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 imdb.com), 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 www.ONE-WAYPRODUCTIONS.com), 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 www.kobaltbooks.com ...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 email@example.com.