have been billed as Little Eva & The Cookies, as the backing group is as much a part of the success of the record as the lead. Group member Earl-Jean McCrea delivers solo lines echoing their own hits Chains & Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby, which also featured Little Eva on background vocals.

Here’s an abbreviated performance by Little Eva on Shindig in 1965. Darlene Love and the Blossoms stand in for the Cookies in what must be one of the proudest moments of their career. Gobble Diddle Dip!

The Dollyrots also covered this track in 2014. Besides using footage of Little Eva’s Shindig performance throughout the video, they also namecheck “Little Eva back in ’63”:

Want some Mashed Potatoes with your Turkey Trot? Here’s Dee Dee Sharp with her own ode to a Thanksgiving staple / dance move:

During the Thanksgiving episode of SNL in 1997, Lilith Fair stand-up comic Cinder Calhoun (a recurring character played by Ana Gasteyer) & singer Sara McLachlan paid a visit to Norm MacDonald and the Weekend Update desk, singing the Thanksgiving classic Basted In Blood. It would not be nearly as funny if they didn’t sing it so well.—cinder-and-sarah/n12937

On the darker side… one of the faux trailers from Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse is the hilariously spot-on Thanksgiving, directed by Eli Roth. It is entirely plausible that someone would have jumped on the bandwagon of grade-z holiday themed horror films that followed the success of Halloween. But this one is a fake. As of now. Who knows…. maybe Roth will film it one day.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Sometimes I write essays. And sometimes I get up onstage and read them in public places… sometimes with tens of people watching. And then there are tens of other people who wish that they could have come to see, but just couldn’t make it, and would love to read what I wrote. And then sometimes I make them copies or email the essays. And sometimes someone will ask if I have a blog. And when I say that I don’t, they are sometimes surprised and tell me that I should start one. So here it is.