Saturday, April 30, 2005

Fiscal Responsibility?

Homeland Security agency spends big on silk plants . Half a million dollars for decorative items at the TSA Operations Center? Just in case our country is bombed to oblivion, we will have some lovely reminders of the world we used to know, thanks to TSA. What is wrong with US?

Another Cute Relative

brandoneaster2005, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

This is my main man, Brandon. He is my oldest nephew and probably one of my favorite people in the world. He is smart, athletic, and funny. He is also the brother of the cuties that I posted the other day.

6 Weeks Later

SnNLogoRnBwbox, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Tonight, Straight & Nappy presents Straight and Nappy ends it 6 week run at Donny's Skybox, Piper's Alley 4th floor. We have been on a double bill with Cathcart & Olson this whole time. I can't believe that this is the last show in that space.

BUT Straight & Nappy is far from being finished. I can't believe the success we have had as a comedy duo. Our opening week, we were given a photo and blurb in TimeOut Chicago Magazine in the comedy section. This week, we are listed as a "don't miss" (also with a picture)in the gay/lesbian section of TimeOut Chicago Magazine. We were featured on CLTV's Metromix:The TV Show. We have been invited to audition for executives of a certain colorful television network. And the list goes on.

We will still be running our show at The Majestic Midway Theatre on Friday nights. We have extended for two more weeks, possibly three. We will also team up with Cathcart & Olson again this summer for midnight performances at The Playground theatre in Boystown.

Big things are just around the corner. I am so grateful to all the people that have helped me get to this point and I look forward to the future of Straight & Nappy.

Above this post is a rough draft of our new logo. Be on the lookout for our website that should be up in the next month (fingers crossed).

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Just Because

lauryn_morgan, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

There is no reason for this post except I just received this picture of my neices from my sister and I think they are so cute.

Shockers Amongst the Idols

Despite the disappointing show on Tuesday night, American Idol continues to surprise me. First, there was Constantine's dismissal on Wednesday night. I have never been a big fan but there are at least two or three folks worse than him on the show.

And what is with all the scandal this season. Mario leaves unexpectantly; Scott beat his girlfriend, Paula may or may not have slept with an unsexy former contestant; and nowBo seems to have dodged Cocaine and Pot Raps. Baby, I guess that is rock and roll.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Last Night's American Idol Sucked

The American Idol broadcast last night was sooooooo tired. I honestly didn't genuinely like one performance. I do give it up to Vonzell for bringing some soul to the show but I hate that song along with every other song sang last night. Federov had his best night which shows me why he needs to go. What the world doesn't need is another Pat Boone. He technically sings well but is so milktoast that I can't stand it. Bo, if you ever dress like that again, you will lose my respect forever. I hated this show. Let's just cut to the chase.

My pick to go: Scott
America's pick: Scott

There's A New Blog in Town

So many things happening on this Thursday. 1. Dining Out for Life. 2. Rod at Brotha2brotha is launching a new site called rod2.0:beta:relentlessly obsessed with pop culture. media, books, music, film, fashion, art, men and more.. So goodbye to Brotha2Brothat and hello 2.0.

GBMs are his primary audience, but it's certainly not exclusive, many readers are not black and much of the content is universal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dining Out For Life - April 28, 2005

Originally uploaded by mylilpip.
One of my favorite forms of entertainment is dining out with friends. It has all the comedy of an improv show, the drama of a primetime serial, and the bite of a reality show. Friends, food, and conversation...It just doesn't get any better.

Dining Out For Life is an annual event with participating restaraunts donating a portion of their proceeds to orginazitions that help people living with HIV/AIDS.

Chicago restaraunts will be participating this Thursday, April 28.

I have participated in the past as a volunteer host and as a diner. I haven't made reservations for Thursday yet but I am going to. I hope you do too.

Monday, April 25, 2005

What You Girls Need Is More Bran

I guess the Australians have a different judicial systerm. Abuse victims 'paid in cereal' . And you thought your life was fucked up.

Idol Commandments

I love American Idol. No duh. Any of you that read my Wednesday posts know that I take my competition very seriously. I love these American Idol Commandments found on JuiceeNewsDaily.

Surprises Around the Corner, part two

So there were the three ladies from my past, Leigh, Debbie, and Steph. I hugged them...A lot. I had forgotten all about my former student Robert. I introduced him and then he had to go. It was late and he had to go back down to the south side. What a great guy. My director, Dre, dropped by a few times but I was constantly yakking to my three white girls from college.

We played catch up for a good while. Debbie has two kids. One of them is the spitting image of her. She had moved to New York. She judges talent competitions. She takes her daughter to dance classes. I wonder if her day goes like this. Actually, her daughter is around 11 or 12. And if she inherits anything from her Mom, I'm sure it will be a strong will and the ability to speak her mind.

Steph has been singing, and doing voice over and radio. She's looks pratically the same as she did ten years ago, only worldlier. She performs Wednesdays at Jilly's. I definitely will check that out.

Leigh keeps on keeping on. I have seen Leigh here and there since college. Sometimes I take her for granted. I say this with regret. She has always been there at some spot along almost 20 years now. We are like a scrap quilt. Torn but joined together nonetheless. Connected by shared experience and common bonds. She is yellow and I am blue. Together we make spring.

I have come to the knowledge that I must need these white ladies in my world. I don't know. I do know that their hav been these groups of ladies that have always been there since I was in elementary school.

The ladies. Oh, the ladies were blowing my mind. We sat and talked for nearly two hours in the lobby of the theatre. Catching up. Laughing about the past. Rebecca joined us. It was one of the best nights I have had in quite a while. It is nice to be reconnected with people that have seemingly gone away. It was the best reunion I have had in some time. And it was a complete surprise, thanks to Leigh.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

After 'Happily Ever After'

Fairy tales linked to violent relationships. Girls who like Beauty and the Beast are at risk of being in violent relationships. And boys who like 101 Dalmations are at risk of doing drag as Cruella DeVille.

Surprises Around the Corner, part one

Yesterday, I awoke feeling really congested and run down. My voice was not 100% but good enough to do the show that I had to perform at night. Even though I slept until nearly 10, I was still feeling amazingly lethargic. I made some breakfast and listened to some old school R & B. I drank plenty of Genmai Cha tea to soothe my throat.

My roommate, who had been out shopping with his houseguest, returned briefly to check on the dogs. The two were out the door not long afterwards to grab some lunch. I decided that this cold dreary day would be perfect for reading, napping and snuggling with the chihuahuas. I was able to accomplish all three.

I slept longer than I expected and awoke still feeling tired. I had a show to do and it wasn't going to be performed from my bed so I showered, shaved, and groomed for our show.

Last night's show was taped with a live audience. I was slightly nervous about the taping. I was concerned that I wasn't feeling 100% I wanted the taping to reflect Rebecca and I at our peak. There was no time to worry but that didn't stop me.

I made my way to the lighting booth, to go over the technical aspects of a new scene we were performing, and ran into one of my former high school students from the improv/comedy writing program at Phillips HS on the south side. I promised my students that they could have a free ticket to see Straight & Nappy. I didn't think any of them would take me up on it but here was Robert, one of my best improvisers and a very funny performer, standing right in front of me. He had just seen the show before mine. I asked him if he wanted to see Straight & Nappy and he said he did. I told him that I would make sure that happened but first I had some errands to run. I invited him to come with me. I introduced him to as many people as I could around the theatre. He was happy to tag along and I loved it because it was like having a little brother to show off.

The show went well despite my neurosis and I was surprised that Robin, one of the Second City producers was in the audience. She graciously came back stage to speak to Rebecca, Catchcart & Olson (Melissa and Jay), and myself. Robert peeked into the dressing room. What perfect timing. I introduced him to Robin. It was good opportunity to encourage Robert that maybe someday there may be a job for him there. Robin took over and talked to him. She invited him to be a guest at other Second City shows. It was pretty sweet.

Robert and I walked out into the lobby from the theatre. I wanted to see if I had any friends out there. Boy, was I surprised. Three women (more white women) that I attended college with me were standing at the bottom of the stairs to the box office. I have a history from when I first started with these women. One of them I hadn't seen in 15 years. My mouth dropped. I was dumbfounded. These are three of the last people I expected to see and three of the best faces I could have ever looked upon.

There was Debbie. Debbie is the one that I hadn't seen in 15 years. Debbie was the rebel wild girl in college. She was full of energy and always into something. She always had projects and she, seemingly, always was having fun. I was a born-again closeted christian when I last saw Debbie. I still cursed from time to time but for the most part I was...A "good boy."

There was Stephanie. Steph is my homegirl because we are both Peorians. She is a bit younger than me but not much 'cause she and I did a show together my junior year. It was Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin'. Again, this is probably 1988 or '89. Steph caused a campus controversy when she was cast in Ain't Misbehavin'. There were a few students that thought it was wrong that a white girl was cast in the "all black musical." For those of you that don't know, Ain't Misbehavin is a musical revue. There is no real book and very little dialogue. They basically serve as a showcase for music, dance, and personalities. This girl was good. She could sing, she could dance, and she could act. She had personalities for days and was fun to be around. I am so glad that she was a part of that experience.

There was also Leigh. Leigh is the one that I have known the longest.
And the one I see most often, which is not that often. I was around when Leigh was making peace with coming out. She later supported me after I came out and without judgment for my misguided youth spent yapping about Jesus and dating girls. Leigh worked on Ain't Misbehavin' too. All three ladies worked on that show. I have very fond memories of that particular show, cast, and crew. It was a brilliant time.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Need Something to Believe In?

The Pointer Sisters sang a song in the classic film comedy, "If you got believe in something, why not believe in me? I have nothing to believe in now that have introduced the Clay Aiken Mastercard debit card. Clay, or Clayken as I like to call him, continues to make the world a shinier place. Too bad they don't HTML code for sarcasm.

We Still Matter

In a lighter WSM segment, I would like to point out the positive but odd sight of children with rainbow flags. It seems that a San Francisco Elementary School Celebrated Gay Pride on Friday. The event is not surprising when you consider that the school principal is named Weiner. Ok, that joke was uncalled for but that never stopped me before.

The children apparently performed a play and sang some songs. One day maybe this will be as common place as racial diversity programs. I only hope to one day see a group of 1st graders singing "Supermodel" by RuPaul. While the kindergarten performs "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Aux Folles.

We Still Matter

Washington State rejects gay rights bill My girl, LL Cool P has been urging friends to write Microsoft and let them know that liberals buy computers too (including the gays). I have printed a copy of her letter below if you would like to send a letter as well.

Attn: Bradford L. Smith, Senior V.P.
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399
Fax #: (425) 936-7329

Mr. Smith:

I’m writing to express my anger at Microsoft’s decision to withdraw
support last month for House Bill 1515, currently under consideration
by the Washington State legislature. My understanding (from an article
published yesterday online in The Stranger) is that Microsoft, a $37
billion dollar company, caved to pressure from a right-wing religious
extremist under threat of a boycott, rather than support this important
anti-discrimination legislation.

Mr. Smith, I could waste a lot of time and paper explaining to you
that, despite Rev. Hutcherson’s opinions to the contrary, this is a
civil rights issue, and that gays have no more choice than
African-Americans in being born who they are. But I presume you’re an
intelligent man, and you already know that. I seriously doubt this
decision was made because you and the other “powers that be” at
Microsoft agree with Rev. Hutcherson’s position.

What sickens me is that this decision was most likely made for a
combination of two ignoble reasons: cowardice and greed. For a company
as wealthy and powerful as yours – particularly one whose chairman runs
a major foundation that supposedly supports a host of human rights
issues – to be so easily intimidated by a fringe group is, quite
frankly, pathetic. If Microsoft won’t stand up to these hate-mongers
trying to take control of our great nation, who will??

Sadly, the joke might be on you in the end. I am banking on the fact
that most intelligent people (the type who, say, read the New York
Times and purchase a lot of computer software) are on the other side of
this issue, aka the pro-civil rights side. I have a funny feeling that
you might be facing much more pressure, and perhaps an even more
devastating boycott, from those unhappy folks once they read this
morning’s paper. I can promise I’ll be doing my part in that regard,
by continuing to support Apple.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. LK
Van Nuys, California

cc: Tami Begasse, Corporate Communications Spokesperson (Microsoft)
Stafford Mays, Senior Outreach Manager for Corporate Diversity
Sandeep Kaushik,
Washington State Rep. Ed Murray

You go girl.

Monkeys, So Like Us

Originally uploaded by mylilpip.
Zoo Wants Chimpanzee to Stop Smoking. I have smoked for about 12 years now. Before I started, I never thought I would ever smoke 12 cigarettes let alone the thousands I have had to smoke in the last 12 years. I have quit several times. Once I quit for like 9 months but I easily picked up the sticks again.

I know that it is a filthy dirty habit but I find great enjoyment in it. Nicotine is such a great drug. It can lift you up when you are tired and lull you down when you are worked up. The only other thing that can do that is maybe a hot shower but not many places offer their employess shower breaks, with the exception of the porn industry (I'm guessing).

Speaking of work, I smoke a lot when I am rehearsing or writing. It has become such an extension of my work life that it is dificult for me to imagine doing these things without cigarettes.

There is that old joke about 1000 monkeys with typewriters sitting in room writing. It was referenced in a great Simpsons bit. In one episode, Montgomery Burns has his own room with 1000 monkeys, one of which is chastised for mistyping a word in the opening sentence of "A Tale of Two Cities" In the bit, I believe the monkeys are smoking.

Oh well, smoke up Charlie.

I Love Monkeys

Police seek monkey for SWAT team. Eh, it can't hurt.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Tonight and Tomorrow

Straight and Nappy Loo2, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

It's shameless plug Friday. That means that I have to announce that Straight & Nappy will be performing tonight at the Majestic Midway Theatre at 8 pm, 5722 W 63rd. Tell somebody.

And tomorrow at Donny's Skybox, Piper's Alley, 4th floor at 9 pm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

420, Female Impersonators, Musical Improv, Porn Stars, Cabaret

Today was an unusual day. I didn't have to work today, sort of. I didn't have anyplace to be during daylight hours. I had an audition for a musical improv troupe but that wasn't until 9 pm. The day was mine.

I got up around 10ish which I love. Not too early and not too late. I looked at the boxes and suitcases that I hadn't unpacked from the "un-move" on Sunday. I decided that I needed to unpack. So, after a cup of tea and a bit of play with the roommate's chihuahuas I began to unpack.

The day is going along rather mundanely when I remembered that today is 4/20. 420 somehow became this international code for smoking weed. Now, I have had some experience with the MaryJane and still enjoy her company from time to time (for the health benefits). I decide that I will get high at 4:20 pm. A festive fun way to celebrate my favorite drug and still enough time to sober up for my audition.

As it turned out, I was in the middle of being interviewed via telephone when 4:20 came and went. Since I was being interviewed for a scholarly paper (a women is writing an anthropology thesis on women and minority students in improv), I decided to stay sober. It was nearly 5:30 when I realized that I missed my golden opportunity. Oh well, there is always next year.

I watched The Surreal Life marathon for a bit and played with the dogs some more. I left the apartment and headed to Lakeview. I had an audition. I have to be honest and say that I don't think I brought my A-game tonight. It's a shame. I hate when that happens. Usually, the improv comes easily for me. I love doing it and I love playing. Tonight, it seemed like a lot of work and I felt like my energy was a little off (I should have smoked that weed). I was playing moment to moment but I was not "bringing it."

The audition ended and I boarded the 22 bus back to West Rogers Park. The bus came just as I was arriving at the stop. I hung up with my chatty friend Tim and headed home. I'm reading The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies. I'm reading the first book, Fifth Business, now. I love it. The best part about the long commutes up to Rogers Park is my reading. As we passed into Andersonville, I turned and noticed that Atmosphere bar featured Amy and Freddy every Wednesday. I love Amy so much. She and I moved to Chicago roughly at the same time. I was trying to make it and she was trying to make it. We both have a mutual respect for each other and we love pancakes and booze. Oft times, together. I hopped off the bus and went into the bar.

I immediately was greeted by Amy's husband Robert. He possesses a wonderful soul. He is definitely a sight for sore eyes. My mood started to lift as we talked. Amy is one funny performer and it wasn't long before she was taking her singing and her schtick into the audience. When she saw me in the crowd,she freaked out and we started chatting right in the middle of her number. But no one cared, because she's Amy Armstrong. She is so fucking talented and she could kick all of their asses if she wanted. Although, she would never want to.

It was shortly after Amy took her set break that Honey West entered the bar. I also love Honey. I met her and his charming friend Don around the same time I met Amy. They were always so kind and encouraging. It was great to see Honey. I enjoyed a good part of the next musical set when I realized I had to leave. I have to be up early to do the Storybus. The little kiddies don't want to hear the hungover version of "Little Red Hen."

Before I left, there was one more thing to accomplish. I had spotted a super sexy guy in the corner all night. I kept trying to flirt with him but could never get his eye. He finally came down and talked to Honey for a bit. I took the opportunity to flirt heavily. He was cute and his name was Chad. After he went back to his perch with his gal pal, Honey told me that he was a porn star. I looked at him again and thought, "he should be."

As I put on my jacket, Amy yelled from the stage, "Pip, you leaving?" I blew her a kiss, whispered "I love you," and waved goodbye. I had to get home. I can't be hanging out with cabaret singers, porn stars, and female impersonators all night long.

God Help Hollywood

Seacrest Gets Walk of Fame Star. I officially have nothing to believe in anymore. All right, maybe he might deserve one for his radio work but still the very idea of honoring him disturbs me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Lunch is On

Rotting Animal Parts Found in N.J. School. Truly bizarre. Truly gross. A word to the wise, take a sack lunch.

Don't Let Death Stop You

Tupac's Mom Renovates Foundation Center, Says Next LP Will Be The Last. The man has been dead for like 10 years and he still cranking 'em out. God bless the USA.

Tuesday Means the Idol

So, the Idolites decided to tackle 70s Dance Music? I'm behind that decision. I actually felt entertained watching people born in the 80s singing those cutes songs from my childhood. When the contestants found out the theme, Scott's reaction was "No one will be able to keep up with me." A fat joke would be appropriate here but I am going let you make your own.

Constantine - Nights On Broadway
First off, what is up with the corny dancing segments? Too too lame. Okay, I hate to admit this but Connie really does get better week after week. This performance was a good cover. I think he could actually release this as a single. Simon was wrong on this one. He took a great song and made it his own. And I love his crazy looking Greek family.

Carrie - MacArthur Park
Who dressed this child? I had to watch her performance twice (thank you TiVo) because I was laughing at her hair and dress the whole time. Someone should have left that dress out in the rain. Poor girl. She does have some great pipes. She didn't have a lot going on personality wise tonight but she does have that voice. She had some timing issues at the front end, some lyrics issues in the middle, and some weird notes at the end but I am still impressed by her voice.

Scott - Everlasting Love
Watching his video made me wonder if the Fat Boys were getting back together. He sang well but I kept waiting for his performance to become really exciting. And it never really happened. I'm with Simon on this one.

Anthony - Don't Take Away The Music
Tavares. I love Tavares. How dare he do a Tavares song? He milked it up. He took all of the sex and street out of it. On a positive note, he sang well. When he danced I just wanted to shout, "stop playing around andswing that big white ass. It's a Tavares song dammit.

Vonzell - I'm Every Woman
This is a tall order. Chaka sang it. Whitney sang it. And now with only two women left Vonzell sings it. And Sister-girl turned it out. Simon said that no other contestant could get away with that song. C'mon Simon, what about Anwar.

Anwar - September
I knew he was going to dance. And he danced. Please for the love of god don't dance. Just say no to the dancing. The jumping is okay. The skipping is a bit much for me. I'm with Simon on this one, it was not a memorable performance. His vocals were pretty boring but I would still do him.

Bo - Vehicle
A bad dancer with a good sense of humor is good in my book. He was very charming in his video clip. He has some beautiful eyes. I love when he looks into the camera (which is not as often as the other Idolites). Perfect song choice. Perfect performance.

My Pick to go: Scott
I think America will pick: Anwar
My fave of the night: Bo

Monday, April 18, 2005

Crocker Oss Crocker

Do anyone else hear about the Swedish racist ice cream called Nogger? The Swedes are nothing but racist ossholes. Those son of botches can kiss my black oss. Those Motherfockers are bunch of shotheads with small docks.

Ok, let's re-focus on issues that matter. Like old ladies trapped in bathtubs.

Keep it clean Grandma

A 75-year-od woman took a bath. After 5 days in bathtub, she craved Coke and cigs.

Don't Start None, Won't Be None

I remember kid saying that when I was younger. It meant that if you didn't start trouble then you wouldn't have any trouble. Too bad moralist lawmakers didn't consider the smae idea when they rushed gay marriage bans through the system. It seems like Ohio is having some issues in how to approach domestic violence cases (gay or hetero) since they have re-"defined marriage."

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Movin' On Up...Think Again.

Originally uploaded by mylilpip.
The past several days have been a whirlwind. I opened Straight & Nappy on the south side, directed another student comedy show, performed Straight & Nappy on the north side. And prepared to move.

It was a lot of work in one week's time but I accomplished everything. I was up until 4 am last night packing up my belongings.

This mornng I got up at 9:30 to do some last minute cleaning. My friend Steve arrived at 10:40ish and in no time he had efficiently loaded his station wagon.

We were off -- from Rogers Park to Lincoln Park. Goodbye Mexican restaraunts, hello yuppie sit-downs.

I phoned my soon to be roomie, Shawn, when I was 5 minutes from his place. He answered the phone a little hung over and said that he "better jump in a cab" and get there. What! He's not there. We have a car full of my earthly possessions in an area known for having a serious parking deficit.

Luckily, we found a spot in front of a diner. I was hungry and Steve thought this would be a better alternative to the McDonalds that I would have eaten. He was right and I felt better after breakfast. But there was still no sign of my future roomie.

Steve and I killed a bit more time by walking in the sun. Today was beautiful in Chicago. The day got nicer and nicer as the morning progressed. Where is Shawn?

Finally I got in touch with Shawn. He seemed in some sort of panic. He sounded dejected. He said the Landlord wouldn't let me move in until he met me and I signed a lease. But I was promised that I could move in no problem and that I would just start paying rent on May 1. No deal. The landlord needs to make sure that I am a respectable person and he was willing to meet later today. He said we would call and set up a time.

Now, I have all my stuff in my friend's car. My friend that volunteered his help with no reciprocation expected. At that moment, I didn't have a home. I was literally homeless.

I got on the phone and called my old roomie from the apartment I had since September until earlier this morning. He, of course, said I could return but it was just a surreal moment. I had packed all my stuff. Left. And now I am returning it all back to where I had packed it only several hours before.

So, I didn't move. When Shawn called me later to say that the landlord could meet in 45 minutes, I told him to forget it. No more Lincoln Park. It is back to Rogers Park. Goodbye Depaul cuties, hello Loyola cuties.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tonight at The Majestic Midway Theatre

Straight and Nappy Loo2
Straight and Nappy Loo2,
originally uploaded by mylilpip.
Straight & Nappy step to a new venue Friday April 15, 22, and 29 at 8 pm.

Majestic Midway Theatre, 5722 W 63rd, Chicago

Tickets are $10.00 for 45 minutes of sketch comedy and songs, including an improvised R & B number. This is the expanded version of the show we run at Donny's Skybox on Saturdays at 9 pm. This is obviously a shameless plug but this is my website.

Black Goes With Everything

brotha2Brotha: More Color in the Rainbow. I love Rod's site. I have been talking about the presence of gay man of color in general media and advertising. I even posted a comment on regarding a new clothing line 429 One of the reasons that groups are ignored is because they fail to make their presence known. You can't hide in the closet and wait for people to treat you nicer. No, you jump out and tell them "I am right here. I really exist. Treat me that way." Besides, if I don't see gay black men in advertising, how am I supposed to know what to buy?

This Looks Promising

I am not a fan of chemical drugs. I don't care for them. They make me sick and feel, well, "chemicalized." There is news that a federal judge struck down the FDA's ban on the drug Ephedra. As much as I dislike chemical drugs, I love Ephedra. Whether it is good for me or not, it has saved my ass many times when I just couldn't perform because of fatigue. I believe the sell of the drug is still illegal in Illinois but we'll see.

Passive Aggressive Technology

Reach Out and Touch No One. This article is about how people use their cell phones to pretend to talk to people when they may be talking to no one at all. The really sad part is that I have employed this ruse myself. I have gotten out of dull conversations, attracted the attention of cute guys, and put the fear of Pip into scary street strangers.

We Still Matter

Oregan COurt Tosses Gay Marriage Licenses.

Flickin' The Bic

Airports Begin Ban on Cigarette Lighters. Bad news for the well-traveled smoker. Good news for lighter vendors near/in airports.

Are You My Type?

Blood type B unlucky for would-be Korean lovers. I am all set to find a Korean lover. I just found out that my blood type suggests that I am "outgoing, expressive and passionate." Like I didn't know that already.

No Shit

Thailand to host world toilet summit

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Rising Costs of Smokes

You don't need to be a genius to know that smoking is bad for your health. I have battled my own smoking addiction for 13 years now. There are health concerns as well as the financial aspect. In Chicago, cigarettes currently sell from $5.50 to $6.00, depending on the vendor. Now there is news from New Zealand of a cigarette butt selling at auction for the lovely price of $5,400.00. Wow, that has got to be one great cigarette.

Lesson for Britney

Parenting is hard. It seems especially so for southern parents like the Woman Accused of Trading Daughter for Car in Florida.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Paula, take a sedative.

Now onto the show. The show was fun and scary as the idols sang songs from the year they were born. Like many, I took joy in hearing songs from my youth and pain in knowing that I was in high school or older when some of the contestants were born.

It was scary to see Hall and Oates They were all in the house and still ugly.

Nadia (When I Dream). The only song I didn't know. I like it. I loved the cute baby pic and the Tina Turner mini red dress. This is the Nadia that I like. She sings a ballad and turns on the charm.

Bo (Free Bird). This is one of those songs that my white friends always talk about that I just don't get. They really get excited over this free bird. I the song was not for me but Bo's performance was great.

Anwar (I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again). I think this seals the whole "Is he gay?" question. He looks great. His vocals are always so good but I keep expecting more. The key change didn't take me anywhere new. He saved it all for his long last note but it may have been too much, too little, too late.

Anthony (Everytime You Go Away). One of my favorite songs and the best that I have seen Federov in this competition. And I am not a fan of his by any stretch of the imagination.

Vonzell (Let's Hear for the Boy). A good song choice. She gave her all and I appreciated it. A solid performance overall.

Scott (She's Gone). One of my favorite songs of all time but not tonight. The beginning was so painful. He eventually warmed up and sang well for the last half of the song but I'm sorry...Just not good enough.

Carrie (Love is a Battlefield). I still love Pat Benatar. The lights were on the verge of giving me an epiletic seizure. Carrie was a little a screechy tonight. I love her but not one of her best.

Constantine (Bohemian Rhapsody). Bravo. Really great. I hate saying good things about him but he gets better every week.

My fave of the night: Constantine (I know)
My pick to go home: Scott
Who I think America will pick: Scott

That Works Out Well

Straight & Nappy and Cathcart & Olson. We got another great review and I couldn't be happier. This reviewer is my new best friend. You spend so much time and energy just trying to do the best show possible and it is always good when people like it.

No Duh

Black Officials See Social Security 'Race Card'. I was saying this same thing four months ago. Do blacks really think that Bush's plan will help them because they will do sooner? Sounds fishy? Smells fishy? It's fishy Folks.

Just Say No

Teen Accused Of Stealing Head From Cemetery Tomb (to make a bong). I have never believed in the "Just Say No" platform but now I have to reconsider. I mean, come on, use a beer can or some pipes Dude.

In Depth Coverage

What Does Bush's iPod Reveal About Him? I would be more impressed if he had "There'll Never Be" by Switch

God Bless US

Indiana man dubbed 'Village Idiot'. Does this need a comment?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Hotzi Totzi RIP

Courtesy of the WOW Report:Recently Dead, Recently Dead

Ha Ha

'Apprentice' Contestant Arrested At Fla. Casino I don't watch this show regularly but my roomie does. From the little that I have seen of him, on the show, I am not surprised.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Good Man is Hard

I do have many straight male friends but I was completely unaware of the Man Date. Thank you New York Times for enlightening me. Thanks for the news. Thanks for letting me know that straight guys date more men than I do.

Cause Knowledge IS Power

When I first moved to Chicago in 1994, I had to auditions within my first week in town. One was for AIN'T MISBHAVIN' and the other was for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! I landed jobs in both shows but SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! continues to be part of my life.

I have been living for the past several monthes with the man that conceived and directed the show. His theatre company TheatreBAM recently put up a website for SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! Check it out if you get a chance. I am featured on it in pictures and I think a video that even contains my friend Greer.

It has been over eight years since my last performance of SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! but this website reminds me of the fun I had "on the Rock."

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Keep It in the Pot

Man dies from Bean Bag. I thought beans were supposed to be the magical fruit. This story is not nearly as uptempo as that tune.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

One VCR Don't Stop No Show

Thanks to my roomie, who TiVoed American Idol, I finally saw the dreaded musicals episode. What a load of poo this show was. Just because the results have been known doesn't stop me from posting my own two cents, for their worth (with the weakness of the American dollar about .004 cents.

Scott - sang The Impossible Dream. Left me impossibly bored. Is it me or does his head remind you of a certain volleyball from a movie starring Tom Hanks.

Constantine - sang My Funny Valentine. I don't want to like him but as the show progresses I realize that he is a very good vocalist posing as a rockster. The arrangement was the same one that Chaka Kahn did for the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. He did a good job but I like Chaka's version better.

Carrie - sang Hello Young Lovers. Bad song choice. I love her but that was some bad hair.

Vonzell - sang People. Who did the faemale vocalist's haristylings? Please call me. We need to have a talk. A solid rendition of a classic song but I'm still not impressed yet.

Anthony - sang Climb Every Mountain. When he announced his song choice, I groaned and nearly wretched. Then he started singing and all I wanted to do was buy khakis and white shoes. And I suddenly really love Jesus.

Nikko - sang One Hand, One Heart. And got a one-way ticket back to St. Louis. Sweet tie, boring tune. Some good vocals but he still is lacking in "star quality."

Anwar - sang If Ever I would Leave You. I love the stand and sing Anwar better than the rhythmically challenged Anwar. Still not the best song choice. He chooses the oddest songs but gives good vocals.

Bo - sang Corner of the Sky. Why?!? He crossed his fingers, closed his eyes, and picked one of the worst songs ever. Why didn't they let him sing "Hair" from HAIR?

Nadia - sang As Long as He Needs Me. She scares me a little. She seems a bit contrived (read phoney). I mean, who stands like that? With those bony hips? Come on.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Comedy Tonight

Straight and Nappy Loo2, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

My favorite comedy duo, Straight & Nappy are appearing on Metromix:The TV Show on CLTV.

Thursday at 8:30 pm,
Fridays at 11:30 am, 7:30 pm & 11:30 pm
Saturdays at 6:30 am & 11:30 am
Sundays at 11:30 am

Set your VCR and tell a friend. If you don't live in Chicago, they sometimes air some of the pieces on WGN CH-9 during their entertainment news segments.

A Lovely Day

Today is a lot better than yesterday. I upped my Claritin dosage and that made a world of difference. The weather was warm; the high school kids did a great job in their first full run-through before the show on Friday; Rebecca, Dre (my director), and I met with our other musical director, Will.

Will is a very talented musician with a great sense of humor. He is also black so has a common bond with the cultural references Rebecca and I use. His underscore for my "eulogy" in the show is great. Tonight we also practiced doing improv R & B numbers. Tonight we sang of our love of bananas, telephones, and coffee filters. We even did an Usher-esque number about rocking chairs. It was a lot of fun. I can't wait to see if the audience likes it. Even if they don't, I love it. For 4 minutes, I get to make people laugh and be an R & B superstar.

Roz is coming back tomorrow so I can stop with the house sitting. I do have to go back to Rogers Park but only for a week and a half. On the 16th, the day after Straight & Nappy open at the Majestic Midway , I am moving to Lincoln Park (I bet you didn't see that coming). I found a room to share with a guy from Second City named Shaun. There are like 3 other guys living there I think but the place is huge. It has this legacy because Bob Odenkirk once lived there. It is a great price for the neighborhood. My bedroom is as large as my previous studio apartment and it is more centralized allowing me to go one of my 652 jobs easily and quicker. It took me 15-20 minutes to get to Second City when I first started. Then it took me 30 to get there from my studio in Buena Park. Then it took me almost an hour from Rogers Park. Now it will take me 7-8 minutes to get to Second City. I am now near the Fullerton El stop which means easy access to the Red, Brown, and Purple lines.

To cap this lovely day, I found out this asshole I remember from college is going to prison.

Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

Tuesday was just one of those days. I didn't sleep well the night before because of allergies. I had the itchy, dry, red eyes, nasal drip, itchy mouth, the works. I love spring but the season does quite a number on my senses. I have been taking OTC Claritan but it is to little avail.

I awoke Tuesday groggy and sooooo tired. I had so much work to accomplish in the morning because I knew that I had a long day ahead. I had to update a press release for our show that opens next Friday. I had to update the Straight & Nappy email list. I had to do laundry. I also had to pack up my boom box for my teen's show which happens this Friday. And I had to shower, shave, shit and eat. I managed to accomplish all the tasks except the eating.

When it was time for me to leave for the southside to teach my improv/comedy writing class at the high school, I just grabbed my duffel bag and left, hungry.

I was running behind and didn't even have time to buy a McDonald's cheeseburger. Oh well, those are the breaks. I expect my students to come on-time without excuses and I expect the same of myself. The train, of course, was delayed and I arrived at the school right at 3 pm. I felt bad. I had never been late. I was tired; my eyes were still itchy, red, and dry; and I was hungry. Needless to say, I was not in the best of spirits.

My students have a public performance at Second City this Friday at 6:30 pm in the Donny's Skybox space (admission is free if anyone wants to see 21 high school students perform their original material and improv). The day was devoted to cleaning up their original scenes. Jordan, my co-instructor, focused on the scripted scenes while I worked with a group of students performing a non-verbal scene about 5 fisherman. The scene is underscored by the Andy Griffith Show theme (you know the one with the whistling).

After meeting with the students, I finally bought dinner at a rib joint near the school. I didn't get to eat it because my director and his wife picked me up and I didn't want to eat in their car.

We had to rehearse the new scenes for our show that opens at the Majestic Midway Theatre next Friday. The rehearsal was productive and we didn't stay long. We spent more time chatting than rehearsing.

Rebecca, my Straight & Nappy co-hort, gave me a ride to the Roosevelt subway stop. I was finally going to go home and eat. I was looking forward to reheating my chicken and greens. After they were sufficiently warmed, I was going to watch the new episode of American Idol followed by The Amazing Race.

Well, I set Roz'(my friend that I am housesitting for) VCR to record the programs but guess what? That is right, they did not record. My two favorite shows on TV. I look forward to Tuesdays because of these two shows and now I can't watch them. What is wrong with this universe. What am I supposed to do now? How am I supposed to blog my enlightened comments about the Idolites without having seen the program? Shit! Shit, shit, shit....shit!

I just sat down at the PC and started typing. I turned on the TV to see what was on. To my surprise, PBS channel 11 was re-broadcasting The Hot Dog Show that I just blogged about yesterday. Finally, a reason to smile.

I still need to eat.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I love hot dogs. How ironic that I would turn out so gay. I have had hot dogs all across this great nation and internationally. There really is no where on the planet where you can get so many different wonderful hot dogs as Chicago.

Last night I ate at Superdawg drive-in. Superdawg is a Northwest side institution and well worth the trip to get there. If not for the delicious 100% beef hot dogs than for the drive-in experience and the giant Superdawg and girlfriend hot dog that adorn the rooftop. I ordered a superdawg and a supercheesie (a cheeseburger that tastes like a cheeseburger and not some frozen overprocessed fast food pattie). Delicious.

My other favorite hot dogs include Murphy's, Gold Coast Dog, Demon Dog, Gray's Papaya (NY), The Original Hot Dog Shop (Pittsburgh), MA's Dogs (Anchorage)

Who Will Help Me Plant the Wheat?

redhen, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Today I started my first day as a storyteller to k-school and pre-k kids. It was fun to tell "The Little Red Hen" to the next generation. They pay me to play with kids. You gotta love that.

The school today, Davis, was one of the best CPS schools that I have ever been too. It was a k-8 school that had an African American art theme. Everywhere was great art. They had paintings, drawings, etchings, sculptures, masks, clothes. It was wonderful.

Something not for the kids is the next incarnation of Straight & Nappy. It seems that we will definately be performing at The Majestic Midway Theatre this month. I have to put into plan a whole new marketing plan. I wished I had paid more attention in my business of theatre course.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Do You Have the Time to Listen to Me Whine?

Performing is odd when you are playing a comic scene towards an audience. The reality of your character is that no one is there but the other character(s). The reality for the actor is that there are all these shadows that belong to people that paid you to make them laugh.

Sometimes it hard to stay in the scene. It is difficult to stay focused purely on your partner. Still the audience cannot be totally ignored. You have to consider them in your physical presence. You have to "cheat out" to the audience. You have to project your voice to the last row.

Last night, I think I found a good balance. I played the scenes using the audience as environment. I imagined the laughter they admitted was like the wind blowing. Sometimes it would be still and other times it would blow furiously. I imagined their shadows to be like buildings, trees, and posters. It worked.

The Ya-Yas were in the audience last night. For those unfamiliar, the Ya-Yas are a group of friends that I know through a long time friend, Greer. Greer and I were both understudies with the original Schoolhouse Rock Live! cast. We first bonded while getting high at an awards ceremony. In my twenties I could drink three martinis and smoke pot every night. If I did it today, I would drop like a rock.

I remember the first time I hung out with them. About three years ago, Greer took me to an Academy Awards party at the home of one of the Ya-Yas. She introduced me to the whitest gaggle of chicks. I mean whiiiiight. Like the kind you find in a chick flick only snarkier. As it turns out they are some coolest and realest people that I have ever met. Some o the Ya-Yas live in LA now, one is lost in a red state, but most are still around Chicago. And last night they all came to my show. I was so glad to see them. It is so wonderful to have friends support your work. I never want to ask my friends or family to pay to see me perform. The fact they put up with me in "real life" is enough for me.

After the show we had drinks and were joined by Rebecca and a friend of hers I had one drink too many and took a taxi back to Roz place.

A Rosaniqua by Any Other Name

I remember a white actor telling me a joke back in grad school that went like this. There is a little black girl at a department store walking down a particular aisle saying, "that's my name, that's my name, that's my name." The moment is then abruptly cut short by the girl's mother that shouts out, "Clinique, you better come on here, I don't have all day for you to be playin' around this store."

Culture has played a role in teh name of children since the beginning of time. No one thinks it is unusual if an Indian-American parent names their child Sonal. Who would blink an eye if a Austrian-American parent decided to name their child Brigitta? But everyone thinks it is so odd that a black American would name their child Cordasia (pronounced Core-DAY-Zha). I have been thinking about writing a sketch about for a while now too. Not that it is so funny that black people name their kids funny names but the fact that white people's names are stupid and funny too. Come on, if you think naming your child Dakota, Dulles, Abigail, etc. sounds cool than you might as well name your child Laischa (pronounced Lay-ISH-Sha).

The thing that is really fucked up is that Dakota, Brigitta, Abigail, and even Sonal (well, maybe not Sonal) will still have a leg up over Cordasia, Laischa and Ebony in the the work place, more specifically the job hunt.

Ain't that America?

Oh Crappy Day

Our opening scene in the Straight & Nappy show is a pair of silly gospel singers. The two fictional characters are inspired by some real life gospel singers that I knew/met/slept with when I was younger. Some of these very same people are now involved in a lawsuit. You see, even with the guidance of "God", these "music missionaries" (most of them are African American, btw) are being taken advantage of by their record companies. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Mostly Likely to Need a Life

Man complains to FCC after finding a striptease on his public access channel. It's public access, the only channel viewed less than BET and the Golf Network. Let it go buddy.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Forget the Pope and Perdue

Jack Heller is Dead at 68. I know, he was not the leader of catholics around the world nor was he an innovator in the poultry industry but he composed one of my favorite songs of all time, the theme song to Bewitched. How muc do I love lthat song? It is my main ring tone on my cell phone. Farewell Jack.

You Can't Save Daylight

Well the Pope is dead but I still have to Spring forward. I'm still not sure why but the government says that it is good for me. Is it really?

Like a Dream

S&N_poster_flip2-bw, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

Straight & Nappy rolls on again tonight. We had a kick ass photo and blurb in TimeOut Chicago. We have one good review this week in The Reader. We will be featured next week on CLTV Metromix TV show.

Our next big move is a show on the south side near Midway Airport. This is going to be a tough sell. I have never heard of this theatre and I don't know crap about marketing to South Siders. And that show opens in less than two weeks.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Note to Pope

I hate that the end of life is tough. It is one of nature's cruelest tricks. It reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in "Into the Woods." The Baker's Wife has just had a fling with Cinderella's Prince. She questions everything she has ever known. Through her journey for self-discovery she understands what life is all about. She understands her purpose. She gets life's meaning. And then she dies.

I have listened to Terry Schiavo news incessantly for the last three weeks and I have a feeling that I will be listening to Pope death news for the next two or three. Pope, if you really want to be a good person, just drop out now and save me the agony of another month long death watch followed by endless reports about your life.

One more thing Pope, if you should survive through the weekend, don't forget to set your clock an hour ahead.