Some features to look forward to:
1.) "PATRICK'S POP UP(DATES)" will feature stories from pop culture, music, theater, fashion, and the entertainment industry at large.
2.) "The Life of Riley" will also introduce a "take-a-look-at-your-life" section (READ: sort of an advice column), where I will help readers come up with their own questions and answers around what "ways of being" are working (or not working) to have them acheive their respective goals and live their best lives. This section is called "WHO YOU BE?".
3.) Additonally, there will be a free-flowing, organic section called "TESTIFY" from which I will pull from my own life's journey to share and hopefully inspire. Some of the fare may be new musings and experiences. Other times, I may pull from my journals and past sharings to shed light on some uncomfortable truths that I've experienced and that may perhaps play a role in healing someone else's wounds as the real-life experience did for me. From my experience of covering 9/11 as a freelance journalist to courageously coming out (as gay) to my family, "TESTIFY" promises to move those who choose to read it.
4.) And a section titled "PR" (like my initials, but also like "public relations") will include press clips from any coverage I get.
Entries in SHERYL LEE RALPH (6)
A (BIRTHDAY) IN THE LIFE OF RILEY is looking like this…
1. A #LIFEOFRILEY INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER HOLLIDAY FOR NBCBLK: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/broadway-queen-jennifer-holliday-s-next-act-color-purple-n662641 My birthday is this weekend! A gift to me that I can share with you my Q&A with one of the DIVAS who serves as an EXEMPLAR for what #LIFEOFRILEY LOVES and CELEBRATES: Jennifer Holliday! In our comprehensive chat, we cover a lot of ground – including talk of her iconic role as Effie White and what relations are like today with her fellow Dreamgirls Sheryl Lee Ralph and Loretta Devine) plus what being on Broadway again - in Tony-award-winning Musical Revival "The Color Purple" - is like. You can PUSH DA BUTTON for your COLOR PURPLE tickets here (Ticket prices start at $59): https://www.telecharge.com/Broadway/The-Color-Purple/Overview. #TheColorPurple #ColorPurple#Dreamgirls #JenniferHolliday #HollidayFORTHEHolidays
2. Always good to contribute to #NBCBLK:
* NBCBLK - Aretha Franklin birthday party
* NBCBLK posted an EMPIRE/Aretha Franklin viral as well. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1553278574945680&set
* Q&A with LEE DANIELS
* FOREST WHITAKER Q&A just posted - promoting SOUTHPAW:
* THE WIZ LIVE's NEW DOROTHY:
Patrick L. Riley
LIFE OF RILEY
3. I sing Holliday and Dreamgirls all the time at #AllStarKaraoke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_pVZZ9GCm4! Next up: THIS Sunday, November 20th from Noon to 5p at MIST Harlem. For $5, guests qualify for BROADWAY/THEATER GIVEAWAYS and FREE MISS JESSIE’S! Plus, the menu has a range of delicious options and pricings (including $20 carafes of mimosa and sangria) and ALL STAR KARAOKE! Also look for more art from Artist-in-Residence Shenna Vaughn and friends – including Scorpio artists Ruthy Valdez and Richard S. Carroll Jr. Also look for my nephew Herman L. Riley and some of the AWESOME castmembers of the #ASPiRE.tv web series #THEGRADUATESNYC. Now the season has wrapped, you can see all 8 webisodes here: http://www.aspire.tv/shows/the-graduates-nyc/videos/. And there will be #THEBOSSCHOIR: https://www.facebook.com/patrick.l.riley/videos/10154176021623737/?l=1634402992647739097. Please come sing to all of the fellow SCORPIOs and me. Let us know you’re coming by clicking here: www.all_star_karaoke.eventbrite.com.
I’ll share cryptically – for now – that I just wrapped a day of co-hosting an on-line show that is “all about the Benjamins” (a clue, but not DIDDY or REVOLT! LOL!). Instead, it will be something ELSE from THE LIFE OF RILEY that you can see soon! STAY TUNED… and as always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, FOLKS!
UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT! Was too excited to be a part of HARLEM HISTORY as I hosted the Miss Harlem Shake 2014 pageant. One of the #Top 5 --- Ljeoma (PRONOUNCED E-JAMA) --- won! She’s a health educator, PHd student, and blogger. In addition to winning cash prizes and a slew of great SWAG, she raised $1,000 for her charity: Harlem's Children Zone, which I’ve had a the chance to chronicle a few times for recurring client “Oprah”. Ljeoma’s favorite meal at Harlem Shake is the BBQ Onion Burger and the jerk fries. The celebrity judge panel was fierce too: make-up artists extraordinaire Cynde Watson and Kevin McQueen; the debonaire Byl Thompson with CACHE; Broadway royalty and Harlem entrepreneur, Tony nominee Brenda Braxton; dancer/choreographer supreme Manwe; theater icon, storied stage manager of Broadway, Mr. Kenneth Hanson ; and the fiery Farrah Burns AKA The Harlem Chanteuse; and one of my favorite people of all time: the legendary Ms. Vy Higgensen who Founded and heads up Mama Foundation for the Arts. Her beautiful daughter Knoelle entertained the enthusiastic crowd with Minnie Ripperton’s "Loving You". And the sponsors were so great – including: Chatman Cakes, Sober Up, Uptown magazine, Harlem trends, Harlem Haberdashery, Jembere eyewear, graffiti artist Kindo Harper, DjNessdigital ,and more! Special shout out to Musa Jackson whose Musa Jackson Productions booked me and organized the event. And to the Harlem Shake TEAM plus ALL-of-the behind the scenes team-members – most pointedly, owner of Harlem Shake: Jelena Pasic who noted to me the night went beyond her expectations. Congrats to Ljeoma: the 2014 Miss Harlem Shake. abulous Job. See you next year! #MissHarlemShake2014 #Top5 p.s. Ant and I did an after set with one of our favorite couples: Brian and Nikita Henderson. We enjoyed karaoke at Radio Star. FUN!
I love me some Lola Ogunnaike who – along with Shannon Lanier – co-hosts Arise Entertainment 360 where I do Broadway and pop culture round-ups and re-caps + I get to guest co-host with her.
Well, I told her at a recent Kehinde Wiley party that the guest co-host (yours truly) expects to be invited to the baby shower as she has announced to us all (though I knew for a month now) that she and her hubby are expecting their new addition at the end of the year! CONGRATS, LOLA!
And that good news came with the great occasion we were attending: the PREMIERE of a film EXECUTIVE PRODUCED by my friend Lamar Johnson: “Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace” (a MUST-SEE on PBS or somewhere nearby… and MISS LOLA has a cameo! Check it out on www.pbs.org).
SPEAKING OF ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360, the full episodes for my last two guest co-hosting stints on ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360 are here:
ALWAYS A BLAST to GUEST CO-HOST on Arise Entertainment 360 with Lola Ogunnaike and Shannon Lanier: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/tag/arise-entertainment-360.
Arise News is on TV now in NYC/NJ area - 18 million homes Mon-Fri 2pm on Time Warner Cable #92 & Verizon FiOS #481 plus still on millions of TVs overseas. And it's coming this FALL 2014 to CentricTV - BET Networks. As always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! XO #ARISE360 #LOR_kehinde #kehindewileyPBS #economyofgrace #aneconomyofgrace #ARISE360 #ARISEENT360
We have to SHOUT OUT Anthony Wayne and his partner Kendrell Bowman (along with their partner, my favorite DIVA Sheryl Lee Ralph) as they unveiled Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical at the Theatre At St. Clement'st. It’s an ALL-MONTH-LONG-AND-BEYOND run – so please get your tickets and come out and feel #MIGHTYREAL!! Several of my FAVs were in the house - including Jamie Foster Brown, Michaela angela Davis, DjStormin Norman, Kendrick Jim Brown Reid, Derrick Hemphill, and more! FUN NIGHT and FIERCE PERFORMANCES! www.FABULOUSSYLVESTER.com AND http://www.facebook.com/FABSYLVESTER.
We were too excited when Anthony Wayne graciously popped by our Spring 2014 series of “Billie’s Black Presents All Star Karaoke” with Patrick L. Riley. We had a blast as he gave us a preview of his Sylvester turn before he and I rotated on Miss Ross’ “Upside Down”! BLISS! http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2014/6/5/fvifw.html
Interview from ALL STAR KARAOKE:
AIN’T NO WAY:
YOU MAKE ME FEEL (MIGHTY REAL):
MICHAEL JAI WHITE
Ernest Maynor & I at Michael Jai White's #falconrising premiere. Anthony Harper's sis Bri Cole's PR for MJW & actor Leon Robinson aka "Leon". Being Mary Jane's Richard Brooks came too! Enjoyed a great dinner at Negril after - also with Charon Richardson of G'wan by Charon fame - and what a great Saturday Night in New York City! P.S. Ern and I did stop by Karaoke One7 for a nightcap. WE JUST HAD TO! LOL!
HAPPY BAIRTHDAY, MALIK YOBA, who produced a project that screens at Urban World Film Festival this weekend in New York City. It’s TONSURE – directed by my fellow freelance writer/producer at BET, FRED BUMAYE and also produced by Savannah homeboy Maurice Marable: http://www.bet.com/news/celebrities/2014/09/16/malik-yoba-produced-short-tonsure-premiering-at-urbanworld.html
Enjoyed BET buddy Blair Younger's sister Brandee Younger stellar harpist - at jazz club Minton's Harlem. Anthony Harper and one of my work BFFs Howard Chisholm were in the house too! "PRELUDE" available on iTunes: www.brandeeyounger.com. BRAVO!!!
I got a call from my industry buddy of 15 or more years, legendary PR exec Juanita Stephens who I’ve known since BFF Chandra Jones worked as her publicity associate at Warner Brothers Records in the mid-‘90s. Juanita is now Atlanta-based and independent – clients including “Uncle Charlie Wilson” and many more! Juanita represented one of my favorites Jody Watley when she first came on the scene at MCA – “Looking for a New Love”. I’ve adored Miss Watley since her days as a Soul Train dancer; then as a member of the iconic SHALAMAR; and all of the years since then – as her solo career has reached the highest levels – from Grammy to MULTI-PLATINUM. And unlike many of her contemporaries, she’s maintained a youthful zest (loving THE KIDS), a sensuality unparalleled (even today), and an enterprising ambition which keeps fans – like me – continually fulfilled with new music(In 1995, she called me on stage to dance with her as the National Association of Black Journalists convened in Philadelphia where she headlined “A Night of Dazzling Divas”. Also on the bill: the late, great Vesta Williams and Regina Belle).As she prepares for another fun ride of new material and promotion around it – global and underground, Juanita told Jody Watley about ‘a friend of hers named Patrick Riley who blogs and LOVES pop culture, divas, good music….’. Miss Watley, I understand, interrupted “…You mean ‘DAY IN THE LIFE OF RILEY’? I follow that guy…” AND VOILA! Jody Watley and I are now following each other into her NIGHTLIFE. She - for sure - gave me MY LIFE!
Here’s a little from our chat this week:
LIFE OF RILEY: Hi Miss Watley! What a total honor for me to take this few minutes with you!
JODY: HELLO! HELLO!
LIFE OF RILEY: Because I follow you religiously on FACEBOOK and via social media, I know where you are many minutes of the day or – at least – what’s on your sharing heart, which – may I add – inspires and encourages me every day! My current blog’s name “A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RILEY” has a second-line “pop culture and possibilities” and you are quite an exemplar of that with your posts. So, I just want to - in this moment - THANK YOU FOR THAT!
JODY WATLEY: Oh, Cool! That means the world because I’m mindful of that and I always think that this platform is not just for keeping everyone up-to-date with what I’m doing and everything. I wouldn’t feel right if I weren’t putting things up and out there to inspire people. So, THANK YOU!
LIFE OF RILEY: With that, you have NEW MUSIC! So, ‘tell us about your new single “Nightlife” and what inspired you to release this one and what we can expect from it? POUR THE TEA, PLEASE! LOL!
JODY WATLEY: (LAUGHS) “NIGHTLIFE” is a song I started working on maybe two years ago. Was traveling with it – taking it on the road. Perfecting it. People loved it right away. It has opened my show which is very bold to perform a song – open the show – and people don’t know it but they respond to it as if they already knew it. So, coming up towards this year’s Essence Festival, I said it’s time to finish it and go on and put it out. It’s inspired from my love of dance music. I love different types of music. But I wanted to do something that still has that soulfulness. As dance music became more commercial, but it was a certain type of dance music that wasn’t so soulful – more Euro-pop and that wasn’t something that I wanted to experiment in of the different incarnations and evolutions of my writing and my artistry. So, the classic Disco soul I thought that I’d go there with it but in a modern way. Not in a retro way. But playing homage to that because I started out doing that as a Soul Train dancer and – of course – with Shalamar obviously.
LIFE OF RILEY: And how profound that the universe has identified a way for SHALAMAR to come off of your tongue without having to re-hash the controversies of the past with Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniels. Many don’t know or choose to remember that there was a singer before Howard: Gerald Brown. Can you explain that history and then jump right into – after all these years – how you came to reconnect with Gerald?
JODY WATLEY: I’d reconnected with Gerald Brown after Unsung. He got left out of it. So, I did “Unfiltered” on my YOU TUBE Channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDWhuwbYtIM). Because fans wanted to know what happened with Gerald Brown. I hadn’t seen him since I was 18-years-old. And he was always a great guy. I thought to bring “NIGHTLIFE” --- really bring that sound full circle --- that it would be nice to add that special, surprise touch. So, I asked Gerald to sing on “NIGHTLIFE”. So, he’s thrilled and people are loving it! And it makes people happy!”
And also, I wanted to do something that was about being glamorous because that’s missing in music.
LIFE OF RILEY: Yazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! I agree! And the iconography, may I add, that I’ve seen thus far with “NIGHTLIFE”. I know it’s a work-in-progress campaign. But the images are just amazing. Your looks. Your glamour. Your drag.
JODY WATLEY: THANK YOU! And I want to inspire others to be FABULOUS! HAIR DONE! NAILS DONE! GET YOUR DRAG ON! So, with NIGHTLIFE, you get the music and the soul. But you also get the message that reminds people that times are hard, but it’s okay to LIVE a little. When people say “Oh! These days are so hard! And I’m not this! And I miss the good ol’ days!” I say “The good ol’ days are now! It’s what you make of them!” So, BE FABULOUS NOW! Hanging with your friends! NIGHTLIFE is an uplifting song!
LIFE OF RILEY: I heard about another funky dance jam “The Don” inside of a forthcoming album “PARADISE”.
JODY WATLEY: I did that one at the Essence Festival and some other shows – including The Howard Theater, which was amazing! People love that one, too! It was produced by Mark de Clive-Lowe, a really cool DJ and musician. And the album is called “PARADISE”. It will be out after the first of the year. So, these are songs from “PARADISE” which represents the feeling I’ve always gotten and continue to get from music. Where music can take you is a feeling of paradise. There’s a club I used to go to often called Paradise. So, there are many elements to it: soulful, funky, fabulous, and another step in my journey and evolution as a singer and a songwriter and a producer and a DIVA! (laughs)
LIFE OF RILEY: I know you’ve gone on the record as being a fan of MISS DIANA ROSS! I know that along with you, she is high up in my galaxy of divas. Her first rotation at disco and dance music gave us the innovative “LOVE HANGOVER” (which you remade recently) and soon-thereafter “LOVIN’ LIVIN’ GIVIN” from THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY (a film that starred Donna Summer). You were dancing or about to be dancing on SOUL TRAIN at that time and beginning to create your own version of grandness. What were little Jody Watley’s ears hearing and seeing (when you perhaps saw Miss Ross and the disco contemporaries of the time)? Did you have a sense that this was a muse you were going to connect to as an artist?
JODY WATLEY: DIANA ROSS is the first definite influence I had as a little girl and she’s someone for whom I continue to have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration. She’s raised wonderful children in a crazy business. That’s not easy to do and juggle! I have two kids in college myself. So, to have them be grounded, MISS ROSS is IT! And so, she’s definitely there. And as a child, I also LOVED jazz singers like Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, and those singers. My parents were big jazz collectors. And the vibe they had on TV was glamorous and classy. And so, that’s ingrained in me. And my mom was an early influence. I tell her that my long-going, love affair with dolman sleeves actually started with my mom BEFORE DIANA ROSS! And I love them to this day! Give me a dolman sleeve and I’m happy!
LIFE OF RILEY: YESSSSSSS! I LOVE THAT! [Life of Riley EDITOR NOTE: I TOO LOVE A DOLMAN SLEEVE! LMAO!]
JODY WATLEY: Donna Summer was another influence during my dancing time on Soul Train. And like Diana Ross, the presentation. It was the music, it was the presentation, but it was also the album covers that were intriguing. There was a sense of mystique about them. And from the beginning of my solo career, I’ve always been big on the visuals and the photography. That’s been very influential to me. Grace Jones I’ve also gone on the record for being so bold and totally unique and not caring. And just being fabulously Grace Jones. Individuality and that’s something that I’ve been about – everything I put out should be like anyone else. But ultimately, people try to be like me. The divas – the ones who really stand out – have something they brought that was very fresh and unique. And uniquely them into the music business. So, as an artist, that’s always been and continues to be important to me. And to not lose that quality and integrity – it’s very key. And all of those ladies have never lost that. Even if commercial popularity wanes (as it does for everyone), your quality, your integrity, and your fabulousness doesn’t diminish if you are real. You don’t drop your standards. You continue to be high. And you continue to want to do great work. That is JODY WATLEY! THAT’S ME! “NIGHTLIFE” is another representation of that. And I have an eternal, youthful passion for what I do. And not in a way that I’m trying to be 15 again. It’s my youthful exuberance in a grown woman’s artistry. You get older but you don’t have to get old.
LIFE OF RILEY: That’s the perfect transition to my last question because there are a few things at play here: this full-circle moment for you musically – even nostalgically. But as an industry, we’re also observing a retro-dance movement on the charts. What do you make of what’s going on now and where are you in that? Twerking a la Miley Cyrus is now in the dictionary and a house-hold name, but it doesn’t look too unlike something from the Soul Train line. No judgment on my part, but would you even want the credit, association, homage? What do you make of the little divas who are finding their way and who is standing on your shoulder pads in a way that you applaud?
JODY WATLEY: Anyone who is out there pursuing their dreams, I say GO DO IT! I think that – for me personally – I’ve always been conscious. Maybe as a songwriter, I think this way. But I say “When I turn 60, am I going to be able to sing these songs?” Or “Will I look back and be ashamed?” Now, I look back at “Real Love” and say “You Betta WORK!” (laughter) I’ve always been conscious of being timeless and having a classic approach. That’s what I do. That’s me. And the fashion element comes from models. And when I look at artists like Rihanna, Janelle Monae, Beyonce, Solange, and some of these women, I see that they stand on my shoulders the way that I stand on the shoulders of Diana Ross and the artists before me. At that time, Black or White artists weren’t being featured in fashion magazines. That’s a door I opened and don’t often get credit for.
LIFE OF RILEY: And that’s ALL YOU! From my corner of the world, I shout and sing your praises on that front when I’m in diva debates with my friends. They do forget.
JODY WATLEY: THANK YOU! So, I see what is going on. And I’m proud of it. Six pages in Harper’s Bazaar is what I asked for. Some wondered what that had to do with selling records? When you’re innovative and trendsetting and pushing those around you to get you in VOGUE or Harper’s or when I said I wanted to do a song with Rakim (FRIENDS, which became one of the first rap/singing duets). And the questions were “Why do you want do that?” or “How does that work: pop and R&B?” And I asked that they just let me do it. Today, when hearing “Get Lucky” or Justin T’s “Take Back The Night”, “Blurred Lines”, etc., it confirmed I’d been on the right track with the music I wanted to do (“Nightlife”). So, I’m continuing to grow and push myself. But I definitely see (the influence of) JODY WATLEY all the time in the industry now. And everybody has their thing and I still have mine.
LIFE OF RILEY: And another of my dreams have come true! THANK YOU, MISS JODY WATLEY!
JODY WATLEY: Thank you, Patrick! See you on Facebook and TWITTER!
- · JODY WATLEY says “NIGHTLIFE” can be mixed straight into Phyllis Hyman’s "You Know How to Love Me" - one of her inspirational, soulful dance classics.
- · JODY WATLEY says “NIGHTLIFE” is a great tune for working out or even walking.
- · The NEW single “NIGHTLIFE” from the forthcoming new EP “Paradise” due early 2014. Available now at digital outlets worldwide, including the “Classic Glamour Extended” EP. BUY “NIGHTLIFE” – Limited edition vinyl coming mid September!
- · The NEW Single "NIGHTLIFE" - 'It's In The Music!" http://youtu.be/4j64kkLwerI
- · Official Artist Site / Style Blog: http://www.jodywatley.net
- · Follow on Twitter! http://www.twitter.com/jodywatley
- · Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jodywatleyofficial
Hi folks, PLEASE SHARE/TWEET/INSTAGRAM/FORWARD: I mentioned in prior “…Life of Riley…” entry that my “LIFE AFTER” debut on TV ONE premieres TOMORROW, Wednesday, September 11th at 8:30 pm (CLIFTON DAVIS). AND SET YOUR DVR, FOLKS! I am EXCITED that K2 Pictures (http://www.k2pictures.com/) invited me to weigh in (as pop culture analyst) on about a half-dozen pop culture subjects for TV ONE’s “LIFE AFTER” (http://www.tvone.tv/shows/life_after.html) i.e. Clifton Davis, Jimmie Walker, LeVar Burton, Maia Campbell, and Shereé Whitfield. I am THRILLED to be featured in the upcoming season with other “LIFE AFTER” regulars – including friends Clay Cane; Flo Anthony; and SouLeO. Here’s the season’s fantastic line-up of Life After: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Life-After/266689690047:
September 11 at 8pm - Sheryl Lee Ralph
AND MY FIRST: ALSO, September 11 at 8:30pm - Clifton Davis
September 18 at 8pm - Shirley Murdock
September 25 at 8pm - Jimmie Walker
October 2 at 8pm - Adina Howard
October 9 at 8pm - LeVar Burton
October 16 at 8pm - Maia Campbell
October 23 at 8pm - Shereé Whitfield
Please tune into this season of Life After and let me know your thoughts!
TWITTER: @patarack @tvonetv
Shout out to Nathan Hale Williams for having us out tonight to meet and greet with TAMAR BRAXTON who performed; signed CDs; posed; and proved to be a LIGHT OF GRATITUDE and APPRECIATION for the LOVE – most recently demonstrated by her chart-topping debut. Download "Love and War" on iTunes! http://smarturl.it/loveandwar-album. One of Ant’s childhood BFFs Brina Milton; Derrick Hemphill; Carl Nelson; Kevin-Anthony (Billie’s Black); and a host of others enjoyed CLUB ESCOS for the EPIC affair! #TamartianLoveandWar SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to our friend Ruthy Valdez – surrealist fine artist who unveiled her anticipated new art series, “Embryonic Codes” at Harlem’s speakeasy 67 Orange Street – ‘a link between the abstract spiritual realities and the real forms of the material world’. CONGRATS, RUTHY! We – of course – had more fun with Brina as the weekend progressed! Always a pleasure to see you, Brina! AND ONE MORE TIME: TAMAR DID THAT! LOL!
What a GREAT SUNDAY ! My buddy Karu Daniels invited me to accompany him to “TOM D’ANGORA presents NEWSical: THE MUSICAL” (WWW.NEWSICALTHEMUSICAL.COM and WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/NEWSICAL). Its celebrity guest star: LATOYA JACKSON who was absolutely wonderful and charming in her varied segments – including an impressive and satirical spin on her brother’s BFF MISS DIANA ROSS! CUTE! Special shout-out to LaToya’s manager Jeffre Phillips for making it possible for Karu and I to chat with Miss Jackson after the show. They both were so gracious and generous with their time. As you know, my long-standing client Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network commissioned a reality TV series, “Life With LaToya”, which premiered in April 2013. Its been picked up for a second season with new episodes premiering Dec. 2013. JOB WELL DONE, LATOYA! And may I say the rest of the CAST is WONDERFUL – including Kristen Megelkoch; Susan Mosher; Christine Pedi; Dylan Thompson; Tommy Walker; and Michael West. #NEWSical #lifewithlatoya #OWN #oprah
Off-Broadway with LATOYA to Broadway with LIFE OF RILEY: ONE PAIR OF COMP TICKETS FOR THE “…LIFE OF RILEY…” READER WHO WANTS TO SEE the forthcoming Broadway production of A TIME TO KILL (www.ATimeToKillOnBroadway.com). Tony® Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes’ stage adaptation of the John Grisham bestselling novel holds the distinction of being the first-ever John Grisham property adapted to the stage. The production, directed by Ethan McSweeny, features Sebastian Arcelus, Chike Johnson, Patrick Page, Tony Award® winner Tonya Pinkins, Emmy Award® winner Tom Skerritt, Fred Dalton Thompson, John Douglas Thompson, and Ashley Williams.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS:
SEND AN EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org NO LATER THAN THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12TH AT MIDNIGHT.
On FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH (no later than NOON), I’ll choose – RANDOMLY – a name from that batch of emails and will – in turn – send the WINNER a ticket voucher for you to select a performance date that works for you).
You will EMAIL that form to the box office which will confirm and hold tickets for you at will call. EASY, RIGHT?
Let me hear from you at email@example.com. GOOD LUCK… and SEE YOU AT THE THEATER!
A TIME TO KILL begins performances September 28 at The John Golden Theatre.
As always, FOLKS: THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
I’m always my happiest when I’m with Ant. And what a sad and cloudy day when he leaves. But buckets of tears later since his oh-too-brief weekend visit to L.A. from NYC, I can look back on an AWESOME weekend we had attending Sheryl Lee Ralph’s DIVAS: SIMPLY SINGING – an annual benefit that raises money for AIDS research and awareness.
Before I spill all the TEA, you remember I told you that I went to Cal State-Fullerton to be interviewed by my NABJ friend DR. MARIO, a student on the campus. Well, here’s the podcast: http://drmario.podomatic.com/entry/2009-10-09T23_09_20-07_00
Now back to the DIVAS and Ant’s and my fabulous weekend!
Firstly, you must know that IT TAKES A VILLAGE to have the kind of weekend we had, given we’re cash-strapped. But where there is a will (and a Scott and a Tony and a Sheryl Lee Ralph and an Audrey and a Tata and a Daddy and a Curtis and an Ernie and a Paul and a buddy pass and some frequent flier miles), there is a way!
So Ant got here on Friday night and we hit the ground running as soon as he landed since his Denver friends Robinson and Elia – AKA MAINCHAIN (www.themainchain.com) were performing at The Highlands in Hollywood. Plus, his best bud Paul was shooting the show. Ant’s flight was delayed – so we missed the show. But he got to see Paul and we all hung out afterwards at Robinson’s place.
On Saturday, we slept in. But once we got ourselves together, Ant surprised me with the news that he was taking me to a place we’ve both been resisting since the recession kicked in: HOUSTON’s – once our home away from home or kitchen away from kitchen. Ant had budgeted accordingly and insisted. So, we rushed to Century City to experience L.A.s HOUSTON’s like we do... and my mouth was beginning to water. For Ant, Veggie Burger, black beans, brown rice (though this locale only had white), spinach & artichoke dip, and a French martini. For me, since it was Saturday, The Firehouse Chili, cheese bread, side of fries, and a kir royale (just a drop of chambord). We did resist the key lime pie (as we were so full). But still we got our espressos with frangelica.
From dinner time to DIVA time, Ant and I segued right on over to the Saban Theater to secure our complimentary tix compliments of Ms. Sheryl Lee Ralph and our dear friend Scott, who is Ms. Ralph’s right hand, left hand, and the production coordinator for DIVAS: SIMPLY SINGING! (Ant and I did budget to make a donation which we did via the ‘offering pans’ that the young students passed around. AMEN!).
The DIVA line-up was spectacular - including: Yolanda Adams, Brenda Russell, Tamia, Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Jenifer Lewis, Loretta Devine, Dwight Eubanks, Sam Harris, All-4-One, Frenchie Davis, and more!
In fact, here’s the set-list:
Sheryl Lee Ralph (Opening)
“Everything’s Coming Up Divas”
“Star Spangled Banner”
“Open My Heart”
“Never Give Up”
“My name is Sundown”
“Bridge Over Trouble Water”
“If I Ain’t Got You”
“A Song for You”
“God has Smiled on Me”
“Close The Door” by Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Flutist Althea Rene
“De Ja Vu” by Beyonce
Sheryl Lee Ralph (End of 1st Act)
“That Was Divas Then”
“Bust Your Windows” by Jazmine Sullivan
All 4 One
“I Swear / My Child”
“Don’t Play with my Yo Yo”
Brenda Russell – “Get Here”
Tamia – “Me”
Kelly Price - “Hero” by Mariah Carey
“You Are So Beautiful”
“Love Like This”
“Man in the Mirror”
1. Sheryl Lee Ralph sported 5 wigs (by Penny and Kelly). And 9 costume changes --- all by designer Tadashi Shoji who has dressed Sheryl for all 19 DIVAS. Sheryl requests that there be at least one leopard dress.
2. Sheryl shouted out Ant’s boss Wendy Williams since Sheryl recently appeared on the show. She offered up a “How You Doin’?” at one point in the show and she played Wendy’s intro of her at another point.
3. They are still counting buckets, but it is estimated that they raised $200,000 towards the fight against AIDS.
4. Sheryl – quite the comic - called out the white audience members who were late – perhaps thinking things were going to start on “colored people time”. Since they were taping the show for DVD, many folks from the $25 seats got to fill in those prized rows.
5. Sheryl also did a spoof on Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” – quipping “If you like it then you should have put a condom on it!!!”
And of course, Ant and I were roaming the theater lobby and the after party at LIFE for our own pictures:
My ATL friends Dwight Eubanks and Lamoh were in the house. In fact, Dwight donated a pair of high-heel boots (signed) to Sheryl to auction off towards the benefit. Also got to see Dwight and Lamoh again on Sunday at The Abbey.
This is Tristan Wilds of Beverly Hills 90210 and "The Secret Life of Bees" fame.
Rachelle Farrell was in attendance and interviewed on the red carpet. She's the first DIVA to agree to do next year's 20th Anniversary show.
Writer Dale Guy Madison, whose DREAMBOY cover spoofs Mary Wilson’s “DREAMGIRL: My Life as a Supreme”, had a FAB exhibit with all things DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES on display in the lobby.
Ran into Rodney Chester from "Noah's Arc". I am such a fan of the show and movie, I was really excited to meet him! As you know, I'm always running into Patrik Ian Polk and the other cast members - including a recent run-in with Jentsen Atwood at The Abbey.
Always good to see Jawn Murray.
My friend Derek Lafayette - who is working with DIVA Divine Brown - and I were so happy to see each other. It's been a minute.
And Ant and I were so proud of our Scott and Tony who worked the production of DIVAS. Also, our friends we met through Scott and Tony – like Ed Roebuck. And then there was Henry who donated his beautiful body to Sheryl Lee Ralph's opening number. It truly was a family affair. After Ant left, Scott and Tony invited me to their friend's white birthday party at Lucy Florence in Leimert Park. Here Scott poses with his father, two of his sisters, his niece – all in town for DIVAS, and his partner Tony! THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLKS! I LOVE IT!
And to bullet a few things I did last week:
My NABJ buddy Brian (www.brimmage.com) is in town from D.C. He invited me to San Pedro where he's staying for dinner and - GASP! - Monday Night Football. I asked him if he was really my friend for such an invite. LOL! But he, Kelly, Li-Ling, and I had a great time - including the game but not exclusively the game. Great food (shrimp, collard greens, mac & cheese); wine; and lots of laughs! THANKS BRIAN! First home cooked meal since my Sidra left me. LOL! And on another day, Brian met with me to discuss BLOG/website upgrade. Per his expertise, he pointed out some info that could be the difference for my economic blues. Per some research he did, "A Day in the Life of Riley: Pop Culture & Possibilities" has a little bit of an ad-friendly following. Stay tuned! Y'all keep reading, hear? SMILE!
My best friend Ern's cousin Adolpha (who works for Fantasia's reality show at World of Wonder) invited me to the L.A. screening of Man Shops Globe, the Sundance Channel's new show based on the adventures of a world buyer for Anthropologie. The set was held at the Beverly Hills store. Then, Adolpha took me to Chin Chin for a light post-party meal.
And my father, who was visiting his brother Bobby in Pontiac, Michigan, flew in and out of Detroit’s airport where going home he ran into Ashford & Simpson. And here is the proof. This pic was submitted for inclusion in this blog entry. SMILE! – perfect P.S. to an entry primarily about DIVAS!
As you know, I've been on the road for work. NYC/NJ is my home and that’s where my man Ant is. He came from our home in NYC/NJ to see me (bearing gifts: new disposable camera. See pix! SMILE!). I couldn't stop posing!
Best friend since 7th grade, Ern, came too. We had a great weekend all around - from the moment they landed. This weekend gave me the chance to reconnect with Ern’s cousin Adolpha, who is in the business as well (working for Fantasia’s reality show now in addition to her work as a screenwriter and stand-up comic). She took Ern and me to O Bar in West Hollywood the night prior to Ant’s arrival (after Ern and I did lunch at “Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n Waffles”). Adolpha and her husband Nyk took Ern and me to Casablanca, a restaurant with 300-types of tequilas. And they invited us to Adolpha’s friend Jackie’s home in The Valley for a super fun pool party! We ate! We danced! And really enjoyed the energy of some good people! On the night Ant arrived, we met up with Ern and Adolpha at a spot in Santa Monica called Air Conditioned.
We went to my girlfriend Sidra's Downtown L.A. pad for rooftop swimming and brunch. Tony and Scott joined us there along with Ern.
My friend Curtis threw a Diana-Ross-themed house party with every Ross-rarity you could ask for. “Eyebrow King” Damone Roberts and his partner Ramon were in the house as well as our Tony & Scott. Curtis (and his brother Walter) were truly the hosts with the most – weaving all things Ross (from the 60s through to the new millennium). And we're talking rare videos, CDs, and glorious artwork well-appointed throughout their lovely home. There will be many-a-follow-up in the coming weeks. Thanks Curtis! Friend to Friend.
On Sunday of the weekend, Ant – an artist – and I got to meet up with my Morehouse brother Redic at his art gallery Eclectic Order which will be holding its Grassroots Grand Opening in a few weeks (inclusive of fine art, great new music from Redic – also a singer/songwriter, and T-shirts that come from Redic’s clothing line). He’s such the talented “Renaissance Man”! I’m so proud to have discovered his talent freshman week at Morehouse (I was a Senior – assigned to cast the Freshman Week talent show. I booked Redic along with four other voices to make a group ‘Just Us” (they called themselves). This way, more of them could make the cut and have their talents be heard. And beyond that first week of school, I managed to book them a handful more times before the year was done. And look at him now!!!! WOW! This is the same talent show in which I cast Rockmond Dunbar, freshman as well, to do a monologue for the masses. He went on to do his thing. Okay????? And he's stayed in touch over the years. I'm PROUD of my guys!!!
Then, Ant and I went to meet up with Scott, Tony, Ed, Delandis, and others at The Abbey. AWESOME WEEKEND!
Ant and I are looking at October for a return visit. Last year, we supported Sheryl Lee Ralph in booking Ledisi on her “Divas: Simply Singing” fundraiser that she does every October (For more information visit www.DivasSimplySinging.com). Well, since I’m here, we’re thinking this is a good time for us to get our visit in alongside an event.
For me to be adjusting to the West Coast (albeit temporary), I'm thrilled to have folks with Southern Hospitality showing me love: Delandis (SC) introduced me to Tony (SC) who invited me to Mickys in WeHo for the dance contest he hosts on Tuesday. Ran into another "Wicked" dancer Evereth (FL) who I met the other night. And before I knew it: We all had a lovely night! Thanks guys!
Did y'all see Whitney on GMA? (I got an 11th hour call to support her other upcoming interview but am in L.A. on assignment. Another close call to again be in Whitney’s presence but so far away...). New voice. Old voice. I'm sure rooting for Whitney and LOVE a comeback!
And since I don't have BET in my temp digs, what did y'all think of "Frankie & Neffe" - Episode 2? HOLLA! They are still kicking butt in the ratings as they did my own butt during the time I spent field producing them over five weeks in Atlanta. MAN DOWN!!!! CODE 10!!!!!