Monday, July 28, 2008

(Almost) Filming, Boredom, and Geeky Conversations: The Weekend Wrap-Up


I chilled out, watched a little WWE Smackdown, the end.


I hung out at Comics and Collectibles for little while, then I attempted to film something, but the boom mic was not working. So near, yet so far. I then caught a 3:50 PM showing of Hellboy 2 at the Malco Paradiso Theatre. Next, I headed back to my side of town. I went to Cici's Pizza and sat at my table again. Afterwards, I called it a night. Man, this is the life.


I was back at Comics and Collectibles for the Geekland Podcast. We basically discussed the comics that we are reading. Yes, I'm a geek. Shoutouts to Justin Vactor, Willie Gilless, and Ben Songer. Check it out at .
I also took place in their entertainment overload podcast. Look for that on iTunes. It was cool. Hell, it was the highlight of my weekend.

This weekend was kind of a bust: no filming, and I learned today that the auditions for a new film being shot in Memphis (N-Secure)were yesterday. I had heard about the film, but I didn't know when the casting call was. I am still hoping that things will get better. I cling to faith and hope because they are all I have. I am down but not out. Be easy, readers!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

RIP Estelle Getty

'Golden Girls' Estelle Getty dies at 84

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Estelle Getty, the diminutive actress who spent 40 years struggling for success before landing a role of a lifetime in 1985 as the sarcastic octogenarian Sophia on TV’s “The Golden Girls,” has died. She was 84.

Getty, who suffered from advanced dementia, died at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at her Hollywood Boulevard home, said her son, Carl Gettleman of Santa Monica.

“The Golden Girls” featured four female retirees sharing a Miami home.

In her early 60s, she flunked her “Golden Girls” test twice because it was believed she didn’t look old enough to play 80.

“I could understand that,” she told an interviewer a year after the show debuted. “I walk fast, I move fast, I talk fast.”

She was prepared for the third audition.

She wore dowdy clothes and telling an NBC makeup artist, “To you this is just a job. To me it’s my entire career down the toilet unless you make me look 80.” The artist did, Getty got the job and won two Emmys.

“The only comfort at this moment is that although Estelle has moved on, Sophia will always be with us,” White said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

“The Golden Girls” culminated a long struggle for success during which Getty worked low-paying office jobs to help support her family while she tried to make it as a stage actress.

“I knew I could be seduced by success in another field, so I’d say, ‘Don’t promote me, please,”’ she recalled.

She also appeared in small parts in a handful of films and TV movies during that time, including “Tootsie,” “Deadly Force” and “Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story.”

After her success in “The Golden Girls,” other roles came her way. She played Cher’s mother in “Mask,” Sylvester Stallone’s in “Stop or My Mom Will Shoot” and Barry Manilow’s in the TV film “Copacabana.” Other credits included “Mannequin” and “Stuart Little” (as the voice of Grandma Estelle).

“The Golden Girls,” which ran from 1985 to 1992, was an immediate hit, and Sophia, who began as a minor character, soon evolved into a major one.

Audiences particularly loved the verbal zingers Getty would hurl at the other three. When McClanahan’s libidinous character Blanche once complained that her life was an open book, Sophia shot back, “Your life’s an open blouse.”

“I always told her she should be a standup comic. She was so funny in person,” McClanahan recalled. “She would always say, ‘Why couldn’t we make these characters Jewish? Why am I Sicilian?”’

Getty had gained a knack for one-liners in her late teens when she did standup comedy at a Catskills hotel. Female comedians were rare in those days, however, and she bombed.

Undeterred, she continued to pursue a career in entertainment, and while her parents were encouraging, her father also insisted that she learn office skills so she would have something to fall back on.

Born Estelle Scher to Polish immigrants in New York, Getty fell in love with theater when she saw a vaudeville show at age 4.

She married New York businessman Arthur Gettleman (the source of her stage name) in 1947, and they had two sons, Carl and Barry. The marriage prevailed despite her long absences on the road and in “The Golden Girls.”

Getty was evasive about her height, acknowledging only that she was “under 5 feet and under 100 pounds.”

McClanahan said her nickname for Getty was “Slats.”

“Because she was so short, itty-bitty,” she said.

In addition to her son Carl, Getty is survived by son Barry Gettleman, of Miami; a brother, David Scher of London; and a sister, Rosilyn Howard of Las Vegas.


Associated Press Writers Robert Jablon and Solvej Schou contributed to this report.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Performances, Filming, and Love (Ugh!): the Wrap-up of Last Week


I got off work, and I rushed to the Hattiloo Theatre ( to catch the taping of "Soul Cities", a new show debuting in the fall on Vh1 Soul. On Wednesday and Thursday, "Soul Cities" was in Memphis. The subject of Wednesday night's show was Tonya Dyson, a local soul singer. I have known Tonya for several years. She is a cool, intelligent young woman. She is also the founder of, a website that lets people know about different events involving soul singers in Memphis. I had forgotten to RSVP, so I thought that I would have to settle for hearing the audio in the lobby. However, as time approached, I saw that all of the RSVP list had not shown up. I then paid an extra $5 and got into the very packed theater. It was a short concert, but Tonya and her band "Green Onions" rocked it!! I enjoyed when they started singing "One More Chance" by Notorious BIG. Tonya even sang a little bit of Biggie's rap. They soon stopped joking around and segued into singing Jill Scott's "A Long Walk" over the Biggie beat. Classic!! Tonya's original songs were also great. Shout out to David, a guitarist in the band. I have seen him playing in different bands around the city. Shout out to fellow actor Nia Glen-Lopez, who was in attendance. Shout out to my friend Dorian (long time, no see), Adrion, Harry Cash, and everybody else who I'm cool with. Shout out to Michael Joyner, formerly of the group Bella Sun. I bought his solo EP. Shoutout also to spoken word artist Hardface. I bought his CD as well. of course, extra special shout out to Executive/Artistic Director of the Hatttiloo Theatre, Ekundayo Bandele. Oh, yeah, Nelson George is the host of "Soul Cities". He is a hip-hop author and is a frequent panelists on talk shows when they discuss hip-hop. After the show, I told him that I enjoyed his book Hip-Hop America. I also told him that I appreciate the way he carries himself, showing them that hip-hop can be intelligent. He probably thinks I'm weird, but I had to tell him that.


I met up with DeAara Lewis and Rod Pitts and filmed something related to the film Tricks. I can't get into detail, but it will probably wind up on the DVD as an extra in the near future. It was good to work with those two again. It was also good to see DeAara's mom again. She's humorous and honest.


I chilled out at home and watched wrestling. Markus needed some alone time.


I got my hair cut in the morning, then I went to my cousin Wysteria's wedding. She married one of my classmates from high school, Charles McGowan. The wedding was packed, and I had to watch from the back. That was a good thing, as it gave me time to recover from the anxiety attacks I almost get at weddings now. I guess my fear of dying alone kicks in. I held it back, for the most part. It was a good ceremony, but then the reception was held at my high school, Fayette-Ware Comprehensive High School. I hate that place. Everywhere I turned, I was reminded of my biggest failures, particularly in the realm of physical confrontations. I went to the bathroom, and memories of being bullied came bak to me. I walk the hallway, bad memories. You get the idea. I was in a bit of a foul mood, and sitting next to my mom didn't help. She began correcting my posture and all this, and I said, "Mama, I love you to death, but I'm grown." Yeah, I was probably wrong, so what? I also saw girls that I thought were cute, but didn't care for me. Some were still cute, and stll didn't care for me. I didn't speak to a lot of people because we weren't cool back then, so what's the point of faking now? I did speak to Wysteria and Charles and helped clean up. Yay love.

I went back home, changed clothes, and I watched The Dark Knight. I enjoyed it a lot, but, boy, is it dark!! That movie was a little disturning. Heath Ledger went all out as Joker. As an actor, I was a little jealous, but then I began to wonder about the effects of getting that deep into a character. I thought the film was a little long, but I gave it 4.5/5 on


I took part in 3 podcasts at Comics and Collectibles. I was on the Geekland Podcast (, the Entertainment Overload Podcast, which is free on itunes, and a special Batman Podcast. Shout out to Justin Vactor, Willie, and Ben. We talked comcis, argued TV shows, and they gave me crap for not giving The Dark Knight a five-star rating. Check those shows out when you can.

Afterwards, I went over my good friend Shomari's house and watched the WWE pay-per-view event, Great American Bash.

As of right now, I am scheduled to shoot additional scenes for a film tentatively titled What I Love About Concrete (working title), a film I started last year. Hopefully, my smaller size will not disrupt continuity too much. Be easy, readers!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Ol' Jessie Jackson and Other Racial Matters

Sometimes, I feel that the word African-American is synonynmous with the terms "displaced" and "self-hate". "Displaced" because we were stolen from our homeland, and it seems that several Caucasian people still don't want us here. You know, the Ku Klux Clan, Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, and several unaffiliated Caucasians who just don't like African-Americans, but don't feel the need to organize with others who share their hate. I have also heard that a lot of Africans have a lesser opinion of African-Americans. I'm not sure if that's entirely true, but in my mind, that means that African-Americans aren't truly accepted anywhere. Many people don't want us here, and "Going Back to Africa", a favorite saying of many racists over the years, isn't really an option, either.

The term "self-hate" comes in when I see the way African-Americans rob and kill each other. I also think "self-hate" is manifested in the "crabs in a barrell" mentality that I have seen affect many African-Americans. They don't want to work to succeed, or haven't been able to suceeed, but they can't be happy for you. Case in point, the statement that Jesse Jackson made about Barack Obama recently. Okay, I'll try to clean it up. Jesse Jackson stated between commercial breaks on a news show that he feels that Barack Obama "talks down to Black people". He also stated that he wanted to cut his "testicles" off. Okay, I had lost respect for Jesse Jackson and his "glory hog" partner Al Sharpton long ago, but this is an all-new low for the good Reverend Sound-Bite. This is clearly jealousy because Obama is about to do what Jesse never could: Secure the Democaratic Party nomination. Not only was this a totally inappropriate thing to say, it was also reckless. There are unwritten codes of behavior called "Man Laws". In my neck of the woods, if you threaten to cut off a part of a man's genitalia, you had better be prepared for a physical encounter. Normally, you couldn't say that to another man's face, and then walk away. In my mind, Jackson's statement was akin to challenging Obama to a "duel", substituting the white glove slap across the face for an inflammtory statement. Honestly, if Jesse Jackson said something like that about me, we could not be within a 10-mile radius of each other. Lord forgive me, but I would view him as a threat to my livelihood. He would have to be dealt with in the most efficient manner. I am not advocating murder, I am not that savage, but we would most certainly have to "take it outside", so to speak.

It saddens me that even our leaders are not immune to the "self-hate" and jealousy that has plagued and hindered African-Americans for centuries. It is not enough for other races to hate us and wish us the worst, we have to deal with cancers from within. I've seen it all my life. It seems that several African-Americans, like Mr. Jackson, are happy as long as someone doesn't "outdo" them. Maybe I'm a dreamer (and I'm not the only one), but I always believed that if a leader is elected,makes good on most of his promises,and is a positive force for unity, then that would be good for all of his constituents, whether African-American or not. I don't know if Obama can pull off everything he talks about. I do believe, however, that he will fight for that change with his dying breath. I feel that his potential success could be beneficial for several people. Sadly, Mr. Jackson does not share this belief.

The one glimmer of hope I have is that this incident could be the catalyst for Jesse Jackson to fade away from the spotlight. Honestly, I think that he has outlived his usefulness and that his heart is simply not in "the struggle". I am also glad that it has shown several formerly steadfast Jackson supporters his true colors. Hi, Mom, that sentence was about you. At the end of the day, African-Americans are going to have to realize that before we can ever overcome racism and the hatred of others, we are going to have to learn to truly love one another, encourage one another, and forgo any foolish thoughts of envy. Time wasted on envy and contempt is time better spent on positive pursuits, whether for personal gain or collective growth. I would think that a "seasoned inidvidual" like Jesse Jackson would know that. Hopefully, this "old dog" will learn a new trick, and not be the "false prophet" that I believe him to be. Jealousy and hate slows progress, and sometimes causes you to look like an idiot. Be easy, readers.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Block Parties, Jookin, and Pay-Per-Views: The Weekend Wrap-Up


I went home, watched wrestling, chilled out.


I went to the Comics and Collectibles. I had just missed Justin Vactor and my chance to be on the Geekland Podcast. Shout out to Justin Vactor, Willie, and the other guy, I apologize for forgetting your name( I talked to them about comics for a minute, and Justin came back by the shop. They plan on doing a show on Sunday, and I plan to be there.

After that, I went to a block party sponsored by the Hattiloo Theatre. They had a lot of good acts. It was hot, but I enjoyed myself. The Hattiloo Theatre is the only Black Repertory Theatre in Memphis. Shout out to the Director of Hattilloo, Ekundayo Bandele. Also, shout out to my man Eric, who used to host spoken-word nights back in the day. It was good to see him again. Shouts out also to Rodney Lomax, an old friend, and to others who I met up with. I saw a few people that I hadn't seen in years. The acts were good, too. Tonya Dyson, a local soul singer, was awesome, as was Stephanie Bolton, who recently started singing gospel. I bought her EP for $7. A review is coming. Valerie June was also good. I bought her EP. Again, a review is coming. She sings folk songs. After her set, the DJ played "New Soul" by Yael Naim. This song was on an Apple commercial a while back. He played a lot of good songs, like "I Don't Believe in Magic" by Womack and Womack. That's some old-school black music, if you don't know what that is. The last act was a band named Fictive Kin. Their songs were bluesy. Shout out to Patrick Henry, who was the lead in the Pittstop Productions film What Goes Around. His business is near the Hattiloo. He mainly works as a tailor and a caterer. It was good to see Pat. Later, a short distance from the Hattiloo, some guys started doing graffiti, and some other guys started playing music. One of the guys called himself Los. He directed a local film called Chapters. He has some buzz, and I think some major film people want to give him money. He knows my good buddy Steve Fox, who I also ran into for the first time this year. Steve Fox is a local poet/rapper. We chit-chattted, and I discussed my frustrations with my career and other things. He suggested I write about it. He plans to write soem screenplays as well. The second set was cool, too. Dancers from the U Dig Jookin' Academy ( performed. They breakdanced, jooked (Memphis dance), crumped (California dance), and one guy was "tumbling", I guess. He kept rolling on the ground. He would make a slight impact when he hit the ground, but he would roll into it and keep moving. It was cool, it was a nice traditional "hip-hop" environment, but with a Memphis twist. Later, I copped two of Steve Fox's albums: The first, Truth Serum,is a spoken-word project. The second, Love Language, is hip-hop over jazz beats. After that, I went home.


I went to see Hancock . The ending was a little hard to follow, but it was okay. Will Smith is, well, Will Smith. Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron did good jobs. After that, I went home for a minute, then I went over my good buddy Shomari Gant's house and watched a wrestling pay-per-view.

I thought that I would be filming something this weekend, but plans fell through. I have an audition on Thursday. Hopefully, it will lead to something. Be easy, readers!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Karaoke, Get-Togethers, and fireworks:The 4th of July Weekend Wrap-Up


I got off work, went to Flasback's and hung out with local actors Forrest Pruett, Kristin Ackerman, Travis Stone, Jenn Morris, and Jon Sparks. It was good to see Stone, Jenn, and Sparky again. I only sang two songs at karaoke: "Free Falling" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar Mellencamp. I was sleepy, so I went home.


I got up, went to Comics and Collectibles (shout out to Donnie and Ron) and geeked out for a few minutes. After that, I went to Kroger and bought some grilled chicken pieces for the barbecue at my boy Shomari's mom's house. Most of the gang came by: Shomari, Terra Hollis, Denna Greer, Donovan, Will, Mario, Jamaica, Gerald, and others. We watched Aliens vs. Predator, Aliens vs. Predator:Requiem, and The Boondocks: Season Two on DVD. I started getting sleepy, so once again, I went home.


I got up, got my hair cut, and argued with my barber about the NBA. It's a tradition, now. I went back home and took a nap for a while, then I got up and went to the comic book store again. I was hoping that the guys who do the Geekland Podcast would be there, but I guess that they took the holiday off. Wasted gas. I went back home, went to sleep again, then I went over Arnold Edwards II and Dayna Hinkel's home for another cookout. Hardy McNeese, Dedrick Bullard, Glen Ring, his girlfriend, and my buddy Jarrod and his brother came. It was great to see everybody because I hadn't seen most of them since the screening of Arnold's film, Curbside Confessions. I was in that film, too. Yay me!! We chilled out, argued about films, TV, comics, and other things. Shomari and Arnold work in the same department at Fed Ex, so he and his cousin Gerald showed up for a little while, too. They were also playing Rock Band. I sang two songs before I left: "In Bloom" by Nirvana, and "Wanted, Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. By 11:45, I had to get home. I went to Wal-Mart and bought some groceries, then I went home and went to bed.


I got up and went to McDonald's for a chicken biscuit. I had the craziest experience. I ordered the meal and I asked to substitute an orange juice for the cofee that comes with it. The exchange went like this:

Woman at McDonald's: "Just say you want it with orange juice. We don't substitute nothing."

Me: "But the sign says substitute."

Woman: "We don't substitute nothing."

Me: "But the sing right behind you says substitute orange juice or another drink for coffee for an additional fee. I'm not talking out of my head!"

I should've let it go, but darn it, I can only take so much ignorance!! I pray that this woman does not breed.

I went back home, and chilled out until about 4:45 PM. I went to the Cordova Cinema in the hopes of seeing Hancock. One of the projecters that was supposed to be showing that film broke, so they crammed everybody into one screening, and it was full. I decided to see the 5:20 screenng of Wall-E instead. I loved the film!! Wall-E is the last cleaning robot still functioning on a deserted Earth in the future. The humans send a female robot (Eve) to investigate things, and she discovers Wall-E and a plant, indicating that humans can come back to Earth. Wall-E stows away on the ship that picks her up, and winds up on the space station where humans live. It is another solid, funny, heartwarming, Pixar cartoon. I really felt for Wall-E. He kept trying to impress Eve, but she was focused on her mission. The robot love was cute. I gave it 4/5 stars on

I may be an extra in a film this week. The film scene is still moving slow right now. I keep hearing about things, so HOPEFULLY, things will pick up. Be easy, readers!!