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"ON THE ROAD AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN..."

patrickleslieandanthony.jpg I've been on the road a lot lately;

, Anthony and I were figuratively transported to 1994 RWANDA during the horrific genocide its people had to struggle through during that bloody summer. And again (as I have in previous entries), I want to re-inforce how awesome Leslie Lewis Sword (pictured above with us) is in the one-woman show Miracle in Rwanda (www.MiracleInRwanda.com) which is still running at the Ohio Theater in SOHO/NYC. She plays every character in this amazing true story of how Immaculee Ilibagiza learned to forgive the unforgiveable. She plays a dozen or so characters in her piece. And my friend Carl Nelson (pictured below) is producing. Anthony and I had the chance to check it out last weekend and we were both quite moved. Apparently, the masses are inspired as well. This show, which was debuted in its current incarnation in Naples, Florida, is getting ready to go on the road to California, North Carolina, and a number of other festivals and theaters which have begun to invite Leslie in large order to share this powerful message wrapped inside of her talent. patrickleslieandcarl.jpg

FROM THERE, I was off to ATLANTA for an assignment. It gave me the opportunity to hang out with my nephew, who I call Noot, who is a freshman at Morehouse College (www.morehouse.edu). He and I hung out on the campus and he, my sister, cousin Floyd, and I enjoyed a nice meal at my favorite (and now my nephew's favorite) HOUSTON'S. I also got the chance to enjoy cocktails at the Omni Hotel with my friends Audrey and Chris -- both of whom (along with my family) have been chronicled in my Georgia entries from Christmas and February (Check out What You've Missed ). 2-18-2007-06.jpg 12-28-2006-02.jpg ATL is ALWAYS a good time for me and I now look forward to my 15-YEAR REUNION from MOREHOUSE which is coming up mid-May ( www.morehouseoldschool.com/1992 ). See our pic from the 10-year reunion. morehousereunion FROM A-T-L, I got the chance to hit BALTIMORE for a few days - again for another assignment. As I do when I'm on the road for work, I try to see my peeps. And I got the chance to spend some quality time with my "Amazing Grace" Lisa Goodnight who drove from her home of Silver Spring, MD to see me at the Intercontinental hotel that sets off of Baltimore's beautiful harbor. (www.harborcourt.com). She and I walked around and grabbed a cocktail or two from various spots before I joined some of my colleagues for dinner at P.F. Changs ( www.pfchangs.com/ ). We considered going out to the club on one of the nights, but fatigue got the best of us. Our server recommended "Grand Central" (www.centralstationpub.com) or "Hippo" ( www.clubhippo.com/index.shtml ). Maybe next time...

While in CHICAGO (on another assignment), however, I accepted just about every invitation that came to me. The National Association of Black Journalists BOARD was meeting in Chicago during the time I was there and I got the chance to hang out with them extensively.  patanditika.jpgMy ITIKA and I went to their reception at CARNIVALE (www.carnivalechicago.com), the restaurant Anthony and I have enjoyed before. [PIX provided by neal@weisenbergphotography.com]. There, anchor for the CBS affiliate in Chicago, Diann Burns and her husband Marc Watts, talent agent, hosted the affair. patanditika2.jpgMany of my brothers and sisters from Chicago journalism were in the house - from reporter/ anchor Dorothy Tucker to managing editor of EBONY Lynn Norment. It's always good to see my NABJ folks. patanddiann.jpgAfterwards, Diann and Marc hosted an after-set at their beautiful Lincoln Park home, which was most palatial. Anna Nicole's baby daddy Larry Birkhead who he recently ran into on vacation in the Bahamas. anna nicole.jpg It seems a match made in 'pop culture' heaven and as Birkhead considers his future and the many offers, Marc will advise him accordingly. larry.jpg The next night, NABJ's President Bryan Monroe hosted everyone at his home in Naperville, quite the schlep from the city. But schlep, Itika, her friend Janene, and I did. Bryan was ever the host and even allowed us to listen to "Dreamgirls" as piped from his I-TUNES to his DVR (TIVO)... and of course, we all reflected on our time with Jennifer Hudson back in Indianapolis last summer before her amazing ride. patricksingstohudson.jpg We too are looking forward to May 1st when "Dreamgirls" comes out on DVD. dreamgirlsdvd.jpg

patanddiann2.jpgALSO, while in Chicago, I got to see my Chicago CARL and we had the chance to hang out at his friend Bionce's WGCI networking mixer at SOLO (Solo 1530). TANK was the featured performer. He performed his hits as well as songs from his upcoming 3rd album "Sex, Love & Pain" due out on  May 15th via Blackground Records. The new set will include joints like "Please Don't Go", as well as collaborations with production team The Underdogs(Whitney Houston, Nick Lachey) and Keri Hilson (Britney Spears, Ciara). On the other hand, fans of Tank's songwriting should look out for the next albums by Kelly Rowland (Sony Music), Claudette Ortiz (Interscope Records), Keke Wyatt (TVT Records), Megan Rochell (Def Jam Records), as well as new girlgroups Gyrlfriend (J Records) and LAX (Blackground Records). He writes for them all and - of course - wrote the lion's share of Jamie Foxx's J Records debut. TANK was in fine form (vocally and physically). tank.jpgIt turns out that NEYO was having a listening party for his upcoming album across town at Quantro. Itika was there. She, Carl, and I let SPRING know how happy we are for it to finally have awakened by hanging out beyond our evening appointments. Carl took me to see his friend AJES at his hair salon in Chicago (www.ajessalon.com). I'd heard so much about AJES, it was great to finally meet him. He was a joy and I look forward to more time to hang out in Chicago. His salon is beautiful with gorgeous floral arrangements, exposed brick, multiple stations, etc. ajes.gifAnd he's done the heads of many celebrities who've come through Chicago and beyond. Meanwhile, at one point, Itika and I took my friend Caleb to the Peninsula for drinks (chicago.peninsula.com). We took Caleb and some of our other NABJ folks to a big party at 12 ERIE BALLROOM. We saw lots of folks we know from New York and Chicago as we all danced to the hottest '80s songs around - from Michael Jackson to WHAM!. It was a GREAT night of dancing. Caleb inspired table service and some great champagne at our after-after set, which took place at REDNOFIVE (www.rednofive.com/). I ran into one of my buddies Loucian there. That was cool. We also took in some pre-dawn breakfast from TEMPO (Tempo Cafe). CANU8F3L.jpg

TajEddieGeorgePortraitHirez.jpg_04-18-07_G1_RE6DRJ9By the way, Itika's boyfriend Datari is the executive producer of a new show "I MARRIED A BALLER" which launched this week on TV ONE (www.tvoneonline.com). datari.jpgIt features Miss Taj from R&B group SWV and her husband Eddie George -- Heisman Trophy winner and former Ohio State and NFL running back. The series will run on TV One. In the show, we see Taj running her husband's nonprofit organization, Visions With Infinite Possibilities. We also will see her with SWV as they reunited for some dates. And we see her as mother and stepmother. Datari and his fellow executive producer Shannon J. Love run the ship, which also features the couple bringing up his 10-year-old son, Jaire, from a previous relationship and their 2-year-old son, Eriq. They live in Nashville, where George played with the Tennessee Titans for nine seasons. And they have homes in Columbus and Los Angeles, to which he commutes for his job as an NFL analyst with Fox Sports Net.datarianditika.jpg Itika, Datari, Anthony and I had the chance to holiday last summer in Maui and we experienced an awesome bonding. I wish him well on this show... dataribrianpatant.jpg

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 12:15PM by Registered CommenterTHE LIFE OF RILEY in | CommentsPost a Comment

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