By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
It's probably never been easy to be Boy George, but these days must seem especially trying. Culture Club's latest album, Don't Mind If I Do, was never even released in the U.S., and it sold disappointingly in the U.K. -- which means that although the public may be willing to dip back into the '80s for a bit of nostalgia (for an episode of VH1 Storytellers, say), they're not particularly interested in the band as a current entity.
That's too bad, because the band always had plenty of camp appeal, and the Boy's smooth soul voice did propel some of the classic tunes of the new-wave era, such as they were, including "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," "Church of the Poison Mind," and "Karma Chameleon" (the "Show Boat"-styled video for which should be put in a time capsule to make future generations wonder just what the hell we were smoking back then).
These days, Boy George seems to be staying in the headlines by way of a series of odd occurrences and public catfights. In December, he was almost killed by a 4-foot disco ball that plummeted from the ceiling of a British concert hall onto his head -- an end that would have seemed beyond belief even by Behind the Music standards. He survived, though, and more recently has gotten into a snit (through the press) with Sir Elton John, who says he finds Eminem's violent and homophobic lyrics less than offensive. The Boy begs to differ. In between attempts to bring Culture Club back to its former popularity, Boy George is gaining increasing notice -- overseas, at least -- as a club DJ (his work on the wheels of steel is available on the import CD The Ibiza Annual).
Chances are, the show at Mississippi Nights will be more about the past than the future, but in the case of Culture Club, that's not necessarily a bad thing.