I love karaoke! You know that, right? http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=390384328736&ref=mf And I love NATIVE Restaurant in HARLEM http://harlemnativenyc.com/! Well, NATIVE has invited me to host an ALL-STAR KARAOKE NIGHT on every Thursday night from 9pm – MIDNIGHT, starting this Thursday, August 26th.






No worries, if you don’t “do” KARAOKE! We have you covered:

·       We’ll be creating a supper-club, open-mic scene by inviting some of New York City’s KARAOKE ALL-STARS to perform their karaoke favorites (along with me) during the first two hours.

·       For any walk-ins (or folks who may need two hours to loosen up a la the bar), we’ll have a few slots available in the third and final hour of the night.

·        ADDITIONALLY, on any given Thursday, some of our AWESOME PRO SINGER friends may pop by and bless us with a song or two.

·       Though this week will include a survey of all music, we will also schedule THEME NIGHTS i.e. MOTOWN, the DIVAS, BROADWAY, 70s FUNK, JAZZ STANDARDS, etc.

If you are among my fellow KARAOKE singers or are just one of NYC’s FINEST SINGERS (and you want to come out and play THIS THURSDAY, AUGUST 26 @ 9PM), please email me privately at patarack@hotmail.com. And LET ME KNOW WHAT FOUR or FIVE SONGS YOU’D LIKE TO SING (so we can pre-program the line-up). This is all for FREE and for FUN… for now! We’re trying this concept on for size and – over the next weeks – will determine what of it works best… and where we may want to grow this special Thursday night in Harlem. And we know there are many GREAT THINGS popping off in New York City on Thursday, so if you’re double or triple booked, please consider rolling through – if just a moment.


WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOU FOLKS COME OUT and experience my special brand of KARAOKE which has had quite a presence in “… the life of Riley…” over these last couple of weeks:

Video 1 - http://www.sendspace.com/file/jne6hv
Video 2 - http://www.sendspace.com/file/9gjz99
Video 3 - http://www.sendspace.com/file/0fg5mk

There was a night Ant and I happened upon “my karaoke pusher men” Dante and Michael – both of whom hipped me to the pastime, even in the afternoon.

Then, there was the surprise birthday party for our buddy Javier whose partner Marco invited us out to celebrate. Since this was at our regular spot One 7, we invited my “Amazing Grace” Nichole to come by and celebrate her birthday. She sang. She brought friends – including Troy and Danielle. And our mutual buddy Dawn provided us much voice and song that I’m excited to have you all hear at one of our NATIVE nights. And one night, I got to sing with Amber Dirks of KOPATECHNIC fame (www.kopatechnic.com). She’s an AWESOME DIVA and has sung with many of the greats. Her production team has done AMAZING work with many – including CeCe Peniston. One night, Greg, Khalid, Ern, Ant, and I did karaoke.After a round of cocktails with friends at the Hudson Terrace, we enjoyed a musical walk down memory lane. On that night, we got our first try-out of the New Pink Tea Cup - including the grits, catfish, potato salad, and the many familiar faces from its staff. A walk to Ern’s car inspired a familiar voice in the air. It was my friend Jensen Atwood (Wade from "Noah's Arc"). He and I always stumble into each other – no matter which city we’re in. I last bumped into him in Chicago while there on an extended assignment in the Spring, earlier this year. We had a lovely exchange before calling it a night.


So, of course, as I “sing for my supper” (or – at least – for a snack), I am taking meetings and networking feverishly to identify some good fit work inside my brand as independent personality/producer/writer. Nothing so concrete has popped up yet, but I’m operating and navigating to POSSIBILITIES only. So, even as the budget is tight, I STAND and TRUST my GOD and our UNIVERSE to have my back. My friends Maurice Jamal and Richard Pelzer – multi-media directors, producers, writers, managers, publicists, TV execs, etc. – are embarking on a new, urban LGBT network glotv (www.GloTVNetwork.com) which is premiering September 3, 2010. I have been looking to do more on-camera pop culture analysis (playing off the momentum I’ve attracted from bookings of late):

Maurice and Richard invited me to be one of the on-camera, pop culture analysts for some of their new programming. Stay tuned as the links will soon be available. This, while we are still editing the pilot project that I host and while I am trusting long-standing client dispatches to pick-up as the new talk season is about to begin. Coincidentally, I got an encore media impression from the Game Show Network last night. I was channel surfing and I stumbled into the episode of "Million Dollar Password" in which I won $25K back in 2008 ( I LOVE and LIVE for ABUNDANT reminders – especially from my own testimonial pool!!!


I get my 3rd ESSENCE Magazine (www.essence.com) by-line in the current 40th Anniversary issue of the popular magazine. I contributed – as reporter/researcher – to The Black Woman’s Agenda, comparing African American women from 1970 to African American women today (in a multitude of categories). Please be sure to pick it up. Meanwhile, I was super excited to bump into girlfriend Kim Coles who is busy as ever on her own agenda that promises to empower not only Black women but ALL OF US (www.openthegifts.com). I got an invite to see the taping of “The Nate Berkus Show” and Kim Coles was the guest. You’ll have to wait and see all that she talked about, but afterwards, she had Kim Coles’ G.I.F.T.S. for Ant and me :a new empowerment program that helps participants step into their authentic selves; share their unique qualities with the world; and soar into a joyful and passionate life. So, that’s GRATITUDE. INTENTION. FORGIVENESS. TRIUMPHS. SELF-LOVE. And includes FREE G.I.F.T.S eBook, Newsletter, blog, podcasts, events, teleclasses, Kim’s Inner Circle Club, and more! I’m all signed up… and see it as a wonderful compliment to the work that I’ve already done in the way of MOMENTUM EDUCATION (www.momentumeducation.com). Our catch-up with Kim Coles took place at Moda Restaurant in the city and - as always - was chockful of laughter and great sharing. Since on a spot level, I’ve worked with Nate over the last decade (as a freelance field producer), he received me warmly in front of his studio audience. Too, it was great to see other friends who work for the show - including "My Ivory" (the “other” Nathaniel) and my Reeny (with whom I worked on “Monica: Still Standing” and “Frankie & Neffe” in Atlanta and L.A.). Ant and his work buddies Lorraine, Kemar, and Alia were our dates. Afterwards, we enjoyed a quick lunch at Hudson Eatery.


Another KIM (spelled KEM) celebrated something this past week. Detroit’s-own Kem’s third album INTIMACY came out. We went to his private CD release party at Tillman’s. Friends Devon Christopher (BLEU Magazine); Bevy Smith; Jamie Foster Brown (Sister 2 Sister); Elise Finch (CBS Meteorologist); were in the house. And of course, label prez Sylvia Rhone was the host with the most. Afterwards, did a little rooftop action at Fashion 26: A Wyndham Hotel. My Morehouse buddy Eddie reminds me that I sang KEM’s “You Are” at his wedding.


The GREAT thing about the SUMMER… and my friends, in particular: WE LOVE TO EAT! And THEY LOVE TO ENTERTAIN! And HARLEM is usually the backdrop. And though these are hard times for many, it’s WONDERFUL to BATHE in the FELLOWSHIP of friends. This past Saturday, friends Robin & Zach hosted a well-appointed brunch at their Harlem pad. Tasty spread of shrimp, cheese grits, Caesar salad, champagne, and a great lemonade w/brown sugar in the mix. That night, another meal (of a handful in the last couple of weeks) at Sidra’s place. It was neighborhood pizza & “Mahogany” on this particular night. On another evening, it was another pizza place & watching “Real Housewives of D.C.” in which our friends Paul Wharton, Ted Gibson, and Jason Backe are featured. But we’ve also done African cuisine; West Indian; and her home-spun pastas and veggies. One night, we had our Tommie (Mara's hubby) pop down to join us. On another night, my friend Kevin (Moochie) was in the house. One recent night, my nephew came by as he too is a Harlem resident now. He and his roommate Harrison allowed us to crash one night as they hosted a dinner party. This, since he wanted to see my dear friend Tata. She’d invited Ant and me to join her for the Harlem Week Street Festival. Her company had a booth there. We ran into buddies Will; Tommie; Jamar; Nina; Seitu; Dwayne; KiKi; and our favorite City Gym Boys. Some of the fellows were out - selling the fitness company's calendars which benefit the mentoring of young men and women on the lifelong benefits of fitness and exercise (www.citygymboys.com).  My buddy Natalie was promoting the upcoming Broadway revival “Driving Miss Daisy” – starring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave. And this was but a second day of hanging with our friend Will. He invited Tommie, Ant, and me up for poolside fellowship and dinner at his Nyack, NY pad. Like Will, another favorite DP James Curry (who shot some of our pilot project) was in attendance with his lovely wife Lisa in tow. We ended up at Tarantella for pizza. Since last I updated, I had a business dinner with dear and old friend Zabrina (BET PR) and her friend Eric, who is a hair stylist extraordinaire - including clients like Carol's Daughter. We ate at Delta Grill. Also, stumbled into our buddies Melvin and Derrick in the streets of NYC en route home. I LOVE NEW YORK for that! I also happened upon old friend Steve Van Patten who is making his mark in the the Vampire Novel literary genre. He's published two volumes of Brookwater's Curse with one more on the way. CHECK HIM OUT!


The Metropolitan Room was the place to be last night for the FABULOUS MS. JO THOMPSON's tribute to LENA HORNE! (My buddy Gregory Generet has also been performing there over the last month). You recall, I mentioned my dear friend and NABJ brother, Greg Dunmore, is the son and manager of jazz vocalist and pianist Jo Thompson. Her set was called the “Lena Horne Salute  - THANK YOU LENA!!!” (Conceived by Greg himself). And it was Jo Thompson with the JC Heard Orchestra. The elegant set was directed by Walt Szymanski. Additionally, this special event will mark the official CD Release of “Jo Thompson: Forever Fabulous!!!” (with the JC Heard Orchestra directed by Walt Szymanski) on the Jazz Jewels Digital Label (www.jazzjewels.tv/jothompsonepk.html). In addition to all of my favorites, Jo did a FABULOUS finale reading of “Believe in Yourself” as inspired by Lena Horne from the cult classic film “The Wiz”. Extra shout out to Greg. You know, we just got back from San Diego. The NABJ A&E Task Force honored JET Magazine’s Clarence Waldron with our 2010 Legacy Award. Greg – Co-Chair of the task force (which I Chair) – produced (in cooperation with Pulse Beat TV – www.pulsebeat.tv) a wonderful tribute to Clarence – including remarks from Miss Aretha Franklin; Miss Nancy Wilson; Miss Dionne Warwick; Brandy; India.Arie; and a host of others. Take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u90BzT1cUI. CONGRATS, CLARENCE! And as always THANKS, GREG! We’re keeping our eyes on PULSE BEAT TV – including all your wonderful programming options. And here are more pix from NABJ SAN DIEGO: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/album.php?aid=195276&id=662073736.


So, this past weekend, I got to do a couple of roll-bys: LATEX BALL @ Roseland Ballroom (AIDS benefit put on by the GMHC). We saw GREAT FACE & the faces of friends Derrick, Toyce, and RU DRAG RACE DIVA BeBe Zahara Benet (who is so SWEET & FABULOUS!). Then, we went to SECRET to see our buddy Demarco Majors who celebrated his birthday. He was so happy that we came. And it was great to see friends Patrik-Ian Polk; Seitu; and a host of our other buddies we’ve been seeing a lot here in the summer months. I LOVE IT! Patrik (Creator of “Noah’s Arc”) – in fact – attended our buddy Nathan Hale Williams’ set at NYC’s ROAM. This evening was also the backdrop for our friend Ra-Fael Blanco’s birthday celebration. Our Teaneck, NJ-buddy Robert attended with us. And Momentum buddy Bariek was in the house as well. We also got some FAB BEACH TIME in. It brought The Pines on Fire Island; a lovely beach house; relaxation; and lots of laughs amongst friends – including Ern. After a great day of fun in the sun, we went to girlfriend Cindy and her husband-to-be John’s engagement party at Le Souk. Great food! Great people! And a BIG SNAKE!


So my dear friend Marcia Pendelton (www.walktallgirlproductions.com) who works marketing and audience for mostly all of Broadway's big shows alerted me that FELA! is welcoming Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist Patti LaBelle to its cast on Tuesday, September 14. She will take over the role of Fela’s mother (Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti) through Sunday, January 2, 2011, when the show will play its final scheduled performance. Tony Award-winner Lillias White (who received a 2010 Tony Nomination for her performance in this production) will play her final performance on September 12. Fela! received three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design. It is currently playing at Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre (230 West 49th Street) where it opened to rave reviews on November 23. Either hit Marcia up or click: www.felaonbroadway.com for more information.


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