Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Karen Carpenter Profiled in the Advocate!!

The Advocate ran a story today on understated, sometimes-forgotten gay icon Karen Carpenter, half of the best-selling, arguably most popular (American) musical act of the 70s.

Brother and sister duo (Karen and Richard) owned the 70s, really, with an “impressive string of 16 consecutive top 20 hits that began in the summer of 1970 with ‘Close to You’ and continued through ‘There’s a Kind of Hush’ in 1976.” Yes, sappy, gushing lyrics were their trademark, but said lyrics became not only more bearable–but genuinely lovable–because of that voice–all at once haunting, soothing, familiar; Karen Carpenter had all the makings of a lifelong legend before tragedy intervened. To quote: “Theirs was a matchless combination of Karen’s rich, mournful, smoky alto perfectly ensconced by Richard’s brilliant compositions and arrangements in a sweet swell of aural lushness.” Well said.

Other highlights from today’s feature:

–Apparently Karen was a lover of all things disco–and wanted to explore that genre when she went embarked on her solo career. Who knew.

–On her as diva: “In the pantheon of gay icons, Karen Carpenter may not be seated at Judy’s right hand, but she’s closer than you think. Our divas come in all shapes, sizes and colors. And some aren’t divas at all. That was the case with Karen.”

–The piece also offers insight into her post-Carpenters years, including repeated attempts at solo stardom–and yes, even broaches the subject of the controversial Todd Haynes-helmed film, Superstar, which featured dolls and miniature furniture and sets.

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