Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 ASCAP POP Awards Red Carpet

Last week was a busy one but I managed to make it to the 26th Annual ASCAP Pop Awards, held April 22nd in Hollywood at the Renaissance hotel. Unlike my last celebrity event, I'm doing it solo.

So roll the video and meet with me the people behind the songs on top of the music charts including Steven Russell, lead singer of the R&B; group, Troop. Remember them?. When he's not performing he's writing and his recent hit, "No Air", featuring Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown earned him an ASCAP award. Meet too other award recipients such as "Krucial" Brothers and "Just Blaze". And hear Fergie tell of her Presidential performance of the Star Spangled Banner this past Easter, and learn how Wyclef used Twitter to connect with his fans while at the event.




A list of all the winners can be found by clicking HERE. It's a direct link to ASCAP's website.

And before I roll out, I also want to thank the "Rolling Out" videographer that stood next to me. He kindly shot my intro. And last but not least, to the ladies of the legendary rock group, Heart. This black chick rocked to your music in the late 80's and proudly will again. In fact, I grooved all weekend to the Greatest Hits CD. Below is my favorite song that's in constant play in my iPod. Rock on and rock long, ladies!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bea Arthur: A Golden Girl Remembered

Saturday mornings while preparing some resemblance of breakfast, when I'm sad, or just in a mood to laugh out loud, the "Golden Girls" Dorothy, Ma, Rose, and Blanche keep me company. And those that know me well, also know if there's a "Golden Girl" marathon on, don't call me unless it's an emergency. So what if I have the first 2 seasons on DVD! It doesn't matter. Watching the hilarious antics of the four vivacious senior citizens is a joyable pasttime for me.

Yesterday, my favorite "Golden Girl" Bea Arthur, known to many as "Maude" and to others as "Dorothy" died. So while I watch my favorite girls on DVD and write this post, take a moment to reflect with me and Finleydehaven, the producer of this video, on saying to Ms. Arthur, "Thank you for being a friend".



Not to be forgotten is Estelle Getty. She passed away last year. Just the thought of her role as Dorothy's mother, makes me smile. She was a lot like my grandmother. Beyond this blog, I'm a mixture of both of their characters so I'm told. Women like them helped raise me. So Ms. Getty, "Thank you for being a friend" too.

Should I ever get another chance to be in the presence of Rue McClanahan or Betty White, I will definitely tell them how much I have enjoyed their work on the show. On two separate occasions I had the chance to do so and missed it each time because I was too busy thinking of what to say. Their talent and contribution to the show was irreplaceable.

Though the writers and producers of "Golden Girls" have to be given credit, it's the actors that give words on paper life, give them flesh. And these four wonderful and award winning actresses owned their roles on the hit sitcom for seven years. In fact, I'm willing to say they were meant to play them and will forever be remembered for their work.

So, now please excuse me as I laugh until I cry. My girls are on.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Centric: BET, Viacom Launch New Network. Why?

NYTimes.com reports BET and it's owner, Viacom, will launch a new cable network called Centric this October to provide a channel to complement BET that will appeal to the "older and more affluent audience", specifically African Americans between the ages of 25-54 year olds.

Why am I not excited? First, what purpose is BETJ serving? Of course, there's no official word yet on how this new network will affect the original BET offshoot. But I think the writing is on the wall, Facebook and otherwise. Fade to black and roll credits is the future I'm predicting for BETJ. But it shouldn't have to be. Instead of creating new networks, why not improve what's already in existence?

This interracial network couple creating a new network is like parents bringing home a new baby and spoiling it while it's older neglected siblings watch in misery. But as the saying goes, "Don't take it personal, it's just business."

Secondly, why "Centric" for a network name? Afrocentric, egocentric, centrical...the basic meaning of the word states Dictionary.com is "pertaining to or situated near the center." Okay, you don't need a degree in linguistics to figure out the connection between the term and the new network's audience, but just how "centric" will BET and MTV be in reaching the bottom line.

Trust BET's and MTV's purposes are not altruistic. Networks are created to make money not fill societal or cultural tv programming holes. And Centric's targeted market of African-Americans may have a little more to spend than either network's previous young demographics. As analyst for Cowen & Company, Doug Creutz, states in the article, "there's money to be made in targeting that audience?" You think? How long did it take for Viacom and BET to come up with that? That long, huh? (Sarcasm intended.)

And my last question, since Centric's target market is seemingly a tad more sophisticated in it's television viewing, what kind of programming will it offer? Like most start ups will it be reruns of tired sitcoms that are in syndication heaven or hell--depending on how you look at it--all over cable? We've been there, seen that.
I'd like some original programming with my McDonald's ads please! And yes, Supersize it!

Okay I lied, one more question. If this Ebony and Ivory duo of cable networks are now gonna live in perfect harmony just where will Centric be headquartered? Inquiring minds want to know specifically because the biggest perk of starting this new venture in my opinion is the possibility of needed jobs in the industry. BET J employees may actually have a chance to make some lateral moves and tv writers and producers may have a new opportunity to sell a show idea. Only time will tell.

Damn I can't stop talking. I'm closing with this I promise. Though the market Centric plans to reach has been underserved and overlooked I'm curious to know just how much television this educated, middle classed, somewhat affluent African-American demo really watches. Most of those fitting the demo that I know, myself included, don't have time nor desire to watch that much television. We're generally busy people and our tv viewing is limited by choice or due to lack of interesting content. And if we are watching tv it's a compilation of diverse networks with FRESH programming that usually appeals to us on some level beyond race.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mike Tyson Premieres Knockout Documentary

Coming to theaters April 24th is "Tyson", Cannes Film Festival's Certain Regard Knockout Award winner. Directed by James Toback, the highly anticipated film chronicles the life and times of renown heavy weight champion, Mike Tyson. Recently, during the LA premiere of the film, at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Hollywood: As I Live & Work talked with celebrity attendees about Tyson, the man and the film.



Check the trailer!

video


Visit Tyson-film.com for more information and free screenings. "Tyson" is a Sony Pictures Classic Film.

And while I have your attention, I want to give a special thanks to the cameraman for the event, award winning filmmaker Jeff Moonie. He's from NC and in Hollywood making some major moves in the industry. Please visit his website, DarkProFilms.com and see his some of his work. REALLY GOOD STUFF! HUGE THANKS JEFF! Coleman Love!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

@aplusk Ashton Kutcher Gets 1 Million Followers on Twitter

In an effort to demonstrate to the world the power of online social media, Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN, a major force in the number of Twitter followers, to an old fashioned foot race to reach 1 million followers. And during the race Kutcher not only raised money for charity, Malaria No More, but also produced a live internet stream on Ustream to talk directly to fans and followers.

The significance of the moment may be lost on many people, but for those of us that believe we can impact how news is collected and reported it's very important. Admittedly, Kutcher's celebrity status helped, but it does not negate the fact that he was able to grab the attention of a million people freely through the internet, not through MTV nor any standard television media outlet.

So now without question, Ashton Kutcher, or better yet @aplusk, is indeed King of Twitter! And yes, I'm following him. Congrats Ashton! Watch the last minutes leading up to his victory. Shout out to my Twitter buddy, Valebrity.com, for the video!

Live TV : Ustream

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jamie Foxx Sings I Apologize to Miley Cyrus

Blame it on Vodka, Blame it on the Henny, Blame it on the Goose, gotcha feelin' loose....Too bad Jamie Foxx couldn't blame his AND his Foxx Hole team's following comments on the alcohol.

THE DISS



THE APOLOGY




Where do comics draw the line? At the end of the day we're all people and the words we speak have power whether we choose to believe so or not. What's funny to them may be downright offensive to someone else, as in this case. That's a chance every comedian takes and sometimes they do say exactly what they mean. But how many times can you fall back on "I'm a comedian. It's just jokes folks." before Hollywood finds a quiet way of silencing you? And then whomever you pissed off has the last laugh.

But here's another angle. When you get to a certain place in your Hollywood career, everything you do and say is scrutinized. If Jamie Foxx was still that singer/actor on his grind, ie "In Living Color" or "Booty Call", his comments may have gone unnoticed or barely talked about outside of cultural circles.

Now he is mainstream and the microscope he's under is much stronger. Thinking before speaking is paramount and especially when you already know the Hollywood game. Just because you're on a satellite show doesn't excuse bad behavior. A good publicist would have reminded him, he has more at stake now than 20 years ago. Just as quickly as this industry claims to love you, it will also turn on you too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Soloist: Foxx and Downey Give Oscar Worthy Performances

There are people that genuinely enjoy music. At the bus stop, at the gym working out, or enjoying a walk in the park you see them in their own personal iPod commercials. For them music is an optional element as they go about their day.

And then there are those of us that wish music could adopt us to quote rapper, Eric Sermon. For us music is an escape, a safe haven. Often with eyes closed, we loose ourselves in the rhythms, the melody, the distinctive sounds created by each instrument played by our own hands or someone else's.

In "The Soloist" brilliant musician and homeless LA resident, Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) is a member of this distinct group. His life centers around creating beautiful music with a worn violin in downtown's Skid Row district. When LA Times writer, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey, Jr.) happens upon him near Beethoven's statue and hears Ayers play, within minutes the uninspired journalist realizes Ayers is a perfect subject of a great feature story.

The more Lopez unravels the unique layers of Ayer's life, the deeper he is pulled into his harsh world of street life and mental illness. But despite their obvious differences, a bond is formed between Ayers and Lopez that transcends that of reporter and interviewee that greatly impacts them both.

Thinking he can make life better for Ayers, Lopez uses his resources to get the engaging musician an apartment and some medical help. Unfortunately, the free spirit and schizophrenic mind of Ayers is not ready to be confined to one space nor examined by doctors. Learning to be the friend Ayers needs him to be, as opposed the friend Lopez' wants himself to be is the heart of their story.

Directed by Oscar nominated, Joe Wright ("Atonement"), "The Soloist" is undoubtedly a poignant portrayal of an uncanny friendship that I predict will achieve Academy Awards fame. It was literally shot in downtown's direful Skid Row and most of the people you see in the background of many scenes are it's real inhabitants, not actors. Creative license was utilized, however, in portraying certain family members of both Ayers and Lopez.

Overall, "The Soloist" is an amazing film of love, respect, and friendship between two men that seemingly are as far apart in character as east is to the west. Yet somehow they've managed to find a common ground that allows them to enjoy each other's company even today. Key to honestly portraying their unique relationship rest with the actors. And of course, Foxx's depiction of Ayers is stunning. How he is able to lose himself and totally go beyond mere impersonation to transformational is simply amazing. It is a total embodiment of the character.

And though Downey had nothing really to latch on to physically to portray Lopez, you get the sense he too moved beyond impersonation to give us a great understanding of how the friendship with Ayers ultimately changed Lopez's life. "The Soloist" open nationwide April 24th. Visit Solistmovie.com
to meet the real Steve Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers, get downloads, and more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

CW's 'THE GAME' MAKING A MAJOR PLAY FOR OVERTIME





Once there you will have to register in order to comment.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Top Hollywood Easter Movies

Happy Easter! I'm sure some of you will probably be spending quality time with friends, family, and an Easter movie classic on the telly. It's tradition, right? Of course. So here's a list of Hollywood's top Easter flicks.

The Passion of the Christ (2004): There was so much controversy surrounding this film when it was released back in....... But despite all the negativity surrounding it, undoubtedly it has become a classic during Easter. It may not be scheduled on cable, so I'm willing to bet most will be watching it on DVD.

The 10 Commandments (1956): Charleston Heston versus Yule Brenner aka Moses versus Pharoah. It's is probably the film that Heston is most remembered and still probably a ratings boom 53 years later. What I find interesting is the special effects. Parting the Red Sea in a film now would be child's play compared to 1956's visual tricks.

The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965): I've seen this chronicle of Jesus' life probably three or four times. But unlike 10 Commandments it's not broadcast on network television. We always caught it on a cable channel.

Easter Parade (1948): For those of you that enjoy classic musicals, famed song writer and show tune producer, Irving Berlin, penned the music for Fred Astaire and Judy Garland to sing and dance to. Once again, I'm willing to bet Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has it scheduled this weekend.

It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (1948): We all can remember this one. Charles Schultz' lovable characters, learn how to make Easter eggs while Snoopy tries to find a home for his favorite bird, Woodstock. As a kid this movie, an Easter egg hunt, a basket filled with chocolate bunnies, and a new Easter dress or suit were all you need to make the holiday complete.

What's your favorite Easter movie?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guiding Light & Everybody Hates Chris Come Soon To End

According to my neighbor in blogsphere, The Humor Mill, May 8th, could mark the end of CW's popular sitcom, "Everybody Hates Chris." In my best Florida Evans impression, I have this to say: Damn! Damn! Damn! I thought for certain we would be able to enjoy young Chris' antics until he finished high school.

To date the show has not been picked up for a 5th season and Executive Producer, Chris Rock, has decided to have the last laugh by ending the sitcom this season with a finale. The show will definitely be missed.

And after nearly 70 years of existence and 60 Daytime Emmy Awards, the great granddaddy of soap operas, "The Guiding Light" will fade to eternal darkness to lead us no more. CBS, or better yet, Proctor & Gamble, is pulling the plug on one of the best baby sitters we ever had. Just think how many times you were left watching "the stories" with Big Mama or by yourself while she busied herself with some other task. Thus, you came to know that television family better than your own.

For the first 15 years, "The Guiding Light" could only be heard on radio. That was from 1937 to 1952. And for the last 57 years the soap has held millions of loyal viewers glued to tv screens, making it the longest running show in broadcast history. Unfortunately, a few million is not enough. The show is currently the lowest rated of them all.

My question is how do you neatly end 72 years of broadcast history? The show is older than probably many of the writers combined. Truly, how do you respectfully end a show that employed so many actors, writers, and technicians for generations, and began the careers of Kevin Bacon, Calista Flockhart, Taye Diggs, and even James Earl Jones? Undoubtedly, when that set goes dark for the last time, there's going to be tears shed.

But soap opera viewers are a resilient bunch. Most avid watchers enjoy more than just one soap and know every character and plot line in minute detail. And yes, I speak from experience. "Young and the Restless", the top rated soap for decades now was my all time favorite since I was a kid. Once I relocated to Los Angeles, that visual love affair ended because it couldn't compete with the real dramas I was experiencing at the time. Now, I don't even have a passing interest.

So farewell "Chris" and "Guiding Light". Thanks for the memories. Hopefully, you'll live on in syndication where loyal fans will get to enjoy you all over again.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Hollywood Job Boards: Waste of Time?

From Realitystaff.com to Entertainmentcareers.net to Showbizjobs.com, at some time in your search for work in Hollywood you've probably visited one of these sites. And when I first arrived here, I wasted lots of money on job lists and subscriptions just like the paid service on Showbizjobs.

For the six years I've been in this quirky town, I can count on one hand how many interviews I've ever received through these sites combined. That's my story, but obviously not everyone's. But as you go about your job hunt, I'd like to shed some insight on job hunting the Hollywood way.

JOB BOARDS

Job boards to me personally are damn near a waste of time. By the time you've seen a posting your competition has already applied. So do not pay for job listings. The owners and operators of these job boards can't guarantee you an interview much less a job so why are you paying them for info you can find elsewhere. It's a hustle folks and not the kind that made John Travolta famous.

However, if you must use a job board I suggest those that are meta search engines like Indeed.com that aggregate job listings from different sources including Monster, Hotjobs, and Showbizjobs, etc. Meta search engines will save you a lot of time because you only visit one site not several.

The second job listing that I've had the most success is with Craigslist. Looking for a job under the category of tv/film is like shopping in the bargain basement. There's some of everything there so you must plow through all that you don't want to get to the few listings you do. But it's worth it. There's a real person behind the ad, not a key word hungry computer scanning your resume for words like "manager" or "producer". I would also suggest Mandy Jobs at Mandy.com.

THE HOLLYWOOD WAY

The best Hollywood way of getting a job outside of nepotism and "trading favors" is still referrals. Observe the most successful freelancer and you'll notice they work with the same people over and over again, from one gig to the next. Which is how "it's all about who you know" came to be. However, I believe "it's all about who knows you." Truly, you may know plenty of people but how many of them would refer you for a job. So let people get to know you and your talents.

How do you do that? If you can afford the time and are willing to work for free, volunteer but not forever. Hollywood will chump you, so volunteer on your own terms. Think of it this way: To play the game, you must be in it. Volunteering is how I got my foot in the door even before relocating from NC. So check company websites for charity events, related seminars, or even productions. See a potential volunteer opportunity, pursue it.

I also suggest cutting out the middle man and directly contacting the company you want to work for. LinkedIn is a great tool for helping you do that instead of sending an email to an address that merely exists to stockpile resumes and is rarely checked. Send that employee you find on LinkedIn an email introducing yourself, and prompt them for a response. But if this Hollywood elite ignores you, which is typical, do some research and call them at the company. However, use common sense. Be persistent not a nuisance. If you get no further than the assistant, share with them your purpose for calling. Never sleep on the assistant. They often have the power and the influence needed to get you in the door.

Lastly, for you creative folk here's a tool. Since your applying online anyway, social media resumes at VisualCV and Gigtide.com are perfect for those jobs requiring links to reels or samples of your work. With these resumes you can include images, videos, social networks and get a free url. They can also be saved in different formats including PDF.

That's all I have for now people. Keep the faith in your job searching. If you've got a tip or insight to add, please share it. Knowledge is power.

Monday, April 06, 2009

UNC Tarheels: 2009 NCAA CHAMPS!


North Carolina! Come on and raise up! Congrats to UNC-Chapel Hill, the 2009 NCAA Champions! The Tarheels stomped Michigan in the championship game, 89-72. I watched the last five minutes of the game and Michigan didn't really have a chance in pulling out a win. BIG UP to my mother's and almost my alma mater.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Halle Berry: New Crunk Song, New Dance?




Along with a new fragrance, Halle's got a new dance and a crunk rap song too! Scratch the record! Before you run tell that, let me hip you to the game. Technically Halle is the inspiration for crunk rap artist, Hurricane Chris, and his song, "She's Fine". Last year his, "Hey Bay Bay" was in heavy rotation on the radio and in the clubs.

Now as much as I applaud Hurricane's creativity, here's where I have a major problem. The lyrics. Just like Soulja Boy's "Superman" song two years ago, kids are so distracted by the beat of "She's fine" they aren't really listening to the lyrics. I've done a little internet research and found them on various sites. They all say the same. Here's a few excerpts from lyricsmania.com:

She fine den a bitch, ass and her tits
Thick in tha hips every nig want her
Call her Halle Berry, Halle berry
Halle Berry, Halle berry
She walkin like a model
Hands on your knees
Scrub the ground
She ain't nothing but a tease
Halle Berry, Halle berry
Halle Berry, Halle berry

Lets get ratchet
Look at her prettier then Halle and thicker than Janet
She say she like all of my club bangers I be jamming
Told her to bust it open let me see whats really happnin
She the ship and im the captain
I'm tha captain

Make it drop and bring it back to the top
You no amateur
Girl you can give it to me it ain't nothing I can't handle
She just got out of the shower smellin like a scented candle
And I'm finna finna?
Sliding off tha mattress
No moving no acting baby this is real action
Beat it up so bad
You be scared to walk past me
I know your halle berry
Baby there's no acting
I beat it up so bad
You be scared to walk past me for real

Girl I guarantee I can make you go numb numb numb numb
I got enough bread to take me and you to London
And back to America and all over the country
She make me want to keep her close by
Like a side kick
She tha type of chick that ain't gone never look sloppy
I'm a beat it out the frame
Hurricane that's who I be
You must be Halle berry
I don't need to see your Id

What the...? Okay maybe I'm a tad "bourgie" about what I'm willing to dance to. If you're going to the club these days you must leave your internal progressive woman at home if you plan to dance. I'm willing to do that, but I have to draw the line somewhere. I'm fully grown, how you speak to me and about me is important. Telling me you want to beat, pound, hit, stab, or smack it til it gets sore will have you dating your favorite hand. I'm a person, not a piece of meat prepared for slaughter. Yet, it seems young women are oblivious to these references to violent acts involving their bodies and dance the night away. Blame it on the alcohol? I think not.

"You fine den a bitch." Am I wrong to be offended? What about Halle since she's the measure of beauty in this song? Think Hurricane would approach her with that line? Or, maybe I could take the "He's not talking to me. He's talking to those other girl's" approach? Enquiring minds want to know.

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