Is this what I have to look forward to as I pop into Times Square for business everyday this Spring and beyond? http://www.motownthemusical.com/ MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL on BROADWAY is coming to town in a few weeks… and it’s SO EXCITING!
Meanwhile, the muse of Motown lives on through SUPERBOWL and BEYONCE! On Superbowl Sunday, everybody asked "Who you rooting for, Patrick?" I'd retort "Beyonce!" And for her high-energy, bone-chilling performance last night, we know why! OKAY!!!!??? But I forgot I have a Baltimore Ravens tie-in: Congrats to Baltimore Ravens and New Rochelle's own Ray Rice who I had the chance to meet at a Boys & Girls Club charity event I hosted: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/tag/ray-rice a year or so ago. He attended and donated a lot of money and valuable auction items for a cause close to his heart - one that once benefited him personally: The New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club. CONGRATS, RAY RICE! Our annual Superbowl back-drop for the last few years has been our friend Irma who started our celebration of two Aquarian birthday peeps in our midst: Giselle and BFF since 7th grade, Ernest Maynor (BDAY BANANA PUDDING on deck! YUM!).
Last Monday required an early call-time for an assignment I was dispatched to do with my favorite Director of Photography and production company owner James Curry (www.mindfilemultimedia.com) who always brings with him the best (Today it was Joe & Chris)! Thanks guys! Glad we got the chance to break bread (as in delicious, buttery pizza crust atop a mound of pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom) from Bantam Pizza in Bantam, CT.
MISS ROSS IN HOUSTON?
On a week in which the world is abuzz about Houston native Beyonce's spectacular turn at the Superbowl Halftime Show (and The Great White Way [AKA Broadway] is about to introduce "Motown: The Musical" to theater-goers the world over [www.motownthemusical.com/]), I coincidentally find myself in Bey's hometown to see one of her diva muses Diana Ross - Detroit's own - at the Arena Theatre (www.arenahouston.com) - one of her Texas stops on her current tour of one-nighters. My dear friend of many years, Lajuan, invited me and arranged the particulars (as he's a manager for the venue) - so, I just HAD to take a day away from my busy schedule to accept this gift to see Miss Ross once again and to ensure yet another SUPREME chronicle in "...The Life of Riley...". I flew in on the day of the show (and returned to NYC the following morning), but it was worth the schlep to see another AWESOME ROSS SHOW - including most of the hits (and a bonus: a special rendition of Kirk Franklin's "Smile"), lots of costume changes, and a most-present and connected ICON of ICONS: Miss Diana Ross! That said, she did fly through this show (She was still into it though) – leaving out some of her many treasures like "Endless Love", lots of Supremes songs, "Missing You", "Mirror Mirror", and more. But whatever Grammy-legend Ross sings of that impressive repertoire was all good for the Houston audience and me. Also nice to see many of my favorite, fellow ROSS fans I.E. Andreas, Bernard, and many more who -like me- flew into Houston just to see Miss Ross. Was also good to see one of my favorite background singers from Miss Ross' repository of talented vocalists, Natasha, who started with Miss Ross on the "Take Me Higher" tour. At the end, Diana appraised that she and the band's mission was accomplished - to bring smiles to our faces and to spread joy and good vibrations. After she re-entered the stage from having done her show-closer "I Will Survive" and enrolled the audience - from the round - to put our hands up in the air and sway back and forth to her 1st solo hit "Reach Out & Touch (Somebody's Hand)", it became crystal clear that the mark was met. Plus, I got the late night snack of life: the Southern staple "Waffle House" where my friend of many years, Lajuan Law, updated me on his own music. He is a musician/singer/performer whose upcoming impressions include a fun Sunday night of R&B and soul with his band; studio/video recordings forthcoming; and a commitment to GOOD MUSIC. He promises I can share some of it with you - including dates and locations, once it all locks. Stay tuned! Thanks Lajuan! You're THE BOSS! Or the other one. LOL! I didn't get on the stage with Miss Ross this time. Am happy ALWAYS to be in her presence!
LIFE IS BUT A DREAM
#LifeIsButADream #Beyoncedocumentary Was almost-assigned to cover the red carpet for one client. That Hold was lifted. Still, I stumbled into an opportunity to still attend the premiere. Ant, my nephew Herman L. Riley III, and Morehouse BFF Michael K. Watts (who shot most of these pix) were also in the house. Also good to see my industry buddies, Beyonce's publicist Yvette Noel Shure (who graciously facilitated a meet-and-greet for Ant and me when he took me to Manila for my birthday a few years ago: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/11/12/manifest-destiny-destination-manila.html. Beyonce ended up serenading me HAPPY BIRTHDAY ("...where's my boy from America?..."). We love you ALWAYS, Yvette! Also from Bey's team, Scott Nylund....... and a host of special guests - including Solange; Angela Simmons, Arianna Huffington, Gayle King, Russell Simmons, ATL Housewife & supermodel Cynthia Bailey, and, my recurring client Oprah. Just a Tuesday in New York City! "Any questions?" LOL!
From seeing Bey's awesome new doc, which you don't want to miss (PREMIEREs Sat. 2/16 on HBO), Ant & I quickly transitioned to jazz supper club The Iridium to see MISS ROSS, as in RHONDA ROSS-KENDRICKS who - as always and of late - performed a brilliant set of her own songs and some awesome covers (Last Wednesday, I enjoyed MISS DIANA ROSS at a sold-out one-nighter in Houston at the Arena Theater). We have enjoyed seeing RHONDA back on stage - in her light. And what a LIGHT of LOVE and WOMEN EMPORMENT! GO RHONDA! On this night, her two dads were in the house: Berry Gordy, Motown Musical's own...and Bob Ellis! Was great to chat with Mr. Gordy briefly. Fun night... and so EXCITED to see Motown: The Musical (I told him). Here I am with his daughter and Motown's LEGENDARY MIRACLE, Claudette Robinson, Smokey's ex-wife.
BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN
My friend Olivia Scott – integrated marketing consultant (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EZXnCGT7iM) – reached out on behalf of a charity recording that promises to be “Brighter Than The Sun”. In fact, that’s its title. The Global Relief Song for Hurricane Sandy & Typhoon Bopha is sung by world renowned acid jazz UK band Incognito and powerhouse NJ vocalist Kelli Sae (formerly of Incognito & Count Basic). It launches globally Tuesday, February 19… and sets out to be an entertainment fundraising driver to rebuild communities left devastated from Hurricane Sandy & Typhoon Bopha. One hundred percent of the song’s net proceeds will benefit disaster relief charities Rebuilding Together and UNICEF UK. Per the success -- 20MM copies sold – of African famine relief song “We Are The World, experience has proven that people genuinely want to help others, yet many don’t feel they can or know how with so little themselves. This song which is only $1.29/.79€ provides people an opportunity to participate in the necessary rebuilding of these communities. Per CNN.com, Hurricane Sandy affected the homes of over 200K families and Typhoon Bopha left 1.2MM families displaced, leaving significant work still to be done. For this reason we chose two credible charities respected for their work in restoring communities and assisting victims of disaster, Rebuilding Together & UNICEF UK. PLEASE BE THE DIFFERENCE: http://www.amazon.com/Brighter-Than-The-Sun/dp/B00B9A7LTI/ref=sr_1_15?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1360336757&sr=1-15&keywords=incognito AND https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/brighter-than-sun-feat.-natalie/id598785775?ls=1.
Shout out to my girl Kim Coles whose WONDERFUL one-woman-show "OH, BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE..." is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS and FUNNY! One to - for sure - see when it hits your town or next hits L.A. or NYC! LOVE YOU, KIM!
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