Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"Wyatt, I am rolling..." - Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in 'Tombstone'

My brother is on a roll right now, and you've just got to check out his blog. There are those times when writers, and comedic ones at that get in a groove, and pally, the kid is there.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

He's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccccckkkkkkkk...






I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.


"It lets me further know..." - Steve Harvey

My grandmother, Lord rest her beautiful soul, loved Duke University. As my father tells me, Grandmother loved Duke more than any other school in the world. I have always found the nationalistic pride that North Carolinians have for their schools rather admirable, and my Grandmother was no exception. My friend Jarvone, a native of Charlotte, was a huge Tar Heel fan when we were students at Morehouse, and my buddy Christian (Warren County's own) is a big Duke fan.

I've hated Duke University since the NCAA national championship game of 1986. That year, Johnny Dawkins and the Blue Devils, heavily favored, lost handily to 'Never Nervous' Pervus Ellison and the Louisville Cardinals. Duke essentially broke my heart, as I had followed them all season, and immediately my hatred of the institution and its athletic programs reached the levels I reserve for the San Francisco Forty Niners, the Boston Celtics and the rest of the NFC East.

So, imagine my pride and my ebullience when Duke lost to Nevada-Las Vegas in the national championship game in 1990. Sweet Redemption pally...sweet. And imagine my anger during the subsequent years of my high school life when in tenth and eleventh grade, led by Christian Laetner, Duke walked away with consecutive championships.

Duke University isn't an old school. It's only 85 years old, and maybe that's one of the things that angers me so about them, their arrogance.

Recent allegations about the alleged rape and sexual assault of a woman at a Lacrosse party (who knew?) only raise other questions that for the aloof and oblivious (read: average European American), are never quite noticed until something like this happens. In this age of political correctness, I think we go out of our way to desensitize ourselves from slight racism and even polite racism, and look primarily for the all-out deluxe brand of racism.

Was what happened at Duke the result of racism? I really don't know. But hurling racial epithets at anyone, even a stripper from Central, is wrong. Imagine if at an African American fraternity party, Asian American strippers were requested, and racial epithets had been hurled at them? What type of response from the Asian American community nationwide would there be?

Racism is rarely discussed anymore, because no one wants to offend anyone. My brother calls me the 'King of Propriety' because of the way that I only discuss certain topics that I feel are appropriate in a given situation. When it comes to racism, racist epithets and all that comes with that, I am not the aforementioned King. I am tired. I live in Georgia, and every day, I see at least 300 Rebel flags. That may mean nothing to you, but growing up in Dallas, if you saw a Rebel flag, that meant that the person driving that vehicle (usually a truck), hated me and wanted to enslave me. When I hear the argument about Southern pride in reference to the flag, I am disgusted. Furthermore, when I hear the opinions of others that I as an African American male, should get over it, I am even more disgusted and I wonder what would happen if all the Confederate flag symbols were switched to swastikas. And no, not the American Indian swastika symbol, but the hateful, deceitful, murderously bloody and scary symbol of that crazy, deranged, homocidal nut Adolf Hitler. Yes, I wonder for a moment, if the symbols were switched out, how long they would fly on state flags or proudly from homes, or on pickup trucks not outside of Atlanta, but downtown on Peachtree? Not long I'm guessing, because the ADL doesn't play that.

Now, for all of the so-called leaders in the African American community, I suggest that they get their facts straight about what happened down at Duke, formulate a plan, and converge on the University like a pilgrimage for redemption and salvation. But I also suggest that they be mindful that the actions of some hormone crazed young men should not cast a doubtful eye on the men of Duke as a whole. That would not be prudent. I also would not chalk it all up to the actions of jocks. However, the school's slow action, and subsequently slow moves in cooperation are further evidence that something is flawed in the system as a whole, and hopefully, that something, when all of the smoke clears, will be brought to the fore.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy Birthday to 'Our Shining Black Prince'

49 years ago today, Shelton Jackson Lee, better known as 'Spike' was born in Atlanta, Ga. Raised in Brooklyn, and educated formally at Morehouse College and later New York University, Spike has become one of the most importantly provocative filmmakers ever.

Love him or hate him, he's undeniably in your face whether it's on the screen, through the words he shares during one of his many lectures at college campuses, or cheering on his beloved Knicks courtside at the Garden.

Not unlike my other favorite filmmaker from New York, Spike does not waver or compromise for his art, is not concerned with the hemming and hawing of critics, and produces, rather consistently, fine feature films. No, his films won't necessarily turn the profits of Tyler Perry's or the Wayans brothers, but his films get critical praise and Oscar nominations, and in the picture business, despite the almighty dollar, notoriety is the ultimate measuring stick.

So, happy birthday to you Spike, my dear Morehouse brother, and in honor of your 49 years on earth, I will list my 49 favorite Spike Lee moments (in no particular order)

1. May 1979, Graduation from Morehouse College
2. October 1978, Direction of Morehouse's Homecoming Coronation, the first in King Chapel
3. May 1979, Associate Editor of the 1979 Torch Yearbook (a title that later I held)
4. "Please, baby, baby, Please baby, baby, Please!" - She's Gotta Have It
5. The fact that SGHI was in black and white (economically and artistically)
6. "Fifty dollar sneakers and I've got no job!" - She's Gotta Have It
7. "Every man wants a freak, he just doesn't want them for a wife..." - She's Gotta Have It
8. "Nola Darling would never be with a non-weightlifting pseudo Black man like yourself" - She's Gotta Have It
9. "I wash my one fork, my one plate, and my one knife." - She's Gotta Have It
10. The fact that he shot School Daze in the AUC
11. "I'm not trying to dog you. Look at my face. Can't a real Gamma man be attracted to you? Hah?" - School Daze
12. "We were wondering, do revolutionaries eat Kentucky Fried Chicken?" - School Daze
13. "That's Kool and the Gang, brother" - School Daze
14. Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, Tisha Campbell, Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Rusty Cundeiff, Daryl Bell, Branford Marsalis, Bill Nunn, Kasi Lemmons and Roger Guenever Smith were all in School Daze...together.
15. "You talk more shit than a little bit. Back to mother Africa. Without question we are all Black AMERICANS. I am from DETROIT, MOTOWN, so you can Watusi your monkey ass back to Africa if you want to..." - School Daze
16. "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeeeeeee UUuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuppppppppp!!!" - School Daze
17. "Doctor, this is the Mayor talkin'. Doctor...always do the right thing." - Do The Right Thing
18. "Thank God for kneecaps..." - Do The Right Thing
19. "All you ever say is nigga this, and nigga that, but all your favorite people are so called 'niggas'" - Do The Right Thing
20. Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Screenplay - Do The Right Thing
21. Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Danny Aiello, Do The Right Thing
22. "Remember when we were in Paris and we were rushing to the plane and I urged you not to buy the same dress. I urged you. You said, no there's no chance that they'll wear the same dress, on the same night and see each other...You owe me fifty dollars." - Mo' Better Blues
23. "Shadow!!!" - Mo' Better Blues
24. "I know, I know I know. I can read. I went to school." - Mo' Better Blues
25. "Yes, I'm asking you to save my life!" - Mo' Better Blues
26. "I'll do it. I'll do it. You know I'll do it. I like getting high. 'Cause I'm a c-c-c-c-c-c-crackhead" - Jungle Fever
27. "Naw, I'm not satisfied yet..." - Malcolm X
28. "Every time you break that seal on a bottle, that's a government seal your breaking!" - Malcolm X
29. "Don't pay those fools no nevermind. Jesus will protect you..." - Malcolm X
30. Crooklyn Soundtrack
31. Clockers Soundtrack
32. "We locked up the wrong brotha" - Clockers
33. Girl 6 Soundtrack
34. Get On The Bus
35. He Got Game Soundtrack
36. The incident with Reggie Miller
37. Coming to speak at Kilgore in the spring of 1997, when we asked what the good word was, and you told us to get a job, and we did the same gesture from 'Do The Right Thing'..."AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"
38. "I was born in Brooklyn!!!" - Do The Right Thing
39. "But your lesbians right?" "We're businesswomen." - She Hate Me
40. All the commercials
41. Sitting courtside at the CAU game in February of 2005
42. Academy Award Nomination for Best Documentary Feature - Four Little Girls
43. The fact that unlike my other favorite director, you actually do commentary on your DVDs
44. Fight The Power
45. Mars Blackmon
46. Pierre Delacroix
47. Flipper Purify
48. The fact that you love your alma mater.
49. The nod that you gave me as I walked across the stage at my graduation.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

What a difference a day makes

I remember watching an episode of Letterman one night, where Jerry Seinfeld was talking about the Deion Sanders trade to Dallas. He mentioned how when a great player is on an opposing team, fans hate him, but when he moves to your town and is on your team, you love him. I understand fully.

Terrell Owens is the newest members of my favorite team in the world, the Dallas Cowboys. Personally, I couldn't be happier. We were a somewhat serious contender, and now we are a DEFINITE contender, at least that's what I keep reading on all of the newswires.

This is eerily reminiscent of a huge acquisition in 1995 when a somewhat controversial man named...Deion Sanders...came from a rival team (See...Niners), and that same year the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But, now it's 2006, and things are a little different. However, it will be one helluva ride with old #81 on the sideline. Personally, I will love every moment of it.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Oh yeah, before I forget...yesterday T.O.'s site,, had green accents (and it wasn't because of St. Patrick's Day), but now it's my favorite color...Cowboy Blue.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"I Happen To Like New York" - Cole Porter

On Thursday, March 9th, 2006, nine years to the day that Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls aka The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed, I took a flight up to New York very early in the morning. The occassion? the annual UNCF gala dinner, to see my family, to visit Columbia and NYU and to see my friends.

I've got to bring it back to Wednesday when while at Nordstrom's shopping for the livest Pumas ever created, who should I bump into but the great Terrell Owens. He was shopping for shoes as well, and I told him to keep his head up, to which he nodded, smiled and went about his business. Then I said, "T.O. we need you in Dallas man!" He stopped, looked at me and chuckled kind of hard. I don't know him, so I don't know his noises, but I could tell that I was irritating him, so I pushed on.

Back to Thursday. I made it to the airport with time to spare, and ran into Jamal Smith, the younger brother of one of my Morehouse classmates and buddies, Julius. We chatted it up as we waited for the flight. My magazines for the trip were Vanity Fair, Gentlemen's Quarterly, Esquire and Men's Vogue. My Ipod, Electric Relaxation, was charged up and ready to roll, and I walked on to the plane, made my final calls and sat in my seat. I was seated in an exit row, and to my surprise, no one sat next to me. Airtran, the carrier providing my flights for the weekend, recently added XM radio to their offerings for their passengers. At first I thought this was silly, until I listened to it. I jammed from Atlanta to Charlotte on several channels. Then I switched over to my Ipod. The night before I prepared a new playlist for my New York trip called, "NY State of Mind."

After overhearing the passengers to my left speak about 'Flavor of Love', I joined their conversation, and we all agreed that Flav should choose Hoopz, which he did.

After a bumpy descent into LaGuardia, I went to pick up my luggage and call my brother for advice on how to get to the City. I took a gypsy cab, instructed him to take the BQE to the Brooklyn Bridge to get me to the Embassy Suites in Battery Park/Tribeca near Ground Zero. When we pushed off from LGA, I started playing my New York mix which includes:

I Happen to Like New York - Bobby Short
Angela (theme from Taxi) - Bob James
New York, New York - The Man
Bread & Butter - Beanie Seagal
The Way You Look Tonight - The Man
Long Island Degrees - De La Soul
Scenario - A Tribe Called Quest
Speed of Sound - Coldplay
Electric Relaxation - A Tribe Called Quest
Harlem Blues (from Mo' Better Blues) - Cynda Williams
Faithful - Common
Fanfare for the Common Man - Aaron Copland
Bonita Applebum - A Tribe Called Quest
I Love You Just the Way You Are - The Piano Man
I'm In Love Again - Bobby Short
Shopping Bags - De La Soul
Itsoweezee - De La Soul
Stakes Is High - De La Soul
Hip Hop - Dead Prez
I Need A Girl, Part II - Diddy & Loon
Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered - Ella Fitzgerald
Fly Me to the Moon - The Man
Moonlight Serenade - The Man
How We Do - The Game f. 50 Cent
Broadway - Geno Young
Black Woman - George A. Peters, II
Camay - Ghostface Killa
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns and Roses
Promise Me You'll Remember - Harry Connick, Jr.
Fabulous - Jaheim
Dead Presidents 2 - Jay
Big Poppa - Biggie
Can I Live - Jay
Brooklyn's Finest - Biggie & Jay
Lighters Up - Kim
Ms. Fat Booty - Mos
Love Is Like A Summer Day - Louie Armstrong
Life's A Bitch - Nas
Umi Says - Mos
The World Is Yours - Nas
The Panties - Mos
It Ain't Hard to Tell - Nas
One Love - Nas
Juicy - Biggie
Hearts & Bones - Paul Simon
Dreams - Biggie
Still Crazy After All These Years - Paul Simon
Warning - Biggie
In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins
Crazy Love - Paul Simon f. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Mo' Money Mo Problems - Diddy
Diamonds on the Soles - Paul Simon f. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Best of Both Worlds - Jay and Kels
Karma Police - Radiohead
Ice Cream - The Wu
Young G's - Biggie and Jay
The Boxer - Simon & Garfunkel
Selfish - Slum Village f. Kanye West
Get By (Remix) - Talib, Jay, Mos, Kanye, Busta, etc.
New York State of Mind - The Piano Man

So as I'm riding over the Brooklyn Bridge, "Angela" by Bob James is playing in my headset, and I instantly see visions of the opening of my favorite tv show as a child, Taxi.

I got to the hotel to check my bags and come back later to check in. The doorman, Jett, suggested that perhaps at 11AM, maybe my room was ready. I walked to the desk, and alas, it was ready. A conversation later, I was headed to room 427. Now, at the Embassy Suites, every room is a stay with me. The room was huge, live and all mine. It overlooked the Hudson Bay, had great art in it, and was too, too cool. I spread my magazines around on the coffee tables and side tables as though I were home. I hung up my clothes, walked down the hall and got some Cokes and ice, and sat back as I watched Ocean's Twelve awaiting the arrival of my brother Jordan.

After Jordan arrived, he and I hoofed it to Canal Street, which wasn't far away. I was staying in the Financial District on North End Avenue, just west of the Westside Hwy. We walked up Murray Street, and before I knew it, we were in Tribeca. After looking at a couple of places that looked far too expensive, Jordan and I settled on dining at Buster's Garage which was playing college basketball on every available space in the place. We had a tasty lunch and headed to Canal Street, where Jordan's 2:40 television commercial audition for Sprint was.

We had a little time to spare so we walked around Canal and eventually went up to the office where the audition was. When we stepped off of the elevator, I saw several faces that I recognized. I started to get an understanding of my brother's world, when any other African American male who walked in was, essentially his competition. I took a seat and started playing bowling on my phone when I noticed that to my right was Kelly Cofield, from In Living Color. Hilarious.

After the audition we walked over to NYU. I saw several places from some of my favorite films, particularly the Washington Mews and the l'arc de triomphe at Washington Square. After NYU, Jordan and I went to Ralph Lauren's new store, Rugby. If you've been there, or are in any way familiar with it, you'll know why I dig it. It's Ralph's answer to Abercrombie and American Eagle...but done with class, style and dignity.

Jordan had a later audition uptown, and I headed back to the Embassy Suites. I walked around the area, and then upstairs to get ready for the UNCF dinner that night.

As I was flipping channels, I saw Spelman's president, Dr. Beverly Tatum, on

Due to a mixup, I didn't have a ticket to the crashed it. The plan was to meet my brother in the downstairs bar at 9PM where he and I would have some drinks then go up for the let out and schmooze. Dressed to the nines in hand tied black tie, I hopped a cab headed for the Sheraton New York and made it there in record time. With 45 minutes to spare before I was to meet with my brother, I headed upstairs to crash the dinner. I walked in to the main room, and saw my dear friend Ray Jones chatting it up with the legal counsel of Federated Dept. Stores and a Morehouse man. After seeing Ray, I saw my good friend Ben Jones, and then my college president and hero, Dr. Walter Massey. We embraced, chatted it up for a minute and he headed off to his table as I went looking for my parents. As I walking I found their table, and greeted and hugged everyone there. I then went over to Dr. Massey's table, and after, found my aunt's and uncle's table. Once again, I hugged and greeted and met the presidents and their spouses of Wiley College, NYU, Oakwood and Paul Quinn.

I made my way to the back of the room where I found my friend Seth Pickens seated with his friend, the lovely Isis Jones, and Mr. Henry Goodgame. Seth, Isis and I chatted it up, took pictures, and since it was nearing 9, I headed back downstairs to meet Jordan.

45 minutes passed before Jordan called to say that trains had been delayed. At that point, I was too Maker's and Cokes in. Then, Jordan breezed through the revolving door and he had a Bass Ale. Brown University.

To our surprise, Freddie Jackson walked through the couches and seats in the bar. I called out to him and he came over to my brother and I. We talked for about five minutes and Freddy went on his way. Amazing.

After we finished our drinks and settled up, Jordan and I walked upstairs. As we were going upstairs, Editor in Chief of Ebony Magazine and President and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., Linda Johnson Rice was walking downstairs. We talked to her for a brief minute and continued on upstairs.

We schmoozed, picked up gift bags, and took pictures...lots of pictures. I walked up to Dr. Michael Lomax, UNCF president and I asked him why he was shown so many times at the Oscar telecast, and he replied, "why wouldn't they show me?" He also informed me that he first attended the Oscars when he was 12. We talked for a good while and then parted ways. One thing that we talked about was, "It's Hard Out Here for A Pimp", which we both agreed, Dr. Lomax and I, that it was simply a song, and should be looked at in that way and no other. After parting ways, I looked to my right, and saw Donovan McNabb. Ray flagged him down, and we got a picture.

We moved on to the dessert after party where people were hobnobbing and backslapping. It was a good time indeed.

Eventually, Ray and I headed downstairs to the bar, where my family had gathered and commandeered an entire section near the fireplace. Ray regaled my family with stories of New York living, and everyone was having a very good time when a man from the UNCF, Mr. Michael Jenkins, walked up and told my aunt that Jennifer Holliday wanted to meet her, and wondered if we had room for her up where we were sitting. Ms. Holliday was with the president of Paine College, Dr. Shirley Lewis. We continued our lively conversations and eventually, we closed the bar down. Paine's president, Dr. Lewis, informed me that Morehouse and Paine were founded in the same building, a fact that I was unaware of.

Jordan, Ray and I headed out to get another drink and a bite to eat. We went to the Stone Rose at the Time Warner Center, but the bar was closed.

So we settled on Pastis. After eating everyone headed home.


My brother crashed at my hotel and the next morning, when I woke him up for the free breakfast that Embassy Suites provides, he decided to sleep through it.

Later that morning, we set out on the city again. With my coat buttoned all the way up, Jordan and I walked to Canal Street again because he had another audition. When we got off the elevator, there, in the flesh was the beautiful and enchanting Carmen de Lavallade. I couldn't remember her name at the time, but I told her how much of a thrill it was to see her. No one else even looked up, the schmucks.

After the audition, Jordan went back to Brooklyn and I headed uptown to meet Ray for lunch. It was so hot that I got the idea to check my coat at my parents hotel at 53rd and 7th. Ray suggested that I take the train the 20 blocks to his job, but I protested, saying that it was such a nice day that I didn't mind walking. Well, I walked right through Times Square like the novice that I am, which prolonged the walk. I forgotten that 7th becomes something else and changes while going south. I learned that quickly though. Times Square on a sunny Friday or a cold Tuesday is a circus, so imagine a record high day of 73 degrees...

Eventually I made it to Macy's, where Ray is a buyer. Now when I say Macy's, I mean the mothership. The biggest store in the world, yeah that one. My legs hurt just walking the street below it. Ray was resplendent in a gray suit, blue gingham large print French cuffed shirt and paisley tie. Clean pally. We walked to a restaurant in Chelsea called Spice. Thai is my new thing, or rather spring rolls. And this place did not disappoint. How the two of us had 3 courses and drinks for $27 is beyond me, but we were definitely full. We hopped a cab back to Macy's, and I headed uptown on the 1 to see Columbia. I was standing in the train for the first few stops, trying to seem like I'd done this before, and I had pre-9/11 during the glorious summer of 2001. But things were different now. Eventually I found a seat near where I was standing. I noticed Ipods everywhere. I asked the woman next to me who was knitting, which stop Columbia was. She said 116th and asked why I was headed up there. I told her that I was visiting Columbia because I'd applied to J school there. She told me good luck and said, "It's a horrible field."

I thanked her and at 116th, I jumped out of the train and bounded up the stairs to come out right at the main gate of Columbia. I was short of breath because I've wanted to visit Columbia my whole life. It was crazy. I looked at the campus map and saw that the Journalism School was exactly 42 feet behind me, so I turned around and walked toward the main quad and then into the J School building. I spoke to a few students and took a personally impromptu tour. Then I walked out of the building, looked at Pulitzer's statue, and looked out on the main quad that I'd seen in my favorite movies; Ghostbusters, Hannah and Her Sisters, Hitch. I was truly mesmerized. I sat there and took it all in, then called my friend Seth, who is a Divinity student at nearby Union Theological Seminary.

Seth met me at the gate and we walked down Broadway a few blocks before arriving at a restaurant where he had tonic and water and I had a Budweiser Select. Later I visited his dorm and walked back to the 116th train stop where I caught the 1 train going downtown to pick up my coat at the Sheraton New York, and then catch a cab to Park Slope for dinner at Blue Ribbon. There I ate with my sister, my brother, his girlfriend, my parents, my aunt, my cousins and two family friends. We had a wonderful time, and the spicy Hanger steak was cooked to perfection.

After dinner, my sister, brother and his girlfriend walked down the street and had a nightcap at a bar called Lobo. There we met up with one of Marjon's friends, and a good time was had by all. I liked Lobo because it was a cowboy/westerned themed bar replete with cowhide on the seats and the walls.

After drinks, I took a car back to the hotel and retired for the evening.


I woke up and had yet another free breakfast. Excellent again. The plans for the day were to go The Color Purple's 2PM show. We had to be there, according to Dad, at 1:30.

I hadn't spent anytime with my classmate James yet, and he came from his newly purchased home in the Bronx to pick me up from the hotel so that we could get a bite to eat before the show.

He took me back by Rugby for one mo' gain and then we ate at Dallas BBQ on the corner of 23rd and 8th. AMAZING. We had a frozen Long Island Iced Tea that came in a glass big enough for a fish to swim in. I also ordered the half order of chicken wings. The wings were like the size of a small child's arm. They were huge. New York, what a town. Well...we finished everything around 1:25 and we were 30 blocks from where I needed to be. James and I jumped in his car, and he made it happen and got me there at 1:45. I gave my name at WILL CALL and picked up my tickets. I had great seats, 10 rows from the stage, Orchestra level. Right before the curtain lifted, my sister came in and set next to me.

The Color Purple was amazing. I will not give it away, I will simply say, you need to go and see it.

During the show's finale, I was trying to get the attention of the man who played Mister's father, Lou Myers, the same man who once played Mr. Gaines on 'A Different World.' I was close enough for him to hear me yell Lou, and he looked my way, and pointed and smiled, and pointed and smiled back. Then he gave me the universal 'ok' sign, as did I and we both laughed. Fortunately my sister witnessed this and can corrobarate this story.

After the show was family time. During this time period, I'd lost my phone in one of my shopping bags.

Later in the evening, we said our final goodbyes to our parents, as my brother, his girlfriend and I split a cab downtown as she went to Balthazar and we went back to the hotel.

My brother and I were watching tv and having some drinks when my friend Ray, called and asked what we were doing. I told him we were chilling, and in for the night. He insisted that I come out, and before I knew it, he was knocking on the door of Suite 427.

Jordan stayed as Ray and I left for a club called Bed which was located off of 27th between 10th and 11th. When we walked on the street between 10th and 11th, the scene was like ancient Rome. There were people EVERYWHERE. It was crazy. We couldn't get into the club because they weren't letting any more guys in at the time. Right when we walked up, my main man Geoff Bennett walked out of the club. We chilled outside and caught up and just people watched. It was very entertaining and absolutely free to just watch people. While out there we saw too drunk girls staggering, over-dressed and under-dressed people and even a few famous faces. We saw one of Run's daughters (the one who interned at Phat Farm), one of the judges from America's Next Top Model (the short, portly one with the glasses) and we saw Diddy outside of the club Home. Later, our friends Sam and Angelo came out of the club and we were all in the street together, hanging out and taking in the sights. Ray had us all in stitches all night, with his own unique brand of comedy.

Eventually, it was time for me to leave due to the fact that I had yet to pack and it was approaching 3AM. Angelo, dutifuly and like a true stand up cat, stood in the street and hailed me a cab. He's definitely a new part of the fam.

I got back to the Embassy Suites, packed and went to sleep.


Free breakfast again. Check out was smooth. As I was eating breakfast, I noticed a Bank of American right next door. I'd been going to random ATMs, and there was a BOA right there...I was a bit steamed, but it was cool.


I had a great trip and accomplished what I came to town to do; visit with my family, visit NYU and Columbia, visit NYC and visit my friends. Great trip, no complaints.

I know this is a bit of a departure from my usual entries, but I had to do it.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

"Anything can happen now that we've slid over this bridge, anything at all..." - Jay Gatsby

What a show. What a show indeed. Okay, I'm going to do this in a few ways. First, I'll provide commentary, and then I'll do an Oscar's 20 questions. So, without further adieu, let's get into it.

The show, which ran 3.5 hours, went by pretty swiftly. It never seemed to go long, and I personally appreciated the film montages throughout the show that truly were an homage to the glorious past of Hollywood and its films, and in a sense, Oscar history.

Throughout the night, as I was talking to Skeet, I noticed that 'Memoirs of a Geisha' was quietly winning technical awards, which I found interesting throughout the night.

I was thoroughly impressed by the speeches of the winners, and more importantly, the sincerity with which they were delivered. George Clooney's speech had a point, and a very good one, that being outside of the mainstream can be a good thing when trying to change public perception and when trying to work to change much of the ills and wrongs in society.

Jon Stewart's opening monologue was funny and fresh. I was a bit tired after awhile though, that he had a comment after every segment. I felt that some things should just be respected and left alone.

The night's winners were kind of split down the middle. Brokeback Mountain won several awards, but then again, so did Crash. I called the wins for Brokeback for writing and directing, and then I was pretty sure that Crash would also win for writing. I feel that the relevance of Crash's story has more of a universal appeal, however, what Ang Lee said, the fact that love is so important, added a bit of relevance to Brokeback Mountain as well. However, I am so very proud that Crash won, and that I dragged several of my friends to go see this film in May and June of 2005. I'm also happy that I first mentioned Crash on this blog on May 23, 2005.

Morgan Freeman was one well dressed cat. Samuel L. Jackson, a member of Morehouse College's class of 1972 was also equally smooth and sartorially spectacular as a presenter. Also, in the crowd was a member of the Morehouse College class of 1968 and the president of the United Negro College Fund, Dr. Michael Lomax.

Three Six Mafia...There's so much to say. First of all, after Dolly Parton was out there all by herself, I presumed that they would give her the award simply because she's Dolly Parton, an icon. Having Chris (Luva Luva) 'Ludacris' Bridges do the intro for Three Six Mafia, was truly historical in and of itself. But then, Three Six came out, and they ripped it. I stated countless times on this blog and in conversation that "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" was everything that a Best Original Song should be, and fortunately the Academy felt the same way. When they won, I was so shocked and so excited, that I couldn't stop smiling, it was crazy.

A side's interesting that Queen Latifah hasn't done anything noteworty since Chicago, but Hollywood still pushes her up as though she's a major film talent. That movie with Steve Martin, should get her Black card revoked for the sterotypes that she perpetuated in that film. Just a thought.

Robert Altman's honorary Oscar is long overdue. When I was a film student at Howard in the mid 90s, Altman was my directing guru. I am such a huge fan of his work, and his 1992 masterpiece, The Player, is the second DVD I bought. I went to see it the day it opened on May 19, 1992 at United Artists Theatres in Dallas. I was going that night to see Lethal Weapon 3, but it was sold out, so I went to see The Player, and my life was never the same. Long overdue kudos for Mr. Altman.

Oscar 20 Questions
1. Has Dolly Parton's head always been so large?
2. Was Jon Stewart really that funny?
3. Was Jamie's blue shirt appropriate?
4. Didn't Sam Jack and Morgan Freeman hold it down for Brothers everywhere?
5. Despite everything, and hatred aside, isn't Clooney too damn cool?
6. Wasn't everyone quietly rooting for Crash?
7. Is 6 hours of pre-Oscar coverage too much?
8. And despite everything else, wasn't Nicholson the coolest of them all?
9. Were you afraid that the car on the Crash set was going to explode?
10. Was it disturbing or just a commentary on reality that there were only a handful of African American stars down front?
11. Wasn't it refreshing that Luda had better seats than Spielberg?
12. If you ever won one, where would you put your Oscar?
13. Do you really believe that people in China were watching the Oscars?
14. Where was Crash actor and producer Don Cheadle?
15. Weren't you a little disturbed by Betty Bacall's stumbling through her lines?
16. Wasn't it cool to see Mickey Rooney in the crowd?
17. Doesn't the 'In Memoriam' section always get you down?
18. Was I the only one who noticed that Do The Right Thing was the second film shown in the 'provocative/important' film montage?
19. Didn't you love the euphorically ebullient exuberance that Three Six showed when they won?
20. Is it still hard out here for a pimp?

Oscar Fact:
Three Six Mafia has an Oscar and Martin Scorcese doesn't. Hilarious.


Another Texas team. Another Big XII championship. This year is truly the year of the Longhorn.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"It's a beautiful night for Oscar, Oscar, Oscar who will win?" - Billy Crystal from the 1991 telecast

My old buddy Monk suggested that I give out my predictions for Oscar hardware, so I'll still give it a go...


He blows the competition away with his performance in this film. There's really no room for debate otherwise.


Though I really enjoyed Matt Dillon's performance in Crash, I think it's a travesty that he was the only nominated actor from that fine film. His character vaguely mentioned where his racist thoughts derive from, but he never really addressed it, but rather lived with it. It was disturbingly too real for me. Giamatti got robbed last year when he should've been nominated his role as Miles in Sideways. Clooney will win because he's nominated so many times, and no one would balk at a win in this category if he were snubbed the rest of the night.


I very much enjoyed Ms. Witherspoon's performance but I felt it was lacking something. But then again, maybe Walk the Line was missing something. Now that I think about it, that's what it was. Her performance was real, intense, warm, engaging, and refreshing. Hopefully she'll stick to these type of roles and move away from the Legally Blonde III : The Big Apple projects. Charlize Theron's role and its relevance has a better social message and in the end is far more important than the abbreviated story of June Carter, but Reese will probably walk away with the statue. I'm a huge Felicity Huffman fan though, and a win for her would be a true delight for her performance in Transamerica.

WILL WIN: RACHEL WEISZ, The Constant Gardener
SHOULD WIN: RACHEL WEISZ, The Constant Gardener

I'm a huge Frances McDormand fan, so anything she comes with I feel is solid. This is truly a remarkable Oscar field for women. There's a wide array of very talented actresses in Hollywood right now, and it is refreshing to see them tackling the roles that they are. I wish more women of color could get a piece of that action however.

WILL WIN: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were Rabbit
MY PICK: Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were Rabbit

I love Wallace & Gromit, and so does the Academy. I grew up on the films of Tim Burton, but I think Wallace & Gromit might have the Corpse Bride beat out on this one.

WILL WIN: Good Night, and Good Luck
SHOULD WIN: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
MY PICK: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

They WENT THERE in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I'm sure Pride and Prejudice was pretty, but Harry Potter's art direction was groundbreaking.

WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain/Memoirs of a Geisha
SHOULD WIN: Good Night, and Good Luck
MY PICK: Good Night, and Good Luck

WILL WIN: Pride & Prejudice
SHOULD WIN: Pride & Prejudice
MY PICK: Pride & Prejudice

WILL WIN: ANG LEE, Brokeback Mountain

WILL WIN: March of the Penguins
MY PICK: Murderball

WILL WIN: God Sleeps in Rwanda
MY PICK: The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club

WILL WIN: Munich
MY PICK: Munich

Amazing film.

WILL WIN: Final Days
MY PICK: Tsotsi

Tsotsi is a MUST SEE film.

WILL WIN: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
MY PICK: Star Wars III


WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain/Munich
MY PICK: Munich

WILL WIN: "In the Deep"/"It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp"
SHOULD WIN: "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp"
MY PICK: "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp"

I voiced my opinion on this in a previous blog but "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" perfectly crystallizes and captures the mood and feel of this film, so it should not only be nominated, but it should WIN. THREE SIX FO' LIFE!

WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain/Crash
SHOULD WIN: Crash/Good Night, and Good Luck
MY PICK: Crash/Munich

I haven't seen Brokeback, but I will, and I will write about it then. However, I feel that Crash was superb and Munich was Spielberg at his best.

MY PICK: One Man Band

MY PICK: Six Shooter

WILL WIN: King Kong
MY PICK: War of the Worlds

I judge my pick solely based on the fact that I jumped more in this movie than I have in a very, very, very long time.

WILL WIN: King Kong/The Chronicles of Narnia
MY PICK: Walk the Line

WILL WIN: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
MY PICK: King Kong

WILL WIN: Brokeback Mountain
MY PICK: A History of Violence

WILL WIN: Syriana/Crash
SHOULD WIN: Good Night, and Good Luck
MY PICK: Match Point

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Why Haven't You Seen This?

"...they're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls..." - Don Zaluchi - The Godfather

Admittedly, I didn't watch Hustle and Flow until months after its release. I purchased it one night at Target on Moreland in Atlanta, and I went straight home and watched it that evening.

I was very entertained with the movie, but I felt it was missing something. I felt that Terrence Howard, who has entertained us for years now in a variety of roles, came with his usual bravado and brilliance, and it did not go unnoticed by the Hollywood Foreign Press nor the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. However, there's a problem with his performance, or maybe just the way his character's story was written.

The problem is that the outside world never, ever penetrates his life. Granted, the outside world may have led him to his chosen profession, and the influences of the outside world may have even directed him to take a different career path, and become a rapper, but it seems that the rules of the world, never, ever penetrate DJay's daily life.

For instance, DJay is a pimp. In the film though, the fact that he is a pimp is never once compromised. He is never investigated for pimping, never questioned by the police, never even close to being caught or brought in for anything have to do with prostitution. It's as though the world, or maybe his world, doesn't really care that he does that for a living. Also, he deals in 'gateway' drugs. At no time in the movie, deleted scenes nor in any of the commentaries is there any questioning of the fact that he deals drugs or in essence does what he has to do to get by. Not once is he caught or suspected of being a drug dealer throughout the movie, even though essentially he's a middle man anyway. No, the only time that he goes to jail or that we even see the police in this film is after he gets into an altercation and beats the daylights out of someone. I just found that whole thing conveniently odd.

Now, it can be looked at in a number of ways. There is a famous line in the book The Godfather as well as in the movie when Don Zaluchi stands up and says, " I want to keep it respectable. I don't want it near schools. I don't want it sold to children! In my city, we'd keep the traffic in the Dark People, the Coloreds - they're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls." One could make the argument that since the police don't really care if African American women prostitute themselves, or if African Americans sell drugs to each other and destroy their bodies and their lives, that's less of a burden on the local P.D. Yes, that argument could be made, and there are parts of this fine country where that is still most definitely the case, even today in 2006. However, the film either presupposes that you, the viewer, know and understand that or subscribe to that notion, or it feigns a blissful ignorance to the rules and laws of civil society.

While Terrence Howard's performance is moving, and even makes one feel sympathetic for and definitely root for a drug dealing pimp, the fact that he never really addresses the illegal way that he gets by in life leaves a hole in the performance for me. My friend Tash dismisses the whole movie because the writer and director is of European American. And while he may have said that jestily, the truth still stands that that is the case.

I am however very proud for Terrence Howard, whom I first recognized as Quentin in The Best Man. His current meteoric rise is an interestingly sad commentary on the fact that what Black America knows for years is all brand new when the majority of America realizes it. Calling Terrence Howard a newcomer is as irresponsible as calling Cornel West a teacher, or leaving off the 'Dr.' in Condeleeza Rice's proper title (they never left it off of Kissinger's name). I also feel that Terrence Howard should've been nominated for his role in the ensemble piece and my choice for Best Picture, Crash. He defnitely should've gotten a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the film. He had a very, very quiet dignity that simmered and boiled only once in the film, and even when the chips were down against him, that dignity or cool, got him out of a seemingly unwinnable situation.

Win or lose, and do I believe good old P.S.H. (Philip Seymour Hoffman) will win a most deserving Best Actor statuette, it's always great to be nominated, and hopefully Mr. Howard will find solace in that.

The question was raised as to how I feel about Three Six Mafia performing. I think it will be one of the most memorable moments in the history of Oscar. And hopefully they will give it their all, which I'm sure they will. "Hard Out Here For A Pimp" is exactly what a Best Original Song is supposed to be; it captures the essence of the film. Its brilliance is the same that Mencken and Ashman had with Aladdin's 'A Whole New World' or Prince with "Purple Rain" or Stevie with "I Just Called To Say I Love You" or Eminem with "Lose Yourself." The best original songs capture the essence of the film. I was ecstatic in 1999 when "Blame Canada" was nominated, because it showed the Academy was dead on accurate at awarding the best music from the year. However, "La Resistance", "What Would Brian Boitano Do", "Up There" and of course "Uncle Fu**a" were also Oscar worthy as well.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

"When we get a little something something, that's when you know it's on..." - Raekwon the Chef

Tonight the Dallas Mavericks play the San Antonio Spurs in San Antone for what will be one of the most anticipated and debated regular season games in Mavs history since the Lakers played the Mavs at Reunion Arena on national television on an unseasonably cool Sunday in 1988. The then red hot Mavs got off to a very slow start, and the defending World Champion Lakers humbled the young upstarts mercilessly.

That could happen again tonight as the blazing hot Mavs (winners of 19 of their last 20 games) take on the (defending World Champion) Spurs. Tonight's game, and the Mavs' huge nationally televised showdown with the Phoenix Suns on Sunday should determine how the country and the rest of the league will grade them down the rest of the stretch of the regular season.

But since I'm a MAVS FAN FOR LIFE, and a former REUNION ROWDY, we are ready for any and everything that our cousins from the south have to offer. A change is gonna come. Mark my words, a change is gonna come.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.