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As a fundraiser for both Advocacy and Artistic organizations, I've had some really interesting moments along the way. I've had the chance to have conversations with people I know you know, or at least have heard of, and that's typically enlightening, engaging and even sometimes fun.

For a while I was working for...Collapse )

A Dream...

What is a dream, exactly? Is it a vision of the future, a kind of precognitive view of something that is going to happen? Is it a fantasy of something wished for, despite the near impossibility of that event? Is it the brain's musing after you ate some food that gave you a sensitive stomach or something you drank after taking some medication that caused an interactive reaction?

A dream is nebulous, undefined, easy to ignore, or even forget, in the day-to-day demands of our working world. You have this vivid experience, filled with a sense that it is actually real while you're experiencing it, and then you wake up. Oh. It was only a dream.

I think that some people would be surprised to learn that the speech that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to deliver from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 did not have any reference to "A Dream" in it. This was something that hit him in the moment. Call it divine inspiration, call it a pastor's thought, call it the brilliance of one of the best orators of the 20th Century. The "I Have A Dream" speech didn't have a dream in its final draft.

But, and I think this is easy to say with more than 50 years of hindsight after that brilliant speech, that that word, "dream," was the word that may have slowed the forward progress. That distant wish, that imagined scenario, dreams aren't meant to become "reality." Dreams get put away. We don't live our dreams. So thinking that a dream is "real" is a very easy concept to dismiss, especially if it's a dream you don't like or want.

This isn't to be critical of one of the most famous American speeches ever delivered! We have made a lot of strides because of that speech and because of the efforts of people that supported Dr. King's view. And of course we have advanced from Jim Crow to the Voting Rights Act to desegregation and affirmative action. We have a black president. Certainly the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is assured.

But what if he had said, "I Have a Mission?" Granted we knew he had a mission, but suddenly, the concept that was offered as a "dream" is actually the end result of the work that everyone would participate in to make the country and the world a better place, a safer place, a friendlier and happier place.

It is so easy for people, especially the people that want desperately to maintain the Status Quo, to use whatever available options they have to continue to do so. A dream is a loophole, a way around, a dancing, distant non-reality that we may or more likely, may not reach. The longer the dream gets delayed, the less those that want it will pursue. And the Status Quo wins, yet again.

The comparison, both in timing and in delivery, is in John F. Kennedy's speech about space travel, which he gave at Rice University on September 12, 1962. The notable quote: "I believe this nation should commit itself, to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth."

President Kennedy stated it was a goal. It was clearly not a "dream." And it was specific, it had a timetable, it was simple and clear.

To be fair, Dr. King didn't have the power of the US Government to help with millions of dollars, or a sympathetic nation that wanted to achieve that task after he was killed. Still, the wording is an element that helped to make what President Kennedy wanted, real.

Our days of dreaming are over. It is time for a mission to value every life, that people are precious no matter their skin color. It is time for a goal to understand we are all the same, despite the outer differences and that we need to help and support each other. The task now is to communicate, to work, to strive to make the world a place where humans can live, worship, marry, live their lives in peace and harmony.

Dr. King would have wanted nothing less.
I am the first person to have shown a completed film from New York Film Academy. In essence, that makes me the first graduate of that school. The year was 1992, when I wrote, storyboarded, cast, shot, edited and screened my film, "Somebody's Fool," at Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Center, the location that NYFA occupied in its first couple of years, before moving to their own building, the former Tammany Hall on Union Square in 1994.

Since my class was the very first class, concessions were made. Tuition was a fraction of what it is today, but so was the curriculum: we had thirteen weeks from start to finish. Neither faculty nor students knew exactly how things were going to progress. And we all understood that going in. But the positive was that everyone in that inaugural class was offered the basics of how a film comes together and we all worked collectively as each other's support, from gaffers to actors. Why we didn't try to team up and create a production house of our own is one of many sad questions I will never be able to answer.

Of course, we were shooting on...Collapse )
I understand how and why horror movies captured the imagination of most Americans. World War II ended and the biggest monster of them all, Adolf Hitler, was vanquished. Then a bit later, the Cold War began and we started to consider the first ventures into space (and the possibility of seeing and meeting others from other planets). Horror stories of varying sorts began to happen more and more frequently at your local drive-in, movie house and on your late, late shows, right before the end of the broadcast day.

People moving from cities into the suburbs...Collapse )

The Cos of Bad Behavior

Bill Cosby has been a fixture on television since the mid 1960s. A Temple University graduate. A Navy man. A stand-up comic with millions of records sold. The first African-American with top billing on a network TV drama ("I Spy"), frequent guest and then guest host on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." There were all those commercials for those genuine American products: for Jell-O. For Kodak. For Coca-Cola. and, of course all his own shows, His first sitcom: "The Bill Cosby Show." His Saturday morning cartoon: "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids." His Variety series: "Cos." And his later work, "The Cosby Show" and "Cosby."

Throughout his career, both on stage and off...Collapse )

LJ Idol Week [30] - "The Affair" Affair

“The Affair” held an affair of its own at Noon on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at the tony Bryant Park Hotel on 40th Street. We were promised brunch, a screening of that night’s episode and a Q & A with several of the cast members and one of the program’s producers. We were not disappointed.

The Cellar Bar at the hotel...Collapse )
I am completely, utterly, totally and absolutely unsurprised by the Grand Jury decision in favor of no indictment in the slaying of Michael Brown Jr. by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Very much like a gambler with a few thousand dollars entering a casino, anyone knowing how the system works knew we would be coming out of there flat broke and unhappy.

It really was a lot like a casino...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [28] - U </3 N Y

The smallest county on the United States mainland is, quite arguably, the most famous one. New York County, also known as the island of Manhattan, is the tiniest county outside of one in the Hawaiian Islands, yet it has come to dwarf most everything else in the entirety of the country. Some people actually believe and loudly proclaim that New York is at the heart of everything.

I’m being very sincere when I say...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [27] - A Moment With Robin

My one and only year of attending Public School was at P.S. 32 in Yonkers, New York. I was the only non-white student, from the First to the Sixth grade, at that institution during that term and one of only two minority people that entered those doors, the other being Special Needs teacher Miss Holland.

Yonkers, as a location, was a place filled with anger and hatred. It was too far north to be a part of New York City and the advantages that might have come with that. And it was south of the more affluent suburbs like Bronxville, Hartsdale or Scarsdale. Yonkers was decidedly working class, and, as such, very protective of its own people. If you were not in that group, you were not welcome, a fact which I have to believe my mother, sending me to this school, was completely unaware.

I was always up for an adventure...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [26] - Happy Talk

Jailee stood with Conroy by her side, in a room with no apparent exit. The room was shaped like a sphere, solid white and was illuminated by a bright floating bulb that resembled a bubble, about four feet above her 188 centimeter frame. When Jailee looked at the sphere, it dimmed to a luminescence that permitted her eye to view it without the retina being harmed. If she stared at it, she could make the room go almost pitch dark.

She couldn’t see him, but she knew that Lou, the odd, cowboy oceanographer/explorer she met as she was rushing to save Conroy from a booby trap was running this experiment and the elements involved. Jailee looked down and smiled at Conroy, placing her hand on the top of his smooth head. He tilted his face upward and brushed his bristles across her palm. Still, she felt it was odd that Conroy hadn’t said a word. Not like him.

Suddenly a shock of icy cold salt water raced...Collapse )
Showtime has run the first couple of episodes of a new series: “The Affair” (original airings on Sunday evenings at 10pm, 9pm Central, with rebroadcasts throughout the week) which has a lot of really great stuff for any writer to chew on when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I can see how it potentially could become a series to not just watch over and over, but to study.

The concept of the story...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [24] - Hurt for Help

It’s a little bit difficult to avoid all of the suffering, the worry, the fear, the anger, the senseless actions of humans making knee-jerk reactions to other humans that every web page, every news organization, every tweeter that wants a retweet is spewing right now. And Now. And again NOW.

It"s also difficult to negotiate...Collapse )

LJ Idol - Week [23] - "Making New Friends"

Lou Bingham took a close look through the smudge covered glass with an eager eye. He reached into his vest, pulled out a tool, placed it on the pane and carved a perfect circle out. He then placed the segment of dirty pane inside a fitted specimen dish, lidded it and slipped it back into the vest, where the analysis was being calculated.

He turned back to his companion...Collapse )
You’ve seen them, at sporting events or in a parade, at a store opening or a theme park. Stilt walkers! They stand tall among the crowd and are definitely a festive part of any event.

At Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, stilt walking was part of the curriculum, as the Circus typically has a set of stilt walkers as part of the Opening and/or Closing Spec (short for “spectacle” – when all performers are greeting the crowds on the arena floor).

I"m not completely sure how...Collapse )
I was the ripe old age of six and living in South Jersey when I really understood how music could alter your mood. It was a pageant for the lower school, and my first grade class just sang a medley of “America the Beautiful” and “This Land Is Your Land,” and then, as we exited the stage through the audience, something happened that didn't occur in rehearsal: someone played a recording of John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and I got it. I proudly marched off to the song and even got some impressed looks from parents who *weren’t* my own.

Coming back to New York City...Collapse )
On the front page of LJ I saw the sponsored link to hlewissmith's entry about "Black Consciousness", which I guess is doubling as a place for him to plug a couple of books he has written on similar topics. I was going to just post a comment to him there, but I wanted to turn this into a thinkpost and open it up here because I had a little bit too much to say about it for it to just be an LJ comment.

To briefly sum up his statements, if you don't want to read through the piece, he is asking why there is no similar outcry from the black community when a black person kills/robs/brutalizes a fellow black person as there is when a white person has done so against a black person. He goes on to criticize gangsta rap and fashion, and state that these are the elements that are diminishing the community.

So, after reading through it, I wanted to respond.

And here"s my response.Collapse )
The Antiquated Sundries Shoppe should have been easy to see, situated right in the middle of a block on Spring Street, but neither Eve, nor Adam noticed it until the glint of a streetlamp caught their eyes at the storefront.

In the main window was a pair of matched gold bands...Collapse )

Emmys 2014

There is something seriously wrong with the Awards Show format.

I think the concept is still okay - a bunch of celebrities get all dressed up for the event, walk the Red Carpet, talk about their designers and their work, find their seats in some venue with a beautiful set design, and then about 15 to 20% of the nominees win some hardware.

That worked very nicely for the many years from 1949, the year of the first Emmy telecast, to say, the mid 2000s, when social media began to take hold. Okay... maybe it never worked, but people were content to watch it anyhow, because it was different and maybe somewhat exciting.

Today, there are lots of celebrity events...Collapse )
If there is any positive that could come from the murders/executions of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, it’s that their deaths could be the potential spark to the discussion we must have about how we, in America, treat both our own citizens and how we must deal on the world stage with our international neighbors.

I say “potential spark” because it’s difficult to know if people are truly ready to have this discussion that has been postponed, fifty years since the Civil Rights Act, one hundred and fifty years since the Emancipation Proclamation.

Everybody who is a human being is...Collapse )

VMA 2014

Music's SECOND Biggest Night of the year is the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony. It's kind of the Junior High School to Grammy University, let's be honest.

And YES! MTV *does* still play music videos. Just not on their main network. You have to go to MTV Hits to find the channel that does the music non-stop, 24/7, just like the original channel would do, only without the VJs, and only occasional reports from performers and artists. Apparently, MTV doesn't even think enough of this to even mention the channel (they could name an award for it to promote it slightly) during the ceremony.

The only thing worth watching...Collapse )

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