Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I have a confession to make. I have become a Tyler Perry junkie. I had been hearing about Madea for years, but only recently bought two of the DVDs. Okay, I'll admit it, they were bootlegs sold by the Ethiopian guy in the barbershop on Fulton Street. But the music, the laughter, and the shows were so strong that I navigated to Tyler's website to buy more. So now I have most of the shows.

That's how I discovered Terrell Carter. You've seen him: in Class Reunion, he was the angry brotha with the spectacular pipes. And in the latest play, Meet the Browns, he plays Dr. Will Brown.

Terrell is a stunna. He's six-five, chocolate, and obviously, no stranger to the gym (memo: this is how I want to look when I grow up). All that was my initial attraction. But the more I heard him sing, the more romantic I felt. In Class Reunion, that powerful solo about love, and committment and honesty? Forgetaboutit. I was hooked. I keep thinking, wow, I wish a man would sing to me like that.

So I bought Terrell's CD. He's very soulful, reminds me of Jaheim, or Joe, or even a young Teddy Pendergrass. I think peeps used to call that "beggin' music", when the man is singing so strong, and his voice so powerful, and he's begging a woman not to leave him. That's how Terrell comes across. According to his bio, he started off in gospel, which I assumed. Its the last music form that truly appreciates a strong male voice.

I miss voices like Terrell's. There are ten tracks on "The Story" , and each want makes me long for more. My faves are Everything, and Hard for Me. they're romantic, soulful and very old school. He has an incredible range, he can go uptempo, but is much more comfortable in gospel, or in material with stronger vocals.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Femz and Timz

Everyone knows the type. You meet online, he lives in one city, you're in another. But he pesters you about meting, and tries to do everything humanly possible to make it happen. Oh yea, he's only so-so, because if he really were your type, you would've went on travelocity by now and booked a special.

Just like everyone else in cyberspace, I have a few of those, too. This one in particular Chitowngbm has been sweating me for months. After hitting me up, I made the mistake of admitting that I grew up in Chicago. As soon as you come back in town, he has persisted, "we have to meet up." So, true to my word, I let him know I was back in town, and we made plans to meet at a north side Starbucks.

First hint: he had problems picturing the intersection. Now, I' ve been away from Chicago for four years, but still know my way around. Him not knowing the north side, clued me in that he never left the hood too often.

Second hint: he arrived a half an hour late.

Third clue that I was dealing with a lame-o: his cobalt blue belt matched his cobalt blue Timz which matched his cobalt blue leather jacket.

Yea, the brothas still dress like that in Chicago. But swishing in a half an hour late, in a matching outfit, was just a bit much for me. I also noticed that he looked less like his picture. His lips were slightly glossy moistened, too. Or was it Carmex?

"I don't come up this way very often," he told me. "I stay out south, keep it real. Nikkaz are more real on the south side. Y'all north side brothaz are funny acting. How long are you here from New York? I hope we can see each other at least once or twice. You look just like you do in the picture. But I'm not one of them gym boyz, I don't stay up in ,the gym all day. I ain't bad, but I just think ..."

He started on his favorite topic of conversation: himself. He had plenty to say, and I heard almost all of it. I certainly learned what he didn't like: expensive Starbucks prices, that part of town, brothas who didn't "keep it real", New Yorkers, gym boyz (with the exception of me), Virgos, Republicans, several female coworkers, former New Yorkers, Angelenos, "bougey" black folks, anyone who didn't like Oprah ...

He was having such a great time telling me about himself and his laundry-list of dislikes, I didn't see any need for me to be there. So I told him I had somewhere to go.

"So it's like that, huh? It's like that? I come all the way out here and you can't even sit down and conversate with a brotha?"

Friday, November 26, 2004

Giving Thanks

It's great being home for the holidays. Even though I have this love/hate relationship with Chicago, it will always be home. I have so much family here, have had so many wonderful holidays, and always get into the spirit of the season.

I think the older I am, the more I've learned to appreciate the little things. It would be so typically New York or gay to start criticizing Chi-town, or the fam, or the usual stuff that happens with holidays. So-and-so gets drunk, Uncle Such and Such starts arguing, Cuz'n This and That eats everything. But, as Jilly from Philly sez, that's family. What can I do? Not much.

I feel lucky this year. There is plenty I don't have: I don't look like the guys at Musclehunks, I don't have that duplex loft in DUMBO, the book isn't done, my career isn't really in the exact trajectory I hoped. But I'm alive, I'm healthy, I have friends and family that love me. It could be worst.

I had a great time, sitting in my mom's old kitchen, snapping green beans, peeling potatoes, and helping prepare the holiday meal. Not the development deal at Miramax I wished I had, but something more tangible, more real, and more loving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Real World 16: Landon Behind Bars

I'm not a huge reality fan. So maybe it's old news, but did we know that Real World's Landon just had a real-life run-in with the law?

Seems like our Wisconsin boy was back at home at a baseball game, had drunk a little too much (surprise), and refused to leave. When the police arrived, he allegedly argued with them, and shoved a police horse.

Bad move. A few more shoves to the poor horse, and he landed in jail, facing 6 months in prison and $10,000 fine for assaulting a police animal. But the good news: he was deferred to a first offense program which kept him from being confined in close quarters with complete strangers, while his entire day is watched and scrutinized. That would suck. [TVgasm]

Baby Makes Three

Right now, I wonder what Star and Al are doing during their all-expense shopping spree honeymoon in Dubai? Their nails? Checking out Chanel's new couture for men? Or maybe ... making love?

If you said the latter--and obviously didn't read my wedding dispatch last week--you may be interested to hear the latest reports. Allegedly, Star and her new boytoy husband are interested in making a sequel to Bridezilla: Spawn of Star. That's right, it seems that girlfriend went on that huge stomach stapling "diet" to make room for a lil bambino. I wonder how will she sell the rights to a pregnancy ... [Page Six]

Monday, November 22, 2004

30-Day Return

Okay, okay. I've been gone a few days. And haven't checked my email all weekend. I've been with the flu, and was laid up for a few days.

But Friday afternoon--before I got laid up--I was at Best Buy. My mission: return a printer cartridge I bought the week before. It was the wrong resolution for my printer (I need a 50, bought a 60), and of course, was unused, in its original packaging and I brought the receipt. I went to the Broadway location in the gayborhood, where there are always some ... hmm, colorful ... characters.

Like the drag queen-slash-transexual standing in front of me in the exchange line. I've been seeing her on and off for years, and her look has been consistent: slammin' body ... but a "face for radio." Boyfriend Girlfriend looks hard. And she always stares me down, just like a nigga in the street.

"Yo, wassup," she sez. I nod. "You look'n good," I hear. Hmm. Mmm-hmm. Luckily, before this turns into an awkward situation, they call her next. She is returning a DVD player has clearly been used. "It's broken," she says.

The clerk looks the player, and nods. She asks for the receipt. "This was purchased two months ago."

"Well ... yea ... what happened what I had another one and I didn't open it until recently."

The clerk politely nods.

"And I opened it ... just a few weeks ago, and played it once or twice, but it's broken."

Again, the clerk politely nods.

My friend goes on. "And I've been out of town for the last week or two. I was in Atlanta. I didn't know could I return it there." She pauses. "That's it."

The clerk smiles. I've seen her at the store for the past year or so, so she's used to kids and their stunts. "I'm sorry, miss. We don't allow refunds or exchanges over 30 days. That gives you ample time to discover any defect. And also, I may add, this player looks like it's been used much more than once or twice."

The irate TS won't hear any of this. "You'd better get me a supervisor, " she demands. One is paged, and while she is waiting the same clerk waits on me. I tell her I bought the wrong cartridge, return the unit, and receipt, and my refund is processed in about two minutes.

"Oh aint tha a blimp," the outraged TS sez. "I'm standing here, receipt in hand, but need a supervisor to okay my refund. You don't have any problem with him."

"Your situations are much different," the clerk explains. "He bought that product a week ago, and the cartridge is still in the wrapping. Its never been used. Also, he's well under the 30 day return."

The outraged TS will hear no logic to her lost cause. But she lobs a missile: "You just don't want to serve me because of my trans-gendered status."

The clerk looks at her carefully, and smiles wryly. "Miss, that's not true at all. You look all woman to me. And speaking woman-to-woman, I'm trying to tell you, girl, your return ain't gonna happen."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Monday Night Wardrobe Malfunction Football

I've worked in television for almost ten years and know there are cardinal rules. Do not show body parts, excessive blood or corpses. Steamy sex scenes are okay, but only on daytime, not primetime--and certrainly not Monday Night Football. Apparently, that's why the FCC has moved with light-speed to "review" the promo that preceded MNF.

What is there to review? The clip was so quick, most of us missed it while running to the kitchen for nachos or soda. There was nothing lewd about the lockerroom scene. Just gorgeous Terrell Owens, and aging sultry Nicolette "Desperate Housewives" Sheridan, dropping her towel, implying nudity. If anything, it was more campy than a promotional.

Poor Michael Powell. First, he had to study the outtakes of janet's Superbowl publicity stunt "wardrobe malfunction." Now, he has to "review" Nicolette Sheridan's steamy scene with (sigh) T.O. Here's the video. Was I the only one who was upset T.O. wasn't wearing a towel?

Desperate Housewives on Monday Night Football [iFilm]
FCC Reviews 'Desperate Housewives' Football Promo [Reuters]
Nicolette "Desperate" Sheridan [Fleshbot]
Mo' Pics of Terrell Owens [TerrellOwens]

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Miss Manners Guide to Webcam Etiquette

I have this one friend associate acquaintance—let’s call him Mike—who also works in the business. We talk occasionally, and although I tried several times, we never networked. (You know us black folks, especially BGM, we're afraid to talk about work and who is hiring and where opportunities are.) He’s a former CNN producer. The last time I saw him he was slightly drunk at Stonewall told me that he's in "publicity" now. He never said what clients, I never asked. An industry rule: if it's not volunteered, you don’t ask . Phrases like, “development at Miramax” “special projects producer” “associate editor at Black Book”, vague as they seem, all have a certain cache. So if your current project has no cache, you never volunteer specifics.

But Mike has many more caches and megapixels now. Last night I discovered he is in “publicity” for himself, via webcam.

Just a little backstory: I am *not* a voyeur. I'm getting more YIM and AIM requests to view 'cams. Routinely, I say no, it's just never been my thang. What's really strange are all the brothaz who hit me up and say they don't have any pics, but want me to view their cam. ???Haven't quite figured that one out yet.

So any-hoo, "Mike" hits me up on AOL under a screenname I don't know. We trade pics, and his are tight. But it's not "Mike." Twice, he asks me to see his cam.First, definitely not in the mood. Second, I'm wireless in Starbucks, and mention that. "Oh, no, it's all good," he assures me.

But when I accepted his webcam, I realized he was (a) defnitely not the guy in the pics, but "Mike" and (b) it was definitely not "all good." He was looking rather thick "off-season". And he didn't need to have his little business out there like that.

VERSNBKLYN[12:09 AM]: nikka its me
ME[12:09 AM]: Wha??
VERSNBKLYN[12:09 AM]: wassup u know me
ME[12:10 AM]: You didn't send me your real pics. I said I'm in a public place. I'm out, yo.
VERSNBKLYN[12:10 AM]: wassup u have cam?

No, I don't have a webcam, but I do have a tip. Mike: you need a strategy. And since we didn't network before, let's try now. If you're serious about this multimedia/publicity/webcam thingy, here's a posting for a Video on Demand Producer. See? A great sounding job with cache.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"Hello, My Name is ______ (A-List-Internationally-Known-Actress"

Went to the gym earlier. No one there but the usual assortment of porn stars "models" and go-go boyz. Chatted up a former porn star "bodybuilder" who admired my traps, and asked for some tips. Said he was getting fat "off-season." Here's a tip: have to keep it up, sweety, no matter if the cameras are on or not.

That's Nicole Kidman's philosophy. When the cameras are off, she religiously heads to spinning class--no, no at my bodybuilder/stripper/model gym but at a similar locale in WeHo. But apparently, the instructor did not "recognize" the frail thin and gorgeous redhead whose face and name are known around the world. He asked who she was:

The softest voice that I have ever heard in my life responded with "Nicole". I turned around to see who could possibly produce something so quiet, and was shocked to see Nicole "Bag of Bones" Kidman sitting on a bike a few rows behind me. Hello. The woman should not be doing any physical activity whatsoever, let alone brutal cardio. Can somebody please put her on bed rest?

"Me and Mrs. Jones Reynolds"

Something's wrong with this picture. Besides the fact that you won't see many of these until the official pics hit the newsstand--something is missing. True, the bride's makeup is flawless, her dress is stunning, and the diamond tiara is sparkling at 10-thousand watts. But if you look closely, you see that ... no one is smiling. Maybe it's just pre-wedding jitters.

I don't know Star, we worked in different buildings. She is normally at The View studios at 67th and West End; I was 66th and Columbus, or GMA in Times Square. But we've seen each other sociallly, and she seemed pleasant.

That's not what my many of my former coworkers say. On Friday, Star sent a global email to ABC staff saying that she would no longer be called "Star Jones" or even "Mrs. Jones."

"She wants to be called Star Reynolds — no hyphen, nothing. She is dropping Jones completely," a former coworker sez. Apparently, media, friends and family have been told this--everyone except for the hardworking IT team on the fourth floor at 77 W. 66th (hi Steph! hi Miles!). Star is still accepting emails at her old email address, but maybe it'll be down in a few days.

Gossip: everyone has an Al story except for me. I don't know him, have only seen him at the NYSC on Eighth and 23rd just once or twice. Unfortunately, I was not one of the guys invited to Friday's Roman-bath themed bachelor party at the Time Hotel (convenient to Port Authority, Escuelita, and other tourist attractions.)

All clothes were put into plastic bags on the floor and the 60 men were given bathrobes to put on. "We sat basically naked in a freezing room for a couple of hours," says an attendee. "There were only two bars and they were sponsored by Hypnotiq, Remy and some awful beer. At 11:50 p.m., 10 topless girls came out. They were butt-ugly except for two of them who simulated lesbian sex on the bed.

Putting clothes in plastic bags? I've heard about stories like that.

I've been following Star and Al for a minute--and who in NYC, or the media can't/doesn't--and it seems that they have a little history of simulating sex on beds. Last July, the Times ran a scathing piece called "The Hostess Diary". The writer worked as a hostess at Hue, a chi-chi nightspot on nearby Charles Street in the West Village, and she wrote about Star and Al's shenanigans. Hue is well-known for having a VIP room of large, lush beds. (It was portrayed in a Sex and the City episode, but filmed at XL, on 16th btw 8th/9th. Just had to say that.)

Fully clothed, Star is on her hands and knees on the bed, laughing. Her fiancé is behind her, hands around her waist, mimicking a sex act. In front of the other customers in the room, he then flips her over and climbs on top of her. I stare, mortified.

But the real shocker came later. Naturally, Star and Al did not pay for any of their food or drinks. But the happy millionaires do not tip, either.

"I'm sorry, I would tip you but I don't have my wallet," she tells Liza. "Oh, no problem," Liza says, clasping her hands in prayer."God will provide." Star smiles as her eyes look to the ceiling. "Yes," she says. "He will."
When the story ran last July, it angered Ms. Jones Reynolds so much that she threatened legal action against the Times. But, the grey lady stood by the story. (It's really dishy, I'll try to put a link up, but its archived) Apparently, someone advised Ms. Jones Reynolds--who is quick to tell everyone that she is a "lawyer" and former "prosecutor"--about the futility of trying to sue a paper like the New York Times over something as petty as bad publicity. And then there's that small issue of ABC distancing itself from that article, and reprimanding her for the wedding freebies.

But I'm glad she's happy now, and wish her and Al the best on Thursday when they leave for Dubai and St. Bart's an undisclosed location.

(PS: Ignore everyone who sez the bliss won't last a year. It will last at least two years. Otherwise, the Jones Reynolds pre-nup sez the boytoy Al gets nothing.

The 411

Today, it seems everyone has own their reality show, book deal or blog. Or, in some cases, people on reality shows are getting book deals, and blogging the whole experience. Then there's the movie deal. Seeing that I haven't received that call from TriStar yet ... and the book writing is going just a little slow ... I thought I'd start where could. So check back every day or two for thoughts, news and hopefully some entertainment from an insider's POV.

My 15 second bio: a 30ish brotha in the life, a producer/writer working on the great American novel. I've been living in New York City for the past four years, but am now commuting between there and Chicago. For several years I worked at ABC News--first as a producer in the Chicago bureau, then moving to NYC to write and produce for several shows. I've also worked in talk, local news, and produced for magazine shows like Extra and Cops. But I started in print, writing for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Reader, and some others.

Now, I'm freelancing for a few shows, and trying to complete a novel (hint: reality show). Also, I've written a spec script for one of the Law & Order shows, and am working on a follow-up.

My likes: reading, college sports, Thai food, anime, neosoul, hittin' the gym and my mountain bike. Also been known to do some traveling, love going out to eat, and am a movie fanatic.

She Got Good Hurr’

Reading a well-written novel is like sex.

First, the thrill of discovering the book on the shelves. The quick read on the train ride home is like foreplay, an appetizer for things to come. And once you’re home, you devour the book with all the intensity of intercourse—finding a comfortable position, bringing out all the “toys” (television, iPod, music, etc.). The feeling of completion is exhilarating. Not as intense as orgasm, but definitely as satisfying.

I just finished Benilde Little’s Good Hair, and this is what I experienced. Even though I’ve read her novel twice before, I wanted to re-taste her words, her feelings, her simplicity.

Benilde has written three books—Good Hair, The Itch, Acting Out—and each one deals with the angst of the black upper middle class. You know the them: Daddy is on the fast track at Goldman Sachs. Mommy is a stay-at-home attorney, raising Courtney and Brooke with their playgroups and Jack and Jill activities. She writes about isolation, fear, staying "black" and dealing with whites on the j-o-b.

Her words are honest, searing and emotional. The dialogue is structured, and the characters studied, deliberate. The protagonist of Good Hair is Alice, a wanna-be BAP who has traded on her working class roots.

I had been living in Manhattan for five years, hanging out with a bunch of women who, in addition to sharing an alma matter, shared a 1950-ish goal of "marrying well." It was actually a phrase that we used to describe what we all wanted: a black Ward Cleaver, who made a million dollars a year and dressed in Armani. What these prized stallions would want in return from their wives-to-be seemed doable at the time: constant stroking, a happy disposition, and great
hair--which meant long but requiring little artificial maintenance.

Basically, they were all Cosby girls.

Her writing is personal, and I have complete identification with the situations. Growing up po', going to a top school, trying to fit in with the trust fund kids, the whole career thing (Alice is a newspaper reporter).

I guess I'm odd. I'm one of those dark-skinned brothaz who is not caught up on the whole dark/light thing. I never wanted to be lighter, even though most of my family is. I can see tghe whole division between light and dark when I'm home in Chicago, and of course in the south. Out east, it doesn't play out so well. Definitely, being dark skinned has its advantages in NYC. In DC, ahh, maybe a different story.

Benilde comments on this in the book. Alice meets a light-bright bourgeois doctor, and he invites her to attend a socity wedding in the District.

I looked around the courtyard and there seemed to be a thousand light-skinned men with light brown wavy hair and blue or green eyes, escorting women who looked like their sisters, drinking Cooks' as if it were water, and debating whether Martha's Vineyard was better than Highland Beach.

I'm on the fence about her sophmore effort, The Itch. The characters have more backstory, and are broadly drawned, but for some reason ... the orgasm wasn't so strong. She's written a third, Acting Out, which did absolutely zero for me. A blurb in the trades said that her fourth novel, Who Does She Think She Is, will be on the shelves in June.

Exit Strategy

Don't you hate going to the lil mini-Starbucks that are popping up everywhere? Barely more than a kiosk, many are lacking the obligatory blond wood, or even the requisiste Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall or Verve catalog on shuffle. So the other day I'm in my least fave Starbucks--which, of course is a kiosk and the one closest to where I live--and two women, uber-corporate types, are standing in front of me. Well, next to me, the joint is so tiny, there is barely room for the "condiment" bar.

First Woman: "You know that guy I hired several months ago, Christian? He's resigned."

Second Woman: "Really? Why? I thought it was a fit."

They stop and retrieve their drinks. This takes a minute, because their orders were quite produced: double shot, no whip cappucinos, soy skim lattes ... basically, just brown air. Then, they went to the "condiment" bar.

FW: "Apparently not. He told me that we do not have a STRATEGY."

SW: "That was presumptive. What did you say?"

FW: "I told him that our operation was focused and goal-oriented and yes, we did have a strategy. I explained that to him over lunch. But he told me ... if it took an hour to explain our corporate mission and strategy ... WE DID NOT HAVE ONE."

So this week's password is .. strategy.

“Miss Roberts, We’re Ready for Your Close-up”

Julia Roberts, on the other hand, has a strategy. She knows how to make everyone fall in love with her. I am reminded of this I’m on the set of the Oprah show last week , when Julia asks me am I ready to start the interview.

No, I’m not on the show. Actually, this is after the show has taped. I’m working for a magazine show, field producing an interview with Ms. Roberts for a reporter. So I’m just prepping Julia on what we’re going to talk about, setting up the shoot, seeming important and busy.

I thought you were the reporter, she sez. “You look great.”

Wow. The pretty woman just gave me a compliment. I feel like a little kid, too embarrassed to say anything. But I return the favor, tell her I love the big tummy, and that my friends and I watch Steel Magnolias over and over. (That was gay, right? lol)

Backstory: I’ve never been a huge Julia Roberts fan. Well, not until she gave me a compliment the other day. No, really, I used to think she was over-rated, overacted, emoted . But the movie that changed my mind was Ocean’s Eleven.

Yes, we’re talking about the same movie. The Soderbergh love-fest with Brad Pitt and George Clooney, all the vibrant colors and Helmut Lang fashions. (I work in television, so I'm trained to notice all the important things.) But what I liked loved about the film was the ensemble cast. Pitt worked well with Clooney ... who had great chemistry with Julia (we're friends now) ... whose sparse dialogue with Andy Garcia was worthy of a Mamet film. Everyone hit their marks. It seemed like even Casey Affleck could read act.

Julia was great. Okay, she probably wouldn’t like to hear this (“I liked your part because it was so small—but meaty”), but I’m sure she’s not listening to me for career advice. I admired her control. But my fave: Runaway Bride. (As Grace Jones said in Boomerang, “Gay, gay, gay.”)

Speaking of Clooney-Pitt-Roberts et. al, I hear things are not going so well on the Ocean’s Twelve production. Apparently, Mrs. Michael Douglas gets the coveted “and” credit that Julia had in Eleven. We’ll talk about Ms. Zeta-Jones another day.

Ben Affleck Is As ...

... Sick of himself as you are..
Or, at least, that’s according to the cover of the Details that arrived in my mailbox today. “Oh no, you aren’t Mr. Affleck,” you are probably saying. Because if Ben were that sick he’d be receiving his last rites. Right now.

What is it with this guy? He is so freakin’ regular, and not in the cute-guy regular either. Plus, he phones his lines in. Just yesterday, I said his brother Casey can turn in a decent performance here and there. But Benny is tired of being a movie star and wants to become (gasp) … an actor.
Details: Do you want to stop acting?
BA: I might continue to act, but it’ll be different kinds of acting.

I'll leave that one alone. Any-hoo, I'm sure Lifetime is already casting the MOW (movie of the week) about that other California bad boy who likes strippers and had numerous girlfriend marriage problems.[Defamer]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Details, Please

Speaking of Details, I just spoke with one of their editors about freelancing. She liked my pitches, and wants to run them by someone else. Writing for them would be killer. I had a friend who worked for the Conde Nasties, and all jokes aside ... I am still laughing from How to Lose Friends and Alienate People ... it's supposed to be a great outfit for freelancers.

Hey: Gawker ran a photo of Anna Wintour sans the Jackie O shades.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Industry: Michael Jai Part Deux

It's official: the CBS' drama Clubhouse has struck out. The net pulled the plug on the show last week, so the show that's supposed to air tonight will not.

But we luv looking at Michael Jai White, and hate the thought of him going on unemployment (again) so, we made some calls and found out that he is making two movies right now. The Playmakers of New Orleans is in post-production (editing, sound effects, dubbing, etc.), and co-stars Boris Kodjoe as an NFL player.

He's also working on another production, Getting Played. By its clever and original title, you can assume its a black romantic comedy. The press release sez "three beautiful women decide, on a bet, to select and seduce a total stranger." (Sounds like a typical weekend for some people, I know.)

It has also the usual suspects: Vivica Fox, Tichina Arnold (been absent fo' a minute), Bill Bellamy, Stacey Dash (from Clueless) and ... Carmen Electra, so I'm sho' nobody will be "thanking the Academy."

Time for my obligatoring name dropping, so ... how about a Carmen Electra story? When I was in Chicago in the late 90s, she was hanging out with Dennis Rodman (remember him?) who played for the Bulls. I worked in local news, and he did sports commentary at my station. Twice after sports, I went clubbing with them (read: Dennis, Carmen and their entourage, which grew by the week and ultimately included two Hummers and Caddy). Twice after sports, I went clubbing with them (read: Dennis, Carmen and their entourage, which grew by the week and ultimately included two Hummers and Caddy). Carmen told me she loved guys who worked out. Apparently, Dennis did too. He tipped the go-boyz with $20s.

On Friday, I mentioned that Jai White had a small role in a great film Two Days in the Valley. Can't find any pics, but here's the DVD. He plays (gulp) a musclebound homothug.

Jockbeat: Momma Said Knock You Out ... Again, Again and Again

Posted by Hello Don’t call it a comeback. If anything, Evander Holyfield’s sad defeat at the Garden last night was more of a “don’t come back, we’ll call you.” The former heavyweight champ was dominated by a newbie--who wouldn't have lasted six rounds with him during his prime.

It was a fiasco. Holyfield was unable to throw punches, and seemed helpless as Larry Donald jabbed his way to a unanimous 12-round decision. The spectacle made the 42-year-old Holyfield's quest for the undisputed heavyweight title seem …bizaare?

But he'll always be a champ to me. (With segues like that, you know here comes my Holyfield story) Two years ago, I was at a Delta gate in Hartsfield awaiting my best friend. Holyfield was the first person off the plane. Dang, I thought I was tall and had a lil bit of size, but he dwarfed me. He looked stunning, and was chatty as he patiently awaited his entourage, which consisted of exactly one person: and older man with a bad perm and lots of jewelry. The manager/skycap carried all of Evander’s carry-on Louis Vittoin luggage, while the champ greeted folk and signed autographs.

Jockbeat: Any Given Saturday

Fall is my fave time of the year. The wind is crisp, leaves are on the ground, and I can watch it all from the comfort of my sofa, while binging on college football every Saturday.

Georgia wide receiver Reggie Brown (1) left yesterday's 24-6 loss at Auburn with a concussion. The WR took a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit in the third at the Tigers' 20-yard line. The team's rushing leader was face down for about five minutes, as the crowd chanted "Reggie, Reggie" until he regained consciousness. He walked off the field on his own, hands on head.

Sound familiar? Remember Jerry Maguire? Same thing happens to the Cuba Gooding Jr. character.

Industry: Black Actors

Posted by Hello 500 channels and still not many choices, right? Point and click to Black Actors Weekly. It’s updated with the latest listings of your favorite brothaz and sistaz on the big and small screens.

So if you're like me, you probably want to see more of Terry Crews. Right now, he's shooting a remake of The Longest Yard about a brutal football game behind bars. It's a Paramount production; Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Nelly co-star. (Nelly playing a inmate? Right.) We luv Terry in those bad boy roles, right? In Friday After Next he's the DL ex-con ... in White Chicks he's the (unkown DL) pro baller ... BTW, 'case u didn't know, the 6"3 stunna is a former NFL player.

A Simple Life

Things are looking better for Niciole Richie. Really, they are.

Just Thursday she was working at a Pennsylvania Airport. Well, not really, but for her reality "show" A Simple Life. Seems like Nicole jetted as soon as her shift ended. Over the weekend, the party girl was seen lunching in the Hamptons "with a male companion and a chihuahua just like Paris Hilton's." (Can't expect her to be too original) Oh by the way: her daddy, Lionel "Endless Love" Richie, sez her show is "painful."

Gangsta Wrap

Posted by Hello Yesterday, rap artist ODB collapsed and died in a Manhattan recording studio. Details are sketchy, and an autopsy is scheduled to determine the COD (in the biz, what we call the Cause of Death). Reports say ODB--born Russell Jones--complained of chest pains. You'll recall, he had numerous run-ins with the law, like prison sentences for drug possession and escaping a rehab clinic. He would have turned 36 on Monday.

ODB was one of the founding members of the Wu Tang Clan. I love their beats, strong, deep, tight hooks. Ghostface Killah is my fave of the group. Yo, I get chills every time I hear Cherchez LaGhost. I've never been too partial to ODB--I just disliked his ghetto fab persona, and all the drama. But, it sold records. Unfortunately, he'll probably become another martyr, like B.I.G. or Tupac.

Killing Fields

Posted by Hello Pop quiz: Sierra Leone. What comes to mind first? A beautiful nation, blessed with diamonds, and scarred by civil war. Now, it joins the fraternity of nations where killing gays and lesbians goes unpunished. This week, a candle-light vigil was held in central London for Sierra Leone activist FannyAnn Eddy. She was brutally raped and murdered last September. The 30-year old woman was Sierra Leone's most visible campaigner for lesbian and gay rights. She leaves behind a 9-year old son. No arrests have been made.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What their Mommas Named Them

Okay, so you probably knew that Curtis Jackson's stage name is 50 Cent, and Inga Marchand is really Foxy Brown. But did you know that Eleanora Fagan was Billie Holliday, and that Carson Daly's real name is ... Carson Daly? Now, you do.

Nothin' Goin' on but tha Rent

Call me a hater, but Taye Diggs upsets me. He's confident, good looking, his agent returns his calls ... he's a renaissance man for the '00s. He can play a novelist, a record producer or a Jamaican boy toy with little or no effort.

Taye originated the role of Benny in the Broadway smash hit Rent, and it looks like he will bring that role to the big screen. Reports say the show's producers are negotiating with Diggs, Law and Order's Jesse L. Martin, and other original cast members to reprise their roles for a film.

Have u seen Kevin Hill, Taye's sitcom on UPN? I'm not a big fan of 'coms--I usually find the situations forced, the jokes not-so-funny and very predictable--but Diggs' is doing the best he can with the material. When November sweeps wrap up, I'd be interested in seeing how it performed.

Stalkerazzi Pt 2: Frenchie

Speaking of Rent, why do I keep bumping into Frenchie Davis?

"You're stalking me!" I joked with her one afternoon a few weeks ago, on Seventh Avenue South near Sushi Samba. "No, you're stalking me!" she laughed.

Over the past two summers, sometimes we've crossed paths several times a week on Christopher Street, East 8th (she's a shoehorse) and in SoHo. (Why, you may ask, do I keep bumping into people on the street? One, it's New York, two, I'm not working full time.) I've seen her on Broadway, and the girl has some PIPES. That whole American Idol fiasco was lame, but if any of the show's alumni have the potential for major stardom, it's her. The sistah has the last laugh.

Essence on the DL

Essence readers have been hoping mad over the whole down low controversy. The November 2004 edition is a special men's issue. The editors devote an entire page to letters about their two articles on the subject. The letters run the gamut from "the Black community has yet to accept the fact that Black men may want to be with other men" to "how dare you print an article shaming our people?" Yadda, yadda, yadda. Email your letter to the editors at

Stalkerazzi Pt 1: Vin

Vin Diesel ... remember that guy? Aiight, let me be nice. I've always been a huge Vin fan, even after The Fast and the Furious, as he continues to phone his lines in. A few weekends ago, I saw him (again) in the West Village and had my opportunity to tell him exactly what I thought.

Of course, standing outside the Equinox gym at Jane and Greenwich, I did no such thing. He actually remembered seeing me in the neighborhood last year, and recalled that I lived a few blocks from his parent's loft in the WestBeth building. We walked to the Starbucks a few doors down, and Vin (well, his friends call him by his real name, Mark) made nice with a cocker spaniel. Awww.

I'm one of those few who think he can really act. I admire the intensity he had in Boiler Room, and Knockaround Guys. Pitch Black was a sleeper hit because it was low budget, and had such strong dialogue and characters. But the sequel--The Chronicles of Riddick? Uggh. Big budget fiasco. Look for its release on DVD this Tuesday, November 16.

And let me put to rest all of those rumors. He had a cafe americano. There.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Say It Ain't So

Who doesn't love looking at Michael Jai White? The actor some have called the "black Terminator" has been ... well, terminated. Reports say CBS has yanked his new drama Clubhouse. The new series follows a mythical MLB team, loosely based on the Yankees. Jai White's character is a cross between Barry Bonds and Deion Sanders.

It's been hard for the show to find an audience. The time slot has been moved twice, and the networks--especially CBS--are finding far more revenue from unscripted, reality shows. The next episode was supposed to air this Saturday at 8p/est, but instead, viewers can sit back and relax Dallas Reunion.

But if you want more Jai White eye candy, get a copy of the latest Today's Black Woman. He's on the cover with girlfriend (aww) AJ Johnson, the fitness guru and VH1 host.

Rent or buy a copy of Two Days in the Valley, a gritty Pulp Fiction meets Short Cuts. In the first few minutes of the film , MJW has about a three minute role. He plays a musclebound homothug. Definitely worth watching.

Self Help for the Self Hating

For years, sistaz have declared that there is a shortage of black men. Well, the wait is over. A new book says that black women shouldn't waste their time looking a black investment banker or doctor. They should just pursue white boyz. The Interracial Dating Book for Black Women Who Want to date White Men...

"Shows you where to meet White men, how to make yourself more interracially approachable and gives you guidelines for screening emotionally available White men into your social life."

At $29.95, the 392 page book doesn't come cheap, but, as the author sez, neither are White men. Maybe Whoopi Goldberg and Diana Ross are interviewed. But seriously, how do you market yourself as "more interracially approachable?" Possibly, taking grammar lessons, judging from the excerpt. Maybe the author suggests loosing those extensions and getting more weave. Only 2 left in stock--order soon (more on the way).

The L-Word

I've always admired Leon. He was hardcore in Oz and Cliffhanger. In The Five Heartbeats and The Temptations, Leon showed us that he could carry a tune. Tonight, catch more singing and dancing in Little Richard. The 2000 MFTV movie was directed by Robert Townsend, and costars Jennifer Lewis, Tamala Jones and Carl Lumbly.

I was lucky enough to meet Leon twice. First, when he made Cool Runnings, I interviewed him in Chicago for Fox News. Years later in New York, I saw him a few times on the Oz set. (I was dating a one of the costars, but that's a different story.) Little Richard airs tonight at 8/est on BET.

And in case you haven't seen it yet, Leon has his own show on the same network. The L-Bow Room is light, funny and relationship-oriented. He's able to carry the show and lead his guests. I've worked on two or three talk shows before (no names, please, I've put it behind me), and trust me, it's hard work. The show is Thursdays at 11:3o/est. The time slot sucks: most of his audience is going to bed, and what's the point in trying to compete with Letterman and Leno? Let's watch and wish it the best.

Hey Big Spender

He's been accused of assault, murder, stealing millions from his clients ... Don King has been called many things, and trustworthy is usually not one of them. So why is Giogrio Armani now just the latest to take the wooly-haired mammoth ... err, boxing "promoter" to court? Well, there's a small matter of a $75,000 tab for a shopping spree at the retailer's Fifth Avenue store. I'm just wondering, who's the salesgirl that said, "Sure Mr. King, you're good for it." [Page Six]

Meet the Roomie

Martha Stewart's Cellmate.
Name: Kimberley "Boom Boom" Bennett
Sign: Scorpio
Favorite Color: White

Domestic diva Martha Stewart is now bunking with a convicted drug dealer. Kimberley Bennett is serving 50 months for her part in a North Carolina cocaine ring. (Maybe Martha can give her some tips on making deliveries with style. "Rice paper is an attractive way to wrap packages. Its durable and leakproof.") The two are said to be getting along like old pals. But will they disagree on the color of the new sheets? "I think it's more a china white, than a powder white." [Star]

In the Boardroom

"I would define success as getting done exactly what you set out to get done without compromise - not an easy thing to do. "

That's the philosophy of Kevin, the lone black in the boardroom on NBC's Apprentice 2. I think he's becoming one of the stand out candidates in the show's second season. He isn't the stereotypical black man on a reality show. There's nothing ghetto fabulous, or self-hating about him at all. He's smart--a law student at my alma matter, The University of Chicago. He and his brother have started a software company. The former football player says he's engaged (sigh), and in his spare time, reads, works out (duh), likes hip hop, jazz, and the beach. If he wins, it's certainly vindicate last season's upset with Kwame and Bill.

HIV Defendant Guilty

This week, a black Washington state man was convicted of deliberating exposing 17 women to HIV. Anthony E. Whitfield was found guilty of 17 counts of first degree assault. Five of the women tested positive, and one has developed HIV. He will be sentenced on December 21, and faces a minimum sentence of 130 years.

Health authorities say as many as 170 people are at risk for infection through sex with him or one of his partners.
Defense attorneys say Whitfield sero-converted 12 years ago, when he was sexually assaulted in an Oklahoma prison. He also has children with three of the women. But so far, none show signs of infection.

The 130 to 190 year sentence is harsh, but, draconian measures such as this will not stop the spread of HIV. And as sorry as I am for the women, all of the sex was consensual ... and by engaging in unprotected sex, they were aware of the risks.

The severe sentence is also part of another, disturbing pattern. You'll recall, two years ago, another poz young brotha was convicted of mandatory transmission. 18 year old Nikko Briteramos was the first person convicted in South Dakota of endangering another with HIV. The college basketball player received a four year sentence for having sex with his girlfriend, after learning he was positive. South Dakota is one of 24 states that criminalize exposure or transmission of HIV.

Harsh sentences, and even harsher medicine because the laws are not uniformly enforced, or applied. I wonder if the Washington and South Dakota prosecutors would be so outraged if the suspects were white women, or gay white men.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Boyfriend Material?

Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. Physics dictates that for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. And metaphysics says that everything and everyone is interconnected. I consider this as I see The Trainer at again. Another Jamba Juice, in yet another city, and we keep seeing each other. It must mean we're supposed to know each other.

I ain't scurred to talk to anyone, so I introduce myself. "I remember you," he laughs. "Over the summer, the Jamba Juice on Sixth Ave in New York City."

The Trainer is right. I saw him there, and now in Chicago, twice at the same location on Clark Street. I remember him as wearing a "trainer" t-shirt in the Village. And he definitely fits the profile. Shorter, brown skinned, well-stacked, very toned. There's one thing about him that gives me pause: the hair. Cornrows. After moving to NYC some years back, I grew accustomed to seeing grown men wearing braids. First I liked it, then when I saw it take off around the country it started to itrritate me (where do these guys work? who braids their hair? how old are they? how often do they rebraid? what about the new growth?). But of course, on him, I think it's flawless.

He tells me his name, and says he works at the Bally's right next door to the Jamba. That's why I keep seeing him there. "So where do you train?"

That line is becoming the standard gay intro. In the 70s it was "what is your sign?" In the 80s, "want to do some blow?" Now, it's "where do you workout?" Unfortunately, when I'm in Chicago, not at the Bally's, but at another gym down the street. I tell him, and it knows it by rep. "Ooh, hardcore, for the big boys, right?" he teases me.

I think I'll be stopping by the Jamba a little bit more on the regular.