Monday, November 26, 2012

Shining Bright Like a Diamond—Lights!

By Angela Thomas

Forgive me; I am a few days late on this one. With the Thanksgiving holiday (more like Black Friday preparation), I have been a bit busy to write this review.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, I got the chance to see Lights perform live for the second time at the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia. If you have something else to do besides read this blog, in short: she was amazing as always.

Honestly, this girl comes in one tiny package but boy can she belt out a tune. I personally don’t think her tracks give her voice justice because she can hold and belt out a note better than most pop singers—not to mention she is absolutely adorable and a style icon.
Photo: Angela Thomas

Lights has a knack for picking some amazing opening acts. Last October, The Ambassadors opened for her. I think both my friend and I got headaches from jamming to their song, “Unconsolable.” (Go check it out…like…NOW!) This year, she had The Arkells open for her and let me just say—amazing. Not only were their originally tracks incredible but they performed a killer rendition of Hall & Oats “You Make My Dreams Come True” with special guest—Lights! It was awesome and had the entire crowd dancing. You can check out a performance here  on the Arkells Youtube page.

However, Lights was center of the show. Every song she performed live was just fantastic and she put on an extravagant show. Not only does she have amazing vocals but she has keyboard skills that would make any musician envious. Her music reaches out to everyone—that is the best aspect about her. Ages ranged completely in terms of her audience but it was apparent that the youth dominated the show. Lights has this great way of reaching out to these young kids with her music and her style. They were memorized by her and knew every lyric to her songs.
Photo: Angela Thomas

She performed some of her trademark songs like “Second Go,” “Ice,” and “Drive My Soul” while playing new songs off her album, “Siberia,” including her new single “Timing is Everything.”

Overall, the concert was amazing. I am excited to see what is next for her career!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why it annoys me when people say my rights don’t matter

By Angela Thomas

I am gay—there I said it. I’ve been gay for quite some time now. I have gay friends, I have a gay family member, and my job is extremely gay—pretty much my life is a big LGBT smorgasbord.

I voted for Obama four years ago and today, I did the same thing. I am not at all a single-issue voter but in front of everything, I believe human rights come first. I can’t get married in the state of Pennsylvania. I can get fired in the state of Pennsylvania for being gay. I don’t have the same rights that heterosexuals take for granted. I am a second-class citizen.

I didn’t choose this. Why would I choose to be gay? Why would I want to be something that most people hate? I am not confused, I never was. God (whoever he/she is) has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities, so if God “hates fags,” then why has he/she given me so much? My sexuality developed just like everyone else’s. There is nothing wrong with me. I had the privilege of receiving a good education, I file and pay my taxes on time, I work a full-time job, I am a respected neighbor in my town,  I pay my own bills—I do everything you do, except I love and am attracted to the same sex.

I was once asked why marriage equality was so important to me because “civil unions” are the same thing. Well, if I were to get a civil union with my partner in Pa., it might not be recognized in other states. The federal benefits are completely different-I can’t take leave to care for my sick partner, gain access to social security survivor benefits. My taxes are a whole other story as well. So no, it is not the same.

I was asked to take down a status I wrote yesterday. I jokingly said that anyone I know who votes for Mitt Romney, is not allowed to my wedding. However, half of me was not joking. You are supporting a candidate that is against everything I am. He is not only against my sexuality but my gender. He is against my lower-middle class family. He is against my relationships. He is against my fellow LGBT military service men and women. He is against protecting me from sexual orientation-based hate crimes.

For a while now, I have been told that same-sex and LGBT inclusive issues shouldn’t be a big issue. I disagree. I am telling you right now that my equality matters. My gay family members who have been together for 30-something years—yeah, their equality matters. My best friends and acquaintances who are LGBT—their equality matters. My co-workers—you guessed it! Their equality matters.

My equality matters. If you can’t agree with that, then you can’t agree with my relationship, you can’t agree with my life and you certainly are not my friend. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Teaching an old dog new tricks

By Angela Thomas

Like so many Americans, my dog was the highlight of my week. After working long hours in retail, I would put the key in the lock, open the door and there would be my adorable boxer dog, Emma—toy in mouth—greeting me at the door with her famous “wiggle butt.”

My family lost Emma last December to heart cancer. Her loss was something that strongly resonated with my family. My dad lost his best friend, my mom lost a daughter and I lost a sister. Emma was such a special dog to us. She never drooled, she rarely gave doggy kisses and she managed to be as well behaved as possible. We were cat people after all—we never experienced those sloppy dog kisses and the need for unending attention.

She was the friendliest, happiest and most playful pup. She loved her squeaky toys and she loved her hulahoops. She loved her French fries and her bacon. She begged like she was a starving dog and ate like a pig.

She was the bomb-dot-com in other words.
Grogan and the famous Marley!

A few months after Emma’s death, I was perusing through a bookstore in West Chester, Pa., and discovered Marley & Me by John Grogan. I had heard about the movie and refused to watch it. I just couldn’t go through that pain again.

Almost a year after her death, I sat down and read Marley & Me for a week. I laughed and I cried. Grogan wrote a book that any dog lover could relate to. But the book also focused on the journey of family and the important lessons of life. Marley grew with the family—teaching them responsibility, unconditional love and loyalty.

I could relate to Grogan both on a journalists level and on a personal level. After Marley’s death, he wrote a column about his beloved dog. After Emma’s death, I couldn’t seem to get closure. I missed Emma and I wanted to do something in honor of her so I decided to use my journalistic voice as a means to do so.

I wrote about the benefits of adoption. Emma came from Boxer rescue in Pennsylvania. She was abused and abandoned and came to us with optimism. She taught us so many lessons, especially on love. I interviewed a representative from Boxer Rescue and a representative form The Humane Society of Harrisburg. It took me two weeks to write the article and 1,000 words later, I had closure.

I suggest that not only as an animal lover, but as a human, check out Marley & Me.  I promise you, it will change your life.

To read my article on animal rescue, go here