Monthly Archives: April 2012

PAL Party Rockers: A Flash Mob is coming to NYC!

I’m planning a flash mob for the Police Athletic League (better know as PALNYC) this Thursday, April 26th, and I’m super excited.

Why the excitement, you ask?

For one, this is my first flash mob.

Second, it’s PAL’s idea (Karen Trank’s, specifically) to have the flash mob.

Third, any kind of spontaneous event is an attention grabber, so PAL’s gonna get a lot of traction from this one.

Finally, I’m working with kids – Stephen love da kids (said in your best Trick Daddy voice).

So the fact that I’m producing a flash mob for PAL with kids is a win-win.

I’ve enlisted Seye Charles, the founder of Focused Movement, to choreograph and teach the routine for the flash mob.

I’ve seen Seye in action, and this brother knows his stuff.

Seye is also the founder of Teens Step Up, a not-for-profit organization that trains youth to step, teaching them the importance of teamwork.

You can imagine how excited we all were at the first rehearsal to practice PAL’s Party Rockers flash mob routine.

That’s right.

You heard me.

We’re using the LMFAO anthem, Party Rockers In The House Tonight, as our theme music.

What better way to set it off in the streets?

There are rehearsals scheduled to take place at five PAL centers in New York, Duncan Center, IS 218 Beacon, Armory Center, Harlem Center and Brownsville Beacon.

Just in case you can’t make rehearsals, we recorded the routine for the flash mob so that folks could still join us on Thursday.

The location of the flash mob is still a closely guarded secret, but I’m going to be posting details all next week, so rehearse and maybe you’ll be able to join us.

We’re already a finely tuned machine, and our goal is to have 250 people takeover a major street in Soho.

Intrigued?

Good.

Stay tuned for more info.

Better yet, hit up their ‘Event‘ page on Facebook for details as they’re released.

If you haven’t already, please ‘Like’ the Police Athletic League’s page on Facebook.

Everyday I’m shuffling

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You Oughta Be in Pictures. I’ve Got Movies On The Brain.

This week was all about movies.

I ran into Bobbito Garcia on the L train Thursday.

He’s in the final stages of completing his movie, Doin’ It In The Park, which chronicles the history of pick up basketball in New York.

If you’re not familiar with Bobbito, he’s been on the street ball scene for years.

In addition to being nice on the court, he’s also nice on the turntables, and on the mic (he’s been a sports commentator for years).

Doin’ It is a co-production with Kevin Couliau, his production partner, and is set to be released this summer.

Bobbito hit me with a flyer and sticker for his flick (love the fact that he’s still doing it hand-to-hand), and was out.

Two stops later, I’m talking to Olivier French, who is screening a short film he premiered at Cannes last year in the Short Film Corner.

Black Box will have it’s official NYC premier at the After Set Film Program at the Tribeca Grand Hotel Saturday, April 21st at 7pm.

If you can’t make it, you can check it out here:

And I’ve been talking to the folks over at Harlem Stage, as they prepare for their 30th Anniversary Gala.

We’ve been working with them to prepare the video component of the Gala, which will consist of vignettes of performances from artists, large and small, that Harlem Stage touched in their 30 years.

Here’s a mock up we created for Harlem Stage:

I’m still waiting to hear whether the project I’ve been working on has been accepted into Cannes this year, so stay tuned for more movie-related updates!

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PALNYC + NYC22 + ProHoops = An Event Not To Be Missed!

Yesterday, I attended a walk-through with the team from CBS Marketing, in preparation for Saturday’s promotion at the Harlem Center PAL.

You see, on Saturday, the cast and crew of NYC22, will be in the house!

What’s NYC22?

NYC22 is the new CBS prime-time character-driven police drama, which follows six NYPD rookie cops in upper Manhattan.

The show follows these rookies as they patrol the streets with their training officer, and confront the physical and emotional demands of being a police officer on the NY city streets.

The cast includes Terry KinneyAdam GoldbergLeelee SobieskiStark SandsJudy Marte, Harold House MooreTom Reed, and Felix Solis.

Here’s a lil’ blurb from the NYC22 website:

NYC 22 follows six diverse NYPD rookies as they patrol the gritty streets of upper Manhattan. The new trainees include Jennifer “White House” Perry, a former college volleyball star and Marine MP in Iraq with a take-charge attitude; Ray “Lazarus” Harper, the oldest rookie and a former police news reporter with better sources than most seasoned cops; Tonya Sanchez, who comes from a family with a criminal history; Ahmad Kahn, an Afghani native who fought his way to freedom; Kenny McClaren, a fourth-generation police officer with great instincts but qualms about joining the force; and Jayson “Jackpot” Toney, a young basketball legend who squandered his opportunity in the NBA. Their demanding Field Training Officer, Daniel “Yoda” Dean, is a case-hardened, unsentimental veteran of the force who emphasizes basics and holds each cop accountable for their actions. Rounding out the team is Sergeant Terry Howard, a no-nonsense plainclothes officer from the Gang Intel Unit, who trains the rookies on how to keep the gangbangers at bay. With unique backgrounds, personalities and reasons for being on the force, the new cops will make their share of rookie mistakes while they figure out how to relate to their boss, each other and the people they swore to protect.

The show premiers on Sunday, April 15th, and the marketing team at CBS thought it would be a great idea for the cast of NYC22 to interact with the community represented in the show, prior to the premier.

Why Saturday?

On Saturday, the cast and crew of NYC22 will attend the Pro Hoops Drill & Play Championship weekend at the Harlem Center PAL, for a day of basketball, photo opps, food, and fun for all.

It’s not often that a major television network seeks out a community organization for a partnership like this.

So somebody MUST be doing something right!

Saturday’s event is the culmination of the work from a number of different agencies and entities working together.

Drill & Play is an initiative of the District Attorney’s office, Pro Hoops NYC, and PAL, designed to take kids off the streets and provide them with a structured basketball training program.

Launched at the end of last year, Drill & Play provides community youth with the opportunity to gain (or improve) their basketball skills, through drills and instruction, and participate in games and tournaments.

Drill & Play is run by Ross Burns, the director of Pro Hoops NYC, a company that provides NBA players, college athletes and individuals with professional basketball training.

The event on Saturday is an example of the changes taking place in Harlem, and PAL is at the center of it all.

Tomorrow, I’m attending the preview screening of NYC22 at the Paley Center, together with members of PAL and NYPD and DA brass – so I’ll be on my best behavior – and I’ll be sure to give you the rundown.

The writers, directors, producers and cast will all be on hand to discuss what went into making NYC22, and what impact they feel the show will have.

So if you’re around on Saturday, and happen to be in the Harlem area, definitely drop by.

The red carpet starts at 5:15 pm, and the tournament begins at 6:15 pm, so get there early.

Can’t make it?

Be sure to check out the premier episode on Sunday at 10 pm (9 pm Central) on CBS.

The hashtag for the show is #nyc22, so if you’re going to be watching….

You can also ‘like‘ them on Facebook or ‘follow‘ them on Twitter.

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Trayvon Martin: Justice Deferred, But Not Forgotten

I have been purposefully silent on the issue of Trayvon Martin.

I am upset.

And angry.

And disappointed.

As a parent of four children, two of which are boys, the incident struck home in a way I can’t fully articulate.

But the fact hat there has not yet been an arrest, combined with the attempts to portray the victim as the instigator, and in light of the facts that have since come out about Zimmerman and his actions that fateful evening, have conspired to force me to speak out.

There’s a lot of outrage in the Black community, because the death of this young teen has gone unaddressed.

What I find particularly galling, is that almost two months after his unprovoked killing, there has been no obvious progress in the case.

In fact, today, the Special Prosecutor in the case, decided not to impanel the grand jury in this case.

But what do we know?

We know that Trayvon was a guest in the complex. His father lived there. If Zimmerman was really up on his Neighborhod Watch j-o-b, he would have know this.

We know that Zimmerman first observed Trayvon from the safety of his SUV. Why Trayvon looked suspicious with a hood over his head on a rainy day, remains to be seen. Oh right, Trayvon was Black. We all look suspicious.

We know that Zimmerman followed Trayvon. Rather than follow the cardinal rule of every neighborhood watch, ‘observe and report’, Zimmerman decided that he would observe and follow.

We know that Trayvon was concerned that he was being followed. Trayvon called his girlfriend about the dark colored SUV following him.

We know that Zimmerman was expressly told not to follow Trayvon by the police.

Dispatcher: Are you following him?
Zimmerman: Yeah
Dispatcher: Ok, we don’t need you to do that.
Zimmerman: Ok

We know that Zimmerman left his vehicle. You’re in the safety of your vehicle. Yet, you chose to leave the safety of your vehicle to confront someone who ‘look suspicious’ and could ‘be on drugs’. Oh wait. You’ve got a gun!

We know that Zimmerman was armed with a semi-automatic pistol. Interesting that he never told the dispatcher that before he got out of his vehicle.

We know that Zimmerman lied about being struck in the face and sustaining a busted lip. No blood. No slit lip. No bloody nose. Nothing.

We know that Zimmer lied about having the back of his slammed repeatedly on the pavement by Trayvon. No obvious bruising to his head – despite efforts to enhance the video to demonstrate otherwise. No medical assistance rendered to Zimmerman.

While we don’t know the exact nature of the exchange between Trayvon and Zimmerman, we do know that Trayvon was screaming in fear for his life before he was shot and killed.

We know that Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon. He admitted killing him.

Unfortunately, as we get further and further away from this incident, memories start to fail.

The outrage we once felt, may eventually be replaced by resignation, and then apathy.

Why should we expect anything different for Trayvon, then we have for our other (recently) slain children?

Who cares?

Well, for one, I do.

And so do a host of others in the public eye.

Including Mos Def, Dead Prez and mikeflo.

Together, these three have been working on a tribute song and video for Trayvon, to keep the memory of his tragic death, alive in our collective consciousness.

If you want to do something to ensure that justice is served in this case, please feel free to donate to Justice For Trayvon Martin, which was established by his family to support awareness of civil rights, social justice and the quality of life for young black men.

But whatever happens, keep up the rallying cry for justice.

Trayvon deserves it.

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The Beatles+Fela+Rich Medina+Mark Hines+Live Scoring+DROM = A night not to be missed.

Fela was the fifth Beatle. He didn't tour with them because he wouldn't rock the bowl cut.

I am an out and out FAN of Rich Medina.

Sure, he’s my dude.

I’ve known him since college.

And yes, we’ve partied and bullshat (past tense of bullshit, and bullshitted is also acceptable) across the globe.

But whenever this fool is on the ones and twos (aka ‘wheels of steel’ aka ‘Technics’ aka ‘turntables’) he just does something to me.

…I get this…

…uncontrollable…

urge to dance.

Literally.

It usually starts with a subtle foot tap.

Then the rest of the leg gets involved.

Before I know it, both legs are similarly compromised

And I’m involuntarily engaged in a two-step.

Slowly side to side.

Shifting my weight alternately on one leg then the other.

Soon, it’s no longer subtle or slow.

There’s a wild stomping going on with both legs.

Not to be outdone, my fingers are snapping.

Hands, a-clapping.

Torso swaying.

I have been mesmerized.

He does it to me every time.

And it’s not like I’m NOT trying to dance.

Why would I be up in the club if I was?

But I’m just saying.

Why you do me like that Rich?

Once, after a particularly raucous set, I had to take a moment to collect myself.

Rich had me going IN on the dance floor.

I was sweating, dreads all wacked out, and I had to catch my breath.

As soon as I had found a spot to cop a squat, there he goes again.

Water, no get enemy…

Water, no got enemy…

And I’m back.

The horns were calling me.

Body all twitching and jerking – of it’s own volition and against my entreaties to remain at rest.

Why this diatribe about Rich Medina’s hypnotic DJing skills?

Because on Friday, April 6th, he and Mark Hines (a guy with similar effects on the eyeballs) are playing at DROM.

The event, Scored & Jump N Funk Presents: The AfroBeatles, is an evening not to be missed.

Just in case you think I’m full of shit, read how DROM describes the night

SCORED & JUMP’N FUNK present the AfroBeatles bringing together an evening of live scoring with rare footage of Fela Kuti and The Beatles with narratives woven from The Beatles acapellas and African cinema. The indelible, DJ, producer, and poet, RICH MEDINA will be hosting and narrating this night of fresh “off-the-wall” music, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!”

So if you like the Beatles…

Or if you dig Fela Kuti…

Or if you’re a fan of live scoring…

Or if you’re into choreographed dance routines…

Or if you simply like hanging out in the city with cool folks…

Then DROM is where you need to be Friday night.

It costs $10 to get in.

But it’ll be well worth it.

Give me a shout if you come.

You’ll probably find me on the dance floor somewhere…

In a trance.

Click the image for a treat.

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