1. One of my buddies in the industry, Crystal Howard, is the Director of Public Relations for ESPN (www.espn.go.com/). She invited me to a screening of four-hour documentary "Black Magic", which will air commerical free on ESPN over two nights in March (3/16 & 3/17). I wasn't able to go, but wanted to forecast this compelling programming for 2008. It tracks the progression of the civil rights movement through the eyes of black basketball players and coaches who attended historically black colleges and universities during the societal upheaval. Samuel L. Jackson, jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and Hornets point guard Chris Paul provide narration for the project, co-produced by Dan Klores and former New York Knick Earl "the Pearl" Monroe. It will air on ESPN immediately following NCAA selection coverage. 2. There's lots of buzz on my friend Patrik Ian-Polk's 2001 Sundance Film Festival favorite "Punks" ( www.imdb.com/title/tt0130172/ ) in the wake of recent release "Dirty Laundry" ( www.dirtylaundrythemovie.com/ ), which - like "Punks" - also stars Rockmond Dunbar and Loretta Devine. It too is chockful of "Mahogany" and Janet Jackson references. We're still waiting for it to be on DVD; meanwhile, the pre-"Noah's Arc" phenomenon can be seen - in excerpt - on "You Tube". See a bit of best friends Marcus, Hill, Dante and Chris represent the kids in this cult classic:
This, while we wait for "Noah's Arc" on the big screen in 2008. And Patrik's other upcoming project "Blackbird". 3. I want to shout out another friend Ra Shawn Chisolm who is the publicist for Shorty Roc, an openly Gay rapper from Brooklyn who celebrated his birthday this week. I wasn't able to make it, but wanted to shout him out here and let you know that you can find out more about him via his MY SPACE Page (www.myspace.com/shortyrocdamic). Since 2004, Roc has been performing at many venues and events including Pride In The City, Splash, The Nuyrocian Cafe, the Queer Black Cinema and the Homorevolution tour promoting his current CD "Personal" featuring single "Rappers Delight" as well as his current release "Ain't Ready" and "This One's For You". He was also featured in Advocate Magazine. 4. Then, there's my friend Derrick Briggs (www.derricklbriggs.com/) who is poised to star in a new film come 2008 "Finding Me" (www.thanks4findingme.com). You can check out a clip or two, and some great shots on the website. With his book club and so many other pursuits, Derrick is always busy working on something new and exciting that exposes and elevates the images of black gays in society. CONGRATS DERRICK! And keep doing your thing! 5. And my buddy Dante who originally introduced karaoke to me (as an 'afternoon delight') is working magic at CBS News - on the political trail. He's doing some great work that can actually be seen via the following link. Check him out and let them know how much you appreciate his work. He's making it happen and I'm so proud of him: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/politics/fromtheroad/main502443.php?author=Andante_Higgins&dir=politics/fromtheroad
6. My other dear friend and Scorpio-mate Matt Morgan is now the Director of Business Development for Barbara's Flowers Shop (www.barbarasflowershop.net/AboutUs.asp). In his previous positions - doing events for non-profits and arts organizations, he's used them to great effect. The store's owner Tara Simone Powell is one to watch in 2008 as she has taken the 20+-year-old Brookllyn store to the next level. I'll look forward to smelling those flowers in the New Year and highlighting some of their exciting activity. HAPPY NEW YEAR MATT! 7. And where would I be without my TIVO - helping me discreetly watch some TV of which I'm proud (like NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" - www.nbc.com/Clash_of_the_Choirs/) as Patti LaBelle, Nick Lachey, Michael Bolton, Kelly Rowland, and Blake Shelton compete as choir directors for charity. All of the choirs are good, but Patti clearly has the advantage (By the time you read this, she will have WON! I'll correct it... if not! SMILE! P.S. WOW! CHOIR LACHEY - as in Nick - from CINCINATTI took it!!!! Oh well... sorry PATTI and PHILLY!). Of course, TIVO was also capturing "I Love New York 2" (www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/i_love_new_york_2/series.jhtml). And if you promise not to judge me: "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" (www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/tila_tequila/series.jhtml). Not exactly proud, but it's entertaining.
8. And as all roads lead back to "Dreamgirls", there's a staged production scheduled for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on the eve of the eve this year (www.njpac.org). The proceeds from this production (preceded by a gala) will go towards helping young boys and girls in and around Essex County (New Jersey). And what better way to do it than enjoying "Dreamgirls". 9. And don't forget to watch "the original Dreamgirl" DIANA ROSS be honored inside of a two-hour special "Kennedy Center Honors" (www.kennedy-center.org/programs/specialevents/honors/) on CBS the day after Christmas (Wednesday December 26, 2007). 10. Last night, many friends and I got the chance to sing 'Christmas Carols' (READ: Scenes from "Dreamgirls") at my Morehouse brother Mario's 'holiday set' - actually held at the Harlem home of my other Morehouse brother and Savannah homeboy Jeh. Other than our usual suspects, Mario invited his new buddy, French artist Rafael de Zayas (www.rafaeldezayas.com). Check out his website as his work is quite unique. I also got the chance to hang out with my folks at "N", my favorite boutique (www.nharlemnewyork.com). They hosted a holiday party that set off on the eve of my departure to Georgia for the holidays just lovely. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL! And my next entry may chronicle a bit of my time in Atlanta and Savannah with friends and family.