Thursday, March 30, 2006

out 40

Hello my fellow cyberfans. It is Yours Truly, Ma'at here. Still in Los Angeles networking and partying with a purpose. Iam having some computer difficulties so hopefully before next week I will give you a run down of my travels in Los Angeles. In th meantime, I am traveling around in a 2005 Chevy Malibu (as you see in the pic) and jotting down stuff thats been going on.

TIDBITZ . St. Louis own rapper and singer SK (bka Serron King) who is posted on the right hand side of my blog) will be performing at the legendary China Club Friday, April 7 at 10 pm, in NYC,located at 268 w 47th Street. SK has been compared to a female version of Tupac & Lauren Hill. Her words and her voice are inspiring, and a MUST SEE... She is also releasing her debut CD "Its AboutTime" as well. Check S K's profile and music out at:
To attend this event YOU MUST BE ON THE GUEST LIST
RSVP TO: Dan 4 Entertainment 347-245-7952 OR Giovanni D'Angelo (GIO D's.) 347-701-9627

Keep your head up Ingrid Owens, we are all wantto see you win the State Rep 74th. For more info on her campaign go to

I talked with local actor/director Joel King and he is going to do a one man play in Iowa and that the reason that his hit gospel play, "Meeting at the Elders Circle", 3 p.m. show ran late at the Jazz LoftClub a couple of weeks ago was because the owners of the club didnt open the doors to set up (yes SET UP) until 1 p.m. The set was not complete when the people got there. That is a shame that happened (but it was still successful as well as teh 7 p.m. shw from what I heard) and I hear the Jazz Loft treated Joel King and his crew very rudely . Oh well. I just wanted to set the record straight about that.

Well, hopefully the computer I'm using cooperates this week. I plan to be in L.A> until April 12. If there is anything you want for me to pub on my blog, email me at!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

out 39

Hello cyberfans! This is Ma'at here tryin to maintain the blog while out of town in Hollywood. Yes, the Land of Lala. I arrived in Los Angeles this past Monday on an American Airline plane, with a lil turbulance, and I am staying with a buddy in the Crenshaw District aka The Jungle. I hear that my hometown fo the STL had about 3 inches of snow and I left right on time for the sunny side of life.

Okay lets get right to it. ...........Last Friday, I had the chance to check out the play Rent that was playing at the Fox Theatre. I went with my business partner Jewelanda Hodges. For those who are not familiar with this play, it is a Broadway Tony Award winning production that deals with a commune of bohemians lving in a run down apartment building dubbed the Alphabet City of New York. Some fo the communers were gay, bisexual, transgendered and HIV-positive. The plot deals with a rich guy named Benny who threatens to shut down the aprtment building to rebuild but promises to not shut it down unless one of the bohomians, maureen, would stop her protest against it. This play is a mix of Bring in the Da Noize, Bring In da Funk meets Jesus Christ Superstar. I really enjoyed this play and the songs in it are extremely powerful (especially the main song, "Seasons of Love" that is introduced in the second act.) This play was very moving and tells the underlying message of no matter how different we are in regards of our race, gender or sexual orientation, we all have the right to be human beings. The cast was great, the singing was superb and the set of a rundown aprtment building was extremely authentic.The only wish was to maybe have some fo the original cast of the play (Taye Diggs for instance) reprise their roles for the traveling tour, but, we always have the DVD of the film for that case.

Last Saturday, I had a photo shoot with photographer Bob Morrison (one of the pics is down below) at Turner School in Kirkwood near Big Bend. It was definitely an experience for me cause this was my first real photo shoot (I did a semi photo shoot with Japhus of Hot Shots about 4 years ago but that was not as elaborate) The shoot took about 4 and a half hours and I did over 100 shots. Some were the regular headshot stuff, then I did some shots of my being in the club and then i did the slave motif shots that were very intense for me. I enjoyed it and it caused me to push myself to do something different. I was very impressed of the turnout (Kudos to my makeup artist Cynarra Rodriguez who worked her magic!)

Last Sunday, I attended local director/actor Joel P.E. King's gospel stageplay, "Meeting at the Elder's circle" at the Jazz Loft on Olive. I attended the 3 oclock showing and I must say, it was definitely a trial for those who attended cause when us early worms got there close to 3 p.m., we got the message that the set had not been set up (Not good). So, we sat near the bar area until they set out some seats near the dance floor where the stage was in order for us to sit. I got my seat and for about an hour, we waited for the show to start.

They tried to stall as much as they could even having the dee-jay to play songs as we entertained ourselves. Therr was one interracial male gay couple who sat next to me who asked me if i was reporting on this play andI told them yes. then, the black guy got a call on his celly and he said, "Yeah, i'm still wauiting for this show to start. I tell you, that's why I hate to attend black shows." In my mind, I was like, "huh?" How could he say that in front of his white male lover? I was too outdone. Some people also started to leave as well. (also not good). Anyway, local poet Chill da Playa who helped with the set, telling the crowd that they were going to get started pretty soon.

At this time, it was going on 4 pm. Around this time, the production, so I thought was about to start, but they had a few opening acts. First up was poet/dancer Black Pearl and Chill doing some spoken word, then a gospel mime dance troupe, GTV, who performed (one fo the female dancers ended up gettin "caught up" in the routine) This was good and all, but I think everyone was waiting for the play to begin. When the play started, it was about a quarter after 4. Now the play was about the trial of one congregation member, Sis Magdeline, played brilliantly and comedically by local actress Alicia Mosely, who spoke highly against her congregation mates and is tried by teh church whether she could still attend the church.

Now THE shocking moment was that actor /director of this play, Joel King, wa splaying one of the "sisters' in the church who was white(The white makeup he used was very clown-like and ghostly which made it even more hilarious) . My mouth flew open when I saw him in drag (It was definitely another dinmension that was occurring). It was a parody of the black church and all of the malapropisms that goes along with it (the holy dancing, the preacher that cannot read, the obese sister who loves to eat at the church functions, etc.). It was avery gutsy move to make fun of the black institution (King even said some folks walked out during the secoind show), but the play was more of a satire, to make one think about the things that is tolerated in the black church. Good job, Joel!

Monday, I geared up to go to L.A. and had my father to take me to airport. But of course there was soem drama before i got to the airport,for one, I forgot one of my bags,so we had t turn back around from Highway 64 to meet my mother near the Hardees on Hartman Lane in O'fallon to get my bag. Then when i got to the airport to check my bags outside at the American Airline, one of my bags was too heavy and I had to pay a 80 dollar fee . Then, the man checking my bag said that I had only 30 minutes to make my plane (which also meant getting searched and all). But I was not hearing none of that).

So I managed to make my plane (I saw Tony Thompson of the Kwame BuidlingGroup standing atthe counter looking nonchalant, whatver was going on there) I had five minutes to board and I did. ...The plane ride was cool but we ran into some crazy turbulence while taking off as teh plane was jumping upand down liek a rollercoaster and that was not cute. I tired to seem cool about it, but my insides was screaming like I was trying to run out of a housefire. Anyway, my plane landed about 11:45 pm pacific Standard time and my friend Keith Underwood picked me up from the airport and took me to his crib in the Crenshaw
District. Next week, i will tell y'all what Ive been doing int he land of LA LA.

EVENTIDBITZ. TOPDOG UNDERDOG (Pulitzer Prize for Drama) by Susan Lori Parks, Directed by Dr. Niyi Coker will be performed at @ Touhill Performing Arts Center March 30-April 8, 8pm. For tickets call 314.516.4949....the St. Louis African Film Festival, March 23-26, 2006, 7pm Washington University, Brown Hall Room 100, St. Louis, MO. For more information call 314.935.7879. Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 22:55:31 -0600 ...SPP Productions presents It's Fun, It's Flirty,It's Sunday, April 2nd, 2006 showtime is at 8:00pm featuring All High Fashion Models Holiday Inn Convention Center (Ballroom)819 N. 9th Street ~ St. Louis, Missouri10 beautiful women and 4 sexy men 8 different designers. Free hot food, Cash Bar. .Advanced Donation $15.00 ~ At the Door: $20.00For tickets Contact Sara at 314-283-0214. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the St. Louis Homeless.

If you have anything for me to pub on my blog, hit me up at!

Friday, March 17, 2006

OUT 38

Hello cyberfans! This is Ma'at giving you the regular 411 on what is happening in the Lou. This week, I am posting two blogs. My normal one here and a special edition blog following this blog on my interview with the cast and crew of the Alton based film, Pieces of a Dream. OK lets get on with the gettin while the gettin is good!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Last Thursday, rapper Chingy had his 26th B-day party at Pepper Lounge. I was was one of the unlucky ones who didnt get the 50 or so RSVP email back to the sponsors of this Hispter Magazine but it is all good. I heard that the party was like the Maxim Magazine Party there a few months ago with people who were not on the RSVP list were able to get in ( I also heard that most of the crowd was mostly white. But more interestingly, I heard that Chingy and his bodyguard was at the Shell Gas Station off Highway 70 taking the Lucas and Hunt exit before hitting the party. What was going on there? I wonder what car they were gassing up? In unrelated Chingy news, did you know that he will be in the next "Scary Movie" film series? It suppose to come out April 14. In it, I beleive he's playing himself. Hopeit's not that much of a stretch!

Last Friday, I went to my girl Ingrid Owens (pictured in the center of my blog) fundraising party held at the Formula (for more oin her campaign go to . She is running for the 74th District Rep and I came through to support(Did you save any of those chocolate strawberries for me? LOL) . Man, she is one trooper. she wa stelling about how the haters are treating her , but keep your head up, ma. It was a little skim as far as the people when I got there (I got therr when they opened). But I paid my 10 bones for a donation to her campaign and greeted with the elect hopeful. While there, I also chatted with Clear Channel Sales rep Pierre Troupe (who is related to Mo. State Rep Charles Quincy and poet Quincy) who was talking about how the radio biz has changed since he was in the game and Formula owner Sonja Brascomb who said she wished she was going to the R Kelly concert (which was going on later that night) and that someone offered her two tix but for close to a 1,000 or so dollars a piece. She was like, "For that kind of money, R Kelly better pee on me." I was dying when she said that! Maybe she was playing and giving me a taste of her stand up act that she has been doing lately at the Improv and all but it was all good. I understood what she was saying. She also told me that she was throwing an aftrpoarty for some of the cast of the play "Issues' when it hit the Fox later on this month. Scheduled to attend are cast members Angie Stone, Kim Fields and Sonia's good friend Mel Jackson (who is the light skinned brotha who played on "Deliver Us From Eva.")

After a few more chats and chews, I drove to the Fox to meet up with my buddy girl Tiffani Blackmore for the R Kelly concert that was going down at the Fox. After I found her walking up Grand from Enright, and bearing the STL hawk, we got our tix (VIP3 section) and went into the Fox hoping we wouldnt be late. NOT. The following is my review of the concert:

R Kelly becomes Mr. Showbiz for STL fans at the Fox

A sold out crowd came out to see controversial singer R Kelly. Although the R came out on stage an hour late (with no explanation as to why but there were rumors including a supposed 30 minute video was suppsoed to open up his show), but after dozens of classic soul hits blasting from the speakers, the lights went down, the cheers began and the show was about to go on.
The 90 plus minute set started off with a bang as a black silouhette of the megastar appeared to be walking (with loud walking accompanied SFX) up toward the staircase with white lights around him only lighting up the Michael Jackson styled hat, tie, gloves, and shoes. Then, he proceeded to do a Star Wars like gestures ala the Gloved One to make the stage lights appear with the stroke of his hand.
After that, the show, turned to a melody driven set with a band playing with programmed tracks, background singers lip synching R Kelly's background tracks, and the man himself takling liberties to sing live and on track. Yet, the R&B thug did not deter his legions of fans who stood up through all of the concert yielding that R Kelly, beside his personal troubles, can still hold an audience with his music and voice.
The highlights of the show( beside the opening) were his testing out two songs yet recorded accapello style, the double entendre songs, "In the Kitchen" and "The Zoo" (which yielded a moan call for women as thoughthey were a monkey in the wild). Another was his surprising hip-hop dancing with his scantily clad female dancers (from Nino Popping to Lean with it Rock with it) while the music from STL rappers Chingy and Nelly's "Right Therr" and "Grillz" and D4L's "Laffy taffy" played.
An unsual moment in the show occurred when R Kelly was about to perform his soap opera drama hit song, "Trapped in the Closet." (which was one of the few songs he performed completely) As there was a prop of a closet was placed at the center of the stage and the song was played, one had to visualize the music video to keep interested as the closet was the only thing the crowd saw until he opened the door during mid-way into the song. He then proceeded to act out all of the parts (even mimicking the gay guy Chuck) lip synching all the way (akin to his performance at this year's MTV Music Awards).
But the R redeemed himself when he changed into his stepper white clothes and did a medley of "Step In the Name of Love" and its sequel "Happy People" and had some members of the crowd to come on stage to join him step.
Overall the show ws OK. It lacked the heavily scripted production of his show in 2001 when he ws at the Fox to promte the CD, "R," but he was intriguing enough to hold people's attention. -

There were several afterparties going on after the R Kelly show, the official ones were at Toxic and Plush (a twofer). One of my source bugs went to the one at Toxic and said that he showed up and went upstairs in VIP and had ladies come through only. Downstairs there was a throne like chair on stage to make it fit for a king. But other than that, that was all that was happening. Good thing I didnt go cause I would have been upset only seeing the top of his head surrounded by a beavy of hoochies. You would have also thought the Loft was where the after party was casue what I hear there was line in front of the club before the concert even started. Now that is too much playing. when I tried to drive through there, the line could have stretched the length of Grand where the Fox begins and and Gary's Restaurant ends! There were two afterparties on the East Boogie side at Blackmon's Plaza and Club Rio. I didnt hear if he showed up or not at either (they were charging 10 bones and a discount if you had your tix stub), but more than likely he did cause like he say in his songs, his party ends until 6 in the morning.

Last Saturday, I was planning to go out, but the threat of tornadoes and all, had me to chill and watch a new episode of "Saturday Night Live."

Last Sunday, I heard that the Cometry show that poet Chill Da Playa threw at the Loft hosted by 104.9' personality Selena J. My source say it was packed with nothing but grown and sexy people.

Last Monday, I had a meeting with STL photographer Bob Morrison and make up artist Cynarra Rodriguez at Whole Foods in Brentwood.. I am planning on doing a photo shoot this Saturday at a building near Turner Middle School.

TIDBITZ. Kudos to former KMOV-TV's Julius Hunter (seen on the right of my blog) who is now over the ST. Louis Police Board. I hear he's trying to get the Mayor Francis Slay in check in the mayor's office and Police Chief Mokwa as the liasion. Hmmm, its going to get hot in March for sure....What was up with STL born fashion mogul Kimora Lee SImmons kissing Mariah Carey at the Soul Train Music Awards ala Madonna and Britney Spears style?. What is really going on with that? And speaking of Soul Train Awards, why did Gwen Stefeni get a nod for Best Soul Female Artist? Now dont get me wrong, I think she's cool and all, and she made a splash on the Hip Hop charts withher hit, "Holla Back Girl," but to be in a category with heavy hotters like Mariah, Alicia Keys and such, seemed odd to me.

Well folks, hopefuilly I will be in the land of La La starting next Monday to make some connections and see the sights. I will keep you posted.

Again, if you have anything you want for me to blog on here, hit me up at

Thursday, March 16, 2006


What's happening cyberpeople!!!!!!!!!!!!!!This is Ma'at here again. This week I am going to give you a double dose of Out Town (that's putting it lightly LOL). This first one is my interview with the cast and crew of the Alton-filmed movie, "Pieces of a Dream." (You can see pics and more info in previous blogs)The other one will be my usual post (that will probably post first) OK here is my interview with the cast and crew at before during and after the Red Carpet screening of the film at Ice Theatre: Chatham 14 in Chi-town (which was Feb 27).

At the screening Feb. 27 at the Ice Theater: Chatham 14


After the screening, Director Skee Skinner (seen on the left pic during the Q&A session after the screening), who holds a Communications degree from Millken U, talked with this reporter about the film.
Skinner said the main challenge of making this film was keeping in tune with the theme.
“That was our challenge to remain true to the theme--Its not linear, its makes you think,’ he said. “ It’s a whole new genre of filming, conscious films. I want to continue doing this. I’m not going anywhere.”
The editing was key in “Pieces” telling the story from the ending to the beginning and correlating all the characters together.
“That’s the way I wrote it,” Skinner said. “ I write in an editing style because I’m editing my own work. I know how the story is going and how to pace it. I think as a filmmaker, you have to have your hands in every aspect to some degree . Editing is the back-bone and you gotta cut it right.”
Skinner also talked about being from a small town of Alton, Ill and not having the Hollywood scene in his backyard while filming this Alton-based film.
“Alton is my hometown and as a child I always thought there was potential to do a film in Alton with the landscape and all,” he said. “To be in a small town, it offers It everything an LA can give me. I can make it happen plus bring something positive back to my community. The control factor and to bring it back. Alton will always serve a certain backdrop for me in my movies. I still have love for Chi-town and other Meccas. I’ve done movies here in Chi-town but it’s time to do films in the Metro East and St. Louis area.
On people’s reaction to his film while it was shown, Skinner said. “I saw it already in my dreams. All I did was go through the motions. All that happened tonite. I already knew it was going to happen. It was a premonition to me. That’s how I work and approach things. I rehearse the scenes in my head and seen it. Genuine love and speaking dialogue and intelligent conversation and we definitely accomplished that.”
Prior to the screening, Skinner, talked about how the film was produced..
“Initially, my writing partner Paul (Branton)and myself had a collection of short stories and we wanted to do something different that were coming at us and scripts we had, “ he said. “ We strung four short stories into one story following a moralistic theme questioning if sin have weight. It was a tapestry of stories that we wanted to make one big piece and put the mirror up for the world to see.”
Skinner said it took about eight months to write up the script and in October 2004 filmed the script.
“It was challenging but I love it,” he said “ This is what I was supposed to be doing. I worked in this industry for a long time, on every aspect-- the lighting, shooting, blocking scenes. It was all connected to making a bigger piece. I enjoyed everybody on the film, the cast and crew. The process is a human process . When you can take something in your mind and take something visually and audio wise and display it to the world. It’s a unique process.”

On why the film’s premiere began in Chicago, Skinner said. “We wanted to open up in one of the larger markets . Instead of doing L.A. Or New York, that’s so common. We wanted to bring something back to the Midwest which is one of the goals of One Way Productions. We want to be the triangle in the Midwest being between Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Initially that’s why Chicago was the obvious city of choice. Then back home to the St. Louis Metro area and shine a beacon on those markets before we take it to the coasts.
Skinner said his production company is trying to negotiate a deal with Werrenberg or AMC, or James town Mall for the St. Louis premiere (tentatively for April).
“At the end of the day, II want to make a difference in the film game, “Skinner said.
“We bring a unique aspect to the film game being that we do conscious films.”
Co-writer, co-art producer and co-star Paul Branton, writer, art production , said about the opening of “Pieces”: “It just a blessing. Its all about the hard work that was put in not in this production but others that lead to this. Skee and I have been grinding at this like the mid nineties, ten years. I’m happy right now. This is not the end of what were trying to get to but it’s so close what we visualized years ago. It feels good when you think about the child and you wonder how that child will look like from the belly and now we get to see the birth of that child.”
Branton, who met Skee at Milliken U in Decatur, Ill, (and received a degree in Commercial Art) , talked about the inspiration for the movie’s vignette titles: “Genesis,” “Malachi Golden,” “Matthew” and The Revelation.” and tag line, “Does Sin Have Weight.”
“In the construction of the film, we put short stories together and it was like putting together chapters of a book and with the pieces being so powerful, we were like, well, what greater book there to us than The Bible? So the stories being weaved together was one complete story and took us on a journey. We named each one of the vignettes, from The First Book of the Bible , The Last Book of the Old Testament, The First Book of the New Testament and the Last Book of the Bible, in that order. When we got to the final story and the incredible ending, I can’t compare it to the ending of the Bible, but it is extremely powerful and at the same time, it opens peoples’ minds.
“As far as the tagline, actually it came from the first vignette, “Now I Lay Me,” started
as a shirt story that I wrote years ago which dealt with the most perfect man in the neighborhood and that everybody looked up to that was a man of God. But, he had a fault, and in the company of my other writer friends, we would say, does this fault make him less than a man than somebody who murders or steals. Is one sin greater than another. And that’s how the tag phrase got started.”
Branton talked about his role as co-star as the reclusive painter Paul Thibadeux.
“It was about this artist who is extremely talented, intelligent to the level of Van Gogh , but at the same time, he was so reclusive from the world that nobody knew about him. So when a friend, of his, David (played by Daniel Devito) who is the opposite of Paul, very outgoing, tries to lure Paul out of his reclusive world and push him into the limelight , but at the same time, David, also used a female, Natasha, (played by Anita Showalter) top lure him out of the house, with a plan and backfires in the end. With me playing the character, it’s not too far removed from my reality because I am an artist, but I’m not shy and so reclusive that I could not communicate with the world. I had to be myself times ten, like a fish out of a fishbowl.
Branton also talked about the color of red in the film.
“That whole story came from a short story written by Ralph Jones and we (Paul and Skee) adapted it to the screenplay, “The color of Red was all about this guy, with red in his paintings is so brilliant and so bright and it foreshadowed in the end with his blood.”
Branton said he and Skee hopes to keep the film in Chicago all this month , then move it to St. Louis and they were getting ready to film either “Pill Hill” or “Deeper Shade of Blue” this fall.
Indianapolis-native Monty Jay who attended the premiere and plays the evil gang leader Coop said, “I look forward to tonight . I’m very excited because my family hasn’t seen the film. I saw the film. I’m a little nervous to see everybody’s reaction. I think everyone will be pleased.”
Jay talked about his auditioning for the film:
“I met Paul and Skee in 1998 when they were auditioning for their first film, “Vacant Lot” in Indianapolis, and I auditioned for that. I stayed in contact with those guys. They let me know they were working on the script for “Pieces.” And they were finding me to audition and I had to go on two auditions, My first audition was in Chicago in early October (2004) and I flunked that one. The next audition was in St. Louis like in mid October (2004) and I auditioned. Well, I got it.
“They didn’t play favorites even though we are friends. I think they intentionally made me audition again, so it was a sigh of relief and the hard work began tapping into my character (Coop). and that was hard to do because he was so much not like myself, being sinister and dark but I had to keep him human.”
As far as film itself, Jay said that “there are no stars in this film really, to be honest. The film itself is the actual star and that’s rare in the film business. I missed the family of ‘Pieces of a Dream.” It was a positive experience and we all clicked. Anytime you can get that, you’re going to win regardless.”
After the screening, Jay said, “I was sitting with my wife and father, and she wouldn’t even let me hold her hand. My father was doing double takes That let me know that I got the character right and the effect that it was written.”
On the people’s reaction, he said. “Every time I watch the film, it’s always something new. People laughing at different times then stop laughing when suddenly this character shoots someone. Watching it by myself is totally different..
Producer Luther Simmons said, “I’m blown away of the overwhelming turn out. The . first night is sold out. We are thrilled we were so well received by Chicago. Tickets went on sale that Friday (Feb. 25) and the showing was sold out on Saturday (Feb. 26). We’re going to run the film, evaluate it, and see how long we want to run it in Chicago and then maybe run the film in St. Louis in April”
Simmons talked about his job in the film
“My role is on the side of the business side, basically my function was to secure financing from the film and to insure all of the biz aspects of the film were in place . The actual filming of the movie that the support things that were necessary for Skee Skinner another co-producer, making sure everything was in place, the equipment, location, support staff, insurance , permits, street closures, everything to get in and out of locations as smoothly, feed the crew, house people in and out of town.”
Simmons also commented about the day-to day filming process.
“I was behind and on the scenes. Everyday I was on location and I had a variety of things to do off location as well. I had to make sure everything was smoothly and everyone was cooperative and my partner Skee can focus on directing the movie with no distractions. It was very grueling and long days. We would film 12 hours a day, but my job was more 16 to 18 hour days mapping things out before the filming and after the filming. Making a movie is very time and energy consuming and tedious. We shot in 20 days. And those days seem like two months. The film was shot in Alton with a crew mostly from Chicago. We had a lot of cast from St. Louis and one of our main leads were form East ST. Louis (Joel King). Most of our leads were from Chicago and L.A.
On the film’s six figure budget, Simmons said, “Its hard to secure funding for an indy film Anybody who is an indy producer from Clint Eastwood to Spike Lee on down will tell you its not easy to secure financing for them. Its hard whether you’re proven or unproven. We were fortunate enough to have some relations in the Alton area with some colleagues of mine in the legal profession to came to the plate and made the film happen. You got to have people who have excess capital, the Riverboat gambler in their personality and that you mesh with and embrace your vision.”
On the film, Simmons said, “The last 30 minutes of the film are as powerful and gripping that you would ever see in a movie. It’s a serious film, Its something that speaks to different people on different levels. That’s the reason why on our website, just showing the three-minute trailer, the response s have been mindboggling, a half a million people who have seen our website,. Were very enthusiastic about the film.”
Chicagoan Ngina James, who plays Glo in “Pieces,” her first film, said her first reaction
When she saw herself on the big screen was to “cringe, but then I tried to focus on it as the story went on so I can get something out of it, too.”
She also talked about her pivotal last scene that Simmons alluded to earlier.
“I liked the scene,” she said “It was a culmination of everything that happened in the film. It was death but no resurrection.”
She also talked about her auditioning for “Pieces.”
“I was walking down the street in Chicago and someone was filming “Roll Bounce” and Dave Stephenson (the line producer) was down the street and I asked, ‘What are you guys doing?’ I’m an actress.’ He was like, ‘Oh ok.’ He was working on a project himself and he asked me to audition for a project he was working on.”
She said things turned out differently than what she expected two weeks later.
“One of Dave’s friends (Paul Branton) was auditioning for their film (Pieces) and I was interested,” she said. “So I went in and auditioned and I was like, ‘Oh my God, they hated me, and got the role. I was at the right place at the right time. It was a blessing.”
James also talked about her role, Glo, and filming her scenes.
“My character is a young woman who has two kids, no husband, had a bad relationship with her mother, left home early, and had to do what she had to do to survive, “she said.
Luckily, I was in a play at the time and I wasn’t rusty. What I decided to do was memorize the script from beginning to end and not the scenes, but it wasn’t that hard for me because I could follow through with the story and I had a love scene, a first for me, That was a little scary. It was totally choreographed and interesting. I won’t be looking at love scenes the same. Its very technical. It was a closed set and Skee and Paul were very professional .
Chicago actor Harold Dennis, who plays the troubled priest, Father Flockings, said he “I felt really comfortable while I was shooting. We did this film 15 months ago. I was happy of my performance and how I looked on film.
On his character’s flaws, he said, “This is my fifth time seeing the film, and the first time, on screen. I was looking for certain reactions from the audience, moans, grunts. And I heard some of that . I was expecting people to take a negative effect cause initially I’m the protagonist that people attach to and so for that twist of appeal in the film, I was looking for the reaction. And when I got it, it worked,. I think they wrote it for that reaction., that surprise.
On how he got the role, Dennis said, “in 1999, I was doing a play in Chicago written by Chicago director and actor Fernando Jones and he hooked up with Paul and Skee and he was in their first film, “Vacant Lot” and I remember going to the premiere and I was saying, ‘Man I would like to work with these guys one day.”
Well, Dennis hope came true a few years later.
“In June 2004, I was in line for an audition for a Robert Townsend film and ran into Paul and he had the opportunity to see me do this monologue of Alonzo in “Training Day” for Robert and they said they were shooting a movie and having auditions in August. Well, August came around and I didn’t get a call. But, when October came around, he called, so at that moment when he called me I was like, ‘This was it!’ This was my big break.’ So I went to the audition and did a totally different monologue and they wanted me to play Coop, but after a week later, they got (Monty to do it) and offered me Father Shep, the priest. It was a challenge so I went to the thrift store and got a priest outfit, jumped on the bus and rode to Alton. Paul gave me hug and called me Father Shep.
East St. Louis actor and director Joel King, played the role of Black Jesus. King talked about how he found out about the auditions.
“I found out through a friend of mine (Cassandra Joliff) who was the extras/assistant casting director . She told Skee that she had a particular guy for a part in the film, She called me and I met Skee and she said, ‘Am I ready to go to Hollywood?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’ It sounded like an interesting opportunity. And she told me what to do as far as getting prepared. I asked her what genre it was and at the time I was working on a hip hop musical at the time so I utilized my own work.”
King, who was originally was supposed to play Father Shep, said his audition was one that was a one of a kind experience.
“When I got to the audition, it was amazing,” he said. “After I got done with the audition it was like time stood still. They were like,’ Stop right here cause we found what we’re looking for.”
King said it was a “different” being on the film set. My background is theater but as far as movies are concerned, I was unfamiliar. I got a lot of time to sleep. It was a lot of open time and technical stuff I had to learn right way like camera shots and you had to talk to people who were not there and have to connect .”
On his role as Black Jesus, King said, “I could not relate to him as far as a personal thing but as far as what he did to survive and get to that point to survive, whatever works in order to take ourselves out of our present reality. His role I really took to heart because it was telling the story of today’s youth and what they are unaware of and the choices that they make.”
King said that he nearly had a nervous breakdown while playing Black Jesus, especially the Crucifixion scene.
“When the whole brutality happened for him, after the shoot, and they took me back- to the truck to get myself together for the next shot, I went through a mental breakdown, King said. “ It was so much to take in this young guy who had to suffer certain consequences to try and make a better life for himself. I took it to heart and it took me a moment after experiencing that.
Actor and Harris Stowe University student Ervin Williams, one of the only St. Lousians who was able to attend the premiere said, “I’ve seen parts of the movie but not the whole thing. When I saw my part I thought it was a great outcome.
Williams, who was originally supposed to play the part of Victor (that went to B2K star Raz B), but he played one of the gang members in the Stone cold Statutes.
“In the movie, I was an alcoholic street guy off the block, in the club partying. I was a follower in the group.” He said.
As far as the set, Williams said, “The set was great. This was the best set I’ve been on and people treating you nice.”

If you have anything you want me to blog, hit me up at!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

OUT 36

Wassup people! This is Ma'at here again and I must say IT'S HAAAAAARD OUT HERE FOR A PIMP! (I know you all are probably tired of hearing that right about now but hey I had to jump on the bandwagon. LOL) Well another week has come and gone and I am ready to give y'all what's been going on with me since the last time weve cyberchatted. Well before I get into anything, I must tell you all about my trip to Chi-town a couple of weeks ago.

I went to Chi-town Feb 27 to check out the Red Carpet opening of the loclaly filmed flick, "Pieces of a Dream" (I gave y'all the scoop on the flick in last week's blog). I decided that day to go which was on a Monday and just took my Kia Spectra onto Interstate 55 going North and do it. So as I was driving, I had the radio on to the chocolate stations 95.5 for the Tom Joyner show, 100.3 The Beat for the Dee lee Morning Show, 104. 1 for the Hot Morning Show with Craig Blac and 104.9 for the Breakfast Crew with Tony Scott and also 107.7 for the MJ Morning Show. They were all talking about an array of things. Tavis Smiley was on the Craig Blac show and was in town to promote his new book, "The Covenant" , Dee lee Show was having its St. Louis Idol contest going on and to give a shot out to a young girl named Princess who lead a protest at her school regarding Black History Month and so forth. Then, I called a few folks including Jewelanda Hodges who wanted to go to the festivities but her gig held her up. Before you know it, I was in Springfield. I tell ya it's nothin but cornfields and dirt while traveling to Chi-town going I-55. If I had gotten a flat, I would have been SOL for real. The biggest part was keeping my stomach from being hungry. I had my usual snacks like popcorn and potato chips, but at 10 in the morning, I wanted the usual continental breakfast.

So during the 260 or so miles heading to Chi-town and when the radio stations started to change, I started going through my CD archives and putting in CDs in the Cd player. On my playlist was Prince's' double Cd, "Emancipation," Jill Scott's "Words and Music Vol. 1," and The Very best of Nina Simone. Those Cds got me on to I-294 when I headed toward Indiana and paid a toll to cross the bridge into Chi-town. My hotel was at the ESA Midway Airport on State Road and I had a few more miles to go to get to it. One thing I do remember was going through all the radio stations and I must say, they have a better variety of stations than the STL (And all of their FM stations are in HD!) . I heard hip-hop house, salsa, Caribbean, a Spanish talking channel, you name it. One station I was vibing on was 106.3 dubbed "The Soul Cafe." They had their midday mix and they were jamming Tony Toni Tone's "Get Involved" and segued into Jill Scott's "Golden." Now you know that was too much playing.

At the same time, the chocolcate stations were pubbin that Prince was to be at the Congress to perform. Now you know I lost it. I was almsot tempted to call the stations to see if I could be that particular caller to get a ticket, but that would not have been my reason of being here and I was only going to be here for a day (so I thought). While driving up to State Rd. I saw that Chi-town has those road signs that read, "Do not Make Right Turns on Red between 7 am and 7 pm." It dawned on me that I was not in Kansas. Chi-town does not play when it comes to driving and that sign was an indication of that.

I got to Chi-town around 2ish and that gave me enough time to do the 4 S's (shower, shyt and shave, and spruce up) for the Red Carpet opening at Ice Theater on W. 87th (da hood) that was going to be at 7 p.m. I had no problem checking in (I thought they may have had a computer room but NOTTA). When I got there, April Spencer of JMPRODUCTIONS who does PR for the film called me and said that she would be at the theater around 5ish.

When I was driving there, I decided to take the scenic route instead of the highway to check out how the neighborhood and how the ethnic colors change when going from one side of Chi-town (I stayed where most of the whiet and Mexicans lived) to the other side in the hood. So, I took 79th street going west and I must say, what a difference a street makes! It went from white to brown to black in a matter of minutes! (Especially after crossing Halsted) The busy street (It reminds me of U City Loop) had cars and buses navigating to get to the street. Theres no time to wait, you gotta jet on in before you get sideswiped. It was too much playing fo real. I got there about 6:45 and saw April and showed her some love. I also saw Black Rep actress Leah Stewart who worked on the film behind the scenes (You was looking very Hollywoodish with your new hair baby girl. LOL)

Before the movie started, I had a chance to interview some of cast including Montey Jay , the director Skee Skinner (You were lookin sharp!) and one of the co-writers of the film who also starred in the film, Paul Branton. The only actors from the STL who attended were Robert Moore, Earvin Williams and Eric Johnson , who played gang members of the Stone Cold Statutes, but at least we had some actors from the STL there to represent. Surprisingly the star of the film, former B2K singer Raz B was a No SHOW. I wondered why he didnt attend this event and April knew why but couldnt divulge the info but I can just gather why either 1)He though this premiere is beneath him with him being a bigger star than the cast 2) He had something else to do or 3) He didnt have a big part in the film. It probably was all three but I'm sure the truth will come out sooner or later when the movie becomes a sleeper hit.

I followed April and Leah up to the theater and it was hundreds of people waiting to get in (It was sold out for thsi night, 293 seats). I got a seat near the front so I wouldnt miss a beat. A guy from a Chicago newspaper (his name I cant recall), but he reminded me of a skinnier version of Black rep's Ron Himes welcomed everyone and Skinner said it would be a Q and A session after the screening (You can check my review of it on last week's blog).

During the film, I heard the STL actors who was in attendance talk throughout the movie (not surprising), and when their part came in the film you would have though they won an Oscar. They clowned showing out. I cringed from their reaction. But hey I guess it would be a trip to see yourself on screen with hundreds of people seeing you on screen like that.

After the film, all the cast and crew talked and this flamboyant preacher talked who had some affiliation with Raz B who said that he should have been to the premiere of the film and was going to call him to let him know that he should attend the remaining week of the film (Hmm, that is telling already).

When the floor was open to questions, a lot of them was about how strong and honest the potrayals are of the charcters. One guy even said that he had to turn his head at some of the gritty parts and that he was ashamed that his 14 year old daughter had to hear and see some of the actions in the film. But the flam preacher pretty much summed it all up for all of us who saw the film: "It was better that your daughter saw the film in a positive atmosphere than to hear or see it out in the streets." Then the session turned into a church revival. The flam preacher (who had on a floor length mink coat baby) said that we should buy tickets for those who didnt see it on this particular night and so forth. True, but there's a time a place for anything and to "shame" people into buying tickets is not the way. After the session, I interviwed most of the major players in the cast and had a nic etalk with the director and told him that I will keep in contact with him so I can audition for hsi next project "Pill Hill."

Last Tuesday, I decided to stay another day and to see the sights of the city. I mostly drove around and met up with a friend who stayed near Lake Shore Drive and had lunch at Cholie's Pizza located at 1601 E. 53rd Street. thats one thing I know when I go to Chi-town I gotta have some of their famous pizza. Affter that, I changed clothes at the hotel and went to Ballys, the one near the theater. All I can say is OZ--and I don't mean the Wizard. It was like I was going to prison. There was concrete floors, the equipment was old and raggedy, no wet area, and most of the clientele was all thug. Well it was the hood so I shouldnt have expected anything more. It was nice though to see the kids doing their karate lessons in a room and their parents looked on. After that, I mostly chilled at my hotel, caleld a few folks in the STL to see what was happening, then chilled. I left Chi-town on that Wednesday headed back to STL.

OK, now on to the scene in the STL. Last Friday, I checked out the latest First Friday post-Club Seven that was held at Club Dreams (That is yours truly in th upper right hand corner with the shades on at the club). From my understanding, it was free until 10:30 p.m. Well, I got there like 10:20 and they still charged me 15 bones. But it was all good. It was pretty much the smae crowd, nothin really exciting. Just the basic partying, dancing and drinking. I congratulated FF co-creator Harry Michel for being a new father when his wife had a baby boy recently. In the house was Kameron Hopson, Jacob of STL (thanks for the snap of myself in the club), and The Committee's Chip Price (I didnt know you felt THAT WAy about the Outflow Mix tape. LOL).

Last Saturday, I attended a rehearsal at local actor/director Joel P.E. King's (whose pic is the top one on this blog ) apartment on Miami Street in South St. Louis. i was there to interview him about his new gospel play, "Meeting at the Elder's Circle" (which will be happening March 19 at the Jazz Loft. are $15. for more information, call (314)268-3651 or e-mail at ) and to take some snaps for a story that will be in an upcoing issue of West End Word News (I will keep you posted when but more than likely it will hit the streets March 15). The rehearsals were in the garage of his apartment building and it was defintely a New York kind of vibe with artists doing their craft by any means necessary. The play will star some of the locals like Cody Aaron, Leah Stewart and Alicia Moseley. I saw a stage reading of the first act at COCA last fall and it is defintely a riot. It is a spoof of sorts about the church.
After that, I went to the crib, got changed up and went to the Jazz Loft to chillout for a minute. It was the usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. I ran into Bonafide Production's Michael Jackson (he was the brother who put on the Schin Kerr party at the Loft and the Vault a couple of weeks back) again and we exchanged niceties (and thats all I will say here, but it was all good. I won't hold my breathe on anything else that he promises to do though. LOL) I also ran into Edward Jones broker Roger Macon who was looking pretty tan for a black man these days. I havent been seeing him at Ballys gym for a few weeeks and he said that he was vacationing in Mexico enjoying the Tequila. LOL.

Last Sunday, I stayed in to check out the Academy Awards. It was pretty interesting this year with comedian /talk show host Jon Stewart hosting. he was pretty good and deadpan. With all the talk about if "Brokeback Mountain" was going to win Best Picture, all that was thrwon out on the red carpet when crunk hip-hop group Three-6 Mafia performed their Oscar-nominated song, "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" from the film, "Hustle and Flow," along with "Hustle" co-star Taraji Henson (I didnt know she could sing?). It was definitely hip hop meets West Side Story with the interpretative dancers dancers in front of the rap group (even Adolfo "Shabadoo" Quinones of "Breakin'" fame was even up there doin his best pimp dance!).

This was a first for a rap group to perform before the ultra-conservative (aka white) audience. But things went even more into overload when Queen Latifah (who was looking quite stunning in her Oscar dress) announced Three-6 Mafia as the winner of Original Song. My mouth went ajar. I was like, "No fuccin way!" They are winning an Oscar! (A coupel of years back Eminem won an Oscar in the same category for his song, "Lose Yourself" from the "8 Mile" but he was a no show which didnt have as much sudden impact). They thanked everyone from Jesus, to their choreographer, to actor George Clooney who they say,"was real cool when they met him." It was bananas (A pic of them is on my blog above) . It was definitely a historical moment for hip-hop.

And all of the backlash that "Hustle" star Terrence Howard (who didnt win Best Actor in the role--not surprising) got for not rapping with the group on stage was not necessary. He said that he didnt want to upstage the group and have their moment to shine. Critics were saying that the real reason was he didnt wantto be affiliated with the gangster imagery of the song or movie (And probably because of the negative press that director John Singleton got for allegedley not paying his actors properly). But whatever the reason, "Hustle and Flow' was acknowledged and that cant be taken away.

The other notweworthy moment was when the South African film, "Tsotsi " won for Best Foreign Film and its director Gavin Hood acknowdleged the young South African girl and boy who were in the film and made the camera man cut to them. That was a great moment indeed. A questionable moment came when "March of the Penguins" won for Best Documentary and when its director and producers were on stage (with Penguin puppets on their hands--classic--), the camera cut to actor Morgan Freeman, who did the U.S. Voice over narration in the film, on stage and he didnt know whether to walk to the podium with the winners or stay. It was a very uncomfortable moment indeed. He probably wanted to run up there and say, "Wait, you forgot about me. I'm Morgan Freeman."


TIDBITZ. Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion was the No. 1 film again for the second week in a row at the Box Office raking in another 12 million, totalling about 42 million altogether and it only took 10 million to make. You knwo what that means--Madea lunch boxes...........................

Anyone been checking out the new BET J Channel on Direct TV? It comes on Channel 330 and it is like an adult version of BET (Its also like TV-One). All the programming is mostly geared toward 35 ers and up with jazz shows, Video Soul flashbacks, a talk show called "My Two Cents". And their tag phrase is "Cool Like Dat." Well, they still gotta keep it hip-hop, you know..............

*SOPOG Productions will present "Note to self…I'm giving it up", at 5p.m., Saturday, March 25, at the Portfolio Gallery, 3514 Delmar. The event will have songs written and produced by G. Felice McClendon performed by Kimberly McCain, Kidada Miller, Denise Thimes, Deanah McClendon, Taria Harris, Erika Johnson, Tony Ford (WHO??????? LOL), Geneva Smith and Melody Graves from Daughters of Zion. Special appearances by Gregg Haynes and the Happy Guitar and St. Louis' own Praiz. The event will be hosted by Selena J of MAJIC 104.9 radio show "Soulternative." Reserved tickets are $10 (Admission includes a complimentary CD and hors d'oeuvres) and will be available at the door..........................................................................

I heard that local poet FoFeet opened up for Will Downing at his Feb. 14 show at the Pageant and threw down. She emailed me recently and said that she also travelled recently to the Dominican Repuplic and performed for the Max Media Group from Virginia Beach Va. You go sister. You may be small in stature but BIG in talent and breaks...................................................................

I ran into two up and coming stars at Ballys in Clayton last week local singer Joseph George and Post's Tavia Evans. George told me he was recently on Oprah Winfrey's show serenading her and hoping to be on there again pretty soon. Evans told me that she is planning on getting married June 11. Congrats to both of you two....................................................................................

Speaking of stars and Ballys, rapper Chingy is hitting the gym hard again this past week. He was up in there trying to lift with his enterouge. One night he was on the celly with someone and was fussin at them. I dont know what was going on, but it was quite a sight to see. Maybe it had to do with the final touches for his private birthday party that was held Thursday at the Pepper Lounge. Who knows................................................................................................................................

I hear there's a hot new website radio station for the neo soul heads out there. My Hipster Mag girlfriend Tiffani Blackmore hipped me to it. It is Check it out!..............................................................................

What was up with the SIU-Carbondale cheerleader Kristi Yamaoka who lost her balance during a routine last Sunday and fell about 15 feet onto her head at the Missouri Valley Conference atteh Savvis Center ? Homegirl is LUCK-EE. What got her national attention was that she kept on doing her cheerleading routine while they carried her on a stretcher. From her hall she got a chipped neck vertebra, concussion and a bruised lung. As a result, she was on the "Today Show" Thursday getting interviwed by Katie Couric as her cheerleading squad and coach were interviewed via satellite from SIU-Carbondale. I wonder if she's ready to ride those rides at Disney World and say cheese for the Wheaties Box cause you know that's coming up (and they still player hating Olympic speed skater Shani Davis).....................................................................

Former St. Louisan Keith Underwood hit me up on my celly and said that he attended Queen Latifah's pre-Oscar bash last Saturday dubbed "Vibe Hollywood" at the new L.A. restuarant Republic (You can check out the pics at He said most of the Black A-Listers were up in the cut like Tyson Beckford, Lynn Whitfield, Rakim, Victoria Rowell, Chris Rock and Jamie Foxx. And he was saying that dee-jays D-Nice (remember him from "My Name is D Nice") and Spinderella were trying to get the party hyped but D-Nice told the crowd that they were getting too bougie and need to get the party started, even if they had to take off some clothes. Whoa! I hear that the press was not allowed inside. Hmm, I can just imagine what else went down, okay?

Local comedian G Thang did a guest spot on the FX TV Show 'the Shield" this week. He played a guy getting questioned at the police precinct. Oh and he didnt have to steal any lines for this role. LOL........................................................

I peeped out a cool Cd from a local jazz artist . Brian Owens' "B Natural"Produced by Owens (who is from Belleville, Ill. by the way), the eight song Cd is very lax and laid back (He kind of reminds you of Kem a bit). He has some standards ("Motherless Child") and some originals. He is definitely a crooner. Music on the Cd was provide dby his fellow band members from teh group Common wealth (Adaron Jackson on keys, Miles Vandiver on skins, Zeb Briskovich on upright, Jason Swagler on sax, Shaun Robinson on the axe and Anthony Wiggins on trumpet). It is a definite must have for your "grown and sexy" collection. For more info about the CD, contact Renee Thomas Woods at 314-830-3277.....................

Do you know that rapper MC Hammer has a blog? Yes he does. He sometimes blogs via his trusty T-Mobile Sidekick about his travels and such. It is and yes, you can touch this. (I know that was corny but I couldnt resist.)......................................................................

It seems like St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce could be the next casualty in the Rams camp. He is now a free agent after the team released him following failed contract negotiations.The team cut their longest-tenured player Sunday night after talks broke down on a restructured deal. But they remained hopeful Monday of getting an agreement that would bring Bruce back for a 13th season.The 33-year-old Bruce had a salary cap figure of $10 million for next season. He had been due to receive a $1.5 million roster bonus Monday, the first day of the free agency period, as part of an $8.1 million salary.That was the final year of a seven-year, $42 million contract he signed in 2000. Man, I'd say just sail on off and do like Jerry Rice did and reinvent yourself and put on some dance shoes..............................................................................

Well, that will be it for me. If you have anything fo rme to pub for scribe on, give me holla at!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

OUT 35

Wassup Wassup Wassup cyberpeople! It's Ma'at here again. And I have some things to tell you all of what have been going down since the last time I cyberposted to you all. Well, ain't nothing to it, but to do it.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to check out the flick, Pieces of a Dream, the Alton Ill. filmed Hollywood budgeted movie that had its Red Carpet premiere this week at the Ice Theatres: Chatham 14 in Chi-Town (on w. 87th street in the hood.) And the good thing about the event was that it was showing at a black-owned theater. It was nice and was not raggedy or run-down. It was a top notch place. I was impressed. I'm not going to front. You know how we are sometime when we have our own(WE TEAR IT UP like scratch paper) . But anyway, STL needs to take heed on this (Roberts Brothers--hint-hint.). We need a black-owned theater in the STL. I know a few years ago, Magic Johnson was trying to get a chain of his theaters here but word on the street was a few STL politicians told Johnson that it wouldnt work here in the STL. Now that's what I heard. And if it is true. Shame on those who said that it would not work. But let me get off my "soapfesto" and get back on track. Before I get to my trip to Chi-Town for the flick, let's go back a few days on where I travelled in the STL....

Last Thursday, I attended a private Red Carpet party for former Loyola/Indiana Pacers b-ball star Schin Kerr (seen on the upper right hand corner of my blog). The party was thrown by local promotions organization, Bonafide Productions and it was to celebrate the success of his being in the hit film, Glory Road (he played the role of David Lattin in the flick). The event was held at the Jazz Loft on Loive and it was supposed to kick off at 8p.m. and close at 1:30 am (they have a 1:30 kerfew) , dressy affair and 20 bones to get in. Well, I wanted to call up one of my debonair buddies, hollabackboi because he likes to go to functions like this and dress to impress (not to mention show off his white Hummer truck I call the'Bus" LOL). anyway, I got there about 8:30 and it was barely any people in there (or a red carpet)! I checked my invitation flier to see if I had the right day and yes it was the right day.

So, when I called hollabackboi he asked if there were any people up in there. I told him that I was able to park on the opposite side of the street in front of the club which was an indication that there were barely any people. So when hollabackboi got there, he was coming out of his Hummer and then I saw pull up St. Louis American 's Bill Beene parks nearby and behind him were two white women with professional TV cameras and boom mikes. I was like, "Oh, they must be for the party." NOT. They were there to film the goings on at the American when I asked one of the women about their being there. So when I gave Beene some dap and hollabackboi came to my car, I told him that we need to go somewhere else until the party has more people comin. He agreed so I hopped into his Hummer and we chilled at 609 for a minute. Although it was sparse up in there, I was able to get a couple of drinks (Hurricnaes) out of it. I was hoping that stalling would help matters because I was clean as a hospital bathroom floor. I had on a grayish black suit, with purple shirt and tie to match with Kanye West styled shades. I know I was pimpin but there wa sno need to floss if no one was going to be at the set. We stayed at 609 til about 10:30 and decided to drive back to the Loft. At this time, it was people comin through. When hollabackboi valeted his bus, I mean his Hummer, we went inside. He ordered another round of drinks (I got a Ameretto Sour) and I stuck a gigantic blow pop in my mouth. We sat at a table to see who was coming through. There were some no name Rams players who were up in there dressed as though they were going to Bible study(no flash or dash in their attire). On the 1s and 2s was Loft DJ Soundz who was spinning the usual crunked out jams and Dwight Hypeman Stone (who I made feel underdressed. LOL) was on the mic getting folks hype. Kerr and his enterouge came out of a Cadillac limo and greeted the well wishers (and "hoopies"--that's hoochie mixed with groupies who dig b-ball players)) up in there.

In the house were the Post's Kevin Johnson, Christiaan Cofield, Deandre Perryman (who sang a few songs some accapello for the crowd), Tony Ford, Chantal of Inbox, St. Lunatic Kyjuan, Nikko Smith (who supposed to drop his CD pretty soon-I hear that Loft was supposed to play a song from it there, but no one heard it). I had a chance to talk with Kerr's buddy and the guy who put on the event, Michael Jackson (I know what you're thinking and I'm not eeeeeeeeven going there!) who was LIFTED from all that Moet (I'm still waiting on my limo ride. LOL).


Last Friday, I attended the play Johnnie Taylor is Gone that was staged at the Mildred Bastian Theater at Forest Park College. Directed by local director Greg Carr, it was an OK show about the goings on at the Zodiac Lounge (a real life lounge in STL by the way). Although a little preachy in some parts, the play reminded me of an August Wilson production where you have an ensemble cast who talks about their life based around their surroundings. In Johnnie Taylor , the cast talks about what is going on in St. Louis and the issues at hand (from the infamous Highway 70 Shutdown to the troubled St. Louis Public School Board) mixed with nonsensical talk (eg. What's in Chinese food, is The Cardinals organization racist, etc.). the main story deals with a new jack, named Jiggy played by Stuart Allen, who tries to buy out the owner of the Zodiac, Strong, played by Laurence Staples. The standout actors in this production were Shawn Guy-Pitts who plays gambling hoochie Bette Black, David A.N. Jackson, who plays a semi-militant guy, and secular Bishop played by Archie Coleman. A little long for my taste (over 2 hours), but what saves the production is the main point of the jukebox that plays the actors' liives based on what is played. With a little trimming of the script and more imaginative language, Johnnie Taylor could be a St. Louis masterpiece for other playwrights to use as a mechanism for St. Louis history. If you wantto check out the play, performances are March 3-5 8pm (Sundays at 3pm) General admission $4; students/seniors $2. Free with a valid SLCC ID. Call 314-644-9386 or 644-9388 for more info.

I was also glad to see former STL actress Tann Moore and "Pieces of a Dream" actor Joel P.E. King there at the show. Moore was in town for a booksinging for her book, "The Cinderella Syndome' at Afro World (I hate I missed it.). She also told me she had a minor part in last week's "The Shield" (the episode where actress CCH Pounder's character Detective Claudette Wymms passes out and falls down the stairs due to lupus) acting with Michael Jace but was cut in the final cut. That's aiight. You will get your shot for sho'!

After the play, I was supposed to have went to Part Two of Schin Kerr's party that was to be thrown at The Vault on Delmar and the After Party at Toxic, but due to Not being on the VIP list on either (thanks MJ), I decided to check out the much-hooplaed Maxim Magazine Party that went down at Pepper Lounge. From my understanding, people who wanted to attend had to email them and the secret location was to be revealed. Well, I heard where it was going to be from my boy Carlos McClaurin who told me about the email invite (He warned me to get there early cause it was hard for him to get in the last party they had in the STL).

Well, luckilly, I got buddies like CM cause they must have lost my email in the shuffle. I got there around midnite and, like an absent minded professor, I went next door to Nectar and paid 10 bones to get in. I don't know what I was thinking (I even text my boy Kameron to tell him I was at Nectar) . I thought I could go to Pepper because I got up in Nectar. NOPE. Although it was tight as a penny in a corner, this was not where the Maxim Party. So, after circling the small club once and got to the front door 10 minutes later, I walked next door to Pepper Lounge and called up Stuart Allen who was up in there and he said that it was cool to get in. I also called my backup Carlos and he said the same thing. Well, when I got in line, they were syaing there were not letting anyone else in I've heard that one before (Of all my years as a journalist, that is just a formality to scare off those who don't know the game).

Before you know it, several people were able to get in and play nice with the big boy who was holding the list of invited guest. I passed my media pass to the guy next to the big guy to give to the big guy to see if I was on the list and the big guy said that I wasn't. OK. So, I waited a few more minutes. I called Carlos to see if he could pull some strings and he called me back said that they were ABSOLUTELY NOT LETTING ANYONE ELSE IN. Then it dawned on me, wait a second, why am I not in there. I have a legitimate reason to be up in there. I am a part of the press and I should be allowed to be up in there. Well, when I saw countless people being able to get in and were not on the list, I snapped. I got up close to the front and yelled, "Look, I am a part of the media. I am supposed to be up in there. I emailed last week to get up in this place and all I am doing is my job. Why is there a problem?" I had an audience listening then.

Well after that, the guy who was standing next to the big guy told me to wait a minute and told me I could come in if I pay 5 bones. I had no problem with that because that's what they were charging people anyway to get if they were not on the list. So I got in and the first person I saw was Kameron. He asked what happened and I gave him the skinny. He bought me a drink to cool me down (I missed the 5 free drink tickets they were giving away). I walked in the main area where the people were partying and it was like a scene out of Club 54. White. Black. Straight, and Freaky. and all in between. It was very interesting to see.All that was missing was the E (I'll get to that later).

Anyway, up in there were the previous mentioned, Tiffani Blackmore (where you drunk? I saw you lapdancing with CM. LOL), Gina Wynn, Fox 2's Rob Desir, Former Club Seven co-owner Fred Finley (Those sistahs you were with were off the chain. Especially the one who said that she looked better than any white bitch in the club!!!!) Rapper Chingy, St. Lunatic Murphy Lee, Hipster Magazine's Keenan Harris and even ran into my old SIUE buddy Darnell Singleton (he was the guy who produced the local film, "Super Brothas" in the late 1990s) who was hired by Maxim to take video camera shots of the crowd up in there (I dont know where it aired, but you probably saw me up in there wuith my shades on).

Overall, the party was cool. Nothing fancy. I thought they were going to have a food spread, dancing girls in cages, but then again, but notta. All I saw interesting were two black guys dancing with white girls then one of the guys grabbed the other guy's bald head and palmed it like a b-ball while they were dancing with the white girls. (Hmmm, I don't get that one) Another was when Chingy and one of his buddies were in the men's restroom as Chingy made a private phone call on his cell phone (couldnt he have text messaged them?). The other was this white guy who asked me if I had some E on me and if so, he would buy it from me. I wanted to say to him, "Do I look like drug dealer?" But I just smiled and shook it off. I stayed til 3 in the morn and was out.

Last Saturday, Kameron and I checked out The Loft and the NFL Party that was happening at Club Dreams. It was a packed little area near Olive and Washington where these clubs were (Not to mention the Welcome Back party thrown by Chingy for 104.1.'s Craig Blac at Dante's-formerly Club Seven). Loft was cool. Nothing spectacular. It was packed as usual. Oh wait a minute. Something did happen. A sista fell out up in there from too much drink. That was not cute.

After midnite, we rolled through Club Dreams who was hosting an NFL party for some NO NAMES. It was 25 bones to get up in there. I tried calling co-owner Maurice G but I couldnt get through. I wasnt trying to pay 25 bones to get up in there and I didn't (If I told you how I got in I would have to kill you.) Thrown by Cream of the Crop Productions, the party was packed from downstairs to upstairs. On the 1s and 2s was DJ Stan the MAn.

The first person I recognized up in there was 104.1's Staci Static. I asked her if she remembered me and she said she didnt. I re-remembered for her and she remebered. But after that, it was all people, people ,people. It had to have been close to 1,000 peeps up in therr. And at 25 bones a pop plus drinks. Club Dreams was smiling on each end of the rainbow. We managed to go upstairs and watch the party people from downstairs.

Then, Kameron wanted to try and go to the lower part of the club to get into VIP. As we walked down the stairs and waddled through the crowd, I ran into Jamie Price of Outflow Records and told him that I spotlighted his mix tape on my blog a couple of weeks ago. He showed me love and I proceeded on to the VIP area. When we got near there, it was this ghetto sista who said, "Do y'all have any wristbands?" She raised up my sleeve and saw there was none and said, "Sorry you can't come in, thank you." I was not surpised of her reaction cause I was ready for it. I was not feeling VIP cause there were no VIPs really down there. So, it was all good. Close to 2ish, I saw Maurice at the bar wiping off some glasees and gave him some dap and I was out.

Last Sunday, I checked out last weekend's No. 1 flick, Tyler Perry's "Madea's family Reunion." at the St. Clair 10 Cinema on my side of the water in Fairview Heights, Ill. I knew Sunday afternoon was the time to go cause around that time errbody had seen the flick either at the movies or bootleg. And I must say, I was plesantly entertained by the second film installment of Perry's stageplay-cum-film franchise (I didnt care too much for Diary of a Mad Woman" film or stageplay). And even more impressed that Perry directed this (his first time doing such) But this one was more enetrtaining and more well thought out characters.

Those of you who are familiar with Perry's film you all know the plot (for in-depth plotline go to, but the film was mixute of many flicks like "What;s Love Got to Do with it," "Soul Food," "Beloved," and all of the wedding flicks from the new millennium. But what helps this film are its stars. Blair Underwood, Lynn Whitfield, Lisa Arrindell (who was exceptional in this), Boris Kodjoe (who was surprisingly good in this), Maya Angelou, Jenifer Lewis (who played a hilarious wedding planner) and Cicley Tyson who brought it home with her teachings of family in the family reuniion ssene when all of the family gather around at an old slave house. The wedding scene with Arrindell and Kodjoe's characters was unbelievable! It was breathtaking (Human beings hung on the ceilings playing black angels were off the chain!) and quite touching. Unfortunatly, the wasted actor in this film was Henry Simmons who was just there in the film and didnt have a significnat meaning in the film (akin to his bit role in "Are We There Yet?") beside being eye candy.

To be honest, Tyler Perry's Madea character would not have been missed if it was not even used (Perry played more of the Uncle Joe character than Madea interestingly enough). True, MAdea is what puts peopel in the seats (in his stageplays as well), along with her crazy antics on life (the school bus fight with the studnet is a film classic moment ), but it gets a little disjointed when the scenes are cut to Madea and makes you relaize that the film came from his stageplay. But with 30 million dollars made last weekend on this flick (and his second No. 1 film), Perry can do no wrong.


On Monday I went to Chicago to check out 'Pieces of a Dream", the Alton-shot film that was directed by Alton, Ill, native Skee Skinner (I have some pics above that were from the REd Carpet premoire.(ON LEFT is a pic of my holding the Pieces of a Dream flier inside the Ice Theater: Chatham 14; NEXT to that pic is a snap of Indianapolis native Monty Jey who plays the role of Coop in the film and STL's April Spencer from JMPRODUCTIONS and BELOW is a pic of a Q&A discussion where director Skee Skinner, who is holding the mic, is talking about the film as cast and crew look on). April also hipped to the early box office sales last weekend and she said that it outsold Madea's Family Reunion for last Monday's show which was sold out (over 300 seats). She also told me that well known Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert saw the film this past Tuesday. Here is what she sent me via email by ways of Chicago as of today, Thursday, March 2.

"Just wanted to let you know that the guy (Roger Ebert) saw the movie and talked about it on WGN Radio this morning. And he said that he reviewed indy movie Pieces Of A Dream and it's a must see movie... And also to let you know that Skee (Skinner) got the print out of all the movies that were playing there and Pieces Of A Dream has been #1 all 3 days. We have them all. And the owners of the place (Chatham 14) said that they have never seen anything like this. With an indy movie coming in and out selling studio movies. "

I had a feeling that this film was going to turn out in big numbers. There was a reason why I had to go and check out this film.

For those who are now curious about this film (you can check out the trailer at, here is my review of it:

Pieces of a Dream tells the story about four people: a troubled priest, a child abuse victim, a reclusive painter and a vulnerable street-ready teen and how their lives are interwined with temptations of the world. Directed by Alton-born Skee Skinner, and starring former B2K singer Raz B, Pieces of Dream, told in linear and cyclical fashion and threaded vignettes (ala Quentin Tarantino), Pieces of a Dream is an in-your-face drama that is half-horror, half-drama and half-religiocentric.

What stands out in this film is its refreshing way of telling a story. With its coined tagline, "Does Sin Have Weight," the film, through pinpoint editing and close-up camera angles, wraps you into each main character's dilemma. There are, surprisngly, many standout performances from its mainly Chicago and St. Louis cast (Ras B, the only national star in this film, is just OK in this film). Three in particular are Montey Jay who plays gang leader Coop (who is excitingly scary in this film, a definite award winning performance), Harold Dennis who plays Shepherd Flockings, the priest with a forbidden secret, Paul Branton who plays Paul Thibodeux (another award winning performance) and Joel King as Black Jesus Davis (his final scene when he is tortured until his ultimate demise is downright moving).

However, the actresses in the film are somewhat one-dimensional (with the exception of Ngina James who is refreshing as, Glo, the abuse victim-cum-young mother to Black Jesus), and they are mostly used as plot devices or as boy toys. My other problem with Pieces was that Dennis' character's background was not explored like the other main characters' were. It would have given the character a more sympathetic tone rather than an all-out blame fest for his sinful action.

Nevertheless, Pieces is a definite must-see for those who are hungry for more than 'Madea'/urban/hood characterizations in black film. It's a bit much to swallow as far as its gritty realism, but when the film hits your city, rush to see this! If I had to rate this film from 1 to 10 (I being the worst and 10 being excellent) I would give it an 8.


I will have an indepth tale of my trip to Chi-town next week.

TIDBITZ. What was up with this conference that was held last week at the Ist Evangelical Free Church to rid people of their homosexuality and to embrace heterosexuality? I hear over 1700 flocked to this. My question is were these people homosexual who attneded to get "cured" or was it "cured" people damning homosexuals to Hell? My thing is this, regardless if you are hetero/homosexual, people got to pay their bills and survive in this life. Cause I know for sure, if bills ain't paid, you already feel like you're in Hell. Okay?... Local radio caller The Great Kabudah (I hope I'm spellong his name right) died last week. It was so weird to hearthat because he was always a character on the radio and always spun his own tales of life and ending with a funny one-liner, then saying, "the Great Kabudah has spoken." I think he was in his late 70s when he died. He will be greatly missed....My condolences to Black Rep Founder Ron Himes who lost his mother who was ill...Former STL model and now book publsihing owner Cedirc Mixon will be publishing a new book out on his Kobalt books line for Burton Barr Jr called "The Hoodlum Preacher", an autobiography about his provocative life. For more info go to ...Did anyone check out Tavis Smiley (who I hear got C_SPAN running wild during his conferenc eon Black America in H-town last weekend with Farrakhan and Harry Belafonte letting it all hang out on black and white folks) who was in the STL this past Monday at Waldenbooks in the Galleria and Kennerly Temple to sign his new book, "Covenenant" (his tour bgena here by the way). I hear he gave away over 100 books to the first 100 or so who showed up at the church. That was a godo incentive for those to get the book and to get some converted saints. LOL...Big ups to the students at John Waters High School who stood up for their rights and protested after their Black History Month program was changed to Diversity History Month at the last minute and most of the black students in the program were taken out to add more "diverse" students. The principal must have heard actor Morgan Freeman's inane comments earlier this year saying that we shouldn't have Black History Month anymore....OH, AND RENEE THOMAS WOODS, I HAVENT FORGOTTEN YOUR ARTIST BRIAN OWENS. I WILL GET TO HIM SOON.

Well that be all for me right now. If there is anything that you want me to rep or step on my blog, hit me up on my email at