Last Thursday, I attended the Best of the RFT Party at Moolah near Lindell and Vandeventer. It was a celebration of the winners of the Best of in a recent Riverfront Times issue where readers took a poll of who was the best in whatever topic the poll was pertaining to from restaurants, to clubs to best TV hair. The event was PR'ed by Charrisse Pantella who was the brainchild of the Beauty and the Bling event at Harrah's I went To (and got pissy drunk at) this past September. I hear more than 1500 RSVP for this free event and I must say it was definitely that. It was a circus kind of theme to this party. Outside, patrons were intoduced to a stilt walker and a drum band with a bubble machine. Once inside, I parused through the vendors. One booth was giving away free pizza, another was giving away chocolate martinis. I also got info from this graphic artist vendor called Ego that I may try out for my marketing projects. The hostess of the night was drag queen Dieta Pepsi who was looking fabo with a black cashmeire dress on. She was interviewing people as they enetered the party and it was projected on a large screen in the main building where everybody was. True, she's a hefty one, but she was working around teh party as though she was skinny minnie. I am not mad at her! Now I must say, the patrons got three drink tickets for theri drink and this was the popular booth of the night. It was definitely bottlenecked where peopel where trying to get their drinks. I ran into my party girls Gina Wynn and Tiffani Blackmore (who is seen in the picture with me at the party) who had a strategy of how to get drinks. Gina (who said she was no longer dating models--oops) was our point person when she got to the bar and Tiff (did you get your magic stick?) and I gave Gina our drink tickets so we didnt have to wait getting our drinks. When Gina got to the front it was think loud sista who was spouting "We Shall Overcome" rhetoric which I was looking at her like she was a Rosa Parks (thanks for the obit Tia) wanna be, but when she got clos eto teh bar as well she said to Gina, "I'm next." Then Gina said, No, I'm next." I was like, "Oh, shit, it;s about to be a catfight tonight." But it was cool. It was too packed for a fight to jump off, but you know it ain't nothing like two women scratching each other;s eyes out to the death. LOL. Anyway, I ordered three Absolutes and sevens and was on my merry way. Me, Tiff (who was gettin' drunked up) and Gina tipped over to VIP in a smaller room where people were getting there network on. In the house were Freeman Bosley Show's Darrius, STL American's Charmaine Brown, Kameron Hopson, Christiaan Coffield, Brian, Post Dispatch's Kevin Johnson and Tavia Evans, Ali Mosier, The Best of the STL's Gilberto Pinella, KSDK's Jeff Small, and Mike Roberts Jr. thanks Charrisse for teh hook up. I'm looking forward to the next big shindig! After Moolah, Kam, Christiaan (Mr. Rogers LOL) and I drove over to 609 in the Loop to catch DJ Nappy Needles spinning on the 1s and 2s. I haven't been up in there in a few months and decided to check it out. We were going at first to Seven for their new In the Mix set up, but there were no people there (I hear it was moved to Christopher's Barbershop in the Loop). So, we went up in there and teh first person I recognized was Bally trainer D'Anthony who still had his training gear on from Ballys (what was up with that). As always, it was mad packed up in there, and we decided to walk to the back of the bar area where Needles was spinning to get a permanent spot so we wouldnt get trampled over. I ran into Jamie up in there and he was telling me about Nellys private party that was held the previous night at Nectar. I didnt know anything about hsi party, but from what I hear, it was an intimate affair with some celebs who came through to celebrate Nelly's 31st B-day. I hear his girl Ashanti was snuggled up with him and producer Jermaine Dupri (sans Janet) also came through to celebrate with Nelly. I rolled out of 609 around 1sh and went to the crib...Last Friday, I went to Schnicks in Swansea to cash my check and ran into Tim Lampley, the guy who did late updates on Channel 5 a few years back and doe swork with MAdd SPorts on BET (Ive been knowing Tim since King Junior High School in East Boogie) . We talked about old school mates and such and I told him I wa sgoing to Plush to check out Syleena Johnson in concert. Later that evening, as I was preparing for Syleena Johnson's concert, I was getting up from teh coach to answer my cell phone and stubbed my right pinky toe on a table in my den and damn near broke it. I was in PAIN. I thought for sure I was gearing up for the hospital, but I was able to move it, so it wasn't broke, but you talk about pain. It was like someone hit my toe with a hammer. I move dit a little bit, put some Icy Hot on it, and kept on going. I was walking as though I had a fake leg, but I was able to pimp walk to not make it so noticeable. I checked out Syleena Johnson concert at Plush (thanks John for the hookup). She was in town for the stageplay Cheaters that was playing at the Fox last week. I knew that this would be the place to be as opposed to First Friday at the Boathouse in Forest Park cause the stars of Cheaters would be at Plush to support their colleague. Of course my VIP boys were with me (Kam and Christiaan) and right before we entered, it were some guys near the club who were talking and befor eyou know it, one of the guys threw a beer bottle at another guy causing glass to break on the ground. What was that all about? Well, I didn't ponder around to find out and went in. There, I saw the usual suspects like Kevin Johnson and Katrina (former Partyline reporter), and I also saw Tim there and another old school mate, Tony King. He still looked the same and said whattup to him. They had two for one drinks and I was sipping on Absolute and Seven and Kam was starwin' Long ISland and accoding to him they were stronger than the Incredibel Hulk. My boy was a little droop legged and was feeling nice after the first drink. I must have been immune to my drinks, cause I wasnt feeling the buzz. Christiaan was getting nice as well with his Jack's. Soon after, I started pimp limping over to the small VIP area where the celebs of Cheaters were going to be. I saw Monica Butler guarding the area and we spoke. She gave my boy Kam the hookup to message the cast of Cheaters (man, she got her hands in everything here in the STL, and I mean hands). So, I asked her could we get into VIP and she poilitely said, NO." Now, she just hookedup Kam, but can;t let us in? Well, for those who know me, you knwo I don't take no for an answer and was able to get in by accident (I will not reveal my technique hereLOL). Anyway, once inside, I saw Silky SOul who was sporting her red Afro and Syleena Johnson was already in there, getting ready for her performance. Doug Eason was the host of the night (he was such a silky voice) and he intro'd Syleena's opening act, a local guy name Twan, he has a gospel-Gerald Levert kind of voice and he did his thing. While he was performing, there were security guards coming up towards VIP and Michael Jai White and Brian McKnight walked into VIP. Now it was turning into a VIP. It was cool being up close and personal with the celebs (Jai White is much taller than what I expected) McKnight came with his Asian girlfirend, the same one that accompanied him at te Expo concert last siummer at the America's Center. Cast mates Wendy Raquel Robinson (Steve Harvey SHow) , Carl Payne (of Martin fame) , and James Avery (Uncle Phil) did not show up. They must have went to other spots in the STL. Meanwhile, Syleena got on stage and sang a few songs for the crowd. She sang her hits "Guess What," the hook to Kanye West's "All Fall Down," and her new song, "Another Relationship," (which she sang in the play, "Cheaters." ) . She sang for about 20 minutes and that was the concert, McKnight hugged SYleena and congratulated her, then he and his lady vamped. Soon after Jai White and Johnson left, which was a sign that it was time to rolll out--and we did...Last Saturday, I did my usual going to the gym and when I went to the crib, I checked out the What;s Happening marathon that was being shown that weekend on Nick at Night. I must say, I enjoyed watching What;s Happening, espacilly Dee, who was the real star of this show. She was so mature for her age and could say a line in straightface and make the line even more funnier. Shirley was pretty funny too with her sassing and trading insults with Rerun. It was kind of weird seeing the last season's episodes when Mabel King, teh mamma, left the show due to her prtest of having a father on the show, and Dee being an orphan in the house while Shirley moved in and Rahj moved outto live with rerun in an apartment. Of course Dwayne, was the dumb blonde type of chartacter, who was afraid of everything and said Uh-UH and Hey Hey Hey (the catch phrase of the show). Before I knew it, it was time to check out the play I-2195. I went to see it at the Lee Theater at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. I had to review it for KDHX (peep it out at kdhx.org) and I must say, I really enjoyed this play. It was about a ex-freedom fighter, Lucinda Celeste played by Unity Theater vet Thomasina Clarke, who is now living in the woodlands far away from civilization who is pressured by BOLT, a givernment entity that wants to bulldoze her property and capture her as a bounty. meanwhile her son, Otto, played by Hairdo U star Eric Conners comes to visit her and reveals the reason why he came to "New Virginia' to find her. It also starred UMSL student Myron McNeill who played the valor driven freedom fighter Rex Eaglejeep, he was your fortitudinous leader who was protecting Lucinda. He was my favorite character. He gave comic relief and a string masculine demeanor to his part. The play was set in the distant future where poeple's right to privacy laws are threatened. The play was more of a human story than anything else even with the cast members being African American, it still didn't take away from the juice of the play. I loved the set which looked exactly like a log cabin and the forest. The best scene was when Lucinda and Otto forgave each other for their estrenge drelationship and her sitting out the bulldozer as a final freedom fighter move. UMSL defintely needs to re-stage this play. Most of the black people, I know, were at Cheaters, but a play that had some meaning and depth, should have been seen by more of us. Speaking of Cheaters, Kam told me some of the backstage antics at the Fox while they were at break performing Cheaters. Kam was doing messages for the female cast mates and I think my boy is in love, especially with Wendy Raquel Robinson. He was like, "Man, I wonder who is waxing that?" But the funny part was he said when he had a towel on the face portion of the message table, when she got up there was a ton of makeup on the towel. WHOA! Afterward, she told him that he looked liek Wesley Snipes and kisssed him on the cheek. Kam also said Michael Jai White was doing majic and card tricks for everyone. can you imagine that? Spawn doing majic tricks? Hmmm. He also said they had a buffet of food that would make Sweetie Pies jealous. My thing is like, all that food, how were they gonna continue performing on stage and got a lazy tongue from all that food. Hmm, talk about VIP...Last Sunday, I checked out the 5 SPot at Club Dreams, and ran into problem that I wasnt expecting. I thought everything was cool between 5 Spot co-developer Harry Colbert and all, but for some strange gut feeling, I knew some shyt was about to get started. Before I came, I called my girl Isis, who always hooks me up because I am with the media, and when I got there I met up with my business partner Tia, and we went in. When the security guy asked for our ID's, Harry came up and a beautiful sista up front named 31, asked Harry about my access in. He said, NO. I told him that I talked with Isis aboout access in. He was like, "well, I have to see." Huh? What the fucc was going on? harry acted as though he did not know me. Now, mind you, when 5 SPot was at Hard Rock near Union station, he gave me the VIp treatment, even telling me where the media sit and, but I got a funny attitude with him at the Eric Roberson concert at History Museum at Forest Park when he told me that only sponsors can sit up front (but Kevin Johnson form the Post, who is media, was able to sit up there). Now he's giving me shade. I was about to walk out of Dreams and fucc even going in, but the sista 31 told me to go on in. I was livid. What did I do to Harry for him to act funky with me? I don't think I will be attending anymore 5 Spots. I don;t need the unnecessary aggravation. It's not that serious. But I digress, once in, I got my seat with Tia and her business partner and Kam slinked in as well, I was cool. Isis told me not to trip off of what happened and she will get some understanding about access. ...The first act was the sista who hooked me up to 5 Spot, 31, she was cool. A little lazy in her delivery, but she had some tight things to say, especially about "crackers" (who she say could be anyone of any color who tries to oppress you). The headliner of the night was my girl Coco Soul, who blazed the night with her 40 minute set. She did some Chaka ("Through the Fire") , some original tunes ("Lazy Day," Balance") and did an impromtu of ALicia Keys' new joint, "Unbreakabale." She got on the keys and did her thing. She then quipped: "Y'all got your own Alicia Keys right here." Another strong point of her show was her singing Chaka's "Stay" and had members of the audience to sing teh hook. She asked American Idol contestant Phillipe to sing (I think it was planned caus ehe was up front most of the concert) and he clowned and brought it, but the shocker was when she asked Floyd Boykin to sing and he did OK, he was safe in his vocals, nothing too serious, but he maintained. There was a girl who she asked to sing, her name slip sme now, but she took out her gum, go the mike and sang notes on top of notes, homegirl was blowing like snot to Charmin, okay? Even Isis Jones did her thang, holding a note for a few seconds and getting a rousing applause. Man, I must say, her voice is getting stronger by the day. Anyway, Coco's backround singer Lynette was looking mighty glamzonish with her auburn curls and silver lame cleavage-set, spaghetti strap blouse. I tease dher when I told her, "No wonder Coco wa slooking back at you, to make sure you didnt upstage your hotness." I'm such a mess. In the house were Kevin Johnson, Clear Channel's Angela Brown, Arvin Mitchell (who was passing out comps to his comedy show at the Funny Bone), Joel King (suprise-suprise), Christiaan, and Ali Mosier.
Last Monday, I peeped out a pre-screening of 50 Cent's anticipated flick, "Get Rich or Die Tryin" at the Esquire. But before I got there, I had to haul ass over to KDHX studios to record my review for I-2195. It had to be the quickest recoding Ive done sicne doing them. It only took me 5 minutes to record it. Before heading to KDHX, I called James Thomas, whose over a lot of the movie screenings in teh Lou, told me to come on through cause the line was wrapping around the Esquire, so that was my motivation to drive and talk fast. I called kam about 6 p.m. and he told me he was getting on the highway from Florrisant to jet down there. When I finally got on 64 to get to the Esquire, it was a bottleneck toward the Forest park area. I was like, this is great. It took an extra 10 minutes for me to get to the theater. So, when I saw the line, it wasn't as crazy as I expected but it had to be about 100 or so standing in line to get in. So, I parked and walked up to the front, showed my press pass and waited for Kam to get there. Meanwhile, I bumped into former UNCF's Reggie Saunders who todl me he was now with Clear Channel. I gave him my biz card and told him to holla at me if a job opp happens. Thomas and crew were straight up regulating on this flick. They were letting only 20 people at a time into the theater and they were stamping people's hands to make sure those without stamps could not enter the theater. They also were telling people to turn off their cell phones cause if the ushers saw anyone on them, they would confiscate them. Because of the heavy bootlegging going on in theaters, they werent going to take a chance of this flick getting legged (I hear they got got when Barbershop 2 was screened at the Esquire two years ago). Anyway, when Kam showed up, we went in--and had a little tete-te with a black guy with a press list. I showe dhim my press pass and told him I was with the press. He was about to give me some flack cause apparently I wasnt on the list, but he didnt and let us on through to the press seats. I realized I was the only print media person there beside Movie Guru (everyone else were at Nellys concert at the Pageant which I will talk breifly about). Anyway, when we got our seats, the people were coming in my the hundreds. In the meantime, Hypeman Dwight Stone (I was waiting for your call so I could give you Bill's celly )came through with a big plastic sack of CDs to pass out to the moviegoers. He went up front, stood on the arm rests of a chair and did some guessing game contests for people to win teh CDs. One was, Guess How old this perosn is, or Guess How much this person weighs--it was fun, but I was waiting for the show to start (While this was going on I had gotten a text from Christiaan about where Nellys concert was and a voice message from hollabackboi that he had an extra ticket to the Nelly concert) . Anyway, when the show started, you can hear a pin drop for people waiting for this movie.
Here is my review of Get Rich or Die Tryin
"Get Rich or Die Tryin" is the semi-autobiographical story about a rapper named Marcus, played by rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, who grows up in a life of drugs and is almost killed when he shot violently druing his climb up the gangster lifestyle. Directed by "My Left Foot'" Jim Sheridan, this movie was a color-by-numbers-tale with no real surprises. It's kind of like a poor-man's version of the more worthier "8 Mile" but more violent. The supporting charcters are what makes this movie interseting, especially Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje who plays the drug lord, Majestic and Terrenace Howard in a scene stealing role as ex-con bama. The movie is told in narrative by 50 that gives his reasons as to how his life became the way it was. It starts off with Marcus and Bama and his crew robbing a Chinese biz and their speeding away and Marcus eventually getting shot nine times and teh mystery of whetehr he was going to die or not. Then, it goes to flashback mode showing Marcus' life in Queens in the early 1980s (and his idol being none other than Rick James--which is a running gag throughout the film). These scenes were interseting because it is shown how Marcus mother was a drug dealer and showing her early demise in the game, a first in the hood genre. After that, the film pretty much is old hat, guns, drugs, power ("Love will get you killed" as 50s character says) and death. One of thw powerful scenes was when Marcus was in solitary as he contimplates suicide. It was a good scene cause 50 didnt have to talk. He is not an actor and to hear him talk in that lazy tone and no expression in any of his scenes besides the usual scowl, was sort of a nuisance. 50 was his best when he was shown thinking and staring avertly showing his dilemma without acting. Another scene that was comical and was not supposed to be was the shower scene in prison where 50 and Howard fought guys in the shower naked. It was too hilarious, and I'm sure the director was not intending for it too be funny. Marcus' love interest, Charlene, played by the beautiful Joy Bryant ("Antwone Fisher"), didnt have much to do here, but be pretty and make love to 50 (which also seemed comical). She was mor eof a plot device to keep the story going.
Overall, "Get Rich or Die Tryin" is for those die-hard fans of 50. It will definitely do Top five at the Box Office (I'm even predicting No. 2) this weekend. After the curiosity has been fed of 50's screen debut, which will be quick, you will probably wished you could have waited for the DVD to come out. If I had to rate this( Four stars being great; three stars being good; two stars being average; and one star being poor) I would give it two out of four stars.
I didnt go to the Nelly concert at the Pageant. It was sponsored by Majic 104.9 and those who attended had to get tickets through them. It wasn't a general admission ticketed show (Nelly's video man Dana Christian was the 50 Cent movie, BTW) . but I hear he got on stage around 9 ish (doors opened at 8 p.m.) Hollabackboi was there and he told me that they had a live band for Nelly and the Lunatics to do their thing. From "Country Grammar" to "Grill" Nelly rocked the house (I hear the standout spitter was Murphy Lee). But I hear Nelly said nigga to much in his set and as Murphy Lee told the crowd that hi sgrandparenst were in teh audience, hollaback said, you would have thought Nelly would have toned his language. As stated by hollabackboi, he said, "Nelly is a nice looking brotha, muscular, rich and all that and he didnt have to keep on saying the n-word." I asked hollaback did he perorm "Tipdrill" and hollaback said, NO. I was shocked he didnt, but then again I am not. That song has caused alot of controversy for Nelly (as well as the song and energy drink Pimp Juice). But, I hear that it was packed house. If anyone went to this, post up and tell me what you thought of it.
SPILLED TEA : I hear that the drag queens on th East Side are taking over Club Onyx. After the G Spot closed down just down the street, they didnt have another black club to go to, so I hear they are represeting at Club Onyx. I wonder if we'll hear 100.3 The Beat's Tossin Ted reaction to all of this when he is broadcasting live down there, No SIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. LOL
I saw Patti Labelles Tribute show on Fox . It was Okay. It was a little disjointed. Why did Yolanda perform a non Patti Labelle song and sang. "Victory" from the Gospel soundtrack?" And I cringed when Ashanti was singing "New Attidude" with Aptii, whovever had teh idea to pit a non singer with a diva legend powerhouse liek Patti was on drugs. I didnt see Kelly Rowland and Nelly but I'm sure the performance was just OK. Comeidan Jimmy Fallon was funny imitating Patti LAbelle's duet partner, St. Louis own Michael McDonald saying that he sings in such a way that he can make up lyrics. then he had the band to play "I Keep Forgettin" and started mimicking Michael McDonald's voice while running through the isles. It was hilarious. I was expecting a little more to the Labelle reunion. They only saing "Lady Maramalade" and the other memebsr oif Labellw Sarah dash and Nona Hendryx (who still looks good all tall and toned up) were walking all over the stage whiel Patti out sang everyone as usual. The finale was to be desired. The finale was "YOu are My Friend" and Patti mostly hugged and kissed everyone while Yolanda Adams trie dto get her cnets in with the vocal acrobatics. If ya'll sa wthise, what were your opinions about it?
I was supposed to get into my take on the BET 25th SilverAnniversary show, but I am tired of typing. I will try and get to it next week. Like I said last week, the show will repeat from now til eternity, so I will have a chance to put my dibs on it.
Before I roll, my mentor, Eugene B. Redmond emailed me and gave me this flier about a program and ongoing event going on. Here it is:
Encore’ Reception Friday, Nov. 11—6-8 p.m.—BLACK ARTS MOVEMENT Exhibit Runs Through Nov. 20(Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Morris University Center ArtGallery)“Black Arts Movement: Some Arkitects & Heirs –Photos & Memorabilia from theEugene B. Redmond Collection”—Curated by Howard Rambsy II
During the Nov. 11 “encore” reception—6-8 p.m.--refreshments will be offeredand brief readings will be given by members of the EBR Writers Club’s SoularSystems Ensemble.”This exhibit contains photographs, album covers, posters, fliers, and artworkfrom Eugene B. Redmond's extensive collection. The materials relate orcorrespond to the "spirit of the 60s." Along with his extensive, ever-expanding collection of photographs, Eugene Redmond's assortment ofmemorabilia focusing on African American artistic productions is the result ofhis larger mission of creatively documenting the vibrant rhythms and brillianthues of black expressive culture.” --H. Rambsy IIAmong “images” included: Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Alvin Aubert, JamesBaldwin, Amiri Baraka, Fontella Bass, Gwendolyn Brooks, Stokely Carmichael,Lucille Clifton, John Coltrane, Jayne Cortez, Stanley Crouch, Angela Davis,Jimmy Daniels, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Katherine Dunham, James Farmer, LouisFarrakhan, Aretha Franklin, Robert Hayden, Calvin Hernton, Langston Hughes,Chet Johnson, William Keorapetse Kgositsile, Calvin Lockhart, Martin LutherKing, Sylvester Sunshine Lee (& children dancers), Shirley LeFlore, Haki R.Madhubuti, Mariam Makeba, Pinkie Gordon Lane, Audre Lorde, Dudley Randall,Babatunde Olatunji, Ike Paggett, Sonia Sanchez, Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake,Alice Walker, Jerry Ward, August Wilson, Howlin’ Wolf, Malcolm X, Ahmos Zu-Bolton.Also included: a collage of variations on the “Black Christ,” a painting bythe late Jeff Donaldson (of Chicago’s “Africobra” school) and two works byEast St. Louisan Edna Patterson-Petty (including a sculpture and acommissioned quilt representing 40 years of Redmond’s life).The SIUE Art Gallery is open daily from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and at othertimes by special request.
For more information call the Morris UniversityCenter at 618 650-2300 or SIUE English/EBR Writers Club at 618 650-3991.The exhibit opened October 24, the beginning of “A Drumvoices Festival ofBlack Arts,” a weeklong celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Black ArtsMovement. Participants included Amiri Baraka, Melba Boyd, Jayne Cortez (andFirespitters band), Katherine Dunham, Eddie Fisher, Sherman Fowler, SylvesterSunshine Lee, Shirley LeFlore, K. Curtis Lyle, Haki Madhubuti, Arthur Moore,and Darlene Roy (and the Soular Systems Ensemble). The Nov. 11 reception is inconjunction with the Old Man River International Commerce and CulturalFestival Think Tank (held Nov. 7 in East St. Louis City Hall).A catalog adapted from the exhibit will be available in the near future for$10.00. To order the publication, send a check or money order for $10.00 toDrumvoices Revue, English Dept. Box 1431, SIUE, Edwardsville, IL 62026-1431.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax: 618 650-3509.
Well that will cover it for me. I will holla back later with more outside stuff. Until then, stay up!