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Pop culture icon Nelson George and WATTSTAX at NJPAC I Friday April 5

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO: http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/wattstax


POP CULTURE ICON (and – for sure – one of my personal pop culture IDOLs) NELSON GEORGE will be presenting a screening of WATTSTAX – including a panel discussion afterwards NEXT FRIDAY, April 5th! A MUST ATTEND! BUY TICKETS here! http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/wattstax #NJPAC


Am GRATEFUL to the New York Association of Black Journalists for honoring me as one of its Trailblazers alongside Robert Anthony, Eric V. Tait, Lena Sherrod and Audrey Edwards: http://www.nyabj.org/2013/03/21/meet-the-five-nyabj-trailblazers-to-be-featured-at-march-26-throwback-tuesday-mixer/. A BLESSING! And so good to enjoy a lovely meal and reflection time with my fellow honorees. Afterwards, we got to mix and mingle with our NYABJ family - old and new. The Carlton Hotel's Salon Millesime was the perfect back-drop! THANKS NYABJ! XO


Afterwards, Ant & I promised Miss Phynjuar that we'd come to Miss Chaka Khan's 60th Birthday party at EVR. Saw many friends - including entertainment writer Karu Daniels; singer/producer Kevin-Anthony; Sister 2 Sister's Jamie Foster Brown; Chaka Khan publicist Gwendolyn Quinn; singer Toni Seawright; NABJ brother Roland Martin; actress Taraji P. Henson; Oprah's and the First Lady's makeup artist Derrick Rutledge; UBER-stylist and TV personality Phillip Bloch; and a host of others. FUN NIGHT as Chaka's music played! And Chaka was so gracious as we quickly reflected on my first interview with her: "Good Day Atlanta" in 1993 and then in Santa Barbara in 2005, but there have been many times in between that I've been in Miss Chaka Khan's presence - from shows, live tapings, private CD listening studio sessions, etc. AND IT IS ALWAYS MY HONOR! Happy Birthday, Chaka!


In addition to it being also MISS ROSS’ birthday and MISS ARETHA FRANKLIN’s birthday (within days in ARIES MARCH), it was also the birthday of girlfriend Priya Scoggins. She hosted a low-key, but lots of FUN, evening at her Manhattan pad. We attended with friend Merrell Hollis ("Wendy Williams" make-up artist and influential style icon his own) and I was TOO excited to see my "little" Morehouse brothers (of whom I am SO PROUD): Isoul Harris (Editor-in-Chief for "Uptown Magazine" - www.uptownmagazine.com) and singer/songwriter Welborn Preston (credits including Jennifer Hudson's recent dance hit "Night of Your Life"). Also in the house: media master and friend Nathan Hale Williams as well as several other friends: Derrick Hemphill, Lisa Bonner, Ian Wells - an awesome round out to the night's roster. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRIYA! AND MANY MORE! As always, THE BEST TIME!


My debut media impression on COZI-TV and NBC 4 this past Friday received raves: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Pop-Culture-Expert-Patrick-Riley-on-Black-Broadway_New-York.html. Thanks to all for tuning in! As a result, I was just invited to do a similar segment on WNBC’s “Positively Black”. Also, I have been invited to work the red carpet on MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL's opening night for the show’s AD-AGENCY's cameras! YAY! Stay tuned! And as always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!


Though the MOTOWN legacy LIVES all over the world, the coming of MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL to Broadway – OPENING APRIL 14TH: (www.motownthemusical.com) is but one sign of THE MOTOWN SOUND and FAMILY here in New York City:

  • ·         RHONDA ROSS – daughter of MOTOWN Founder Berry Gordy and FIRST LADY OF MOTOWN Diana Ross - just did a show at The Sugar Bar, which happens to be the supper club owned by ICONIC MOTOWN songwriters and producers: the late, great NICK ASHFORD & VALERIE SIMPSON: THE SUGAR BAR (on 72nd Street on the West Side). And she's scheduled to do another show April 27th at the Cutting Room: https://www.facebook.com/RhondaRossOnline#!/events/468565766550196/?fref=ts.
  • ·         Friend and Broadway darling LACHANZE (who won the Tony award as lead actress in a musical for her portrayal of Celie in “Oprah Winfrey presents The Color Purple”) is doing “LOVE HANGOVER: Celebrating the music of the one and only Diana Ross” – an evening of song at 54 Below in the theater district on 54th Street. April 17, 18, and 22: http://www.broadway.com/shows/love-hangover-lachanze-sings-diana-ross/.
  • ·         Traveling production: "My Brother Marvin" – one interpretation of Marvin Gaye’s life and times - will be in NY April 11-14 @ the Beacon: http://www.beacontheatre.com/events/2013/april/my-brother-marvin.html. It's considered controversial by some, but is indicative of influence and growing nostalgia as anything else that's out: It stars Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield; Image Award winning actor Clifton Powell; R&B sensation Keith Washington; vocal powerhouse Tony Grant and platinum selling R&B Group Az Yet.
  • ·         Friend Jeff Bowman (with whom I had the chance to consult on a cross-cultural marketing project in which my girlfriend Sidra Smith enrolled my participation) has recently joined the Classical Theatre of Harlem as a board member.  They are currently running a show in Harlem and welcoming your support for “DETROIT ‘67”. Please see the link:  http://www.classicaltheatreofharlem.org/ This is hopefully the first of many shows in Harlem.  This is special because of the relationship with the Public Theatre and Time Warner as the presenting sponsor.
  • I LOVE DETROIT’s own JO THOMPSON – legendary jazz pianist and vocalist. As her manager and son Greg Dunmore is a BFF, I’ve had the chance to see her in many esteemed rooms! This week, Jo Thompson in town for more than celebrating the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin's birthday (as they are seen here at the Ritz Carlton NYC), but she too is having her moment in the spotlight at the World Famous Cafe Carlyle this weekend March 28 and 30 in "Slender Tender and Tall: An Evening With the Fabulous Ms. Jo Thompson. Call: 212-744-1600 for tickets. And read here for more information: http://www.amsterdamnews.com/arts_and_entertainment/cafe-carlyle-welcomes-bobby-short-pal-jo-thompson/article_653b03ac-924d-11e2-8a1c-001a4bcf887a.html NEW YORK CITY loves when JO THOMPSON comes to town!


Was so EXCITED to get a personal call from Vy Higginsen who invited us to the 30th Anniversary Celebration of "Mama, I Want to Sing" which benefitted the Gospel for Teens program (from which the kids led a "This Little Light of Mine' finale that included an impromptu encore/bow featuring the Gospel-tinged vocals and ad-libs of Committee Co-Chairs - legends their own - Cissy Houston and Valerie Simpson, and legendary guests Dionne Warwick and Angie Stone). Event Chair Lesley Stahl (Emmy winner for a "60 Minutes" profile on Gospel for Teens) was honored and in the house at Harlem's Dempsey Theater along with recent media supporter Nate Berkus. Other event hosts (not present): Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Shirley Caesar. To find out more about how you can help support Gospel for Teens and/or to enjoy Mama Fouundation for the Arts' many offerings, click on: www.mamafoundation.org & www.vyhigginsen.com.  All of this on a day in which I saw "Mama, I Want To Sing", the movie, for the first time (starring Ciara, Lynn Whitfield, Patti Labelle, Ben Vereen, Billy Zane, Marvin Winans, and more) on Centric (after "The Wiz").


My friend at The LEGENDARY Apollo Theater, Nina Flowers, just hipped me to a special new production coming to the Apollo in the fall of 2013: The World Premiere of “James Brown: Get On the Good Foot - A Celebration in Dance”, which opens on October 22nd, 2013. Tickets for this show go on sale on April 30th.  Like Apollo Club Harlem before it, this is a conceptual work and will be developed by five fabulous choreographers from around the world. It will showcase the stylistic and cultural influences the “Godfather of Soul” continues to have on artists and creativity through dance. Under the artistic direction of acclaimed choreographer Otis Sallid, “Get on the Good Foot” will pay tribute to Brown through original dance numbers and a musical score comprised of classic music by the soul icon and new works by musicians influenced by Brown. Sounds like an exciting addition to one of The Apollo’s Legacy Projects, which really celebrates the history of the Theater through contemporary works and James Brown is one of our Apollo Legends. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.


Congrats to my friends, Director Stanley Bennett Clay and writer (of book and play), James Earl Hardy and the cast of B BOY BLUES: THE PLAY (comprised of a cast that includes several friends: Reginald Barnes (pictured right) and Demarco Majors; ALSO AS CASTING DIRECTOR, my dear friend Tracey Moore). Its recent run in New York City WON the “Downtown Urban Theater Festival AUDIENCE AWARD”! Its next stop: The DC Black Theater Festival in late June!  And worth noting that Stanley – who is always writing something fabulous – has a new novel "Aching For It." For those of you who met and loved his characters Jesse and Etienne in "House of John," you better fasten your seatbelts for a next-level ride of romance and erotica. CONGRATS, STANLEY AND ALL OF MY FRIENDS associated with B BOY BLUES!


CONGRATS to my Spelman sister and friend Tanika Ray on her new venture: She recently announced www.MindBodyCasa.com, the spiritchild of Tanika: TV personality, Pop Culture expert & Interior Enthusiast! She has brought this vision to digital life in collaboration with her friend/designer/sister Sass Nikki Martin. They have created a lifestyle webazine jam packed with fresh takes on trends, spicy blogs and original video content. CONGRATS, BOO!


I'm happy to announce the launch of my friend Caroline Ziv’s website and blog for her new video production company, Big Red Bike Media. To put it in the simplest terms, BRB creates custom videos for businesses, non-profits and individuals. To that end, if you or anyone you know is looking to make a marketing, promotion, fundraising or personal documentary video, you should consider Caroline (and tell her “…The Life of Riley…” sent you). We worked for years together with my recurring freelance client HARPO Productions out of Chicago. I am EXCITED for Caroline’s NEXT CHAPTER:  Her blog link is here: http://bigredbikemedia.com/from-where-i-sit/. And her website is here: www.bigredbikemedia.com. CONGRATS, ZIV! XO

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