On the heels of my return to New York City from Chicago, I hit the ground running (as my last entry reflects). The rest of my week in New York was pretty eventful in personal and intimate ways. My Morehouse brother Khalid and I hung out for the first part of the week. After meeting at his uncle George Faison's home, we reconnected the following day. He called to tell me he was really enjoying "A Day In The Life of Riley: Pop Culture & Possibilities" and he asked if I wanted to help him finish the delicious brunch fare from the day prior. Ever the comprehensive reader, he was ready with my favorites - from cranberry and Tanquery to only the best champagne. We bonded off of our respective Morehouse years (We're both going back in May for reunions. His five year. My 15 year.). We talked about some show-business synergy that could perhaps show up for us both down the line. We had a bit of a listening party with Miss Ross' latest "I Love You" and I shared a few Diana DVDs with him, including her 1981 special featuring Michael Jackson.
The next day, Khalid joined my friend Dante and me for karaoke. This time, Dante took me to Karoke One 7 (www.karaoke17.com). It's on 17th Street just on the threshold of the Grammercy Park/Flatiron Districts in Manhattan. As always, Dante and I have a great time and this is what inspired my Anthony to recommend we do Karaoke for my birthday back in November. At this new location with Khalid in for the fun, we again had a great time. Khalid -- all of 26 years old -- went for old school from the '60s and '70s i.e. Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar"; anything from Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia Sound; etc. He's old school. Dante ventured into '80s & '90s R&B with vigor - like Boyz to Men's "End of the Road" and some Patti LaBelle ("I'm In Love Again"). And of course, I was all over the map with my favorites from "Dreamgirls" along with Maxwell's "This Woman's Work", a select my Anthony chose for me during my birthday extravaganza. It went over so well, it's in my repertoire now. SMILE! After closing our karaoke spot down, we had lovely and sometimes racy diner chat... and called it a night.
Wednesday allowed Khalid to join me at Ginger to shout out my personal shopper and stylist extraordinaire Jamar, who headquarters his talents out of my favorite boutique N, which sets in Harlem on 116th Street. Our healthy asian treasure chest Ginger was the location and lots of love was flowing up and through the place for him. (I thought I was his only client. SMILE!). But that parenthetical is a testament to how effective Jamar is at making every client feel like they are his only, if only in that moment. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JAMAR! (pictured with me below... at his BDAY set).
In all of those hangings, I never got a picture of Khalid. But I did have my camera. Maybe next time, which came just after my Atlanta trip, though I didn't take any pictures at that time either. Khalid and I went to "The Style Salon", which is an event my friend Joy Doss puts on every year alongside Fashion Week, which is going on right now. (I was invited to Baby Phat, but was in Atlanta, which I'll write about in another entry). Joy is always so kind to include me in her projects. Last September, she invited me to be a presenter at the "2nd Annual African American Literary Awards" in Harlem. The award recognize, honors, and celebrates African American's contributions to the genre and entertainment at large. "Inside Edition" correspondent April Woodard was a presenter at that event and a host of this event. I shout her out because she has agreed to participate in a roundtable that I'm producing for the National Association of Black Journalists' convention in Las Vegas this year (www.nabj.org). It will feature all of our top African American personalities and broadcasters from the main entertainment shows out there i.e. ET, EXTRA, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD", "THE INSIDER", and "INSIDE EDITION". Should be good. Meanwhile, Dani from "America's Next Top Model" and actress (formerly of "As The World Turns") Napiera Groves were also posing and pouting in the fashion show, featuring the designs of cutting-edge couturiers Jedda Kahn, Mira Kelis, and Zonkiri. Afterwards, Khalid and I enjoyed a great meal at "Serafina", an Italian restaurant that is connected to Anthony's and my favorite hotel "Dream". (themajesticny.com). After some great caesar salad, pasta and baby shrimp, champagne, espresso, and hot, focaccio bread, we segued to the penthouse level of "Dream" to enjoy "Ava Lounge" where we met a lovely woman who hails from "Jersey". Not the one over the George Washington Bridge bordering Manhattan, but the island of "Jersey" that sits on the English Channel between the U-K and France (closer to France actually). And according to her, it's those folks who came over to America and landed on the land that they named "New" Jersey. It was all "New" to me, reinforcing how little I know about the history of the state in which I live. But what a great connection as she joined Khalid and me for drinks and cultural connection. That's why I LOVE NEW YORK!
And right now, since I'm in Chicago, I'm missing New York and all the fun that comes with Fashion Week. One event, in particular, I really wanted to attend tonight. It's the launch of UNeQ magazine to which I've had the honor of contributing. You recall, I interviewed director/writer/producer J. Maurice Jamal (www.dirtylaundry.com) back in December for a magazine called "Rockstar". Well, the publishers have changed its name to "UNeQ" and that is the issue in which my interview is featured. It was a lot of fun to do and should read as enjoyably. (www.UNeQmagazine.com) And as for the magazine's transition, they feel it better represents the broader spectrum of the urban gay market and its tremendous impact in the world as a whole. I'm proud to be a part of it and working on another piece for the next issue of UNeQ. http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2006/12/29/the-12-days-of-life-of-riley-at-christmas.html STAY TUNED...: Meanwhile, NEW YORK CITY... I'll be clicking my heels three times to get back to that energy that keeps me stimulated and inspired to continue to do what I do and be who I be.