So, there’s nothing like six weeks of steady work in my industry. Twelve weeks is good too. And when creativity and good vibrations are folded in, it’s ON! With all of that in place, I too felt good to be able to take a few days to leave the aforementioned circumstances to return home – just for the weekend – to celebrate my Ant’s birthday. And though I had homework, it was so cool to be able to oversee my long-standing plans to celebrate all things Ant. There was a karaoke party that he requested for he, his friends, fam, co-workers, and I to enjoy… and that we did. It was his fellow co-worker Joi's birthday too - so she shared in the celebration (She is in the audience department for 'The Wendy Williams Show' and Wendy's warm-up). We chose a different spot: KARAOKE TOP TUNES (www.karaoketoptunes.com) and even with some spring fever, I managed to serenade him his favorite tunes – including “This Woman’s Work” (http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/video/video.php?v=390384328736&ref=mf). And he and I did our favorites. Plus, Joe and I did some TV theme songs. But mostly, our guests enjoyed singing all of their songs… and keeping the energy in the room alive. It was so much FUN! See the many pix (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=166054&id=662073736&l=15c9dcddcf).
On Friday, Ern & I took Ant to one of his favorite dining experiences Houston’s in Hackenack, NJ (www.hillstone.com) – some local flavor. And wherever we would go, the servers were happy to provide a little celebratory sweet. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! But Saturday, we went international – EGYPT to be exact to the KING TUT Exhibit which opened that weekend at the Discovery Time Square Exposition (www.discoverytsx.com/exhibitions/kingtut). Our girlfriends Manivone and Cy joined us for the audio tour and 3-D movie. ANT loves all things EGYPT! In fact, his alter ego is AKHENATEN – King Tut and Nefertiti’s son. Given Ant took me to Manila to see Beyonce for my birthday, I figured I'd do a little something - if just virtual. LOL! Someday soon, we'll get there. After that exploration, we went to Cafeteria (www.cafeteriagroup.com). Our girlfriend Cristal was in town from Atlanta. So, she and Ern joined us in the city. Then, we went to our main karaoke spot One 7 (www.karaoke17.com).
And Sunday capped us off on Broadway – where we met – to see Denzel Washington in “August Wilson’s Fences” (www.fencesonbroadway.com). We stumbled into some of our dear friends – including Tracey Moore (http://www.thespiritedactor.com/biography.cfm) from whom Ant recently took some acting lessons. Also, my fellow NABJ (www.nabj.org) buddies Harriette Cole (EBONY’s own – www.johnsonpublishing.com) and Ms. Karyn Collins – founder of the NABJ Arts & Entertainment Task Force (www.karyncollins.com). And Ant and I adore our girlfriend CJ. Well, we too love her husband Herman who brought his sister to the show. And we even got some photo ops with a couple of the cast members Russell Hornsby who I recognized from “Lincoln Heights” and a couple of “Girlfriends” episodes (Toni’s little brother). Also, Stephen McKinley Henderson stopped to greet us; He plays opposite Denzel through most of the production. After Denzel and company did their thing, we joined Charlie T and Danielle who treated us to Ant’s birthday Sunday dinner at Room Service (www.roomservicerestaurant.com). The food is thai. The company was great. And of course, there was another sweet to celebrate it all. We capped the night off with a night cap at El Morocco (www.elmorocconyc.com) before turning in for what was an early Monday morning both ways.
I had to hop on a plane back to Chicago to wrap up this six-week project. And of course, with the work days, I got to continue my taste through Chicago each night:
On Monday, Rockit Bar & Grill was our backdrop for dinner and drinks (www.rockitbarandgrill.com). This, for Itika’s SCENE blog on www.cheekychicago.com. Though out of salmon (due to the Island volcano eruption, we're told), we enjoyed the company with several of her friends – including my Morehouse brothers, Dell & Corey. Afterwards, Carl & I did an encore appearance at REPUBLIC for the drag show. This, while missing the season finale of RUPAUL's DRAG RACE! But now I know that TYRA – the other TYRA - SANCHEZ won… and I got to see it on a VH-1 re-airing! JOB WELL DONE!
On Tuesday: After a busy day of work on Tuesday in Chicago, Chicago Carl took me to Adobo Grill (www.adobogrill.com/) for some delicious Mexican cuisine. We were joined by Vince who joined me in an impromptu concert culled from our "favorite" Jennifer Holliday. We sang a cappella. And we mostly pulled from her repertoire - the early years: songs from her Maurice-White produced debut album "Feel My Soul": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6g_rf73TpU and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgO6hte-wqw.
On Wednesday, my Morehouse BFF Eddie joined me for dinner. We did prime rib and jazz at BANDERA restaurant (www.hillstone.com) – our take two in as many weeks. But they were out of prime rib last week.
And last night, on the eve of my Chicago departure, my Itika orchestrated a little agenda for us. She took me to an independent film premiere Black Butterfly (www.blackbutterflymovie.com). There were elements to this film that were truly endearing. Other parts uneven. But overall, we really enjoyed the evening. And Itika and I love to experience the triumph of independent filmmakers - bringing their labor of love to life. Afterwards, we met up with Chi Carl at Market (www.marketbarchicago.com) to toast our great time in Chi. Then, my NABJ mentee Danyella (who worked with me on "Monica: Still Standing" & "Frankie & Neffe") and her beau Jason - also an emerging journalist and member of NABJ - joined us. And we had a GREAT NIGHT!
TODAY… I’m wrapping up the project… and getting ready to head back to NYC… and I’m poised for WHAT’S NEXT? No answers yet. But I have a little window to breathe as these next few checks trickle out over the next month or so. Will work for FOOD! SMILE! And I am TRUSTING my next rung of ABUNDANCE to be right around the BEND as I manage this current revenue stream delicately.
By the way: Not my happiest holiday (if not my least happiest), but MOTHER’S DAY is upon us… and there’s a SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY EVENT WITH ALVIN AILEY AT NJPAC that you should check out: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2010/4/29/special-mothers-day-event-with-alvin-ailey-at-njpac.html Tell them I sent you!