Monday, August 28, 2006

The Last Blueberry, Movies, Karaoke and Filming:The Weekend Wrap-Up


I got a call from casting guru Lisa Lax informing me that they needed extras on My Blueberry Nights at 11:30 that night. Of course I said yes. My Tricks castmates Keenon(not Nikita) and DeMarco were there. Jamie, the AD who placed the extras, said that he had been asking about me. I told him I had been at the day job. I chilled out with Zakoma, a dude named Antoine, and the twins Carmela and Camilla. They graduated from the same high school that I did, good ol' Fayette-Ware Comprehensive High School in Fayette County. That's outside of Memphis, for all of you city slickers. We tripped out, chatted, and listened to music. Shout out to them and shout out to Merenda, a theater actress who plans to move to New York. Good luck. I was only used on set twenty minutes. That was fine with me. $60 for hanging out, that's my idea of a good time.


Went to the comic book store, saw Idlewild. It was predictable, but cool. I also went to Jordan's and engaged in some karaoke hijinks. I was joined by Jen Morris (Delusions, Arrogant Dead People), Forrest Pruett (Unholy Terror, Heist), and the GREAT Travis Stone (Ray, Arrogant Dead People). I performed "Nuttin' But a G Thang" with Ritchie "The Mayor of Frayser" Pierce, then later I performed "Friends In Low Places" by Garth Brooks, and I helped out another guy who performed Kanye West's "Gold Digger". I sang Jamie Foxx's part. I also joined in the Electric Slide when someone perfomed the song. Forrest Pruett sang "In the End" by Linkin Park. The karaoke host Tony aka Superman did the rap. Forrest also dueted with another girl on Evanescense's "Bring Me To Life". The Mayor did his version of "Country Boys Can Survive"(Frayser Boys Can Survive) . Travis Stone performed "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". Good times.

My call time on Tricks was 8 AM. It was cool to be back on set. Deneka Lewis, DeAara Lewis, Raven, Nia, Ladonna, and Daniel were there, as was the soundman Czarchus and the big homie Rod Pitts. I hadn't seen Rod in a minute. April Hale (The Survivor, Imagine) was there, and Christian from the group Free Sol. My first scene involved me and one of the older "tricks". I ask her to do a move that she doesn't know, and she gets frustrated with me. I hope it's funny. I tried to bring that Markus Seaberry style to it. I just hung out with the rest of the extras, talking music and other stuff. We had a Hurricane Katrina transplant there, too. He let us know how crazy it was there. After that, I picked up the homeboy Bryan and we saw Idlewild. I know, twice in one weekend. Hey, I gotta get out the house sometime!

Finally, I made another trip to Jordan's for more karaoke. I only performed one song, Five for Fighting's "100 Years". Forrest Pruett was there and Joe Smith (Delusions, Divine Manipuation of the Threads) was bartending. I was sleepy, so I cut out before my next time on stage.

I am trying to enjoy this week and do as much as I can before I am back on the dreaded "Second Shift". Be easy, readers.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Roller Coaster That is My Life

Yesterday, the boss lady informed me that rather than hire a replacement for my assistant who is leaving, I will go back to the 2nd shift. I put on a brave front, but I was bummed. That means Monday-Thursday from 1PM-10PM and Friday and Saturday from 9AM-1PM. I've done it before, but I had gotten used to being free in the evening. I will be forced to being a "weekend warrior" for a while.

Later, I get a call from photographer/filmmaker Tommy "The Future" Kha, asking me to be an extra in Team Picture. I showed up at an art gallery and got my extra on. Andrew Nenninger (Bright Sunny South) was the director. I knew him from the Media Co-op. Location scout supreme David Merrill also came through to be an extra, as did Nicki Newburger, who worked with me on Dollars and Signs. She says that Brandon has a few ideas that I may get to be a part of. She also asked me why I didn't write my own stuff. I know I should. I've just been battling burnout for most of the year. I also ran into another actress from Dollars and Signs. She said that she does this for fun, and she's not serious about it; she has better things to do. Of course, I said that I am serious about it. Of course, she had a speaking part. It was hot because the air conditioning was off because of the sound (story of my life), and some people drank a little too much wine, but it was cool. It was also cool to see Tim, who was one of the costars of Dollars and Signs. I made sure to leave a business card with Andrew. Maybe I can speak in his next project.

Next, I went to the karaoke spot. It was slow, but I got in right before they closed and dazzled the three people in attendance with my rendition of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" I do what I can.

Tonight, I will be back on My Blueberry Nights. Lisa Lax called and told me that the call time is 11:30 PM. That means I won't get out until Saturday afternoon. Hopefully, I can still do my cameo in Blue Tail Fly, but I will probably miss Sparky ( in the worm-eating contest. It's a promotion for the film adaptation of the popular children's book (and kickbutt CBS Storybreak cartoon) How to Eat Fried Worms. Good luck, Sparky!!
Sunday, I will rejoin the production Tricks, but this time as an actor. I play Chester, who has a humorous encounter with a prostitute. Good times, people. Be easy, readers.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Karaoke Chronicles:8/23/06

I made my way to Jordan's once again for more karaoke hijinks. My first song was Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life". It was a small crowd, so I went for it. Forrest Pruett (Heist, Almost Made) sang Interstate Love and something else. I came back later and sang Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why", as a tribute to my costar on My Blueberry Nights. Okay, more like she was the star and I was the extra, but you know what I mean!! Lina Fritsche (Curbside Confessions) sang "Tourniquet" by Evanescence. She sings Evanescence songs better than that chick in the group. Lina says that she is going out for American Idol next week. I may be a Production Assistant that day. I hope she gets selected. Enough of these pop-tart teeny-bopper singers. The Idol competition needs some grown-ass contestants. Be easy, readers.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

In Remembrance

While I was on the set of "My Blueberry Nights", I recieved a call from my good friends Chet Reid and Germaine from St. Louis. They told me that Cameron, a guy who I had hung out with in Memphis, was ran over by a crazy girlfriend or ex-girlfriend. They said that he was brain dead for 22 days until his parent pulled the plug. Cameron was an energetic, funny guy. He was an artist and occasional rapper. I hadn't seen him in a while, but that messed me up. I am saying RIP to a good brother and I am praying for his family.

I also received news about the death of Sean Lashley on Friday. Sean worked at Spin Street, a record store here in Memphis. Sean loved music and film, kinda like me. When I first met him, we were arguing about the Roots' latest release, Phrenology. I dismissed him as just another thuggish rap fan, but about a week later, we had a long conversation about music, and I saw that he had broad interests and was versatile. We had mutual friends in the music and film world. Ironiclally, I was alerted to his demise through a Myspace post. I nearly broke down when I got to the funeral and saw his body. I spoke to his grandparents and other friends of his. I had no idea of all of his accomplishments in music and broadcasting. I also had no idea of his strong faith in God. I wish I had had more time to get to know this brother, because he impacted a lot of people.

RIP to Cameron and Sean....I'll see you when I get there. Be easy, readers.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Role....

I went to the FABA bash (For Artists By Artists) and chilled out for a bit yesterday. Shout out to actor/director Timm Scalita, Cherina Black (Love of Angels, Shane) and her fiancee, my fellow My Blueberry Nights extra Lindsay, and the great bands like Breaking the Cage. I was too tired to stay long, but it was cool. I also saw Glen Ring (Dollars and Signs, PA Pretender) and I taped a little bit for Jon Sparks' ( entry into the next Lil'Film Fest. The theme is kung fu. Jon is approaching it from a totally different angle. You'll have to come to the next Lil' Film Fest. Be easy, readers.

My Jordan's Karaoke Performances

Friday Night:
I start off with a pretty good rendition of "Come Together" by the Beatles. I knocked them dead later with my version of Rick James' "Super Freak".

I perfomed "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" by the Georgia Sattelites, then later I ended my night with Luther Vandross' "Stop to Love". I did much better on this song than my ill-fated attempt at Luther's hit "Superstar".

Norah's Smile, David's Gait, and Rachel's Left Hook:On the Set of My Blueberry Nights

Tuesday of last week, I started working on the set of My Blueberry Nights. My favorite vegan, Amy Weatherford, was the PA in charge of extras. Also, my good buddy Lee Mauney (Delusions, Mail Call) was a stand-in for David Straitharn of Good Night and Good Luck fame. Dana Terle (Heart and Strings, Team Picture) was a stand-in for Norah Jones. Most of the extras were pretty cool. It was a lot of long hours filming bar scenes at Earnestine and Hazel's downtown. By the end of the shoot, Wong Kar-Wai was calling me by name, as was Jamie, the guy who positioned extras. I worked from 12:30 PM-3AM. Kar-Wai decided to have my character motion toward Rachel Weisz (The Mummy) and leave out. The scene continued. From about 10:45 PM until 3 AM, I was on the street chilling. That's the business. At least, Norah Hones smiled at me and David Straitharn showed Lee Mauney and I his drunken stumble. David's character is a bit of a drinker. Earlier, I shot a scene with Frankie Faison, who was the landlord in Coming to America. He was talking and I had to nod my head or make faces. I was supposed to be drunk, and so was this other girl, Efia. It turns out that Efia is the twin sister of my buddy Mario Lindsey's girlfriend, Tatiana.

Wednesday, I get a call at 7 PM asking me how soon can I be on set. I made it by 7:30 PM and worked until 6AM. That day, we started shooting the scene where Rachel Weisz slaps David Straithartn repeatedly. Very intense. We kept shooting multiple scenes in the bar. Our different shirts and outfits were labeled by nights, like Night 2, Night 4, etc. Kar-Wai kept revisiting scenes. He is very detailed and analytical. We would revisit different nights quite often.

Saturday, I returned to set at 7 PM and worked until noon the next day. I was dead on my feet. Near the end, I was sitting at the bar close to Frankie Faison and Norah Jones, two very cool actors. Norah Jones even told a corny joke: How do you turn into a duck into a soul singer? Leave him in the microwave until his bill withers. Get it? Bill Withers? She fanned me and Keenon (Tricks) and left her battery-operated fan for us. She even started using some technique to fan us with her hand fan. I gave her a 9.5. She made the unbearable heat (air conditioning disrupts sound) and fatigue bearable. Adrian Lennox (Black Snake Moan) was also very cool. She is from Memphis and she plays a waitress. She was very friendly. She and Frankie carried on like brother and sister. Our last scene on Sunday was Rachel Weisz' last scene. They broke out champagne, and Keenon was taking pictures with his camera phone. It was real cool.

I enjoyed the experience. Shout out to Keenon, Efia, Tatiana (who was also on set), Camilla, Carmela, Zakoma, Kim Moore, Dana Terle, Bear, Merenda, Christian, Andy, Lindsay, Amy Weatherford, Naseera Lewis, Antoine, Jerry Kimble, and all the other extras who I hung out with. I think we did a good job. It was long hours, but it was still fun. Shout out again to the crew: Jamie, Sean, and the ladid that sprayed me with water and lotioned my hand when I had to pass money to Frankie Faison. Also, the lady who kept giving me napkins when I was sweaty and the fan lady. You people were awesome. I can't wait to see the movie...and my check. Be easy, readers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

From the Hotel to the Riverfront to the Woods: Yet Another Weekend Wrap-Up

I chilled out. Shout out to Perkins for the All-You-Can-Eat Catfish.

I worked on DeAara Lewis' film Tricks. My shoot for A Cop, a Snitch and a Stripper Named Shane was canceled (one tear). Once again Ladonna, Nia, Raven and Deneka Lewis, and Czarchus the soundman were on crew. We shot scenes that involved Jon Sparks (Sex and Death, Delusions), April Hale (The Survivor, Imagine), Deneka, and other Healing Touch ladies. What is Healing Touch, you may ask? See the movies, no freebies here. I helped set up and I also ran into a Healing Touch girl named Tammy (not sure of the spelling) that says that she read my blog. Around 1 PM, I broke out to run a few errands and to go home and get some rest for my shoot on Curbside Confessions. I made it to Arnold's house by 6:50 PM. I rode down to the riverfront area with Aaron Jones (PA Pretender). Arnold's girlfriend Dayna Hinkle(Divine Manipulation of the Threads)and Hardy McNeese were on crew. I got to (briefly) drive a sweet ride owned by Michael McClendon (Slow Down You're Dating Too Fast, The Garden). It was a good scene, and I hated when it ended because it ended my scenes for the movie. Afterwards, Aaron, Dayna, Arnold and I went to the store and hung out at Arnold's watching Robot Chicken Season One. It rocks!!!

I made my way to Midtown to a home shared by members of Alien Head Productions to be in And the Dead Shall Walk. I was originally going to be a zombie, but I wound up being a victim. We shot in Shelby Forest. My character was eaten alive, so to simulate that, I had to get messy. A lot of fake blood and organs that were really food products. As the bugs had their way with my flesh and the dirt got to me, I realized that I must be a little bit crazy to do this for free. I also must really love filmmaking. The dirt and uncomfortable feelings will all be worth it if the scene looks good. They said that it did. Shout out to Alien Head and my fellow victim and the rest of the zombies. They were cool people.

I am a little bummed because My Blueberry Nights has not called me. Hopefully, I will get a call before they move to the next town. Be easy, readers.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Auditioning, Crew Work, and Employment Drama

On Tuesday, I auditioned for Wendy Williams' film. I believe that the film will be shot in New York, but they are auditioning people in various cities. I felt good about the audition. Unfortunately, I did not have the $20 fee on me. The $20 would have taken care of my travel arrangements should I make the finals. If I am selected for the finals now, it will be on me to get to New York. I will find a way. Shout out to Ashley Haralson and Mina Knox, two actresses that I have worked with before that were auditioning.

On Wednesday, I was a grip on the movie Tricks. DeAara Lewis is the writer, star, and director. The homeboy Rod Pitts ( is Director of Photography, and the rest of the crew was Deneka Lewis, Raven Lewis, Czarchus on sound, LaDonna, and our set designer, Nia. We filmed at Java, Juice, and Jazz on Elvis Presley. It was hot, because, as always, A/C would distort our sound. We also had people trying to come in. There were sirens blazing, and very loud and rowdy conversations. We made it through.

Thursday, an employee at my job was escorted out by security. Also, somebody snitched to my boss that I was late the last two days and she sent me an email about "it has come to my attention"....Well, it has come to my attention that she can go to hell with gasoline undergarments on!!!!! Man, this acting stuff needs to work!!! Corporate servitude is wearing thin.

Tomorrow, I should be working on two films: A Cop, a Snitch, and a Stripper Named Shane, and Curbside Confessions. Just what I need, some play-acting to take my mind off the bullcrap that has invaded my reality. Be easy, readers.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Auditions, Karoke, Filming: Weekend Wrap-Up

I auditioned for My Blueberry Nights. Lisa Lax, the casting director, said that I was good, but I was moving out of frame. Hopefully, I can at least be an extra, if nothing else. Getting paid to act is the coolest. I ran into Naseera Lewis (What Goes Around), Trent Dee (21 Grams, Divine Manipulations of the Threads), and Anthony Bocco. I also ran into actor/filmmaker Timm Scalita (Heart +Strings, Last Call Lovin') and actress Cherina Black (Love of Angels, A Cop, A Snitch, and a Stripper Named Shane). I ran into a young lady named Kim who is a theatre student at the University of Memphis. She is a phenomenal theatre actess and she is trying her hand at the film game. I wish her the best.
Later, I went to Jordan's for karoke. My first song was Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dyin". Later, I tried the Ohio Player's "Love Rollercoaster". Next, I teamed with Ritchie "The Mayor of Frazier" Pierce (Almost Made, Sex and Death) and performed "Nuttin' But a G Thang". My last solo number was Sugar Ray's "Every Morning". Then, I teamed with another Jordan's regular, Uncle Ricki, for Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate".

I didn't really have any plans, so I went to Oak Court Mall, went to the comic book store, and chilled out. I called Rod Pitts ( on a whim, and he informed me that there was a wrap party/get-together at the home of director/actor Keenon Nikita's mother. I told him that I would be there. I saw Miami Vice at the Paradiso. Good film, but the ending seemed a little rushed. After that, I went down to Peabody Place and chilled out, bought a few things I didn't need, like a Boondocks t-shirt and the debut album of my favorite rapper, Common. It's called Can I Borrow a Dollar? I had to have it for the collection.
After all that merriment, I had to pick Rod up from the Gibson Guitar Factory, where he had been photographing a fashion show. I heard it was the bomb. A lot of Pittstop Productions people were involved in the festivities. I was trying to budget. After navigating several one-way streets and closed roads, I finally made it to the Gibson and we rolled out to Keenon's mom's house. It was cool. I heard I missed an appearance by THE Travis Stone (Ray, Delusions), but it was okay. Until Rod told me we had an 8AM call time on Tricks the next day. He said that he had forgotten. Thanks, bro! You're the greatest! Needless to say, we called it a night.


I overslept a little, but I rushed to get decent, and by the time I made it to Rod's house, he was already at the location. He told me to get some lights from his crib. I made it to the police station on the U of M campus. We shot a jail scene. Actor/writer/director of Tricks, DeAara Lewis, was there, as was her sister Raven and our sound man, Czarchus. Deneka Lewis, another Lewis sister, was in a scene along with Jon Sparks ( Sparky's lovely wife was also there, along with Tommy Kha aka Song for photography. It was good to see the little smart aleck. We talk bad to each other, but I think there's some respect there...maybe. I think I may have upset Sparky's wife with my assessment of Lifetime. I called it the Whiny Chick Channel Feminists, please don't protest or take off your bras and burn them in front of me....wait a minute, what am I saying? Okay, back to the shoot, it was quick, it was fun, and we bid adieu to the Sparks and moved on to J2, a clothing store on Highland. The scene there involved DeAara's character and the male lead played by another Keenon (not Nikita). The owners graciously let us use the store on the day it was closed. I had to get on a chair and a phone book with LaDonna holding it to plug this light in. I got a slow clap for my efforts and a quick on-camera interview with Rod for my efforts. I am so glad I didn't fall, because Rod can be evil with the camera. The shoot was hot because we couldn't run air conditioning because of sound issues. Also, one of the gels started smoking under this softbox light. I yelled, "Hey, it's burning" and had to watch the light. Rod and DeAara kindly admonished me for yelling. We didn't want the owners kicking us out. We made it through the shoot, and then we rolled to the Shelby County Justice Department headquarters aka "201 Poplar" for a quick scene with Deneka. After that, Rod and I rolled back to his side of town, got some energy drinks and flavored water from Walgreen's (Yay!! Walgreens!!!) and called it a night.

Today, me and my wrestling crew are going to a live broadcast of the WWE's "Monday Night Raw". I love my wrestling. It should be fun. I can feel the excitement in the air. Oh, yeah, shout out to Deneka Lewis for saying she read my blog and that she thought it was funny. Be easy, readers.

Friday, August 04, 2006

From the Ashes: My Overlooked Screenings

Let's start with the screening of Dollars and Signs at the Brooks Museum. When I first arrived, it seemed to be the "upper-crust" crowd. I was a little uneasy in my black t-shirt with the red, yellow, and green lion on it with camouflage Nikes, but I had to be me. The Elvis impersonator (and the wine) seemed to draw a big crowd. I like the King as much as the next fella, but I felt like this guy was gonna do everys song. I was a little tired of "The King" (Elvis fans, please don't send me hatemail or hold candlelight vigils outside my house). Half the crowd dispersed when the action shifted outside for a performance from the Beale Street Flippers. Nice kids, cool act. That lasted all of ten minutes, and by the time we got to the actual screening, a fourth of the original crowd was there. I did see Lisa Sanchez (Slow Down You're Dating Too Fast, Divine Manipulations) and one other cast member. Nicki Newburger, who assisted director Brandon Hutchison, was there. Brandon was not, because he is in Chicago teaching young kids filmmaking. Very admirable. Once again, my part did not get laughs, but I liked it! I just felt a sense of finality. I feel like the film has run its course. It has had five screenings in Memphis. I appreciate it for what it was. I enjoyed my time on set. I wish everyone involved in that film the best in their future endeavors.

Last night was another disappointment. The screening of Just the Two of Us had, like, twelve to fifteen people in attendance. Director/star Keenon Nikita (The Poor and Hungry), Director of Photography Rod Pitts (, Travis Stone (Ray, Delusions) myself, Walker Morris II and his mother, Ann Banks, and a few of the Bop Dancers from a scene were the only crew in attendance. Hopefully, we'll get selected by Indie Memphis. I purchased the DVD. Shotout to Shawn Carter for showing up. She is a friend of Dog Day Entertainment. Unfortunately, she is also a fan of some rap groups that I think are ignorant, but I'll try not to hold that against her...much.

I am disappointed, but my spirit is not broken. If anything, I feel more committed than I have in a long time. I have battled burnout and frustration this year, and I have thought about quitting the acting game. Of course, my next thought is what will I do with myself? I still feel good when I see my name on, or when I see a trailer, and I love question and answer sessions and addressing fans afterwards. This has always been in me. I've always been a character, and I was blessed with the gift of gab. I've always been a performer. It's a part of my genetic makeup. To paraphrase Jay-Z, I can't leave acting alone, the game needs me! I will rise from the ashes of this dissapointment like a phoenix. I will fly. I will rise above the disappointment and adversity. I believe that I am a darn good actor. To quit now would be a disservice to myself. I will come back even harder. I will not lose. I am one of the most captivating, electrifying entertainers in the Memphis independent film game today. If I may be arrogant, I think that I am the best thing to happen to the motion picture industry since the invention of talking movies. I am King Indie. This is my city. Roll with the King, or get rolled over. I have a chip on my shoulder, and a point to prove. Prepare for the takeover. You've been warned. Be easy, readers.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

And Now, a Passionate Plea

Okay, dear readers, you know I try to promote everything I'm in, and I try to support the indie film movement in my beloved M-Town as a whole. But I am asking those of you who are on the fence about seeing "Just the Two of Us" on this Thursday at 7 PM at Studio on the Square to PLEASE come see this movie. It is a touching, heartwarming, semi-autobiographical tale of The relationship between Nic Peeples (Keenon Nikita) and his daughter, Ashley (Hannah Johnson, Selina Nell Haley). You see the ups and downs they endure as his character realizes that the fame he desperately seeks means nothing without his daughter in his life. The tagline is "When love is everywhere but where you look". This is a great film. Keenon Nikita is not only the male lead, he is also the director and coeditor of the film along with Rod Pitts (, who was also the Director of Photography. We also have several talented local actors in the film: Travis Stone (Ray, Arrogant Dead People), Jon Sparks (Delusions, Divine Manipulations of the Threads), April Hale (The Survivor, Imagine), Lavita Brooks (What Goes Around, Divine Manipulations of the Threads), myself, Learyn Wilde (Across the River, What Goes Around), Jason Dancy (The Survivor, Imagine), Trent Dee (21 Grams, Divine Manipulations of the Threads), Sarah Ewell (Shutter, Eat), and others. For a full list of cast and crew please visit .

This film was a huge task particularly for Keenon, Rod, and myself. We spent several days on the set trying to make it happen, dealing with delays, schedule conflicts, actors dropping out of the production, and several other mishaps. It became a three-year journey. However, I think we all grew from the experience. There were days that didn't go so well, and days that would get us down, but those moments when the lighting, sound, and acting were all in perfect sync, seemed to wash away the trials and tribulations. I strongly believe in this film and what it represents: The beautiful loving relationship between a father and his daughter no matter what the circumstance. So with that being said, I urge you to view Just the Two of Us, this Thursday at Malco's Studio on the Square at 7 PM. The admission is $15. We are trying to send this to as many film festivals as we can. I am thanking you in advance for your support. Be easy, readers.