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A new ‘World’ for Erasure

Gay-helmed pop legends out with new record, tour



Andy Bell (left) and Vince Clarke of Erasure. They play the 9:30 club Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets are $45. Go to to purchase. (Photo courtesy of Mute Records)

It’s a great time to be an Erasure fan.

Anticipation is high for the band’s new album, “Tomorrow’s World,” slated for an Oct. 3 release. It’s the dynamic synth-pop duo’s first full-on album release since 2007. Band mates Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been wowing audiences all summer on a world tour that’s found them stopping off in Dublin, Berlin, Moscow, Rio, Mexico City and more. A U.S. leg began this week in Tampa. They’re heading up through the South with stops scheduled for D.C.’s 9:30 club Tuesday and Wednesday. Upcoming shows in Houston, Dallas and Portland are already sold out.

The band’s first two albums, “Wonderland” and “The Circus” were re-released in elaborate three-disc special editions in July.

“When I Start To (Break it Down),” the first single from the new album, was released this week and features production by Frankmusik, who’s also touring with the band and whose production credits include the Pet Shop Boys and Lady Gaga. A five-track maxi with remixes drops in September.

And the road trek has brought the band rave reviews. A July festival appearance inspired the Scotsman to gush that their “huge catalog of hits has stood the test of time” and that, “it was impossible not to get carried away with the sheer joy of it all.” Their local appearance with Cyndi Lauper on the 2007 “True Colors Tour” drew equal raves.

Lead singer Andy Bell, who’s gay (Clarke is straight), says the tour has been going amazingly well and that “World” is his favorite new Erasure album in a decade.

During a rehearsal break in Tampa, he took time to talk with the Blade.

“[The tour] is fantastic really,” he says in his impossible-to-resist British accent. “In Lima, I couldn’t believe it really. There was the whole shebang, with escorts and police and everything. We did 12 shows in six countries in 20 days. Wow.”

The set list doesn’t change radically from night to night, though Erasure does throw in certain songs if they have particular relevance to a certain town. Like b-side “When I Needed You,” which charted in Argentina where they just performed an acoustic rendition of it.

“It’s not always necessarily the stuff that charted,” Bell says of the band’s philosophies of set list construction. “You kind of tend to choose the familiar stuff and the stuff you want to do. It’s really like being a DJ in a way where you’re trying to create something, a sort of theatrical soundscape where things from different albums lead nicely in and out of each other and there are a few nice surprises. When you’re doing a show, it’s a bit like having a fairground attraction or a store.”

Bell is amused to see how audiences are different around the world. South American audiences often bring their babies to the show.

“It’s very Catholic there so you see all these babies and little children. They’re very passionate about it. Not really over the top, but they really want their baby to hear the music. It’s not that they couldn’t find a babysitter or something.”

Audiences there tend to skew younger too, he says. In America, they’re more vocal. But in Europe, the band’s audiences aren’t as gay as one might imagine.

“There’s kind of a joke in the UK among some of my friends,” he says. “They say there’s nothing more straight there than an Erasure fan. We do get some really, really hetero people there.”

So what gives? And why do aging dance divas continue having UK chart success when U.S. radio has put them out to pasture?

Bell theorizes that the way people enjoy live music there has been a factor.

“The culture there for concerts is more a sense of people coming out and going on a sort of holiday where you have these huge outdoor spaces like club spaces and even at concerts you have a sort of a rave kind of sensibility that comes to the music. It’s all outdoors. But there’s also a European type of melody idea that seems to be coming into American music more that’s completely outside of hip-hop of course. It’s almost like the Atlantic Ocean is getting bigger but the music is still moving back and forth. Things are getting more mixed up in the waves and it’s not so separate now.”

Bell, who’s used his Erasure hiatuses to release solo albums the last few years (his last was “Non-Stop” in 2010), says it’s always a joy to reunite with Clarke.

Part of the appeal is trading off being at the helm with collaboration, he says.

“A solo album is never done by yourself but when you go off and do your solo record, you can tell them more what to do. Vince won’t do what I tell him to do. The solo work is more about being egoistical and being in control but also what I like about Erasure is not being in control. Vince kind of likes to guide things, but it’s a partnership. We choose the songs together, the playlist for the live shows and now with the new record, everything feels fresh again. It’s like new laundry and you know that you’re embarking on the world with this product. Which sounds so cold, but you’ve got this new record, something you’ve made together and you’re going out on the road with it. You have to go out and work it just like everybody else. It feels really good, like you’re a dynamic duo.”

Bell says he and Clarke’s personal relationship is more a “working partnership” than a close friendship but, “There is love there underneath and respect and admiration.”

“When it comes to the crunch, you have to be there for the other person.”

A few other topics come up in our closing moments.

In the cutthroat entertainment industry, does the cream eventually rise?

Bell says he knows “thousands of very talented people who don’t necessarily get the break,” but just as important as getting the break is the work that comes after it.

“You can’t just be willy-nilly about it. It’s really hard work so it’s something you have to be passionate about. It’s not a nine-to-five job. Like everything, it takes real dedication.”

Being openly gay in pop music is “getting easier, but by teeny-tiny increments.” He says it’s still “much easier for a straight artist, always has been.”

And as for the new record, Bell says he’s “very, very happy.”

“I really love [2005’s] ‘Nightbird,’ but I’d even put (‘Tomorrow’s World’) a few notches above that. I’m just really pleased with where we are, Vince and myself. There are lots of exciting things to come. We’ve re-laid some foundation and it’s a good foundation.”



Celebrity News

Anne Heche dies after removal from life support

Actress dated Ellen DeGeneres in late 1990s



(Screenshot/YouTube Inside Edition)

Actress Anne Heche died after she was removed from life support on Sunday, nearly two weeks after her Mini-Cooper crashed through a two-story house in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood. Investigators with the Los Angeles Police Department believe she was intoxicated at the time.

She sustained a severe anoxic brain injury along with severe burns and was being treated at the Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital, near Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

The 53-year-old actress who was a star of films like “Donnie Brasco,” the political satire “Wag the Dog” and the 1998 remake of “Psycho,” had been declared legally dead under California law on Friday, however, her family kept her alive long enough to be an organ donor.

In a statement Friday, the LAPD announced that: “As of today, there will be no further investigative efforts made in this case. Any information or records that have been requested prior to this turn of events will still be collected as they arrive as a matter of formalities and included in the overall case. When a person suspected of a crime expires, we do not present for filing consideration.” LAPD detectives had previously made public that investigators into the crash found narcotics in a blood sample taken from Heche.

The actress’s family released a statement on Friday:

“Today we lost a bright light, a kind and most joyful soul, a loving mother, and a loyal friend. Anne will be deeply missed but she lives on through her beautiful sons, her iconic body of work, and her passionate advocacy. Her bravery for always standing in her truth, spreading her message of love and acceptance, will continue to have a lasting impact,” the statement added.

Heche was married to camera operator Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009. The two had a son, Homer, together. She had another son, named Atlas, during a relationship with actor James Tupper, her co-star on the TV series “Men In Trees.”

Laffoon left a moving tribute on an Instagram reel in which he also gave an update on how their 20-year-old son Homer Laffoon is coping with the loss of his mother.

“I loved her and I miss her, and I’m always going to,” he said adding: “Homer is okay. He’s grieving, of course, and it’s rough. It’s really rough, as probably anybody can imagine. But he’s surrounded by family and he’s strong, and he’s gonna be okay.”

“Rest In Peace, Mom, I love you, Homer,” the actor’s 20-year-old son, Homer, said in a statement after Heche was declared legally dead on Friday.“ My brother Atlas and I lost our Mom,” read the statement. “After six days of almost unbelievable emotional swings, I am left with a deep, wordless sadness. Hopefully, my mom is free from pain and beginning to explore what I like to imagine as her eternal freedom. Over those six days, thousands of friends, family, and fans made their hearts known to me. I am grateful for their love, as I am for the support of my Dad, Coley, and my stepmom Alexi who continue to be my rock during this time. Rest In Peace Mom, I love you, Homer.”

Tupper, a Canadian actor who starred alongside Heche in “Men in Trees,” had a 13-year-old son, Atlas, with her. “Love you forever,” Tupper, 57, wrote on his Instagram post’s caption with a broken heart emoji, which shared an image of the actress from Men in Trees.

Between 1997 and 2000, Heche was also in a relationship with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.

“This is a sad day,” DeGeneres posted on Twitter. “I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.” The year after her break-up with the comedian, in September 2001, Heche recounted in her memoir “Call Me Crazy,” about her lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse.

KTLA’s entertainment reporter Sam Rubin noted that over the past two decades, Heche’s career pivoted several times. In 2017, she hosted a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Jason Ellis called “Love and Heche.”

In 2020, Heche made her way into the podcast world. She launched “Better Together” which she cohosted alongside Heather Duffy Boylston. The show was described as a way to celebrate friendship. 

She also worked in smaller films, on Broadway, and on TV shows. She recently had recurring roles on the network series “Chicago P.D.,” and “All Rise” and was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”

People magazine reported that several of Heche’s acting projects are expected to be released posthumously.

These include “Girl in Room 13,” expected to be released on Lifetime in September, “What Remains,” scheduled to be released in 2023, and HBO Max TV series “The Idol,” created by Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.

In her Instagram post from earlier this year Heche stands between her sons Atlas, 13 and Homer, 20.

From KTLA:

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Celebrity News

‘Star Trek’ actress Nichelle Nichols dies at 89

George Takei tweets ‘we lived long and prospered together’



(Screenshot/YouTube The Smithsonian Channel)

She was a groundbreaking cultural icon who broke barriers in a time of societal upheaval and battling for the civil rights of Black Americans. An actress, a mother and thoroughly devoted to the legions of fans of “Star Trek,” Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at 89.

The announcement on her Facebook page by her son read:

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.

Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper,

Kyle Johnson

Nichols was born in Robbins, Ill., in 1932, according to her IMDb page. Legendary composer Duke Ellington “discovered” Nichols and helped her become a singer and dancer. She later turned to acting, and joined Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek,” where she played Uhura from 1966 to 1969.

Out actor George Takei who played ‘Sulu’ on Star Trek the original series with Nichelle Nichols who played Lt. Nyota Uhura, at a Star Trek convention in this undated photo. (George Takei/Twitter)

It was in that role of Uhura that Nichols not only broke barriers between races, most famously her onscreen kiss, the first between a Black person and a white person, with castmate William Shatner, who played Capt. James T. Kirk, but she also became a role model for young Black women and men inspiring them to seek out their own places in science, technology, and other human endeavors.

In numerous interviews over the years Nichols often recalled how the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a fan of the show and praised her role and personally encouraged her to stay with the series.

When the first series ended Nichols went on to become a spokesperson for NASA, where she “helped recruit and inspire a new generation of fearless astronauts.” She later reprised her role in several successful “Star Trek” films and continued to advocate for the advancement of Black Americans especially in the areas of science and technology.

Formerly a NASA deputy administrator, Frederick Gregory, now 81, told the Associated Press he once saw an advertisement in which Nichols said “I want you to apply for the NASA program.”

“She was talking to me,” he recounted. The U.S. Air Force pilot would apply and later become the first African American shuttle pilot.

President Joe Biden weighed in Sunday afternoon on her passing in a statement issued by the White House:

In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.
A daughter of a working-class family from Illinois, she first honed her craft as an actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country and the world performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and giving life to the words of James Baldwin.
During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries. And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.
Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society.

Nichols son said that services will be private for family members and her closest friends.

In 2008 the actress at a news conference, coordinated by the filmmakers of the motion picture “TRU LOVED,” in honor of the more than 900 students at Los Angeles’ Miguel Contreras Learning Complex’s School of Social Justice who participated in the GLSEN Day of Silence.

Nichelle Nichols speaks on LGBTQ rights:

Her fellow castmate and life long friend, openly Out actor George Takei shared his sadness on hearing of Nichols’ passing on Twitter:

From the September 2016 edition of the Smithsonian Channel: “Star Trek’s decision to cast Nichelle Nichols, an African American woman, as major character on the show was an almost unheard-of move in 1966. But for black women all over the country, it redefined the notions of what was possible.”

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols on Uhura’s Radical Impact:

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Emma Corin becomes first nonbinary person featured on cover of American Vogue

The star of The Crown opened up about their identity.



Emma Corrin Jamie Hawkesworth/Vogue

Emma Corin was announced as the cover star of the August edition of Vogue. It’s the first time a nonbinary person is featured on the cover of American Vogue.

Corin posted the cover photo and wrote, “My grin really says it all! A huge honour to be your August cover.”

In early 2021, Corin quietly came out as a queer and nonbinary, changing pronouns to “she/they” in their instagram bio. Currently Corin sticks to pronouns “they/them.”

“I feel much more seen when I’m referred to as ‘they,’ but my closest friends, they will call me ‘she,’ and I don’t mind, because I know they know me,” Corin explained during the interview with Vogue.

Corin stated that they’ve still gone on dates with various kinds of people and set no limit on who they date. “I like people,” they simply said and shrugged.

Corin also shared some of their dating experiences. “My first date with a girl, they were like, Oh! You’re a baby queer!” Corin said, “It was amazing. We actually didn’t end up seeing each other again, but she really gave me the lowdown.”

Besides, Corin was frank about their conflicting feelings towards gender and sexuality issues. “I’m working out all this complex gender and sexuality stuff. And yet, I’m seeing a guy? That feels very juxtaposed, even if I’m very happy.”

Corin is known for playing Diana on the Netflix series The Crown.

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