Last Friday, I checked out the much hyped, sold-out Melba Moore one woman play, "Sweet Songs of the Soul." A gospel influenced stageplay that she has been producing herself since the mid 1990s.It was taged at the Terry M. Fischer Theatre at St. Louis Community College at Flo Valley. The event was free and I pestered Professor Laurencin Dunbar (who is an associate professor of Physics and Honors Program coordinator at Flo Valley) via telephone, who hosted and took care of the grunt work to get her to the STL (that is a pic of her on my blog on stage) . I really enjoyed this two-hour production. I knew that Ms. Moore was a dynamic talent (she sings, acts and is a business woman), but I didnt relaize how much of a supertalent she really is. Told through storytelling and song, Moore took her audience on a journey of her life first as a product of illegitimacy, living with her grandmother, and her dreams of singing just like her mother who was a famous jazz singer (Bonnie Davis). She also talked about hoew neighbors used to take care of her and her grandmother when her grandmother had a stroke and couldnt talk (her stories about the big and bossy Mamma Lu, were hillarious!) Then, she told the story of how she got to New York and got a degree in music and on Broadway in such musicals as "Hair" (she was the first African American sista to replace a white actress--then unknown Diane Keaton-- in the 1969 production ) and her breakthrough role as Luttibelle in the 1970 hit, "Purlie" , which garnered her many theatre awards including the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Then, she talke dabout her tumultouous relationship with handsome actor, Clifton Davis. They were live-in-lovers making it on Broadway (he was in the Tony nominated" Verona") and had a short-lived variety show on CBS called, "The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show."(1972) . She quipped on their relationship," It was a lot of sex, a lot of drugs and a lot of parties." It got to the point where she had an abortion of their unborn child becasue of Davis' plea for her to continue her career. She then talked about her health scare when she was diagnosed with appendicitis caused by an infected IUD she had fitted as a form of birth control. It took her nearly a year after her diagnosis to recover, but to much to her loss, Davis had moved out and she was nearly forgotten in the entertainment industry. But the play took on another light in the second act when she talked about how she met her husband Charles Higgins and how they developed one of the most successful African American music production companies, Hush Productions. Sitting mostly on a stool and talking to the audience, Moore spoke candidly of how after 15 years of marriage how Higgins forged a divorce without her knowing it, causing a legal battle which caused her to lose her credibility (he spreaded viscous rumors to her friends that she was a lesbian and a crack addict) her luxurious home in NYC, her production comapny rights, their daughter resuting in her having to go on welfare and her now infamous media blitz to the entertainment talk shows in 1992 to tell about her misery. Well, with most womanesque stories such as this, it comes with a I-can-do-without-a-man-ending. Yes, she maintained and got back on her feet (most recently she was in the film, "Fighting Temptaions") and she ha sa story to tell and she survived. It was definitely a testimony that everyone, regradless of race or gender, can get a little morsel of what life can do to you and what you can do to pull through. On a sidenote, many of the songs taht were featured in her play were also worth mentioning. She chronicled her career through her early beginning thinking what her mother may have sounded like or places she may have sang singing such sings as Duke Ellington's "It Dont Mean a Thing," and Ella Fitzgerald's scatting jam, "Airmail Special." The highlights were when she sang songs from "Hair" ("Easy to be Hard") with high afro and all, and the song., "I Got Love" that was specially written for her in the play, "Purlie," wearing a black Pippi Longstocking braids wig, and when she asked the audience to sing the chorus to her sole No. 1 R&B hit, "Falling," whre she held the last note to that song till eternity. The opening act was the Flo Valley Gospel Chrous under the direction of Al Anderson (who used to teach gospel choir at SIU-Edwardsville when I was a student there).Afterward, Moore, signed autographs to her fans. One of which was Terry Freeman, who is a professor up at Flo Valley. He had an album jacket of Melba Moore's 1982 album, "The other Side of the Rainbow" (which was her lead off sing in her play BTW) and said earlier that back in his day, "he only would buy album if it had at least four cuts on it.' I heard that. Well, I didnt get a chance to speak to the music diva because I was ready to get my party on at teh Jazz Loft and 1st Friday at Club Seven. Oh, before I go any further, I must say that I had to take out my cornrows for this nite cause my sister was supposed to hook me up with my rows, but she couldnt do it cause she had "man problems", so I had to take them down and sport a Jimi- Hendryx style retro Afro. Well, you know me, I have to do what I have to (I got many compliments on it, so I wasnt complaning). I also had on some blue jeans that had paintings of clouds on them (You had to see them), with a long-sleeve white long john short , with a brown, bluish vest. I was retro all the way.
Okay, so I checked out the Jazz Loft and Club Seven that was putting on 1st Fridays this month. Both clubs are on Olive in Midtown St. Louis and are in cohoots regarding getting the clientele theses days. Seven has been the pioneer of sorts for upscale party events. Now with the Jazz Loft popping up, a few months in the game and they are giving Club Seven some serious comp. I think everybody had the same plan to go to Jazz Loft first, then Club Seven. I got to the Jazz Loft about 10:30 in the P.M and it was a nice and modest crowd. It wasnt as packed as the last few Fridays have been (people probably was preparing to go to 1st Friday ), but all, in all , it was a nice teaser for the clubgoers. Up in there were local singer Tina Pate (hint-hint. LOL), former Flipside Newzine editor Carlos Turner, St. Louis American's Bill Beene (Nice comeback from your combing my hair comment, huh. LOL) and Inkosi's Kevin Bryant (Yes, I know I was sharp. LOL). Around 12 ish, I got a call from my boy Kameron who was up in Seven asking where I was. I told him I was still at the Loft and that I was coming through probably in an hour so I could get in free. NOT (I'll explain in a few). Also in the Loft was Fox 2 sports' Rob Desir, who said that he checks out my blog and told me to keep it up and that he was going to post. Much love, man (Still waiting on your post. LOL). The music up in there was your typical crunk music (from D4L to the Franchise Boyz), then DJ Soundz got into some hip-hop house when he started playing the Fantasy Slide. You should have seen the scene when the brothers who were getting their dance on with the sistas flew to get off the dance floor. Suddenly, nothin but sistas ran to the dancefloor to do the accompanying slide with the song. It was a sight to see. Big ups to Soundz for trying to change it up. After that it was about 1:15 and I walked to Seven. I sa wthat it wanst a line and I figured that errbody who was going up in Seven were already up in there and that it was free to get in. Well, when I opened the door, one of the security guys said for me to come on in. I thought it was home after that. No. He then said, "step up to the window." Shyt, I said to myself. So, I said to the light skinned sista who was at the register and asked, "How much?" She said, "20." "20!" I exclaimed. There wa sno way I was paying that much just to party for about an hour. I then aksed if Harry (Michel) there. And she said that he was around somewhere. So, I walked back outside and called Kam and put on his voice mail,"There ain't no way I'm going to pay 20 dollars to get in and it's just an hour or so left to get in." Well, in my line of biz, there's always a way out of noway. Let me out it this way, if I told you how I got in free, I would have to kill you. LOL. (Let just say that it is good to know where to go to get some progress without trying.) So, I got up in there and it was PACKED like Amistad packed up in there. It made no sense how many people were packed on both the Art Bar and Club Seven side. I was able to walk from the Art bar to Seven, to the VIP area and saw Kameron walking down the steps of VIP. I was motioning for him to go back up in there cause I was going up in there. And there I stayed for about a half-an-hour. I saw a few people I knew up in there including local actor Paris Crayton (I saw you at the Mr. and Mrs. Contest. LOL). Afterward, we walked to the Art Bar saide and stayed near the DJ-booth area and just looked at the people. Nothing else, but look at them. Then, it dawned on me that everytiem I go to 1st Friday, thats all I do, look at people, talk, maybe dance and drink. Nothing else. I remember when FF used to drop a lil comedy every now and then for the patrons (last time I remember STL's Lavelle Crawford performed last year). But I guess Seven club owners Harry and Fred Finley think that as long as people willing to pay 20 dollars to get in a club, then pay for drinks, there's no need to give the clientele anything else. I'm not mad at them for it at all. It;s just interesting to me how STL partiers will do just to say they were there.
On Saturday, I got my hair braided!!! and I checked out Hipster Magazine's , Feb. issue Release party at 609. This was the first time I would go to 609 on Saturday. the other time swere on Thursdays with DJ Nappy Needles spinning (this 'Black night" at 609 LOL). Anyway, I got the email from Keenan Harris, who is the EIC at Hipster, a week back so I knew this had to be the place to be. And it was. I got there about 11 ish and it was a whole different vibe when I got up in there First off, it was free to get in (a plus),they had free Pearl Vodka samples (another plus), they had copies of their latest issue of Hipster(another plus--go to www.hipstermag.com to get more info about this tight mag ) and to top it off, the music was eccletic hip-hop at its best. Every Saturday, I hear my boy DJ Enoch spins the urban grooves on the 1s and 2s while poet David A.N. Jackson hits the congas, African style. Well, they definitely didnt disappoint. In the house were NBA's Jahadi White, Carlos Turner, Kameron Hopson, Rachel, Brandon, Robert Kirk, STL model Jamelle, Stlouis online.com's Jacob (let's hook up with the blogs, man), Brian Swift, Keith Harris, Christiaan Coffield (I saw you all hugged up on that sisats while I was leaving out. LOL), the Post's Kevin Johnson (Told ya R. Kellys concert was going to sell out in days. LOL)
On Sunday, there were many plaes around town to watch Superbowl 40(Some folks I knew were in Detroit for the Superbowl and I hate you. LOL) . I decided to check out Hipster Magazine's and Club Dreams' parties at Pepper Lounge and the other club;s namesake respectively. I got there about 5 p.m., so I can get a seat and watch some of the Pre-Game show with Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, John Legend and India.Arie--and that's all I did was watch cause it was hard to hear Stone, Legend and Arie. Wonder was sounding good, though (The Aretha Franklin and Aaron Neville duet of "The National Anthem" was Ok. You could barely hear Neville and the Rolling Stones during Half Time show, well I think Delores Shante in PArtyline pretty much took care of that beef for all of us. LOL). It wasnt hardly anyone up in theer when I got there, but I just thought that I was just too early. I gave dap to Kennan and Keith Harris who put on this watch party and got a table in the corner to wait on Kam. In this case, Kam, and unexpected guests Jamie Spencer and his cousin Treanna(I didn't hardly recognize you with the Erykah Badu-1999-gelee on). Both of them had me in stitches clowining and talking about people (Jamie you should be co-hosting a gossip show with Wendy Williams for real). Before they came, I chatted with model Jamelle who was on her cell phone calling around Club PLush and Club Dreams to find out where the food was happening (Chips were all was was going on at the time at Pepper Lounge). She was ready to call up Imo's to order some wings at Imo's around the cause she was hungry. So when Kameron came through as well as the unexpected guests (Jamie called me via celly to ask if Pepper and Dreams were free to get in), she asked if anyone wanted to order something from Imo's. Kam ordered some wings as well and jamie and Treanna ordered a pizza. I was chill cause I ate a lil bit of mamma's cooking before I jetted and I was sipping on a Corona at the time as well. meanwhile, we were checking out the game and the commericals (My fave was the prehistoric Fed Ex commerical) and the folks who came up in there (I sa wyou Brian Swift up in theer for a minute). It wasnt a huge crowd, but it was about 20 or so who chilled out. Spencer bought us drinks (be careful with that eye, dude) and Jamelle told us that we were going to be treated with free Big MAcs and Apple Pies from Mcdonald's who help to sponsor the free event. My only thing was , "WHERE WAS THE FRIES!!!" You cant have Macs without fries. That's like Peanut butter without Jelly, or Ashford without Simpson! But it was all good though. I called comedian Maurice G who co-owns Club Dreams to tell him I wa son my way down therr in a few, but a few turned into the fourth quarter of the Seattle-Pittsburgh game. I was too busy jaw-jabbing with Spencer and Treanna that they were heading to comedian Darrius Bradford's comedy jam at the Improv. While I got my burger (I mean cheese burger) and apple pie, said my goodbyes to Keenan and Keith that was my cue to jet as well. So, I met Kameron up at Dreams and when I saw Maurice, I asked him, where there anymore food left and he was like, ah naw, dude, it;s all gone. I missed a sumptuous catered and FREE BBQ dinner with side orders spaghetti, potato salad and people were getting seconds becasue it was so damn good. My jaw could have dropped to the floor when I heard that. But, I didnt trip. I was a trooper and enjoyed the end of the game. In teh house were Mo Witherspoon (thanks for the info on the Eye Candy of the Month event you have at Formula), Chocolate Tai, Staci Static (who was emceeing at the DJ booth), and Bill Beene (who was having an interesting and sobering conversation with a sista up in therr about men cheating on women when I got therr). After the game, 100.3theBeat's DJ Cuddy set up and people were getting their After-party on.
GRAMMY FORECAST. Well, I sat up with my rabbit's foot in my hand Wednesday in hopes that all of my predictions of who were going to win at the 48th Annual Grammies (For my Grammy predictions background, check out my Blog-31) were going to happen . Well, like every year, I was about 60 percent right. I predicted who would win Record of the Year (Green Day), Pop Female Vocal (Kelly Clarkston), best New Artist (John Legend), Pop Vocal Group (Maroon 5), Pop Vocal Album ("Breakway" Kelly Clarkston), R&B Female Vocal (Mariah Carey), R&B group Performance (Stevie Wonder and Beyonce), Traditional R&B Performance (Aretha Franklin), Contemporary R&B Album (Mariah Carey), Rap Solo (Kanye West), Rap Duo or Group (Black Eyed Peas), rap Song (Diamonds' Kanye West),, rap Album (LAte Registration-Kanye), Reggae Album (Damion Marley) and Short Form Video (Lose Control--Missy Elloit, Ciara and Fat MAn Scoop). As fas as the ones I didnt get right were Song of the Year ("Sometimes" U2--who was the shockingly the big winner with Five and is pictured on my blog above during their Grammy sweep), Pop Vocal Male (Stevie Wonder), R&B Male Vocal (John Legend), Urban Alternative (Damion Marley), R&B Song (We Belong Together-Mariah Carey); R&B Album (Get Lifted-Joh nLegend), Rap/Sung Collabo (Jay z and Linkin Park); Producer (Steve Lillywhite) and Longform Video ( Bob Dylan, Matin Scorcesse) Well, so much for predicting the Grammies 100 percent. But for someone who's been watching the Grammies since 1982, I think I do pretty damn good!
TIDBITZ. When you get a chance, peep out STL's very own Committee members Chip and Jamie Price's Outflow Records Sample CD Vol,. 1 (www.outflowproductions.com). It has 19 killer tracks from some of todays hottest STL artists inclduing Joe College, J-Biggs, Toyy, Jia Davis ., Klassic and many more (My fave is Klassic's "Your Loss" -a sure fire radio hit for sure)...Communique PR's Renee Thomas Woods hip me to a book signing coming up this month with Belleville native and ex-FBI agent Cary Thornton, who just released a book, "Oath of Office" about his experiences growing up black in St. Louis and his experiences with the FBI. He will have two booksignings going on in the Lou. The first will take place at the Vaughn Cultural Center on Friday, Feb. 24 from 6-8pm and the other is at KNowing Books and Cafe on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 1-3pm. For more info on the booksignings, hit up Renee at or www.cqpublicrelations.com... Big ups to 87-year-old East St. Louis native Jacksie Mae King for protecting herself against attempted burglar Larry Tillman who tried to break in her home early Tuesday of this week on Gaty Ave in the Boogie. She shot him outside her door with one shot, killing him dead. Now teh beef now is thateh gun may not have been regsitered, but as of Thursday, investigators said that they have every reason to believe that King, was justified in firing a shot....More congrats to Pittsburgh Steeler Running back (and former St. Louis Ramser) Jerome "The Bus" Bettis (pictured on the left hand side of my blog) who retired on top this week after winning the MVP award and beating Seattle 21-10 at this year's Superbowl. He has played the game of NFL ball for 14 years(Now he can spend even more time on yachts. LOL) . What makes it even more sweet, he is originally from Detroit (I see that former Rams Coach Mike Martz is also heading to Detroit to work with teh Detroit Lions as well). Bettis, who will be turning 34, was a first round draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 1993. He finishes his career with 13,662 rushing yards and 91 touchdowns on 3,479 attempts and added 200 pass receptions for 1,449 yards and three scores...Also kudos to St. Louis model Carmen Currie (who is pictured on the right side of my blog). She has been chosen as a model for the Ebony Fashion Fair Tour (you can check her bio on jetmag.com) and I hear that she is doing her thing acorss the country. I sa wher in a fashion show with Vyaa at the W Hotel last fall and nwo she doing it up big time. Move over Kimora Lee Simmons, you got another St. Louis sista who's now getting ready to make a name for themselves as well (Oh, and speaking of Kimora, as of this writing, I would have seen the Channel 4 interview that would have aired Thursday night during the 10 PM news on Kimora an dher life as a diva model. I will talk more about the interview next week...Oh, and Khalill Van Zandt who was the photograoher with Rolling Out here in St. Louis for a few years I hear has now moved UPSOUTH to bigger money with Rolling Out in Chi-town....What's' up with my boy 100.3 The Beat's Hypeman Dwight Stone who I heard last Friday broadcasting live at the Spot all raunchy? I thought he stopped doing that scene a couple of years ago cause of his new found faith in the G.O.D. when I interviewed him for Flipside? Hmmmm. We needs to talk, brotha...Much love to my tax man Josh Beeks for hooking up my big fat tax return. LOL... I will be going to teh Ice Theatre later on this month in Chi-Town to check out the Alton-shot film, "Pieces of A Dream" , directed by Alton native Skee Skinner. It stars former B2K singer Raz-B and many STL actors like Joel King, Trevon Griffith and Dennis Lebby to name a few. For more info on this flick, go to imdb.com and type in Pieces of a Dream.
GRAMMY TIDBITZ....What was up with the uncomfortable I-can-see-you banter that Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder tried to do before presneting an award?...What was going on with that mess of a Sly Stone tribute with all types of singers singing snippets of his songs and then the man himself trying to a Prince 1984 American Music Awards move coming in at the last minute of the tribute and walked off stage before the tribute was over? And what wassup with him looking down at the time with that PLATINUM MOHAWK? I'm all about expression, but that was a bit much...Was it me or did Kanye West seem a bit uncomfortable kissing with his new model girlfriend when he won for Rap Solo performance (Oh and I was not feeling his black gloves, either)? But he mad eit up for that hellafied performance of "Goldigger" with Jamie Foxx with the whole Battle of the Bands theme (Broke Phi Broke is still resonating with genius) ! Jay Z was representing big time, got an award and had Linkin Park to speak, adn he was sharp in his money exec suit on...Did Destiny's Child look too skinny to you (Even Beyonce)? How come Dave Chapelle (who was looking dapper in his brown suit)didnt do a tribute to Richard Pryor as opposed to the Queen Latifah shout out that was off a bit? Were you feeling Bruce Springsteen's acoustic performanc eof "Devisl and Dust?" I was. Were you pulling for Mariah Carey, not just for winning awards but for trying to sing the notes that looked hard for her to sing? Was the Madonna opener with Gorillaz and DeLa Soul hot to death or what (And she still looks good for almost pushing 50)? Did Bono of U2 look stoned when he was up there saying his thank you speeches (especially during Album of the Year when he said thet Paul McCartney created the country? Even Paul looked confused at Bono's' comment as well when the camera shot to him).
Well that will be it. If anything that I may have missed or you woul dliek to see me put on here, holla back at firstname.lastname@example.org!