One of my best friends from Morehouse Michael K. Watts celebrated another year of life this past weekend. In the spirit of Anthony's and my most recent birthday celebrations, he went with a weekend of "hangin' out" that freed anyone to join him at anytime. Because it was also PRIDE weekend for the LGBTQ Communities (www.nycpride.org/), we were all celebrating BIRTH to THE LIFE - on some level.
On Friday, I got the chance to reconnect to my "Amazing Grace" Nichole, who'd spent the prior week in Jamaica. Since we can so often be attached at the hip, we yearn to see each other again when we return from our respective travels. We did what has become our spot of the season: Cafeteria (alfresco-style) [www.cafeteriagroup.com]. After his workout, Anthony joined us. From there, we enjoyed a happy hour (and more food) from Bone Lick Park in the Village on Greenwich Avenue. From there, Nichole bid the night farewell and went home. She dropped Anthony and me off to Starbucks to meet with Michael to have a pre-late-dinner coffee (and get our energy back). Michael also shared with us his good news that he's launched: LIVE! FROM FRONT ROW, an e-newsletter (soon-to-be website) in which he will share concert reviews and all sorts of music news. He shares them now via e-mail and those of us in his circle LOVE to hear his take on a show. If I'm at the show with him, I'm pleasantly reminded. If I'm not there, I feel like I am there through Michael's vivid and detailed writing style. Stay tuned... and CONGRATS MICHAEL!
From there, we joined Michael's friends Scott and Tony, a couple out of Los Angeles. Scott was in town for the Blaque and White Ball (http://www.gmhc.org/calendar/2007/blaqueheat07.html), a benefit his boss Sheryl Lee Ralph (the "original" Deena in Broadway's "Dreamgirls") was hosting. As the Project Coordinator for ALL THINGS SHERYL LEE RALPH, I should shout her out here: HEY!!!!! And alert you to find out more about her traveling one-woman-show "SOMETIMES I CRY: The loves, lives, and losses of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS" which she also wrote (www.SometimesICry.org). And find out about all she's doing, including her popular franchise "DIVAS: SIMPLY SINGING" which too benefits AIDS causes (www.SherylLeeRalph.com).
Though we were all gathering in Michael's honor (at Sushi Samba [www.sushisamba.com/]), the gift was really Anthony's and mine as we got to not only celebrate ALL THINGS MICHAEL, but we got the opportunity to meet another couple, which is always a blessing in our world. Since Scott and Tony were scheduled to be in town through the rest of PRIDE weekend, we found several opportunities to hang out up until the hour they were to depart for the airport.On the following night, we went to COMIX, a comedy club, for the Wendy Williams Experience (http://www.comixny.com/event.aspx?eid=180). COMIX is in the Village and this midnight show complimented PRIDE weekend just lovely. We had a great meal, drinks, and dessert. And got to see MISS WENDY in all of her glory, but the handful of comedians they provided us too entertained with fresh and cutting-edge humor. It was the perfect double-date as Anthony and Scott met us with their N bags (
We ended up back in the city a couple of hours later than we had planned. Our nap turned into a decent night's sleep (or morning's sleep). We did pick back up with Scott and Tony at Voyage, Anthony's friend Marcos' spot where we always enjoy a good rum punch. Voyage - right in the heart of the West Village - would end up being our headquarters for the day. Here, I found out that - like me - Tony is a big collector of "vinyl". If we'd had more time, we would have gone to my two favorite vinyl record stores "Disco Rama" (www.discorama.com) and "Record Runner" (recordrunnerusa.com/). But time ran out. It didn't stop us from talking about different albums and singles that we've loved from "back in the day". When Tony found out I was a Diana Ross fan, he asked if I had played 1977s "Baby, It's Me" for Anthony yet. I haven't, but it too is one of my favorites as the Richard-Perry-produced project (http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Its-Me-Diana-Ross/dp/B000008K89) got lost on the charts (modest showings) and dwarfed by the subsequent release: "The Boss". But like Tony, it is - hands down - one of my favorite Ross collections. I actually have a Japanese import of it on CD which knocked Tony out. We sang "Confide in Me"; "Gettin' Ready for Love"; and "Top of the World" in the streets. WHAT????
We all enjoyed an additional Michael K. Watts'-themed meal at Cowgirls (http://cowgirlnyc.com/menu_dinner.html) about which I boasted passionately on its corndog. When we got there, I grew nervous when Scott and Tony took my recommendation seriously and ordered not only the corndogs, but my other recommendation: the catfish fingers. Fortunately, they LOVED both items... and we were all good.
From there, we went back to Voyage before closing out our night at The Ritz where we saw many of our friends who we'd not seen in the course of the weekend. Though Jason and Marqice are our favorite couple, we never got the chance to see them. We were always on different sides of town at different times and just couldn't land our celebration with them. Next time, guys.
Meanwhile, it was great to spend the weekend with Michael during his birthday. (Of course, his EXTRAVAGANZA will continue through July. SMILE!). We loved meeting Scott and Tony, and look forward to more "double dates". And what a blessing it was for Anthony and me to be celebrating PRIDE together for the first time. IT'S A NEW DAY!!!!!!
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