On the heels of my week away in Chicago, I made it home in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Ant, but not before letting the muse of ‘pop culture and possibilities’ rear their respective heads. A few days prior, Anthony sent me a craigslist ( www.craigslist.org/ ) ad regarding TV Game Show “Million Dollar Password”, which is scheduled to return to the airwaves on CBS later this year ( www.cbs.com/primetime/million_dollar_password/ ). I wasn’t exactly sure what he was thinking in sending this to me as Regis Philbin (www. bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/regisandkelly/index.html ) was already attached as the HOST (though I’ve always felt I would make a good host on a TV game show). Reading further, I saw that it was an open call audition for contestants. Ant knew that I grew up on TV game shows (and soaps) with my family. I’ve even referenced that here in ‘A Day in the Life of Riley’ (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/5/22/pop-up-media.html). At closer inspection, I thought: “It could be $1,000,000!!!” I thought further: “I used to do well at PASSWORD but also do well at board games like TABOO and GUESSTURES”. I got out of my own way and replied to the notice. The casting folks responded that they’d like me to come in. Ironically, it was held at the “Maury” studios ( www.mauryshow.com/ ) near the Madison Square Garden ( www.thegarden.com/ ). Ironic because this is where I shot my “Geek 2.0” makeovers at the top of the year for the 2nd season of “The Hugh Thompson Show” (www. techchannel.att.com/ ). Was this a sign? And though this was Valentine’s Day, Ant and I decided we’d head into the city – so I could handle this business towards getting one step closer to my millions. Well, as I walked through the front door of the studio, Maury Povich was coming out from his long day of work. Since others were huddling around him for pix, I figured I’d get one for the blog. Coupled with the synergy of having taped some of my own on-camera magic in this very studio, "There's Maury!". The audition went well. I felt comfortable with the rules and the pacing of the game, which I hadn’t played in a long time. I did – however – pop over to “You Tube” to see some old episodes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCFOCdwLcGw. I didn’t get the indication of whether I’d get a callback or not, but I felt good. I proceeded across the street to meet Ant at “Fat Annie’s Truck Stop” (www.fatanniestruckstop.com) where he was holding court with bartender Natalie. I let them in on the ‘good’ news (that it went well) and Ant and I posed for our “Valentine’s Day” pic. “FATS” was not the location for our romantic dinner. We made good on a $100 gift card my friend Bonnie gave me late last year for BR Guest Restaurants ( www.brguestrestaurants.com/ ). Our favorite of the bunch is “Isabella” on the Upper Westside of Manhattan where our friend Lisa Curry is the General Manager. She always accommodates us with a great table and other special accoutrements as we always enjoy our dining experiences at these BR Guest restaurants. Though we were a bit disappointed that our “peppercorn” steak dish is no longer on the menu, we found some suitable substitutes and kept our night moving. From there, we came home to enjoy an early night in – including the “NAACP Image Awards”, which were on LIVE that night ( www.naacpimageawards.net/ ). Ant called them the “NAACP-T” (colored-people-time) awards as it seemed that there were many holes in the production, including perhaps “a missing stage manager” or “director”? This, because the show started before Kirk Franklin knew to get on with it. Host D.L. Hughley found himself lost in his teleprompter and not given cues for certain presentations. We also observed the degree to which our “American Idol” Jordin Sparks ( www.jordinsparks.com/ ) looks like “Ugly Betty” star America Rivera (www. abc.go.com/primetime/uglybetty/index.html ). Kinda’ like the Black/Latino synergy of Beyonce and Shakira.
One shining (albeit curious) moment featured Janet Jackson receiving the “Best Supporting Actress” award for “Why Did I Get Married?” [www.whydidigetmarriedthemovie.com] (over Oscar-nominee “Ruby Dee” for “American Gangster”). This is Miss Jackson’s first acting prize. All are a buzz as Miss Jackson readies to release her new project “Discipline” ( www.janet-world.de/ ). She’s getting lots of press – including an “Advcoate” article ( www.advocate.com/ ) – in which she says: "Diana (Ross) held the door open long enough and wide enough for me to come through." Anthony and I even went to Nathan Hale Williams’ birthday set ( www.nathanhalewilliams.com/ ) at Club Rush. He had VIP tix for Janet Jackson’s GMA concert (www. abcnews.go.com/gma ). It looks like Ant and I will get up bright and early to experience more of the magic that Janet has to offer the world. It’s an exciting time.
I ended up having to miss one of my friend Ern’s birthday celebrations as I got an 11th hour assignment (Quality work is coming in quite steadily and I am blessed to actually have choices in what I can and cannot accept). This dispatch required I fly into Lebanon, New Hampshire. From there, I had to call “Mom” at “P&Ps Twin State Taxi” (owned by Mom’s son) to get to my destination - an interview at “The Woodstock Inn” ( www.woodstockinn.com/ ), a wonderful ski resort for family. It was once a Rockefeller estate. The town is chockfull of Main-Street charm a la Americana. I felt like I was inside of a Norman Rockwell painting ( www.normanrockwell.com/ ). I went about buying Ern some lovely folk art from The Yankee Bookshop ( www.yankeebookshop.com ). Upon my return to New Jersey, Ern, Ant, Tata, Jules, and I celebrated Ern’s birthday at “Houston’s” ( www.hillstone.com/ ).
I ended up having to go to Warwick, Rhode Island earlier this week for an assignment. While there, I got word from TV Game Show “Million Dollar Password” that I got a callback and they wanted me to come and do some more practice rounds in front of the show and network’s executives ( www.cbs.com/primetime/million_dollar_password/ ). Additionally, they noted that those they are calling back are “great television”. This truly is an era of my career and life, where I am – for sure – interested in maintaining my bliss by working hard and creatively on projects that mean something to me and make a difference for others. Also, I want to make more and work less. And I would like to be paid to BE (and most of who I “BE” is in the context of ‘pop culture’ and ‘possibilities’). With that, if I’m chosen to compete on the show (and I win), it further corroborates my calling. But even if I’m not chosen or if I don’t win, this journey (and all that it represents to my abundant future) is such a blast!!!!!
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