Monthly Archives: October 2010

Pete Chatmon: A Study in Creative Hustle

And the brother is dapper.

I’ve known Pete Chatmon for years.

His sister Jennifer, sang at my wedding.

Needless to say, we’re kinda close.

If you know Pete, you know that he is one of the most bout-his-hustle dudes you will ever meet.

I’ve tried to rope him into so many projects that never saw the light of day.

But despite my failed pitches, whenever I reach out, he still hits me back (I’m currently trying to rope him into a 9/11 project I’m working on – Pete I know I owe you answers to those questions – they’re coming!).

The reason I can always reach out is because Pete stays on his grind.

He recognizes that the next big thing could be a simple phone call away, so he’s primed for any and all opportunities that come his way.

He’s got his hands in so many projects right now, that I get a little light-headed just thinking about them.

For one, he’s a featured blogger on Tanqueray’s We Resist Simple blog, where he provides insight on lifestyle and culture.

He’s a Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he teaches Acting for  the Camera Workshop.

Double 7 Films brought to you by Pete Chatmon

On top of that, he runs his own production company, Double 7 Films, devoted to helping aspiring filmmakers find their creative voices – and funds.

With five production credits to his name, Pete is already an accomplished and award winning producer, director, and writer.

And now, he’s off to the races with his latest project, The Bridge, a venture that blends cable television, the internet and mobile into a rich multi-layered media experience.

The Bridge is a cable tv program that focuses on the lives of several Brooklynites, and ‘The Bridge’ nightclub, the hot new spot, which serves as the focal point of the characters’ activities.

I’ve peeped some of the ‘making of’ stuff, as well as some teaser trailers and videos from people associated with the project.

And now I’m asking everyone within the sound of my blog, to check out the site, watch the videos, complete the survey (after you’ve watched the videos, of course) and follow them on Twitter.

I don’t know when the show will be airing on cable, but trust, I’ll be watching!

Handle your scandal Pete!

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Filed under branding

You know its a party when Cornel West is in the cut!

This past weekend, I attended the ten year anniversary of Dr. Rev. William Howard, at the Mezzanine in Newark, New Jersey.

Anyone familiar with the City of Newark, knows that there is one place of worship that really speaks to the history of African American worship, Bethany Baptist Church.

The event was significant, not only because of the milestone reached by Rev. Howard, but because the event celebrated the man who married my wife and I a decade ago.

As we got ready for the gala, I must admit I was somewhat less than enthusiastic.

I mean, it was a function for a pastor – how much fun would it really be?

AND I was going to be at a table with my mother-in-law – snorelax supreme!

AND it was in the middle of the day (3 to 7) so who was really going to be getting their swerve on?

Despite my misgivings, I soldiered on.

The tickets were $100 a head, so it couldn’t be all bad. Right?

When we arrived at the Mezzanine, which was centrally located on Broad Street, we were greeted by valets.

“How much for the parking?”

“It’s free, but the tip’s $100.” Nice, and they’ve got jokes.

When we stepped inside, the place was abuzz with activity.

Well dressed Black folk walked to and fro.

A kindly elder woman escorted Chanel and I to the elevators, bringing us up to the reception hall the back way – thus avoiding the long check-in queue.

A three piece band played as hors d’oeuvres were served by white-gloved attendees.

All-in-all, it was a very respectable affair.

But a slight commotion caught my attention.

He was not dressed this nicely for Dr. Howard's affair.

Immediately in front of me, I saw the grossly underdressed mayor, Cory Booker, pressing the flesh and speaking to the gathered throngs.

He was not the source of the din.

Then I saw him.

The wild fro. The distinctive black collar, white shirt, black tie.

It was none other than the indomitable Cornel West.


Is this brother distinctive or what?

After speech, after speech, after proclamation, after proclamation, the guest speaker took the stage and ROCKED IT!

It’s one thing to see Cornel West go through his machinations on tv.

Its something entirely different to see him up close and personal.

He is charismatic, uses his hands a lot, and has a booming voice.

He pulls you in with his words (whether you’re checking for what he has to say or not) and is a generally interesting cat.

All I know is that he turned the room up to 10 in a matter of minutes and it stayed there for the rest of the night.

I left the reception right before dessert, but must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed myself!


Filed under Uncategorized

Not In My Backyard! (or Playground)


No weed in the playground. In the bong, well that's a different story.


Yesterday I got a call from wifey, while she was at the playground in the park with the kids.

Nishuane Park, which is just down the block, is a wonderful little neighborhood amenity.

There are two baseball diamonds, six tennis courts, two basketball courts, a pool, walking path, picnic area and kiddie playground, complete with infant swings, swings for bigger kids, two jungle gyms and monkey bars.

A sign at the entrance announces that the playground is for children under 11, and that all children must be accompanied by an adult.

So you can imagine my surprise when my wife told me that she was looking a several dime bags WITH WEED IN THEM underneath the swings in the playground.


WTF! Discarded dime bags at Nishuane Park?


The ‘head’ in me wondered ‘is it the stickiest of the icky,’ but the parent in me was like ‘goddamn punks!’

I don’t delude myself to think that I live in some sort of insular Eden-like enclave.

I’m regularly picking up trash and debris that guest to the playground have simply tossed to the ground (despite the fact that there are two trash bins in the playground).

I’ve even had to discard a condom or two. Who bones in a kiddie playground anyway?

But weed bags?

When we discussed the options, there were only three viable ones:

1. Call the cops. Clearly the presence of weed out in the playground meant that the perpetrator(s) felt comfortable enough to possess (and likely) smoke weed publicly without fear of discovery, and without regard to the fact that children may come across their paraphernalia. Calling the cops would at least put the Montclair PD on notice that there was a potential problem with drug use/trafficking in the area.

2.  Do nothing. There were at least five or six other mothers in the park with the wife. One of them had recently played with her child on the very swing underneath which the weed was discovered. It was unlikely that she did not notice the bags and shake sprinkled on the rubber mat. But, since no one else seemed bothered by its presence, why should we? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT FORT APACHE THE BRONX YOU APATHETIC TWITS!

3.  Pick it up and toss it. Treat the weed like any other piece of trash that litters the playground, and discard it. While this was admittedly my first instinct, I was concerned that by not calling attention to the problem, it would embolden the hooligans. And who knows what we’d find next – crack vials? hypodermic needles? I exaggerate, but who knows? Marijuana is a gateway drug!

So we ended up calling the cops, who came out and were thoroughly underwhelmed by the fact that a crime was committed on the playground.

His attitude was so very ‘it’s no big deal lady.’

It was clear from the manner in which he responded, that it was a non-emergent call. He didn’t seem surprised, and I was left (from my wife’s recollection of the event) with the distinct impression that this incident would be stashed away in the file cabinet of some dark, dimly lit store room of the Montclair Police Department, never to see the light of day (or an investigation).

If the same incident had occurred at Anderson, Brookdale or Edgemont Parks, I’m sure the would response have been markedly different.

Forensic teams would have been called to the scene to try to lift fingerprints from the bags.

K-9 units and drug sniffing dogs would be dispatched to determine whether the drugs could be traced.

Caution tape would be erected and the area cordoned off to prevent the contamination of evidence.

Witnesses would be questioned about who saw what and when.

At this point, you can file this under ‘rant’ because I’m generally expressing my annoyance with the fact that I pay a college tuition in taxes, and (at times) don’t really feel like I’m getting my money’s worth in Montclair.

This incident is just another example of the disparities that exist in this town, that many fail to acknowledge, but exists nonetheless.

I’m also writing to let my neighbors know about the BS taking place right under our noses, and asking everyone to be more vigilant.

I didn’t grow up with garbage and condom wrappers and weed bags in my parks and playgrounds, and I’m sure as hell not going to let my kids grow up with that b*llsh*t either!


We're watching you shadowy dude!


Do we step up the Neighborhood Watch? Petition for additional roving patrols? Erect video cameras?

I’m definitely going to tell the ‘Mayor of Montclair’ (Alma Schneider) about this! I’m sure she’ll have some answers!

Hopefully will pick this up, and my fellow Montclairions will have some advice for me on how to handle this problem.

If you’ve got some straight BS going on in your neighborhood, and you just want to vent, please feel free to comment on this post.

Note: As NJ is on the verge of passing a medicinal marijuana law, I wish to clarify that I am not generally opposed to the medicinal (or recreational) use of marijuana by adults. But if you’re going to smoke, do so in the privacy of your home, NOT IN MY BACKYARD!


Filed under Parenting, rant

I need another tattoo…bad!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love tattoos.

The last tat I got was a tiger’s head on my left pectoral, which I got well over a year ago.




In total, I’ve got 17, including my wife’s name, kids’ names, several tribals, a few dragons and a complete back piece.

I’ve been meaning to get my last child’s name inked on my left bicep, but simply haven’t gotten around to it.

And I’ve been jonesing.

To make matters worse, I’ve been in the vicinity of my tattoo artist several times, but simply haven’t been able to drop in and put in the work.

Worse still, are all the tattoo shows that have been on recently – mocking me.

The proverbial straw was the Afropunk piece I saw today, featuring a full spread of tats.

Flash, I’m putting an all-points bulletin out for you.

I need another tat!


Filed under Smack talking