RIP JEAN STAPLETON
http://youtu.be/WUoJvhQrbjk Edith Bunker from All in the Family is how we will ALL remember this GENIUS of an ACTRESS. But CIRCA 1991 my Morehouse College Glee Club brothers and I got the chance to share the stage with her on Kennedy Center Honors as we all honored Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus’ Conductor and Composer Robert Shaw. We often speak of the glee club’s performance of our signature work, "Betelehemu" – prior to which I got to give a spoken tribute: http://youtu.be/yZF2iK2VOY8. But the final number in the tribute would have us joined by members of the The Choral Arts Society of Washington, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, the Singing Sailors of the Navy and special guests Silvia McNair and Jean Stapleton (former member of the Collegiate Chorale under the direction of Robert Shaw)! GOD IS GOOD! THANK YOU FOR INTRODUCING US TO JEAN STAPLETON who my brethren Bobby P-Grew reminds me we were all TOO EXCITED to meet (along with Walter Cronkite; Carol Burnett; and many others!).
TV ONE’S “LIFE AFTER”
K2 Pictures invited me to weigh in on three of their “LIFE AFTER” subjects for TV ONE. They seemed to have pulled from my vision board of pop culture muses from the ‘70s – so we had a blast taping those. Was also great to stumble into screenwriter/artist/actress and all-around-RENAISSANCE WOMAN Tina Andrews who was taping some reflections of her own for "Life After". Also, I ran into friend Klay Kane who has been in the pop-culture-expert mix of "Life After" since its inception. I consider it a total honor to be folded into the mix. Stay tuned for more info on all of this. The new season of “LIFE AFTER” starts mid-September – including what of my interviews they will excerpt and sprinkle throughout those episodes.
BROADWAY INSPIRATIONAL VOICES
It was ONE NIGHT ONLY but many NIGHTS in the making: Grammy-Award-nominee Michael McElroy and the Broadway Inspirational Voices' EXPECT THE GREAT performance at Harlem's First Corinthian Baptist Church. AND IT WAS BEYOND BEYOND!!!! Worth noting high up that BIV's management is Entertainment Creative Management AKA childhood BFF Ernest Maynor... and dear friend Kimberly JaJuan...and the fine choir's PR is done by my girl Marcia Pendelton. In attendance, many of Broadway's Tony-Award royalty including Class of 2013's nominees Charl Brown ("Smokey Robinson" in MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL ...as well as the "Berry Gordy", Brandon Victor Dixon) and my fav-for-years-now Billy Porter (in the top-nominated production this year "Kinky Boots" - including a nod for him); Marva Hicks led BIV brilliantly with "Jesus Can Work It Out"; the-LEGENDARY Leslie Uggams; another industry buddy Angela Robinson who stars in my recurring client OWN's new hit via Tyler Perry: "The Haves and Have Nots" (which debuted to redefining numbers for network start-up OWN); Tony darling Adrianne Lenox (whose credit in "Double Platinum" with MY MISS ROSS and Brandy I always have to note) and singer extraordinnaire a la "The Color Purple" church ladies Virginia A. Woodruff; Erich McMillan - President and Founder of Project 1 Voice which I had the chance to participate in as a narrator in last year's "Amen Corner" (www.project1voice.org).(And look for "Four Little Girls" on September 15th across America (a commemoration of the 50th years since the bombing of the Birmingham church which killed the four African American girls during the strain of the Civil Rights Movement); Disney superstars Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman - the latter of whom helped me win MILLION DOLLAR PASSWORD a few years ago (WAS GREAT TO RECCONNECT WITH HER since 2009: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/7/9/aint-no-mountain-high-enough.html); and a host of other FAB and FAMILIAR FACES from the repository of BROADWAY and all of the associated industries of which I am a part! Tony-award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad is Chairperson of BIV's Board of Directors. #missedthechoirinchurch P.S. Afterwards, many of us gathered at NYC's Public Authority bowling alley to TOAST Broadway's BEST, my friend Norm Lewis who - just last year - was Tony-nominated for his role in "Porgy and Bess". Visit BIV at www.broadwayinspirationalvoices.org. Special shout out to my brother D'Ambrose Boyd who captured beautiful images from the amazing evening of MUSIC and PRAISE! HALLELUJAH! AMEN! LOVE! LIGHT!
MOTOWN TO DEF JAM: AN ART GALLERY TOUR
Of course, these last few months have been all about MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK1yncqPlOQ. Meanwhile, I am super excited that the fabulous diva, Meli'sa Morgan will join the Motown to Def Jam: An Art Gallery Tour (curated by Sou L Eo) on Saturday June 15. Meli'sa Morgan will perform live at the reception! We announced last week that I am joining the tour-guide-team for the special day. During the tour, I am going to weigh in with some good pop culture anecdotes on the ICONIC music and artists of OUR TIME and OUR HISTORY! Purchase your tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/366026 For more information and to purchase tickets please visit: www.artcrawlharlem.com.
RUTHY VALDEZ’S ORANGE 67 “SWALLOW”
Was nice to pop into Harlem for a little “Amy Ruth” (and catch-up chat and chew with Morehouse brother Mario) preceded by the chance to meet fine artist Ruthy Valdez @ruthy_valdez. She showcased and sold her artwork at my friend Carl Nelson’s Drums Along The Hudson event which I had a hand in co-hosting the other week: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2013/5/20/rain-for-flowers.html. You’ll recall, Ant sold one of his masterpieces. Well, 67 Orange Street (TWITTER - @67OrangeStreet) is the back-drop for Ruthy’s latest show “Swallow” which compliments the speak-easy’s finest signature cocktails (and food menu) to a T. We also got the chance to meet artist Ruben Zambrano whose work can be seen on INSTAGRAM via @rubenz_art. Shout out to 67 Orange owner Karl Franz Williams and one of his mixologists, Garrett Lee Hendricks (friend and actor). His “Color Purple” cocktail is WONDERFUL!
KARAOKE IN METUCHEN
Shout out to Bernard Jablonka and Danielle Andrea Simone Knight on hosting our ANNUAL MEMORIAL DAY KARAOKE BLAST! Backdrop: their beautiful home in Metuchen, New Jersey! They - as usual - attract friends and family from FAR & NEAR - including Bernard's cousin (and friend) from The Netherlands! GREAT FOOD (homemade THAI); GREAT DRINKS; and GREAT ENERGY (folks singing and friends coming together ONE MORE TIME)! THANKS FOLKS for the GOOD TIMES! XOXOOXOX
MEMORIAL DAY WITH MERRELL
Shout out to Merrell for getting those of us who were still in NYC (or back in NYC by Memorial Day Monday) together for delicious food (shrimp, chicken, burgers, rips, and more);great entertainment (or enjoyable fare for a room full of ‘opinionated’ folks! LOL!): HBO Film “Behind the Candelabra” – the story of LIBERACE (which I call the “Mommie Dearest” of our time! NO SHADE! It’s really good… and what an AWESOME cast); and a FUN ROOM of our usual suspects and some FUN surprise guests! ALWAYS A GOOD TIME with Merrell about whom I’m ALWAYS yapping because I’m so PROUD of my Georgia homebody! @makeupbymerrell is Wendy Williams' makeup artist and cosmetics icon his own right in the industry. He is quite the muse du jour for me as he takes his brand to the next level. #makeupbymerrell
My friend from the National Association of Black Journalists Kim Bardakian is Director of PR & Partnerships for "Visit Oakland" (visitoakland.org) and while in town to discuss various story angles about Oakland (cuisine, arts, citywide renaissance), she met up with some of us Lounge 48. WSJ's Lee Hawkins; fellow NYABJ Trailblazer Bob Anthony, and dear NABJ friend Neal Scarbrough. I also met a host of new journalists I'd not met before.
BOBBY ROACHE AND ANDY WARHOL
Was great to hang out with my friend and brother from another mother Bobby Roache at his boo Dolshe’s exclusive sample sale for her clothing and shoe business Olcay Gulsen www.olcaygulsen.com in The Decker Building in Union Square West – sacred pop culture ground: Andy Warhol had his Factory inside this building from 1968 through 1973. It is also where Valerie Solanas shot Warhol and art critic and curator Mario Amaya in 1968. IF POP CULTURE IS AROUND, I’LL SNIFF IT OUT! LOL!
Congrats to Ant’s BFF Manivone and her new husband, our friend Taha! SO HAPPY FOR YOUR GUYS on marriage and a NEW CHAPTER in your collective life of LOVE!
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