Monday, 19 September 2011

One Last Helping of Virgos ...

Interesting Virgos that I forgot in my earlier posts:

William Wilberforce (abolitionist: August 24, 1759)

 Margaret Sanger (sex educator, birth control activist, founder of Planned Parenthood: September 14, 1879)

Siegfried Sassoon (World War I soldier, poet, memoirist: September 8, 1886)

 David Dellinger (activist, former member of the Chicago Eight: August 22, 1915)

Benedetta Barzini (former actress and model, feminist activist: September 22, 1943)

"Brother" Jack McDuff (hard bop/soul jazz organist: September 17, 1926)

Julian "Cannonball" Adderley (hard bop alto saxophonist: September 15, 1928)

Howard Zinn (activist, writer: August 24, 1922)

Brigitte De Pape (freelance writer, actress, activist: September 14, 1989)

Coming Out, Taking Flight, On the Air

After five years on the air at a university/community radio station, and having been in transition for eight months now, I am ready to take flight ... on the air. Not take flight from my show, but rather take flight on it. On Sunday, October 2, I will be coming out, as DJ V, on the air, to my audience. And like almost all of my episodes since the fall of 2006, this one will be podcast for posterity.

It's very exciting! It's also unnerving, as I know that I'm inching ever close to disclosing my transition to my family. So "taking flight" is an apt description as I will be taking a huge leap this fall and will leave the security of the ground beneath me.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

`Miss You, Mom

It was a Saturday, September 17, 1994 when I, my grandmother and dozens of my mother`s friends stood and sat around her in her palliative care room and said goodbye to her for the last time. Today, I feel not so much sadness as reflection. Mom, this post is for you ... Love, Vanessa.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Rose For Amy

Amy Jade Winehouse would have been twenty-eight today. Who knows which direction popular music would have taken over the next decade, had she still been alive. We will never know. With just two albums in her short career Winehouse, and music itself seemed destined for great things once again; classic soul and vocal jazz have experienced a renaissance as a result. In the current issue of MOJO, former Ronettes lead singer Ronnie Spector (herself a huge influence on Winehouse) paid a touching tribute to the soul singer-songwriter.

Also today, on MTV and VH1, Winehouse's duet with Tony Bennett on the classic jazz standard "Body and Soul" was released. The track is also featured on Bennett's upcoming album of duets with a variety of singers. Proceeds from the Winehouse and Bennett track will go to benefit to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, launched today by Amy's father Mitch to "raise awareness and support for organizations that help vulnerable, young adults with problems such as addiction."

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Happy Birthday ... à Moi!!!

Yep, on this day in 1970 I entered the world (cue fanfare!!!)! 41 isn't the landmark that 40 was. It's kind of low-key actually; the way I like it these days. Needless to say, the last couple of years have been turbulent (not that the rest of the world hasn't been), so a nice quiet day in the garden (okay, maybe a couple of small errands) is in order. With my ongoing transition, there will definitely be more turbulence (and joy, of course) to come. All the folks on my obsessive Virgo-themed blog posts (it doesn't get more Virgo than that ;)) remind me that, past and present, I'm in great company! And thanks to everybody (you know who you are <3) for their birthday wishes!

Alors ... bonne fête à moi!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Different Strokes for Different Virgo Folks

A late-summer hootenanny:

 John A. Lomax (folk music archivist) (September 23, 1867)

 Jimmie Rodgers (September 8, 1897)

 Milton Brown (September 8, 1903)

 Roy Acuff (September 15, 1903)

 Hank Williams, Sr. (September 17, 1923)

 Jimmie Rodgers (September 18, 1933)

 Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934)

 Sylvia Tyson (September 19, 1940)

 "Mama" Cass Elliott (September 19, 1941)

 Maria Muldaur (September 12, 1943)

 Loudon Wainwright III (September 5, 1945)

 Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (September 8, 1945)

 Terrance Simien (September 3, 1965)

 Tegan and Sara Quin (September 19, 1980)

 Taylor Mitchell (August 27, 1990)

Virgos Rock! And These Ones Roll ...

And the hits keep on coming:

Keith Moon (August 23, 1946)

Roger Waters (September 6, 1943)

Signe Anderson (September 15, 1941)

Danny Hutton (September 10, 1942)

Maureen Tucker (August 26, 1944)

Valdy (September 1, 1945)

Gene Simmons (August 25, 1949)

Freddie Mercury (September 5, 1946)

Elvis Costello (August 25, 1954)

Chrissie Hynde (September 7, 1951)

Shirley Manson (August 26, 1966)

Debbie Gibson (August 31, 1970)

Neko Case (September 8, 1970)

Fiona Apple (September 13, 1977)

P!ink (September 8, 1979)

 Kate Jackson (September 16, 1979)

Celebrate Labour Day ... But, Remember!

In Canada, Labour Day celebrations are rooted in the December 1872 parade organized by the Toronto Trades Assembly in support of the Toronto Typographical Union's strike for a 58-hour work-week. Somewhat behind the times even then, Canada still had laws against unions and strikes. 24 union leaders were arrested and more marches and parades were held. Eventually, Prime Minister John A. MacDonald's government passed the Trade Union Act in 1873, thereby making unions legal. By the 1880s, labour festivals were being held annually in the spring. In the summer of 1882, Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor was invited to speak at an event in Toronto. He returned to New York City to organize a parade on September 5 that year.

In 1894, based on the American parade, Canadian Prime Minister John Thompson's government made Labour Day a statutory holiday on the first Monday in September. In turn, President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day an official holiday in the United States that same year, on the same first Monday of September. International Worker's Day (May Day) of course was held every spring. New Zealand made the fourth Monday in October Labour Day beginning in 1900. Many other countries have varying Labour Days.

For most of us this is the last breath of fresh summer air before autumn (meaning work and school schedules, not seasonally which begins on September 23 with equinox). But with the decline of living standards, the political right's attack on unions, the cutting of public services, the demonization of public employees and the destabilzation of employment over the past few decades, we should remember the roots of this celebration and that our society and its communities were built (are built) by the work of countless workers of all kinds, by human beings with dreams, passions and stories.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Virgo Soul: R&B Artists Born Under the Sign

And now with my DJ V hat on, from the world of soul:

Sam Gooden (of the Impressions) (September 1, 1939)

Joe Simon (September 1, 1943)

Otis Redding (September 9, 1941)

Barry White (September 12, 1944)

Billy Preston (September 2, 1946)

Van Morrison (August 31, 1945)

G.C. Cameron (of the Spinners, until 1971) (September 21, 1945)

Susaye Greene (of the Supremes, 1972-76) (September 13, 1949)

Valerie Simpson (August 26, 1946)

Jennifer Hudson (September 12, 1981)