Monday, June 22, 2009

Celebrating my Birthday


Hello all,


Today's my birthday. I'm happy to report that I made it through another year. We live in a crazy world, where life can change in an instant (for better or worse). The older I get, the luckier I feel to have the blessing making it through another year on this earth.

This year, I decided I not to go all out. 31 just doesn't seem like I need to party like it's 1999. Maybe that will change for next year.

This weekend, I celebrated my birthday with Natalie Roy (her birthday was June 21st) at the Portuguese restaurant O'Porto, located in Hartford. The food was good, but our service was not. We had one waitress for 17 people, yes, hot mess! Later that night we found out the restaurant also had a party of 60, which is probably why our food took so long to come out, but I feel like the management should have been better prepared and informed of us the issue first hand. Since they did not, I have to say I won't be returning. Despite the lackluster service I still had a good time. It just goes to show you can make lemonade out of lemons.

Although I planned for a low-key birthday, my birthday week is anything but that . On Friday, I received word that my script After the Headlines was selected in the Action on Film (AOF), International Film Festival (as part of their screenwriters series), http://www.aoffest.com/. AOF has been tauted as one of the 25 best US film festivals worth the fees according to MovieMaker Magazine. The Festival runs from July 24 to July 31, 2009. Scenes from my screenplay have been filmed and will be played at the festival. I want to be there. Now I have to figure out how I'm going to work it into my already packed schedule. I need to find out when they are actually screening the scenes and try to get the time off from work.

On Thursday of this week I will be in Miami, Florida at the Nickelodeon Script Writer's Review. The review is part of the 13th Annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), http://www.abff.com/, a premiere festival for Black filmmakers, writers, producers, and directors. Major sponsors include Allstate and HBO, Inc. The festival offers a variety of panel discussions, workshops, gala screenings, and networking opportunities. I will only be there for a day and half, but I hope to cash in on the networking opportunities. I feel so privileged to be a part of this event.

My writing is finally starting to take me places, I couldn't ask for a better birthday gift. It's proof that I just have to keep on writing. While I haven't written anything new or revised anything old in the last few weeks, I know I have to get back to the work. It's the time I spend alone creating stories, that makes the above opportunities possible. I can't forget that, I won't. Thanks for reading and the well wishes on my birthday:)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Black Man Rising is Back in NYC for an Encore


Around this time last year I was asked to support a small Off Broadway production called Black Man Rising, the stellar play is written by James Chapman. When Lawrence Floyd, a fellow acting colleague, who was cast in the show asked me to contribute I wasn't familiar with the plot, theme or other cast members in the show. Lawrence is a professional actor who is serious about honing his craft, I knew he wouldn't be part of a half-ass production, so I was happy to donate. As a gift I received to complimentary tickets to the show.


I asked my girlfriend Catherine to attend with me. It was a hot and sticky New York City day and the air conditioning (AC) in the theatre's hallway wasn't working. There was a long line of people waiting to see the play. We all were profusely sweating. It was a long wait because another performance was wrapping up in the same theatre. I was a bit peeved, but told myself "I should be used to this, ish happens all the time in theatre world." It was a relief to get into the theatre because the AC was working. It was a packed house, not one empty seat. Production staff had to bring in a few extra chairs to squeeze some folks in.


Like many Off Broadway theatres, it was a small black-box stage. There was no set, just a few blocks. It was plain, but the stage didn't need the immaculate set dressings that come with big budgets and wealthy investors. The actors brought the drama and engaged me from the first line spoken and had me on the edge of my seat until the end of the play. Kudos go out to the director who let each actor shine in his own unique way, yet bring sustenance to their role. I don't want to give the story away, but Black Man Rising is a dynamic play that looks at the lives of Black men and puts you in the middle of their struggles, heartbreak, and triumphs. It's a history lesson on the Black man; you see where he has been and follow him on a journey to where is going.


The play was a hit and received great acclaim and won four awards from the Audience Development Committee, Inc. (AUDELCO). AUDELCO was established in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson to honor excellence in New York African American Theatre through presentation of Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Awards. Black Man Rising reinforces why I love theatre and do what I can to be a part of it whether I'm on the stage or behind the scenes.


It is with pleasure and excitement that I report that the production is back in NYC for a second run beginning July 22, 2009 and ending August 1, 2009. Tickets are only $18, that's a steal. To purchase tickets got to http://www.theatremania.com/ and for more information on Black Man Rising, visit the website at http://www.blackmanrisingtheshow.com/. After the NYC the production wraps, the production will move to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for the National Black Theatre Festival.


This play will be talked about for years to come, so don't miss the movement, be a part of it.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Engaging News

I made it through the hectic and eventful weekend. I'm still recovering, but I feel good about my participation in the 4th Annual Connecticut Film Mixer and the Cab and Lunch Actors Showcase. Both events had a solid turnout. The wonderful, warm weather was an added bonus for me after a week of mostly cloudy skies and rain.

Before I get into my take aways from the events, I feel the need to share some good news in my personal life. I think most of you probably know do to my posts on facebook and twitter, but for those of you who aren't part of the social networking world, Karim and I got engaged! Even though I've been off the market for five years this June, it's now official. I'm really off. No date has been set and details still have to worked out, but I can assure you it will be low-cost and small, but still nice. I'm past the days of when I envisioned the fairy tail wedding. For one fairy tales aren't real, and I refuse to go into debt over the special day. Our day will be special, it just won't cost Karim and I fortune....lol.

Back to my weekend events.

At the mixer I kept myself busy at the registration table making sure registration volunteers were handling guests needs. They did an awesome job managing the tight space we had to work in. I didn't get a chance to be part of the various networking opportunities, but occasionally I walked around and peeked my head into a few panels and other events like the fashion show and open mic for actors. Maybe next year I'll sign up and perform a monologue. The highlight of the event came for me at the end of the night. I was one of the VIP interviews. I was interviewed by Denise Johnson, a multifaceted actress. Denise and I have worked together on a few projects throughout the years. I think the fact that we know each other helped with the interview. She asked me some really good questions about my projects and where I want to go with them. Somewhere down the road I will probably get a copy of that interview. I will definitely share the interview when I get it.

The Cab and Lunch Actors Showcase came and went quickly. I was running late, city traffic on a Sunday caught me of guard and made me about 15 minutes late. Luckily, I didn't miss too much, and Terri, my scene partner filled me in on what I did miss. We had a good audience, and their where some casting people in it. This was my first showcase. Personally, I think I could have had a stronger performance. However, I can't harp on it and just need to move on and move on I shall.

Next up is finishing After the Headlines and gearing up for the first official screening on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at Western Connecticut State University. I will have more details in another posting. I'm so thrilled about it, despite the fact that I need to finish the post on it. I'll be meeting with the editor in a couple of weeks to see his edits. Yeah! I have much to do between now and August 4. It's going to be a busy summer, I just hope I don't miss the magic of the season.