Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flashback Thursday-TRIPLE PLAY!!!

Okay I admit me, my friend Millie, her sister Cessie, and a few others of us dressed like this and knew this whole routine to "Crush On You" by the Jets. They were Puerto Rican and I had an S-Curl so we all had the hairstyles too...

Can you say GAY, GAY, GAY, AND MORE GAY??? Jermaine Stewart, why did we even pretend?
I don't often say, "gone too soon" but this is one of the performers who seemed to leave us before he had a chance to do all he was capable of...

This song from Expose was always a reason to head to the dance floor...

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Family" World Premiere at Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival

Greetings All,

A SistaFriend of mine is having the world premiere of her film "Family" at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. PAFF has moved from the Magic Johnson theaters to Culvers Theaters Complex.

Faith also produced, wrote, and directed "Black Aura on an Angel". She is an enormous talent and dear friend. If you are in Los Angeles please support this movie.

World Premiere Screening of:


A heartwarming, provocative, and entertaining film that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

“FAMILY” makes its world debut at the 2009 Pan African Film & Arts Festival. Written and directed by Faith Trimel (Black Aura on an Angel), “FAMILY,” is a coming-of-age dramedy (drama/comedy), centering on the lives of a group of lesbian friends who all experience continual strife in their personal and professional lives as a result of being closeted (silent about ones homosexuality). Some of the women must deny and reject the women they love while others struggle with the suffocating confines of closetedness for the sake of their careers. When the strain becomes too great, the women forge a pact to come out together within thirty days in every significant relationship and situation in their life. This electrifying film boasts some of Hollywood’s hottest up-and-coming actors. The richness of the story lines and the depth of the performances will blow you away. Don’t miss this historical film and event!

When: Tuesday, February 10th at 8:30pm &

Wednesday, February 11th at 4:00pm.

Where: Culver Plaza Theaters Complex (PAFF’S NEW LOCATION)

9919 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Come out and meet the filmmakers, as well as some of the cast members during the insightful Q&A following both screenings:

Visit this link for the film trailer

Tickets are: $9.75 (adults) & $6.75 (matinee before 4:00pm)

For more info and/or ticket purchase: or call (323) 295-1706

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flashback Thursday...

Such a beautiful song, Such beautiful women...

Oscar Grant III Protest and March January 14, 2009

Yesterday I attended the Protest and March in honor of Oscar Grant III who was killed by a BART Police Officer on New Year's Day at the Fruitvale BART Station.

There were upwards of 1,000 people there and the event was well planned. The participation came from people from very diverse backgrounds uniting for a common and urgent cause.

Letters were read from the parents of Sean Bell who were killed by police in NY. They are still seeking justice in that case. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the new Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus who represents Oakland also sent a letter to be read and will be meeting with the event organizers today in Washington DC to aid her support.

Local area clergy, family and friends of Oscar Grant, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, Local Union representatives, members of the Native American community, and many others also joined in to help the effort.

Don't believe what you might see and here in the media. I arrived at the rally with the sounds of Barack Obama's "Fired Up, Ready To Go" speech that has been set to music blaring on the public address system. The rally began promptly at 4:00pm and continued until about 5:00pm. After the speeches the march to Alameda County District Attorney's Office began up 14th street and circled back to City Hall and ended approximately 8:00pm.

Local news station began reporting about 8:30pm some of the group splintered off and caused vandalism. There were approximately 23 arrests.

It is my belief that the people who caused the damage had no part in the rally and march. They are people looking for a reason to cause trouble. It's unfortunate they are placed in the same category with the citizens who came to make a statement that a crime such as this has no place in our society. Many people heeded the many requests of peaceful and meaningful protest.

There have been some opinions in the local papers asking, where was the outrage when young black men kill each other. The response is there is outrage in our community but because there are no cameras there to capture these incidents or their reaction it is not seen by the larger community.

I left the event with a renewed commitment to remember that Oscar Grant could've been any one of us, or someone we know. It is so important to not let these incidents go unnoticed and unpunished. We might speak up and attend the hearings, let elected officials know we will remember their actions when re-election time comes, and support-create-fund programs that helps people, especially our young people achieve.

An update on the officer. He has been charged with murder but the Alameda County District Attorney. He is being held at a facility in Dublin, Ca in protective custody as authorities fear that if the other inmates find out he is a police officer he will be killed. His family and their neighborhood had to be evacuated in Napa, Ca yesterday because of two packages suspected to be bombs were left on his parents door step.

Although he has been charged with murder it is not guaranteed he will be prosecuted for that crime. He could face manslaughter charges or be cleared entirely. That's why it is important that we not let this situation die. The BART board and other officials are hoping they can wait us out and allow this incident to go the way of many others once the public's fascination is focused on something else...

I have pictures posted on MySpace

Jair-The Literary Masturbator™
"It Is Better To Live Your Own Destiny Imperfectly Than To Live An Imitation Of Somebody Else's Life With Perfection"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Change in American Cinema

By Morgan R. Stiff (producer of Mississippi Damned)
(from Slamdance 2009)

On November 4, 2008, many of us were glued to our television sets with tears in our eyes as we proclaimed, "Yes, we can!" The election of our 44th president, Barack Obama, signified our country's growth and was a statement that change is possible if there is a vision, determination and willingness to work hard and work together. In the wake of this historic episode, I find myself wondering about what it takes to create change, rally the disenfranchised and unite those of disparate backgrounds, goals and aspirations. And, although I have examined these issues as they relate to my family and my community, as a film producer I am particularly concerned about how these issues affect the film industry and my place in it as a young black filmmaker seeking to tell the stories of marginalized people.

In 2007, Tina Mabry, Lee V. Stiff and I founded Morgan's Mark, an independent production company dedicated to taking stories that have been marginalized in American film and crafting them to help redefine mainstream American cinema. One year later, after hard work and sleepless nights, the talents of many dedicated artists and craftsmen, and much-needed assistance from those who saw our potential, we are proud to have produced our first fiction feature film, Mississippi Damned. The story was extremely personal to our writer/director, Tina Mabry. Drawing on her life experiences, she tells the story of three poor, black kids in rural Mississippi struggling to escape their family's cycle of abuse, addiction and violence. Creating a world that is often suffocating in its bleak reality, Mabry reveals the struggles of breaking free from familial bonds that can hold us back from ever transcending a destructive existence. During the course of writing and subsequently making the film, Mabry found that her story, her life, quickly became an avenue to explore universal themes of survival and courage. While facing her own demons on a daily basis during the filming, she found that the completion of Mississippi Damned made her stronger and revealed that which unites all of our stories - our humanity.

Isn't that what great films do? Aren't the stories that stay with us the ones that provide us entree into someone else's world? Don't we grow from tales that allow us to glean information from their telling and apply them to our own lives? That is what we sought to do with Mississippi Damned. And we believe we were able to maintain the integrity and honesty of Mabry's vision because of the team of collaborators who maintained that same sense of integrity and honesty both in front of and behind the camera.

I now realize that it is time for us to move beyond the vision and realize the dream. The dream that Gay, Black, Asian, Latino and Women's cinema (just to name a few) will be heartily embraced as important vibrant threads in the fabric of American cinema. It is now time to embrace the stories of the disenfranchised as they wish to tell them. This is change we should embrace, we must embrace, and we can embrace. Because, in reality, their struggles are the labors of us all, their flaws are the imperfections we all share, and their demons are the evils we all must endure. And yet their redemption may be the salvation of us all.

What Obama has demonstrated is that, while those of us of disparate backgrounds, goals, and aspirations have much that is different, there is far more that we share. Our stories, found in the margins, must be brought to the mainstream to punctuate a new reality: We can see our world through the lenses of all its people.

During the course of making the film, we were often told we would not be able to make Mississippi Damned because we were too inexperienced, too young, too idealistic and not well-connected enough, and that the project was just too ambitious. It was our belief in the story and its need to be told that helped us maintain our drive and pushed us toward the finish line. It was a community of dreamers that armed us with their trust and gave us the tools to turn our dream into a reality.

With the film now complete, we are happy to be premiering it in competition at the 15th annual Slamdance Film Festival. And this is just the beginning. We hope to fill a void we see in the current film industry by providing a voice to those often unheard. We hope to show that the stories of those in the margins are just as profound and entertaining as any now considered mainstream.

We do this amid "fortune tellers" who narrowly believe that the stories of "others" will not be embraced by everyone. We embark on our journey with the faith and trust that Obama's America can be One America with many stories to tell...for all to hear...welcomed by all! Can we really take stories from the margins and have them be embraced by mainstream America? Yes, we can. -MPM

Photos courtesy of the filmmaker.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Cooling Waters of Equanimity...

The Cooling Waters
of Equanimity
a one-day retreat
with Gloria Gostnell and Larry Yang

February 8, 2009
9:30 am - 4:30 PM
East Bay Meditation Center
2147 Broadway, Oakland
(near 19th Street BART station)

The political, economic, and social uncertainties faced by us all affect our relationships, our decision making, and our sense of balance as we walk in the world. In cultivating the Practice of Equanimity we are invited to see the coming and going of events in our lives as experiences that don't define us, but instead help us to see our truth of being alive. When life gets crazy, how do we not become crazy ourselves, but rather live through the experience with wisdom and compassion? During this one day retreat we will be invited into guided meditations, silent reflection, mindful sharing exercises, and dharma discussions to explore how this practice relates to our daily experiences.
Meditators of all levels are welcome, including beginners. Meditation instructions will be provided.

Please bring your lunch and paper/pencil to journal with.

Registration is required. To register, please click on the following link:

(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 reply to this email--with your full name and "Equanimity" in the subject line or call (510) 268-0696.

Cost: The teachings are regarded as priceless and are offered without charge. You are invited to support the teachings and our efforts by contributing voluntary donations (the practice of "Dana") for the expenses of the space and the support of the Teachings.

Gloria Gostnell, Ed.D. , currently leads a culturally diverse sitting group in Portland, Oregon. She has practiced Vipassana meditation for 20 years. A co-founding member of the Dharma Diversity Leadership Council, Gloria is a graduate of the Community Dharma Leaders Program at Spirit Rock and has completed the Teacher Development Intensive of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Larry Yang teaches meditation retreats nationally and has a deep interest in creating access to teachings of spiritual liberation for multicultural communities. Larry has practiced extensively in the USA, Burma and Thailand. He ordained as a Buddhist monk for six months under the guidance of Thai meditation master Ajahn Tong. Larry is a core dharma teacher and is on the Leadership Sangha of EBMC. Larry's website is:

EBMC is wheelchair accessible.

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

For more info about EBMC:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flashback Thursdays or You Know You're Getting Old When???

One of your favorite old skool songs is being used in a national commerical (Geico). He looks so much more like a "Jackson" than a "Gordy" but that could be because of the hair style. After Michael went Jheri/S Curl so many others did...

Friday, January 2, 2009