Well, the old adage is the same: "First weekends are critical to the success of a black film in Hollywood!!!". So, I'll hopefully inspire you to go out and see Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married?" (WhyDidIGetMarriedTheMovie.com). Though Anthony, some friends, and I got the chance to check out an intimate, A-list screening Tuesday night at New York City's Bryant Park Hotel Cellar and Screening Room (www.bryantparkhotel.com), I will go see it again tomorrow night here in Chicago (where I've been since Wednesday morning) to ensure my contribution to the first-weekend box office tally (Plus, I have some lines to memorize. I LOVE to memorize lines and scenes from movies.
Can you say "Mahogany" or "Mommie Dearest" or "Jackie's Back"????). For our Hollywood (East) set, I was able to not only secure entry for my Anthony (one of Janet Jackson's biggest fans) and me, but also best friends Michael K. Watts (another of Janet's biggest fans) and socialite-with-the-most-each-and-every-night Carl Nelson. The hope was that Miss Jackson would be there... and she was. I've been in close quarters with her before - even interviewing her a couple of years ago, but I finally got a photo opportunity with her. Most importantly, Anthony got his. We're so into our divas (He... Janet; Me... Diana) that I really wanted this moment to happen for him. And it did. (I've still not gotten my Diana moment nor my moment with Beyonce, who we'll see in the Philippines next month when Ant takes me to her Manila show -- all for my November 19th B-DAY). I should add that Miss Janet does an impressive turn as a psychologist in the film. She channels Dr. Robin, who too was in attendance at the screening.The director, playwright, co-star, jack of all trades, and master of many Tyler Perry, too, was in the house and received me warmly. I've had the opportunity to interview him on a handful of occasions and I was excited that he was excited to see me at the event. Once he saw that I was there, he moved right over and greeted me, took the time to meet my friends, and continued to be hospitable throughout the evening. He's a class act. Meanwhile, Miss Jill Scott (www.jillscott.com/), who turns a leading lady triumph in the film, attended - telling me that I give a really good hug. (I've heard that before, but never JILL SCOTT!!!!). She was so busy receiving the varied press - including O-K Magazine staff writer Delaina Dixon (www.ok-magazine.com/) with whom I put on my National Association of Black Journalists' Chairman (of the Arts & Entertainment Task Force) cap to enroll her in joining and becoming a part of our ranks (www.nabj.org). She was gracious and interested. I have also mentioned my friend Sidra in this blog before (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2006/12/22/wake-up-and-dream.html). Well, her twin sister Tasha Smith (www.myspace.com/tashasactingworkshop) is a force of levity, comedy, sass, and good timing in "Why Did I Get Married?". You will LOVE her!!!! She remembered meeting me a couple of years ago as I met her at Harlem Grill for an Eric Lewis concert at which she and her BFF Tyra Banks met Carl Nelson (also a great friend of hers and her body double Sidra), some other friends, and me. On that night, we ended up moving the tables out of the way and dancing (like nobody was watching). We had lots of fun and truly bonded that night. In that it was a couple of years ago, I didn't think she'd remember me, but she did... and received me so warmly. After seeing the film, I had to let her know how awesome she is in this project and - if you don't know her name yet - you will by the time this film makes its impression worldwide on the silver screen. Others in attendance include Miss Jackson's other half Jermaine Durpri, casting director extraordinaire Reuben Cannon, host with the most Gayle King, music executive Kevin Liles, Star Jones, Judy Reyes (from "Scrubs"), and dear friend of Carl Nelson, Kim Brockington (actress from "Guiding Light" - www.cbs.com/daytime/gl/ -and a one-woman-show, "Zora" about Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston about which you will be hearing more in entries to come). I should also shout out my friend Lamman Rucker, who was not in attendance but does a great turn in the film. You'll recall I went to see him in a play that he was in here in New York City earlier this year. He's one to watch - over and over (smile!). Musiq Soulchild was also in the house. Along with Keith Sweat, Keyshia Cole, Babyface, Anita Baker, Kelly Price, Gerald Levert, Tyrese, Beyonce, Amel Larrieux, Tamika Scott (Xscape), and Michael Buble, he is featured on the soundtrack (WhyDidIGetMarriedTheMovie.com).
I was so excited when I found out that another of my icons (and friend over the years) Miss Jennifer Holliday (www.myspace.com/thejenniferholliday) is not only featured in song to dramatic effect in the film and soundtrack of "Why Did I Get Married?" (one of my favorites, "Givin' Up" - the Donny Hathaway remake), but she was a part of Miss Sheryl Lee Ralph's annual AIDS benefit "DIVAS: SIMPLY SINGING" (www.divassimplysinging.com/), which I hear was something to behold this year. I did not attend, but contributed in my own way to the star-studded affair. My friend Scott, in fact, called me to thank me on the morning after the festivities this past weekend. Sheryl said - some weeks ago - she would want our good girlfriend Ledisi on the bill (www.ledisi.com/). Scott, who has worked with Sheryl for many years, reads "A Day in the Life of Riley: Pop Culture & Possibilities" and happened upon one of my Ledisi entries just after Sheryl declared that. Not knowing otherwise how to find her, he called me. I got him right to her publicist J'ai St. Laurent. And as Scott tells it, Ledisi was booked that day. I loved being in that mix and wish I'd attended as I hear the night was magical. From Jenifer Lewis to Natalie Cole to Ann Nesby to Ann's granddaughter Paris Bennett (who I had the chance to meet when I hosted the Disney Dreamer's Academy event at NABJ in Vegas - steveharvey.com/disneysdreamersacademy/) to Deniece Williams and on and on and on, these DIVAS belted out song after song for the best of causes. But it would be Miss Holliday's turn near the end of the show when she reportedly sang "One Night Only" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" that landed the night (until she reunited with her "original Dreamgirls" Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine with the "Dreamgirls (Reprise)" that is sung at the end of the show and movie). I'm told it was a MAGICAL MOMENT IN TIME that may never happen again. Scott will send me the DVD... and I'll tell you about it at that time. Meanwhile, read my friend Maurice Jamal's BLOG on it from his MYSPACE (http://www.myspace.com/mauricejamal) - http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=111685413&blogID=317519329
Speaking of Maurice Jamal, you know I've written about him many times in this BLOG. I interviewed him back in December for UneQ Magazine regarding his film "Dirty Laundry" (http://www.dirtylaundrythemovie.com/newsite/): http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/2/14/doing-laundry-with-maurice-jamal.html If you like "Why Did I Get Married?", you too will dig "Dirty Laundry" which has been awaiting its turn for over a year now (Some friends of mine Adrienne Lopez, Michelle-Sanchez-Boyce and Nelson Boyce are co-producers on this project). And as Maurice prepares to work on "B-Boy Blues" (www.bboybluesthemovie.com/) in which I'm to have a little cameo, his latest baby is being released on December 7, 2007 by Codeblack Entertainment and FOX in Atlanta, Washington, DC, Baltimore, and New York. It's a beautiful film which I've seen and love. It breaks new ground with its storyline and it showcases some of our often squandered African American talent in a big way i.e. Rockmond Dunbar, Loretta Devine, Jenifer Lewis, etc. The cast and Maurice (who too co-stars in the film) will be coming to these cities before the premiere.
Before I veer too far from Ledisi, I want to acknowledge that her publicist J'ai St. Laurent, my friend, and another of her clients Will Downing, whose Peak Records debut "After Tonight" is due out October 30th. (www.willdowning.com/) - a project on which he embarked after suffering the unique physical challenges associated with the debilitating muscle disorder known as Polymyositis. The 10-track album was produced with Downing’s longtime friend and collaborator (this is their 10th project together) Rex Rideout, who has worked with Downing for nearly 15 years. Make sure you check it out!
I mentioned seeing Star Jones (www.starjones.com/) at the Tyler Perry set. Her COURT TV show (www.courttv.com/onair/shows/star_jones/index.html)) is on my TIVO and has been backdrop (when not captive) to my 3:00 pm hour (if I'm home and on the heels of my CBS Soaps). One of the best things she features on the show is my dear NABJ sister Adaori Udoji, who is one of COURT TV's smartest talents (www.courttv.com/anchors/adaora_udoji.html). She too - over the years - has been a mentor to me. She's reviewed my demo reel during a time where I was seeking representation and with her advisement, I landed ICM as a talent agency (from 2003 until this past summer). And this week, it is announced that she will be hosting a new public radio morning show. This as yet unnamed program, a joint effort of Public Radio International, WNYC, BBC, The New York Times, and WGBH, will be co-hosted by Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist John Hockenberry. Based in WNYC's New York studios, the show will test the waters next month with a series of specials on the presidential election.
Another announcement from my "friend" repository and the journalism world came from NBC. On and on, I go some weeks, about my new buddy Mara Schiavocampo. Well, I can now officially say (since NBC did...) that NBC has named her as a digital journalist for "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3032619/). It was announced earlier this week by executive producer Alexandra Wallace. My Mara's reprots will primarily run for nightly.msnbc.com. According to Wallace, "Mara has the perfect mix of broadcast and digital journalism experience. And we are thrilled to have her bring her innovative reporting to nightly.msnbc.com and the "Nightly News" team with her reports for the website." I advised her on a couple of points as she moved into this next frontier. And I'm so proud of her. You'll also recall it was Mara who accessed Anthony and me to Senator Barack Obama (at the private airport in Vegas before he left town). CONGRATS - again - MARA!
Speaking of MARA (yet another one), have you folks been watching my girl Mara Brock-Akil's current season of "Girlfriends" (cwtv.com/shows/girlfriends) and "The Game" (cwtv.com/shows/the-game)? She's the Creator and Executive Producer of both. Well, I got an earful the other day about what is likely to be "Girlfriends"' final season and another vibrant turn for "The Game" when my "Amazing Grace" Nichole called me the other day. She and Mara are close and were having a quick lunch while Mara was in town for a panel that will inform an issue of "Newsweek" (www.newsweek.com): WOMEN & POWER that is out this week (October 15, 2007). I've had the chance - through Nichole - to befriend Miss Mara, who has confided many things to me about the show --- none of which I can share here. But I can tell you to keep watching both shows as the season promises NOT to disappoint and even to surprise you when you least expect it. One of her quotes from the roundtable: “People still aren’t comfortable with women owning their sexuality. I am adamant about women talking about sex because I feel while a young woman is watching my show she sees these beautiful, professional and fashionable women talking about their own opinions about sex. I think that subconsciously tells that young woman (and all women), you have a voice about sex—whether it be insisting on using a condom, refusing when you’re not in the mood, asking him to do it better, or take an HIV and AIDS test. It’s very empowering thing to see women talk candidly about sex so that it doesn’t feel like something that men own. “I’ve gotten the most flak from the African-American community, particularly women. They feel that the characters on “Girlfriends” are too sexually free. I wanted to say sex is normal. You are not a whore, which is how television and films have depicted you. I want to give young women a road map of how to have an honest conversation about sex so they can be safe and healthy to live their fabulous lives." SOUNDS like it was a great panel and will be an awesome issue of NEWSWEEK. As MARA and I wrapped our quick phone chat, which Nichole graciously allowed us to have, she told me "May I just tell you, Patrick that I read your BLOG religiously. It lightens me up and pulls me out of the stress of my day. So, I'm thrilled when you send the alert as I know I can get my fix," she said. "You are so funny and your writing brings me such joy.". I replied "Ditto... for Monday nights at 9:00 pm when "Girlfriends" comes on... and you've been doing that for the last eight years. Thank you!". What a blessing to have such great people (whose shows I admire) tuning in to "... the life of Riley...".
Speaking of my readers, the other day Anthony and I were at a sample sale for "American Chang" (americanchang.com/) - a designer I've referened a time or two as I was introduced to them via my favorite boutique N (www.nharlemnewyork.com/). American Chang, too, nominated me and "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RILEY: POP CULTURE & POSSIBILITIES" for its "Golden Poodle" late last year. (As a result, their website links to mine and they've reported that a lot of traffic gets to me via their site. THANKS FOR THAT. With that, as Anthony and I secured some awesome pieces, a young lady I had not met is helping us find our sizes, etc. At a point, she goes into her office. (At this point, we're only anonymous shoppers and she's anonymously a worker whose helping us find what we want). She - from the office - says "Patrick!!!!????". I say "Yes!". She says "I'm Meredith. I was literally reading the new entry on your BLOG when you walked in the door". WHAT A MOMENT! THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES, huh? That means everything to me as we had been in communication with Meredith since the nomination. We just hadn't met. I wasn't even clear that Anthony and I were IN "American Chang"s showroom for the sample sale (as these types of sales can sometimes be in neutral or loaned spaces). With that, we greeted each other more affectionately and uncovered she's from Atlanta, parts of Georgia I've spent lots of time. She introduced us to R. Scott French (www.rscottfrench.com) who is the master designer behind "American Chang" and "R. Scott French". We also met Michael Wesetly (www.michaelwesetly.com/) whose designs balance out the look of this couture house. And unlike when we are in stores and Ant and I have the challenge of getting everything we want and that fits under one roof, we were able to secure all of our specs in this one space... at one time.
Nichole and I got the chance to hang out in the city last week. I'll share our itinerary here as Anthony was out of town. We stumbled upon some cool New York City sites. For brunch, we were joined by my friend Carl Nelson who was out bike-riding. We went to HK on 39th and 9th in the city. Then, we did a little flea market run right outside. (www.nyc.com/arts__attractions/Annex__Hells_Kitchen_Flea_Market.870685/editorial.aspx). From there, she and I joined Dorothy downtown in SOHO. She is the head seller of a fabulous earring (and jewelry) that Nichole likes so much (www.castronyc.com). From there, it was MERC BAR for champagne and wine (www.mercbar.com/). This is where Nichole, Mara Brock-Akil, and I enjoyed each other's company the time before when Mara was here (from picture above). Nichole and I, then, went up to Harlem and met our friend Carl at my friend Brian's spot Native where we enjoyed the conversation of our favorite bartender Jose. We, then, hung out with Carl near his digs in Harlem via Riverside Drive. Here, I took a horizontal pose atop the wall that overlooks the Westside Highway (I don't know. I was feeling very "Mahogany" since I'm holding the new issue of 'UPTOWN' Magazine (www.uptown-magazine.com/), which I'd just acquired and had to keep close to my chest with Alicia Keys on the cover, Diana Ross file pix and musings on the inside, plus an article on African American art that wow'd my Anthony upon his return as he's an artist and collector. This is my good girlfriend Carla Willis' debut issue as Editor-in-Chief, so I was thrilled to read it. Please check it out: www.uptown-magazine.com/. [On the subject of art, I should shout out my friend Quincy Ballon who just opened his gallery in Brooklyn (DUMBO to be exact...). galleryqb (www.galleryqb.com) just opened and is chockful of antique furnishings and contemporary artwork. Currently, they are featuring the original work of Anthony Rebholz.] I, then, said good night to Carl and Nichole to meet up with my friend Michael K. Watts. He and I attended Nicole Childers' birthday party at Bona Fides in the East Village (www.bonafidesrestaurant.com). Nicole is Executive Producer of NPR's "News and Notes" (www.npr.org). Though I missed my Mara and her husband Tommie by five minutes, I did get to see Mara's best friend David Puente, anchor of ABC News' "Exclusiva" and a host of others from my journalism circles. After that, I hooked up with my stylist friend Jamar and his buddy from D.C. and we capped off the night at "No Parking", my friend Brian's other spot that he owns. WHAT A NIGHT!!!!
SOME POP CULTURE MUSINGS!!!!!
Vanessa L. Williams had me howling last Thursdsay on "Ugly Betty" (abc.go.com/primetime/uglybetty/index.html) when - in a scene with the show's star American Rivera - she says: "COME ON GIRL! I AM BLACK. YOU ARE MEXICAN. LET'S NOT TALK AROUND IT LIKE A COUPLE OF DULL WHITE PEOPLE!!!!". I loved it!!! It reminded me of my former co-host Michael Musto's piece on me in his VILLAGE VOICE column in which he wrote: For the panel, they ended up assembling me, FRANK DECARO, SIMON DOONAN, a hottie, and a black person. (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/8/5/a-black-person.html) Referening the pilot we shot a couple of years ago, this is how he referenced me. Well, I'm happy to report that I'm doing alright and looking into the WHAT'S NEXT? everyday... and I saw the HOTTIE - T.R. Pescod - last night from the TV in my suite at the OMNI HOTEL in Chicago where I'm working on an assignment. He was in a great new VOLVO ad (and YES! He's still HOT!). See him here in a BRITISH AIRWAYS ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdo_g_aSfZs). HI T.R.!!!!! YOU HOTTIE YOU!!!!! Speaking of HOTTIES and BLACK PEOPLE, have you seen MISS MARIAH CAREY in her new commercial promoting her new fragrance "M" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-oBDKOXjb4)? HOT STUFF!!!!!! Oh! And speaking of BLACK PEOPLE: "I SEE BLACK PEOPLE!!!" At least, that's what TV ONE promotes in its new AD slogan (www.tvoneonline.com). Well, daughter of my NABJ friend Pat Tobin, Lauren Tobin (publicist in her own right) asked that I shout out radio personality Michael Baisden who comes to television (TV ONE to be exact) with a new primetime talk/variety series, “Baisden After Dark”. Targeted to a “grown and sexy” audience, the show explores a wide range of provocative topics with an eclectic mix of celebrity and special guests from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sports and music. Baisden opens each show with a monologue, followed by a celebrity roundtable discussion of one hot topic, ranging from the bold and sexy, to the sublimely serious. Check it out! Oh! And speaking of "grown and sexy", how much are we loving the "Soul Train" repeats on the weekend? I just saw the "Vanity" appearance when she promoted her "Action Jackson" film and the accompanying song. I couldn't find it on YOU TUBE and I know she's found the Lord, but Miss Vanity used to turn it, didn't she? Remember this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wTD9b6H4Xk
WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY? Too much... I LOVE IT!!!!!
P.S. Oh! And many of you have been asking "WHERE ARE JASON AND MARQICE?" Well, we found them and got to spend some time with them (and dog GWEN) recently at their home in Queens. And I'm happy to say that - as two pairs of couples who consider ourselves a posse all our own - "WE'RE STILL TOGETHER"!!!!!! LOVE YOU, GUYS!!!!!!
P.P.S. My "Amazing Grace" Natalie and her husband Dwayne are the exemplars of the positive-toned question: "WHY DID I GET MARRIED?" And this week, with two gorgeous and smart little girls to boot, they celebrate their 12TH ANNIVERSARY!!! CONGRATS YOU TWO!!!! And enjoy your VACATION!!!!!!
P.P.S. After the "WHY DID I GET MARRIED?" screening, Ant and I celebrated a bit at SPLASH (www.splashnyc.com). We ran into our usual suspects, including Nathan "Seven" Scott, Toyce, and Raymonde Green from UNeQ Magazine. He graciously put some of our pix on his website's gallery pages. Check 'em out: http://www.uneqmagazine.com/insider/
Response: copysniperA Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY?"
Response: Contractor leadsA Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY?"
Response: judi onlineA Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY?"
Response: Respawnables Cash hackA Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY?"
A Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY?"
A Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "WHAT HAS (POP CULTURE) DONE FOR ME LATELY?"