Monday, March 31, 2008

A Moment To Reflect

This one's personal...

Red carpets, movie premieres, celebrity interviews, film reviews they're all apart of how I work. And yes, they do have some impact on how I live. Thus, the name of this website. But truthfully, they dull in comparison to what's really important to me. And lately, I've been reminded of just how much. So today, it's not going to be business as usual. Today will be a day of reflection.

Two weeks ago I attended the funeral of a co-worker--a pretty, young woman that suffered with lupus. We had talked together, lunched together, and laughed together yet I had no clue of her illness until I received the surprising news of her death. A recent newlywed, she did not allow lupus to dampen her fighting and uplifting spirit nor stop her from striving toward her goals. She was and is an inspiration.

Then today, internet news informs me of the passing of Sean Levert, brother of the late Gerald Levert. Wait! Didn't I see him alive and well at the same Grammy Awards I attended in February. How? Why? Eddie? The family? So many unanswered questions. Like his brother and my friend, they died young with seemingly so much more life ahead.

For me, both losses are just another reminder that tomorrow is not promised; Each and every day is a blessing, so take nothing for granted especially having good health.

But for many people working in this industry appreciating each day IS a major challenge. Once the cameras are off and the production has ended, many secretly go "home" to sleep in their cars or in sleeping bags in an overcrowded apartment of strangers. Starting salaries are low, and rents are high here. So it's not unusual for eager young college grads to live this way, but when a 30 something executive assistant or production coordinator is out of work for three months or more and then evicted what's really important must be reevaluated. Is the dream of becoming a Hollywood producer really worth all the uncertainties and instability that comes with it?

Again, I've got more questions than answers. All I know for sure is that the sad events of the last few weeks have reminded to take stock of just how good I've got it. No, I'm not independently wealthy living lavishly in Beverly Hills with a summer home on the Carolina coast, but I'm here on this side of heaven--still striving, still healthy, and still able to enjoy a glorious sunrise. I'm blessed beyond what my eyes can see.

To the Levert family and friends, my deepest condolences.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Leatherheads: George Clooney Directs Football Comedy

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL! Not the Monday night variety with heavily padded millionaires vying for yardage on fake grass, adoring fans cheering from pricey stadium seats, and busy television cameras capturing every move for instant replays. Noooo! I'm talking about real old school football when helmets were made of leather and scantily clad cheerleaders, Gatorade showers, and highly anticipated Super Bowl Half Time shows didn't exist! Welcome to the sports world of Universal Studio's, Leatherheads.

The year is 1925 and Academy Award winner, George Clooney, the film's director and lead actor, portrays Dodge Connolly. As captain of the midwest's Duluth Bulldogs, the charming and aging football hero tries to save his career and the game of professional football as he knows it, which means no rule book, little protective padding, and playing with all your heart.

To help him make this biggest play of his life, he enlists the expertise of athletic agent CC Frazier (Jonathan Pryce) and his star client, college football star, Carter "The Bullet" Rutherford (John Krasinski). But the moment sassy reporter turned sportswriter, Lexie Littleton (Renee Zellweger), enters the story, Leatherheads becomes less about football and more about a romance between one woman and two very different men. Sorry fellas!

Assigned to separate fact from fiction about Rutherford's "decorated war hero" status, Littleton finds herself attracted to the good natured, all-American, celebrity athlete. But the woman doth protest too much in the presence of Conolly's bad boy charm. Their sharp-tongued, quick witted dialogue sets the tone of their underlying attraction and supplies some of the most enjoyable scenes of the film like the one below. See some of them and others by clicking HERE:




So this light hearted football movie isn't really all about the beginnings of the sport as much as it is about three individuals with something to prove to themselves and each other. And though it's described as a screwball comedy by some and a romantic comedy by others, I'd say it's definitely somewhere in the middle. Leatherheads opens nationwide April 4th. Visit the film's website HERE to learn more about the cast and to get multimedia downloads.




LEATHERHEADS TRAILOR

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Author Eric Jerome Dickey Talks Pleasures

"Self pleasuring was popcorn, my body was telling me it needed steak"
--
Nina Simone Bijou, Pleasures

Judging by the sexy cover and title of Eric Jermome Dickey's erotic new novel, Pleasures, you may be tempted to experience it while immersed in a warm, scented, bubble bath surrounded by candles, your favorite water-resistant toys, and Maxwell crooning softly from nearby speakers.

Or maybe you'd prefer to read it late at night after the kids are in bed. That's when you and your significant or insignificant other can explore a few scandalous pages together then play out the torrid scenes you just read. Get the picture?

No matter where you read Pleasures, you're bound to have one thing on your mind--SEX. It seems to be all the hedonistic central character, Nia Simone Bijou, can think about. A writer living in Atlanta, she desires new sexual experiences and sets out to turn her wet dreams into hard realities. Yet through her carnal journey she discovers things about herself far beyond the physical that raises more questions than answers. Can two men truly satisfy all her physical and emotional needs? Is great sex truly her motivation or something deeper? And at what cost is Nia willing to find out?

In this candid and sexiest interview I've ever conducted, Pleasures author, Eric Jerome Dickey, talks about creating characters like Nia, erotica author Anais Nin, and the pleasures of his craft. Then we slip into something more comfortable and discuss, what else? SEX! Threesomes, arousing moments with readers, how men and women express their desires differently, and other juicy topics are now all out in the open for your audible pleasure.

Part 1: Introducing Nia





Part 2: What's good erotica read like?

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Part 3: What pleasures the author?



Pleasures
hits bookstores nationwide April 1st. Pre-order your copy to the left through Amazon.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Angela Bassett Gets Star on Walk of Fame

CONGRATULATIONS ANGELA BASSET! Last Thursday, she was honored with her very own star on the the Hollywood Walk of Fame! I wasn't able to attend but Blacktalentnews.com has the highlights below:

Academy Award nominated actress Angela Bassett was honored with the 2,358th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame yesterday. Bassett, 49, was joined by husband Courtney B. Vance, their children and guests, actors Forest Whitaker, Laurence Fishburne and Rick Fox. Fox is her co-star in Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns.

Fishburne, starred alongside Bassett in "What's Love Got to Do With It," highlighted her persistence saying "You get a lot of no's in this business and you have to have that desire and determination which is what Angela has. Whitaker called Bassett was "a powerful artist, a beautiful person, a mother, a wife, a friend who illuminates my life."

Bassett spoke, recalling her move from NY to L.A. in 1988, "I meant to stay six months but I stayed. Today my cup runneth over! I am crying now, I cried yesterday and the day before. ... This day is so, so special to me."

###

Click HERE to read more about Angela Bassett as she talks candidly with entertainment writer, Mikki Turner, about Tyler Perry and why she really wanted to star in Meet the Browns, being good for Hollywood, and balancing motherhood and career.

Here's an excerpt:
Considering that Bassett is a Yale-trained thespian who has rarely appeared in low-budget, critically panned movies, one has to wonder why she might consider doing a Perry movie at this juncture in her career. Perhaps she noticed that Perry has been providing opportunities for several other aging African-American actresses including: 1972 Oscar nominee Cicely Tyson, Lynn Whitfield and Irma P. Hall.

You don’t have to be a Yalie to realize that it pays to be in a Perry film.

“He said before I signed on that it’s going to get panned,” Bassett said with a laugh. “I’m looking for opportunity and I’m looking for experience. C’mon let me have this experience. If there’s some value that I see or if I have the opportunity I’m going to bring the best that I have and I can to the moment and see how I can add to it.”


Click MSNBC to read the full article.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meet the Browns Cast Press Conference

Two things I like most about attending press conferences for films is that the responses to questions are generally unrehearsed and you never really know what a brave reporter might ask. So warm up your funny bone as the cast of Meet the Browns discuss their roles, working with Tyler Perry, and some of their own personal stories as they relate to the film.



Angela Bassett



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Rick Fox



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Jenifer Lewis



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Lance Gross


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Sofia Vergara


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Irma P. Hall



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Tyler Perry



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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Meet the Browns LA Premiere

Red carpet, bright lights, and an air of anticipation set the stage for the Hollywood premiere of Tyler Perry's new film, Meet the Browns, at the Arclight's Cinerama Dome Thursday night.

So many stars, yet so little time. Still I managed to snag great interviews with some members of the hilarious cast including Jenifer Lewis and Tamela and David Mann. Former Miss USA now actress, Kenya Moore, also stepped to my mic to discuss her new reign behind the camera, and "clean" comic, Jonathan Slocumb, shared the "good news" about why he thinks Tyler Perry films have been so successful in Hollywood. Listen to those interviews and more below.

But before you do check out my exclusive video from the red carpet event. How many stars do you recognize? Don't blink! If you do, you'll miss Tyler rushing by to enter the theater.





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Monday, March 10, 2008

Profile of a Janet Fan/Fanatic

"Light skin, dark skin, my Asian persuasion, I got them all that's why these girls out here hatin' cause I'm sexy."

When it comes to loyal fans Janet Jackson does indeed have them all--various ages and ethic backgrounds, gay, straight, those still figuring it out, and even celebrities like Tyra Banks and Ellen DeGeneres are in the mix. With such a broad spectrum of adoration could a Janet fan profile actually exist? Could you be working, studying, or carpooling with a Janet fanatic and not even know it? Probably!

Assuming some of her die-hard fans would be in the audience, I attended the Jimmy Kimmel Show taping last week in hopes of defining what a Janet fan versus a fanatic looked and acted like. But to my surprise there were no outward signs of Janet fans anywhere in the large crowd lined outside the Hollywood Boulevard studio. Not a Janet t-shirt, poster, CD, or even magazine cover could be seen in possession of anyone. Where were all the proud and outwardly expressive fans I expected? No one in line seemed to fit the profile, or so I thought.

Like good books, you shouldn't judge Janet zealots by their covers. While standing amongst the subdued crowd I shouted, "Where are the Janet fans?" Immediately heads turned, but no one responded. So I moved closer to the front of the line and asked again, "Where are all the Janet fans?" Suddenly, a hand went up in the air followed by a "right here!" Jackpot!

What's the difference between a Janet fan and a fanatic?


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What first attracted you?


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And what do you like about the new album, Discipline?


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Once inside, the same fans I talked to outside were given premium front row seats and a few seconds of fame on the show thanks to Kimmel commented on their overwhelming support.

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But not all Janet fans/fanatics were in the audience displaying their "hearts" to the multi-platinum selling artist. Backstage in the VIP area were a few industry insiders trying to keep their fan status "on the low". But with a little conversation, their adoration began to show especially when asked about Janet critics.



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So is there a definitive Janet fan or fanatic profile? Yes. However, outwardly it's just as diverse as Skittles candy. It's the actions of these fans/fanatics--the major sacrifices of time, money, and jobs, staging effective e-mail and telephone campaigns, and tattoos in her honor--that defines them, not their appearance. One fanatic even confessed to rearranging store CD displays without permission to put Janet projects in plain view, and the was only the beginning.

Very few artist these days have that kind of following across socio-economic, gender, age, and cultural lines. And even fewer can state they've had it for more than 20 years without really asking for it. But that's the way, that's the way, that's the way love goes! Play the video to see some of the fanatics interviewed and their expressions of love.




Additional photo: Janet-world.de

Logo TV Honors Teen Hate Crime Victims in Celebrity PSA

In response to last month's murders of gay teens, Lawrence King, 15, and Simmie Williams, 17, Logo television has launched a new public service announcement (PSA) denouncing hate crimes against gays with the help of some of the biggest names in television, music, and film.

Featured in the 60 second PSA are several concerned entertainers, writers, and activists including Andre 3000, Ashanti, Portia de Rossi (Arrested Development, Nip/Tuck), singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, T. R. Knight (Gray's Anatomy), R&B singer Little Sister, Calpernia Addams (Logo's Transamerican Love Story), and Janet Jackson to name a few.

According to Brian Graden, President, MTV Networks Music Group Entertainment, the PSA will be made available to Logo's sister brands across MTV Networks and other networks that wish to air it.

Click HERE to visit Downelink.com, Logo's social network for young adults, to share with Logo your thoughts and comments on a special tribute page. Video responses are encouraged.

"One more murder, one more life lost, one more attempt to provoke fear, and one more reason hate crimes must end. We hope this PSA will help inspire more people to join the fight against hate crimes," said Graden in a statement to Logo's 365 gay.com .




Friday, March 07, 2008

Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns: Don't Block The Blessing!

While most of us are still basking in our enjoyment of his last film, Why Did I Get Married?, on DVD, Tyler Perry is on the scene again with his new film, Meet The Browns.

The family comedy stars Angela Bassett, Rick Fox, Jenifer Lewis, Lance Gross, and familiar actors from the play, David and Tamela Mann. Also rounding out the cast are Margaret Avery, Lamman Rucker, Frankie Faison, and Sofia Vergara.

The story centers around single mother of 3, Brenda (Bassett). She barely ekes out a living working in a Chicago factory. When the business unexpectently closes, Brenda hits rock bottom financially. With no child support, no job, and no money she is in desperate need of a blessing.

And of course, the blessing comes but not from friends or government programs. No, her help cometh from the dead and the Lord, of course! An invitation to the funeral of the father she barely knew, brings Brenda closer to having her prayers answered. But will she accept the blessing despite that it involves a totally different lifestyle, relocating to the south, and getting to know a crazy family she never knew she had? And what about love? Romance hasn't been high on Brenda's hierarchy of needs, so can she let down her guard enough to let a handsome basketball recruiter (Fox) show her and her family love unconditionally?

It's a comedic story of faith, love, and knowing when to get out of your own way. And between the hilarious antics of fashionably-challenged Leroy Brown (Mann), the uncensored, drunken theatrics of Vera (Lewis), and Perry's signature dinner table humor you'll definitely laugh out loud as the Browns reflect on the dead as well as the living. Meet the Browns hits theaters March 21!


Trailer:



To gain a little more insight about the film, listen to my red carpet interview with lead actor, Rick Fox, and Co-Producer, Roger Bobb from the NAACP Image Awards. Click HERE.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Destiny Child's Kelly Rowland Just Got Bigger

Source AP

NEW YORK - Kelly Rowland has gotten a little more bustylicious. Rowland, who sang "Bootylicious" with Beyonce in the group Destiny's Child, tells People magazine in its March 17 issue that she had plastic surgery last October to bring her "from an A-cup to a B-cup."

As for the one-cup upgrade, Rowland says: "I didn't want to have double Ds and be a little bitty size 2 — that would look nuts!"

The 27-year-old singer went under the knife after a long decision-making process.

"I was sick of not fitting into my tops," she says. "There was this one really hot House of Dereon top — I just wanted to fill that out!"

Rowland says that top — designed by Beyonce's mom, Tina Knowles — complements her new curves: "I put it on and I looked so good! I'm so happy. I feel complete."

Rowland, who has released two solo albums, says she hesitated to discuss the surgery.

"It is a decision I made for myself. I like it, and that's all that counts. For young people: Think about it before you just jump off and do something (you may regret later)," she says.

END


Why did I feel it necessary to post this? Especially when I know the gossip blogs are going to have a field day with it. Because, it just goes to show no matter how beautiful and perfect WE think a celebrity may be, we really don't know how they see themselves. But on a lighter note, next time we see Kelly singing, "I don't think you're ready for this jelly..." she'll actually have more to offer than 2 pieces of Wonder Bread. I'm sorry...I couldn't resist.

Monday, March 03, 2008

BlackNLA.com & Bad Boarderz Inc. Mammoth Ski Weekend

BlackNLA.com, the online resource for what's happening in and around LA, and Bad Boarderz Inc. heated up the ski slopes last weekend during their annual Mammoth Blackout Weekend. And I, a newbie to the event, tagged along for a new adventure. "But what does a ski trip have to do with Hollywood, celebrities, or red carpet events?" you ask. Nothing! Absolutely, nothing. Which is exactly why I went--to get out of my comfort zone and do something different.

Located approximately six hours north of LA's congested traffic and smog-tinted skies, Mammoth provided a great escape for the winter sports enthusiasts and cozy fire-place seekers like me on the trip. Freezing wind gusts up to 70mph shut down most activity Saturday morning, but by noon the 10-13 feet of packed snow and gorgeous sunshine provided the perfect conditions for what we came to do--ski, board, network, and of course, party.


Ooh, baby it's cold outside...let's have some fun!





Ready to have some fun inside? Blow the whistle!






And my other motivation for going....sights like these!



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