Tag Archives: Lady Gaga

Cocktails X Couture 2015

Originally posted Thursday, January 15, 2015 by Tampa Bay Times:

CXC15 02

Moving away from Tampa Bay Fashion Week may boost the profile of Cocktails X Couture
Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer

Flamboyance and fierceness will be on tap Saturday night at The RITZ Ybor as the venue kicks off the year in fashion with the Cocktails X Couture event.

Eight local designers will showcase small collections on an 24-foot by 8-foot runway specially constructed for the evening in the Ritz’s theatre. There will be live performances by musicians, dancers and showcases of art.

“Our theme this year deals with gender identity but it’s not an overarching banner,” said Okesene Tilo, a spokesman (and event organizer) for The RITZ Ybor. “We will have themed cocktails for each room of the venue including male and female interpretations of the Moscow Mule.”

Sassy drink names like Gin Kardashian and Whiskey Brinkley are just the start of the interesting offerings for Saturday’s event. The RITZ Ybor in partnership with Tribeca Color Salon has been hosting the Cocktails and Couture party during Tampa Bay Fashion Week since 2012. Fashion week organizers decided to postpone 2014’s event in favor of spreading the fashion love to other months.

“The idea was to move the party away from Fashion Week to January so there would be fashion week events all year long,” Tilo said.

Tribeca will be styling the manes of all the show models. Sponsor Kevin Murphy will be providing hair product swag bags for all VIP ticket holders. The $50 VIP admission includes reserved seating nearest to the runway and two drink tickets.

The RITZ crew spent six months planning the event, which is expected to have more than 800 attendees. Kicking off at 8 p.m., there will be three runway shows featuring entertainment and designers. The final show at 10:30 p.m. will be an avant garde extravaganza, Tilo said.

“It’s going to be very Lady Gaga — some sexy moments but nothing too racy,” Tilo laughed. Some Little Monsters will even be wearing their Sunday best to the cocktail-attire event.

Cocktails X Couture is one of several events that The RITZ Ybor donates the proceeds to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Last year, the venue raised $105,000.00 for the charity through various events.

CXC15 01CXC15 05CXC15 06CXC15 04CXC15 03CXC15 07CXC15 08CXC15 10CXC15 09CXC15 11Photos by Aimee Blodgett, Rafael Martin + Rion Sabean

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Bow Ties & Clutches 2013

BTC13 Okie Corina Jess Areis

Earlier this month, I attended the 2nd Annual Bow Ties & Clutches event at the Florida Museum of Photographic Art (FMOPA).  It was my first time attending the Best of the Bay Award-winning event (which required all guests to either sport a bow tie or clutch) and stepping foot inside the FMOPA downtown.  Bow Ties & Clutches, presented by a local fashion events and marketing company The Fashion Movement was an enjoyable evening of fashion, cocktails and mingling.  Proceeds from the event benefited the Friends of Joshua House Foundation, Inc., an organization that provides a safe haven for abused, abandoned and neglected children.

BTC13 Okie

For the fashion event, I channeled my inner Lexx Miyake-Mugler and went for a K.Pop boy band meets Rhythm Nation look.  And YES I sported a bow tie… conveniently pinned to my coat.

Bravo to The Fashion Movement for hosting a wonderful event that benefited such a valuable cause.

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“Drunk in Love” by Beyonce with Jay-Z: Despite her obvious Rihanna impersonation in the music video, I just cannot get enough of Mrs. Carter’s new single. In fact, I cannot get enough of BEYONCE, her surprise album and music video collection that was quietly released to iTunes last Friday without any announcement or promotion. Love her or hate her, you have to bow down to Bey’s marketing genius behind this album’s surprise release. She relied on word of mouth buzz to spread the word of her new album’s availability, gave fans no option but to purchase the ENTIRE album, ensured that her entire album was listened to by releasing an accompanying music video to every single track, and sold nearly a million copies in a mere three days.

In today’s social media era of creating gargantuan hype around a project with trending hashtags, teaser photos and videos, release date countdowns, and “surprise” album leaks, Beyonce’s risky gamble of no promotion paid off BIG TIME. BEYONCE: The Visual Album sold more in its first three days than the COMBINED first-week sales of superstar Miss Spears’ Britney Jean, Katy Perry’s heavily-hyped Prism and Lady Gaga’s overhyped ARTpop , proving that you don’t need a golden semi-truck, a helicopter dress, or numerous “personal” Twitter Q&As to sell quality music.

To you Beyonce Giselle Knowles-Carter, I gladly bow down.

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Halloween Temptation 2013

Since I was a child and even as a candy-addict adult, I just never got into the whole concept of dressing up in costume, trick or treating, getting spooked out and celebrating Halloween.  In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve ever dressed up, with six years ago being the last time that I donned a costume.

With Tampa’s largest Halloween party called Temptation taking place at my work on Halloween night, along with one of my best friends hosting a Halloween party at her abode the weekend after, I decided to get into the All Hallows’ Eve groove and break tradition by dressing up.  I constructed my first Halloween costume (Fifty Shades of Grey) from Home Depot paint sample color cards for the Temptation party, and lazily threw together whatever I could scrounge from my closet (Dirty Hipster Sex meets Ooooooohhh… on the TLC Tip!) for Jess’s party.

Two Halloween costumes in one year?  Sometimes, I spook myself out.

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Temptation Halloween Party: The Haunted Theatre
@ The RITZ Ybor on October 31, 2013

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Jess’s Halloween Party
Saturday, November 2, 2013

“Do What U Want” by Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly: Hands down, Mother Monster’s most hypnotic and BEST single since “Pokerface”!

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If I Were Olivia Pope… fixing LADY GAGA

Lady Gaga Artpop

‘LADY GAGA IS OVER!’ proclaim the headlines. Her new single “Applause” receives a tepid response from critics and music buyers. She engages in a very public Twitter feud with gossip columnist Perez Hilton. After a disastrous trek in South America, the U.S. leg of her Born This Way Ball cancels due to a hip injury.

It’s hard to believe that it was just four years ago when Mother Monster scored her sixth consecutive #1 Billboard Pop Song with her Beyonce duet “Telephone.” Previous #1 singles “Bad Romance,” “Paparazzi” and “Just Dance” were still inescapable on the dancefloors and radio airwaves. As Tweeters followed her in record clicks, Forbes magazine crowned her as one The World’s Most Powerful Women.

Lady Gaga Old School

So obviously, a LOT has changed, and Stefani Germanotta is obviously suffering from an inevitable backlash that the superstars of her caliber have all experienced before her.  So I, an avid music listener shall channel my inner Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington’s crisis expert and fixer from ABC’s Scandal) and offer suggestions to YOU, Lady Gaga in hopes of propelling you back to the top of pop supremacy.

Your album is called ARTPOP, not CHARTPOP: “Applause” failed to outsell “Roar” by Katy Perry. So what? It also leaked online forcing you to send it to radio a week earlier than planned. Who cares? No one would have made such a huge deal of this if it weren’t for you hawking sales of “Applause” with your Twitter pleas and meet & greet contests that came across as desperate. 200K in sales is still commendable, and worthy of an applause. Follow the aesthetically layered theme of your new concept album, and focus on your craft.  Besides, any news outlet quick to point out the non-blockbuster sales of “Applause” could be overshadowed by your simple assertion that “it’s all about the art, and not the charts!”

Gaga Twitter Feud Perez Hilton

Sometimes Silence DOES speak louder than words: Whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So, whatever happened with Perez Hilton should have stayed with Perez Hilton. Yeah, his digs at your single were unnecessary, but were your public comments and replies ever required? You were vocal on your feed that he needs to leave you alone, prompting cynics to suggest that you’re playing the role of a victim. If you stood up to him with an Azealia Banks-style cussing, you would have been labeled a bitch. It’s a no-win situation, so why address or acknowledge him at all? Ignore him and move on. If he’s truly in your apartment building with intentions of stalking you, alert your security guards and the police, not all 39 million of your Twitter followers. With these silly celebrity feuds, the best response is usually always no response. Convince the world that you’re too busy planning a spectacular VMA performance to address Perez’s comments.  “Perez who?”

Although your words DO speak louder to your Little Monsters: Your fans known as Little Monsters are very passionate and vocal devotees. Any reviewer, fellow celebrity, blogger or forum user that speaks an ounce of criticism towards you will undoubtedly receive a bombastic lashing of epic militant proportions from one of them. WE ALL KNOW THIS. It’s just that your fans love and worship you so zealously that their vile and evil onslaught of words are no more than a reflection of their intense love and protection of you. So it came off as a bit of a surprise when you finally urged your fans to stop sending death threats to your naysayers, because it was appearing that you were only focused and consumed by your detractors. Your fans live by your every Tweet, so continue speaking up… but only when addressing them, and not just another hater.

Madonna Gaga

Embrace the Madonna comparisons: Face it, the Madonna comparisons will never go away. God created Adam and Eve, and Madonna created the pop star, the superstar, the music video star, the fashion chameleon, the very blueprint that you follow. So when the 20 billionth person likens your next magazine cover or music video to a Madonna magazine cover or music video, take it as a compliment and not as an insult to your creative mojo. Just as Madonna suffered the Marilyn Monroe comparisons in the early stages of her career, she never dismissed them but instead reveled in the connection by taking that persona to the next level. Kylie Minogue and Gwen Stefani have both remarked that Madonna has pretty much done everything there is to do as a female artist, and that it’s inevitable and an honor to be in her shadow.

Just Dance: You’re unique. You’re different. You’re edgy. We get it! You’re Lady Gaga, an artist. So can we just get back to the carefree fun music responsible for putting you on the map? No more overly contrived “Don’t Buy Applause” promo commercials. No more topless magazine photo shoots. No more meditating in the woods naked.  Give the world MORE killer live performances, MORE flawless vocals, and MORE dancing. Afterall, you said it best.  So why aren’t you following your very own words?…

“Just dance… gonna be okay…”

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Long Live The Queen!

Say what you want about Madonna.  She’s old.  She’s tired.  She has no talent.  She can’t sing.  She can’t dance.  She’s a slut.  She’s past her prime.  There simply is no denying the woman and the mark she’s left on pop culture and music.  She is the world’s best-selling female artist of all-time and is still breaking records this year with yet another #1 album, a sold out world tour, the most Tweeted about celebrity achievement (during this year’s Super Bowl performance) and a $550-million payday according to Forbes.

This past Tuesday, my friend Jocelyn’s company threw their annual “Happy Birthday Madonna!” party at Timpano Chophouse in Hyde Park Village.  There was live Madonna-inspired entertainment, a video wall playing all of her iconic music videos and images, look-a-like contests, photo stations, birthday cakes and more.  As I walked into the packed house filled with Madonna wannabe’s and look-a-likes, I was suddenly transported back to the late 1980s / early 1990s where you couldn’t go anywhere on the planet without running into someone who wasn’t copying or imitating her style and look.  I remember growing up as a child and staring at this woman on MTV in total awe and fascination.  Sure Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey sang better than her and Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul were better dancers, but Madonna had the message, the originality, the brazen starpower.

Nearly 30 years into her career, and she is still seen as a contemporary alongside today’s pop starlets.  From Pat Benatar to Cyndi Lauper to Kylie Minogue to Britney Spears to Jennifer Lopez to Katy Perry to Rihanna to Lady Gaga, Madonna has stood by them all.  While Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue have perfected sexual confidence as an art, theirs lacks the depth and meaning that Madonna brings to the table.  While Katy Perry and Britney Spears sing undeniably catchy pop songs, theirs lacks the message of empowerment that accompanies a Madonna track.  And while Lady Gaga and Rihanna never fail on the visuals and the flash, they have yet to exude an ounce of vulnerability.  It always amazed me how a bold, brassy and outspoken person (see “Justify My Love” or nearly any of her MTV VMA performances) can also be so soft and humble (see “This Used To Be My Playground” or “Live To Tell.”)  In response to the newer generation that will undoubtedly disagree with any of the above statements about their idolized pop diva, I simply say that they have not been properly educated.  From her bragging to her High School classmates’ in their yearbooks with her bold yet prophetic statement that she would be “the most famous woman in the world one day” to her risky move to New York City at the age of 19 with 30 bucks in her pocket and sheer determination, Madonna is a survivor.

To one of the greatest stars that ever lived… Happy Birthday Madonna!

And to those who doubt Madonna as a live vocalist performer…

“Sooner or Later” performed by Madonna
1991 Academy Awards

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The Top 10 Singles of 2011

Looking back at 2011, my Spotify music player was definitely on overdrive.  There were far too many addictive songs and albums released last year, that narrowing it down to a Top 10 List would be like the Octomom having to pick her favorite 10 out of her brood of 16 children.  Translation: making this list was difficult!

Below is a listing of my favorite released singles of 2011.  Otherwise, non-released tracks like “I Would Do Anything For You” by Foster The People and the entire Love Child EP by Ella Riot would have dominated this list.

10.  Patrick Stump with Lupe Fiasco – “This City

The former lead singer of Fall Out Boy’s debut single barely flaunted the Prince-esque funk of his debut Soul Punk album.  But what this single lacked in pomp, it made up with an anthemic hook for anyone with hometown city pride.  If this single were the Billboard Top 10 hit it should’ve been, perhaps we would be seeing the newly svelte Patrick Stump starring in his own weight loss commercial rotated in between Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson’s.

9.  Young The Giant – “My Body

The boys of California captured the charm of their self-titled debut with this song that they had the honor to perform at the 2011 MTV VMA’s.  Whatever the true meaning of the song: the constant battle with a drug addiction or resisting the urges of going back to an unhealthy relationship, “My Body” left me “wanting more.”  FYI: Check out remixes by Tokyo Police Club and Two Door Cinema on the band’s Remixes EP.

8.  Angus and Julia Stone – “Hold On

The fragility in Julia’s voice.  That haunting melody.  The hypnotic allure of it all.  The Australian brother & sister duo released a ballad as depressing yet beautiful as any of the ‘you don’t love me’ song classics before it.  Listen with a glass of wine and a Kleenex handy.

7.  Clare Maguire – “The Shield And The Sword

What if you paired the flash & pizzazz of Lady Gaga with the vocals of Annie Lennox, and added a splash of Cher?  Clare Maguire has been described as just that since hitting the scene in the UK.  “The Shield And The Sword” is just one of the many standout tracks on the songstress’ Light After Dark album.

6.  M83 – “Midnight City

Every time that I went out to The Castle nightclub in Ybor City, I would hope and pray that I would hear this song.  The opening sequence of this song sounds like a Battle Cry, begging to be danced to.  Those times I was lucky enough to hear it while on a dancefloor, the experience was as if a Call To Arms was indeed issued out and everyone who just wanted to dance was summoned.

5.  Benny Benassi with Gary GO – “Cinema (Skrillex Remix)”

Cinema” is the song that made me rethink and change my stance on the entire dubstep movement.  So perfectly crafted in its intricacies and hook, I became a fan of not only dubstep music, but an admirer of the current reigning dubstep God,  24-year-old Sonny Moore a.k.a Skrillex.  Even Kanye West tweeted how the Skrillex remix of “Cinema” is “one of the greatest works of art ever made.”

4.  Lloyd featuring Andre 3000 – “Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)

Profane.  Vulgar.  Brilliant.  R&B artist Lloyd certainly does not hold back on expressing himself in this insanely catchy thumper about how an ex-lover’s “p*ssy” is now a stranger.  Disregard the censored version that replaces the word “p*ssy” with “lovin” and revel in the original version in all of its dirty glory.

3.  Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends

The early part of 2011 saw much-hyped new singles from pop divas Lady Gaga and Beyonce, but it was Miss Spears who stole the show with this dance anthem from her seventh studio album, Femme Fatale.  What Prince’s “1999” was to the Y2K generation on the evening of December 31, 1999, “Till The World Ends” will be the same on the night of December 21, 2012 and beyond.

2.  Lana Del Rey – “Video Games

Since they ceased playing music videos to make room for their infiltration of reality shows, I haven’t watched MTV in what seems like forever.  So imagine my surprise when I was flipping through channels on my TV and stumbled upon this music video on MTV of all places. I was completely taken aback.  Everything about this song was a breath of fresh air amid today’s pop landscape.  Okay, so Miss Del Rey’s most recent musical performance on SNL was a big, fat dud?  This song still remains undeniable in its beauty and mystery.

1.  Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris – “We Found Love

This may seem like an obvious choice given its vast mainstream appeal, but RiRi truly delivered a timeless dancefloor classic that echoed the 1990’s Euro-dance pop of Black Box while harmoniously blending with the modern nu-disco, dance sound of the song’s writer & producer Calvin Harris.  I have been a Calvin Harris fan since his triumphant 2007 I Created Disco album, so it was exciting to see his name atop of the Billboard charts even if it was second billing to the Barbadian princess of radio.  “We Found Love” is as a song of the times.  When many accused mainstream pop music as being too boring, “We Found Love” glared brightly as the pop music gem on the charts and radio amid what others perceived as a hopeless place.

Check out the Top 10 Songs of 2011 from our friends over at GLOGANDVLOG here.

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25 Randon Things About Me [01.28.2009]

Originally posted on Facebook on January 28, 2009:

1. I was born in Berlin, Germany
2. My family calls me “Okesene” or “Sene” but never “Okie”
3. I recently unearthed an obsession with Mint Royale
4. I believe in love at first sight
5. I believe in soulmates
6. I’m beginning to enjoy Facebook more than Myspace (Myspace = a nightclub advertisement forum)
7. I’m actually a bit nervous about meeting Beyonce this weekend
8. I tell myself that I’m not going to watch, but always wind up becoming an American Idol junkie every year
9. I know how to juggle
10. Dlisted is wayyy better than Perez Hilton
11. What’s the big hype over Lady Gaga? I just don’t get it even though I’m going to her concert in April
12. I succumbed to the Twilight books hype, and will confess that I am obsessed
13. I have a fear of frogs
14. I’m contemplating getting a sleeve tattoo
15. My cooking would pleasantly surprise you
16. I have a tendency to fall easily, but…
17. … also have a tendency to lose interest fast
18. I considered voting for the Republican ticket on this past Presidential Election
19. Kanye West, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Bono are my music idols
20. I won’t have a problem aging… my Dad looks like he’s still in his late 20’s, but…
21. …I still actually use an anti-aging eye cream nightly
22. I sent/received over 5,000 text messages last month per my Verizon bill
23. Britney Spears was much more entertaining when she was a bald-headed, coochie-flashing, umbrella wielding party monster drunk
24. www.SquareOneFlorida.com
25. This was much harder than I thought it would be…

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