Friday, March 16, 2007

Coverman-John Amaechi

By now most of you know that I have a secret crush on recently out of the closet former NBA player, John Amaechi. I mean, who wouldn’t? He’s tall, dark and handsome and that accent is so sexy. So you can imagine my surprise when last week I went to my mailbox to find my latest issues of The Advocate with none other than that sweet teddy bear himself on the COVER! I have to say I was in “seventh heaven”!

The article is an interview with journalist, Anne Stockwell. He goes into detail about why most male athletes in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB will wait until leaving their career as ball players to take the step and come out of the closet. Coming out the closet isn’t easy for anyone, let alone for someone who makes their living in the testosterone-charged industry of professional athletics. Either way, I applaud him for his courage and bravery.

In the article he goes on to say that there are still working professional athletes today that live in the closet and fear exposure and lost of endorsement dollars. I believe he’s right. I believe in visibility but not at the expense of putting yourself in jeopardy of loosing one’s source of income.

It’s a very interesting article and if you have not read it, pick it up or go to the website to catch up on it. I can’t wait to read his new book, “Man in the Middle”. He was actually at a book signing this past Wednesday at Barnes & Noble in the Village. I really, really, REALLY wanted to go but these being extremely lean days for me financially, I couldn’t go. It's hard out there being a struggling college student once again, TRUST ME on that. Anyway, if anyone went to the event, please drop me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How would Ann Coulter liked to be called the "C" word?

I bet she wouldn't like it at all. But I could be wrong. She might even be used to it by now! I know the saying goes "Sticks and Stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me". But is that really true? I think hateful words like the one Ann Coulter used in front of a group of people at the Conservative Political Action Committee last Friday are just as hateful as when someone uses the "N"word! To me, being a black man and a gay man, you can imagine that it's like being stabbed twice in the heart.

Yeah, I could rise above it. But that is easier said than done. All my life I've grown up with people calling me names and I try to ignore them and just see them for the ignorant people they are. But Ann is no ignorant person. She is a smart woman and knows that what she says in public will be talked about for weeks to come. True, we can just ignore her, as I've have done in the past, but that doesn't make the sting go away any sooner.

It's bad enough that hip-hop has consistently used the "N" word for years despite the objections of Black civic leaders and celebrities like Bill Cosby. But does that make the "F" word fair game to be said instead? Hell-to-the-NO! I know that what she said was in reference to the Isaiah Washington incident with the cast of "Grey's Anatomy" at the Golden Globe Awards a few months ago, but why rehash it? Somehow I don't think that by bringing it up again is going to stop people from seeing the political incorrectness of using the word. Especially among a group of so-called "civilized" intellectuals!

John Amaechi (my new hero) said it best when he said "Ann Coulter knows better!" True, but I think that EVERYONE should know better! When will we as a society finally stop the name calling? The sooner we as a people start hurling kind words to one another instead of spewing hateful ones, the sooner the world will start to become a more pleasant place to live.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Move Over Effie White! Miss Nia is Here!

Have you seen this yet? I saw this little girl on "The Today Show". Believe it or not she is only 5-years-old. She wasn't even born yet when this song came out and she is getting down!!!! She is too adorable! I also saw another clip on YouTube of her singing "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday. Call me crazy but there is something rather disturbing about a pre-schooler singing about lynching folks in the deep south. These kids today!?! However, this Earth, Wind & Fire classic she is singing is rather cute. Maybe I should upload some of video projects that I worked on in school to YouTube for all to see? Maybe it can get me a job as a videographer? Comments anyone?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sitting in the Director's Chair

This past weekend I had the pleasure to produce and direct my first PSA. It was an assigned project for my 3rd Quarter Final in Video Production. My professor who assigned it, Professor MacGillivray (the absolute coolest Professor around) had one major requirement that would make it different from our other projects. This time we were to hire professional actors instead of using our classmates as our on-camera talent. The classmates could only work with you as your crew behind the camera. The idea was that we had to learn what it was like to work with professional actors and how to run an audition session. This was a challenge I was ready for.

My PSA was about safe sex. As you may have read in another recent post, I was having a bit of trouble casting two actors to play a gay couple. Needless to say, I found two GREAT actors who would play the roles with respect and dignity. In addition I found three other actors whose instinct and insights into the characters they interpreted from my script was simply MAGICAL! I couldn’t have dream up a better cast. They were all professional, talented and really nice people. Not once did an ego rear it's ugly head during the entire shoot. I hope that they all will become part of the Group Hug Films Ensemble of Actors. After working with them now I’m thinking about writing pieces with them in mind to play the characters.

I’m at the beginning of forming my production company that I’ve called Group Hug Films because that is the warm feeling I get when I work with nice people who are all there for the common goal of making the best project possible. The name also encompasses the crew that I chose to work with. My crew that I had was just fabulous! We worked together like a well-oiled machine and on top of that we all had fun plus we finished ahead of schedule. I think that because I was so meticulous with my pre-production techniques, we were able to come in under budget. Well actually it really wasn't any budget. I payed for the food on the craft services table with my Food Stamps that I get from Public Assistance. So what if I have to eat rice and beans for the rest of the month! The sacrifices one must make for their art!

I know that many directors like Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Mira Nair, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Waters and Oliver Stone often work with the same crew people for film after film. Most of these relationships started for them in Film School. I hope in my heart of hearts that I will be working with most of my classmates for years to come. In the program that I’m in, we are all in the same group for the entire 18 months of the degree program. Needless to say we’ve become more like a family. With me being the crazy old uncle!

I know that this weekend’s production experience was rare in that it ran so smoothly, but at least it was a good way to spend a Saturday. Hopefully this will set the standard by which all my other future shoots will go by.

Monday, March 5, 2007

The SuperBowl of Film Industry

First of all I just want to say that I finished this entry over a week ago, but I’ve been so busy with pre-production and production of my 3rd Quarter Final project (more on that later) for school, I haven’t had time to post it. Here it is now:

One of my favorite moments watching the 79th Annual Academy Award™ presentation last night was watching the commercials like the Master Card ad with the elephant shopping for his caretaker. It brought a tear to my eye.

Now I really want to see “An Inconvenient Truth” (the Al Gore documentary on environmental issues) when he said, “Global warming isn’t a political issue, it’s a human issue.” I totally know what he means. I really wish people were more concerned about the environment like they are concerned about the burial arrangement of Anna Nicole Smith or what part of her body Britney Spears is shaving “this week”.

I had to say that I love the moment when Melissa Etheridge thanked her wife Tammy Lynn and their children after winning her Oscar for best original song. It was just as natural as any of the straight folks who do the same think when they win. It's all about VISIBILITY!!! Hopefully, one day, it won’t even raise an eyebrow. Speaking of the winning song, I actually, really liked her performance of the song “I Need to Wake Up”. In my book, Ms. Etheridge ROCKS!!!!

The showstopper had to be the original song performance of the nominated songs from Dreamgirls”, “Love You I Do”, “Listen” and “Patience”. The ending of which looked like it was a recreating of a pose from the film itself. Of course I was extremely happy when Jennifer Hudson won for Best Supporting actress for “Dreamgirls.” She is living proof that even if you are a loser on national television on a show like American Idol, you can still succeed. Just like her character sings near the end of the film "But this time Effie White is gonna win!" Well it was all about Ms. Hudson. I'm sure that we will all see great things from her from now on. I can't wait until her album comes out. Hmmm.. I wonder if she'll need a director for her music video? I'm available Jenny!

I have to admit that I was disappointed that Eddie Murphy didn’t win. Of course I was partial to him winning because had he won, he’d would have been the first person (to my recollection) who grew up in Roosevelt, Long Island to ever win an Academy Award. Well it looks like it will be up to me to win it and "represent" my former "hood" in the burbs. But if Eddie had to lose, I’m glad that Adam Arkin won. If you haven’t seen “Little Miss Sunshine”, RENT IT TODAY! I never laughed so hard and Arkin was simply wonderful as the grandpa! Not only did he steal every scene he was in, but it was just too darn funny!!! The talent competition in the film can not be beat!!

I was very moved by Forrest Whitaker’s acceptance speech. I have always thought he was always underrated as an actor. I’m glad that Hollywood has seen beyond the “Charles Jefferson” role he played in one of my favorite flicks “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.

All in all, I thought that it was a great telecast this year. Ellen DeGeneres was funny and on top of her game. I hope she comes back next year to host it again.