Wednesday, December 31, 2008

January 1, 2009 Final Day of Kwanzaa - Imani

Imani (EE-MAH-NEE) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

And I'll Take With Me The Memories, To Be My Sinshine After The Rain...

2008 was surprising in that so many people dear to me made transition...

Reverend Charles Lanier
was the first person I met when I entered the doors of Unity Fellowship Church-Los Angeles. He was Deacon Charles back then and I wasn't exactly sure where the church was located on Jefferson so I'd left early to make sure if I got lost I could get to morning service on time. It was easier to find than I thought it would be so I got their well before the time morning worship started.

Deacon Charles in all his pearl earrings wearing glory. He was so welcoming an inviting. He almost instantly became a friend, confidant, and mentor. I began to refer to him as "Deacon Auntie" because of the way he doted on me.

He was always available with advice, counsel, a funny story of his past, and a soprano note in his falsetto voice.

I watched him move through the ministry at Unity and maintain an openness and approachability for any and every one. He was willing to share his experiences as an addict, and HIV Positive Man, and a Same Gender Loving man who found his liberation with anyone he thought it would help.

Minister Regi Perry, is a friend and brother that had a profound impact on me. At 5' 7" he had a voice bigger than his size. I'd met him before we started working together as a duo.

Jeffrey King of the In The Meantime Men's organization asked if I would do a couple of poems for his birthday. I agreed to do it and there was one in particular I had in mind. It's called Idle Worship and when I wrote I knew I wanted to perform it with a vocalist that could do some gospel riffs in the background. One Sunday after church I asked Regi, "hey what are you doing on the 22nd?" he said he wasn't sure but he'd check his calendar. We made arrangements to meet and it was magical. Our performing styles were different but complimented each other tremendously.

To try out material we entered an upcoming slam. We won the 1st round and didn't know there were two rounds so during the break we put something together and ended up 3rd.

We didn't get a chance to perform together as much as we would have liked but every time we were together whether performing or just fellowshipping it was like connecting to another part of myself.

My niece, Adrianne Reese was so dear to me. Her passing hit me the hardest. I was in shock. Even though I've had other family members die, hers was so unexpected it shook me. I'd always assumed we'd grow old together.

Being the youngest in a family of 10 is a unique experience. I am actually closer in age to some of my nieces and nephews than my brother and sisters.

"Miss Anne" was my first niece and she was always someone who wore her heart on her sleeve. She had no filter. Whatever she was thinking you either heard about it or saw it in her face.

One of my favorite stories about her is during a summer family reunion. Some activities were broken down into age groups. The teens/young adults got to go to Magic Mountain. I was a about 15 or 16. My nephew Richard, her brother was 11 or 12. Richard and I are extremely close. More like brothers in alot of ways instead of uncle and nephew. We still call each other Brother to this day. Even though he wasn't officially a teen because of our closeness I lobbied for him to go with us. He could keep up with older kids. Adrianne who was about 8 or 9 wanted to go as well but there was no way I was going to be responsible for her. It was going to be mostly teens with some adult supervision and I wasn't willing to chaperon her. This was different from our trips to the movies or Hawthorne Mall. Magic Mountain was huge and we wanted to ride as many rides as possible. She'd only slow us down. She got so mad it was the first time I ever experienced daggers being thrown at me. She was mad at everyone, My sister Ora, her father James, Richard, me, the organizers, and probably God for making her young at that time. James my brother in law promised to take her at another time but she was HEATED!!! I am not sure how it got resolved because as we drove off I saw her face and it was contorted with such anger. We made it through and went on to have many years of love and laughter.

I will miss her dearly. In quiet moments it's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that she is gone. She leaves behind many who love her dearly.

She is a daughter, sister, cousin, friend, auntie, mother, wife, and my niece...

Today, December 31st, is the Sixth Day of Kwanzaa!

The Sixth Principle of Kwanzaa is:
Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah):

- to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
(Red Candle)

Traditional Greeting: "Habari Gani?"
Response on Dec 31st: "Kuumba!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rick Warren Invocation At Obama Inauguartion . . .

I pondered this situation since I heard the announcement and as much as I want to support others who call for President Elect Obama to not have Rick Warren deliver the invocation at his inauguration I can't seem to get upset about it.

I understand the reasons behind the call it's just my focus is not so much on Reverend Warren as it is on the thousands upon thousands of people who sit in churches Sunday after Sunday, year after year, and absorb a message that teaches them they are wrong, an abomination, going to hell, need to change, and other dogma that has nothing to do with what our Creator intended.

Mr. Warren and others are entitled to believe whatever they like. Including that one can love someone while claiming they have to "change" to be accepted by God.

One must remember the bible was used to promote the slave trade.

Many churches and Pastors were actively involved in using humans as cargo while trading goods and bringing people to this continent.

The "Curse of Ham" was perpetuated for many years as the reason that people from the African continent were enslaved. As descendants of Ham, Africans were fulfilling biblical lineage by their suffering.

In scripture, I Peter 2 admonishes slaves to follow this credo,

18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.

There is nothing in that scripture that tells people to liberate themselves from the bonds of slavery. Thank goodness for prophets and visionaries known as abolitionists that found other scripture and more likely the chapters written in their own hearts that lead them to freedom.

Just as scripture, the church, and religion was used to keep people enslaved it has been used to bond those of us who are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and questioning.

One can not discuss the often used texts in Leviticus that labels us abominations without also questioning why women aren't sent out of the city during their menstrual cycle or people are allowed to eat shrimp.

There are many people who have and will commit suicide because of these misinterpretations. I honestly don't think it's the intention of Rick Warren or anyone else for this to happen, but again he is not my concern.

My concern and compassion is for those many who don't know that God not only created us to be as we are but loves us because of it.

If someone wants to boycott the Inauguration because of Rick Warren's participation I understand but as for me I will be seeking ways to help people discover that which has been endowed upon us by our Creator. That we live openly and honestly. Walking in our own truths. Unashamedly as God intended...

Today, December 30th, is the Fifth Day of Kwanzaa!

The Fifth Principle of Kwanzaa is:
Nia (NEE-ah):

- setting goals that benefit the community. (Green Candle)

Traditional Greeting: "Habari Gani?"
Response on Dec 30th : "Nia!"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Today, December 29th, is the Fourth Day of Kwanzaa!

The Fourth Principle of Kwanzaa is:
Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah-AH):
Cooperative Economics

- to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
(Red Candle)

"...If we fail to support our own people, we are leaving our fate in the hands of other people. This gives them power over us, which can and has been used to hurt us and hinder us. Black professionals are as dedicated and skilled as their white counterparts, if not more. They have to be in order to survive in the hostile environment we create for our own people by treating them as if their service is inferior. There are times when Black professionals must charge higher prices to provide services, but only because they do not receive the patronage of Black customers.

If we supported ourselves the way we supported the white men who laugh at us, we would have stronger communities. There would be more Black doctors, and they would be able to afford better equipment to provide better services. These services are no good to our community if they are only available outside our community. If we would shop at Black-owned businesses, white businesses would give us more respect because they would not take our money for granted." - Supporting Black Businesses

Traditional Greeting: "Habari Gani?"
Response on Dec 29th : "Ujamaa!"

Today, December 28th, is the Third Day of Kwanzaa!

The Third Principle of Kwanzaa is:
Ujima (oo-JEE-mah):
Collective Work and Responsibility

- to build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
(Green Candle)

"Many hands make light work."

Large tasks become small when divided among several people.

Traditional Greeting: "Habari Gani?"
Response on Dec 28th: "Ujima!"

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Today, December 27th, is the Second Day of Kwanzaa!

Today, December 27th, is the Second Day of Kwanzaa!

Kwanzaa (with symbols)
The Second Principle of Kwanzaa is:

- to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
(Red Candle)

Traditional Greeting: "Habari Gani?"
Response on Dec 27th: "Kujichagulia!"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Today, December 26th, is the First Day of Kwanzaa!

Today, December 26th, is the First Day of Kwanzaa!


The First Principle Kwanzaa is:

Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity
- to strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
(Black Candle)

Traditional Greeting: "Habari Gani?"
Response on Dec 26th: "Umoja!"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flashback Thursday - Madness

Those Nutty Boys From Madness "Our House"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

By Faith...

I just wanted to take time to acknowledge this past Sunday Dec 15, 2008 marked two years since I left Los Angeles.

I had been working towards moving for over a year and half. I looked for a job, a place to stay but nothing was working out.

A friend, John Meeks had asked me earlier in the year to apartment sit for him to take care of his cat while he was in New York for about six weeks. I made the decision that while staying there I could save money and no matter what, by faith I would leave L.A. and move to the Bay Area.

I did just that. It wasn't easy at first but God has blessed me more than I can truly explain. It's one of those "you can't tell it, let me tell it" kinds of testimonies.

There are some things I am still trying to co-create. I am not writing and performing as much as I used to but it is being revealed that those things are on the way...

By Any Means Necessary If You Are Truly Trying To Bring About CHANGE


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Buddha & Flower Coming Home to the Alphabet Sangha

The East Bay Meditation Center Presents

Buddha & Flower Coming Home
to the Alphabet Sangha

A one-day retreat
for the LGBTQI/SGL Communities

Sunday, January 25, 2009
9:30 am to 4:30 pm

with Larry Yang, Shahara Godfrey,
Joan Doyle & Phyllis Oscar

at the East Bay Meditation Center,
2147 Broadway@22nd, downtown Oakland

You are invited to join us in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex & Same-Gender Loving communities, a.k.a. LGBTQI/SGL, a.k.a. "the Alphabet Sangha," for a day of sitting and walking meditation practice, dharma teachings, and friendly, supportive community.

Let us explore together mindfulness and awareness for cultivating an open heart in our everyday lives.

Registration Required

To Register: Please click on the link below, to fill out a registration survey.

(If the link does not work, please copy it, and paste it into your web browser. If that still does not work, email us at -- or reply to this email -- with your full name, and a message requesting a registration form for the "Heart Series".)

Cost: The teachings are offered without charge. You will be invited to support the teachings and our efforts by choosing your own level of voluntary donations (the practice of "Dana") to support the expenses of the East Bay Meditation Center and the teachers.
EBMC is wheelchair accessible.accessibility.gif

Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, please do not wear fragrance or scented products to these classes.

In The Name Of Love...

In the Name of Love

Balancing Rocks

A community celebration for the
People of Color Sangha

Monday, January 19, 2009

11:30 am to 4:00 pm

East Bay Meditation Center, 2147 Broadway, Oakland
Located near the 19th St BART station @ 22nd St.
Join us for a day of sharing, community and remembrance of one of the world's greatest spiritual leaders of our time. Dr. King laid his life on the line for our freedom and we can honor him through celebration. On this day the POC community is invited to share their own unique gifts of song, poem or movement with the entire community. We will also have a session of mindful drumming so please bring a drum, guitar or percussion instrument.

This event is for self-identified people of color.

Please bring a delicious dish to share with the community.

pot luck lunch * music * meditation * story telling * group sharing

11:30 - Meditation & go around
12:30 - Potluck lunch
1:30 - Community share
3:30 - Closing meditation & ritual

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feeling; my wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.
--Mahatma Gandhi

This event will be hosted by: Spring Washam and other teachers and activists in the community.

Registration is required.

Please click the link below to register.

If this link does not work, please type the above URL into your web browser. If that still does not work, please send an email with your full name and "Name of Love" in the subject line to: or call (510) 268-0696.

Cost: The teachings are regarded as priceless, and so they are offered without a fee. You are invited to support the teachings and our efforts by contributing voluntary donations (the practice of "Dana") for the expenses of the meditation center and the support of the teachers.

Spring WashamSpring Washam is a meditation teacher and founding member of the East Bay Meditation Center. She has practiced meditation since 1997 with many renowned teachers and is known for her joyful heart and loving spirit. Spring is a Spirit Rock Community Dharma Leader and is in teacher training with Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She has been a socially engaged Buddhist activist for over 10 years and has worked in the area of juvenile justice, universal health care, child abuse and anti-poverty issues. She currently teaches classes, workshops, and retreats throughout the U.S.

For further information about East Bay Meditation Center, please visit our web site:

EBMC is wheelchair accessible.

Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, please do not wear fragranced products or clothing laundered with fragranced products to EBMC.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Look For The Purple Banana (Box)... NFL Player Exposed On National TV

It wasn't as widely seen as the Janet Jackson incident at the Super Bowl, but an NFL broadcast has once again unwittingly shown too much skin.
In a postgame locker room video that was supposed to capture Vikings owner Zygi Wilf presenting the game ball to coach Brad Childress, FOX cameras accidentally caught towel-clad tight end Visanthe Shiancoe in their shot. The problem? Shiancoe's towel was not fully covering his groin area.

"It obviously was an oversight on our part and we apologize," said FOX Sports vice president of Communications Dan Bell.
The overexposure, which was on screen for less than a second, was filmed after Shiancoe caught what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown in Minnesota's 20-16 win over Detroit. The win moved the Vikings to 8-5, and kept them a game up on Chicago in the AFC North.

"The televising network is allowed, upon request and with the permission of the club, to record videotape in the locker (room) after a game for use in its postgame show," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "We will review the procedures with the networks this week in an effort to ensure that this does not happen again."

For his part, Shiancoe did not seem overly concerned with the incident. When informed that the story had become a hot topic on the internet, Shiancoe had only one question for a female columnist from the Minneapolis Star, "How'd It Look?"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Prop 8 The Musical"

I think any time you can create a vehicle with Jennifer Lewis in it and make it funny and satirical you are doing something right...

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Friday, November 28, 2008

Naturally 7

I just ran across these guys for the first time on a replay of Tavis Smiley. He heard them at the Montreaux Jazz Festival and HAD TO have them on his show. I can definitely understand why.

They will definitely be featured in my MP3 Player

They call what they do "Vocal Play" Instead of Acapella. The difference being with acapella you sing without insturments. Vocal play is to become the instruments.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Prop 8 Blame Game by Kai Wright

By Kai Wright |

Why white gays and black homophobes both need a reality check.

Nov. 12, 2008--Somebody forgot to tell gay people that race wars are no longer in vogue.

While the rest of the country has spent the last week reveling in the afterglow of Grant Park, gay America has devolved into a Sarah Palin rally.

The issue is a particularly nasty California ballot initiative, Proposition 8, which passed last Tuesday with just over half the vote. Prop 8 repealed a historic state Supreme Court ruling that gave gays the right to wed—and it appears to have won massive black support. That's a fact that ought to shame black folks everywhere.

But it also ought to finally convince the white-led gay rights movement to take people of color seriously, a case black gay activists have been trying to make for the better part of the past 30 years. Addressing the destructive reactions of too many of my white gay compatriots in recent days would be a good place to begin.

It started when a CNN exit poll declared that 70 percent of black voters supported the initiative. That finding led many in Cali's white gay community to conclude they lost their rights because of black homophobia. Things went downhill fast from there. Much of the ensuing outcry has been nasty, even hateful. As one college student wrote to the black gay blog Rod 2.0 in describing a Los Angeles protest, "It was like being at a Klan rally, except the Klansmen were wearing Abercrombie Polos and Birkenstocks."

I wish his remark could be easily dismissed as hyperbole. The comment sections of blogs ranging from progressive standard-bearer DailyKos to black lesbian rabble rouser Jasmyne Cannick have been swarmed with racist rants and reports of slurs hurled at African Americans. Big-name gay scribes have piled on. By 10 a.m. the day after the election, popular columnist Dan Savage had shot off at the mouth, declaring himself "done pretending" that "the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans" aren't a bigger threat to gays than racist gays are to blacks. Whatever that means.

There is no question that homophobia runs deep in black America—or that it wreaks far more acute damage than denying marriage rights, frankly. Just ask the families of Sakia Gunn or Rashawn Brazell or any one of the scores of black queers whose murders have been met with a collective shrug in black communities. Or all the families destroyed by a raging AIDS epidemic we go on ignoring, in large part because of our uneasiness with sexuality of any sort, let alone the homo and bi and transgender kind. It's long past time black people have a conversation about this ugly reality.

But first, as with all things involving race and sex, there's a whole mess of facts about the California marriage fight that must be straightened out.

Not least of these is the shaky assertion that black voters made the difference. DailyKos diarist Shanikka has gained small celebrity for her post debunking it. The fact that blacks are densely clumped in just nine out of 58 California counties makes any race-based claim in CNN's geographically random sample muddy at best. Further, the poll excludes all of the state's 3 million early votes and counts blacks as 10 percent of voters when they're less than 7 percent of the population.
Of course, you don't have to get into such devilish details to notice something weird about this blame-the-blacks narrative.

Even if 70 percent truly did support the marriage ban, why single them out? So did six out of 10 people over 65. Ditto white Protestants and people with children under 18. Look at the electorate through any of these lenses and you identify a far larger share of the vote than when viewing it by race.
"The reason why people are so fascinated with the 70 percent number is Obama and this kumbaya moment that we were having," says Ron Buckmire, a leader in L.A.'s Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition, a black gay group. "To discover that not everyone was in the same place was really shocking and surprising for some people."
It should have been a no-brainer.

The Mormon-funded, anti-gay side aggressively targeted every racial and ethnic group in California—often dishonestly. Anti-gay operatives launched a robo-call scheme directed at black voters that falsely claimed Barack Obama supported their initiative. Obama does not support gay marriage, but neither did he support Prop 8. (Not that Obama did a hell of a lot to counter the lie.) The underfunded, pro-gay side responded with too little, too late.

These shenanigans explain why many black voters supported the marriage ban. Still, that's no excuse. "I am far less concerned with a white gay backlash than I am with the need for us to have a dialogue within the African-American community about what it means to have equality," says H. Alexander Robinson, who heads the National Black Justice Coalition, a black gay rights group.

Here, here.

Let's be clear, these hateful repudiations of gay relationships hurt black people. According to the U.S. Census, 10.5 percent of same-sex households are black, and they are at least twice as likely to be raising kids as their white counterparts.

Denying these families access to civil marriage bars them from hundreds of rights and responsibilities.

Many black folks wince when they hear gay rights compared to the black civil rights movement. And when it comes from white gays whose only interest in black people is appropriating our history, I do too.

But here's what Coretta Scott King had to say, in an address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. "Homophobia is as morally wrong and as unacceptable as racism," she declared. "We ought to extend to gay and lesbian people the same respect and dignity we claim for ourselves. Every person is a child of God, and every human being is entitled to full human rights."

The whole community faces consequences when those human rights are denied. Look no further than AIDS for proof. Black people were overrepresented from the epidemic's outset, but fear and hate of the gay men who bore its first burn paralyzed the community as the virus spread. Now black people account for half of all new infections.

At some point, we all must ask difficult, self-critical questions. No, as black people, we're not any more or less homophobic than anybody else. And yes, the white gay community needs to look at its own failures before casting blame on others.

But so what? Too many of us are homophobes, and we need to talk about it. Last Tuesday's vote should remove any doubt about the urgency of the discussion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rest Mama Afrika...

In the late 70's at my elementary school, maybe as a residue of the Black Power Movement or the burgeoning Afro-Centric focus on education for black students, one of our teachers fresh out of college had us do a dance to this song.

She had said the name Miriam Mekeba but it didn't resonate. What did resonate was the connection to the music, the beat, the feeling in conveyed.

Miriam Makeba transitioned to another expression on November 10, 2008. One of the strongest and first voices against apartheid in South Africa she will always be more than just a singer...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Open Letter to Barack Obama - By Alice Walker (Nov. 5, 2008)

Nov. 5, 2008

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Meditation, Mindfulness, & Metta

Meditation, Mindfulness, & Metta:
One-Day Retreat for MEN OF COLOR

with Larry Yang and Brian Hill

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008
9:30 am to 4:30 pm
East Bay Meditation Center
2147 Broadway, Oakland
(2 blocks from the 19th St. BART station)

Meditate with a capital M-More .
Be More Aware.
Be More Alive.
Be More Loving.
Be More of who you really are.
Explore Meditation, Mindfulness and Metta (the Practice of Lovingkindness)

Have you wanted to explore what meditation feels like? This is your opportunity to find out.

Come together for a day of meditation and exploring our spiritual lives. This daylong will include guidance in sitting and walking meditations in the Vipassana Buddhist tradition, instructions in cultivating Lovingkindness in our everyday lives, and opportunities for group sharing. Meditators of any experience are welcomed, with a special invitation to beginners.

Registration is required.

To register, please click on the following link, to fill out a registration form.

(If the link does not work, please copy it, and paste it into your web browser. If that still does not work, email us at -- or reply to this email -- with your full name, and a message requesting a registration form for the Present Moment, Future Moment workshop .)

Cost: The teachings are offered without charge. You will be invited to support the teachings and our efforts by choosing your own level of voluntary donations (the practice of "Dana") to support the expenses of the East Bay Meditation Center and the teachers.

The East Bay Meditation Center is wheelchair accessible.

Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, please do not wear fragranced or scented products, or clothes laundered in fragranced products to this event.

About the Teachers

Larry Yang

Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a special interest in creating access to the Dharma for diverse multicultural communities. Larry has practiced extensively in Myanmar and Thailand, with a six month period of ordination as a Buddhist monk under the guidance of meditation master Ajahn Tong. He is one of the core teachers and leaders of the East Bay Meditation Center. His webpage is at:

Brian Hill

Brian Hill has been practicing Vipassana meditation since he first studied it in 1987 at a monastery near Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. He has participated in retreats, both as a practitioner and as a teaching assistant to meditation teachers in the U.S. since then.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Daughter of Slave Casts Vote, Remembers Struggle

For 109-Year-Old Amanda Jones, a Vote Is More Than a Vote
Oct. 31, 2008

At 109 years young, Amanda Jones can still remember when the idea of blacks having the right to vote was as far-fetched as the idea of desegregation.
Amanda Jones says she hasn't missed a presidential election since FDR.

Born in 1899, the former housewife and cleaning lady has lived in three centuries. They were three centuries of struggle from her father's oppression as a slave in Texas to her own battle for equality.

It was not just her race, but her gender that kept Jones from the polls. Women did not get the right to vote until she was 21 years old.

"I think it's very important that she got to vote in this election knowing all that she's seen and all that she's been through," Brenda Baker, Jones' granddaughter, told "Good Morning America."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Video The Vote...

I live in California so I don't foresee this being a problem here with the presidential election because Barack Obama has such a big lead. It is highly unlikely for California to vote Republican in Presidential elections without a party candidate being from the state. I wanted to pass along this website and information for those of you who are in “battleground” states or areas where they have been instances of voter intimidation.

They want to record situations where people were not allowed to vote or intimidated into not voting. You can also be a driver, dispatcher or blogger, uploader/tech support check out:

Sign up to Video the Vote and join a growing network of Americans working together to monitor and improve our election systems. We are concerned citizens, amateur videographers, voting rights activists, and filmmakers united by a commitment to strengthening democracy through citizen oversight. And we need your help:
Videographers - Get dispatched to cover problems in your area or go out and document on your own.

Dispatchers - Monitor the national voter hotlines and then send out videographers to get the stories.

Drivers - Help videographers get to where they're going.

Uploaders/tech support - Make sure volunteer videos get online and to the media as fast as possible.

Bloggers - Review volunteer footage and spread the word about the best clips.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

ChurchBoyz Unleashed...

I have a friend. A brother who made transition this past Wednesday October 8. We performed together as a spoken word/vocal duo "BettaWayz".

It came about because of Jeffrey King, Executive Director of In The Meantime was celebrating his birthday and asked if I would share some poetry. I have a piece called "Idle Worship" that I thought would be perfect. I'd always wanted to perform it with a vocalist. The text of it is:

Idle Worship
By The Literary Masturbator™

He entered the edifice hoping to be saved

Wearing his best clothes to show the blessings of all his hard work

Praying at the altar for a savior

Hoping that would connect him to the divine

He drank of the cup and ate of the bread

The bar became his sanctuary

His place of refuge

A processional of toned bodies dancing in the spirit baptized the believer in trance like beats

and moved him to shout of the goodness

“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!”

He was born again and gave 3 snaps

One for the father, one for the son, and one for the Holy Ghost

The club became his church

The DJ his minister of music

The bouncer the head usher

The vogueing queens the Pastor’s Aide committee

Trade was the truth – the gospel according to John, Gerald, Walter, Bernard, and Tyrone [Call HIM!!]

A choir of DL brothas offered an A selection of false hopes, a B selection of broken promises

At the benediction he left the temple with an angel he found leaning against the wall near the bathroom

Another type of worship service

Telling the saints,…Pray for me.

with Regi's and my creative collaboration we added vocals, harmony, and comedy to express the piece. Our duo was born and our friendship/brotherhood cemented.

We entered a spoken word contest about a week before the performance just to try out the material and placed first in Round 1. Unfortunately we didn't know there were 2 rounds so in the intermission I ran through some of the other pieces I had memorized and he added some vocals and we ended up 3rd overall. It was a testament to our ability to come together as separate artist.

I have performed with musicians and other poets but nothing has ever been like the bond with Regi and I. We were able to not see each other for a while but when we got together it was like we were with each other the day before. Even after I moved to the bay area I had him come and perform with me and it was as if we had never left each other.

Regi's heart was as big as his voice and if you ever heard him sing you would know that means it was gigantic. He flair for clothes and creative arts pushed others to places they didn't know they had inside of him. I will certainly miss him but as a believer in eternal life being continuing to speak of the people who inspire you, he is and always (All Ways) will be with me...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Elections, Assumptions, and Barack Obama...

For those of you who don't know and automatically assume. I am not a registered Democrat. I am registered in the Green Party. The reason I bring this up is because in this political season almost everyone assumes I am a Democrat and will be voting for Barack Obama.

Don't worry I certainly won't be voting for John McCain. But as a registered Green I do have the chance to vote for Cynthina McKinney and Rosa Clemente The first party that has nominated two women (and two women of color) for President and Vice President. McKinney is a former Democrat representing Georgia who is famous or infamous for her run in with a security guard on Capitol Hill. Clemente is a Afro-Puerto Rican Hip Hop Activist from NY.

Some may wonder why I would even consider this choice. If you think about it. Obama will easily win the California electoral votes and other parties must have at least 2% of the electorate to remain viable in most states. It's also a choice I make on grounds that even though I am inspired by Barack's message of Change and inspired by his visions of Hope I keep coming back to the fact that the Democratic party even though more progressive than the Republican party it's still two sides of the same coin.

The other thing to take into consideration in this equation is the history of electing a man of African descent as President of the United States. Is that reason enough for me to do it? I think a lot of people will look to this as a sign that racism and prejudice no longer exists in this country and no matter who is President that is simply not true. I even had a friend who uses a website for dating and had gotten messages from white men telling him they were supporting Obama as if that proved how liberal and open minded they were.

I do think of my parents and how in their lifetime they never thought this would be possible. My mother is the daughter of a former sharecropper from Cottonplant, Arkansas who watched as her father was called "boy". To this day she will not let anyone refer to her as "gal".

At this point I haven't decided how I will vote and I am not even sure I will make it public. I have found this election season to be one of the most exciting and interesting of my entire adult life. I can't imagine how a first time voter would feel.

I support anyone's right to vote how they see fit whether I agree with their choice strongly (McCain/Palin) or not. I just don't think we should make assumptions of how or who someone should vote for...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



(Jet Magazine April 15, 1954) One of the best kept secrets on the campus of a southern Negro college was that a noted genius was overly fond of young boys and to protect the scientists reputation he was never left alone with tender youths. Likewise, a mid-western colored high school football coach is known for his winning teams - and his homosexual tendencies. Behind the scenes, some of America's most celebrated males have tripped the gay fantastic. This fact, further amplified by the recent discovery of some 1,100 homosexuals in the U.S. State Department has prompted the public to wonder if - by its own sanction - homosexuals are becoming acceptable. One of the most outspoken sex non-conformists on the American scene is Charles R. Brown, a 27 year old shake dancer and professional female impersonator. Brown attempted last year to go to Denmark for an operation that would make him 'a woman legally' so he could marry an Army sergent stationed in Germany.

Unlike Brown, noted lecturer Bayard Rustin, 41, who was a Committee on Racial Equality leader, denies homosexual tendencies, yet has been arrested several times on morals charges. He was jailed in California a year ago for allegedly committing a sex offense with two men in a car. Among other prominent Negroes whose strange sex lives are whispered conversation is a celebrated writer, a successful actor, a noted educator, two members of a nationally known quartet, a West Coast newspaperman, a classical pianist, a late boxing champion, several male choreographers and a now -deceased composer.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, author of the two extensive studies on American sexual behavior, estimates that homosexuality has touched 37 per cent of U.S. males. The fact that so many flourish and are accepted by other mates is an indication of their almost casual acceptance in this country. Much of the problem of sex perversion is being bared on Broadway, where four plays dealing with homosexuality have reached the stage this season. Two of them, End As A Man and Tea And Sympathy, deal with sex deviation in prep schools. The others, Ladies Of The Corridor and The Immoralist, explore homosexuality in other phases of society. Many people are willing to treat members of the 'third sex' as victims of an illness that needs treatment rather than criminals who should be punished.

Such was the attitude of Detroit minister Prophet Jones when his valet, James Parker, 25 was placed on probation for soliciting a policeman for immoral purposes. Said the dapper Prophet: 'Psychiatrists said the boy liked men more than women but that's no grounds for arrest.'


Whether they walk with simpering hinged-hipped gait or hide their effeminate characteristics with baggy tweeds and smelly pipes, there are in the US today, 8 million males who prefer intimates with other males. Collectively, they present America with the biggest pychosexual problem of modern times because:

1. They cause dislocations in family life:
2. breed maladjusted inmates in jails.
3. like persons afflicted with a dread disease, bloat their number each year with by the planned seduction of innocents.

Despite the far-reaching significance of homosexuality, there are no U.S. societies dedicated to its prevention and cure. Yet ther are organizations interested in curbing every other malfunction of the human body and mind.

For years, such sexual deviates have been either amusing or just objects of pity to the mass public. No one thought of curing them. Recently, however, attention - and hope- have been given to possible cures for such social mavericks.

Homosexuality, a greek word meaning 'same sexualities' among all races and classes of people and even in some animals. It affects both men and women, and is perhaps the best recorded, but least studied sexual aberration in the world. It was accepted and respected by the Greeks, and the modern word for such deviates among females - Lesbian - comes from the Greek named island Lesbos, where the poetess Sappho, who preferred the love of other women, lived.

Greek men generally went through a period of pederasty and it was considered perfectly alright for a philosopher to embrace a lad. Male homosexuality cause the destruction of the biblical city Sodom, from which is derived the word sodomy, and the practice is condemned in Leviticus 18th Chapter, 22nd verse.

The Romans, however, did not take such views: Nero seduced men as well as their wives, and was in turn seduced by men. Ceasar, too, is said to have participated in such relations with Roman males.............

Since third sex feelings have their roots deep in the cloudy corners of the human mind, and since most homosexuals have taken the final step by the time they are 15 years of age, psychiatrists despair its cure.

It is admittedly impossible to cure such a person who has become 'satisfied'. These, psychiatrists say are men who........enjoy the hurts and barbs society gives them for their dereliction. Othen they feel a need to be punished and accepts society's slaps. Others over-compensate for their inadequacies by flaunting their sex sickness in much the same way that a circus freak displays a monstrous deformity.

In instances where confirmed homosexuals go to hospitals for cures they often are not 'cured' but are taught to live with their deviation and not feel guilty. They may be told that Shakespeare, Tchiakovsky, Gide and others are suffered their affliction........Archaic laws and inadequate scientific research into handling of perversion make it possible, however, for curable perverts to remain untreated, while incurable sex maniacs are allowed to roam freely through society.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our Deepest Fear-Marianne Williamson

I was just speaking with a friend (yes you Anthony!!) about alot of things but one of the things that we kept coming back to was truth and how truth resonates. In that spirit of remembering I am always drawn to this quote by Marianne Williamson. It pops into my head occasionally to remind me of all that I have been through, am, and will be...

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Everything Known; Divine Mystery...

Everything Known; Divine Mystery…

At the vortex of the Aurora Borealis and the center of the earth

God exists in every crevice of our vast and ever expanding universe…

She lives in the laugh of a newborn and the old wife’s tale of the elderly

God is everything known, and Divine Mystery…

Sand grain by sand grain, in the wind; rain, on every hill, as cattle graze mountain sides

Atmosphere seen and unseen, the pulse and the heartbeat is where the Creator abides…

In Love Unconditional, in Affirmation and Liberty

In non judgment and grace, in abundance and mercy…

In the salaam and the tribal chant, in the Hare Krishna and the ohm

In the achẽ and hallelujah, in the Nam Yo Ho Renge Kyo and the shalom…

In the shattered glass of humankind that creates the reflection in your soul’s mirror is where spirituality resides

Like a mighty ocean God will rise in the Holiness and Wholeness of each of us like the waves of the oceanic tides

There is no school of thought or doctrine that exists, or that is to come

That can define, contain, or fully explain that which is God to everyone…

Copyright©2008 Jair

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

6th Annual Oakland International
Black LGBT Film Festival
Parkway Theater
Oakland, California
AUGUST 14 - 17, 2008

35mm, USA:109 min

The Oakland International Black LGBT Film Festival started a new tradition last year of screening one opening-night film that has been deemed "Classic" by Black Americans and particularly by LGBT people of African descent. In 2007, we chose "THE WIZ" (starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson) because the film is analagous with the many challenges that black LGBT people face on the road to self acceptance and self love.

For 2008, we have selected another film starring Miss Diana Ross - MAHOGANY. This Oscar nominated musical was produced and Directed by Motown founder and legend Barry Gordy. Mahogany was harshly criticized by white film critics when it was released in 1975. But, the African American community saw Mahogany as a cinematic celebration of Black beauty, Black struggle, Black success and Black Love.

The poignant words to Mahogany's theme song asked us the question - Do You Know Where You're Going To? Which is the question that we ask the Black LGBT community this year. Do You Know?

Add the drama of high fashion and the sexy Billy Dee Williams and you have a film that was destined for gayness...we mean greatness.
Click here to learn more about the film MAHOGANY!
Friends and Lovers: Ski Trip 2
Directed By: Maurice Jamal

Award winning Director, Maurice Jamal returns to Oakland with the premiere of his new film FRIENDS AND LOVERS: SKI TRIP 2. Part romantic comedy, part drama, part Hollywood spoof and all signature Jamal, the story follows the lives, loves and mishaps of three diverse couples living in Los Angeles, and their eccentric circle of friends.Featuring a multiracial cast that crosses orientation and gender, FRIENDS AND LOVERS is a bold, brazen and totally outrageous look at life in LA. TRT: 90 mins.Date & Time tba.

U People
Directed By: Hanifah Walidah, and Olive Demetrius

In a brownstone in Brooklyn, a film about a film unfolds, and not just any film...but a documentary steeped with sexy, intelligent women who have gathered together to make a unique music video. The talented filmmakers capture what happens when 30 hot and sharp women of color convene, revealing a blend of experiences and perspectives that are rarely voiced. U PEOPLE is a powerful and engaging romp that enters a world seldom represented - and you¢re invited to
the party. TRT: 77 min. Date & Time TBA.
Directed by Kirk Shannon-Butts

Out 100 honoree Director Kirk Shannon-Butts tells the story of Keith who is a reserved, straitlaced transplant to New York City from Los Angeles; Nathan is a street-smart, potsmoking Brooklynite who lives on the edge — or so he’d like Keith to believe. At first glance, nothing about these two young African American college students suggests romantic compatibility. But a casual courtship gradually develops amidst minor bickering and disagreements — those familiar interstices inside which nascent love restlessly takes shape.
USA, 2007, 75 Minute Running Time
Date & Time TBA

The Incredibly True Adventures of Sistas of the Canyon
Directed By: Jasmyne Cannick and Ellene Miles

Voices of mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, and lesbian women spanning different generations, shapes and sizes redefine unity and sisterhood by testing their physical and emotional boundaries that begin at the mountaintop.
TRT: 23 min.
Date & Time TBA
Directed By: Dee Rees

Pariah is a coming-of-age drama about a lesbian teenager who unsuccessfully juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from her friends and family.
TRT: 27 min.
Date & Time TBA

Tru Loved
Directed By: Stewart Wade
A charming romantic comedy and an unabashed gay contribution to the canon of teen films. Tru (short for Gertrude, as in Stein) is the new kid at her So Cal
suburban high school. She has two moms, two dads, and everybody thinks she¢s the big dyke on campus.

Talented Najarra Townsend as Tru and other rising actors carry the film, as familiar faces like Jasmine Guy, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura from STAR TREK!), Jane Lynch, Alec Mapa, and Bruce Vilanch round out the stellar supporting cast.
TRT: 103 min.
Date & Time TBA

Thursday, June 19, 2008

East Bay AIDS Walk 2008-Team Woubi Yossi Collective...

Greetings All I am hoping to assemble a team to walk during East Bay AIDS Walk 2008. If you are interested in participating you can go to the website for East Bay AIDS Walk to register and sign up with the team in the pull down menu for named, Woubi-Yossi Collective. I have tentatively set the group's goal as $250.00 but this amount can be changed. Details for the days and time are included in this message. If you have any questions feel free to contact me here or by e-mail

The term Woubi-Yossi comes from the Ivory Coast,

A "Woubi" takes on the "female" role in a male/male relationship

A "Yossi" takes on the "male" role in a male/male relationship

A "Bat" is a Transgender because they live by night

Currently there is no known term for a Lesbian in the Ivory Coast as "officially" there is no homosexuality in the country.

Saturday, September 6, 2008
9AM Registration
10AM Walk Starts
Lakeside Park, Oakland, CA

Thank you for registering to walk in the 4th Annual East Bay AIDS Walk! We appreciate your dedication to help local agencies fight this growing AIDS epidemic in the East Bay. As a sign of our appreciation you will receive a free t-shirt and water bottle on the day of the walk!

Last year we raised over $40,000 so this year our goal is to raise $60,000! We know that with YOUR help we can achieve this goal! Just contacting a few friends, relatives, and co-workers you can help us on our way to achieving this goal. If you visit your HQ Participant Center at you will find a section about 'Spreading the Word'. There you can use the email template or your own email to contact as many people as you want via email. Below is the template also for your convenience. Also, calling and talking to friends, family, and coworkers is a simple and fast way to raise funds! If you ever need any help or have questions or concerns please contact us at or leave a voicemail at 888)510-EBAW. Thank you again for your support!

Total Registration Amount: 0.00
EAST BAY AIDS WALK 2008 Planning Committee
Email Address:
Phone: 888)510-EBAW

Jair-The Literary Masturbator™
"When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important when I am afraid"-Audre Lorde

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This Is Some Funny Shit...

I came to LOGO's "Big Gay Sketch Comedy Show" late. In fact I never watched when it ran on television. I've seen it on dvd.

The first season had some funny moments but for the most part it was like alot of programming on LOGO not totally fleshed out. Just on because they wanted programming for a "gay" channel.

Season 2 is much better. The cast seems to perform better, there are recurring characters that the audience goes crazy for, and the writing seems better and faster paced for a sketch comedy show. These three clips are standouts...

Black History With Grandma Bell

This is funny to me on so many levels. I can't even really explain it but it's just laugh out loud funny...

This next sketch is funny because of it's great satire. To use a wonderful, celebrated icon like Maya Angelou to comment on the absurdity of the personals on Craiglist is genius...

This final sketch is great because not only of it's commentary of objectifying the "hot latino" but also the depths we are sometimes willing to go to, to serve our own needs...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

GuyWriters Conference: Get Plugged In

GuyWriters Conference: Get Plugged In
June 21st, 2008
San Francisco

GuyWriters calls all gay and bisexual male poets,
prose writers, and playwrights to gather for a one-day conference.

Featuring workshops by
Jay Frazier, Joel Tan, Kirk Read, Jaime Cortez,
Matthew Graham Smith, and John Fisher,
the GuyWriters Conference offers participants the chance
to pick up new skills, learn the craft and the business of writing,
and network with the most prolific gay writers in the Bay Area.

Part of the 2008 National Queer Arts Festival,
the Conference will be held on Saturday, June 21, 2008,
from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM at The Center,
1800 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94102.

This is where the action is, boys.

Be there. Plug in.

* * * * *

Cost: $15 for the whole day (includes catered lunch)

We anticipate that this event will be sold out.
To RSVP: email

For a full listing of workshops, visit:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oakland's McClymonds Wins Boys' Prep Hoops Title

I still consider myself a new resident of Northern California as it will be on year on 05/31 that I moved into my new place in Oakland. I didn't realize how affiliated I was with the culture and activities in Southern California until I see things like the McClymonds Boys Basketball team win the state championship. They played against a school (Compton Dominguez) that has a long history of being a great team but McClymonds not only went undefeated and won the championship they did it for their coach who in the last few years lost his wife and a daughter. These young men touched and inspired me. I even ended up sending a donation so they could get championship rings. I hope it will help them keep the memory of their special triumph...

SACRAMENTO (AP) ― William Cherry had 19 points, eight assists and four steals to lead McClymonds of Oakland past Dominguez of Compton, 73-54, and win the boys' Division I state championship at Arco Arena Saturday.

Damon Powell scored 18 points for the Warriors (32-0), who were ranked 19th in the nation by before the game, and Damario Sims had 16. Powell punctuated his scoring with several thunderous dunks, and both Sims and Cherry completed more than one acrobatic attack on the basket.

Jordan Hamilton led Dominguez (32-3) with 20 points, including two NBA-distance 3-pointers, but the Dons shot just 32 percent from the field, and allowed Mack to hit 47 percent of its attempts.

The game was the last one for McClymonds' coach, Dwight Nathaniel, and was also redemption for the Warriors, who scored just 29 points in the 2007 D1 final. They matched that total in the second quarter, in the midst of an 10-0 run that put the Oakland school ahead for good.

Mack extended the lead to eight at the start of the third quarter, and used an 8-0 run at the beginning of the fourth period to build a 57-43 cushion. The Warriors, alma mater of Hall of Famer Bill Russell, pulled away down the stretch to win their first-ever official state championship.

Counting all boys' state championships, Southern California has a 28-11 edge over Northern California.

(© 2008 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brotha, Sista...Can You Spare Some Change??

Brotha, Sista…Can You Spare Some Change?

By The Literary Masturbator™

Brotha, Sista…Can you spare some change?

Can you change the way you view the situation?

Can you change the way you react to what you see?

Because the only to make change, is to be the change you want to see

Change is not a political slogan, or a sound bite from a pundit on TV

Change is co-creation, the ability to turn a situation into what you want it to be…

You are the only constant in your life so if your life isn’t going the direction you want it to…you should know exactly what to do…

So I ask again…

Brotha, Sista…Can you spare some change?

Copyright©2008 Jair

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mecca Adjacent

Everytime I see the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre I am moved. It touches me in a place that is so familiar and home I can hardly express it.

This performance was held at Zellerbach Hall at UC Berkeley. My first time at this venue since moving to Northern California. It's a beautiful hall. I had seats in the main orchestra section at the very back. The seats were in the middle so I could see the whole stage.

From the first note of music the evening was transformtive. They started with "Firebird". The lead was danced by one of my favorite all time Ailey dancers, Matthew Rushing. Matthew is as handsome as he is talented. He has the kind of energy that draws you to him no matter where he is on the stage. The next piece was a west coast premiere called, "The Groove to Nobody's Business". It is a new work by Camille Brown. It blew me away!!! Another revived work was Monte's "Treading". With the pulsating music, lights, and costumes this work totally transported me. Of course the evening ended with the signature work, "Revelations". I don't care how many times I see this work I never tire of it. I know some of the steps by heart and look for them (the flick of the wrists in "Fix Me Jesus", the undulations and contractions in "Wade In The Water") even though throughout the years I have seen them danced by different dancers.

All in all it was a great evening...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Tim'm-Front Porch Oakland

The rumors are true. I have a crush on Tim'm West. He knows about it so maybe it's not so much a rumor. But this message is not to burden you with that information. It's to let you know he is in the bay area and is co hosting his Front Porch event while here. Tim'm has successfully hosted this event around the country but it started here. Here are the details...

Thursday, March 6, 2008
8pm - 11pm
Tim’m and Bushmama present The Front Porch Oakland

family, friends, flow, funk
AK Press, 674-A 23rd Street (between MLK and San Pablo), Oakland, CA 94612
Join Tim’m and friends in this rare BayArea performance by a brotha who made
his stamp on the scene and has moved on to spread the luv elsewhere.
Performing works from his new book, "Flirting", and the album "Blakkboy Blues", you
will all be in for a treat.
8pm open mic, 8:45pm features set
Cost: $5.00
also featurinalso featuring Valarie Troutt, Deep Dicko
co-hosted by Tim’m and Bushmama
(un-official afterparty at Luka's)
Please spread the word about this wonderful event that has been a smash in
DC, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rev. Charles Lanier

The first time I went to Unity Fellowship Church in Los Angeles the first person I met was Deacon (at that time) Charles Lanier. He welcomed me with a hug and warm greeting and has been wonderful to me every since. I call him "Rev Auntie" because like any good Auntie he always kept an eye on me and my well being. He will be remembered for his dedication to liberating people, his soprano singing voice, his willingness to share his personal testimony, his sincerity, and genuine love

The UFCM National Communications Team has received the following update on the missing persons case tied to Rev. Charles Lanier, Pastor of UFC-San Diego.

A few hours ago the body of Rev Charles Lanier was located in an apartment in Tijuana, Mexico. Pastor Lanier's family is on their way to Mexico to identify and bring his body back home. No other details are available at this time in reference to the actual cause of death. The Archbishop and Western Jurisdiction are working very closely with the family and will share information about funeral arrangements as soon as they are complete.

Archbishop has issued the following statement to the Membership of Unity Fellowship Churches around the country: "This is truly a sad day for us all. We have been praying for a favorable outcome and what we know is that while our loved one is absent from the body, he is fully present with the Lord. The song writer said ' I am free…praise the Lord I'm free…no longer bound…no more chains holding me…my soul is resting…it's just a blessing…praise the Lord…Hallelujah I'm FREE'. Pastor Lanier is free! Let us take this moment to reevaluate our lives and purpose to live more boldly, more dedicated, more committed to God, to self, to family, to community and to the call of God that is upon each of us. Right now your prayers are the most powerful source of support you can offer -- in particular for his family, the UFC San Diego church and The Minority AIDS Project, where he served as the Chief Financial Officer."

The National Communications Team will forward any additional details as we receive them.

Thank you and God Bless

Bishop-Elect Tonyia M. Rawls, Chair, National Communications Team

Elder Kevin E. Taylor, Coordinator, National Communications Team

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"A Raisin In The Sun" on ABC 02/25

I have already expressed that I feel Phylicia Rashad is one of the most underrated and under appreciated actresses of our time. Monday evening she will be appearing in a television production of "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hannesberry. The cast also features Audra MacDonald, Sanaa Lathan, Sean Combs all of whom appeared in the broadway production that garnered Tony's for Rashad and McDonald (Rashad becoming the first black woman ever to win as Lead Actress in a Drama). Check this movie out if you can. This will be my 3rd production of this play. I saw the movie with Sidney Poitier and the PBS version with Danny Glover and Ester Rolle....

Three women shine in powerful 'Raisin in the Sun'
By Matthew Gilbert
Globe Staff / February 23, 2008

On Monday night, ABC is bringing the big, rich performances of the 2004 stage revival of ‘‘A Raisin in the Sun’’ to the small screen. More accurately, ABC is bringing the big, rich performances of Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, and Sanaa Lathan through the small screen, into our homes and hearts and minds. This knockout adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play is a model of both the pure power of stage acting and TV’s potential to bring us up close to that acting without deadening it. The movie shows us every facial expression and eye flicker, and yet the camerawork, with its probing intimacy, never distracts from the story.
more stories like this.

Both Rashad and McDonald won Tony Awards for their performances in the Broadway play, and the ABC film, premiering Monday night at 8 on Channel 5, showcases exactly why. Surely they will go on to collect a few TV acting prizes when the season is over. Along with Lathan, Rashad and McDonald mightily embody the female strength and survival instinct that drive this play to great heights of inspiration. Sean ‘‘Diddy’’ Combs may be the best-known name on the marquee, and his performance is solid enough; but the women, so fully realized and emotionally evocative, are the thing.

Written by Hansberry on the eve of the 1960s civil rights movement, ‘‘A Raisin in the Sun’’ once again proves its durability as both a period piece about African- American identity and a statement for the ages. Set in 1959 Chicago, the action follows the financially struggling Younger family through a series of crises hinging on a forthcoming insurance check for $10,000. While Walter Lee (Combs) plans to gamble the money on a liquor-store venture, his widowed mother, Lena (Rashad), and his wife, Ruth (McDonald), want to buy a home in a white neighborhood. His sister, Beneatha (Lathan), hopes the windfall will pay for her medical school. The play is a wonderfully balanced work, as it reaches into social and racial issues, family dynamics, and spiritual conflict without losing its dramatic center.

Both McDonald and Lathan deliver revealing, visceral performances. As McDonald’s Ruth considers aborting her second child, with no resistance from Walter Lee, her face is twisted with grief and exhaustion. Lathan’s Beneatha is an extroverted free spirit unwilling to stop expressing her creativity, her African heritage, her joy, and her ambition. She is open-hearted and stubborn at once. She is drawn to assimilate, as a black American, and yet she snaps, ‘‘I am not an assimilationist’’ at her Nigerian boyfriend, pronouncing the word like an expletive. She embodies an internal divide.

But Rashad is as restrained as the other actresses aren’t. She pulls back from every possible chance of turning Lena into a self-consciously noble heroine. Lena is a tower of faith, but Rashad doesn’t telegraph that fact or veer into sanctimony. Lena is truly saintly: She doesn’t lose hope that her son will grow up, telling Beneatha, ‘‘There’s always something left to love.’’ She sees the good in him, even when she is disgusted with his irresponsibility and his claim that ‘‘Money is life.’’ But Rashad never makes her heroine into anything more self-consciously dramatic than an ordinary woman who has learned from life. She projects pride, but not in cloying amounts.

Combs’s presence runs the risk of prying us out of the movie, as he doesn’t quite disappear behind his portrayal of Walter Lee, as sincere as his effort may be. Combs remains undeniably Diddy. And yet that contemporary flavor adds a new currency to the play, a sense that it still has something relevant to say about black men trying to get a foothold in adulthood, trying to dream against the odds. Combs doesn’t draw every inch of the poetry from the script, nicely adapted from the play by Paris Qualles, but his sullen presence adds weight to his scenes.

Qualles and director Kenny Leon open up the play with a few external shots, but only slightly. And yet this made for TV movie, whose producers include Combs and the team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron from ‘‘Chicago,’’ never feels claustrophobic or overly stagy. Wisely, the people behind the scenes step back and let the actors and Hansberry tell the story.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at For more on TV, visit

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DVD Release: TONGUES UNTIED - "Black Men Loving Black Men Is A Revolutionary Act"

Tongues Untied (1990)

Dir. Marlon T. Riggs 1989 55 min USA

The stories are fierce examples of homophobia and racism: the man refused entry to a homosexual bar because of his color; the college student left bleeding on the sidewalk after a homosexual-bashing; the loneliness and isolation of the drag queen. Yet they also affirm the Black SGL male experience: protest marches, smoky bars, "snap diva," humorous "musicology" and vogue dancers.

Bonus Features Include:

-Newly Released Deleted Scenes & Outtakes

- 1991 Interview with Director Marlon T. Riggs

Interviews with:
Isaac Julien, Filmmaker
Phill Wilson, AIDS Activist
Juba Kalamka, Spoken Word Artist
Herman Gray, Cultural Critic

"A Black male warrior fighting for the right to love other Black men,
Marlon Riggs affirms what was nearly lost, newly found: the certainty
that Black male lives are utterly precious."
—Alice Walker, Author, The Color Purple

"My struggle has allowed me to transcend that sense of shame and
stigma identified with my being a Black gay man. Having come through
that fire, they can't touch me."
—Marlon T. Riggs

* Los Angeles Film Critics Award * *Best Documentary, Berlin Film Festival *

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Robin Roberts

My work schedule has me starting at 9:30am during the week which gives me time to watch Good Morning America. I am not sure why I watch that show. Probably because of all the morning shows I like Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer the best.

I've always liked Robin although I feel like there is alot about her life that she is not sharing. Which is her right. I just think she'd reach even more people if she did. Last year she was diagnosed with cancer and they have covered her trials with it. Even getting her head shaved for chemotherapy. Once I saw her bald I thought she looked beautiful. But then I think black women with features like hers always look great with short of no hair. Since she is on air they have had her using a wig which does resemble what her hair was like before she went bald but recently the hosts have been participating in a segment called "I Dare You...." and hers was to walk in a fashion show. She got tips on walking from no other than Tyra Banks and walked during Fashion Week today at Isaac Mizrahi show. Nina Garcia from Elle magazine and Project Runway was in the audience. The show also featured one of my favorite girls from "America's Next Top Model" Dani.

The picture of Robin is in a dress I don't particularly like but she did a wonderful job and considering it's out of her comfort zone and her living through cancer treatment it was wonderful. Dani's picture is from "Top Model" when they did a bald photo shoot...