Tuesday, February 28, 2006

And the Best Pre-Oscar Satire Goes to...

Joyce Wadler's Jon Stewart and the Night Visitor - New York Times (pretty funny read)

The Oscars. The big show is coming up on Sunday. I was in a low-budget, low-humor, nationally released film ten years ago. This qualifies me to predict how people who are actually in the film industry will vote in their well-campaigned artistic love fest.

For some reason, I just can't hustle up any Oscar excitement this year. I see the hype but it is not working on me. I spend time doing my homework so that I am ready to win the Oscar pool but I am still just not that into it.

You would think that I would be the most excited about the Oscars. This is the gayest Oscars since the 34th Annual Oscar Celebration back in 1961. That is the year that West Side Story won 10 of 11 Oscar nominations. It was also the year that Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour won 0 of 5 nods.

And don't forget Jon Stewart. It doesn't get much better unless you consider the awesome presence of Terrance Howard and a hip-hop song nominated for best song...Again. I love when they actually award popular contemporary music at the Oscars. But I still haven't caught A.M.P.A.S.itis. I am much more excited about who will win Project Runway.

Maybe I've just realized that my life is more important than the movie industry. This year my life doesn't revolve around getting excited about people that I don't know who's careers are soaring. Sure, my career is valid too but it is not exactly award winning.

When I was kid, I always imagined that I would one day be sitting in a reserved Oscar seat. I'm not sure if I ever truly believed that I would win an Oscar but I always thought I would hang out with people that had one. To re-cap, at ten I aspired to be a hanger-oner. I have had the great fortune to meet people of all walks of life including a few Oscar nominees and some winners too, including one of my favorite living actors.

I do love the actual Oscar event. And I am looking forward to Sunday's festivities but that mostly has to do with the company I keep on that night. I could care less about which studio's stock is going to rise because they made a movie that won an award and a lot of people paid to see it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Four of My Favorite Things
Time to fall in line with my buddies LL Cool P and Sarah. This little meme gave me something to think about besides the fact that I am over winter. Sure, Chicago has had a mild winter, it could have been worse, blah, blah, blah. Lets just say that even at mild tempertures, it is fuckin' cold and I am so done with it.

Now the meme:
Four jobs I've had in my life:
1. 7-Up Gnome
2. Pimp
3. Stevedore
4. Gay Handicapped Convict
Okay, so these are roles that I have played but they are, technically speaking, jobs I've had.

Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Waiting For Guffman
2. The Color Purple
3. Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1 (not his best movie but definately his most offensive)
4. Girls Will Be Girls

Four places I have lived:
1. Peoria, IL
2. London, England
3. Long Beach, CA
4. Chicago, IL

Four (current) TV shows I love to watch:
1. American Idol
2. Project Runway (T-Rob, we need to talk)
3. 24
4. The Amazing Race

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Amesterdam (Don't remember much...Kidding...Such a beautiful and fun city)
2. Paris (So beautiful)
3. Denver (my friend that I love like a brother lives there)
4. New York (Dudes, its New York)

Four websites I visit daily:
1. Flickr
2. Rod 2.0
3. NY Times
4. Blogging Project Runway

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Sushi (no Uni though)
2. Lox
3. Hot Dogs
4. Dark Chocolate

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Someplace warmer
3. Day Spa
4. On a road trip with Steve

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I love LA
Bitch and Ho are OK words for Oscar telecast. But no shit or fuck, my niggaz (niggaz is also not allowed).

Friday, February 24, 2006

It has begun

Originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

I love you American Idol because you always deliver the drama. What is the deal with a group number with the final 24? It is too early in the competition and the number was awful.

Let me jump right in with the Idol cuts. I usually wait until the final 12 are chosen before I start making comments but since they have already done a group number then all bets are off.

I knew that Copa dude (Bobby) was a definite goner. He and Stevie were a no-brainer. I didn't think that the pretty twin (Becky) was going this week. There are a few other women that I think are just as mediocre or worse.

I thought that it would be between Piano Man (Patrick) and Bucky (AKA Country Hick) for the second guy to be cut. Although I hated the performance by the kid from Crystal Lake, IL (David) who sang "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". But I knew that he was cute enough to stay. I mean lets not forget that this is a talent competition and a popularity contest as well.

Piano Man picked the wrong song and was boring. And it cost him. I thought it might be Bucky because he was lacking in showmanship. His voice is pretty good but his look is atrocious and his stage presence is lackluster. At least the goofy kid from Crystal Lake was entertaining although hard to watch.

And Ace....Hot stuff. He is not the best singer but he can sing well and he just smolders on stage. I hope he can bring even more vocally. I don't want to see another Justin Guarini.

Other early favorites include Paris, Katharine, Elliot, and Mandisa.

I want to like Taylor but I know his whole Ray Charles/Joe Cocker routine is going to wear my nerves. Although he is one hell of an entertainer and can sing his ass off.

And what is up with them letting the contestants sing the song that got them voted off. I know it is a way for the departing contestant to give something to their fans just one more time. But it comes off like "America didn't like you, lets see why!" Hilarious.

My predictions for the final 12 (in no particular order):


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Finally...The Truth

Originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.
Finally someone has written what most Black men have known all of our lives. There are double standards in our society for Black men.

The article, Shani breaks the rules by Melissa Harris-Lacewell, in today's Chicago Tribune is about those standards. I feel for my brother Shani Davis. I can relate to his struggle and I have even been stopped and illegally searched by "Chicago's finest" too.

The double standard sucks. It weakens race relations and reduces grown men to the status of children. Why can't a brother have a little pride and dignity? Why is that when choose not to play Stepin Fetchit we are criticized and put down?

The double standard operates in show business too (understatement of the year). If a white actor doesn't want to do something because it compromises his dignity or personal beliefs then he is conscientious. When a black actor does the same, he is difficult.

An angry white comic is edgy. An angry black comic is scary.

I've been there. I've been the scary, and difficult black man. At least, I am not alone.
What Is Right wth US
This is the first what is right item for Uptempo. I hope it is not the last. A group of motorcyclists, calling themselves Patriot Guard Riders, roll around the country and respectfully cheer at funerals in order to counter the anti-gay protests of Fred Phelps at military funerals.

Phelps believes that God is killing American soldiers as a punishment for homosexuality. What God does this nut serve? Never mind.

I don't think that the riders are protecting gay rights but they are trying to give dignity to the families of dead soldiers. Whatever their motives, I say "bravo" to the Patriot Guard Riders. You are doing somehting right in the US.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sometimes you can feel the world changing around you. It can be an incredible experience if you don't let it freak you out. Life is constant transition. We are in one place oned day and another the next. Modern technology has even allowed us to be in more than one place at once.

I'm a good place of transition right now. I'm not actually caught beneath the landslide of the Champagne Supernova but life is shifting towards something good. I feel it like I feel the fabric of my gap turtleneck. I'm not immediately aware of it's presence but I know it is there.

Everything in my life supports this positive thought. Even my music is taking a swing upwards. My current must-hear-daily songs are Stevie Wonder's "Positivity" and Janelle Monae's "Lettin' Go." The latter track is super dope yo (if I may use a phrase from my youth).

Saturday, February 18, 2006

cradle(d) orchid

cradle(d) orchid, originally uploaded by mylilpip.

i just wanted to post something pretty.

caught this beatiful creature at Jamaican Gardens, a tropical plant store in Morton Grove, IL on Superbowl Sunday. Everyone was watching the game and commercials. I was in this beautiful greenhouse taking picures.
This grouping of flowers looked like a cradle to me (thus the title). i love the color and flower is flawless.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What The Hell Is Chocolate Soup?

VD Menu copy, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

About seven days ago, I became ill. I am not very good at giving in to illness. I tried to hang on and pretend I was well for as long as possible. I lasted a day. At first, I thought I had the flu. I had a low grade temperature, terrible headache and was sore all over. After the fever broke, my symptoms were basically like a bad cold. Congested, chills, headache, soreness, and coughing. I even had to miss a performance on Saturday. It was awful.

I'm well now. You won't believe what a strong will, ibuprofen and Cold-Eeze can do.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day (formerly known to me as VD) and my first day feeling more good than bad. I had an audition that I think went very well but every time I think that, I don't get the job so...

I prepared a special Valentine's dinner for Steve. The menu is above. Yes, I can cook. I also made a special VD (sorry, old habit) music list for the evening. We had a lot of fun.

For those of you beginning to puke right now, it should be noted that I was the perpetually single guy for years. Until now, most of my Valentine's Days were spent alone. That is not a complaint. I didn't care and I never felt bad about being alone on the "big day."

Rituals and traditions are generally lost on me. I don't "get into" holidays that much. I mean like Halloween but that is about it.

Now that I have Steve in my life, I thought it was important to see what the big heart day fuss is all about.
I don't mean to be a sentimental bore but I enjoyed making VD (Yeah, I can't stop doing that) romantic and fun. Steve is a great partner. He puts up with a lot from me. Dating me includes bouts of depression, bouts of poverty, and bouts with my family. He doesn't just deal with my baggage, he sometimes carries it. And I appreciate it.

Now that you have heard my sweet little story, here are some Valentine's Day disaster stories to make you feel good about your own world.

BTW, Chocolate Soup (sort of a cross between pudding and hot chocolate) is delicious.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

On a TransMission
It all began when I watched the documentary series Transgeneration. The show had me "trans"-fixed (I'm sorry that's Steve's joke). This series detailed the life of four college aged transgendered individuals (2 MTF (male to female) and 2 FTM (female to male). It was fascinating. My ignorance on the issue of being transgendered was overwhelming.

There have been so many other Transgender related projects since the show first aired last fall including the Felicity Huffman lead indie TransAmerica. There is a lot more information about the life of the Transgendered. I almost feel like I've heard it all. Now I realize that I haven't.

Josef's Blog tells the true story of Josef Kirchner, a man that became a woman and then a man again (that makes him a MTFTM). It is an amazing story. Kirchner's tells about his fear, disappointment, shame, and regret before his sexual re-assignment surgery, after the surgery, and after the transition back. It's deep shit man.

Recently, Kirchner posted a public apology to members of the Transcommunity for calling them sick and evil.

Deep shit man.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What Am I To You? Some Big Gay Joke?
If you haven't seen it yet, just hold on, you will. Someone will forward you a copy of the Brokeback Mountain Grocery List. I received my first forward today.

The list is funny. I want to put that out there. It is a funny bit but I may be on overload with the Brokeback Mountain jokes.

From the beginning (and I mean pre-production beginning here) there were Bareback Mountain jokes. It wasn't long until someone turned that title into a comic (relatively speaking)short and then a porn flick.

Also, Lets not forget Brokeback to the Future, Top Gun Brokeback, and Brokeback Kong. Combine the above with all of the jokes by Leno, Letterman, and Conan and it just may be Brokeback comedy overload. In the interest of fairness I have to admit that I have made my fair share of Brokeback jokes (onstage and off). Hardly a day goes by that I don't think of my favorite line in the movie, "Jack Twist, Jack Nasty." That phrase alone makes me laugh.

I do love humor and I love Brokeback Mountain. But I think I've developed Brokeback Humor Fatigue or BHF. I think I just need one week without Brokeback jokes. Just one week is not much to ask, is it? Well, as Jack Twist says, "This is a bitch of an unsatisfactory situation."

Oh Brokeback jokes, God, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I have been a Netflix subscriber for only six months but I believe that I have been a victim of Throttling.

Throttling is Netflix's way of evening things out. I pay $17.95 for unlimited rentals but their computer actually does limit me by not having movies available to me when I want or taking extra days to send me the next movie in my Queue. A dissatisfied customer actually did personal research to prove the practice. The results are bothersome.

I recently sent Netflix an email about my own displeasure with the practice of throttling. This officially puts me in the "Angry Old Man" category but I don't care.
**NOTE: I previously belonged to the "Angry Black Man" category.**

Here is a copy of the email that I sent to Netflix.

I was happy with my service until the last six weeks. It seems the movies that I am most interested in renting have a wait time while my friends (with newer accounts) seem to get those movies rapidly. I have also noticed that sometimes it takes significantly longer for my movies to come. Often I will get a new movie in a day but many times it takes three days.

Recently, I read an article in the Chicago Tribune about the practice of "throttling." I am sure you are familiar with the term. It is my belief that your company practices throttling. The very idea that you would penalize my account because I watch a lot of movies is very troubling to me. I was considering upgrading my account but instead I think I may cancel it altogether and sign up with Blockbuster.

With Blockbuster, I can pay the same fee PLUS receive a free rental at one of their store locations. Please address and resolve this problem or I will have to take my business elsewhere.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Brokeback Ken

ken, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

He's toned and coiffed. He let his hair go back to a more natural color. But I still have reason to believe that Ken, described as "America's favorite arm candy," is still gay.

Barbie broke up with him two years ago for a reason. She was not getting laid. So, unless the new Ken comes equipped with a penis and a dose of heterosexuality, I say Barbie should keep on looking. I would suggest anatomically correct Big Joe.

And I haven't forgotten you Ken. I say get yourself a hottie boyfriend. With your new look, you can have him or him (I personally like #2). If you like older men that are kind to animals, I would suggest him.

White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm - New York Times. So, I guess it is true. George Bush doesn't like Black people.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Someone finally made Christianity interesting to me again. If you havent' seen it already, allow me to present Jesus Christ:The Musical

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Feminist Author Betty Friedan Dies at 85
Betty Friedan, whose birthday was today died in her home of congestive heart failure. Friedan, a Peoria native(like myself) spoke at my college commencement back in 1991.

She is known today as one of the many women that fueled the modern feminist movement.

Two trailblazers from my hometown have passed away in the last two months (Richard Pryor died in December). Just a reminder for me to get busy and do something with my life.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I'm So Famous

Originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Another day and another press mention for Straight & Nappy. The picture on the right is the one that is used in the current issue of Time Out Chicago Magazine.

Today we are mentioned in an article in the Chicago Tribune - "Say everything" This article is about Wordsfest 2006 (see below). The printed newspaper includes a picture of me at rehearsal.

Apperently, I am very famous. I wish someone would tell my agent.

Gotta go...Dave Chappelle is on Oprah.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Opening Tonight

words, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

Finally...After what seems like a never ending rehearsal processs, Wordsfest 2006 opens tonight. Straight & Nappy perform on Fridays at 8 pm, as well as, Saturdays at 8pm and 10 pm. Still, I will be in the audience tonight for the big kick-off.

The current issue of Time Out Chicago has a picture of Straight & Nappy on page 69. I am so famous it hurts. Don't be jealous , Bitches.


Stevie Wonder's song Positivity is one of my new favorites. A positive attitude can conquer a lot of bullshit. That is not to say that I don't hate from time to time. In fact, the older I get the more I hate.

Inspired by LL Cool P (who was inspired by Stephen Colbert), I present my own Dead To Me list: