*On Friday, May 13, Corky Hale presents I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU – The Life and Lyrics of Al Dubin, at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. This new musical features lyrics by Al Dubin, music mostly by Harry Warren, book by Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner, and musical direction by Gerald Sternbach. The production is directed and choreographed by Kay Cole.
The Golden Age of Hollywood returns to the stage in the all-singing, all-dancing story of legendary 1930s lyricist Al Dubin, who along with composer Harry Warren and visionary film director Busby Berkeley and took movie musicals to new heights during the darkest days of the Great Depression.
Elijah Rock, a great fan of what he calls, The Great American Songbook, gets to perform the music of one of his music legends, Cab Calloway, in a featured segment of the production.
He spoke with EURThisNthat editor, DeBorah B. Pryor, about the experience.
“I have an interesting relationship to Cab Calloway. I have always included him in my act. In my musical performances with my band…I’ve had different size bands and orchestras and I always incorporated ‘Minnie the Moocher’ in my set. I actually did a recording of Minnie the Moocher with one of my previous bands and it became one of my signature songs when I would do a show.”
Rock says a friend of his called him to let him know about the show. “The next day I get a call from Michael Donovan, who casts a lot of the big shows in town, and he says ‘They want to see you for Cab.’”
At the audition, Rock says he didn’t sing his signature Cab Calloway song. Instead he sang other great tunes from the legend. “And of course, they booked me right away!” he says, rather nonchalantly on our telephone interview. Continue reading
*For decades, my girl Oprah has spoken passionately about “intention.” She’s famously asked many guests what their “intention” was before sitting down to talk with them, and she seems grounded in a belief that if your intention is pure and significant, your work will bear fruit.
So it was not really a surprise to learn that the Queen of All Media wasn’t concerned with the possible backlash against her upcoming drama ‘Greenleaf,’ a one-hour scripted drama which promises to pull the curtain back from the inner workings of the black church and the family that runs one.
“Our intention is to use this as a platform for telling great stories,” the 62-year-old media tycoon said, during a press screening of Greenleaf. “Our intention is to be mindful and respectful of the church as an institution. Only good can come from that.”
The family drama focuses on a fictional megachurch in Memphis, Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, headed by Bishop James Greenleaf and Lady Mae Greenleaf, played by Lynn Whitfield. Viewers soon learn that the good Bishop’s life is more sinister than godly. Winfrey herself returns to the screen, playing Mavis McCready, Lady Mae’s sister, in the new series. Continue reading
*We ALL know that the public educational system in the United States has been woefully deficient in including the contributions of African Americans. I still remember the moment when I, as a 2nd grader, pieced together than the black American revolutionist Chrispus Attucks fought in the same Revolutionary War that included Paul Revere and the rest of the white folks in powdered wigs and stockings. I like to tell myself that things have changed since then, and they HAVE, but when you stumble across a largely untold, unknown story like this, you have to wonder “how much?”.
A group of black, female college-educated mathematicians and chemists worked for NASA beginning in the 1940s, and helped land John Glenn and his colleagues on the moon.
Yes, they did!
97-year-old retired African American NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson was one of them. She was one of dozens of “human computers” who were hired by NASA Langley Memorial Research Laboratory in the 1940s.
They were called “human computers” because before machines were designed, built, and perfected, these pioneering women crunched the numbers necessary to figure out everything from wind tunnel resistance to rocket trajectories to safe reentry angles..
If you’re like me, just reading those terms almost gives you a headache. Continue reading
*And I know that I am NOT! I have written on this film before…The story behind the whole S&M thang (which, BTW, I am NOT into) based on the best-selling trilogy of books from British author, E. L. James — the first of which was written in 2011. But as photos begin to leak showing characters Anastacia Steele and Christian Grey, brought to life magnificently by actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan respectively, it reminds me of how excited I am to see them as a married couple in “Fifty Shades Darker.”
Not to mention how this powerful franchise (the books have been around for years) will continue to give our brother, Marlon Wayans, fuel for what he probably hopes will be a franchise when his “Fifty Shades of Black” movie grows up.
Dornan and Johnson were spotted filming Fifty Shades Darker in Vancouver, Canada recently. It’s really going to be a trip — especially for those who have seen the first film, Fifty Shades of Grey, (that BTW boosted The Weeknd’s song, Earned It, from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack to heights greater than he probably EVER expected it to go) buying into the fact that a woman who we first met as a rather goofy, sexually inexperienced waiflike creature not only snags this wealthy-but-weird dude, but then gets a marriage proposal out of him and finally, gets that home with a picket fence and little family.
Oh sorry. Did I tell too much? Continue reading
*If you love — or even like — comic book movies, or if you want to, go see Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not the most objective person when it comes to superhero movies. The office I’m writing in could double as a Superman museum, festooned with memorabilia that dates back to the classic 1950s George Reeves serials. I love the first two of the Richard Donner-helmed films starring Christopher Reeve, as well as Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
That said, I know a stinker when I see one: Reeve’s Superman IV: The Quest For Peace is one of the worst films ever made (of any genre), and while I enjoyed some of the Batman films, and loved the Dark Knight trilogy, I’ve never quite understood the Batman character or the public’s seemingly endless fascination with him.
Thanks to Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne / Batman in the new Batman v Superman, I get it now. All of Affleck’s critics — he was dubbed “Batfleck” by the Twitterverse upon announcement of his casting — will be silenced with this one. Fanboys never need to mention Daredevil again. With no disrespect to Christian Bale, Michael Keaton, or Val Kilmer (cough cough George Clooney), Affleck is the silver screen’s best Dark Knight. Continue reading