'Friends of Dorothy' - new queer music compilation out on vinyl

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday July 2, 2024
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'Friends of Dorothy' - new queer music compilation out on vinyl

"Friends of Dorothy" is a new compilation album featuring music and spoken words by queer artists from all over the world. Available exclusively on vinyl, the album is the brainchild of producer/musician Moon Trent and his partner David Cole, who released the album on Timmi-Kat records, their own label. "Friends of Dorothy" is their 25th release. The couple, who are former San Franciscans, currently live in Modesto.

The album gets its name from the old phrase "friend of Dorothy," a code name that was used by gay men to identify someone as gay, Dorothy being the lead character from the classic film "The Wizard of Oz," who was played by gay icon Judy Garland.

The album's front cover is in fact a photo by famed gay photographer Danny Nicoletta and depicts people outside the now-closed Marlena's bar on a 1980s Halloween dressed as the lead characters from the "Oz" film.

Moon Trent and David Cole  

There are 17 tracks on the album's two sides. Musical styles range from heavy metal to punk rock to old fashioned rock and roll. One of the two spoken word pieces is credited to I Am Cereal Killer and is called "I Think I'm Losing My Gayness."

"I think I'm losing my gayness," intones the speaker. "I left it at the hair salon. I can't even sing the new track by Madonna."

The speaker goes on to say that his life is his gayness, that he's having fun and can make new friends. It's a haunting, thought-provoking piece that touches upon themes of self-acceptance.

Another of the contributors is the late San Francisco transgender cabaret artist Bambi Lake. In her track, "Freddy," a rock number, Lake looks back on her younger years during the 1970s.

DIY music
Trent himself contributed a track to the album. In his number, titled "Pop Song," he sings about starting his own record label.

"Start your own record label, make the sleeves at the table," he sings.

"And that's exactly what we did," Trent said in an interview with the Bay Area Reporter.

Contributors to 'Friends of Dorothy' include Fuzzbox, the late Bambi Lake and Pansy Division.  

Trent spoke of what he was looking for when he signed a musician or a band to perform on the album.

"I was looking for good music, first of all," he said, "music I wanted to share with the world. We put great songs out there that people might not have heard otherwise. I'm lucky to be exposed to a lot of good music. It was a challenge deciding which great songs to include. I strived to develop a queer sensibility when choosing the songs for 'Friends of Dorothy.'"

Trent added that it's his love for his partner that inspires him to be a musician.

"Also, everyday life and the strange happenings that occur in all our lives," he said. "I hear rhythm in car horns, beats in raindrops, and lyrics kind of just happen sometimes. Other times it's all my favorite records inspiring me."

The final track on the album, "So You Say (C.S.F.)" is performed by the famed gay band Pansy Division and it's quite an eyebrow-raiser.

"I'm a cock-sucking faggot, a flaming faggot, a super-nelly homo," are the lyrics with which the band opens the song. They go on to refer to a variety of gay stereotypes, such as drag queens, hairdressers, interior decorators and others. But they go on to express their pride by referring to themselves as the "president of the United States of Love."

Contributors to 'Friends of Dorothy' include I Am Cereal Killer, Jeff Heiskell and The Younger Lovers.  

"It could be shocking," said Trent. "Jarring is thought-provoking. Pansy Division has always been thought-provoking and perhaps a bit jarring, if they are new to you."

Right now, there are no plans to release any of the tracks as singles. Trent noted that the songs belong to the artists themselves. If any of the artists decide that they'd like to collaborate on a single, he and Cole would consider it.

"There's a mix of artists on this album, a mix of ideas," he said. "All existing side by side on lavender vinyl. I want to add to the artistic dialogue of musicians with this record album. These songs are great. It is always a dream to create a new work with talented artists."

'Friends of Dorothy,' Vinyl LP, $30.

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