Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Friday Nights ....

... need never be so boring again. I've just received an email that adds me to the permanent guest list of a major club.

You and a guest will receive complimentary admission and a bar ticket. Please call: 0034 971 31 83 38, or fax: 0034 971 19 05 42 before 1700hrs. Email:

As you can see, El Divino is in Ibiza, Spain.

I admit that sometimes I'm bored and get the itch to go out, but geez, someplace a little closer would be nice.

Went to Ibiza in the mid-90s. Talk about nonstop fierceness: the world's top DJs rotate through, the clubs are incredible, party on the beaches ....

But still, I can't get there right now with my Metrocard.

Fan Male

Please keep all the cards and letters coming, especially the fan letters. I found this anonymous letter most enjoyable, albeit slightly hard to read. But my corrections are in red. Enjoy!

I have just startd started reading your blog and what can I say? Nothing like what I thought you would be like. You don't know me, but I used to see you all the time, the past several summers on Christopher Street and, at Escuelita and other places. Obviously you spend time in the gym., I thought. You look good.

But reding reading your blog you ain't the type of nigga I thought you was were. You listen to all that tired house music and spend too much time reading books. I've never even heard of the Brand New Heavies. Give some ups to the new Nas joint.

But I will give you props. I was hatin' on you last year for kicking it with that Puerto Rican stripper from the club.

Which Puerto Rican stripper from which club?

Heavy Rotation on iTunes

Strong Enough (Club 69 Future Anthem)

A few weeks ago, MTV Real World’s Karamo announced that he was a card-carrying member of the Silly Young Queens of America. In case you missed it, he dissed a love interest because of his choice in music. Dorian was too Banana Republic, not down enough for Karamo’s advanced sense of urban culture and aesthetics at the ripe old age of 24. He is looking for someone who he can bond with over Akademiks and Lugz, and debate the merits of The Firm versus Junior Mafia. Afetr announcing this, he put on his Timz and big t-shirt, and bounced off to the club with that hard core, ultra masculine buddy of his—Willie.

The great thing about labels is that anyone can apply one to themselves, or have one applied to them. Four or five years ago, I was hanging out with a group of similar brothas in NYC and DC, and we considered ourselves DL, and A List. Why? All of us were professionals and educated at good schools. We owned condos or brownstones, or were in the process of trying to buy one. All were gym rats, some more so than others. We obsessed about sets, reps and bodyfat percentages. Oh: and even though all of us had graduate degrees and were from bourgeois families, when online, we insisted on using ebonics, and acting like we were from the ‘hood. We thought we were keeping it real.

But apparently, I wasn’t. In late 1999, two brothas in this group—a Bethesda, Maryland raised lobbyist, and a suburban Dallas raised lawyer—told me that they had concerns about me. They noticed I was listening to lots of “white circuit boy” music, Cher in particular. This became a reason for them to ease me out of their clikque. Boo-hoo. (Anyway: I know for a fact that today, the lobbyist is sans boyfriend and has a waistline exceeding 38”. I’ll just leave it at that.)

I’ve always admired Cher. She’s a survivor. She was fierce in the 60s, stylin’ in the 70s, made a huge comeback in the 80s, and today is a living legend. I won’t even try to front like I’m some uber-DL brotha that hangs out on the corner, drinks gin and juice, and plays spades every weekend. That’s not me, yo. I do levels.

And just like I enjoy a good workout, eating BBQ and laughing at Steve Harvey or Cedric the Entertainer, I still read Martha Stewart Living and shop Pottery Barn and (gasp!) Banana Republic. So I suppose, there is that part of me that admires a diva who’s had a hard-knock life and has survived the odds. Go figure.

I go cuckoo for any Peter Rauhofer or Club 69 mix. The beginning of Strong Enough is true to form: repetitive treble, a strong bass line that is eased in, and a clever reverb on a hook. It’s the basic structure of any anthem. Here, the synthesizer is a little loud, almost kitschy, but it works.
What works even better are the lyrics: Cher sings about a man who has done her wrong. No ifs and or butts, she’s let it slide before, but he’s cheated for the last time. She talks about getting herself together, gathering self esteem, and moving on.Who can’t identify with that?

I think the song debuted around the time I discovered my then-boyfriend on the box-cover of several DVDs in the adult section of the neighborhood video store. But that’s a separate book story, right there. So, I think it’s more than obvious why I had instant identification with the catchy lyrics.

I don’t need your sympathy
There’s nothing you can say or do for me
And I don’t want a miracle
You’ll never change for no one
I hear your reasons why
Where did you sleep last night
And was she worth it?

‘Cause I’m strong enough to live without you
Strong enough
I quit crying, long enough
Now I’m strong enough, to know that
You gotta go

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Brother, Where Art Thou?

The biggest question I had after viewing the new film Brother to Brother—and I had many, including, why did I just waste ten bucks?—was the origin of the film’s title. Why was this called “brother to brother”, when most of the black men in this celebrated new film do not like each other, are confrontational, and exhibit various degrees of self-hatred?

The answer can be found in an interview with director Rodney Evans. “The movie was inspired by this anthology of Black gay writing called Brother to Brother," he says. "It was edited by Essex Hemphill. … I thought the piece was about relationships between Black men; the relationships were not necessarily sexual and the men were not necessarily gay.”

Well that answers my next question: how can you build a “Black gay” film around characters who never have sex with other Black men, just white ones? Maybe I’m just being the hypercritical New York media type, but leaving this film, I thought that me and other audience members had seen different movies. I heard groups and couples saying they “liked it." An interracial couple walking ahead of me, arm in arm, sharing popcorn, remarked that it was a “brave effort.”

It certainly was brave, because the film is a bore. The plot ostensibly seeks to explain the peculiar plight of gay Black men, facing rejection at school, socially and professionally. It stars Anthony Mackie as Perry, a young writer/author/student. Mackie recently starred in Spike Lee’s She Hate Me, so I found it very brave of him to add this tiresome art film to his credits.

Perry bonds with a legendary Black gay poet who lives at the homeless shelter where he works. The poet is attracted to the young man, but their relationship is chaste, and cathartic for both. (Stop yawning) The older man regales the student with memories of the Harlem Renaissance, which is told in flashback and black and white. Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston are featured prominently. And at the end, the older man’s faith in love and humanity is restored, he dies, and Perry allegedly draws some strength from those stories to deal with his own life.

If you hear violins playing, its because the plot and characters are as stereotypical as they sound. Anthony Mackie does the best he can with Evans’ dialolgue, but Perry’s character is wooden. He is whiny, one-dimensional, and I feel, his worst enemy. In his black studies class, he constantly argues with other students about the misfortune of being gay. He taunts and name calls another student who ultimately fag bashes him. In flashback, we see that his rage began after his parents threw him out of the house, after he was caught in his room kissing a white boy.
Memo: Taking proactive steps sometimes helps. Locking the door. Going to another location. Not bringing up your homosexuality in classes all the time. Try not to call other students bad names. But in this movie, everyone is a victim, and no one is ever a volunteer. You're treated to a widescreen AA meeting. “Hi, my name is Perry and I’m a victimized gay black man.” “Hi Perry!”

Perry’s character also feels victimized at school, which also confused me. The exteriors were of the Butler Library and other well known locations on Columbia University’s campus. But the students in Perry’s small class seemed more like they were at IS 666, not at all what you would expect in an Ivy league school. (And I know just a little bit about that) They are rude, hostile and seemed more appropriate in a junior high school.

The one character that Perry bonds with at Columbia university is, of course, a white boy. He’s a cool, Ashton Kutcher-looking, Marky Mark acting bisexual. Naturally, Perry falls in love with him, and we are lead to believe that the white boy tops Perry. He makes a comments about Perry’s “sweet ass” which sets the brotha off. Why? He just gave it up, he shouldn’t mind it. “I can’t tell you how many times a white man has made comment about my sweet ass or black dick, they all want to objectify me.” Hmm. Maybe it’s time to try a new marketing campaign.

Perry’s relationship with poet Bruce Nugent is also borderline. The character is played by veteran actor Roger Robinson, who is the standout performer of the film. Robinson has been acting since the 70s, having been a recurring actor on Kojak, Get Christie Love, Law and Order and many other shows. His Nugent is serene yet aplomb, whimsical but probing. But the “younger’ Nugent during the Harlem Renaissance was an alcoholic, color conscious hedonist, who didn’t work as hard as Langston or Zora, and called them sell-outs. Maybe that's why he ended up in the homeless shelter instead of on Striver's Row. He's also in white men. The flashback scenes were replete with Nugent doing the do with numerous white men back in the 20s. And the fascination continus to present. He tells Perry, "I saw you with that fine white boy at your school."

I could go on and on about this movie, but the film is just plain unlikable. The characters have low self esteem, they look for validation from white men, and are upset with themselves and their white admirers. I don't feel compelled to praise the film, just becaue its about brothas. Its like watching a skinny, bad looking stripper on stage who is getting NO money from anybody. Do you (a) give him a dollar or two because you feel sorry for him? (b) Because he was "brave" to get up there? Or (c) do you do nothing, because you are rewarding bad behavior?

You know what my answer will be.

Live from 30 Rock

Did anyone catch LL on Today yesterday morning?

First, I'm a Today junkie, from being an NBC vet of some years. Secondly, I just love e'rthang about James Smith. I interviewed him once on a press junket, and bumped into him again at the She Hate Me premiere a few months ago. I'm living for his new look, and am trying to do the same thang myself.

Monday morning, LL was not plugging anything, but was in the bitter cold on the plaza at 30 Rockefeller, collecting toys for the Today show's foundation. He was warm and chatty with the crowd. But he got an even warmer reception from Katie Couric, who could barely contain her glee.

"He's so fine!" she giggled. When it was interview time, she jumped on him and straddled him. (I ain't mad, gurl.)

But the sweetest highlight: LL donated 10 grand of his own money to the foundation. "You can see its his own personal check," Katie gushed. "Ohmygawd, James Smith! Here's his address and phone number!"

Nothing Lasts Forever …

…. Including a dirt cheap wifi service.

My favorite coffee shop has always been a Tmobile hotspot, but also carried US Internet, a cheaper alternative. Their wifi service is free the first fifteen minutes. Afterwards, it's a dollar an hour, to a maximum of three dollars.

As of December 1, it’s no longer being offered. You have to go with the Tmobile hotspot service @ $29.95 or $39.95 per month for unlimited service on a yearly contract, or you can pay as you go for as low as $7.95 for two hours! Exactly.

So no more sitting in the coffee shop for six or eight hours, working, surfing, having a few lattes, going to the gym and coming back. (Yes, I admit that I’m spoiled.) Time to man up and join e’rbody else.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Pic is in the Mail

When having four or five pictures on your Blackplanet page just won't do, lame IMs like this are quite common.

cnautica1000: Yo man seen yo pic man. hit me up with hi and I'll throw the pic at ya
Rod: Wassup. U have my addy, just send your pics
cnautica1000: you have any mo?
Cnautica1000: you need to send me email man and Ill send it. My email is
Rod: You’ve seen my pics, yo.
Cnautica1000: Send another one or two.
Rod: lol
cnautica1000: whats so fuckin funny son
cnautica1000: at what lol
cnautica1000: at what addy son? naw I don’t know your addy
cnautica1000: I will see it when you send me a pic or two
cnautica1000: dam son I hate typing man
Rod: U hilarious, yo. I’m up.
cnautica1000: like I said you got me typing bruh
cnautica1000: you and I may be missing out son
cnautica1000: tell you what go to I’m the 5th person down in first row...

cnautica1000: oh yea its like that yea whateva

Song du Jour

Heavy Rotation on iTunes: Give it Up
Artist: Eminence featuring Kathy Brown

There's a little spot in Bed-Stuy called Starlight. You could miss it if you blinked twice while walking or driving by. The bar is on Nostrand Avenue, just a few blocks south of the LIRR and the A/C train at Fulton Street. And like many other holes in the wall, the drinks are strong, the characters hilarious, and the neighborhood trade are more than enough reason to stop by.

Also: like many other similar spots I’ve been to—the old Palace or the Marquette in Atlanta, Stop and Drink in Chicago, Bachelor’s Mill in DC—the music is consistently offdachain. I guess there is an unwritten rule that dive spots for the brothas must feature the best DJs. Even though I discovered Starlight when I lived in downtown Brooklyn, I continued to hit the joint when I moved to other boroughs—first Rosedale, Queens, then, finally, to Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.

One of those nights when I lived in Queens—this would be mid 2001, because I moved downtown right before September 11—I discovered Kathy Brown and Give it Up.

Have you heard it? Well, I’m all about sharing. This Eddie Boom mix opens on Windows Media Player, and it’s available on dial-up or broadband. [Eddie Boom mix]

From the first bars, it’s obvious this track will be killer. The bass is deep and layered, not unlike a Gamble and Huff arrangement. Not one, but two string movements, violin and bass. And the percussion buildup is slow and gradual, almost like a tease. It starts off with piano, then moves on to a light synthesizer, then heavy cymbals.

Kathy Brown’s voice is pure seventies funk. Listening to her, you immediately think of you’re listening to Sylvia’s Pillow Talk, or something else from that ‘72-‘75 pre-disco era. A young Phyllis Hyman comes to mind. Their range is similar, and like Phyllis, Kathy alternates between alto and soprano with total ease.

But if all that doesn’t make you fall in love, listen to the bridge. It’s a sweet arrangement: part strings, part percussion, all funk. The bridge vocals feature a crisp reverb, and parts are mixed with that “telephone” effect—a la’ Timbaland—for a hollow sound. Just imagine hearing her hitting that high C at 7am on the dance floor. Seven in the morning? No typo, there. A few times, I heard Junior Vasquez bumping the accapella and the Cleptomaniac Dub in the early morn at Twilo.

I’m still living for the strings. The build up is so unexpected, it’s full and evocative, very Love Unlimited Orchestra.

You know I’ve been in love before
But you’ve given me so much more
Going deeper than I’ve ever known
Your love is so strong

You give me love all night (All night)
You make me feel so right (So right)
And when you hold me tight
We make it last all night

You give me love all night (All night)
You make me feel so right (So right)
I’m feeling right ….
We’ll make love all night

Give it up, ‘cause I want your love (I want it)
Give it up, ‘cause I need your love (I need it)
I want it … Your love
And I need it … Your love
I want it, got to have it, your looooove

May September – December Romance

Did you really think it would last? Reports say that the Usher-Naomi Campbell “romance” is on the rocks. Apparently, they aren’t seeing each other anymore. Duh.

The problem? Usher wants the notoriously out-of-control supermodel to appear with him at events and photo ops. Naomi wants to … well, travel and be a notoriously out-of-control supermodel. Maybe Usher will have better luck finding someone at the Bally’s in Buckhead. [Page Six]

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Stocking Stuffers

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me ...

Okay, maybe it wasn't the twelfth day, but on Thursday I get a plain wrapped package in the mail. My first guess: another DVD from one of the studios. But the wrapping was missing the usual "for your consideration" or "WGA members dated material." Second guess: a book or CD I'd ordered from Amazon. But I remembered I hadn't ordered anything online.

Turns it out it was my first Christmas gift of the season. A porn DVD.

Gee, what I've always wanted as a stocking stuffer. (No pun intended) Apparently, one of my budies thought it would be fun to send several of us porn vids/DVDs as gifts. Maybe I just didn't get it. I'm not one of those people who thinks it's "fun" to send gag gifts for birthdays and Christmas, especially x-rated ones. If I'm going to take the time to get something, it might as well be useful and/or special.

Also, I'm just blown away by the sheer tackiness of the porno. It was re-release of some old Bacchus title, Black and Proud #3. Maybe I would have felt better if the "gift" were more something that I would have liked. But lame it was: ten year old porn with crappy actors, bad lighting, and poorly executed sex scenes.

Wait. Was this guy trying to tell me something?

Song du Jour

Heavy rotation on my iTunes: Stay This Way
Brand New Heavies

Just last week I revealed my love affair with the Heavies. It began in the early 90s, the first time I heard Dream Come True. And the love continues to this day, discovering recently re-released and remixes joints, like Bumpin' on Denmark Street.

I can listen to the Heavies all day. There aren't confined by genre--soul? acid jazz? vocals? instrumental? Their catalog has energy, promise and fever to spare. I think the music is distinctly Bristish soul: heavy bass, strong reverbs in the vocals, a restrained piano and synthesizer.

Saturday night, a friend and I drove about an hour outside the city to a Christmas party. Like most road trips, it was a great experience, spending time bonding with each other, laughing, scratching our heads, listening to music. He was driving, I was the designated DJ for the trip, so I brought along Jill Scott, Angie Stone and the Heavies.

It was great listening to Stay This Way, and finding new meaning in N'dea Davenport's soulful, haunting lyics.

Living with you in my life
Is like feeling the whole world’s on my side
Putting a smile in the place
Where a tear used to run down my face
Feeling the sun on my head
Where a cloud used to follow instead
Singing a song in my heart
In a place where all my troubles depart

Friday, December 17, 2004

Random Conversations 3

Two women on the downtown 2 train near 14th Street.

Woman #1: Therapy was very, very good. Cathartic, you could say.
Woman #2 (checking her makeup in a Chanel compact): Really? Hmm, okay.
#1: Yes. We are making some progress on my core issues.
#2 (slowly applying lipstick): Mmm.
#1: My therapist calls it a narcissitic complex. Basically, I tend to think everyone and everything revolves around me. Silly, right?
#2 (finishing her lipstick and closing compact): Of course it’s silly. It revolves around me.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Random Conversation 2

Overheard @ ATM in the vestibule of the Washington Mutual on Broadway

Me (counting money to myself after ATM dispenses cash): 20, 40, 60 …

50ish White Guy Behind Me/Dick Cheney Meets Chelsea: I don’t get that. Why do people count their money at an ATM? I mean, who are you going to talk to if it’s wrong?

Me: 80, 100, 120 …

Cheney Lookalike: What, you don’t trust the computer? Let me ask you this: has an ATM ever made a mistake with your money. I just take my money and go.

30ish White Girl: It’s made a mistake with me before.

Cheney Lookalike: Was I asking you? You need to just mind your own business. I’m talking to this man right here. It’s a private conversation.

Song du Jour

Heavy rotation on my iTunes: It's Alright, I Feel It
Artist: Nuyorican Soul

What is there about Jocelyn Brown that I don't love?

There's a power, stamina and energy to her voice that you rarely hear today. I'm lucky enough to have much of her music, from 80s anthems like Somebody Else's Guy to her newer collaboration with Cassius, I'm a Woman.

But one of the standout cuts of her catalog is the work she did with Nuyorican Soul, the hit It's Alright, I Feel It. The organ solo is soaring, her voice stratospheric and the lyrics so memorable.

Music is my life, it's kept me through
All of the changes
the world has put me through
It's Alright, I Feel It!

The feeling that you get, can change things
The power of the groove will always
see you through

It's Alright, I Feel It!

Whenever I hear this song, like all of today (lol), I'm reminded of the old Body and Soul in Tribeca. Danny Krivit and Joe Clausell used to pump this for up to 15 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. The last time I was at the club, sometime before they closed around 9/11, I remember hearing it while I saw Yoko Ono on the dance floor. She was grooving, smiling and laughing with me and others, singing along, telling people, "Oh this, Jocelyn Brown. She's fabulous!"

Nothing Going on But tha Rent

Today, good news on the job hunt.

Yes, I’m looking—I’m always looking. I’m a freelancer and my trust fund is drying up. I got a call back from a managing editor at one of the networks. Can’t say which one, but I’ve worked for two of the big ones already, so this is another one. The exec liked my background. But I guess I could have just said resume, right? Interested in me for a specials position, which is a step above what I was applying for. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Miss Honey

While we’re talking music … let me introduce you to one of my favorite DJs. Its not one of the names with a huge following in New York, like Junior Vasquez, Peter Rauhofer or Danny Tenaglia. She’s actually a "gender illusionist" from Chicago’s South Side, who moved to the Big Apple and now has a huge international following.

Miss Honey Dijon.

I discovered Honey about six or seven years ago. I was still in Chicago, and my good friend Robert had purchased one of her tapes at Gramaphone. I fell in love instantly. The sound is retro, yet new. Honey spins lots of bass and garage beats, deep tracks. Its very eclectic: old school Chicago house, disco, tech-house, tribal, funk, soul and r&b. Yet, she always plays new and fresh sounds. Think, St. Germain with a twist.

To hear Honey live, I had to wait until I moved to the big city. I think it was at The Cock in the East Village on a Thursday night. I'm not an East Village type, especially a regular at The Cock or The Hole, among the venues where Honey played. But I went there anyway, introduced myself , and told her that her music had given me many, many hours of enjoyment.

After that, I followed her around New York. Thursdays at the Cock, Tuesday nights at G, the occasional Friday night she opened for Danny Tenaglia at the old Vinyl. (Speaking of Danny T, I’m still living for Elements. Seven or eight years later, that cymbal and percussion buildup is still offdachain.) She’d always comp me, we’d talk in the DJ booth, and I’d feel so fierce, chatting with her and meeting other New York nightlife celebs. I think one of the first times I went to Splash SBNY was when she spinned.

Like all good DJs, she’s moved on. Occassionally, Honey still does a set at G. But, nowadays, I just hear her tapes or CDs. But, nowadays, I just hear her tapes or CDs. She’s strictly international now, spinning at Miami’s Winter Music Conference, or playing for clubs in London, Paris, Buenos Aires, Cologne, Amsterdam, Sydney or Ibiza. I’m glad I have my memories (and my tapes and CDs). I guess it’s time to save up some coins and get my passport renewed.

Wouldn't Like Me Either

Speaking of Karamo: a buddy who knows him had been trying to introduce me to him. “Oh he would love you,” my boy told me several times. “You’re a producer, you’re TypeA … plus you’re tall and workout. You’re exactly his type.”

I didn’t think I would be, and asked him not to try to play cupid. In retrospect, I’m so glad he didn’t. K disliked Dorian's taste in music, "too eighties." The kid definitely wouldn’t like the tunes on my iPod, either.

I have to confess: I am married to 70s and 80s soul. I have downloaded most of the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes catalog. When vintage Stephanie Mills comes on KISS-FM—Sweet Sensation, Two Hearts, Home, the real stuff—I can sing along.

I remember the day Phyllis Hyman took her life. I had just started working in news, and that was one of the first stories I covered. It was a labor of love, transferring Betcha By Golly Wow from CD to Beta, to add nat sot to my spot.

As a teenager, I remember finding the twelve inch of Hit and Run on vinyl. Today, I’m lucky enough to carry that around on my ‘pod. Geez. Every time I hear the breakdown of that 11:06 version, I still get shivers. And know almost every word, just like it’s stamped on my brain. “I’ve got to be … number one. Better make up yo’ mind … ‘cause you’ll never find a love so divine … good almighty.”

There is a beauty to 70s/80s soul that will probably never be replicated again. The music had purpose, commitment, soul. The bass lines are so heavy you can feel them on your fingertips. The vocals are so powerful that you remember the crescendos, the pitch, and the cadence twenty years later. And the lyrics are poetry. What did say Stephanie say? “When I think of home, I think of a peaceful place, of birds and trees … People come up to me, and say, Stephanie, please sing our song.”

Actually, I’ll confess to a love affair with the entire Philly sound. It's a dense sound, far superior to Motown. The lyrics are more emotional, the percussion more soaring. Its not so ... catchy, or pop-oriented. Loleatta Holloway, Teddy Pendergrass, the Three Degrees, Gamble and Huff, TSOP, First Choice. I still live for that sound.

Is there any way you can hear the bassline from Love Thang or Let No Man Put Asunder and not feel like you’re in a hot, sweaty club, with hundreds of phine men dancing around you? Once last summer, I logged onto Spirit of House, and came across a bootleg version of The Player. Whoa: talk about taking me back. For weeks, I was blasting that at work, just falling in love every time with the intense bass and the heavy syncopation.

Not to say I never listen to anything new, not the case at all. I’m just more selective, and not a huge fan of much hip hop. Call me what you want, oldhead, circuity, house junkie, it matters not. I know what I like: I’m definitely feeling a lot of the neo-soul : Jill Scott, India.Arie, Angie Stone, Erykah Badu, Calvin Richardson, Jaheim.

Even more so, I appreciate some of the retrofunk. My all-time favorite must be the Brand New Heavies and N'dea Davenport. Right now, I’m sitting in my fave Starbucks on Broadway (not the one where I heard about the importance of having an exit strategy), and am rating all of the songs I’ve downloaded from the BNH catalog. And I’m carrying around most of it on my ‘pod and laptop. Extended remixes of Dream Come True? Instrumental versions of Midnight at the Oasis? Live sets of Spend Some Time? In all of their songs, the lyrics are so clever, and N’dea’s voice is haunting: Love will be here forever/I know that we’ll stay together/Our llve will be here forever/I hope that we’ll stay together” and Is it a dream come true?/About a love I once knew/Was it all … in my mind?/Or did I dream it all the time?”

No, I don’t think Karamo or the other femz, Timz and cornrow boys would appreciate my music. But that’s aiight. Somewhere along the way, I feel out of out love with trying to make myself into they like.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

“It’s Me, Not You”

Poor Karamo. Just when brothas across the country had anointed him their DL spokesman, he pulled a stunt and showed everyone that he was just a regular gurl in new packaging.

Karamo played Dorian like a violin, and his performance was hardly original or inspiring . He found petty, trite reasons to manufacture incompatibility; he lied; and as opposed to spending quality time with his man, he faked an illness (“I have a headache”) and then put on his party dress to go to punk bar with his other (no man-having) girlfriends. [MTV/Real World]

The whole script was very Typically Faggy 101. Who hasn’t seen this stunt pulled? Its extremely popular among high school girls, younger women, and so many gay men under 30. The only thing lacking is the obligatory late night phone call to Dorian in a few weeks, saying “it’s me, not you.”

But the season’s not over; stay tuned.

Boyfriend Material Part Tres

Well, time for the Yuri update. He called last night. We talked for an hour.

Flowers in the Attic

More on the wedding that will not end. A NewYork City landscaper is suing Star Jones over a wilted quid pro quo deal. Dimitri Nurseries redesigned her rooftop garden in advance of an Architectural Digest shoot last year. Now, they are suing the freebie loving star of ABC's The View.

Go to to The Smoking Gun for a copy of the court documents. In the lawsuit, Dimitri Nurseries claims that Jones signed an agreement guaranteeing that the firm, in lieu of payment, would get a credit in AD for its work. When the citation didn't appear, the landscapers demanded that Jones make good on a $7189.20 bill for geranium arrangements, potting soil, moss, mulch, dogwood, ficus plants, and other items. the multimillionaire Jones refused to pay, and instead offered to give the firm a plaque with her picture that could be hung in its East Harlem headquarters. "A picture worth 7-thousand words"

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Boyfriend Material Part Dieux

I’ve mentioned before that I think coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous. I’m one of those existentialists who feel that everything and everyone are somehow connected. A producer position that I am up for does not materialize. A long lost cousin in Arizona finds me online.

And I bump into Yuri at brunch.

It’s a small dinner that I walk by all the time, but never go inside. No particular reason, it’s just one of those uninspired Greek-owned diners that the city seems to be overpopulated with. But a neighbor tells me that the food is kick-ass, and prices even better. So I check it out.

The first thing I see is Yuri sitting at a corner table, looking at me, smiling with that trademark thousand-watt smile. How to describe him? I met him years ago. He worked at the Crobar in Chicago, perennial hotboy-slash-gogoboy-slash-personality-slash seen around town in a Beemer convertible. Guatemalan, about 5’9, 175, 28”, maybe –2% bodyfat. Part-time model. Okay, so far we’ve established his credentials are almost identical to those of many of the men in my past. But Yuri and I don’t have a past.

Y and I just had a mutual admiration. I was new on the scene, saw him and was stupefied. He was very friendly and flirty. I think for a while he was dating someone, and our conversation was never very involved. Gradually, I started going to the gym more, hitting the steel more hardcore, basically to try to get noticed by guys like him. It worked, but by that time he was single, and had moved to LA. So I buddied up to one of his best friends, and he delivered messages. (Hey: this was the 90s, pre-internet) Any-hoo, we started bumping into each other every few months in different cities, and catching up. (Okay, okay I know it sounds faggy and el circuito but whateva, yo.) By the time I moved back to Chicago, he was one of the Crobar’s regular tighty-whiety-clad hunks that were featured on flyers and in ads.

So we had a lot to catch up on. He was back from the coast. “Did not work out so well,” he told me. That of course meant he didn’t want to go into it. He still looked the same, which meant offdahook. But amazingly, he said the same thing about me. “You look exactly the same. Just bigger, you look great, “ he said twice. “Wow, you look great, “ he added, a few minutes later.

Whoa, that was great to hear. The stress of looking for another job, some other personal issues, certainly takes its toll on one’s self-esteem. But, I guess it shouldn’t. And in retrospect, I realized, ten years ago, a smile and compliment from the Yuris was all the validation I ever needed. Today, it wasn’t so important.

“Thanks yo,” I told him. “So do you.”

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Wedding That Won't End

Most weddings end sometime during the honeymoon, but not if your name is Star Jones Reynolds. Two weeks after the View cohost and hubby Al Reynolds returned from their all-expense paid trip to Dubai, the wedding march continues.

Here's an email the happy couple sent out to fans and friends from "We are pleased to tell you that in the coming months, our wedding and all the magical details will be featured in one of our favorite magazines as well as on a primetime television show," the couple write. "We also plan to update our Web site in the coming weeks with all the specific wedding details . . . so remember to check back."

Please, please make them stop.

Set Up?

"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 how Kevin Allen from NBC's Apprentice 2 describes success. When I started this blog last month, I wrote how much I admired him, and wished him the best for the show, and his endeavors. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Last night, Trump unceremoniuosly fired him because he wasn't sure which direction Kevin was going with his career.

You're not the only one laughing. Let' see, what do we know about Kev?

Obviously he's smart--a law student at my alma matter, The University of Chicago, and Penn's Wharton School of Business. He and his brother started a software company. Kevin also considered becoming a pro football player, at one point. On a personal tip, he's engaged (sigh), and in his spare time, reads, works out (duh), likes hip hop, jazz, and the beach. I think he's been a standout contender, a great team player, and was a hands-on project manager earlier this season.

Any other reasons why he could have been fired last night? Oh, yea, that reality show rule that says blacks never win.

I was hoping beyond hope that Kevin would have a fighting chance, and vindicate last season's upset with Kwame and Bill. It just wasn't to be.

Interesting that Kelly and Jenn M. are The Apprentice 2's final candidates, as predicted by bettors. Back in September, a betting site said the two would be the final candidates. An unusual number of bets were places on those, and the site mysteriously stopped taking wagers. I'm not necessarily saying it was a set-up, but read Reality Blurred for more.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

"Saving Ryan's Privates"

You have to admire the creativity of the porn industry. In addition to finding tons of lukewarm "stars" to make your solo evenings at home (hopefully) more memorable, the producers keep finding titles almost as awful as the talent. Now, the world's biggst database of porn movie titles based on movies and TV shows. (And yes, Virginia, there is a shopping cart.)

My faves? Ally McFeal. Edward Penishands. Erectnophobia. The list goes on and on and on ...

Random Conversations

Not-So-Well-Dressed Woman: I hate shopping.
Much Fiercer Girlfriend: You have to love it, because we really need to avoid this look.

--W. 8th & Broadway (NYC)

20something Black Queen On Cell Phone: Why can't he stay with a frat buddy? Or at a hotel? I mean, why does he have to spend the weekend with me? (Pause) Yes, we're brothers. (Pause)But I hate his clothes, the way he looks, the way he smells and most of all, those ridiculous grey Birkenstocks he insists on wearing with everything.

--N. Halsted and Melrose (Chicago)

Friday, December 03, 2004

WEHT Mario Lopez?

All Points Bulletin: Suspect should be considered unemployed and looking for work
Who: Mario Lopez, the Latin hottie from Saved by the Bell
What: Missing in action
When: Last six months
Last Seen: America's Most Talented Kid

Under "Upcoming Events", his website sez: "Mario is co-hosting the Sharon Osbourne show Thursday, May 6, 2004!" (Today is Friday, December 3, 2004)

In April, Mario married actress turned TV host Ali Landry. Unfortunately, just days later they split up. Her divorce petition cites "irreconcilable differences." Hmmm.

Totally Tacky Links Instant notification when a celebrity dies. Sorry, no text messages.

Jerrys Bait and Tackle. Go to Central Park. Stalk an innocent squirrel. Dispatch said rodent. Taxi home, or use your wireless laptop while on the A train to find tasty squirrel recipes. (Creamed squirrel, squirrel pie, etc.) Enjoy!

Portable stripper poles. For the stripper on the go. "Provides balance and stability for your craziest pole tricks" And for clients who need to eat and run: "Stripper pole base may be used as a coffee table when pole is removed."

A guy's guide to using those portable stripper poles. An informative how-to-video on how to become a male exotic dancer. "Marketing, Costuming, Using Fire, 'Tying Off', & much more! Color, VHS" Sorry, no CODs. (BTW, what is "tying off"?)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

“Hi, May I Help You? Today.”

An early 20s PRINCESS is standing at the counter. Her jet black hair is bobbed and face shows minimal, tasteful makeup. Imagine a slimmer Monica Lewinsky—just not as pretty.

She wears leggings, camel-colored faux Ugg boots, and a fitting t-shirt. (Note: this is Chicago, where Uggs and other 2003 trends are just now becoming trendy.) In a nearby chair, we see her yoga mat and a very-faux Hermes BIRKIN bag. (Note: Ibid) Her BARRISTA is another 20-something woman, but our PRINCESS is trying to get the attention of the other barrista, a dreamy ABERCROMBIE MODEL type.

Okay, so which do you prefer? The lemon bar or the gingerbread?

I like both. But, the gingerbread is a holiday favorite. It will go great with your vanilla latte.

Hmmm. I don’t know. (TO ABERCROMBIE WANNABE) Which do you prefer? The lemon bar or the gingerbread? Or something else?

The ABERCROMBIE WANNABE is busy stacking grande size cups. He doesn’t hear her.

If you want something lighter, there are scones …

ROD is standing behind the PRINCESS. He clears his throat. She looks at him and frowns.

That’s just it. I think I want something heavy. But, I just had pilates. Maybe I shouldn’t. (TO ABERCROMBIE WANNABE) What’s your favorite?

ABRCROMBIE WANNABE boy walks by, thousand watt smile.

ROD (to himself)
Is he bleaching? Getting the laser smile? Or is it those Crest strips?

Can I help you with a drink order?

No, she wants to decide on a pastry.

PRINCESS (twisting her hair)
There are so many choices ….

ROD quickly looks at the pastry bar, then her waistline. He makes no judgment.

ABRCROMBIE WANNABE (vapid 100-watt smile)
They’re all great. Can I can help you with a drink order?

PRINCESS (twisting more hair)
That’s just it, I think I want them all but I know I need to make a decision …

ROD (Brooklyn accent thick)
Let’s decide. Today.

Oh, I didn’t know there were others waiting.

Can I help you with a drink order?

Cuckoo for Cocoboyz

The Cocoboyz Diet
Who: Model Pierre "Terry"
What: Eating dinner for two
When: Thursday @ 5:15pm
Where: Canton Express @ Halsted and Belmont
How: Two egg rolls, fried rice, a chicken dish, pot stickers and a Pepsi. The leftovers of another rice/meat dish are seen, too.

Remarks: "Versatile" Pierre Terry is chowing down. Apparently, no “outcalls” are scheduled for the evening. You know what they say about a heavy meal before ...

30-Day Return, Part Dieux

Memo To: Stacie J of The Apprentice 2
From: NYPost
Date: December 2, 2004
Re: Your Party Dress

If you buy a thousand dollar outfit from Bloomys, then return it the next week claiming that it did not fit … try not to be photographed wearing that same BCBG cocktail dress on Page Six.

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 bumping into 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'll be stopping by the Jamba a little bit more on the regular.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

HIV Up in Gay, Bisexual Men

Today is World Aids Day. Maybe just another ribbon-wearing occassion to some, but today some alarming new statistics are making news. According to the CDC, the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections in gay and bisexual men has risen in many U.S. states.

The CDC considered data reported by gay and bisexual men from 32 states. From 2000 through 2003, 11 percent more infections were diagnosed. The study was released to commemorate World AIDS Day.

125,800 diagnoses were reported by these states during the period. Gay and bisexual males accounted for 44 percent of the cases. The data is incomplete: California, New York and 16 other states did not release results. There's some difference of opinion, the rising number of cases on either coast may skew the numbers. But the large number of cases is definitely cause for concern.

Public health experts have warned of a possible resurgence of the epidemic. You'll recall, it eased in the early 1990s following the development of anti-retroviral drugs.

Gay and bi men are believed to account for a majority of the estimated 850,000 to 950,000 Americans living with HIV. [New York Times for more, or go to the UN's website.]