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 Online.com (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 http://us.f344.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=jpekcreations01@hotmail.com&YY=90802&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b. ) 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."

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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 honeysoul.com. 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 wireimage.com). 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
mchammer.blogspot.com 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 maatspear@yahoo.com!

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