So those of you who know me know that I don't ever document particulars about one of my main clients that is a household name (and most watch the client at 4pm in most marketplaces). Not that I am not proud of the work I do for the show (of which I am also a fan). But much of the high-profile fare to which I contribute is confidential and proprietary. So, it's in the best interest of all that I keep those particulars at bay from this forum. That said, you ALSO know that I am MISS DIANA ROSS' #1 fan since my childhood (so wherever she is, I'm usually commenting on it).
Well, as "pop culture" and "possibilities" converge in "... the life of Riley...", please know that MISS ROSS will be on the air of my main client (for which I am a freelance field producer) this Friday (or depending when you read this: was on my main client's air).
This will be her 4th appearance on a show that's been on the air for 25 years: http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Supreme-Icon-Diana-Ross-Her-5-Children-and-Show-Stopping-Performance.
After the taping earlier this week in Chicago, one of my bosses (the one who green-lighted my attendance and participation in the show) told me to tell my readers to WATCH!
(This, as everybody else is talking about the now-moving-between-#1-and-#2-TRENDING topic of the last few days: MISS DIANA ROSS - a FACEBOOK & TWITTER phenomenon this week! I LOVE IT!). You must check MISS ROSS out on FRIDAY!
SHE'S EVEN MORE SUPREME THAN YOU HAVE ALREADY EXPERIENCED or can IMAGINE! It is truly MISS ROSS at her best. Having the show’s studio as a client helped me to get up close and personal with Miss Ross.
But as effortless as one might imagine it would be for the #1 DIANA ROSS FAN (me) to get access to this historic taping, it wasn't. I had to get creative with the finances to snag a plane ticket. And I had a village of friends on the inside who worked diligently to ensure that once I made it, it was special. This, as "AIN'T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH. NOTHING CAN KEEP ME FROM [MISS ROSS]..." LOL! So in the end, I made it there... and had the time of my LIFE! Still no photo op with MISS ROSS and me. But as THE SUPREME DIVA often says: "GO FOR YOUR DREAMS... REACH AND THEIR YOURS!" I'm still REACHING, MISS ROSS! Regardless, I have other new memories now with MISS ROSS that are JUST MINE. Plus, I got to be a part of an intimate audience with MISS ROSS' BEAUTY; TALENT; and TESTIMONY from back-stage and in the studio.
One cherished moment is meeting her background singer Fred White.
He also wrote "I Love You" - the title track for her most recent CD (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAVrRwImr9M).
Will be great to hear about other things that Fred is working on - including new material with Miss
Ross. So stay tuned for those developments over time.
Diana Ross will continue her national “Now” Tour with a southern and eastern U.S. leg beginning February 25 – March 20. The complete list of the Diana Ross “Now” Tour dates follows. For the latest tour information, please visit Facebook: http://www.facebook.com//dianaross.
# # #
DIANA ROSS FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011
Date City Venue
2/25/2011Choctaw, MS Golden Moon Hotel & Casino
2/26/2011Bossier, LA Horseshoe Casino & Hotel
2/27/2011Austin, TX Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theatre
3/1/2011Houston, TX Verizon Wireless Theater
3/2/2011Dallas, TX Majestic Theatre
3/4/2011Jacksonville, FL Moran Theatre (Times Union Center PAC)
3/5/2011Greenville, SC Peace Center Concert Hall
3/7/2011Charleston, SC Charleston's Historic Dock Street Theatre
3/9/2011Charlotte, NC McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square
3/11/2011Durham, NC DPAC
3/12/2011Washington, DC Washington Convention Center
3/13/2011Poughkeepsie, NY Bardavon, 1869 Opera House
3/15/2011Englewood, NJ Bergen Performing Arts Center
3/16/2011Hartford, CT Bushnell Auditorium
3/18/2011Stamford, CT Palace Theatre
3/19/2011Atlantic City, NJ Caesars Atlantic City - Circus Maximus
3/20/2011Staten Island, NY St. George Theatre
Shout out to Sara & all of my friends at Richard Harris Inc. (www.richardharrisinc.com) for graciously dressing me for my close encounter of the ROSS kind.
That of course includes Scott French - the designer with the most!!!
He has dressed me in many great pieces over the years. This time was no exception.
You'll recall, I primarily wore Richard Harris Inc. for the National Association of Black Journalists Convention.
That was last year in San Diego.
He's been my FAVORITE for a minute.
And the folks at RICHARD HARRIS & AMERICAN CHANG have gone on the record saying my blog is a FAV in their showroom!! American Chang – in fact – gave my blog “A Day in the Life of Riley: pop culture & possibilities” its “Golden Poodle Award” as “The Best Way To Spend A Lazy Afternoon” (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2006/12/22/wake-up-and-dream.html).
You can take a look at the new suits and the new outerwear for Fall 2011.
HOT LOOKS to keep cool near the end of this year.
While in Chicago, you know I spent time with my best friends. I enjoyed one of Obama's favorite soul food joints MacArthur's with Morehouse BFF Eddie, Chicago buddies Carl & Itika, and new friend Cory. Then, Market sports bar for quick cocktail catch-up w/Ti-Ti. This, as that ALL-STAR GAME was on! GO RIHANNA! GO BLAKE GRIFFIN!
Miss Ross’ oldest offspring Rhonda Ross was in Chicago (exclaiming - when she saw me for the first time in Chicago - "YOU MADE IT!" with her left thumb up to the sky while her other hand was holding her son). She was with her mom and her son as well as the rest of her siblings Tracee, Chudney, Ross, and Evan. I had the chance to chat her up in NYC a few days prior at B Michael America show at The Plaza. It’s Fashion Week after all. And B’s show featured star model Cicely Tyson. Also in the house: Susan Taylor, Ashford & Simpson, Melba Moore; my Sidra, my Carl Nelson, Seitu, etc (my usual suspects).
After B. Michael’s show, I went uptown to join our girl Manivone who showcased her paper sculptures on live models from her "PAPER STATUS" series (www.elleFANTart.com). Her models included my girl Anise White – also an amazing vocalist who has popped by ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT with her gifts. And Manivone’s cousin Vilay. And dear friend Chris were also in the show. Vilay – you’ll recall – helped out on our fashion pilot last year. Also, her man Taha’s brother Adam was a featured model. He is a talented artist who knows his way around leather, suede, and all the elements that make up a great bag. Stay tuned for more on Adam, Taha, and Fafa – three brothers from Toronto who are a FORCE in the ART WORLD and three to watch - the Clayton brothers!
Amidst Fashion Week, got to hang out with Nicole Richie. She hosted a Bergdorf Goodman set promoting her “About Winter Kate | House of Harlow 1960” line. Shout out to my friend Seitu who managed the media relations on the Fall/Winter 2011 Collection of Nico Lena (by Nicholas D’Aurizio) at the Chelsea Art Museum (www.NicoLena.com). While commuting from show to show, I happened upon hairstylist extraordinaire Oscar James alongside the FABULOUS Deborah Cox. I spoke to them both quickly and blew kisses from my cab while rushing to my next event.
My boy Ron Smith always invites me to great shows. This recent Fashion Week is no exception. For my BFF (since 7th grade) Ern’s birthday, we went to the presentation of ROMAS (Linda Rowe) at Michaelangelo Hotel. Shout out to Harriette Cole who in her post-EBONY life tells me she's been consulting with Prince. From the Michealangelo Hotel to Cafeteria for dinner. Then, the Village’s “Insomnia” cookies and GRAMMY-DVR set at Ern’s place to round out the night. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERN!
Shout out to my BFF Tata for inviting me to join her at Mary Mary’s listening party concert promoting the duo’s 5th CD release “Something Big” at The Canal Room in NYC. And these girls were serving (God's) children...hear? ...with VOICE & TESTIMONY & INSPIRATION! AMEN! Donald Lawrence was also in the house! They sang their biggest hits “Shackles”; “God in Me”; “Yesterday”; and a few of their new tracks from “Something Big” – including their current single “Walkin’”. Was with Mary Mary when their 4th release came out a couple of years ago. Always good to see them. Happy they are back!
My Valentine’s Day started with a table read at George Faison Firehouse where I contributed my acting chops. It was for my friend Sid's in-development romantic comedy feature alongside-this-go-around- a stellar combo including diva D'Atra Hicks; Maya Days; FELA!s Kevin Mambo; and a host of others. After this, I ran some errands – including snagging Janet Jackson’s new book “True You” and a card for Ant’s and my exchange. You know he loves him some Janet! He and I did dinner and karaoke - singing Janet. And we basked a little bit in the accomplishment of having snagged Janet Jackson tix for her NYC tour in March. Just us. Interestingly, while picking up the book at Time Warner Center’s Borders, I ran into to FAV male vocalist Billy Porter (getting on subway as I was geting off). I LOVE NY! Before Ant and I connected, I popped by Harlem's Red Rooster & Chez Lucienne to have a 'happy (valentine's day) hour' during which I caught up w/dear friends and got some fun chat time with Miss Lynn Whitfield who was in town from L.A. and about to celebrate a birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LYNN!
We went to see my ATL-buddy JOI perform a couple of weeks at the inaugural APOLLO MUSIC CAFÉ. She sang songs from people who have performed at The Apollo Theater – from Stevie Wonder to Aretha Franklin to Paul McCartney to Bessie Smith. AWESOME SHOW! Dressed minimally-yet-fiercely in a spaghetti-strapped catsuit in black. My dear friend from A-T-L looks as if she’s frozen in time – still fit and trim to the naked eye; vocals still on fire; and her Esther-Rolle-meets-Nina-Simone, deconstructed ‘fro was to die. She sang songs from people who have performed at The Apollo Theater. My rough notes produced this set list (I didn't know all of the titles - so some of the listings include lyrics):
"Steppin' in the Darkness" - WAR
"Halo" - Delfonics
"Try Me" - James Brown
Stevie Wonder - "Jesus, Children"
Bob Marley - "Burnin' in Loop" (featuring Devon Lee)
Curtis Mayfield – “Runnin' Wild”
Teena Marie - "Square Biz"
Paliament – lyric: "produced in conjunction"; lyric: "cobwebs out your mind" (outkast sampled on southern funk)
Dinah Washington – “You Don't Know What Love Is”
Jimi Hendrix – “Little Wing” (featuring Devon Lee)
Paul McCartney - "Helter Skelter" (featuring Devon Lee)
Aretha Franklin - "Nobody Knows The Way I Feel"
Bessie Smith - "I'm Wild About That Thing
FINALE: Tina Turner - "Nutbush City Limits"/Joi - "Lick"
AWESOME NIGHT… and GREAT NEW EXPERIENCE that bridges the classics with new, independent artists of today and the future. Find out more about this FUTURISTIC THROWBACKS franchise, which will include a diverse mix of live music, poetry, spoken word, comedy and spinning DJ’s. Tickets for Apollo Music Café are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com. Apollo Music Café is made possible by generous support from Heineken, the Official Imported Beer Sponsor of the Apollo Theater’s 2010-11 Season. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Lots of birthdays last week! Friends Maurice Jamal, Toyce, Scott, and a wonderful young lady named Arianna Francis turned 16. Her parents invited me to interview her guests on the red carpet at the well-appointed affair at the Midtown Loft AKA Arianna LIVE!
ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT
ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT is BACK!!!! And many of our ALL-STAR KARAOKE regulars came out to CELEBRATE last THURSDAY along with a house full of new folks in the mix! THANKS TO ALL! We are at NATIVE Restaurant in HARLEM every THURSDAY – from 9pm to MIDNIGHT. PLEASE JOIN US ANY and EVERY WEEK on any THURSDAY NIGHT! Brian, Jasmine, Ephraim, Carl Nelson, Troy & Darryl (“Bangin’ Ass Artists”), Derrick; Mario (also from “No Parking” KARAOKE Monday night); etc. My Morehouse brothers PT and Kobie (www.fromfatherlesstofatherhood.com) were in the house along with my NYABJ/NABJ sister Georgia Scott.
ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT is BACK!!!!
And many of our ALL-STAR KARAOKE regulars came out to CELEBRATE last THURSDAY along with a house full of new folks in the mix!
THANKS TO ALL!
We are at NATIVE Restaurant in HARLEM every THURSDAY – from 9pm to MIDNIGHT.
PLEASE JOIN US ANY and EVERY WEEK on any THURSDAY NIGHT!
Brian, Jasmine, Ephraim, Carl Nelson, Troy & Darryl (“Bangin’ Ass Artists”), Derrick; Mario (also from “No Parking” KARAOKE Monday night); etc.
My Morehouse brothers PT and Kobie (www.fromfatherlesstofatherhood.com) were in the house along with my NYABJ/NABJ sister Georgia Scott.
She owns a Harlem coffee shop GLOBETRIPPIN’ (and she is celebrating the publication of her new book, "Down There: Narratives About the Joy, Aroma and Overall Existence of the Bush"). AS ALWAYS, THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
P.S. Happened upon Vinyl in Chelsea for a late night bite last Friday… and look which menu I got: one of my favorite albums of all time Jennifer Holliday’s “Feel My Soul” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6g_rf73TpU) and her sophomore release. I didn’t take it (I have one at home). LOL! I hear Miss Holliday has a new Gospel CD coming out! I sure hope so! I LOVE ME SOME JENNIFER HOLLIDAY!
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