Ant’s and my weekend in Detroit was a hard act to follow, but follow it we have. From an early celebration of Ant’s BIG 3-0...   to the affordable escape of the Universoul Circus (www.universoulcircus.com/)...   to a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” sighting (www.logoonline.com/shows/dyn/rupauls_drag_race/videos.jhtml), it’s been a time. A good time, actually (butt-kicking economy notwithstanding).

“There's only two types of people in the world
The ones that entertain and the ones that observe...”



I’ve told you ladies about my good girlfriend from Dallas, Mrs. Patrice (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/9/27/is-that-me-i-dont-recognize.html). And through Patrice, we met Delecia, who has visited with us here in New York City a time or two (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/9/11/i-look-back-on-all-those-good-times.html). She came down from D.C. where she now lives. Patrice, Ern, and I always have such a great time together – from our travels to Martha’s Vineyard to their ski trips to our visits to each others’ respective homes. Delecia, who we met at Patrice’s wedding, continues to be a part of the fun as well. Ern was delayed with appointments – so I picked Patrice up from the airport before we snatched Delecia up from NYC Penn Station. The ladies and I hooked up with Ant and Ern for a day of cocktails and a rare visit to our favorite restaurant Houston’s (www.hillstone.com/). Then, we did a quick drive by Bergen County’s newly renovated pride-and-joy Century 21 (www.bergenmallonline.com). This, before the girls needed a cat nap. Ant and I – however – had to hightail it to Brooklyn for our good girlfriend Jonna’s birthday party which used the naturally-lit loft space of her friends John and Jared to unveil her new paintings (www.jonnatwigg.com/). HAPPY BIRTHDAY JONNA! Then, after our guests received their beauty rest, Ant and I joined them at The Empire Hotel’s Rooftop Lounge (www.empirehotelnyc.com/) across from Lincoln Center where last I attended a party for Miss Sandra Lee (www.semihomemade.com/). (I also recently interviewed Fran Drescher in a suite there). From there, we went to one of Patrice’s haunts Tao (www.taorestaurant.com) for an assortment of sweet-and-tart thirst-quenchers which – as always – got us to running our mouths about all things controversial and grown-&-sexy. Then, a late night bite at one of our favorite diners The Red Oak (www.redoakdiner.com/) in Fort Lee, NJ across from what was once my place of employment CNBC (www.cnbc.com/).


”...Well baby, I'm a put-on-a-show kind of girl
Don't like the backseat, gotta be first...”

The next day, the girls, guys, and I did bottomless mimosas at HK – just catty-corner from NYC’s Port Authority (www.hkhellskitchen.com). We ate some delicious meals as well. From there, we made sure Delecia (with whom I would have another chance to hang later in the week) got to her train to get back to D.C. Then, we walked to The Playwright Horizons Theater (www.playwrighthorizons.org) to see our girlfriend LaChanze in “Inked Baby”. A group of 30+ joined Ant and me for this special evening of NYC culture that was followed by a meet-and-greet with the show’s star. LaChanze agreed to join us at West Bank Café (www.westbankcafe.com/). She generously posed for pictures and shared ‘tales of LaChanze’ (post-Tony-Award for her life-changing role in Broadway’s “The Color Purple”). One of those tales is an announcement she’s given me permission to share with all of you: She will be playing “Glenda the Good Witch” in Broadway’s revival of “The Wiz” this summer (www.broadway.com/Encores-Plans-Summer-Run-of-The-Wiz/broadway_news/5021972). Of course, I will be all up and through several of those performances. So excited to see LaChanze in this role that Lena Horne brought to the big screen in the film. CONGRATS LACHANZE! It too was great to see LaChanze’s sister Michelle Sapp who shares a light similar to her sister, but on a different stage. Michelle is CEO of MP & Associates which provides professional event management & marketing services (www.mpandassociates.net). She is currently working with the United Way of New Jersey for a Women's Conference (www.uwnj.org/) that will focus on female youths between the ages of 14 - 17. The event will take place later this month at Kean University (www.kean.edu/). The conference will target a minimum of 250 girls from diverse backgrounds including "at risk" female teenagers. Michelle was looking to book the "perfect" keynote speaker to motivate these young women. Well, Michelle came to me for a referral (or two). She went with one of my top referrals: Miss Tracey Moore Marable, dear friend/director/acting coach extraordinaire/all-around spiritual force (www.thespiritedactor.com/) who is making quite a name for herself in the media’s eye these days (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo-ckgXdkU0 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnjxKdIAYt4). Anyone who knows me how much I LOVE SYNERGY! So, I’m thrilled that two of my favorite people are collaborating on a project that is for such a good cause.

”...I'm a like the ringleader, I call the shots
(Call the shots)
I'm like a firecracker I make it hot
When I put on a show...”



Though I didn’t get the chance to celebrate the birthday of my dear friend Kevin-Anthony (www.b2productions.xbuild.com/) who performed at The Triad (www.triadnyc.com/) earlier this week, friend and VP of Media Relations for 2Rs Entertainment & Media’s Ra-Fael Blanco (www.myspace.com/2rsentertainmentandmedia and www.2RSENTANDMEDIA.com) made it possible for me to give Kevin-Anthony (left) some sugar as he and another favorite Karu Daniels (www.blackvoices.com/blogs/bloggers/karu-f-daniels) attended  party for multi-award-winning Broadway star and now-R&B recording artist Chester Gregory (www.ChesterGregory.com). He was celebrating the release of his debut album "In Search of High Love" at BAR 41 @ Times Square. Too, his music video was unveiled to the masses. Chester is such a talented man. I came with Ant and his “Amazing Grace” Manivone (who was hot off a plane from Puerto Rico). Our buddy Theo – publicist with the most – sponsored the rounds that weren’t built into our V-I-P status that Ra-Fael always makes sure is present for me. (Theo even bought a post-party round of frozen drinks at our BBQ - www.bbqnyc.com/). Too, it was good to hear the news from our buddies’ Troy and Darryl (www.BanginAssArtists.com) who are beginning to present intimate evenings of song with unheralded, underground artists who are – what they deem – Bangin’ Ass Artists. Their first: Abby Dobson (www.abbydobson.com/) who will share her soulful mix of jazz and R&B in an acoustic set at AJA (www.aja-asianbistro.com/) where we celebrated Ant’s birthday – in part - last year. And it’s always great to see my favorite usual suspects including pop/R&B Group THA HEIGHTS (www.thaheights.com/); male supermodel MIGUEL PERDOMO – always the sweetest (and the cutest); model CHRISTINA MENDEZ; actresses MEAH PACE and NICOLE ALLEN; Publisher of Bleu Magazine DE'VON CHRISTOPHER; etc. For more access to Chester Gregory’s work, you can download "I ONLY HAVE EYES 4 U" via http://www.zshare.net/audio/557184312fa21965/ and you can download “SEARCH IN" via http://www.zshare.net/audio/55718637b190188f/ and 2R's Artist Page is at http://www.2rsentandmedia.com/artists/chester2/chester.html.

”...I feel the adrenaline moving through my veins
Spotlight on me and I'm ready to break...”



I mentioned my good girlfriend Shaun Robinson (www.shaunrobinson.com) and her new book "Exactly As I Am". Well, Shaun’s cousin happens to be a dear friend of mine Robin Stone who shares a birthday with me and shared her beautiful Harlem home with Shaun and a wonderful group of NYC tastemakers. Shaun’s Detroit native father even flew in from Motown for the occasion - waxing his brand of progressive wisdom and history to Ant and me. The book is about 'Girls and Self-Esteem' and features the diverse voices of many dynamic women including Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Eva Mendes, Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys, Sharon Stone, Queen Latifah, and so many more. The party brought out some movers and shakers in the their own right – including a blast from my past Sana Butler with whom I used to work at CNBC years ago. Sana is now an author in her own right of “Sugar of the Crop: My Journey To Find The Children Of Slaves”, which is a collection of narratives that stems out of Sana’s search for the last surviving children of slaves. It’s so well written and way compelling. I’m thrilled that my friend Ike brought her back to me. Also in attendance: Co-host of the night (with Robin), my fellow and favorite journalists Patrik Henry Bass – Senior Editor at ESSENCE Magazine (www.essence.com) and his ESSENCE colleague Jenisha Watts attended as well. She's at the on-line companion to the magazine; Jacque Reid (www.jacquereid.com/); Constance White (www.ebay.com/personalstyle); and a host of my other buddies – from Miss Katti Gray (www.kattigray.com) to Lisa Herndon and on and on and on...CONGRATS TO SHAUN on her inspiring new tome: (http://www.amazon.com/Exactly-As-Am-Celebrated-Yourself/dp/0345511956/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234764505&sr=1-1). She is an example of a class and presence that can sometimes be missing from our industry. Though she is promoting a book, I was taken by how present she was to ensure that all her people were in attendance at these book sets (including herself going the extra mile to email her close folks and make sure they got the information they needed to attend.) Even I - with the blog (for example) - can sometimes be so busy that my blasts don't go out comprehensively (and those readers I have will wonder what happened - even taking it personally). I - of course - ask that they charge it to overwhelm and not my heart. Some folks, on the other hand, can be interestingly available when they need something from you and curiously missing-in-action when they reach a certain level. It is what it is as our industry goes, but I want to make sure I celebrate those who - by results - show up connected and approachable at all times (even when it's clearly a busy time). We all have them.  

”...I'm like a performer, the dancefloor is my stage
Better be ready, hope that you feel the same...”

Shaun invited me to a party that L.A. Reid and his wife Erica were throwing the next night. This posh set was attended by – I understand – some great NYC folks I'm used to seeing socially here in The Big Apple like Al Roker and his wife Deborah Roberts; Shaun's fellow Detroiters - from Veronica Webb and Crystal McCrary Anthony... to Mr. Ed Gordon; however, I had a prior commitment that prevented me from attending. LIVE OUT LOUD – an awesome mentoring organization for LGBTQ youth – is an organization for which I’ve been a patron and active participant for several years now (www.liveoutloud.info). You’ll recall, a speech I did last year in Brooklyn (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/5/20/a-reversal-of-mendacity.html). Well, this go around, I was asked to moderate “Out In The Arts” at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn (www.pratt.edu/). The panelists were most esteemed: Lola Flash, Fine Art Photographer (www.lolaflash.com/); Renaldo Barnette, Creative Consultant, Lauren Dresses (www.ralphlauren.com/); Michael Cooper, President, Point C Studios (www.pointcstudios.com/); Robert Farrell, Interior Designer (www.rbf-ltdc.ipower.com/); Sam McConnell, Filmmaker, owner of McConnell/Hauser Productions (www.manta.com/coms2/dnbcompany_j66l90). After we all waxed philosophical about how we’ve managed to navigate in our respective disciplines with a firm sense of self and who we are (as gay men and women), I had to get on a train to D.C. for some business. (By the way LIVE OUT LOUD is hosting its annual scholarship/fundraising gala on April 27th. If you're in NYC, check out www.liveoutloud.info. It's always a good time and they have the best silent auction items). I got the chance to meet with some of my colleagues in The National Association of Black Journalists (www.nabj.org) which is always a good mix of working hard and playing hard. My lovely Angela Robinson was among a group of folks I hold near and dear. As I am working hard to hold my career afloat, it was great to bounce ideas and emotions off of folks like Angela, Lecia; Bonnie, Russell; Brian; and Ryan and Irving – folks I consider family, my industry family who too are on their respective surfboards - wading through these tempestuous waters known as our careers or our industry. Angela – by the way - got dubbed “Mary Wilson” for the weekend to my “Diana Ross”. Long inside story... but it provided levity to a busy weekend of duty and focus. Angela is truly a force with which to be reckoned in our TV business and a hoot of a good time - www.aabj.org/In_Contact_Intro.html).Kim Betton proved a delight as we shared all things social networking – including her fab site on jazz music – www.crescendojazz.com (We even had a “Cindy” – as in Birdsong. Her real name was Jackie. And there was "(Marcus) & the Vandellas". Too, "Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles" in the house too. Yes, we were all in character. But  what fun!) Also, my dear Delecia resurfaced (with her Denver-based buddy Leslie). The ladies picked me up from my fab, boutique hotel Rouge (which boasted all things RED – from pens to wall treatments to the complimentary wine in the lobby for happy hour) - www.rougehotel.com. This too is where I also got the chance to catch up with one of my dearest “Amazing Graces” Lisa Goodnight who I have missed desperately since she left New Jersey some five years ago. Delecia and Leslie took me to Banana Leaves (www.mybananaleaves.com) and a cool Greek tapas spot Zaytinya (www.zaytinya.com/) that boasts a cocktail called “The Immortal” featuring honey vodka and a slew of other undetectables. Fortunately, I didn’t have a hangover the next morning as that night, I had the luxury of reconnecting to all the girls again. They joined my colleagues and me at Alero Restaurant (www.alerorestaurant.com/) where we partook of contemporary Mexican cuisine. After that, we popped by night spot Jin (www.jindc.com) for bottle service and dancing. My Lisa Goodnight continued to hang into the night with me – even securing me a chili half-smoke (or two) at world-famous Ben’s Chili Bowl (www.benschilibowl.com/). Great stuff. This, after NABJ buddy Brentin Mock (www.prospect.org) – a brilliant writer - took us to a house party with some folks who write for “The Root” (www.theroot.com). On Sunday, one of my best friends and “Amazing Graces” since 1982, Tish, came and picked me up from the hotel to take me to her place. Then, she sponsored dinner at the elegantly-appointed B. Smith Restaurant (www.bsmith.com/). Though not in attendance on this day, I took a picture with a picture of B. Smith and ‘original Supreme’ Mary Wilson – for kicks. (Hi Angela Robinson! SMILE!). Also, Tish and I happened upon a small world. As she and I were dining, in walks her dear family friend Davida who is the oldest sister of a Savannah classmate of ours Lori (who provided all the karaoke at our 20-year high school reunion last year - http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/6/17/someday-well-be-together-we-still-together-kinda.html). We were excited to be running into our Savannah folks in a place removed from where they currently live (I think they are in North Carolina) and where I currently live - that Tish and I just - in the 11th hour - made the decision at which to eat. No coincidences, huh? And hey! We're all from Savannah - so it's clear we wanted to get our fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread dressing ON for Palm Sunday. Tish capped off my special weekend in D.C. with just the right dosage of love power that I needed to keep going. THANKS TISH AND ALL MY SINGLE LADIES!

”...All eyes on me in the center of the ring just like a circus
When I crack that whip, everybody gon' trip just like a circus...”

The other night, my dear friend Renea with whom I did all of my MOMENTUM EDUCATION (www.momentumeducation.com) trainings (along with many others) introduced me to John Castagnini (www.johncastagnini.com/) – publisher of a compelling series of books “THANK GOD I...: Stories of Inspiration for Every Situation” (Limited Edition).

It explores being grateful for the worst that life has to offer towards moving through the negativity to a brighter, loving, more inspired life. My kind of content (Favorite genre of book next to celebrity bio).

Well, after a delectable dinner of roasted Portabello mushrooms and a shockingly tasty shredded artichoke/crab dish at Bianca’s in the East Village with Renea, John, and John’s wife Dina Dillon Castagnini, I joined my Morehouse brother Mario (per his nudging) at Chelsea spot 'g'... and who walks in? MISS REBECCA - 3rd place drag on Rupaul's weekly race won ultimately by MISS BEBE (www.logoonline.com/shows/dyn/rupauls_drag_race/videos.jhtml).

And "he" was cute as a button - sporting the most kempt and curliest of silky, dark brown locks that would make Shirley Temple proud. The children at large weren't checking for ‘her’ but I approached for blog photo-op. She graciously agreed. To ensure she wouldn't punctuate our exchange with any "oh-no-more-autographs-please" shade, I spoke her name and lifted her up with words of pride and encouragement.

It inspired her to give me some sugah before I returned to my "margarita on the rocks, cuervo, no salt". But props to BEBE for being the FIERCEST OF THEM ALL!!!!!

All in a NEW YORK CITY evening: EXTRAVAGANZA! ELEGANZA! Also in attendance, my dear friend Derrick Briggs whose new movie "FINDING ME" is finally premiering next week in New York City for one night only before coming out on DVD.Atlanta. Details to come at a later date.). I’ve mentioned the project before: WWW.THANKS4FINDINGME.COM.

Ant and I were invited (He may attend in my absence as I prepare to leave for a five-week stint in

I even posed with the cast last summer at an event.

From first-time Haitian-American filmmaker Roger Omeus, Jr., comes this inspiring story self-acceptance and self-love. It poses the question, "What am I doing with my life?" Faybien Allen (Ray Martell Moore) begins his journey with this question and it defines every decision he makes. This young gay man world is defined by a homophobic father and a colorful cast of friends who he realizes are as flawed as he feels.

However, when Faybien meets a man that proves there is life after 'coming out' it is revealed to him that he is worthy of love, respect, and happiness. His self-hate, love and relationships collide in a dramatic resolution that will leave him forever changed and reborn. CONGRATS DERRICK BRIGGS! (www.youtube.com/dlbbco) Keep doing your thing, my brother!


 ”... Don't stand there watching me, follow me, show me what you can do
Everybody let go, we can make a dancefloor just like a circus...”
From Miss BeBe (as in ‘Cameroon’ from Rupaul’s Drag Race) to Jill Scott’s new HBO show “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” (www.hbo.com/no1ladiesdetectiveagency/), Ant and I have been surrounded by contemporary-yet-historical-and-often-irreverent interpretations of African culture. Our Marcia Pendelton (www.walktallgirlproductions.com/) who keeps us in the seats of Broadway’s greatest works introduced a side of Africa we’ve not seen explored so candidly yet pivotally. Nationally acclaimed Brooklyn-based playwright LYNN NOTTAGE’s current project “RUINED” (www.NYCityCenter.org/Ruined) is the story of Mama Nadi who runs a whorehouse in today's raging and restless Democratic Republic of the Congo. The plot underscores some horrific realities of the men and the women who spend much of their time inside of a seemingly senseless conflict. Still, there were laughs and many-a-heartbreak. We shared an audience with Mr. Big-Brother-Almighty himself Giancarlo Esposito. Also, sitting next to us, my friend Kevin Powell (www.kevinpowell.net/).


”...There's only two types of guys out there
Ones that can hang with me and ones that are scared...”

I got an invitation from friend/marketing/networking guru Pam Pickens (www.blackdiamondsnyc.com/about_faces.htm). She is working on a campaign to promote Universoul Circus here in NYC (www.universoulcircus.com/). She invited me to come and attend the show towards a blog entry. Well, here goes. Firstly, I was first introduced to the Universoul Circus about a decade ago when I sat on the Board for NABJ (www.nabj.org). My good girlfriend Paula Witt – communications director for the circus at the time – enrolled Universoul in co-sponsoring our Brooklyn-based regional conference in addition to providing an enjoyable evening of entertainment for my registrants. Since that time, Paula left Universoul for Shore Fire Media and a now-independent career that brings her back into the Universoul-Circus fold from time to time. Imagine her excitement when she saw me on the list of bloggers to attend tonight. Imagine my elation when I got the chance to reconnect with “my old friend” from back in the day. I LOVE PAULA SO MUCH! And I LOVE THE UNIVERSOUL CIRCUS! You must get out and catch it! Ant and I secured an extra pair of tickets for his cousin Shantay and her lovely daughter Makayla who seemed to really enjoy the Chinese Foot Juggles from Shandoong, China. The publicity folks and staff arranged for us to take a tour "back stage". We also got to interview a variety of performers pre-show. Then obviously, we got to enjoy the show. The circus boasted its first woman ringmaster Patrice Lovely (as “Maggie Shirley Lillie Mae Frances Upshaw Jenkins”). Fode Sylla (from Conakry, Guinea. West Africa.) did a James Brown with Atlanta-based go-go dancers Monica Nobles and Jessica Brundidge as his bookends. They performed an old-school-style number with hip hop appeal. Also from Conakry, we got to meet Maria Soumah who is a 'rough rider'. She is the only woman to hang from the horse as her head lies beneath the animal’s belly. And then there were my favorite moments: The Soul Train Line and Platinum Couples – a scene in which two couples (one ‘new school’; one ‘old school’) ‘LIPSYNC FOR THEIR LIVES’! The audience really loved the old schoolers who did their thing! Throw in some well-salted-and-buttered popcorn, a funnel cake, and a Pepsi (oh, a lion, tiger, and bear along with my friend Nekesa Moody from the Associated Press and the NABJ A&E Task Force), you have what amounted to the most light-hearted, childlike fun I’ve had in a long time (maybe since my last trip to Six Flags Great Adventure minus a 1/10 of the overcharges). During these economically challenging times, the Universoul Circus is - for sure - something the whole family can do without breaking the bank (which is already broken for the many fiscal woes in our society today). Check out the UniverSoul Circus blog: http://www.usoulblog.com. For deeper access to stats, go to: http://usoulblog.com/blogger-resource-page/ And check out the FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/UniverSoul-Circus/64835034103

”...So baby, I hope that you came prepared..."

Another film “American Violet” (www.americanviolet.com) is coming out. I wasn’t able to attend a private screening of it earlier this week, but my friend Jackie Bazan (www.bazanpr.com) is working the publicity on it. She always brings us the great films to NABJ. We're in Tampa this year and working on something that will hopefully bring Jill Scott's HBO star Anika Noni-Rose to our convention for me to interview her and her to tell us all about her animated Disney debut "The Princess and The Frog" (www.disney.go.com/disneypictures/princessandthefrog/) - a clip of which follows:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0j7EactM9s. We've met a time or many - so I think we'd have lots of fun. Planners want to create some magic similar to when I interviewed Jennifer Hudson a few years back before "Dreamgirls". Also, the Disney folks are aiming for similar energy as we achieved when I interviewed Steve Harvey and several 'dream'-makers in Vegas. Hopefully it will all come together and make everyone happy (We'll have to make sure it's recorded this time). Meanwhile, one synopsis for "American Violet" reads as follows: Based on true events in the midst of the 2000 election, AMERICAN VIOLET tells the astonishing story of Dee Roberts (itically hailed newcomer Nicole Beharie), a 24 year-old African American single mother of four young girls living in a small Texas town who is barely making ends meet on a waitress' salary and government subsidies. On an early November morning while Dee works a shift at the local diner, the powerful local district attorney (Academy Award nominee Michael O'Keefe) leads an extensive drug bust, sweeping her Arlington Springs housing project with military precision. Police drag Dee from work in handcuffs, dumping her in the squalor of the women's county prison. Indicted based on the uncorroborated word of a single and dubious police informant facing his own drug charges, Dee soon discovers she has been charged as a drug dealer. Even though Dee has no prior drug record and no drugs were found on her in the raid or any subsequent searches, she is offered a hellish choice: plead guilty and go home as a convicted felon or remain in prison and fight the charges thus, jeopardizing her custody and risking a long prison sentence. Despite the urgings of her mother (Academy Award nominee Are Woodard), and with her freedom and the custody of her children at stake, she chooses to fight the district attorney and the unyielding iminal justice system he represents. Joined in an unlikely alliance with an ACLU attorney (Tim Blake Nelson) and former local narcotics officer (Will Patton), Dee risks everything in a battle that forever changes her life and the Texas justice system. AMERICAN VIOLET also stars Emmy Award winner Charles S. Dutton and Xzibit.

"...I run a tight ship so beware...”

Ant and I have done four years of his birthday (and four of mine). Nothing tops him taking me to Manila to see Beyonce for my birthday in November 2008. But I've done my share to make sure he knows ceremoniously how much he is loved. For his 27th, we did a weekend-long extravaganza - including cake, cocktails, and the club. (For an unprecedented gathering, my 'original Amazing Grace' Natalie and her husband Dwayne flew up from Atlanta while our Patrice and her husband Keron came up from Dallas to take part in the festivities). Then, in 2007, we went back to where we first met - "The Color Purple" along with some other cool runnings.  Last year, Ant's friend Chris joined us from North Carolina. We enjoyed a casual round-up of saki and brownies and museum visits. But now, my baby Ant is turning the BIG 3-0 on April 22nd. Since I’m leaving town for a month, he wanted to have his birthday celebration precede my departure. This, so we can share in the landmark celebration together. (We’re hoping to uncover a day or few that he can come to Atlanta and we celebrate his birthday further. But we'll see. He’s got work projects and freelance field shoots that are popping in as we both aim to stay afloat amidst this here economy. That said, I’m looking at some busy days ahead myself.). But our thoughts were all on Ant as Brooklyn was the backdrop of his party. Inside of our fiscal snapshot, Ant’s aunt Linda generously provided the lovely venue in the Red Hook area. My Morehouse brother (responsible for Ant and my meeting three years ago) prepared a lovely melange of food - from shrimp potstickers to spring rolls to succulently seasoned chicken on skewers, etc. Ern managed the bar. My buddy Lamar with whom we worked last year on a Remy Martin campaign (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/2/2/beautiful-struggle.html) provided some solid spirits to keep the night going (www.remy-cointreau.com/). Last year, I interviewed a number of 'maverick tastemakers' on their thoughts of the limited edition bottle that David LaChappelle designed for the brand.  And for those who don’t drink VSOP, there was one of REMY's champagne products. Moreover, Ant cleverly themed the night out as a B.Y.O.B. – inspiring a speakeasy and an assortment of liquor bottles to use as props for a creative project. Think of it as a liquor potluck with lots of great friends and energy in the room. He gathered a unique collection of bottles that will be used as art (after they're emptied out). But the ART is really MY ANT who – three years – ago took my blank, boring canvas-of-a-life (in the wake of unbearable grief) and he has been painting vibrant color on it ever since. We are the work-in-progress towards a masterpiece. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BABY! And a shout out to all of our friends who came out to play... and play they did - especially on that dancefloor. Our superstar journalist friend Mara Schiavocampo (recently got some hot press: http://ajr.org/Article.asp?id=4735) and her husband Tommie - both busy folks in their own right - took time out of their crazed work schedules to be with us. I was so excited to see my Savannah homeboy Maurice Marable and his friend Karen in the mix - especially on the dancefloor. And everyone - from Tata to Jules to Carl to Wilson to Valente to Ern to Kimberly to Manivone to Dustin to Chris to Cy to Sana to Ike to Chante to Stacey ('Chauncey' - SMILE!) to Cynthia to Lisa to the many others whose names are escaping me now. THANKS for showing ANT the LOVE! 

”...Let's go
Let me see what you can do
I'm runnin' this like-like-like a circus...”

Well, I fly out to ATL first thing tomorrow morning. Sad to leave Ant. Happy to be moving into a new, creative space where a steady stream of revenue can catch me up on mounting debts. I’m back in a month for a month. Then, back again to ATL for another five-week stretch followed by a five-week stint in L.A. There’s a few days of Tampa on my calendar at the top of August as well for the annual NABJ convention for which I have longstanding contract commitments. No Amsterdam on our itinerary yet, though we want to go back (and maybe catch one of Diana Ross' classic Netherlands shows). No Tokyo on our docket just yet as I want to return to my birthplace and experience Japan as an adult. And Ant and I want to see Janet Jackson over there, when she performs again. (Just putting it out there.) But we’ll soon get there... ONE DAY AT A TIME!



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    A Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "... JUST LIKE A CIRCUS..."
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    A Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "... JUST LIKE A CIRCUS..."
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