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The Pointer Sisters

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An interview with Ruth Pointer. By Christian John Wikane

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PHOTO: CRAIG BAILEY (PERSPECTIVE PHOTO)

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"So Excited" A Conversation with Ruth Pointer with VIP reception. See ASU Magazine for NEW interview and admission details. 

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In this excerpt from Ruth Pointer's "Still So Excited!: My Life As A Pointer Sister", Ruth talks about singer-songwriter Sylvester and the gay community. Official release date: February 1, 2016. Hardcover now available, Kiindle available on 2/1/16.

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Sylvester James, Jr. was the first openly gay man I ever met and we clicked from the get-go. I loved his gospel-falsetto voice, and besides, I was a born sucker for a finger-snapping man in drag. 

The man who would be crowned “The Queen of Disco” wore sequined hotpants and a mess of wildly patterned scarves and bling. When Sylvester performed, anything went. One time my sisters backed him at a show in a Castro District warehouse where live chickens roamed the stage, a man jumped through a flaming hoop and male and female streakers ran up and down the aisles. It was quite the spectacle. 

It was through my friendship with Sylvester that I got to see and experience the gay community up close and meet a lot of sweet, tender human beings who’d been cut off from their families and society in general. 

One in particular went by the name of Pristine Condition, who was a member of the San Francisco psychedelic theatre troupe called The Cockettes. He loved us to death. Thank God it’s better today, but I still see a lot of that and it bothers me no end. 

It’s no secret the gay community has always rallied around and supported The Pointer Sisters, and they are, by God, family to us. The Good Lord loves all His children and created us all equal. As a Christian I think it’s flat-out wrong to condemn homosexuals, most of whom are just as moral and decent as you and me. It especially nauseates me when I hear that tired old raggedy-ass line, “Love the sinner, but hate the sin.” It’s hypocritical and an ugly part of organized religion I don’t like and can’t abide by at all. God is so much bigger than that. He doesn’t want any of our children to suffer, be condemned or separated from their families. 

Even though our society has evolved and moved forward in our acceptance of the gay community, we’ve not fully evolved. I’d like to see that happen in my lifetime. I wish Sylvester had. He died of AIDS in 1988. God rest his beautiful, untamed soul.

***ORDER "Still So Excited!: My life As A Pointer Sister" ***

 

 

 

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Ruth's Memoir "Still So Excited!: My Life As A Pointer Sister" - Release date: February 1, 2016

Below is Ruth's Introduction.. Some short excerpts from the book will be posted here in the coming weeks!

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          There are just some things you should never have to tell your children.

I’ve always tried to shield my kids from my past. I knew from the beginning of this book project that I could be opening up a Pandora’s Box. But the kids are grown. I feel my husband and I have given them enough life tools to face any ridicule that may come from making the more private parts of my life public. Not only are they old enough to understand a few things, they are old enough to forgive. Still, opening myself up to the scrutiny of the world opens them up to having to deal with the onslaught of old—and some not so old—and painful wounds.
The world has known me as part of The Pointer Sisters for over half my life. And that’s been a very public life for the most part. But when it comes down to brass tacks, there are certain truths we must all face about ourselves, and sometimes you don't always like what you see when looking into the mirror. In my case, there were a lot of things I didn't like in that reflection. I would like to say that I saw a stranger, but what I saw was the true reflection of who I was. An alcoholic, a drug addicted woman who thought more about getting high than her family. I was a torn soul and I didn’t like it. But I couldn’t do anything to set things right. At least that is what I allowed myself to believe. But the beautiful thing about being broken is that it allows you to pick up the pieces of your life, if that's the route you want to go. And I did so want to journey along the path of sobriety. I just didn’t know how to fit the pieces of the puzzle that was me together. So I lived with the beautiful lies I told myself. They were so much more palpable than the ugly truth.
Self-deception binds you to a spider web of excuses; it chokes your humanity right out of your soul. I had children I had to raise and here I was waiting for God to slap me in the face and chastise me for my failures. The truth was I didn’t feel a real kinship with God. I was never going to be perfect and I knew that from the time I was a child in my parents’ church. I had no sense of God’s mercy or his love. I had no clue that His grace would set me free. And God knows that I had been searching for that freedom since I could walk.
There was a certain slavery, a vicious poverty in my unrequited journey toward accepting the truth about myself. It’s been a long path of muddy self-indulgence: cocaine, alcohol, food, and sex. God felt distant. I was lost, but angry. I was bound by the notion that my lifestyle wasn’t hurting anyone, yet deep inside I knew that if I didn’t straighten myself out soon that I would die, leaving my kids without a mom.
Sometimes you need silence in order to listen to God whisper to you … and he’s been whispering to me a lot lately. I think he’s been telling me it’s time.
This year I celebrate my third decade of sobriety. It wasn’t an easy adjustment and it took a near death experience to get my undivided attention. But I have been faithful. I have been diligent. And it has taken years for my life to settle down. I do not take my sobriety for granted. After all, it is a gift from God. 
I have shared my story with my 12-step groups (you read that correctly – it is plural), and others who have needed guidance but never with the public. God’s timing is always perfect and I had to wait for my cue.
So, let the music begin.
 
Ruth Pointer
-April 2015

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PcornercapVisit Pointer's Corner Store! for Hats, Apparel, CD's, our signature "Pointer Hankie" and more!  Take a look!

 

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ruth book 2On February 1, 2016 "Still So Excited!: My Life As A Pointer Sister" by Ruth Pointer with Marshall Terrill will be released by Triumph Books.
Ruth's autobiography is an engaging, funny, heartbreaking, and poignant look at her roller-coaster life in and out of The Pointer Sisters.
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER at Amazon and all major book retailers.
You can follow Ruth on Twitter at @RealRuthPointer.

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Groove Line Records' latest half-speed mastered 12" is out today! The Pointer Sisters - We've Got The Power / Evil. 
THIS is not just any reissue...It's from the original tapes and half speed mastered, which gives you a very high quality sound. It's VERY limited at 500 copies and comes in a great picture sleeve.
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Watch this video of Anita answering questions from fans on social media! You can find Anita on Facebook and her Twitter handle is @AnitaPointer.
 

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Watch this video of Anita answering questions from fans on social media! You can find Anita on Facebook and her Twitter handle is @AnitaPointer.

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8/29/15 BILLINGS GAZETTE: Pointer Sisters bring the excitement to Billings Classic.
"Dozens of audience members stood up to shimmy as soon as they heard the opening chords of The Pointer Sisters' hit song "He's So Shy". Some never sat back down". Read full article HERE, with photos! 

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Anita Pointer: Civil-Rights Activist, Pop Star, and Serious Collector of Black Memorabilia. Read the article here!

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elvis presley today frontElvis Presley's last album "Today" has been reissued. It includes a cover of The Pointer Sisters' hit "Fairytale", written by Anita Pointer and Bonnie Pointer. The reissue includes take 1, 2 and the final version. Elvis loved the song so much, he called it "the story of my life". After recording it, he included it in all of his live shows. 

Due to the success of the song, The Pointer Sisters won their first Grammy award for Best Duo or Group in 1975. Anita and Bonnie were also nominated for songwriters of the year. 

The group was also invited to perform the song at the Grande Ole Opry, making The Pointer Sisters the first black female group to ever perform at the Opry.

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1995On July 4, 1995 The Pointer Sisters performed with the Boston Pops, with Keith Lockhart as conductor. The performance was televised nationally and the broadcast won a Cable Ace Award. Five song set: "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree", "I'm So Excited", "Neutron Dance" and "Jump (for my love)." Happy 4th and Happy 20th Anniversary to Keith Lockhart! In this article Ruth recalls meeting Keith for the first time. 

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June 20, 2015: Examiner.com Soul deep with natural-born singer Ruth Pointer

"I listen to all kinds of music, but my favorite is gospel. I have SiriusXM satellite radio in my car and listen to the gospel-praise station (Kirk Franklin is on constant rotation) and Soul Town, which plays classic soul / R&B songs."--Ruth Pointer. photo credit: Joe Spisak

 

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The recent release of the book "Rock and a Heart Place" features a chapter on Ruth Pointer. The book is your backstage pass to never-before-heard secrets, stories, and testimonies from some of rock music's greatest legends. 

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March 2015: RUTH POINTER will take part in Live Wire, Bold Soul Sisters: A Revolution of Sound & Style. An intereview and audience Q & A session at The Apollo.

Live Wire
Bold Soul Sisters: A Revolution of Sound & Style
Thursday, March 26 at 6:30PM

Riding the waves of an evolving Feminist movement and the sexual revolution, the “girl groups” of the 1960’s gave way to a more progressive look and sound for female singers in the 1970’s. Groups like Labelle, The Pointer Sisters, First Choice, and Sister Sledge took R&B, jazz, soul and even country music to a new level. Music journalist and essayist Christian John Wikane interviews four women who helped power these groups to the pinnacle of the 1970’s popular music scene: Rochelle Fleming, Nona Hendryx, Ruth Pointer, and Kathy Sledge.

Live Wire Discussions invite deeper engagement with the Apollo’s artistic programming. Live Wire discussions are recorded and podcasts created in order to extend the audience reached through these events and for inclusion in the Theater’s archives.

Location: Apollo Mainstage

PODCAST NOW AVAILABLE. LISTEN!

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March 2015: OAKLAND: The Bay Area Blues Society and city dignitaries unveiled a Walk of Fame that commemorates the blues, gospel and jazz artists who graced the long shuttered clubs along 7th Street. The Seventh Street sidewalk in front of the West Oakland BART Station features 88 plaques of honorees including Aretha Franklin, Ike and Tina Turner and The Pointer Sisters.

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February 2015: The hit TV show GLEE will include a performance of "I'm So Excited" in episode 8 of their final season.
The episode will air on Wednesday, 2/20/15. Episode Promo

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February 2015: In the February/March issue of AARP Magazine, Anita Pointer is interviewed about her extensive collection of Black Memorabilia. You can read thearticle online here. The online magazine also features an accompanying video.

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