Monday, November 30, 2009


I know it's hard to believe ,but, there was a time, not so long ago, that whenever a "Colored" person would appear on TV my whole apartment building on West 59th St in Chicago would go crazy.

"Wanda! Tell your momma there's a Colored girl in a commercial on Channel 9!", my Grandmother Lois would yell out the back door at us kids. Wanda would go up the stairs half running, half screaming ahead, "MOMMA! Turn on Channel 9, there's a Colored girl in a commercial!"


I swear.

Now, ever so often, Ed Sullivan would have a Colored performer on. Those were the nights I got to stay up late. I would sit there nodding off in my PJs as my Mom and Dad sat talking through whatever white person was telling lame jokes or whatever.


"Ladies and Gentlemen,I would like to welcome to the stage.....". Ed would then turn and I would rush towards the TV and be in heaven for the next 3 minutes or so.

Here are some of the Colored people my Mom & Dad let me stay up late to see.

I loved women with long legs in short skirts! No one had longer legs or shorter skirts than Tina Turner and The Ikettes!

My Moms' dresses were custom made and she had pumps dyed to match.


As a young FHA (Future Homo of America), only one set of women could come close to my Mom when it came to style, The Supremes. Even today, my Mom has an entire room devoted to shoes, wigs and purses, her "Diana Ross Room".

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Supremes!


"I think he's a sissy." My Dad was hella cool. He always accepted the fact that I was probably not meant to be a linebacker , or whatever the hell they do in Hockey. He just loved me as I was. I never heard a word from him about "sissies" except whenever it was time for Little Richard", and even then it wasn't in a bad way. Actually it was more like, "that's one badass sissy!"

I had no idea what a sissy really was, but, I knew if Little Richard was one, I could never live up to the entry fee.

I still can't.

And I'm a major sissy.

Little Richard.

Shut up!


My Mom till this day will tell you that "The Tempts" are her favorite group from back in the day. I aint gonna argue that.

I was an Eddie Kendricks fan, Mom liked Dennis or David. Whatever, between the Italian suits and the slick , pointy shoes and the Pomped hair, I was in heaven when The Temptations granted me a reprieve from an early night in my room before school.

Here with their "Psychedelic Soul" hit "Cloud Nine. The Temptations!

I loved (and still do) me some Stevie Wonder!

Something about his songs hit me, even as a little kid, as deep, yet ultimate pop. They all told stories whether I understood them or not, I knew they were important.

Here is one of his jams that would have me humming to my Dalmation stuufed doggie as I fell asleep.

That falsetto!

I might be dozing off breaking the Fred Flintstone toothpicks holding my eyes open, and then, that falsetto!

It had to be Smokey!

And The Miracles!

My fave Smokey jam?

I love calliope music. I love Circuses. I love harmony.

I love "Tears Of A Clown"!

Ok, you have to know there was one group that every little Colored boy born in the 60's wanted to be in, The Jackson 5! The J5 was the top 4 songs every week in the Jet Magazine top 10. I used to tear the latest copy open every Monday and go staright to the back to see which Jackson Five song was number one!

Needless to say, when Michael died, I had my "where were you when.." moment.


No one believes me, but, I was there the night the Democratic Convention went all ape shit in '68.

Ok, let me explain.

My Mom worked at The Conrad Hilton Hotel. Every night, my Dad and I would go pick her up. Me in my PJs. we'd ride along Lake Michigan with the windows down listening to the radio.

I had a major thing for Yippies.

Not Hippies. They were lame.

Samantha Steven's cousin, Serena, was a Yippie.

Or I had decided.

And I wanted to hang out with her.

So I was a Yippie.

Even as a little kid, I was a jaded little Bitch. Hippies were boring.

Greg Brady was a hippie.

I used to whine annoyingly (some things never change) until my Dad would promise to take me to every concert of my favorite Yippie band, "Sly and The Family Stone".

Here's the dealio. My poor Dad schlepped me to , I don't know how many, Sly concerts and that Negro (Yippies weren't Colored, they were Negroes) never once showed up! I must have seen more riots by the time I was seven than a white cop in Watts.

But, Perry Washington kept trying.

And I never saw Sly.

Anyways, thinking about the night of the Democratic riots and Yippies always reminds me of my "Sly and The Family Stone" Yippie riotsand the way my Dad would say right before sweeping me up at whatever park they were supposed to play, "God Damn, I knew this shit was gonna happen!"

My Mom used to send me to every apartment on 59th Street with a 45 record with a yellow and brown label and I would sing along with it for anyone who listen.

I was adorable.


I swear.

I had a thing for light skin girls with "good" hair.

Marilyn McCoo was my "girlfriend".

I saw every concert her group "The 5th Dimension" ever did in Chicago from the late 60's until the mid 70;s when she and Billy left the group. Just recently, I saw Florence Larue still kicking out the jams at The Fremont Street Experience right here in Vegas by my house. She was still pretty.

But, she wasn't Marilyn McCoo.

Sorry Flo.

Here's my first hit record!

"Stoned Soul Picnic"

I'm getting sleepy.

No Ed Sullivan, I'm going to bed.

Night Dad.


Damn, now I've made myself cry.

Those were the days!

No comments: