Friday, November 28, 2008

Dying For Revenge: Eric Jerome Dickey Pens Another Killer

Just as we were basking in the afterglow of "Pleasures'" climactic story, Eric Jerome Dickey hits us again from a different angle with "Dying For Revenge". This time returning with "Sleeping With Strangers" and "Waking With Enemies" hit man, Gideon.

Suspense. Action. International criminal intrigue. Add a sexy mix of dangerous characters that kill by day and make love on tropical beaches by night and you've got the backdrop to this new best-selling novel. From page one the action begins as Gideon increases the murder rate in Europe, escapes death himself, then jets to the States for a little family time.

In this third installment of his story, the cold blooded killer reveals a more human side and has adopted in a sense two characters from his previous travels abroad. They are the closest thing to family he's ever known and he keeps a watchful eye on them thanks to an iPhone and strategically placed cameras in the house he bought for them.

Their safety is a major concern but what keeps him looking over his shoulder throughout this story is a former client turned enemy in Detroit. This powerful individual wants him dead and will stop at nothing to see the deed done. So killer couple, an "El Matador" a.k.a Matthew and his wife, the "Assassin With Ass" are given the assignment. He's never one to be disrespected and is always ready to go for the jugular, but his shoe loving wife is too easily distracted by designer footwear and black men. And due to her fetish, they bumble their first attempt to complete their hit.

From the dirty backstreets of London to the sunny, tropical beaches of Antigua, they hunt down Gideon and threaten to kill his family. But thanks to Hawks, a simple country girl with murderous skills, Gideon won't have to face the killers alone. So it's a double date with death on the beautiful, exotic island as both sets of killers arrive to take care of business.

Just a few days ago, I caught up with Eric Jerome Dickey during his book tour. Interestingly, we talk as if we're old acquaintances. So below is not merely a Q&A but a relaxed conversation about his latest work. Listen to us discuss Gideon, Hawks, and other characters of "Dying For Revenge" as if they're real people. And hear too more about his trip to Antigua, his creative process, and what kind of book covers he'd really like to see representing his work.


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Obviously this is a man that knows his craft so gift yourself or friends with a Eric Jerome Dickey novel. Online shopping is so much more convenient in my opinion. My personal EJD favs: "Pleasures", "Chasing Destiny", "Genevieve", "The Other Woman", and "Between Lovers" just to name a few. And if don't have time to curl with a good book, then try the audiobooks. Get the whole story without flipping a page as you drive, exercise, or clean the house.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanks Giving Blog

"Woke up 7 AM, 'bought time to do it again.
Sunshine today, I gotta make plans 'cause it rained yesterday,
but that's okay, can't complain. I love it either way.
Living everyday like it's my last, I refuse to get stuck in the past.
People acting like machines 'cause their scared to live their dreams,No not me. I just enjoy and celebrate...enjoy, appreciate".

From the lyrics of an unreleased Janet song come the words that literally describe how I'm living this morning as sunrise peaks through the curtains. It is literally 7 am and after yesterday's cleansing rain I am reminded just how blessed I am to experience another sunrise, a new day to appreciate.

And as this 2008 Thanksgiving day awakens just what is this blogger thankful for? Honestly, a thousand tongues couldn't sing it all, but I'm willing to share just a few. Here goes:

  • Life. Millions didn't make it, but I am one of those who did. By the grace of God I am here, still living, still pursuing dreams and aspirations. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All that I have needed God has provided, great is God's faithfulness unto me.
  • Personal Growth. If living and working in this fickle industry has taught me nothing else, it has given me a stronger faith. Jobs come and go. Resources often appear few and sometimes people will try you. But I've learned that every challenge is a pop quiz in faith and a new opportunity to exercise some Divine power within.
  • Friends. It's word we use everyday and most of the time we use it in the wrong way. I've been blessed with some amazing REAL friends, not just LinkedIn, Facebooked, MySpaced associates who merely want to connect. I mean 911, what's the 411?, I need a "1-on-1" friends that keep me encouraged, informed, and are on speed dial when the bottom seems to fall out or when the blessing is so good I have to share it.
  • Blog visitors and subscribers. Sometimes I'm quite surprised by who tells me they read something or saw a video here they liked. It confirms I'm on the right track with this web thing. What was created out of frustration has turned into something useful and opened doors to me I never thought of. So to every publicist, client, subscriber, occasional visitor, and commenter, THANK YOU :-)
  • New Camera. Somewhere in an earlier post this year or last, I stated I needed a professional camera. Well ask and it shall be given! I got it a few months ago and it's been put to good use. However, ain't nothing changed about appearing on camera. Behind the lens is where I'll stay. I'm a little shy. Lol!
  • For What's To Come. I'm so thankful that I've learned the power of thinking and speaking positively, though old negative habits are hard to break. So I am also thankful for blessings to come like a new fully loaded Macbook Pro, one or two successful online businesses, that dream work opportunity, a new house, and the list goes on and on.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tyler Perry Studios Announces Agreement with Writers Guild

This literally just arrived in my inbox! Source: NAACP Hollywood Bureau News.

Atlanta, GA - Tyler Perry Studios and the Writers Guild of America, West today announced that they have come to an agreement following more than five months of negotiations. Vic Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, was instrumental in bringing the two parties together.

"We are pleased to have come to a resolution with the WGA, and thank the NAACP for their support during negotiations. We look forward to many years working with the talented writers who are members of the Guild." stated Tyler Perry. "With a continued focus on fostering young, diverse talent, we are eager to continue our dialogue with the WGA to dramatically increase the number of minority writers working in Hollywood today."

The contract with the WGA was the last union agreement outstanding for Tyler Perry Studios, which had previously brokered deals with the Teamsters, IATSE, SAG, DGA, and others. Acknowledging that some of the writers on the TBS series House of Payne and Meet the Browns will not be returning, Perry thanked them for their services and wished them well in their future endeavors.

Matt Johnson of Ziffrren, Brittenham negotiated the deal for Tyler Perry Studios.

MY TWO CENTS:

This is big news for black Hollywood and Hollywood in general. Many writers, and a few I know personally, were really disappointed and down right angry with Perry for his previous decision not to have some agreement with WGA. As a Perry fan, I just hoped something would work itself out and it did.

Writers are the unseen creators of the content we enjoy and are often overworked and underpaid. If people really understood just how hard it was to crunch out a sitcom or dramatic script, revise it repeatedly, only to have a network exec--usually a "suit", not a "creative"--explain it's not funny enough or that sensitive advertisers may find it whatever, then they would understand why receiving proper credit and payment is so important. And with the sales of DVDs going up and the amount of network online content increasing, it's seems only fair writers should get their piece of the new media sales pie.

And black writers have their own unique issues in this industry. Too often they find themselves stuck in a "black box"--writing for nothing but black sitcoms. But the black sitcom boom of the 90's is over so now many of those writers are living off their residuals--not new or current projects on air. That's another reason why Perry's agreement with the WGA is so important. Not only will this agreement increase the quality of what we see and bring new talent to the writer's room, it will also help keep black writers in the financial circle as projects go into syndication, DVD, and potentially internet and mobile phones. HALLELUER!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Jasmine Guy, Nichelle Nichols in LGBT film, Tru Loved




Ever been a "beard" or a "Katie Holmes" as its called in the "Tru Loved" trailer? I'm referring to acting as the girlfriend of a secretly gay man who wants to appear straight. That's the relationship between teenagers, Tru (Najarra Townsend) and Lodell (Matthew Thompson). She's the new girl at school with two moms AND two dads and he's the star football player who isn't ready to admit to anyone he's gay, including himself.

Tru's lesbian moms (Alexandra Paul and Cynda Williams) are happy she's acquired a new boyfriend. But when they meet Lodell for the first time, their "gay-dar" sounds a silent alarm. Clueless, Tru believes he's just a little shy until her two gay dads share their insight. But when she confronts Lodell about it, he's angrily denies he's gay but then later confides with her his secret.

Playing Lodell's "beard" prompts Tru to then begin a gay-straight alliance at their school. And that's when she meets, Trevor, a guy who is genuinely attracted her and she feels the same. But how will she juggle two boyfriends? And how will breaking up with Lodell affect his precious image and their friendship?
If his friends, mother (Jasmine Guy) and grandmother (Nichelle Nichols) discovered the truth he'd be devastated.

Written and directed by Steward Wade, "Tru Loved" plays out like a PG-13 after school special. But considering the subject matter and the audience to which it appeals most that may not be a bad thing. In fact, it's intentional. "Tru Loved" is said to be a family film--a gay family film.


How can a gay themed film be for a family? Here's my answer: "Tru Loved" is far from "Queer As Folk" or the "L Word". There's no soft nor hard core sex scenes, no offensive language, nor are same sex couples kissing every minute as if trying to force the issue. The film handles the topics of race and homosexuality honestly, and if anything is a good vehicle for relevant conversations amongst school administrators, students, and parents.

My only complaints are with the appearance of the leading man and the tidy ending. Having a few dear gay male friends I feel I can say this, and this is a cultural thing. Gay men are known to be vain especially concerning their appearance, so why was Lodell's hair such a mess? True, cornrows are a popular style amongst African American young men, but there comes a time when they must be done again to appear neat and stylish. What Lodell was sporting was neither.

And lastly, the ending wrapped up too neatly. But don't all after school specials? Probably, but even in a movie it's hard for me to believe that one ignorant adult followed by rude teenagers would be allowed to bust up a private wedding ceremony on private property without somebody flipping their wig or asking, "What the hell is going on?"

Otherwise, "Tru Loved" was enjoyable. I especially liked seeing blast from the past, Nichelle Nichols, as Lodell's grandmother. She humorously spoke her mind as most elders feel they have a right to do. Also, I would have liked to have seen more scenes of her and Jasmine Guy, as Lodell's mom. A poignant scene or two between mother and son could have provided some real thought-provoking dialogue concerning African-American culture and homosexuality. Lastly, anytime Bruce Vilanch enters a scene you're sure to get a laugh, and of course he steals every one he's in. He portrays the gay uncle of Trevor in the film.

Although Jasmine Guy's character wasn't very vocal in the film on the issue of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) teens, I did find this interesting clip of Guy on YouTube concerning the issue.



Visit www.truloved.com to learn more about the film and its outreach.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heavy D Returns: New Song & Video, Long Distance Girlfriend

Heavy D's got his own thang again and him doing it reggae style, straight from yard like him said in me previous post! And Hollywood: As I Live and Work got duh scoop on dis one chile, 'cause nobody but me has chat him up on camera about his new album, "Vibes". All praises to Jah!

Now listen to his new song "Long Distance Girlfriend". Roll da video!



Lawd, him still look good! Can't wait to wind me waist to it in duh club. And was that Nia Long in the video? Yes, that was Ms. Love Jones herself looking lovely. The "Long Distance Girlfriend" video hasn't been officially released yet, and already it's blazing through the 'net. So hear more of Heavy D's "Vibes" right here through Amazon's Mp3 downloads. Big Up!



It's already in my iPod. I love the sound of sweet reggae music. But while I have your attention let's take it back old school with a little go-go for a minute, back to when I had my crush on Mr. Big Stuff. Who do you think you are? Oh yeah!

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kassava: Fugees' Pras Helps Bring Caribbean Flavor to Beverly Hills

Menu selections in Beverly Hills just got a lot more "colorful" thanks to Kassava, a new Caribbean restaurant co-owned by The Fugees, Pras, and Hollywood producer, Jesse Levostre. Located just a couple of blocks south of the Beverly Center at 8600 3rd Street, Kassava, has already become a new celebrity hotspot for those that desire a taste of the islands--Jamaica, Trinidad, Guadalupe, Matinique, and Guyana to be exact.

Never one to resist a spicy sampling of  jerk or curry chicken, sweet plantains, and flavorful black beans and rice, I and partner in crime, Dana Hanna, headed to the grand opening last week to get a taste of what Kassava had to offer.  And what we got brought us back for more! Even celebs Heavy D, Tatyani Ali, and some new faces in Hollywood came out to experience the new relaxing "island oasis" in busy Beverly Hills . Roll tape!



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sundance Channel Iconoclast: Wyclef and Venus Wiliams, Archbishop Tutu and Richard Branson

If you've never seen the Sundance Channel's great show, Iconoclasts, PLEASE check it out! You'll be doing yourself a favor. It's the kind of television programming that inspired me to get in this industry to begin with. I love the contrast and comparison of individuals from different walks of life and seeing how they relate to one another. THIS THURSDAY. NOV 13th at 10 PM see music superstar, Wyclef Jean, and tennis champion, Venus Wiliams, delve into the other's environment. The result? Watch and find out! Click HERE for a sneek peek:


And while were on the subject of Wyclef, listen to the interview I did with him last year concerning his music, his purpose, and how he gives back to his native country of Haiti at this LINK.

I digressed. Now back to "Iconoclasts". While you're on show's site, check out too the "Iconoclasts" episode featuring Nobel Prize recipient, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Virgin founder and entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson. The clip HERE of them discussing success and how it's achieved is just wonderful. Definitely free pearls of wisdom. It airs November 27th at 10PM


And lastly, don't leave the site until you've check out clips from the wonderful episode with Ruby Dee and Alicia Keys from last season. That episode was wonderfully produced as all the shows are. You may be able to see it in it's entirety on YouTube or possibly during a rebroadcast. See broadcast schedules on the "Iconoclasts" site and remember ALL EPISODES ARE AVAILABLE ON iTUNES!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

LA City Beat Crowns Norwood Young, King of Hancock Park

It's amazing what can happen in one week. Last Sunday I attended Norwood Young's grand celebration of his new distinction as King of Hancock Park thanks to publication, LA City Beat. This Sunday, I reflect on the past week's global celebration of the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States. One week, two very different events, two very different men. But despite their differences I see a common thread. So although this post may be appear to be a little late, it may very well be right on time.

In a recent post I shared a very special moment of the event honoring Natalie Cole. In the video below, see more of that fabulous day spent in the presence of Hollywood "royalty" and hear how it all came to be directly from the new king himself.



Here's what some of his loyal friends including Loretta Devine had to say:



And now as Young and Obama settle into their new high appointments, may they both continue pressing toward the mark with the spirit of David.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Madagascar: Your Never Too Old To Laugh

"The Bridge's"--as we locally call it--IMAX theater in Culver City was where I first met the lovable cast of Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa. That's Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer). That's one dancing lion, one loquacious zebra, a hungry for love hippo, and a "neck-of-the woods" giraffe.

Before the film's start, I realized beside me sat an adult that wasn't responding to a child's call for Mommy. She, like me, was there kid-less so I assumed she was a fellow reviewer. "Hi! What media outlet do you work for?" I asked. "Oh, I'm not with the media." Failing to hide my nosiness, I inquired as to why a grown woman would patiently stand in line alone amongst overly rambunctious kids and tireless parents to see a movie that wasn't designed for her demographic? Her answer: "I love the messages in these movies!" And she's not alone.

Though the overall cartoon-approach in movies like Madagascar 2 appeals to the cubs and foals, more and more of us "young at heart" primates are shamelessly rushing to the box office to enjoy animated "kiddie" films for the pure enjoyment of watching them. And why not? They're family friendly, easy to watch, and great escapisms. For an hour and a half you're totally lost in a friendlier world, and when you do return to reality you do so with a smile.

You can't help but smile at Alex. He's a cute, cuddly cub turned handsome lion and entertainer that would rather pirouette than fight. You can't help but smile too at hearing the familiar of voice of Bernie Mac, as Zuba, Alex's dad. Though Bernie died just a few months ago, for a short moment in time, he was still with us.

Other familiar voices you'll recognize: Sherri Shepherd as Alex's mom, Cedric The Entertainer as Maurice; Alec Baldwin as the manipulative lion, Makunga; and my personal fave, Will.I.am as the Barry White voiced Moto Moto. He's the handsome hippo after Gloria's affections. But what she doesn't realize is that a certain giraffe is head over hooves in love with her already.

What! A hippo and a giraffe! That's inter-chordata dating! Chordata being their animal classification. Think the state of California would allow them to marry? Well in the animation world, anything is possible!

Madagascar is in theaters TODAY. So join the herd and stampede the box office this weekend. Even if you don't have kids, join the fun! Click the widget for more info on the cast and interactive games at www.madagascar-themovie.com.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Paint the White House BLACK!

YES WE CAN! I don't have eloquent words, insightful commentary. I'll leave that to the first African-American President of the United States, the personification of Martin Luther King's historic "I Have A Dream Speech"--BARAK OBAMA. And now after thanking God, all I'm gonna do is dance! Join me!


MusicPlaylist
MySpace Music Playlist at MixPod.com

A Blog for Change

Just as most of America this morning, I headed to the polls to exercise my right to vote. But this morning, this particular morning, there was a little more pep in my step than in the last election--a definite sense of enthusiasm.

Today, I was not merely casting my personal vote for President of the United States, I was casting the vote my grandmother, her mother and father, and all those that came before them that could only dream about. Yet, they were not absent, just not present. I felt them in my spirit, saw them in the genuine smiles of usually hardened faces, and heard them in the song of the lady quietly singing Mavin Sapp's, "Never Could Have Made It".

So I had gotten up early, dawned my Delta Sigma Theta hoodie--which I rarely wear--and headed to the polls. Considering the history of the largest African-American sorority in the country I deemed it fitting to reflect on the 22 women who also strived for a change--a new way of doing things--in 1913. In fact, Delta is the Greek letter denoting change. And a change is what I'm looking forward to, nothing swift nor overnight, but a gradual, well planned and implemented change that will help us see ourselves and each other differently in this country.

But halfway to the car, I decided the old school sorority paraphenalia should go back to closet. This day wasn't about any particular group of women nor men, but about ALL of us as a people. And not just Black people but everyone in this country. So as much as I love what those particular Greek letters symbolize, the need to represent myself, the individual, was more important.

A friend of mine sent me this video from her voting site. It's recorded from her Blackberry so the video isn't that great, but the audible message is what's most important.

video

King of Hancock Park, Norwood Young, Honors Natalie Cole

During a lavish celebration of his newest title as "King of Hancock Park", bestowed upon him by LA City Beat Magazine, Norwood Young took a moment to majestically honor dear friend and legendary singer Natalie Cole. It was her first public appearance since her recent hospitalization for Hepatitis C and she looked as fabulous as she always does.

Dressed fashionably in a long patent leather jacket and a bright red dress, Natalie Cole was happy to play her role as co-host of the royal event. But the role of honoree came as a major surprise. After confessing my sincere fan status, I talked with her briefly about the occasion and the history of Hancock Park. Watch the video!



Truly, it was such a beautiful and sincere moment and I feel blessed to have been invited to witness it. Natalie Cole is a queen and an inspiration. See my previous tribute post to her with some of my favorite Natalie Cole tunes HERE .

In my next few posts, I'll be sharing more of Young's spectacular event including interviews with celebrity guests. So come back soon or just subscribe. That way you won't miss a thing!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Michael Colyar: My Mama Likes Obama

Jay Rock, Laz Alonzo, Marcus Paulk Toast Old School Hip Hop

There was plenty of old school talent in the place to be recently at Hennessey's and Honey Collective's toast to Hip Hop. And of course amongst all that old school talent were familiar new school faces rocking to the music they grew up to.

With me behind the camera and guest interviewer, Dana Hanna, taking charge of the mic, we chatted up Watt's finest, new Hip Hop artist Jay Rock, "Miracle at St. Anna" star, Laz Alonzo, and former "Moesha" fav, Marcus T. Paulk--three really talent brothers you're sure to see more of in the near future. Check the video for the 411 on what they've got coming up!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hennessey & Honey Collective Toast Old School Hip Hop

Ever tried a little honey with your Henny? What about a touch of milk? That's how WuTang's Raekwon said he liked his. What ever your distinguishing Hennessey tastes are they were sure to be satisfied recently at the company's Flaunt Your Taste event at Hollywood's Vanguard, hosted by the lovely ladies of the Honey Collective.

Celebrating two years of great music and events the Honey Collective partnered with Hennessey to not only bring the flavor of old school Hip Hop to thirsty rap fans, but also needed food to hungry families throughout Los Angeles by donating funds to Urban Farming. A 501c3 organization, Urban Farming strives to end hunger throughout the world by planting food on unused land and donating it. Learn more about the organization and its founder, Taja Sevelle, by clicking www.urbanfarming.org.

But who or what exactly is the Honey Collective? The Collective is a group of dynamic women puttin' and holdin' it down in the entertainment industry. They organize and host great events throughout LA. And based on reports of their previous events, a Honey Collective party is one not to miss! Members are: DJ Rashida, DJ Eque, Monica Payne, and Shelley Oto. Find out more about them on Myspace, HERE or on Shelly Oto's official website at Shelleyoto.com.

Now about the party...Fellas grab your (you know what) if you love Hip Hop! Ladies grab your (beep) if you love Hip Hop! With the help of fellow Hip Hop fan, Dana Hanna, Hollywood: As I Live & Work talked to some of the talents that put Hip Hop on the musical map. Doug E. Fresh, Mc Lyte, D-Nice, YoYo--are just a few that stepped to the mic outside and inside the party.

So throw on your fat shoe-laced shell top Adidas and colorful Pumas, the matching tracksuit, Kangol hat, Gazelles, heavy gold chains, and gold door knocker or Nefertiti earrings (fly girls only) then watch the video! It'll give you a taste of what you missed, but honestly you had to be there to experience the true fabulousness of the event.



And lastly, the DVD Raekwon mentions is called "Enter the Wu: The Story of Wu-Tang Clan". I'm the Associate Producer of BET's DVD and television "remixes" of the original documentary directed by Gerald Barclay. Be sure to watch BET's "Enter the Wu" broadcast November 13th. The DVD drops November 18th. Peace!

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