Friday, August 29, 2008

Edit Session Mobile Blog

I'm testing some new technology. This post is from my new Blackberry cell phone. Right now I'm stuck in post production helping to make final touches on a tv special scheduled to air this fall on BET. Can't give up the details just yet, but here's a clue: nine brothas from Shaolin that changed the Hip-Hop game. Old head Hip-hoppers are gonna love this joint! The guy in the picture is the editor, Scott Chennault. I'm sitting behind him.

Posts here are coming kind of slow and I apologize. I've been mad busy associate producing this show, writing for and the LA Sentinel. Of course, I've attended a few on going events that I plan to post next week so check back!

Anyway, have a great Labor Day weekend! Please be safe and party responsibly! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY 50TH MICHAEL JACKSON!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Death Race: Killer Ride From Start to Finish

Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seat belts it's gonna be a bumpy ride! As cliched as that sounds, when describing Universal's new vehicular crash and burn flick, "Death Race", it's the truth! Director and producer, Paul W. S. Anderson, literally puts you in the driver's seat in this brutal, 100 miles an hour prison car race and doesn't let you take your foot off the petal until you cross the finish line of the credits.

Set in the not-so-far future on fictional Terminal Island, "Death Race" features, "Transporter's" Jason Stratham and "Annapolis" Tyrese Gibson as prison racers, Jensen Ames and Machine Gun Joe, respectively. And "The Bourne Supremacy's" Joan Allen portrays the manipulative warden and "Death Race" show producer from hell.

Of his character, Gibson explains it's a role that's darker than anything he's done before. "Machine Gun Joe is evil," he says. "He's an inmate, a leader, and killer. I'm a bully."

Stratham's role as Jensen Ames a.k.a the masked "Frankenstein" is a stark contrast to Gibson's. A former convict and steel worker, Ames is framed for the murder of his wife and has a child he desperately wants to back to. Says Stratham, "This is a tough guy who's been to prison before. He's found this woman who loves him. They have a child together, and she's his second chance at life."

"My character only sees 'Death Race' as an incredibly popular show that people really want to watch," says Allen about her role as Warden Hennessey. "Hennessey gets caught up in the media and numbers and forgets human lives are at stake."

The rules of her violent pay-per-view event are simple: win five races and get released from prison. To keep viewers glued to their screens, Hennessy ensures audience favorites--the masked Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe--are the last men standing and driving. Both prisoners only have one more race to win in order to receive their freedom. But Hennessey has a few "surprise appearances" that may affect the race's outcome and blow her ratings through the roof.

Interestingly, making a strong appearance in this film are the cars themselves. These killing machines are ready for all out war on the track. Armed with napalm, oxygen tanks, machine guns, flamethrowers, ejector seats and other tricked-out artillery, these villainous cars are combination of machines from "Mad Max" and "Fast and Furious."

So to keep the action between these armed cars and their drivers as authentic as possible no green screens and Hollywood computer tricks were used. As "Death Race's" director, Anderson chose to visually get as close to the scenes as possible.

"We built a load of rigs," says Anderson, "that have never been seen before in movies. We were able to get so close to these real crashes, these real explosions--cars on fire, cars spinning 20 feet in the air--all done practically and all done safely."

And the end results of Anderson's work is a film so real, you'll still feel the jolts after the movie is over. "Death Race" is definitely a film for the big screen and designed to see IN THEATERS to experience every smashing detail. So speed to a theater this weekend and don't forget to buckle up!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pleasure Principle Lingerie by Janet Jackson

Let me first say, after three postings about deaths I'm happy to write about the birth of a new, sexy idea by one of my favorite people in the entertainment biz. Read on!


Rumors about Janet Jacksonare as common as real fancy cars and fake producing credits in Hollywood. But this time, one particular rumor is true. No...not the one about her secretly marrying Jermaine. And no, not the one about the DeBarge love child that sister, Rebbie, supposedly adopted. I'm talking about the rumor that Miss Jackson was going to start a lingerie line that surfaced maybe 2 albums ago. Well, now it's no longer fiction, baby! It's an undeniable truth! Janet's "Pleasure Principle" lingerie line will be in stores by end of year or early 2009 according to various reports of entertainment news.

Co-created by Australian designer, Bruno Schiavi (Dr. Rey's Shapewear), sizes will range from 32A to 44G and the material: satin and lace. Obviously, this will not be for those of you still holding on to your tired pastel cotton draws and granny panties! Presentation is more than half the battle, ladies! And Miss Janet knows a little something about putting on a show! So now you can step up your show too!

Says Janet, "The collection has been carefully created with some of the finest laces from around the world. You will see a lot of satin and lace combined and rich colors such as burgundy and beige, silver and peach, and as well as your classic black and white."

Schiavi adds, "Janet and I wanted to create a collection that empowers women and that makes women feel sexy, flirtatious, and provocative."

But don't rush to Vicky's Secret nor Slauson Swapmeet for knockoffs just yet. Where the "Pleasure Principle" line will be sold is still being determined. Prices, however, are said to be below $40 for bras and panties. So, you female fans brazen enough to throw your breast baskets and thongs on stage during Janet's upcoming "Rock With You" Tour---and I know there are some of you left from her last show---you'll soon have something to toss during a performance that might actually get autographed and thrown back to you.

And for those of you that like to keep your draws on during a public show, privately you can put on your new Janet "Pleasure Principle" lingerie and your old Janet slow jam CD and practice a little "Discipline". It's "Curtains"! Just listen below.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dave Matthews Band's LeRoi Moore Dies

Source: AP

LOS ANGELES - Dave Matthews Band saxophone player LeRoi Moore, one of the group's founding members and a key part of its eclectic jazz-infused sound, died Tuesday from sudden complications stemming from injuries he sustained in an all-terrain vehicle accident in June. He was 46.

Moore was initially hospitalized in late June after the accident on his farm outside Charlottesville, Va. He was later discharged and had recently returned to his Los Angeles home to begin a physical rehabilitation program when complications forced him back to the hospital on July 17, the band said. He died at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, according to a statement released on the band's Web site. The statement did not specify what led to his death.

Lead singer Dave Matthews credited Moore with arranging many of his songs, which combine Cajun fiddle-playing, African-influenced rhythms and Matthews' playful but haunting voice.

The Dave Matthews Band formed in 1991 in Charlottesville, Va., when Matthews gave a demo tape of his songs to Moore, who liked what he heard and recruited his friend and fellow jazzman Carter Beauford to play drums, and other musicians. In 1997 The Dave Matthews band won a Grammy Award for its hit song "So Much to Say" off its second album "Crash." Other hits include "What Would You Say," "Crash Into Me" and "Satellite."

A Personal Perpespective:

"It happens in threes." That's a common phrase elders often use when unexpected deaths occur in the community. I had never met Bernie Mac, nor Issac Hayes, but LeRoi Moore I had the pleasure of meeting backstage at a sold out concert in Raleigh, NC, several years ago thanks to his cousin, my former executive producer. I know, small world!

The EP gave me and a friend front row seats and then introduced us to Moore after the great show. Moore was quite friendly and chatted with us a while. Admittedly, I was not a fan of the group, but after their impressive performance and meeting Moore, I gained a great appreciation for their musicianship, especially that of the fiddler. Great music is great music, irregardless of genre, race, or chart position.

My sincere condolences to LeRoi Moore's family, friends, and fans.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Laurence Fishburne Joins CSI Cast

Source: AP
This is literally hot off the entertainment press! CBS says "Matrix" star Laurence Fishburne is joining the cast of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." He'll be filling in the gap left by departing cast member William Petersen. Fishburne will be introduced in the ninth episode of the new season so you'll have to wait a few weeks.

Often an intellect in his character portrayals, Fishburne's will play a college lecturer and former pathologist who studies why people do the violent things they do. Interesting....!

So Fishburne fans set your TiVo and spread the news! I think I'll watch the show just to hear Fishburne talk. I love his voice and his intellect--two things that make him one of the sexiest men in Hollywood in my opinion. What's your favorite Fishburne role or movie. For me: "School Daze", "Deep Cover", "Boyz N The Hood", "What's Love Got To Do With It", and of course, "Matrix" is a given.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Strikeset: T-Shirts For Filmmakers

Everybody likes to express their opinions and thoughts on a t-shirt every now and then, including independent filmmakers. While browsing my GOOGLE ADS to the left I came across the heading "For Geniune Independents" which linked to Strikeset, a unique brand of a humorous creative tees for those that love filmmaking and all the different aspects of the process. Take a look!

My favorites: "Indy Filmmaker, Will Work For Food"; "I Got a Big Boompole"; "Fix It In Post" (Lawd! How often have I said that?); and "Stick it". By buying a t-shirt you'll be helping filmmaker and t-shirt designer, Thomas J. Chavez, fund his next film. Read all about his efforts to raise money and developing the Strikeset brand tees on his blog, at, just click it's name. And yes, you'll be helping me too keep this blog "in the black" by purchasing one of his new T-shirts. I'm saving up for a new camera and a new Mac computer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Be Reel Filmmakers in Good Hands With Allstate

Why are these handsome men and one lovely above lady smiling? Because, they are among a select group of independent filmmakers chosen as finalists of Allstate's Be Reel Film Contest at this year's American Black Film Festival. So what are their names?: Travis Dent, Roy Clovis, and Dana Hanna respectively.

The competition gives independent black filmmakers broader exposure and challenges them to create a film, less than 90 seconds in length, that demonstrates how "the community helps people achieve success." While attending the film festival's closing night reception at the Writers' Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, I talked with these anxious filmmakers about being a finalist and what they hoped to do if chosen as the winner of the $5,000 award. Take a listen!

AND ALLSTATE'S BE REEL FILM CONTEST WINNER IS? DRUMROLL PLEASE! ROY CLOVIS, for his film "Lucky Suit." Hear him attempt to explain his excitement.

Visit to learn more about his film and the films of the other finalists. And here's an inside scoop: "Lend A Hand", produced and written by Dana Hanna, was directed by "Daddy's Little Girls" actor, Gary Sturgis. Congratulations again to all the filmmakers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Heineken Red Star Week Part 2: ABFF

After providing Hollywood with great Red Star Soul performances by two of R&B's favorite ladies, Goapele and Ashanti, Heineken USA added its own unique flavor again to this year's American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in Beverly Hills as a sponsor. This was the brewing company's second year of sponsorship.

At ABFF festival attendees not only got a taste of outstanding filmmaking but also a place to relax, network, and combat the sweltering heat with free cold beer. And for those who were a little hesitant to strike up a conversation with fellow filmmakers, Heineken also provided a unique way to break the ice and get the business cards flowing. Pete Santaniello, Heineken's Manager of Lifestyle Marketing, explains how:


As Santaniello stated one of the main purposes of Heineken's presence at ABFF is to bless one outstanding filmmaker with it's Red Star Award. The award is given to filmmakers at prestigious film festivals throughout year. Those that receive the honor must demonstrate innovativeness and originality in their work. This year filmmaker Barry Canty, a Charlotte, NC, native received the top honor. Let's meet him!


As Heineken's award winner, Canty will also receive a profile in "Variety" magazine and further exposure on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) in video presentations that will air for a month. Learn more about Barry Canty and his film, "LA Proper", by visiting IMDB or view the film's Myspace page by clicking this link.

Canty is only the second filmmaker to receive Heineken's Red Star Award, so to see last year's winner, Ernst Gossner, click HERE to view Hollywood: As I Live & Work's interview. Then AFTER visiting my previous post, surf to's film page to catch up on all the 2008 Red Star Soul winners thus far.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Heineken Red Star Week Part 1

A simple business card, a charged cell phone, and an impressive can-do attitude, what else do you need to turn a stranger into a potential client or business partner? How about an ice cold Heineken beer? For nearly a week in Hollywood Heineken USA not only provided the "drink of the evening" for free, but also great environments for "creatives", like me, and "suits" to brew new business.

First was the annual Independent Achievers Award reception followed by the Red Star Soul concert. With the help of an elite committee of R&B music power players, Heineken selected nine artists from around the country that embodied "the hustle, the integrity, and drive to succeed while inspiring others along the way." This year's Independent Achievers Award winners are:

  • Andre Harrel (New York): Founder of Uptown Entertainment that laid the foundations for the careers of Jodeci, Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, and entertainment mogul, Sean "P.Diddy" Combs.
  • Mark Baston (Los Angeles): Producer, arrangers, and songwriter for artists Alicia Keys, Anthony Hamilton, the Dave Matthews Band and James Blunt.
  • George Daniels (Chicago): Owner of George's Music Room and a Chi-town music legend and veteran
  • Amp Fiddler (Detroit): A former member of groups Parliament and Funkadelic, and has kept the heart of funk, electronica, and soul music alive in the backyard of Motown.
  • Joi Gilliam (Atlanta): One of ATL's most unique performers that began a record label for up and coming artist. (Interview below)
  • Harold Lilly (Philadelphia): The man behind the hits for artists Luther Vandross ("Take You Out"), Fantasia ("Baby Mama") , and Angie Stone ("Brother) just to name a few.
  • Tabi Bonney (Washington DC): A rising star on the D.C. live performance circuit
  • DJ Mick Boogie (Cleveland): DJ of choice for celebs like Jay-Z and Venus and Serena Williams thanks to his unique talents on the ones and twos.
  • Troy Taylor (Dallas): Writer and producer of songs for a range of artists including Boyz II Men, Tyrese, Faith Evans, Brownstone, Take 6, and Trey Songz.

Meet some of the honorees:

L-R: George Daniels, Amp Fiddler, DJ Mick Boogie, Tabi Bonney, Joi Gilliam, Troy Taylor, Harold Lilly, Mark Baston

That's this year's Red Star Soul committee including hit-making producer, Bryan-Michael Cox; C.E.O of Kedar Entertainment, Kedar Massenburg; President of Universal Motown, Sylvia Rhone; 2006 Winner, Jason Orr, and Red Star Soul Host, Kenny Burns. After listening to the honoree interviews, visit this link to watch a great video of their deliberation process.

Here are interviews with Independent Achiever committee member, Bryan-Micheal Cox, and award winners Harold Lilly, Joi Gilliam, Amp Fiddler, and George Daniels.


And lastly, here's a taste of the Red Star Soul concert in Hollywood at Boulevard 3, from the celebrity arrivals outside to the performance stage inside. This year's LA headliner, R&B princess, Ashanti!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Shaft" Composer, Isaac Hayes dies


Legendary soul singer and Academy Award winning music composer, Isaac Hayes was found dead today in his home in Memphis, Tennesee. According to Shelby County Sheriff's Department, relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious next to a still-running treadmill. After paramedics tried to revive him, he was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead around 2pm (EST) states the sherrif's department. No foul play was suspected.

1971 Hayes earned an Oscar for the theme song for the action film, "Shaft". It also earned him a two Grammy Awards. Two years ago he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and fans of the animated series, "South Park", will remember him as the voice of "Chef" from 1990 to 2006.

Rest in peace, Mr. Hayes.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Comedian Bernie Mac Dies At Age 50

Source: IMDB/

Bernie Mac, who for the past 30 years made the public laugh thanks to an over-sized comic persona as captured on the small and large screen as well as on stages small and large, died Saturday morning. He was 50. "[He] passed away this morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital," his rep, Danica Smith, told People. "No other details are available at this time. We ask that his family's privacy continues to be respected." On Aug 1, Mac was admitted to a hospital at Northwestern Memorial hospital with pneumonia said his rep, adding that he was expected to recover.

In a statement released just this morning through her publicist, friend and "The Bernie Mac Show" & "Guess Who" co-star, Niecy Nash had this to say:

Bernie Mac was so gracious. I'll never forget when I auditioned for the role to play his sister on "The Bernie Mac Show". We had to improvise for the call back. I did it and we had such a good time, but I didn't know yet if I had booked the part. I walked out and went to say "hi" to someone I knew in the cast. And Bernie was walking by and he just walked up and said, 'Congratulations, baby girl' and kissed me on the cheek...

When I showed up to work. he said something to me that had never been said to me before on a set. He said, 'Baby girl, the script here is not the Bible. Do you and I'll follow. I got mine and you get yours.' When he said that, I knew everything was going to be alright...

His passing is such a major loss to the acting and comedy communities. Everything that I learned and observed from Bernie Mac, I'm going to apply it. Now that I have my own sitcom I'm going to pay it forward. His graciousness and giving will live on. That's how I'm going to keep his memory alive;by expressing the best part of him through me. Bernie Mac was the personification of the word,'real.' He kept it real. That kind of geniune spirit he called all the time cannot be easily duplicated, but I will do my very best to try.

Mobile blogger set up

Mobile blogger set up

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Get Well Soon Blog For Morgan Freeman & Bernie Mac

You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. Thank God Morgan Freeman is still here and released from the hospital today. Just as word of Bernie Mac's battle with pneumonia was made public, we were suddenly hit with the news of Freeman's terrible car accident in Mississippi that seriously injured him and his passenger. Everyone is now on the road to recovery, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some positive moments, these performers have brought to our lives through their work.

Let's start with the Academy Award winning, Morgan Freeman. When did you first really notice Freeman either on the small or big screen? "The Electric Company" I know is a popular response. Personally, I don't remember him on that educational series, but rather from the film "Lean on Me". That's a classic I will stop whatever I'm doing to watch. Add to that "Glory", "Driving Miss Daisy", "Seven", "Shawshank Redemption," and "Nurse Beatty" just to name a few.

Those titles also bring to mind an independent film called "All About Us" which I recently purchased on DVD. The film is based on the lives of filmmaking couple, Michael and Christine Swanson. Although their first film, "All About You" does well on the festival level, Hollywood has no interest in their well-produced, black romance with no A-list celebrities. So they attempt to produce another movie this time with a big name attached--Morgan Freeman. But how will they get him to agree to do their film based on the script alone? The couple travels to Mississippi to ask him. What they learn about themselves in the whole process shares great insight into how we truly live and work in Hollywood. I highly recommend it!

Now Bernie. Most of us probably remember when he slapped the intimidating audience on HBO's Def Comedy Jam with, "I ain't scared of you, motherf*ckers!" It's still one of the best comedic ice-breakers to date, that people still quote. But just as he's brought us to tears with laughter, Bernie Mac has also made us recognize his ability to make us cry in dramatic scenes like those in the film, "Pride".

What's your fav Bernie Mac movie or character? Dig deep 'cause Imdb states his first movie was 1992's "Mo' Money" with the Wayans brothers. Some of my favs are the roles he played in "B.A.P" (I love that movie!), "The Players Club", "Pride", and "Guess Who". "Kings of Comedy" and his hit tv show go without saying.

So instead of waiting for news of their conditions, let's watch our favorite Bernie Mac and Morgan Freeman films and tv shows. By the time we finish a Mac & Freeman movie marathon we'll appreciate them even more and hopefully they'll feelmuch better too.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Long Live Bernie Mack!

If you heard over the weekend that comedian-slash-actor, Bernie Mac, my favorite king of comedy, died then you should know by now that it is not true. Lord! it's amazing how fast bad news travels, especially when it's wrong!

According to the Associated Press, Bernie was admitted to a Chicago hospital for pneumonia. And no, this recent illness is not related to the inflammatory lung disease he already has, says his publicist, Danica Smith. As of the timing of this post, Mac is recovering and responding well to treatment say Smith in a statement to the Chicago Tribune.

God Bless you, Bernie! Get well, soon! We look forward to seeing doing your thing!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

LA Earthquake: Stirred But Not Shaken

Yes, I know. This post is a little late. Please bare with me, people! If it's hard out here for a pimp, imagine what it's like for a freelance associate producer by day, blogger by night, and entertainment reporter in her free-time like me. I'm not offering excuses, just mere explanations. So let me bring you up to speed in how I'm living and working.

Last week was a week of firsts: first real trip to San Diego, first Comic-Con attendance, and last but definitely not least, my first earthquake experience. In life, I have often prayed for an earth-moving experience. However, last week's shake-up was not exactly what I had in mind. In fact, since relocating to LA in 2002 I refused to even speak the "e-word" or let anybody within earshot say it.

And then it, the "e-word", happened without warning. Having lived on the east coast for most of my life, I've experienced tornadoes and hurricanes; they rarely sneak up on you. But an earthquake, on the other hand, doesn't bother with advanced notices. When the building I was located in began to shake, I dismissed it as a mere affect of construction going on near by or repairs being made to the roof. There was no need for alarm, or so I thought.

But then the shaking intensified, the hanging lights began swaying rapidly and silently my mind screamed, "Earthquake!" What the heaven or hell do I do? Is there an evacuation plan? And why is this chick sitting behind me still on the phone and not running out of this (insert curse word) building? Then I heard an internal voice say, "Just be still," and I calmed myself. I didn't even bother getting under the desk. Seemingly, as soon as the earthquake began it was over and the nearby tv monitor was already blaring the breaking news report of the event. Sad, only an earthquake could knock Britney Spears out of the local headlines for the day.

So I survived my first earthquake and it was nothing like I thought it would be, thank God! And despite news reports, I refused to waste time worrying about the next one, possibly the "big one." After calling my mother back east, I went about the rest of my day like it was any other. The girl sitting behind me never even bothered to get off the phone. She continued chatting, giving an eager listener her blow-by-blow report of the quake from her cubicle. And there I sat, stirred but not shaken by the whole experience.

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