It’s devastating I know, and I can say nothing to help, yet, I am always going to try. Even though nothing can be done, I will always try to do something. That is the kind I am.
I never met Donna Summer, but my good friend Prince Poppycock sang with her, and I was always jealous of him for that. Her voice was the sound of the 70s, her high pitch perfect disco soprano kept the dance floor filled with stomping feet, shirtless men and some shirted men among them, bodies close enough to be touching and some actually touching, tightly packed yet boundlessly free, together, maybe feeling good for the first time. This was the sum and solace of Donna Summer, and her name was fitting, as she brought on the summer of our lives, many of us, more than she will ever know, more than we will even ourselves understand.
Donna Summer’s name conjoured hot sweaty midnights, disco balls, being gay and being proud, feather boas and poppers, cocaine and freedom, neon signs and leather vests, that kind of bad girl that every gay man wants to be – not bad really – more like the kind of bad that Olivia Newton John gets into at the end of Grease. Still, Donna Summer wore those tight Frederick’s of Hollywood thick spandex pants first, like jeans but with a long zipper, stringy camisole thing on top, and in this uniform of the true disco diva, I imagine her working over the mikes at Casablanca like no one else before her or since.
We took the loss of Whitney Houston hard, and I for one have not yet recovered. It seemed like we had lost enough so far. Etta james and Whitney Houston – enough is enough – I had thought – and also ironically, it’s one of my favorite Donna Summer songs. Enough is enough – I only think of it as a Donna Summer song – is that terrible? Of course her duet partner is the formidable Barbra Streisand, but unfortunately for Babs, Donna steals the show, even though I can tell the mix of the song is tipped heavily in Barbra’s favor. No matter. Donna’s voice shines decibels above even the greatest and most revered of all singers.
Donna Summer got played a lot at funerals in the 80s, Last Dance becoming a sort of requiem march. The untimely deaths of gay men from AIDS – when I hear that song, that is what I remember. I still love the song though, tragedy and bliss go hand in hand sometimes. I look back at my long life and blink unbelieving at how many I have survived. All I have left are these memories of songs, love for these singers. That is all. As i get older, I have less and less, or maybe that means, I have more. But enough is enough.
Donna Summer R.I.P