Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bubba Smith Update

TMZ is not one of my favorite sources not because they tell the truth but because I think they can go lower than snail poo when it comes to telling someone's business.  However, this is what they are saying about the death of Bubba Smith.

They also seem to go through Black/AA employees like water, IMO.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just in Time For Halloween-Carol Speed

Clients are coming left and right but I thought I'd stop by and share a gem I discovered about a year ago.

Carol Speed had a short career and I found it interesting that she had a brief part in 1997's 'Jackie Brown but was cut at the last minute.  Hmm
Here she shares some other accounts with the Original Foxy Brown as well as her short stint in Hollyweird.

A video I'm having a hard time finding is Abby.  The stunts are a little better than TNT but from what I've seen online (I was six when this was in major release and my mother was not about to let me see it), it sounds like it would make for a good weekend.  Then again, I never get tired of the original Blacula.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vesta Williams TV Commercial

Wow, it's been a long time as I've had a ton of business clients along with interviews to deal with.

Anyway, I chose this blog to post my feelings about the passing of R&B recording artist Vesta.  My condolences go out to her family and close friends.

So far, what I've read on the blogs is that this was a very nice woman despite being in a business that is not nice. On the other hand, I hate that commenters have used this as a format to say what a grown woman did in her life.  From her dating life to alleged beef with other singers has been a thread on boards aimed at an older audience.

The topic of mental illness is a sensitive one for me as there isn't a day that goes by I don't hear about the Kelly Thomas case going on in Fullerton, CA.  Anyone who has conquered this without meds should be commended.  I'm not judging those who take meds but from observing a close relative, I think faith should be of equal dosage.

Here is a piece about the late singer from veteran journalist Steven Ivory.  Like most of his work, it is honest without being sugary or judgmental.  One thing I might add that was ironic about Ms.Williams' career is that she gained popularity as a plus-sized woman.  Yet, due to alleged pressure from her record company, she lost almost half her weight but never had another hit and continued to do background work along with oldies revues with other artists from the same era.

I couldn't find her appearance on 'Sister, Sister' but I thought this commercial was pretty sweet to the ear.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Scott Joplin Biopic (1977)

Recently, TV One ran this late at night and I recorded it.  Though a little slow-moving, this is a whole helluva lot better than some EBT church play  for a dull-ass Sunday afternoon.  I wish TV One would bring back other classics like Dummy or Battered where Chip Fields plays an abused wife.  (I guess I got a thing for Levar Burton this week, LOL.)

Fine @ss Billy Dee played the underrated musical genius alongside a very young Clifton Davis, whose performance was not half-bad.  Margaret Avery plays Belle, one of many wives the composer would have in his short life.

In short, this is about a man and his craft.  He created great music that was associated with the negativity that comes with being colored/negro/black/AA and like hip-hop today, it is eventually "stolen" by others once it receives national recognition.  To learn more about this great master of sound, click here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Black Dynamite Cartoon

If you love the nods to the blaxploitation genre, then check out 2009's Black Dynamite with Michael Jai White.  The humor is a lot more subtle than 1988's I'm Gonna Get You Sucka and the quality of the picture is excellent.
It's now in the form of a comic book and is coming to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Wonder if this is going to come on during The Boondocks.  Does anybody know when Season 4 is supposed to start?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Biopic on Supreme Florence Ballard is Finally Being Cast

After years of Motown assistants and other folks having their say in a book about Ms. Florence Ballard, a movie set to be released this year will tell the real story.  Co-produced by one of the late singer's daughters, it should not be missed.

This post is old but it notes some strong parallels between Ms. Ballard and other noted figures in the music industry.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

R.I.P. Bubba Smith

Today, we lost actor Bubba Smith.  He starred in Police Academy, Good Times (as one of Sweet Daddy Williams' men) but I thought one of his best performances was on the trashy Married With Children.  He comes in at 0:25.  Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amazing Grace (1974)/Good Fences

For those who are too young to remember the great Moms Mabley ("That man was so ugly, it hurt my feelings."), this film debut is not her best vehicle but it would be her last before passing on the following year. However, this brand of humor is rare in AA/Black cinema and I'd recommend it for anyone who looking for more something a little more cerebral or just tired of the 'Yo Mama' jokes.

The late Moses Gunn plays a pawn in a political race with Rosalind Cash as his wife and Ms. Mabley and Slappy White play their snoopy neighbors. Butterfly McQueen and Steppin Fechit makes appearances as well.


Black to the Present (Somewhat)

Last weekend,  TV One presented Good Fences, an original Showtime movie from 2003 starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover.  This time, instead of fighting spouses (like in The Color Purple), they reunite in the 1970s as part of middle-class family that gets an address upgrade due to a high-profile case handled by sellout lawyer Tom Spader (Glover).  Once settled in Greenwich, CT they never quite fit in as the lone black family in the neighborhood but the stereotypes here are both funny and sad.  In the TV trailer, you get the impression that it's MOniques movie but her appearances are not only in the last half of the movie but seldom.  I must say it was one of the few roles she's done where I don't despise the character.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black to the Present - Summer 2011

N-Secure -This movie, which was released nationwide late last year is about a man who gives new meaning to the expression "anal retentive" and I won't give too much more away except to say that the casting was very interesting, including a serious blast from the past who makes a quickie appearance.
If you like serious suspense without needing to call in someone under 15 to interpret the slang, then this is an excellent way to spend a quiet Saturday night. I had the pleasure of meeting the director, David M. Matthews via a social networking site recently and hope to hear more from him in the near future.


On the flipside of my Redbox adventures is The Hustle.  Despite having an all-star cast (Charlie Murphy, David Alan Grier and at least ten other people that were once on the WB/CW/the first two Friday movies), this wasn't the worst thing but an interesting rumor is that this was made in 2008 but just now in DVD release.  At least there were no bad jokes about the deceased ...*coughs*The Salon/Anna Nicole*coughs...but then again, I may have nodded off.

Here goes the plot.  The brothers that "work" as exterminators come into some gangster money, which they need because they eventually lose their jobs.  However, by a strange turn of events, they land the ultimate hustle -- becoming preachers to a congregation that is misguided to say the least.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Those Were the Days

Back when I was growing up between the Century Drive-In and Imperial theater in Inglewood, I didn't realize how much I may have missed out on. I wasn't born until late '68 and I just barely remember the neighborhood kids taking me to see the Melting Man and I cried so much that my mom had to pick me up.

*Sighs* Thanks Mom!

Anyway, back to blaxploitation business.  OK, I watched The Hit Man again and though dude is almost old enough to be my grandfather, I wouldn't mind going out on a date with Bernie Casey.  We both like art and since I just put this link on my FB wall, gotta keep it clean. LOL

Also, I found out who the mystery actors were that appeared in both Hit Man and Cool Breeze.  His name is Sam Laws and finding his pic online is hard because there are about three public figures with this name - and they're White.  Anyway, he's no longer with us as well as Bhetty Waldron/Fast Fanny from the bowling alley on Sanford and Son but I got a clip of her in action w/Fred.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thomasine and Bushrod/TNT Jackson

Summary:  A Bonnie & Clyde meets the early 20th century Western + post-slavery.  Has some comedic parts but viewer should have some patience.  Chase scene is worth the wait if you like action.
The first time I saw T&B on cable, I turned the channel after about 20 minutes.  For one, I've never been into Westerns and some of dialogue/scenes seemed to drag a little.  Though I was fortunate enough to meet the late Vonetta McGee a couple of times in the 80s, I never gave this movie another thought until recently.

This movie may not have had the cult status of Blacula or The Mack but I can respect what they were trying to do - diversify. If you don't change, then you can't grow and that applies to all aspects of life.  Anyway, I would watch this over those tired EBT/TVOne/GMC plays for a dull-ass Sunday afternoon.  Why?  There is a lot we take for granted.


TNT Jackson sounds like one of those blaxploitation films my mother warned me about.    The sound was so bad that I couldn't even hear the dialogue well enough to know what the plot was.  Bad acting, worse martial arts choreography and my copy looked like someone rubbed Vaseline on the lens.  Some people on AMZ said that they got cartoons as part of their movie, mine abruptly cut off when Jeanne Bell killed Stan Shaw, so buy with caution.  I've dealt with Import CDs for a couple of years now and I wish I could return this one to them.  I've never been much for demanding a refund when it comes to movies and being I paid less than $5 (including shipping), they need to give this one away.

TNT Jackson reminded me of this scene from the very underrated basic cable satirical comedy Jackie's Back where Jenifer Lewis and Dolemite (RIP) parody some 70s blaxploitation movies.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baldwin Theater Prints - Los Angeles

Long before Mr. Magic Johnson got into coffee and movies, there was the Baldwin Theatre at the NW corner of La Brea and Coliseum by the jungle.  Since I lived near a lot of multiplexes (Hawthorne 6, Old Towne Mall..back when they had the pony rides), I only went there once to see the Color Purple in '85 and next thing you knew, it was gone.

Though the new site has a major bank and some of the most addictive Philly sandwiches this side of the West Coast (even their veggie version is good), I hate that theaters in the 'hood appear and disappear like ghosts.  Anyway, I have a work space there and between my disposition and waistline, I have many challenges before me. LOL

Anyway, one day while waiting for the bus (I refuse to drive my bucket down there), I noticed this writing in the ground.  They didn't do the hand/foot thing like at Mann's Chinese in Hollywood but I wanted to capture this before those with evil intentions take them down.
 Pam Grier
 Marvin Gaye
 Billy Dee Williams
Louis Gossett Jr.

For those in the know, I intentionally did not take Marla Gibbs or Madge Sinclair (RIP) because it looked like they'd been attacked already and eight MP can only do so much.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Double Review and a Shout

First shout goes out to GATEWAY cosmetics DVDs Books.  A few weeks ago, I ordered Cool Breeze (with Roger Thomas' daddy as ex-con looking to do a final con) and Hit Man with Bernie Casey.  Got both immediately and couldn't wait to watch for the long holiday but then when I opened Hit Man, it was empty.  And you what? It happens.  So I didn't trip in my explanation to Amazon and even offered to ship the empty case back to the sender at my expense.

In less than 24 hours, they told me to chill and a replacement copy was on its way.  And at my students' graduation this past weekend, I used these people as an example of how to do business in the long run.  Also in the initial shipment, they included an inventory list because we all know how fun it is to go Amazon and try to figure whether to go local or pay the lowest price. LOL

Anyway, I'm not for spoilers, cerebral explanations or abstract speculations, just talk. 

Cool Breeze is about an ex-con who's looking to make one last score with his homeboys.  Pam(ela) Grier was in it for a minute as an overly chatty pro. I could have done without Mr. Thomas flicking his tongue at young women (okay we get it, you like your cat covered in chocolate). The DVD cover art wasn't great but guess what, the pieces they stole from a Beverly Hills shop did resemble those gaudy sh*ts on the cover -- cover girls not included in this film.

Hit Man (1972) was like 1987's Angel Heart where you really have to pay attention as to what's going on to get the entire film.  One thing that was continuous was tiddays, tiddays, tiddays.  Everyone from Fast Fannie (the deep chocolate sister who tried, with her girls from the bowling alley/topless massage parlor, get to Fred Sanfords' "empire" .  Hey, a house is a house -- especially in L.A. where nothing today is under six figures), some other chicks and of course, Pam(ela) Grier.  Her part was a little more substantial as a small-time porn chick/stoner who gets eaten by a lion. Cold.

Also, in both films was a dude who guest starred on the second season of That's My Mama as a stereotypical relative of Clifton Davis character, who tried to hide him from some pseudo-documentary dude profiling Black folks.  Anyway, he's heavy set, dark, wore a perm/conk and seems to have a range of dialects because he sounds different on everything he does.  

Do you know his name or whether he's still around?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day/RIP Gil Scott Heron

While I'm waiting for my replacement copy of Hit Man (1972) with Bernie Casey, I thought I'd make a couple of mentions.

Last week, I went to the library in Baldwin Hills and though I will never try to do any work there again, they do have an interesting collection for the Black History buff looking for something else besides Malcolm and Martin. Another plus is avoiding the traffic that comes with going to the big library downtown.

Anyway, I ran across and borrowed That's Blaxploitation  (really long subtitle intentionally not used), a creative works by Darius James a.k.a. Dr. Snakeskin that takes a lighthearted and sometimes funny look at Black films of the 70s and the actors who survived as well as those who fell off the radar.

While comprehensive and with its own special candor, the comical illustration and personal flashbacks may be the only minus I would give it, only because it gets excessive.  And while I do have a few corrections, dude made some observations and really dug in the crates (Yep, there was really a movie called Honky as well as a 1976 movie(Pipe Dreams) with Gladys Knight and her real-life husband who is also the late singer Aaliyah's uncle/industry man Barry Hankerson -- and they're in Alaska of all places.)


I forgot I wasn't real hard on Fred Williamson but am happy that he's one the few from that era who was actually smart about his money and took control of his characters' final destiny.  Mean Johnny Barrows is somewhat entertaining; I think what got me was 'Uncut Director's Edition' in the AMZ listing.  Decent story line but truthfully, I couldn't tell one villain after another or why he was so hard in love with the Beckster of the film since there wasn't even an attempt at chemistry.  Didn't show him a tit or anything, hmmmf!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Truck Turner (1974)

Summary: Academy Award ® winner Isaac Hayes takes on a sadistic pimp only to find himself alone against every player in organized crime.  Annazette Chase is his reformed petty thief girlfriend whose cat has a special way of letting Hayes know how much he is appreciated.

This action flick was shot in mostly in Los Angeles and though the "N" word is a little gratuitous in the early part of the film, Nichelle Nichols' (yep... the original Uhura from Star Trek) madam role cannot be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011



Recently, I went to see the latest Tyler Perry movie and though I wasn't impressed, I realized that everyone has a place in the world of entertainment.  Then I thought about how the generation before me felt movies like Scream Blacula Scream were an atrocity (their words, not mine) compared to classics like Stormy Weather.

Now let me ask you this.  Is a person less than because they miss Homeboys in Outer Space?  Does reading August Wilson or James Baldwin automatically make you superior? 

My take is that there are many things that bring down the Black race and TV or movies ain't one of them.  Even the news doesn't give an accurate portrayal of those things positive in the Black community.

I don't have a studio (hell, I barely have a home office) and I can clown with the best of them but this is my small contribution to celebrating what is positive about being Black in America.  Reviews, little-known facts and updates will be posted every week and your comments -- good and indifferent -- will be posted!