Monday, June 30: Beatmaker Andrew Butler's disco dance collective Hercules and Love Affair have been on heavy rotation on our iPods for months (read Popnography's review here). The first single, "Blind", featuring Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons), has already been remixed by DJs smart enough to see the huge dance-floor potential in every Hercules track. The video for the next single, "You Belong", with the gorgeous and talented Nomi on vocals, is sheer camp, full of voguing and funky fashion. If you haven't already, snatch up the album here or risk being out of touch. Also, rediscover your favorite post-rock Icelandic innovators, Sigur Rs, whose new album, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust, boasts a more upbeat yet still lovely set of ethereal gems. Check out their skin-filled joyful romp through nature in the fanastic video for first single "Gobbledigook" -- you can download and watch it here.
Tuesday, July 1: Matthew Weiner wrote the Mad Men pilot in 2000, then put it aside to work on The Sopranos. Now it's a bona fide brilliant new AMC series that has snatched two Golden Globes, including Best Television Series Drama (and landed out gay actor Bryan Batt on Out's cover). Get the first season on DVD today and enjoy hours of flawlessly portrayed gender conflict set in a New York City advertising agency in the early '60s. Some key clips: gay tension among coworkers here, lonely housewife Betty finding joy in a dryer here, and an early-morning quickie here. Order the DVD here. Read Batt's tease about season two at Popnography.
Wednesday, July 2: Spanning 11 days, the Toronto Fringe Festival is a theater-goer's paradise. Not only will there be nearly 125 theatrical productions to behold in more than 25 venues, there's also dancing, drinking, and revelry in the streets of Canada. With one-man shows, musicals, ensemble dramas, and unusually staged performances in spaces like playgrounds and parking lots, there's something for everyone (even the tots). See Ladylike, featuring Canada's most renowned trans performer, Nina Arsenault. Consult the entire roster of Fringe productions next week here.
Thursday, July 3: When it comes to reality dance series, So You Think You Can Dance is the queen -- and you should be tuning in now, still early in the season, so you can say you knew all along that cutie Mark was going to win. Check out Katee and Joshua's top 20 performance of Jordin Sparks's "No Air" here. As soon as SYTYCD is over, switch over to CBS and catch a new episode of Swingtown, where it's the '70s and the times they are a-changin', in the way of drugs and casual group sex. Drop the keys in the bowl, ladies and gents. See a trailer here.
Friday, July 4: Sergei Prokofiev conceived Romeo and Juliet as a ballet over 80 years ago, and tonight, with the help of the American Symphony Orchestra, led by Leon Botstein, it goes up for a five-day run at Bard College's Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. After their world premiere in the Hudson Valley, the Mark Morris Dance Group will take their show around the country to Berkeley, London, Virginia, New York, and Chicago. Check out a stunning clip of the ballet here, then get tickets and info on the rest of the tour here.
Saturday, July 5: It makes perfect sense that the home of flashy Bette Midler and Celine Dion spectacles would be one of the gayest destinations in the U. S. of A. This weekend Las Vegas reaches its queer apex with Gay Days and Nights in Las Vegas. From Thursday to Sunday, the city hosts a bevy of gay festivities: risqu party French Kiss, a benefit poker tournament, the Men's Pool Party at Blue Moon, fireworks, and several sexually charged interpretations of Cirque du Soleil shows. Consult the full schedule here.
Sunday, July 6: Chicago is home to one of the biggest ethnic Pride celebrations in the country, with thousands expected to attend the Windy City Black Pride Festival. The event, taking place this week, seeks to connect gay culture with black culture and does so through performances, awards ceremonies, a big ole' festival at the South Shore Country Club, and, naturally, a party on Sunday night. See the full schedule here.