Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour — The Movie
Rev. Yolanda (a.k.a. Roger Anthony Mapes) is an artist who has been featured in this column several times since I first heard her 1999 album Yolanda And The Plastic Family. Over the years, several interviews and music project reviews have followed.
A couple years back, Rev. Yolanda developed a live musical called Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time gospel Hour. The show won a Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs Award (MAC) earlier this year for Best Impersonation/Characterization/Drag Artist. The show has since been filmed and is scheduled to be premiered next month in Colorado.
Along with all this, Rev. Yolanda has also partnered with Howard Hopwood to develop a recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The focus of this project is to eventually provide a working recording studio environment for LGBT artists that is not only welcoming but affordable. As of this writing, the project is temporarily on hold due to funding issues, but not entirely out of the picture. Rev. Yolanda still plans on being involved when the time arrives.
Until then, in this latest TGForum interview, Rev. Yolanda not only talks about the studio project, but offers a lot of insight into Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour — The Movie.
TGForum: You’re originally from the Muscle Shoals area, right?
Yolanda: Yes. There are several towns that cluster together into the Muscle Shoals area. They are Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Tuscumbia (home of Helen Keller), and Florence (home of W.C. Handy and Rev. Yolanda.)
TGF: How long have you known Howard?
Yolanda: I just met Howard recently. He’s originally from Sheffield and contacted me online after hearing my song Muscle Shoals.
TGF: Will you have any active involvement/participation in the fundraising activities for the studio project?
Yolanda: Yes. I’m so excited about it. I’m offering my CDs and house concerts as perks.
TGF: What about active involvement in the studio itself? Any plans to maybe record there?
Yolanda: Yes, and yes, I have always wanted to record in Muscle Shoals!
TGF: Let’s talk about the movie. It’s your Old Time Gospel Hour show filmed in its entirety, correct?
Yolanda: Yes, and much more.
TGF: Any “behind the scenes” material included?
Yolanda: Indeed! It’s really about my life and ministry, including footage of me and my husband, our weekly ministry together and the community we have gathered around us.
TGF: Where was it filmed?
Yolanda: In NYC at The Duplex, the Halloween Parade, in our home and in the home of friends.?TGF: Did you have a say in the editing?
Yolanda: A little bit. I asked for certain things to be included, especially our wedding footage from the Halloween Parade.
TGF: Who were the producers, and what were the circumstances that lead up to a movie being made?
Yolanda: The filmmaker and producer is Ike Allen of Avaiya Media who created A Course In Miracles The Movie. He makes documentaries about spiritual movements and was looking to create a movie that focuses on LGBTQI voices in the spiritual conversation. We found each other through a weekly radio broadcast that Glenn and I do with a group called Awakening-Together.org.
TGF: When and where will it be premiered?
Yolanda: Premiere is September 5 in Boulder, Colorado, at The Unity Church of Boulder. The LGBTQI PRIDE celebration is the same week and we will be doing joint events.
Yolanda: I plan to record and release Vol. 2 in 2015. I can’t say much about it yet as I’m lining up some very special guests to work on it with me. Please stay tuned and get on my email list at www.yolanda.net for details on all upcoming events. I know that 2015 is gonna be a rockin’ year. One thing I can tell you in advance (because it’s now confirmed) if that Rev. Yolanda will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on January 4 at B.B. King’s in NYC.
TGF: In closing, any final words?
Yolanda: I’m so grateful to you and the LGBTQI Community for staying connected and interested in me and my music. It’s an honor to receive your friendship and support. Believe me when I say that I couldn’t do it without you. You, Freddie Freeman, Len Rogers, Outvoice and everyone who has bought my CDs or voted for me to stay in the charts … have been a tremendous blessing in my life. I love you immensely.
One last thing is to check out Freddie Freeman’s beautiful new spiritual album called Raise It Up, It’s really great! And, there will be a DVD release of my movie. It will be handled by Avaiya Media.
As mentioned in the interview, Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time gospel Hour The Movie will have its official launch in Colorado, during local Pride related events. Here are all the corresponding dates:
- Sept. 5th, 7 p.m.Unity of Boulder, Boulder., CO.
- Sept. 6th, 7 p.m. Center For Spiritual Living, Denver, CO.
- Sept. 7th, 12:30 p.m. New Dawn Center for Spiritual Living, Aurora, CO
- Sept. 7th, 6 p.m. Unity Church of Denver, Denver, CO.
- Sept. 9th, 7 p.m. Bas Bleu Theatre, Fort Collins, CO.
There is also a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to get national distribution for the film. For more information, and to contribute, please visit the Kickstarter page. And, don’t forget to check out Yolanda’s website, and the film’s website.
ALSO THIS MONTH
Georgie Jessup will be back at Edith May’s Paradise (7711 Apple Ave., Jessup, MD, 410-799-3755) on Sept. 13th, open with band for Akira dn Node 18, and on Oct. 4th, opening for Dirk Hamilton. Follow Edith May’s Paradise on Facebook.
Since the main part of this month’s installment focuses on an upcoming film, I’d like to make mention of another film I’ve come across. My wife is one of the few women I’ve ever met who shares my love of old 1950s black and white SiFi and creature features, as well as anything newer that’s just as off the wall. We love stuff like The Megalith Monsters and own our own copies of Plan 9 From Outer Space and the original giant destructive robot movie (way before Transformers), 1957’s Kronos.
Well, recently she obtained a thing called Zardoz. It has everything — a post apocalyptic society, immortal people, bare breasted women, a Giant Flying Head (which would be a great name for a band) and Sean Connery in drag. No, really, there really is a Giant Flying Head.
But anyway, Mr. Connery spends most of his time in the film running around in what amounts to a sort of do-it-yourself bondage outfit. For an added bonus, there’s a brief scene with him in a wedding dress.
Why an actor with Mr. Connery’s reputation would do this movie, who knows. Maybe he really needed the money. Anyway, if you can find it, it’s worth it. Oh, and did I mention — there’s a Giant Flying Head?
Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die by Panic At The Disco
This is Panic’s fourth studio album. The band (Brednon Urie-lead vocals, guitar; Spencer Smith-drums; Dallon Weekes-bass; Ryan Ross-keyboards; Jonathan Jacob Walker-guitar) hails from Las Vegas, and Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die is a look at live in Vegas and the relationships that happen there. While it’s centered around Urie’s song writing and thus mostly his experiences, it nonetheless hits on themes such as being cheated on (Miss Jackson), bad habits (Nicotine), and being into a girl who’s also into girls (Girls/Girls/Boys).
Musically, with only one exception, the project goes back and forth from techno/rock to pop. The aforementioned Girls/Girls/Boys is one of the projects two pop songs, with Collar Full the other. Vegas Lights, one of the many heavier, rock oriented techno tunes, is also one of the better moments on the album.
The one tune that doesn’t fit either category is the album closer, The End Of All Things. It’s laid back, almost a ballad. It too is one of the better production moments, one of the best vocal deliveries and perhaps the most musical of all the tunes on the project.
Having not heard Panic At The Disco before this, I have to say that I was surprised just how rock oriented they are for a current techno influenced band. Urie stated in a press release that he wanted to create music with a “club feel … where the music doesn’t let up.” He needn’t worry any, he succeeded. Produced by Butch Walker, Panic At The Disco is on tour through the end of this month. Check out their website for details. Also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Junto by Basement Jaxx
Basement Jaxx is actually the duo of Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton. The title Junto means “together” in Spanish and is not meant to be taken as a reference to some kind of Central American government overthrow attempt.
The “together” feel of the project comes from the fact that Ratcliffe and Buxton use different singers on every track. And these aren’t the usual list of guest star stars who seem to show up on a lot of dance music projects these days. The duo used people they met in the street, and folks from their touring extended Jaxx family. You’ll have to check out the CD insert to find proper credits on each tune.
While the entire project is club and dance related material, and there’s absolutely nothing that won’t work in a club setting, let’s focus on the most outstanding tracks. Never Say Never — very disco, with lead vocals by ETML; Summer Dem — more spoken word than rap, but one of the overall best vocal performances by Patricia Panther, Niara Scarlett and Tanya Lacey. Perhaps the most radio friendly track; Something About You — rhythmic track with vocals by Lady Leshurr; Love Is At Your Side — the album closer which contains elements of World Music, ambient, and New Age, with lead vocals by Sam Brooks. I wasn’t expecting to hear something as creative as this after hearing an entire dance/echno album.
My personal favorite, and one tune that I’ve gone back and listened to several times, is Mermaid of Salinas. I wasn’t expecting to hear something like this either. I listen to a lot of Brazilian jazz and this fits that South American genré perfectly. Great guitar work, wonderful good time feel, has a dance groove but is the most musical tune on the entire project and the absolute best production of anything on the album overall. Vocals credited to Two Gentlemen and guitar work by Andrea Terrana. (For more information visit their website, or Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and MySpace.)
Did you enjoy Perpetual Change? Leave a comment with your thoughts on Rev. Yolanda or the Giant Flying Head. (You must be logged in to comment.)