Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

MeShell & Left Eye

Last night I went to see my grrrl Meshell at Madison Square Park. Where da hell is that, right? It's the tiny park on 23rd between Madison and 5th. For this performance Ms. NdegeOcello assembled a musicially fly crew of musucians she's calling Grand Mission. Dude on the drums (listed on the website as Adam Deitch) was so crazy ill. His style was like Ahmir "?uestlove" from The Roots (his coif was blowed out too except on some Creme Of Nature tip), but dipped deeply in some Tony Williams sauce. Mike Severson who was on guitar was definitely channeling Santana. Even though I only caught the last 30 minutes of her set which ended promptly at 8pm (only 1 hour long), I was digging the funky dub vibes. And Meshell's vocals were, as always, very soothing, sultry, even when she probably didn't mean them to be. I didn 't recognize any of the music I heard, but that's neither here nor there especially since I'm drinking wack juice for not having copped her most recent joint. Well all that matters is that she ripped it and the cool part was how after she said her thank you's, homegrrrl just walked off the stage and out of the park on to Madison Ave. talking to some cat like she was taking her usual afterwork stroll thru the park. Never mind the hundred or so cats that were applauding and yelling her name just a few feet away. Very funny. Very New York!

After Meshell's jam I hopped on the #2 train and headed uptown to the Vibe Urban World Movie premiere. Even though I got there at 8:35, I was still able to catch the last hour of the Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes doc they were premiering. Wow, it was really insightful in terms of getting the back story to so much of the "drama" that seems to represent, or at its very least, taint the memories we have of Left Eye. This is a doc that she filmed while on retreat in the Honduras and where she gets mad open especially about her love/hate relationship with Andre Rison. Lisa also gives us her side of the story behind her rather detached involvement with the promotion of the Fan Mail cd. Last Days of Left Eye had some eerily deep moments. Moments that my comrade keenly noted, mirrored Tupac's doc in that they-- Pac & Left Eye, both seemed to sense, no KNEW, that they were going to die young and tragic! I really wish Left Eye had more time on her side because you can tell that she was about to lay some ish on the line. Maybe about T-Boz and Chili, who knows but something was eating at her spirit and she was ready to release it to the Universe. But alas when I saw her get into that red pick-up truck, I knew I was looking at the final moments of her life. I was sitting on the edge of my seat because I didn't know what I would see in these last minutes but I knew it was more than I ever thought I would see in terms of viewing a person's final moments of life. (Aaliyah's video that was shot hours before her plane crashed freaked me out, especially that scene where she's swimming underwater, but it looks as though she's floating upward to heaven!) Not to give anything anyway I will say this... I was left with many more questions afterwards than before I saw the film. I won't say I was disappointed because I wasn't. It was a good film and I hope all of you watch it when it airs on VH-1, but like anything sweet and seemingly so ripe, I just wished that the other producer would have squeezed a lil' more outta one of our most unique and talented individuals. At the end of the film Left Eye says in voiceover that with death there is transformation and a new star is born. Now nothing against Beyonce or Alicia Keys, but unfortunately in both Left Eye's and in Aaliyah's case I am still awaiting that blindingly bright new star.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's On & Poppin'

Well it's literally been a month of Sundays since I last posted and I miss y'all so much. What's up Cocoa Girl, Latasha, Supa Sista, Felicia, Aplomb & of course, The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons? It's been so crazy that I haven't even had the time to check you out. For real y'all I’m totally outta the blog-loop and need some updates, so give me a shout!

And even though I'm still mad busy trying to complete a few projects-- like my book proposals, theHotness media kit, going through and disposing of at least 50 mags, getting rid of at least 80 cd's by importing them into iTunes and working on two magazine features, I can't help myself I just gotta blog! And thanks in part to some really inspiring and motivational words from Greg T., Joicelyn D., Michael Gonzales, Bill Brown, LaChena and Karen Good, I really feel like we've got sumthin special going on here! This blogging ish is in my blood now and I have so much to share so I'ma catch you up with all that’s been poppin, errr more like slowly simmering, for the past two months in my life. To save a lil’ time, I'll give you my recap in bullet form. Guns drawn? Let's go:

1. St. Martin – I went with comrade and fellow Bronx grrrl, Diane DaCosta to St. Martin to assist her as she launched her Tai Texture beauty line and hawked copies of her book. It was my first opportunity to explore a French isle and I was amped. With my new kelly green Calvin Klein bikini packed and a suitcase full of media kits I was off. The island itself is gorgeous! The Dutch side is more developed than the French side of the island and had a nice rootsy, grassroots vibe, whereas the French side was less developed but way more cosmopolitan. I felt like I was in St. Tropez or southern France (like I’ve vacationed there before!). The food was great especially at Tropicana on the French side in Marigot and the grilled lobster at this tiny shack off the road on the Dutch side. Boo Boo Jams on Friday and Sunday nights is the definitive reggae, calypso, dancehall, soca and yes, hiphop jumpoff! My jam was and still is Roll It by Alison Hinds. It is such a tight, sultry dancehall whind and grind joint that it really irks me that no one is hyping it up back here Stateside (save the Yardies). The book festival was pretty dope too and definitely reflected the energy, vibrancy and consciousness of the people of St. Martin (I'ma post more on the St.Martin Book Fair so check back).

2. Lisa Raye's Party – Thanks to Raychelle at SheNotes I was invited to Lisa Raye's party to celebrate the upcoming Turks & Caicos Film Festival. I had such a great time. First off it was at this very cool restaurant-- Sapa, which was so beautiful and the food was absolutely delicious. I saw Pat White of Aubette fame who is part of a team opening a spot uptown on 129th called Pascal. Can't wait for that! Lisa looked good, not glamorous like Jada or Halle, but reaaal good. Spoke to her for a sec and she seemed delighted to be having such a great party, to be married (she was never more than 3 feet away from her hubby) and for life in general, which is great for Mrs. Missick. To think she carved her celebrity (and now wealth) outta 104 minutes of brawling, crying and stripping as a down and out homegirl-mama named Diamond. Wow! I know I would be delighted too. And the festival sounds like it has the potential to be hot. They’ve got the location and the fact they are aiming to highlight the connection between music and film sounds extremely interesting. Spike Lee should give the keynote and win an award-- for School Daze, for using Stevie exclusively in Jungle Fever and for Malcolm X (remember how you felt when you heard Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come as Denzel drove to the Audubon)-- and there should be an A&R clinic on how and why Love Jones worked so well and remains the classic urban soundtrack to this day.

3. India.Arie - I love India's song "I Am Not My Hair" so it was a no-brainer when Thembisa asked if I wanted to go to her listening party at Branch. I was really interested in hearing what the rest of her album sounded like and for the most part I wasn't disappointed. Hair is a real favorite for me for a number of reasons-- the melody and hook is contagious, the message, and can I say it again-- the empowering lyrics! She looked gorgeous and knew it and actually at one point asked us to applaud her on how good she looks (a low point). She was at her best when she stopped all of the well-intended, but boring bohemian spiritual banter and just sang and strummed that guitar singing her oldies like Ready For Love and Video alongside her new cuts. I like India alot and really hope she does well with this album because I'm still mad at how her first project was handled particularly with that Grammy fiasco. I've got my fingers crossed and running through my locks-- hopeful and inspired.

4. V-Day – Okay I didn’t go to any events this past week that Ms. Ensler scheduled during her Until the Violence Stops: NYC Campaign, but I just wanted to give her mad props for extending her empowering Vagina Monologues into 2-weeks of exciting lectures, protests and spoken word jams. I was told her Words from Prison-- a series of new monologues performed at Lincoln Center, which consisted of stories written by famous femmes like Alice Walker and the not so famous (Kemba Smith- a formerly incarcerated woman) was mind-blowing. If I was feeling more Angela Davis, I would have indulged in her V celebration but I was feeling more like Sammy Davis so I chose to indulge in another "V" that night-- vodka-- at the Hotel Gansevoort.

5. 16 Pounds – That's how much weight I've lost since January. Yipee!!! I can finally wear those cute white shorts that I got in April of '05 but still have the tags on b/c my booty was way too big too rock anyone’s shorts last summer. And those Helmut Lang jeans that I got for a song may be a little snug but I will be wearing those next month after I tone up. Thank god for my love of sushi, grilled fish, red hot blue corn chips, wild mushroom and garlic couscous and broccoli. I can't get enough of it and so I don't even feel like I'm on some weight loss mission. I’m just satisfying my cravings.

6. Marcella's Beads – Again because of my new slimmed down tummy I can rock my waist beads again. I cannot tell you how much I'm digging this line of beaded bling. The necklaces which I wear layered are always catching someone’s eyes especially since Marcella is now using beads in great summery colors like lemon yellow and moss green. (If you are interested in purchasing, email her at marcybelle@earthlink.net and mention theHotness Grrrl sent you.)

7. LOOP – The bag I'm rocking this summer (and this past spring) has to got be the dopest item I ever bought in my life. It's a hobo bag by Loop and I got it here after seeing someone else rock it on the upper eastside. There is not a day that goes by that someone does not stop me on the street to compliment me and find out where I got it. Even this old man who was digging in the trash for bottles was like "that's a great bag!" Now that's a purse! (Note: I can't find one single pic of it online and until I take a pic of my own bag and upload it for y'all, this will have to do. My bag, although it is made with the same fabric and similar electric blue snakeskin, is 3 times larger and 300 times flyer).

8. Emperor's Roe – This is where I had my birthday get together. It's uptown close to the crib and they serve the best crabcakes. Like Baltimore good and I don’t mean touristy Philips either. I'm talking Mo's good! Seriously, even though this place is named for its longstanding rep for having the best caviar, I go there for everything but! The sushi is tasty and the champagne is dry and crisp and the owner, David always gives me a nice pour (wink, wink).

9. Mixed- the latest book from Angela Nissel is what I'm reading this summer along with this. The book, Nissel's second, is pretty damn good and has supposedly gotten picked up by Halle Berry who is producing it as a weekly series for HBO. And I'm so glad Nissel is writing the screenplay because even though I wasn’t really into Scrubs (the television show she currently writes for), there are some parts in the book that just have me laughing out loud which is cool to do on the beach or in my living room, but I must admit on the train I get the Crazy Grrrl Stare. Anyway Angela, who I've been meaning to interview since her days as a founding producer of this dot com, has a knack for writing dialogue and lining it up with her thought processes so that the story is humorous in that self-deflating way that is simultaneously intellectual and silly; nostalgic and empowering.

Aight, all caught up? Check ya later and I promise it won't be a month later!

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