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A REVOLUTION OF THE HEART

Songs Reimagined” playfully upend a convention of love songs that is so enshrined that it often escapes our notice: the use of opposite sex pronouns. With rare exceptions, love songs have rested on the assumption that a man is singing to or about a woman, and vice versa. In certain genres, like folk music, women were permitted to sing from a man’s perspective, but never the reverse. And gay songwriters have been known to avoid specific pronoun references so that “the love that dare not speak its name,” as Oscar Wilde put it, could find a voice, however muted.

There can be no doubt: our country – and maybe the entire world – is going through what can only be described as a revolution of the heart. Every day brings new questions about the nature of our sexual identities and the boundaries of our gender roles. Notions that had seemed fixed for centuries are now subject to exploration. Not simply what are suitable roles for men and women; those categories have been shape-shifting for decades now. But what truly makes a man a man or a woman a woman? And what about the many emerging identities between or beyond those two traditional ones? What is the meaning of marriage, and what is the true nature of family?

But the performances here leave no doubt about the same-sex nature of the singer’s desire. Male and female singers have flipped the pronouns in “She’s Funny That Way” before, but it takes Bob Dylan to lend the song a simmering, homoerotic heat. Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie retains all the dreamy sweetness of the Beatles’ original in his “And I Love Him.” Similarly, Kele Okereke of Bloc Party places his man on the lofty pedestal the Temptations built for the gorgeous “My Guy.” Valerie June brings a delicious, elegant slow burn to the Noel Coward standard in “Mad About the Boy,” and St. Vincent finds all the adolescent wonder and excitement in her take on the Crystals in “Then She Kissed Me.” Finally, please, can someone arrange an invitation for me to the wedding of the couple that chooses Kesha’s incineration of Janis Joplin, “I Need a Woman to Love Me,” as their wedding song? That’s going to be a party!

Given the bitterly divisive state of American life these days, what should be an open-hearted, collective search for self-creation and self-realization has often devolved instead into a grim battle, yet another explosive front in our seemingly endless culture wars. Not in my backyard has devolved into not in my bathroom – or my bedroom. Until the Supreme Court decides, no wedding cake for you. Difference is threatening and hate crimes abound. But what about love? Is it possible, just for a moment, to reframe those charged confrontations as quests for love, as injunctions to be “bold as love,” as Jimi Hendrix put it? Or maybe just as gentle as love. Why should anyone’s personal journey pose a danger to anyone else? Why can’t we view such searches through the eyes of love? Or through the unjudging eyes of a child, as when my daughter excitedly told me that her wonderful kindergarten teacher was about to marry “his very, very, very best friend!” Or, as we attempted to arrange a get-together with one of her pals, she innocently asked, “Should I have one of her moms get in touch with you?” Songs have addressed the many mysteries of love since words were first sung. Cole Porter asked the question best, and most simply: “What is this thing called love?” As we continue to ponder that eternal question, this splendid collection comes along to spark our thinking. The six songs on “Universal Love: Wedding

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Like desire itself in its most exquisite form, these re-imaginings of classic love songs are playful and intense, erotic and idealistic, fun, forceful and yearning. At first it may be jarring to hear these emotions expressed out loud in songs that are so familiar. But many millions of people will feel a liberation in not having to perform the psychological gymnastics required to make yourself feel included in an environment to which you have not specifically been invited. Like consent, inclusion is sexy. These performances make clear, above all, that all are welcome to love. Often at weddings, the attending family and friends are asked to promise their support to the couple as their lives proceed beyond the festivities of the day. In their declarations to their lovers, the singers of these songs, by extension, ask a similar promise of us, their listeners. It is a promise we should honor and keep, regardless of our sexual preference. However embattled and divided our society may be, making love is always preferable to making war – and far more capable of shaping a world that welcomes us all, and that we all want to live in. – Anthony DeCurtis


SIDE A

SIDE B

1. Bob Dylan – He’s Funny That Way 3:30 Written by Richard Whiting and Neil Moret © 1928, Warner/Chappell Music Publishing (BMI) and EMI April Music Inc Ⓟ 2018 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

1. Valerie June – Mad About The Girl 3:12 Written by Noel Coward © 1932, Warner/ Chappell Music Publishing (ASCAP) Ⓟ 2018 June Tunes Music, Inc. under exclusive license to Concord Records, a division of Concord Music Group, Inc.

Vocals Produced And Engineered By Track Produced by Track Engineered by Vocals Recorded at Track Recorded at Mastered by

Matt Marinelli John Sneider and Andy Farber Alex Fulton The Village Studio, LA, CA Storefront Music, NY, NY Fred Kervorkian

2. St. Vincent – And Then She Kissed Me 2:06 Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector © 1963, ABKCO Music (BMI), Universal Songs of Polygram Intl., Inc. (BMI) Mother Bertha Music (BMI), and Trio Music Company (BMI) Ⓟ 2018 Loma Vista Recordings. Distributed by Concord Music Group, Inc.

2. Benjamin Gibbard – And I Love Him 2:43 Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney © 1964, Sony/ATV Tunes LLC Ⓟ 2018 WIACF LLC

Co-Produced by Recorded by Mixed by Recorded and Mixed at Mastered by

Produced by Engineered by Mastered by Recorded at

Thomas Bartlett and St. Vincent Thomas Bartlett Patrick Dillett Reservoir Studios, NYC Chris Gehringer at Sterling Sound

Benjamin Gibbard Steve Fisk Mark Wilder Computerworld, Seattle, WA

3. Kele Okereke – My Guy 2:55 Written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White © 1964, Jobete Music Co Inc.

3. Kesha – I Need A Woman To Love 4:29 Based on “I Need a Man to Love” by Sam Andrew and Janis Joplin, originally performed by Big Brother & the Holding Co. © 1968 , Cheap Thrills Music (ASCAP), Strong Arm Music (ASCAP) Ⓟ 2018 Kemosabe Records

Produced by Engineered by Recorded September 2017 at Mastered by

Produced by Mixed by Recorded at Mastered by

Gethin Pearson Matt Ingram Urchin Studio, London Nigel Walton

Drew Pearson Jon Castelli Purple Dinosaur, LA, CA Robert Robles

Executive Producers: Rob Kaplan, Aaron Mercer, Deb Archambault • Cover Artwork: Craig & Karl • Package Design: George Katz Thanks to Jim Murren, Bill Hornbuckle, Corey Sanders, Lili Tomovich, Phyllis James, Kate Wik, Nick Parks, Jenn Michaels, Eric Silver, Rob Reilly, Devika Bulchandani, Tom Murphy, Nathy Aviram, Nir Refuah, Chris Mitton, Carlos Wigle, Scott Cooney, Benjamin Vendramin, Jesse Potack, Scot Beck, David Broad, Tessa Cosenza, Erika Richter, Eric Johnson, Danielle Korn, Jeremy Miller, Jeffrey Schulberg, Jeroen van der Meer, Jordan Kurland, Alex Kavdan, Jon Romero, Karen Kloack, Colin Roberts, and Anthony DeCurtis

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (AHF)

GENDER JUSTICE NEVADA

North: 702-639-8110 South: 702-862-8075 AidsHealth.org

7465 W Lake Mead Blvd #107 Las Vegas, NV 89128 702-425-7288 GenderJusticeNV.org

AID FOR AIDS OF NEVADA

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AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION - NEVADA (ACLU)

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

1120 Almond Tree Ln. Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-382-2326 AFANLV.org

401 S. Maryland Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89101 702-366-1226 ACLUNV.org BEARS LAS VEGAS

BearsLV.org Board@BearsLV.org

BETTY’S OUTRAGEOUS ADVENTURES (BOA)

BettysOut.com Bettys@BettysOut.com THE CENTER

401 S. Maryland Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89101 702-733-9800 TheCenterLV.com COMMUNITY COUNSELING CENTER OF SOUTHERN NEVADA

714 E Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-369-8700 cccofsn.wix.com/ccc-new

714 E Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-384-2899 GoldenRainbow.org HRC.org

IMPERIAL ROYAL SOVEREIGN COURT OF THE DESERT EMPIRE

P.O. Box 46481 Las Vegas, NV 89114 DesertEmpire.org

LAS VEGAS BOYS OF LEATHER

LasVegasBoysOfLeather.org LAS VEGAS MEN’S CHORUS

Las Vegas Men’s Chorus PO Box 95021 Las Vegas, NV 89193 702-594-3393 LvMensChorus.org

LAS VEGAS PRIME TIMERS

PO Box 42424 Las Vegas, NV 89116 702-527-2360 info@lasvegasprimetimers.com

LEATHER UNIFORM CLUB OF LAS VEGAS (LUC OF LV)

LUCofLV.com LUCofLV@Gmail.com

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

1-800-SUICIDE suicidepreventionlifeline.org NEW HORIZONS

P.O. Box 42244 Las Vegas, NV 89116 702-706-0306 info@NewHorizons-NV.com NEVADA GAY RODEO ASSOCIATION (NGRA)

PO Box 96055 Las Vegas, NV 89193 NGRA.com

PFLAG LAS VEGAS

P.O. Box 20145 Las Vegas, NV 89112 702-738-7838 PFLAG.org

SAFY SPECIALIZED ALTERNATIVES FOR FAMILY & YOUTH

4285 N. Rancho Dr. Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-385-5331 SAFY.org

SAINT THERESE CENTER HIV OUTREACH CENTER

241 Palo Verde Dr. Henderson, NV 89015 702-564-4224 SaintThereseCenter.org

SOUTHERN NEVADA ASSOCIATION OF PRIDE, INC. (SNAPI)

4001 S. Decatur Blvd. #37-540 Las Vegas, NV 89103 866-930-3336 SIN SITY SISTERS SADAP

P.O. Box 60005 Las Vegas, NV 89160 702-592-6969 SinSitySisters.org

SOUTHERN NEVADA HEALTH DISTRICT (SNHD)

280 S. Decatur Blvd. Las Vegas, NV, 89107 702-759-1000 www.SNHD.info

EAST LAS VEGAS PUBLIC HEALTH CENTER

560 N. Nellis Blvd. #1, Las Vegas, NV 89110 702-759-1340 www.SNHD.info SUICIDE HOTLINE

LGBT Youth 1-866-488-7386 thetrevorproject.org

TRANSCENDING THE GENDER BOX

1140 Almond Tree Lane #305, Las Vegas, Nevada 89104 (702) 420-1294 fb.com/TranscendingGenderBox

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Gay Vegas Magazine 2018 May  

Universal Love - MGM Resorts Presents Wedding Capital of the World a More Inclusive Soundtrack / Toni Braxton Interview / Kesha Marries LGB...

Gay Vegas Magazine 2018 May  

Universal Love - MGM Resorts Presents Wedding Capital of the World a More Inclusive Soundtrack / Toni Braxton Interview / Kesha Marries LGB...

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