Of course, you folks know I’m opening things up - as far as my career goes – for new things to show up. Right alongside feeling a hair off center at the not-knowing of it all, I am trusting that my walk into destiny is NOW. When Ant and I happened upon the Charging Bull (sometimes called the Wall Street Bull or the Bowling Green Bull) near Wall Street, we played around with the 7-thousand pound, bronze sculpture. Ant loved it as he is a Taurus (sometimes stubborn). I loved it as well. It - for both of us (to me) - represents 'steely determination' - a symbol of aggressive, financial optimism, and prosperity, leaning back on its haunches and with its head lowered as if ready to charge.
Already, actually, GOD is showing up and showing out:
* I’ve taken some time to update my TALENT/PRODUCER reel which composites much of my independent work over the last few years.
The excerpts include:
1. Pilot “tvQ”, which I co-hosted a couple of years ago. Just got word from Hurricane Productions that they want to repackage this “queer-eye-meets-the-view” fest and try to sell it again with me attached. Could be a great thing!
2. “Our World with Black Enterprise” – hosted by Ed Gordon on which I weigh in as pop culture pundit ( www.blackenterprise.com/mediacenter/ourworld.asp )
4. Also in Vegas, I hosted an event for the “Disney Dreamer’s Academy” (www. steveharvey.com/disneysdreamersacademy/ ) featuring Steve Harvey, actress Victoria Rowell, Chef Jeff, “High School High”s Monique Coleman, and George Wallace. Steve just announced the New York City-area kids who will participate in this program in January.
5. An event I hosted for BOOST MOBILE and LIVE NATION called “Music Biz 101” featuring ?uestlove and MC Lyte. ( www.musicbiz101contest.com/ )
6. ESPN 2’s “Cold Pizza” (www. espn.go.com/eoe/pti.html ) on which I narrate a makeover for the green Masters jacket.
7. TLC’s “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly”, a special I hosted a couple of years ago.
8. A couple of fashion segments I hosted for I-STYLE TV and I-NEXTV.COM (“Cheap but Chic” and “Ready, Set, Shop!”)
9. Stand up for NBC 4 during a CD signing for Jennifer Lopez, who I interviewed for NBC 4’s “Puerto Rican Day Parade” special
10. For HBO, I have done many entertainment/movie junkets. Here, I include my Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Douglas clips.
11. For LEVI’s Self-Engineered Tour a few years ago, I went on the road with “The Roots” to interview celebrity participants, including Sean Patrick Thomas.
12. During Tavis Smiley’s reign on BET Tonight, I was often used as a pop culture pundit. I feature a couple of those excerpts, including “Blacks on Hollywood” and “Rappers becoming Actors” with Master P.
13. “Good Morning America” series on “Friendship” – featuring my dinner group, “The Penatavaurate”.
14. I produced and narrated the marketing and highlights videos for the then-Acapulco Black Film Festival ( www.abff.com/ )
WITH THAT, I’m poised to make some new impressions in 2008. I’ve booked a handful of days in the New Year with www.att.com/techchannel (as on-cam talent) for three segments in which I'll oversee makeovers - turning three "computer geeks" to "chic" (yet user-friendly for their technical gigs). In addition to this, there may be more on-camera and field producing work for me with AT&T. STAY TUNED!
I’ve already gotten great feedback from some network bookers, who are interested in folding me into their rolodexes to weigh in on pop culture. No funds per se on this tip (off the top, at least), but this is a good piece for branding.
My book project “BIG WILLIES and AMAZING GRACES: gay men and their best girlfriends” is still in need of a "high-profile" presence before one particular publisher gives it a green light. But I’m heatedly pursuing that person to support this collection of conversations between the men and women who fit this paradigm. Calling KELLY RIPA!!!! Calling ANNE HATHAWAY!!! Calling DEBRA MESSING!!!! Anybody out there know them…?
And as I navigate my own WHAT’S NEXT?????, I am clear that I am not alone in this pursuit. My Anthony, of course, has been on the market since he moved here back in March. And as he still hopes to land that big gig, he’s attracting projects here and there that are supporting the livelihood piece while making sure that he doesn’t lose sight of his creativity goals – from the world of production and journalism to art. He’s even supporting me in getting my own PILOT off the ground (Stay tuned for that… as we develop our game plan!). Additionally, as I look, we are stumbling into work that is a good fit for him (and he’s taken a day or two of applicable work from my own search and projects). So, truly, it’s all WORKING!!!!
Meanwhile, before much of this transition talk, my Morehouse brother Welborn Preston asked if I would be willing to come down to Atlanta and meet Kelci Stringer, widow of Korey Stringer, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman who died from a heatstroke at the team’s training camp six years ago. As she looks forward to being done with the varied lawsuits that abound in the wake of her late husband’s passing, she too is readying a memoir titled “Football Widow” (due out Spring 2008). Additionally, she’s got such a sassy and intellectual personality, the airwaves are longing for her presence. Well, that’s what my friend Preston thought. And since he knew that I too have experienced horrible loss and that I navigate as a similarly-tagged personality (and producer) in the business, he thought Kelci and I would hit it off. They flew me in on the evening before our meeting and put me up at the historic “Georgian Terrace” ( www.TheGeorgianTerrace.com ). My sister Janice and her husband Vincent picked me up from the airport. We went to “Waffle House” ( www.wafflehouse.com/ ) for some comfort food (My choice as I don’t have access to this Southern staple in New York City). I knew I was in the right place as I walked into the elegantly decorated lobby because my Diana Ross and her Supremes were singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Me” from the intercom system. It wasn’t “My Favorite Things” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KztJpqRVHEI) but anything from Ross and her Christmas catalogue is alright with me. I stayed in a spacious suite, giving me the best night’s rest ever (though I did get on with Anthony – so he could play the new Janet Jackson [“Feedback”] from over the phone). Come morning, Preston picked me up and took me to one of my favorite franchises The Oceanaire Seafood Room ( www.theoceanaire.com/ ), though I’d not been to the Atlanta location. Fresh seafood is what it’s all about in any of the locations nationwide, but what sets Atlanta’s Oceanaire apart from its siblings is “the shrimp and grits” appetizer with Aged Cheddar and Bacon Cracklings Bibb & blue cheese. UNBELIEVABLY tasty… and filling, though I still made room for a Caesar salad with two lump crab cakes atop it. Over wine and sweet tea, Kelci, Preston, and I bonded further – truly identifying that there are synergies between us all that may lead to a kindred working relationship in the near future. Also, I saw a likeness between Kelci and the late, great Diana Sands, who has been a pop-culture muse for me since I saw her as Beneatha in “A Raisin in the Sun”. I’ve seen all of her film-work after that… and her TV turn as Diahann Carroll’s cousin in “Julia”. In fact, she was filming the lead role “Claudine” when she fell out on the set. She would die from a brain tumor weeks later. Diahann Carroll would inherit the role and be nominated for an Academy Award. Kelci and Preston are mapping out a project plan (as am I). And we will look at what those alliances will be very soon. But it promises to be fulfilling, lucrative, and fun (as Kelci too plans to move to New York City).
So YES! THE POSSIBILITIES abound and the aforementioned evidence is but an excerpt of my what's-to-come. THANK YOU ALL for your LOVE and your PRAYERS and your SUPPORT – knowing that I will be reaching out with more follow ups as this journey continues.
Meanwhile, I must shout out many of my colleagues who are out here in the trenches – inventing and re-inventing themselves… brilliantly!!!:
- My Tata, her fiancé Jules Sawadogo, Ant, and I went to our friend Quincy Ballon’s new art/design & furniture gallery qb ( www.galleryqb.com/ ) in Dumbo (Brooklyn). The new exhibit he is presenting is called “I DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD A HEAD UNTIL YOU ATTACHED THAT ARM TO IT, Works by Doug Groupp. William Johnson was the curator. And a host of Quincy’s friends, including “Inside Edition” Managing Editor Kevin Harry who Quincy introduced to Anthony and me regarding career possibilities. We are so proud of all Quincy is creating and the energy with which he’s surrounding himself. (After our gallery time, Tata, Jules, Ant, and I continued our double date at Negril Restaurant ( www.negrilvillage.com/faq.html )).
- My friend Gil Roberston ( www.robertsontreatment.com/ ) has a client with whom he wanted me to meet on the synergy tip. It’s Myles Reed Jr., author of “Fishing for Love on the Net” (http://www.fishingforlove.net). We met at Houston’s for quick drinks and chat. He has spent nearly fifteen years observing, strategizing, and marketing for corporate America. A former CPA, Myles is now looking at branding himself an expert for all things “internet dating”. It seems he is on his way and you should look out for him in 2008.
- My friend Yolanda Young, renowned columnist for USA TODAY and beyond, has launched her video blog. Check it out www.yolandayoung.com.
- And my Ti-Ti has a new documentary on “Education in America” on the CURRENT TV site ( www.current.com ). So PROUD OF HER! Check it out!
- I met Patricio last year at the EMERY Awards ( www.emeryafterparty.org/ ) which benefits The Hetrick-Martin Institute, Home of The Harvey Milk High School, which teaches a number of gay and lesbian teens. He does mural art that is often folded into interior spaces (www.imuriinternational.com/port08.index.html). This year, he’s been working with photographer Dah-Len, creating pieces for photo shoots and for the set of Dangerous Muse’s latest music video. He designed and installed the backdrop for the Emery Awards this year (Cyndi Lauper performed in front of it). Through SPACE107, he has produced furniture and paintings. I look forward to catching up with Patricio in 2008.
- I met hat designer Jennifer Ouellette ( www.jenniferouellette.com/ ) at one of Patricio’s parties. She did all of the hats for Tracy Reese’s show over Fashion Week back in October ( www.tracyreese.com/ ). Well, her own store opens this week. And some of her award-winning work can be yours for 25% off. CONGRATS JENNIFER!
- As I walked into Gym, a gay sports bar in Chelsea ( www.gymsportsbar.com/ ), the young man at the door extends a smile to me that felt like it was just for me. As I quickly walk by (as I simply need to pop in here to pee), I do a second take. He’s still looking. When I finish my business, I come back out and he’s still looking. I’m with my man at the time, so it’s less a “cruise” and more a “curiosity” as he’s looking at me like he knows me. I cut through the clandestine and introduce myself. He replies “I’m Marco”. It meant nothing - meaning I didn't know him. I didn't continue the conversation, but found him quite friendly and sweet. I’ve seen him a handful of times since that first moment (over the last five months) and am blown away at something I just uncovered. He’s Demarco Majors – a former ABA professional basketball player, who was reportedly kicked out of the ABA based on a rumor that he was gay. He didn’t deny it, according to interviews I’ve seen him do, because he is gay. He’s now out in the mix discussing the challenges of being an out gay ex-professional basketball player. And I would LOVE to chat him up for a future blog on his interesting life, which includes a transition from sports into modeling. And he is one of the guys in Beyonce's "Freakum Dress" video. CONGRATS! Keep doing your thing!
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