Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the first Thanksgiving I have ever celebrated without seeing my Mother...she went down to Philadelphia to spend it with her best friend, Sylvia. It felt really weird not sharing this day with her. I spent the better part of my morning cooking the remainder of my dinner and finished about 1:30 this afternoon. I roasted a chicken and made potato salad, cole slaw, macaroni & cheese and collard greens with smoked turkey....yummy! I drove up to The Bronx to spend some time with my sister and her children...my two youngest nephews Devin & Lonnie are growing up so nicely and my oldest nephew Darren is turning out to be a very handsome young man. My two nieces Jennifer & Samantha are beautiful young ladies. I had dinner with them (well....actually, I only had a small bit of Banana Pudding) and then I headed out to Brooklyn to have dinner with my friend Kathi and her family. Kathi & her hubby Jim live in a beautiful brownstone in Park Slope...I love coming over and hanging out with them. Kathi set a beautiful table and served a wonderful meal....Also in attendance were her new husband Jim, Kathi's children Erin & Matthew, Erin's new fiance, Erin's dad, Chuck & Don, who is a friend of both Kathi & Chuck...I think. Anyway, it was a wonderful, eclectic mix of people which made for wonderful dinner conversation.

Someone managed to get into this post and post pictures of their FUCKING SONOGRAM!!!! and managed to erase the rest of this post....WHY ON EARTH WOULD SOMEONE DO THAT????? I don't remember what else I wrote and I am NOT trying to wrack my brain remembering.....trust me....it was a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thanks Kathi!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Through The Fire Audition

I got a email from my girlfriend Kimberla the other day, it was a casting notice about a new musical production that Chaka Khan is putting together, it's called "Through The Fire" and I believe it's loosely based on Chaka's life. After reading the casting breakdown, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my acting coach, Sidra Smith was the casting director. So I sent Sidra an email with my photo and resume attached. She quickly replied that she would love for me to come down and then she asked if I could sing. I sent her a typical Sharon response that said "I can hold a tune...lol" and then I had to log off to run an errand out in Brooklyn. When I returned home that afternoon I got a email from Sidra saying...."Girllllll.....we need people who SAAAANNNNNG!!!!". I cannot tell you how much that tickled me, so I didn't bother to respond, I figured I'd just SHOW her when I got there. I got to the casting at about 2:30pm and it was packed....I was number 98 and they were still in the 50's when I arrived. So I took a seat where the sun was shining brightly (I like the Sun....It's rejuvenating!) and began to study my "Sides" for the role of Desire. I had prepared two songs, Dr Feelgood & Tell Me Something Good (One of your songs HAD to be a Chaka tune!) and I prepared my self to get comfortable for the next couple of hours. I ran into several people I knew, so I thought the time passed rather quickly. After several trips to the parking meter, I finally get called...they had begun calling people in groups of five at this point....at this point Sidra comes out and makes an annoucement that goes something like this:

"People, this show REALLY requires SINGERS, Really GOOD Singers....I beg you...if you KNOW you cannot sing...please do not continue to waste my time...Please!!!"

Then she looks at me, takes my hand and says "Come on Miss Lady, I want to talk to you". She takes me in the room and looks at me very seriously and asks "Can you sing?" To which I reply "Yes", she says "No, I mean can you REALLY Sing" to which I say again "Yes, I can", I can see that she is exasperated at this point because she has had to listen to really bad or mediocre singers all day long. Then she says, "Okay, you say you can sing, so I'm just gonna roll tape....do you know any Chaka tunes?" So I give her a few bars of Through the Fire to show her my range....she smiles at me and says "I didn't know you sang" and I laughed and said "I was only kidding in my email....you never asked me if I could sing" Then she asked if I had another number to sang and I did 16 bars or so of the climax of Dr. Feelgood...then she asked me to read from the sides and that was pretty much it. I was pretty happy with my audition and I hope that I get a call back...it seems like it has the potential to be a pretty good show. I haven't done any musical theater in a long time and I really miss it.

American Music Awards

Did anyone see this year's AMA's??? Was it me or was this one of the worst shows ever???? I kept channel surfing to see if anything better was on. Dick Clark better hurry up and get well soon....because this show SUCKS WITHOUT HIM???? What is going on in the music industry today...has everyone lost their damn minds????? I mean will someone please tell me how Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff got record deals???? These two heifers did some of the worst singing I have heard in a very long time....I mean Lindsay Lohan was actually singing off key!!!! After sitting through the Vibe Awards, I am grateful that I didn't have to sit through that damn thing!!!! What happened to talent????? I am convinced that you DO need to have some of that to have any sort of longevity in this business. I am a total "Awards Nut"...I mean my whole life, I have tried to not miss the Grammys, Emmy's, Tony's, The American Music Awards....it didn't matter because I knew the best of the best were gonna perform on these shows and it was always interesting to watch. You might even learn something....Remember Prince's * The Revolution's performance of Purple Rain on The Grammy's???? Now that's how you wreck a damn stage!!!!! I am sorry I don't know what this Sh**t is that they are trying to push on us now and call it music. I really think this industry is hitting rock bottom and it will have to get back to the music at some point.....comment's anyone??

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Vibe Awards Wrap Up

On Saturday I attended the Vibe Awards, I was pretty excited as this was my first "real" awards show ever! I had a VIP pass and was able to attend all of the backstage events...it was kinda cool to be just chilling with celebrities..lol. I felt like a celebrity in my Orange Douglas Says evening gown. The actual awards show was two things: LONG & BORING!!!! Trust me ...it ain't what you see on TV...there's a lot of down time and a lot of sitting around doing absolutely nothing. And this particular show our table was in the back but because there were no video screens of the presenters....you really couldn't see what was going on and that makes for a lot of CONVERSATION...lol. The event actually perked up for a few minutes when Mary J Blige picked up her award for "VIBE Legend" and put them on blast...Home girl was unhappy with her copy and made no bones about letting everyone know....Baby you could hear a pin drop in that room when Mary started talking!!!! and then there was a lot of shifting of chairs and coughing....lol....but you gotta love Mary...she kept it REAL AS HELL!!!

Because it was a open bar event....I was drinking champagne all night, which unfortunately meant I had to go to the bathroom....A LOT!!! and getting to the bathroom meant I had to leave the studio..go outside in the cold and walk two trailers down to where the bathrooms where. Well on one particular trip, I was exiting the bathroom and there was a young man outside who took one look at me and all of my ORANGE FABULOUSNESS....and nodded his head and said "My Queen....you are beautiful" to which I replied thank you and then I realized I was talking to ...it was Michael K. Williams aka Omar from the HBO Show The Wire...who I happen to love!!!Well, once I got over my intial shock...I told him "you gotta give me a hug now!!!" He was very nice and of course after that I HAD to do my "runway stroll" back to the studio...lol.

After the taping of the show, we did the Red Carpet after party where I got up close & personal with David Banner (Sharp as a tack in a white suit with matching hat), T.I. (Always Clean), Tichina Arnold and a bunch of rappers that I gotta be honest....I didn't know who in the hell they were!...lol, We did a lot of networking and card exchanging and then we ended the night quickly and headed back to our hotels to pack and try to catch a couple of zzzz's before our 7am flights.

Although I didn't get to meet up with Mo'nique, who was finally bringing her babies home from the hospital, I felt like we (Shalon & I) got a lot accomplished this weekend. But I learned quickly that if you aren't getting an award.....award shows are very hard to sit through.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Color Purple on Broadway

My manager took me to see The Color Purple on Broadway last week and is scheduled to open for a full run in two weeks, now before I proceed with my comments let me say this:

The Color Purple was an EXCELLENT book that translated into a GREAT movie! It's one of my all time favorites. I watch the movie whenever they run it on TV...THAT'S how much I enjoy watching it. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for the Broadway show....sigh...where do I begin? Okay, the sets were wonderful, the singing was wonderful, the costumes were wonderful.....although I found some of Brenda Russell's (of "Piano in the Dark" fame) music a tad bit boring and tedious to sit through my real problem with this show was this:

Does that make sense? I didn't believe a lot of it. I mean when you watch the movie you walk away HATING Mister, his father, Celie's Stepfather and all of the other oppressive characters....I just didn't get that from the play...hell Mister was ALMOST nice at one point. I just didn't feel Celie's pain the way I did in the movie. The added some things that weren't in the book and gave every thing nice tidy endings but the painful element just didn't ring true with me. I didn't feel it in the acting and I didn't feel it in the singing. The hairs on the back of my neck didn't stand up......and they SHOULD have...ya know?
However, I fell in love with the woman who plays Sophia...she was absolutely amazing! She OWNED That character and the chemistry between her and Harpo was very real. I loved the three "town gossips" also. I also enjoyed the Shug Avery character although they added a new relationship for her and I thought the whole plot was unecessary as well as unbelievable. It was nice to see Lou Myers on stage as Mister's father...but he just wasn't mean enough. LaChanze has an AMAZING voice but....and I hope I don't sound crazy here....but LaChanze is not ugly in the least...yeah they dressed her down...but she ain't ugly and EVERYBODY knows that Celie gets beat over the head with that crap her WHOLE LIFE!!! They also flubbed their lines badly during the show I saw. Of course being a "Theater Head" some may take offense to my comments...but I have seen enough shows on Broadway and acted in enough to know a good one from a not so good one.
In the end, I think it has the potential to be a great show....but they should workshop it a little more....they haven't worked out all of the kinks yet.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Vibe Awards 2005...The Arrival & The Shootout

Well, to say that my trip started of badly is an understatement! I somehow managed to miss the exit for JFK Airport and wound up trying to back track to get back on the Belt Parkway....Of course my U Turn put me right in to a big TRAFFIC JAM!!! Which resulted in me missing my 7:00am flight.....can you say ANNOYED????? Fortunately, I was able to get on the 9:00am flight ...I had a window seat with an empty middle seat!!! Needless to say I stretched out and slept for most of the flight. It all worked out because my manager (who was on a different flight) and the other person we were meeting all arrived without minutes of each other...so we able to pick up the rental car and leave for our hotels together. We dropped off Tyrus at the Viceroy Hotel (Which by the way...is FABULOUS!!!) and headed to Venice to my hotel which while...NOT the VICEROY HOTEL...wound up being a pretty nice hotel anyway! I unpacked my things and walked up and down the Santa Monica Pier catching the sights along the way. I walked until the sun began to set and I headed back to my room.

Later on that evening we went to a book party for the release of Iman's new makeup book. Lots of beautiful people around. I saw Golden Brooks from Girlfriends & Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon from NYPD Blue....we stayed for about an hour got our nice little gift bags and moved on to the BMI party which was being held on Hollywood Boulevard. The BMI party turned out to be a bust and we exited as quickly as we entered. As we stood on the sidewalk waiting for the Valet to bring the car around, a shot rang out and hit the driver of a car not more than a foot or two away from me. Needless to say, we were out of there quicker than you could say boo!!! We headed back to our hotel rooms in a state of shock wondering what LA would have to offer us in the morning. The strange thing is....although it shook us....it seemed to be business as usual for everyone else. No one flinched or even ran....just business as usual.

I don't know about you all but when drive-by's become a normal way of life for you.....it's time to MOVE!!!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Melba's on 114th Street

I spent the better part of my day yesterday riding in a tow truck to take my car back to my mechanic. This annoyed me because I JUST GOT THE DAMN THING FIXED!!!! Anyway, after a long drive right across the GWB (lots of traffic) to Fort Lee, NJ we dropped "Pearl" off at the garage and drove right back to NYC. The tow truck driver and I bonded over Newports and coffee and he turned out to be a very nice man.

I got home in just enough time to shave my head and dash back out to meet my friends for dinner at Melba's on 114th St & 8th Avenue. I had dinner with Yvette & Kim, my friends who I just saw down in Richmond, VA a few weeks ago. They were in town because Yvette's sister was renewing her wedding vows. Melba's is a new spot in Harlem that's owned by the daughter of the woman who owns Sylvia's, the legendary soul food spot in Harlem. The place is small but it was quickly filling up with the beautiful people when I arrived. I quickly found my friends and joined them in full appetizer mode. I ordered a glass of chardonnay and introduced myself to the other couple at the table with them. We chatted over spinach salad with a LOT of red onions & mushrooms, catfish fingers and spring rolls with blackeyed peas in them....the food is really quite good. Anyway, more people began to arrive and our table began to get crowded....Claire, who's a good friend of Yvette's arrived looking fabulous with loose blonde colored twists....Claire is one of the coolest people that I have met in a while...I don't get to see her often but when I do, we always have a blast! She ordered a really good bottle of Pouilly Fuisse that the table shared. I wound up sitting next to this Indian chick who's a doctor at Montefiore, she was pretty funny. The drinks and the convo was flowing and the waiter came around and took everyone's dinner orders.....I had the BBQ Turkey Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes & Spinach sauteed in garlic & olive oil....Yummy! Claire had Chicken & Waffles....THAT'S REAL old-school!!! Everybody ain't up on Chicken & Waffles! The doctor had a vegetarian entree that consisted of Portabello Mushrooms, goat cheese & Onions....that may have been the only thing on the menu that I would have passed up....I LOATHE Goat cheese....I think it's disgusting...lol. Yvette had the grilled salmon with mac & cheese which also looked good...but I eat salmon all the time....In the middle of our meal, Melba herself sent us over a platter of short ribs of beef on top of these little circles of grits...it was DELICIOUS!!!

It was then that I began to survey the room and I realized that a lot of the "Kids" or "The Children" were in the house....as in the room was most assuredly er...Gay? The only thing missing ...I swear...was the rainbow flag outside!!! As I gazed out of the windows of the restaurant I saw a lot of gay (male & female) couples walking up and down the streets.....and I thought to myself (okay, I said it out loud) Is it me or is this particular area of Harlem becoming the new Chelsea????? The energy is SOOO very different now. Growing up in Harlem...the 116th Street Area of my childhood is where the dopefiends came to cop their drugs. Nobody hung out over there....very dangerous!! Although some of the seedy elements are still around...they are rapidly cleaning up that area and it will be unrecognizable in the next year or so....I guarantee it.

Anyway, the hour was getting late and the ladies were talking about moving the party elsewhere to continue drinking......They already had me drinking Grey Goose & Sprite, Grey Goose with Pineapple & Cranberry Juice (with a twist of lime of course) and some martini with a Lychee Nut in it and I just knew I wouldn't be able to hang (I definitely CANNOT drink like I used to) so I quickly said my goodbyes and started to try and walk the 13 or so blocks home. I got to maybe 120th street (in front of another cool drinking spot called "Moca's") and my knees were aching so badly I had to hail a taxi the rest of the way.

Once again, I so enjoy the time I get to spend with my friends...especially the ones from out of town....it was an amazing night and I am really glad they invited me. I can't wait to do it again.

By the way....if you are ever at Melba's have the Sweet Potatoe Pie....It's AWESOME!!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Once On This Island Callbacks

Yesterday evening I went to the call backs for "Once on This Island", it was very crowded, full of people much younger than me and clearly just glad to be here....I realized immediately that although I dressed comfortably for "movement"(loose jeans, thermal shirt & sneakers)...I was not properly dressed to dance. The first thing that some chick does is turn around and says "I know who YOU are" Then she smiles and turns back around...Thanks Chica!!!! now EVERYONE is staring at me!!!!!

The choreographer taught us a long dance segment and by the end of the first hour (the call back was THREE HOURS LONG!!!!) I was drenched in sweat! I watched people pick up this choreography quickly and I couldn't have felt anymore like a doofus!. Because my eyes are still blood red, I had to wear my glasses and of course once you start to sweat...YOU CANNOT KEEP YOUR GLASSES FROM SLIDING DOWN YOUR FACE!!!!

I can't dance worth a damn and once I admitted that to myself...I just went with it....I felt it would be CLEARLY EVIDENT that I am not a dancer immediately.....and you know what??? It WAS!!! I immediately bonded with another auditionee (?) who recognized me from another audition we were on together....he wasn't a dancer either but he did make me laugh.... But I did make it through to the next round of callbacks. I had to read sides from the script...which I did but it felt silly to me because I was reading parts for TiMoune & Mama and I was auditioning for the role of Asaka. Okay, got through THAT and the singing part was the last segment. I went in sang Human Heart (I thought I nailed it) and then because the woman before me attempted to sing the ending of "Pray" and I am sure her chords were bleeding (lol) because it's really high and she clearly could NOT hit those notes. I asked them if I could try that part...so they let me and I got all the way through it but cracked right at the end....but it was evident that I could sing it. Anyway, when I came out of the room, they were all just looking at me. It was a very long night and I was tired and wet and ready to go home....I got out of there got a cab immediately and came straight home...eyes still red & hurting and knees aching. I got out of the cab, saw my NON-FUNCTIONING Car!!!! And got mad all over again!!!!!

I don't know if I got cast or not but it was fun getting my feet wet again.

Live from Willie's Lounge...Ladies & Gentlemen.........Keith!

Yesterday afternoon, I was on my way home from picking up clothing and doing some window shopping...I was in my own world (as I usually am) so it wasn't until I reached the corner of 127th street & Convent Avenue that I actually looked up. And too my surprise I saw a face I hadn't seen since the early 90's......the face of a young man (now much older) named Keith. Now this means absolutely NOTHING to the masses....but just the sight of his face brought back so many wonderful memories for me.

Back in 1991 I believe, I started hosting an "open mic" Talent Competition with a $50 cash prize (okay...we all know that fifty bucks is like McDonald's money now...lol) at a small club on 125th st called "Willie's Lounge". Okay.....so it was a BAR!!!! lol....anyway, I put together a band with musical director James Durant (aka Mr. Diamond) on Keyboards, Al Ferrar on guitar, Tommy Gooding (Cuba & Omar's Brother) on Bass and Donald Mayes on Drums. I also formed a trio of singers consisting of Cheryl Gadsden & my homegirl Beverly Howard....we called ourselves "Probable Cause"....some name we got from the newspaper of course....(lol...we USED to call ourselves "Main Course"....but needless to say the Jokes were rampant about THIS particular name....that we obviously came up with while we were eating somewhere.....my goodness....I am smiling even as I write this stuff!!!

I remember, we used to have the open mics on Wednesday evenings...after "Showtime at the Apollo" because we would get all of the stragglers leaving the show from the theater...which was on the next block. I would stand outside....literally half naked most of the time....handing out flyers and tempting folks to come inside and check us out....there was no cover and most of the time....people did come in...and we got a lot of repeat business! After about a month, the word of mouth spread like crazy and for a while EVERYONE who was anyone was stopping through. I was hosting AND we (Probable Cause) would also sing a few numbers before the shows started. After awhile, I realized that I didn't really like hosting and couldn't really host and promote, So I brought in Carlton Smith and he took over the hosting duties....his er....sense of humor really kept the folks coming back for more.

We would get some really great singers in the mix with some not so great ones....folks like Yvette Nieves, who always managed to sing the "b" side of some singer's record...lol...she struck gold with "I Wonder if I Take You Home" by Lisa-Lisa & Cult Jam. Back then you KNEW you killed it if you got the audience to sing along with you! Unfortunately for Yvette, she started singing the same song every week and it didn't help her case any that she always looked like a "Schlub" is that a word???? on stage.

Then there was rapper EZ-LA who as God is my witness sang the same damn song for the show's entire run....it was an acapella tune called "I'm Never Gonna Let You Go!"...he sang this song so many times that the band actually created some music for him and the audience started adlibbing background parts! Did I say that that the only lyrics to the song was "I'm Never Gonna Let You Go???" I swear it went just like this:
"I'm never gonna let you go, I'm never gonna let you go ....girl, I'm never gonna let you go (let you go...let you go), I'm never gonna let you go girl"....I swear that was it and this damn song would go on FOREVER!!!!
There was Diva Extraordinare....Bernita Ewing....now this sister was really ahead of her time...full figured of course...with enough attitude and presence for the masses...always DONE...hair/makeup/drag....I learned SO MUCH by just hanging out with this sister and watching how it's done. But that VOICE....was just....AMAZING....truly a gift from God...she could take any song and just NAIL IT!!!! All the time....she was (is) an amazing actress as well.

There was Ron Grant (The swiss miss instant cocoa man!) who was a professional but obviously broke like everyone else....He would come in and sing and make the hairs stand up on your neck...he would do Oleta Adams "Get Here" and yodel all through the damn song!!!! But there was no denying the boy could sing....he really could blow. And there was no doubt that he would win if he showed up.

There was Barry Hammonds, who would sing the 12 inch REMIXED version of "Ain't No Stopping Us Now"....Decent voice...but had the stage presence of a piece of melba toast. He used to get booed all the time on "Amateur Night at the Apollo".

Folks like Hakeem, who was another "B-side" singing brother....who's breath smelled like doo-doo most of the time and he was good for singing some shyt that ONLY HE AND THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE SONG KNEW!!!!

Shoobie Taylor, the geriatric scatting er...rapper...who used to ...I kid you not....MOO in his raps! and did some of the worst scatting I have ever heard..but the Mooing just would lay me out every week. And how could I forget Rapper K. Superior (who was a dead ringer for DJ Clark Kent) he was like 6'6" but his flow was nasty....he was really good and he was funny as hell too...he used to come in and tell "Your Mother" jokes...he was hysterical.

Then there was the brother who came off the street, Sir KC Brown...clearly crazy wearing a fake silver UNICORN medallion around his neck talking about how he was gonna be performing his new single "Remember The Time" at the Garden (as in Madison Square Garden) next week. Right....YOUR new single (I could have sworn MJ recorded that one)...huh????

The Singing Dragon who would show up in full Bruce Lee "Enter The Dragon" chinese garb complete with those Karate sandals that every loser on the planet wore when Bruce was hot. He would smell like he hadn't used deodorant since the turn of the century and he would do Johnnie Taylor songs.

And how about, amazing singers like the late Teddy B., who had a penchant for long weaves and cowboy hats but would always stop through and bless us with a song or two.....

and then there was John Brown, the er....250+ lbs flamboyant singer / Scripture quoting Drag Queen who (as lovely as he was) would come in black as night with a blonde high top fade, gold teeth and blonde eyebrows with cuts in them...and scare the hell out of the customers...screaming through songs like "Fire"...he fascinated me....one night he showed me pictures of him in drag (What the f....?????) he made the ugliest woman I had ever seen! But I still love him!

People would have their birthday parties at my open mic and Carlton....well Carlton....let's just say he had a WEALTH of material to draw from...with all of these crazy ass characters coming through every week! I would leave Willie's in pain from laughing all night long. We were really like one big family...We had a show on July 3rd or 4th I can't remember which day but I do remember that it was so packed you couldn't get inside. EVERYONE was there...we got a great write up in the Village Voice....it was a wonderful time to be a performer...it really was. There was also:

Mr. "Professional", Lee Green who had the nerve to walk his Juke Joint Singing/Jheri Curl Wearing Ass into the club and announce to the audience...."We are not amateurs....we are professionals" to the crowd...which was FULL of professional singers at the time...AND he was talking about him and his back up singer Theresa who was wearing a Zebra patterned dress that was so loud that it made Carlton do a double take, look at her and say...."Safari Huh?". I have the moment captured on tape and she HAD NO CLUE of what he was talking about!!!!

Bernard....The twin with the big razor scar on his face, would sing Keith Washington's "Kissing You" every week but each week act like he had never done the song with the band before and they were "working through it" each time he performed it.....

There was a group a Quintet (Five???) who called themselves "Asante" who came through and sang a few songs acapella and just ripped it to shreds....I fell in deep "like" with the lead singer and even dated him for a moment....as a matter of fact...I was on a date with him the night I met my hubby! They later signed on with Sony Records but unfortunately, their album didn't do that well.

Then there were my "Regulars", folks who came in every week just cause the environment was cool.

There was DJ Rockin Rob who would come in with his girl Lorez and sometimes sit in and play drums with the band...him and James were friends and bandmates from back in the day. Rob could sit there and play "Before I Let Go" over and over again, if allowed.

Bernard, Rob & Eric - My early hangout buddies who were just cool people to be around, they thought they were "fabulous" back then but ....lol...we knew better. We were all like the "Peanuts" crew back then!

Anthony Cooper would come in with his group "The Fellas" and charm all the ladies with their good looks and wonderful harmonies.

OOOHHHH...I remember when that "You Remind Me" song came out by Mary J. Blige....every chick in the hood thought they could sing this song and we had to listen to it being sung (very badly) every week for MONTHS!!!!!

And then there was......................................Keith!

Oh baby, Keith was a special one...clearly mentally er...impaired...Keith walked in one night and just won everyone over. He couldn't really sing a lick.....he had a severe speech impediment and was a little....okay A LOT slow....but he had the soul of a rocker....he came in and did "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes....okay my first thought was "what does this little retarded kid know about rock????" And with his speech impediment...the song sounded like "Na-Na Lonely Heart!" Michael Jackson's Billie Jean was one of his favorite songs too.....except that it sounded like "Billie Jean...President Carter" OMIGOD!!!! But when he would slow down the pace and do Guy's "Let's Chill" on one knee....I was laid out!!!.....It was hysterical....but the folks Loved him....he definitely got an "A" for effort. He became a regular and Carlton gave him his own personal intro:

"Ladies & Gentlemen! Welcome if You Will..(Drum Roll Please) ...................."Keef" (Whispered of course)

That intro was brilliant!!! and he (Keith) would really get into it and would have the nerve to tell the band if they were playing something wrong. But it was all love and when I saw Keith on that corner yesterday with his er.....son & his "Girl"...looking much older but still clearly retarded...(Who is giving this brother coochie????). I just had to write it down because the thoughts I got from seeing him put a smile on my face for the rest of my day!

These are wonderful memories from my past and I am glad I remembered enough of it to jot it down.... I don't know where most of my "Willie's Lounge" family is anymore but I do run into folks from time to time and some of the are actually okay:

Mr Diamond (James Durant) is currently in Japan, where he is performing and singing with his band as well as booking acts from the states to bring overseas. Mr. Diamond is also a new grandad!!!! Congrats!

Carlton J. Smith is doing his thing as always, he just returned from touring over in Switzerland and I am sure he's about to head back overseas by the end of this year. You GO Boy!

Bernita Ewing...I lost track of her a long time ago but I do know that she is back in the Ohio area where she's from and she is returning to her singing career...YAY!!!

Alas, like all good things....Willie's Lounge had to come to an end for me...it's very hard to stay up until 1-2am on a wednesday night and think you are gonna leap outta bed in the morning for work!!!! and the pay was really shitty too!. Well, Willie's Lounge is no longer in existence (I think it's a hair braiding spot now) But the memories will live on through me and my friends!

Thanks Keith!

Friday, November 4, 2005

Red Eyes & Recognition

Alrighty then...the time is now 2:54pm and my eyes are completely red.....they have been like this since this morning and I have put like half a bottle of visine in them to no avail....I still look like a demon and I feel like a vampire because direct sunlight hurts. Guess I will be wearing my glasses until I get to LA, cuz a sista can't show up in full diva mode with GLASSES on!!!! lol.

So I didn't make it to the gym today but I walked all over Manhattan picking up clothes and shopping. My first stop was 512 Seventh Avenue where I picked up two evening dresses by New Jersey designer Douglas Says...he gave me this luscious orange evening wrap dress with a thin brown belt with beads on the end and a black & rhinestone 3/4 length dress with a mesh neckline. The clothes are absolutely beautiful and I am going to try and take a lot of pictures for all to see. Then I went to get my eyebrows waxed (I hate it!...makes me wanna sneeze) and I must have browsed through 10 stores before I got back on the train and headed back uptown.

It's funny I used to be completely invisible on the subways but I notice now that everybody speaks to me on the trains now, or they will give me the "I know you but I won't blow your cover" smile and quietly shake my hand. Thus far this has been one of the best things about my "Fat Chance" experience....I am very much a people person and I enjoy talking to people about my experience AND it doesn't hurt that they always want to tell me how beautiful they think I am..lol...It has been a daily occurence since the show aired and I can't say I don't enjoy it....I have been dreaming about it my whole life!

Once On This Island/Vibe Award Update

Okay, so I get up this morning at 6:30 am because I need to take my nephew to his doctor and guess what??? My lil hoopty, that I just spent like $1200 bucks on WON"T START!!!! I am SO annoyed!!!! Fortunately for me, alternate side of the street parking has been suspended today so I won't get ANOTHER parking ticket. Sigh.

So last night I went to an audition for Once on this Island, a musical that I have performed in the role of Asaka in several times already, but I need to be doing something besides sitting around smoking & eating...so I went and sang last night. It was er....interesting to say the least. This is the third time I have auditioned for this show and it never ceases to amaze me how many white people show up for these castings (it's supposed to be an african american cast...set in the caribbean), I saw two other black people waiting to audition last night...the rest were white. The last time I did this show, the producers made the mistake of casting a white guy as the lead male character and then tried to PAINT HIM BLACK!!! It was hilarious...they only painted his face, hands & feet....he looked like George Hamiliton with a really BAD tanning job....lol.

Anyway, so I sang my 16 bars of "Mama Will Provide" (a song from the show) and got out of there really quickly....So I got an email this morning telling me that I got a call back for the show...I hope they don't make me dance...not my strong suit. They're supposed to be putting up this show at the Producers Club...may God forgive me...but I am just not getting the visual here....The Producers Club is a rather small venue and I am curious as to what the set design will be here.....

I am trying to put my outfits together for the Vibe Awards, so far I have two outfits from Douglas Says and Igigi just Fedexed me a black evening dress...so it's looking good so far. I think I will represent my big girls nicely. I am still tripping about my weight...I went to my nutritionist and got weighed and didn't like the results at all....I have managed to gain 15 or so pounds on my new smoking and eating diet...NOT!!! anyway, I started going back to the gym yesterday and I actually felt good when I was done....I am aware however, that I will have to make some lifestyle changes to get to where I wanna be...which is about 175-180 pounds. This is a good solid weight for me....any more and I look like a crackhead!!!!

Well that's it for now....will keep you posted on the audition updates.