Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Corretta Scott King 1927 - 2006

coretta, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Coretta Scott King, 78, Widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dies - New York Times

Monday, January 30, 2006

Baby I'm a Star

ron, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

As a gift to American Idol fans across the country. I give you RhonettaJohnson.com: Our American Idol.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Year of the dog

year of the dog, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Happy New Year!

Get your new Chinese name.

My Chinese name is Lu Bang Po.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Video Day

buggles, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Today is video clip day. Please enjoy the following videos.

Never Too Early to Toot Your Own Horn
First I present, Baby Fart
Next I pay tribute to a friend's husband. This is how I imagine Stage Director Bob Falls in 20 years.

BTW, love you Bob.
Thank Heaven For Little Girls
And finally, Mary J blige being cursed out by a little white girl
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


words, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Rebecca and I are preparing to appear in a festival called Wordsfest 2006. The show runs February 2 - 12, 2006 at the Theatre Building, 1225 W Belmont, Chicago.

Straight & Nappy are performing Friday and Saturday nights. Saturday is all about the comedy but I'm telling you that Friday night is going to be SUPERHOT!

Friday night is full of musicians, dancers, singers, and spoken-word artists. Then thrown into the mix is the comedy stylings of Straight & Nappy. I think this is going to be a good time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

TV UPDATE: UPN, WB to Shut Down; New Network Formed

Nasty Talk

phonesex, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

For whatever reason, I couldn't sleep well last night. I woke up around 3 am and tried my best to go back to sleep but without success.

One way to pass the time was to read anything in sight. I started with the Chicago Tribune online. Thank goodness. I found out that the old Chicago jail number will hook you up. Calls to an 800 number, whose last four characters spell J-A-I-L, used to give info about inmates. If you dialed the number today you would get "nasty talk" from students and housewives.

Pity...I would rather get nasty talk from the inmates.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Brokeback Mountain
Thanks to Brad Blog for the humorous clip o' the day featuring evil clown George W. being Questioned about 'Brokeback Mountain'

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Our Second Missie Award goes to Shannon Cook, 24, the
mom who abandoned her kids for Springer.

Friday, January 20, 2006

All You Got To Do Is Dream

Originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

I've got Dreamgirls fever. I have had it for a while now. I'm not really sure if I can make it until the end of the year. I want to see it now. Dreamworks must be feeling my pain because they finally released a sneak peek at the Dreamgirls Movie - Official Site. When u get there, click on "VIDEO" and the "BEHIND THE SCENES." It will be a great TGIF treat.

BTW, what is up with this photo. Beyonce is so beautiful she just phones it in? She doesn't even look like she is trying in this photo. I can't believe that this is the photo the studio chose. It's Dreamgirls.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Like many folks my age, my metabolism isn't what it used to be. I also eat more and excercise less. I've already spent my prerequisite month or two complaining about how fat I am because I don't fit into any of my old clothes but recently I have taken a more active approach. Translation: I'm putting down the whoopie pies and going back to the gym.

I hate the gym. I hate the smell. I hate the gym rats. I hate teh boring repetition of excercise. But if I ever want to fit my big brown ass in my tuxedo again I have to go. Or do I?

I recently came across an add for a fitness program that might be right up my alley. You get to stay at home and watch hunky white bread models excercise. The point is that by watching them you will be inspired to work hard to look as good as they do. That's right look good naked.

Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaassssssssssse! Who am I kidding? I don't need to buy this DVD. I already get enough hand excercise. You know what I'm saying?


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"The Proof is in the Paper"

american_idol, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

All I can say is "Hallelujah! American Idol is back."

Caution Tivo users...SPOILERS AHEAD.

The best prime time talent show/singing competition/train wreck is back. Of course, these are just the prelims. The Top 24 won't be revealed until Feb 15. And the first live results show begins Feb 23. And the Top 12 don't perform together until March 24.

All these dates represent is a few weeks of watching the good, the bad, and the tone deaf.

Okay, lets get it started. I loved how the show begins with all the teasers. Ryan Seacrest (still bothers me)is back and teasing us with all the goodies to come including Ann Nesbit's (Sounds of Blackness)granddaughter.

Lets lead with some positives. Thumbs up to singing male black twins. They seem to be kicking ass in Chicago. I also loved the girl from the girls band Cat Fight.

Okay, nuff with the positives. Lets get to it. What up with the dude in the dress who was participating in this competition because he wanted to show up his mother that had little faith in him and she wanted to prove her wrong. Man, next time don't wear the Heidi outfit and sing Lady Marmalade.

Big chuckles for the diminuative young man that sang "The Load." I don't think Simon should have called him a wasp or a rat but...Yeah.

Speaking of Simon, my jaw dropped when he suggested that that Charles kid shave and perform as a woman. Is that a clumsy bi-0curious way of hitting on a young boy?

I think the winner of the Best Stunned Look Followed by a Great Exit goes to the guy from New York dressed as the Statue of Liberty.

American Idol prelims are always full of very effeminate men. This year is no exception. My favorite effeminate man was the boy that came with his grandmother. You know the one from a "very, very, very,very,very,very,very,very, small town." Hilarious.

My favorite teen is a toss up. It is between the foul mouth girl from Peotone or the sun tanned Crystal. The Peotone girl was talented and crass. But Crystal is good at "singing, acting, dancing, modeling, whatever." And she sings "And I Am Telling You" from Dreamgirls and "Lady Marmalade" like nothing you have ever heard before or would want to hear again.

Private note to the girl from the Ukraine...NO.

My favorite moment had to be the barrel shaped police officer from West Virginia. He came all the way to Chicago in his uniform to sing "(And) I Shot the Sherriff"? I've visited West Virginia once. Now you know why I've never been back.

I love you Idol. Welcome back.

Everything Old is New Again

victor cook, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

The sun is not out today but my spirits are still high. The past few weekends have been great. I am back to my old status of full on Social Butterfly.

Straight & Nappy are participating in a showcase show in February called WORDSFEST (formerly WORDS). We will be performing on Friday and Saturday nights. The Friday show is devoted to music and spoken word. Rebecca and I (along with another comedy ensemble)are the comedy for that night. The artists on the program are so wonderufully talented. Artists like Kevin Coval, Iambic 3, Motep, and Ugochi are burning the stage up with their poetical and musical skills. Even though we rehearsed much later than I expected, I still enjoyed being around such great talent.

Saturday night was another night of talent. I got a call from my friend Kim. Kim is a professional stage manager. We recently worked together on Schoolhouse Rock Live! but we first met when I did Showboat at the Auditorium Theatre in the late 90s. Kim told me she had an extra ticket for a performance of Too Hot To Handel, a jazz gospel redux of Handel's Messiah. It was also at the auditorium (our old stompin' ground). It featured Roderick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Victor Trent Cook.

Dixon, Burke, and Cook may not be household names but they should be. Dixon and Cook are best known for being two of three tenors featured in the show Three Mo' Tenors (they now bill themselves as Cook, Dixon, and Young). Alfreda Burke is a wonderful soprano and the wife of Roderick Dixon. In one of those "small world" or "everybody knows everybody in show business" stories, Alfreda and Rod were also in Showboat Alfreda was in the show when I joined the cast and I took over Rod's role after he left in order to appear in the Broadway production of Ragtime.

Victor Trent Cook is also no stranger to Broadway having appeared in Smokey Joe's Cafe. He was nominated for a Tony for that show but didn't win. Ironically, two of his competitors were people that I worked with in Showboat. He did win the Star Search $100,000 male vocalist championship back in 1998. Rest assured, the boy can sing. He is a countertenor and has the highest and most pure sounding male voice that I have ever heard.

The show was very good. It included an orchestra that featured classical and jazz musicians, most notably Alvin Waddles (that man can rock a mofo piano). In addition there was choir. The choir really deserves their own post. I can't tell you how funny it is to watch a bunch of white folks in tuxedos rocking out to Handel.

For me the greatest pleasure was going backstage to say hello to Alfreda and Rod. I also got to meet the conductor and Victor Trent Cook. The man has one hell of a voice. In addition, he has these beautiful light brown eyes and smoothest brown skin.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Mom's Safety Tips

ABCs_Logo_1_Sharpened, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Three days of sunshine in a row have bought me back to my senses. It is amazing how much happier I have been with the sun around. I even feel thinner (despite the fact that I have gained 4 inches in my waist in the last 6 years).

This morning the sun is out too. I am in a great mood until I open my email inbox and find that my Mom has sent me an email with nine safety tips. I know she just has my best interest at heart but the email is a bit creepy and scary. I'm not a woman but now I am going to be paranoid everytime I get into my car when it is parked next to a van.

This is very much like my mother. She wants to help me but instead she makes me neurotic. In addition to the safety tips, she sent me pictures of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi and another safety email. The other safety email was about dryer safety. You all can read the first email from my mother while I clean out my dryer filter before my house burns down. BTW, I did not add anything to this email. The red highlights are some phrases that jumped out at me but it is worded the way I received it.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do: The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!

Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans. If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you....chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS!) The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
a. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot, or parking
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor, and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial
killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs. (Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times; And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, Preferably ! in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP. It may get you raped, or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked "for help" into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.


Another Safety Point: Someone just told me that her friend heard a crying baby on her porch the night before last, and she called the police because it was late and she thought it was weird. The
police told her "Whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." The lady then said that it sounded like the baby had crawled near a window, and she was worried that it would crawl to the street and get run over. The policeman said, "We already have a unit on the way, whatever you do, DO NOT open the door." He told her that they think a serial killer has a baby's cry recorded and uses it
to coax women out of their homes thinking that someone dropped off a baby. He said they have not verified it, but have had several calls by women saying that they hear baby's cries outside their doors when they're home alone at night.

Please pass this on and DO NOT open the door for a crying baby ----This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because the Crying Baby theory was mentioned on America's Most Wanted this past Saturday when they profiled the serial killer in Louisiana.

Remember, I did not embellish any of this...And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lonnie Latham, Come On Out...

Latham,-Lonnie, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

You're the next minister on The Price is '$40 for a Blow Job, Right?'

Rev. Lonnie Latham, pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church in Tulsa, Okla. and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, was arrested Jan. 3 in Oklahoma City for "offering to engage in an act of lewdness". Basically he picked up some business off the streets in Oklahoma City. I've been to Oklahomo City and I just can't imagine what they serve on the streets thereIt can't be that good..

Still, I am intrigued. I actually don't feel the need to mock the man. The hypocrisy is self evident. Latham says he was involved in some sort of "prayer ministry". I know, we can all think of a lot of things that we do on our knees besides prayer but like I said, no mocking.

Sinners are watching, Christians are on the defense, activists are hoping that Southern Baptists will just wake up and find the real world.

My hope is that Latham faces his true self and comes out. Then I hope he tells the others in his midst that it is okay to be who you are. Trust me on this Rev. I've been there. Oh yeah, one more thing...Give up the OK City street trade. That is just nasty. OK!?!

Seperated at Birth

The 9 month manhunt for Joey "The Clown" Lombardo included several federal agencies, including the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service. They thought Lombardo could be in the Caribbean or in Mexico. Turns out he was kickin' it with his boys in Elmwood Park, IL, only a few miles from his west side Chicago home.

As you can tell from the picture above, Lombardo has been taking fashion tips from "Insane Hussein."
It is important to note that Lombardo and Hussein share other traits. They are both suspected of killing or ordering the killing of a lot of people. and both men were on the run relying on secret networks and "spider holes."

Noticed I said suspected.

I don't need any of Mr. Lombardo's friends to get the wrong idea. I am not laughing at "The Clown". I just needed a lead joke.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Not In My Backyard

National Coalition for the Homeless released a list of the Top 20 'Mean Cities' Toward the Homeless. I have been to 18 of the 20. I am glad I had a place to stay.

Take That Big Business

It is the end of a very long week. After 4 long mellow days at the top of this year, the last week has been crazy and harsh with new projects and old deadlines.

I gave up coffee two or three years ago but I will sometimes have a cup when I really need a buzz to get zooming. My favorite coffee drink is Starbucks Cafe Mocha Valencia. People love to hate Starbucks. I do hate that many of my favorite coffee shops have closed because of the almighty Starbucks arm is long and far-reaching(Chicagoans: Remember Scenes on Clark and Belmont?). But when I get a cup of that chocolate and orange flavored deliciousness I quickly forgive the big caffeine giant. However, it was amusing to see this article about a small New Hampshire coffee roaster that beat Starbucks in court. The company will keep its name, Charbucks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Was I too hasty in handing out my first Missie Award to Gene Shalit? It seems that his gay son Peter Shalit is more than upset about people calling his dad homophobic. Of course, I never called him homophobic. I said he missed the point. And I stand by that.


Somethings are just weird. This is one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

They're Back

If you missed it before than set your vcr this time to Logo to catch WOW Productions: TransGeneration. This was the best thing I saw on television in 2005.

Transgeneration follows a year in the life of 4 transgendered college students (two Male to Female, and two Female to Male). It is intriguing, enlightening, and heart-warming.

Transgeneration is absolutely must-see.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Jim Zulevic 1965 - 2006

zulevic, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

I'm sorry to say that there is more tragedy in my world. The comedy world lost another citizen this weekend.

Farewell to Jim Zulevic.

Most Chicagoans knew Jim as the red-shirted guy on Fox that does the promos in between The Simpsons and Seinfeld. Some knew him as a teacher and a director for one of Chicago's best comedy groups, GayCo.

I am a little in shock over the whole thing.

I found out about his death from a news teaser on Fox last night. You shouldn't have to find out that someone you know has died from television.

Oh well, farewell Zulevic.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Allan Johnson, 1959 - 2006

ajohnson by Charles Osgood
Originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Allan Johnson wrote an article about Straight & Nappy just previous to his sudden illness. The article appeared on a Friday and he passed away exactly three weeks later. We never got to thank him for writing a lovely piece.

Excuse me while I take the time now to say thank you to Mr. Johnson.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Missed The Point Award

I'm glad to award th first of many Missed the Point Awards (or the Missies) 2006 to Gene Shalit
What Does It Mean to Be Black:
'We Who Are Dark,' by Tommie Shelby and 'Creating Black Americans,' by Nell Irvin Painter - The New York Times Book Review

Pip, The Hyphenate

Model Day_01, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

From collecting stamps to painting ceramics, I have started, neglected, and/or quit many hobbies.

There are only a couple of hobbies that I have managed to continue for more than twenty years. One of them is watching TV. Some people don't see that as a hobby but they don't understand TV the way I do.

The other is photography. I am not great at it. In fact, I'm fairly average. I do it because I love it.

Now imagine my surprise when one of my shots was chosen to be posted on a photo blog as a TopPhoto. The pics are chosen from flickr members and then posted on the Top Photo photoblog. There are a lot of great pics up on this site. It makes me want to be a better photographer.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2006

SAG Nominations Announced

Suspiciously, my name is left off again.


Jon Stewart to Host Oscars - New York Times

Maybe This Year

 Anderson Cooper

I love Anderson Cooper. I always have since he first appeared as the host of the reality show "The Mole." I knew the first time, I saw those blue eyes, salt and pepper locks, and that wonderful face that I needed to jump his bones immediately.

Whenever I am in New York, I turn my head every which direction hoping to have a Coop spotting. He always seems to be out on assignment bringing us news about poor (both figuratively and literally) people that have had some major tragedy recently introduced to their lives (most recently hurricanes and mine shafts). That just makes me love him more since I know he was raised in a privileged home.

I love you Coop.

One day soon, they are going to legalize gay civil unions in America. And I'm going to come for your hand. We'll be happy and no one will break us apart. Not Steve, not Hill Harper, and not even LL Cool J. Well, maybe LL.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gone But Not Forgotten

One of the shows that I worked on in 2005 closed on New Years Eve. I loved the cast and we bonded very quickly. One of our last conversations was about the losses we all felt in 2005.

Today I remember those souls that left us in 2005.

Ossie Davis
August Wilson
Nipsey Russell
Rosa Parks
Luther Vandross
Richard Pryor
Ibrahim Ferrer
Bobby Short
Johnny Carson
Saul Bellows
Bob Denver
Ann Bancroft
James Doohan
Arthur Miller
John Spencer
Frank Gorshin
Hunter S Thompson
Eddie Albert
Ismail Merchant
Don Adams
Peter Jennings
My Grandfather Thomas Mosley, Sr.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

I would like to start the year out positively but it is not gonna happen Instead, I will start out with a big, fat, for-the-love-of-god NO.