No public Twitter messages.

Archive of Soapbox Doozies Posts


“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

This has been some week, y’all. Who would’ve known that the nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony would bring about such animosity between working (and non working) actors.

Firstly, Jada Pinkett Smith speaking so eloquently, yet… slowly. Then there’s Janet Hubert speaking on such firmament and with just a pinch of brimstone. And then came Alexis Arquette reminding us all of old rumors of Will and Jada’s sexual preferences. Rumors that have been long since been paid for and swept under very plush oriental rugs. Rugs hand woven by the same little ladies who so painstakingly have sewn those bugle beads on Alexis’ “almost” couture gowns.

But let’s not get caught up in Alexis right now. Nor shall we get hemmed up in the rumors of Will and Jada’s arrangement, although between Alexis’ rant and Will’s interview with Robyn Roberts, I now have a better idea of who Will’s “alleged” sugar daddy (Thanks Wendy Williams) may have been!

I’m also not going to get into Ms. Charlotte Rampling thinking that diversity is “racism towards white actors”. Ms. Rampling, TAKE THREE FIRST CLASS SEATS ON BRITISH AIRWAYS AND GO HOME TO ENGLAND. We are done with you and you aren’t winning this year, anyway.

Now, The Oscars. The pinnacle of celebration of all that is good and right in the motion picture industry. How we/they celebrate the art of movie making from around the globe and here at home in the good old US of A.

Except once again, something, someone has been left out. The people of color. I’d say the blacks but my friend, Erin, would remind me that there are very few if any Asians represented this year either. Maybe more if you count foreign films. And what of our Latin peers? Looking quite pale this year, Oscar. You may need a shot of vitamin D soon.

So, here are a few facts about the Academy: membership is by invitation only. There are about 5,765 members. 94% are white. 77% are male. 86% average 50 years of age or older. The median age is 62.

Having given those numbers, which are a SHAME AND A DISGRACE in 2016. I mean, is this a whites only country club with just enough of a sprinkling of color to get by? Oh wait…yes, yes it is. And are they concerned about the number of minorities who are nominated each year? Only 6% of them.

So should that 6% stage a boycott each time there is no real inclusion of minorities when nominating? This is still based on “art”, right? And most of us have differing views on “art”, right? And you have to at least experience said “art” to know you like it or not, right? How many of those approx.. 5,800 members saw STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON? How many do you think saw CREED or BEASTS OF NO NATION?

I only ask because you forgot about Michael B Jordan and Ryan Coogler. And the ensemble cast of SOC. How do you celebrate the screenplay but not ANY of the actors who are bringing those words to life? And I won’t even mention Idris Elba.

I KNOW y’all saw THE HATEFUL EIGHT and still nothing for Samuel L. Jackson? I mean, he doesn’t care because he has that Capital One money and he is laughing and cursing each of you out inside his high walled estate…next to yours.

Yes I will. After a year of negativity towards him about James Bond and him being too “Street” to play the role and now a total snub for the inspired performance in BONN, I’m losing my respect for you 94% old white men. Just saying.

And I get it…you don’t HAVE to see the disparity because it doesn’t effect or affect you. You are never on the outside looking in at the party. You host the party. The invite the guests. You never notice that the guest list is missing some people because you don’t, as a rule, deal with those people.

So why would you get upset if “those” people boycott your party, when you didn’t invite them? If I were you, I’d just close the blinds and go about my business, as you will.

But what if the invited guests, don’t show? The Helen Mirrens and Meryl Streeps? The Bradley Coopers and the Jennifer Lawrences? The Brad Pitts and Matt Damons? The nominated and celebrated? That’s how you stage a BOYCOTT. By asking those who have full bellies from the movie “kitchen” and can afford to skip the meal and won’t be penalized for rsvp-ing and not showing.

We can boycott and scream and make videos all we want but until our white peers can see the problem and are willing to stand with us to fix the problem, those 5,300 white men who make all the decisions will continue to as they have for nearly a century because THEY CAN.

To create more diversity, we need to work to change those numbers.

So, who’s in the trenches attempting to make such changes?

50 Cent, William Alexander, Stephanie Allain Bray, Madeline Anderson, Neema Barnette, Beyoncé, Effie Brown, Jeffrey Byrd, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Nick Cannon, Greg Carter, Debra Martin Chase, Sean Combs, Common, Ice Cube, Hanelle Culpepper, Mike Epps. Nicole Franklin, Morgan Freeman, Donald Glover, Robin Hamilton, Leslie Harris, Jane Jackson, Noble Johnson Alicia Keys, Spike Lee, Ludacris, Tyler Perry, Jada Pinkett Smith, Raven Symone, Chris Rock,  Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, Aisha Tyler, Usher, Kim Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Forest Whitaker, Jaleel White, Oprah, Jay Z,  Denzel Washington, Gabrielle Union, Whoopi Goldberg, Lisa Cortes, Lee Daniel, Ava DuVernay, George Tillman Jr. and even Kenya “Gone with the wind fabulous” Moore have production companies.

Are they all allowed at the tables with Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Brothers, Bob Iger of Walt Disney, Stephen Burke of NBC Universal, Michael Lynton of Sony, Rupert Murdoch and sons of 21st Century Fox or Brad Grey of Paramount? I don’t know.  Is there a reason that the lists of executives, at each of these companies, has not a person of color? Yes. They’ve never needed to consider us.

And it’s not just about blacks in Hollywood being in positions of power. I think what I’m saying is, we have to remind them what we bring in buying power AND in talent.  Then we remind them that we are watching. The movies and the moviemakers. This is clearly an issue for the Academy but the issue really starts with the lack of diversity on the executive levels of the movie making companies. And the lack of diversity of those hired to write screenplays and orchestrate music and design costumes and sets and wigs and to be grips and to direct.


It’s time, Hollywood.

Maybe you really didn’t feel that Ryan’s direction or Michael B’s acting or Idris’ acting were up to snuff when looked at against  this year’s nominees…but as a SAG voter and a movie goer that has seen these movies, I’m gonna have to ask you to take another look, at your leisure, at those three and the other talents you over looked because it was a non-issue for you…until it wasn’t.

You have to do better. We can’t wait for ALL the old white men to die for a change to come. Now is the time. Let’s swing the doors wide open and offer opportunity for growth and a chance for artistry to truly thrive and make buckets of money, the way Sam Goldwyn and Louis B Mayer hoped.

So, I thank Jada and Spike for alerting us to their plans and I thank Aunt Viv for calling Jada and Will out for the self-serving nature of their GAYCOTT…I meant Boycott…BOYCOTT!!! I thank Alexis Arquette for the many kikis and I do NOT thank Charlotte Rampling for her old, stupid ass remarks. Satan is alive and he is selfish, y’all!!!

The nominations are made and they aren’t re-calculating a thing for this year but now is the time for attention to be paid in expectation of next year’s nods.

And let’s start considering the Viola Davis’, Angela Bassetts, and Diahann Carrolls for the Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep roles. Let’s look at the country in a mirror and let us see ourselves in the fairy tales and family comedies as well as in the inner city shootouts and baby mama dramas.

That’s all for me, I can’t call out anyone else today, I’ve reached my quota and don’t want to be blacklisted.


I recently saw “The Bridges of Madison County”. That review is coming soon!


Paula Ann Hiers Deen Groover. Born January 19, 1947 in Albany, Georgia. Wife of Michael Groover, mother of Bobby and Jamie Deen.

Sound like an obituary? Well, it kind of is. Paula Deen, princess of southern pastries, cut herself off at the brown sugar bowl when she simply spoke the truth. Unfortunately for her, the truth that the lawyers wanted was not the truth she told.

When asked if she’d used the word, “nigger”…lets just say it again, NIGGER, so we can get that out of the way and calm those who are made nervous by the thought of themselves being found out for using it in closed company. So P. Deeny was asked if she’d ever used the word “nigger” in her life… Let me see…a 66 year old southern woman from Georgia…has she ever…used…the word…nigger…………..

What the hell were they thinking?! Of course she’s used it. And her response was, “Absolutely!”. Now that’s when I spit out my caramel sweetened steamed milk. Not because she said it but because she was so filled with confederate ostentation that she didn’t think it was an issue to just state the truth…unsheathed.

I have to applaud her….not her stupidity and not her ignorance to her own prejudice but for her transparency. She has used the word, “NIGGER”. Now, don’t be confused, she ain’t the only one. There are many white Americans, both southern and from the north who continue to use the word in mixed company and others who feign compassion but use it in closed quarters.(Mitt Romney could learn a thing about closed quarter conversations…if you don’t know the wait staff, it ain’t closed!)

Paula Deen is a woman of a certain age…an age where the word was readily used by those in every area of her life, throughout her adolescence. It’s stupid for us to believe that she hadn’t used it. It’s stupid for us to be offended by her using and not by the Ted Nugent who all but called our POTUS a “Nigger” and many act like he’s such an outspoken patriot…he’s a racist. Case closed. And what about the good ole boy senators and congressman who still will do or say anything to get him out of office and make him out to be a demon…it’s not because he’s a democrat. We know why, they hate the idea of that…say it with me, “nigger” being in office.

On, lest we not forget to stupidity of the Food Network and Smithfield firing their cash cow, pardon me Ms. Deen. Most African Americans could. It care less a out Arnold southern woman using the word “Nigger” behind our backs, any more than we care about them using the word “colored” to our faces.

I’ve heard “colored”, “chinky eyed”, “wetback” and a sundry of other names so frequently, I let it fall off me like water off a wetback…I meant, a duck’s back. (Nervous laughter)

She’s not necessarily the smartest double chocolate cookie but I wouldn’t ever consider her a role model anyway. I wonder if the lawyer asked her if her sons use the “n-word” regularly in their lives today…I think we all know that answer.

Now,for me the issue that I find more humorous, is the whole whoopdeedoo about her wanting to throw a wedding reception for a brother that had black waiter…”slaves” dressed in white jackets. Oh Lord, where to start…this bitch is living in 1853 not 2013!!!

She just wants to go back to a gentler time..a more genteel time when people had manners and used proper etiquette and had slaves to fan them in the hot summer heat and to make them mint juleps. Is that so bad?!

What about the fact the the famous club/restaurant in New York City, 21, still has black lawn jockies otherwise their establishment. How about the number of southern homes in the Deep South that still have them? How about the continued use of the confederate flag by soooo many southerns and the continued excuse, “it’s just southern pride…”? No, no it’s not. It’s total disregard for the equality of a good number of citizens of this country. There’s no more need for Confederate Pride…the northern aggression was a winning aggression. You don’t get to be sad or miss that part of the past anymore than Germans get to miss the reign of the Third Reich…see were I’m going?

The truth of this PaulaGate is that we still live in a country that is new to equal treatment. A country that prefers to cover issues than deal with them. A country that pretends that there is no need for affirmative action yet refuses to standup for the equality of all.

Until we are all truly equal and we all UNDERSTAND that little fact, there will always be those who use the word, “Nigger”… Because they can.

I don’t believe that Paula Deen is a racist, in the way we usually think. She’s just a southern woman with blind southern pride.

Paula Deen will be back on TV before we know it, making buttered pancakes, buttered ham and brown sugar glazed corn. (Part of me hopes it’s on OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network!)

Tote that Butter!!! Lift that ham!!!

Comments Off

categories:Soapbox Doozies


I have always thought myself a renaissance man and more importantly, an artist. An artist who takes pride in the craft but goes far beyond that of a craftsman in his work.

I also am very clear on my thoughts about artistry…both my own and my views and opinions on others. My views, before I share them, are without a doubt always well thought through, because that’s part of who I am as an artist…I think things through. I research and problem solve and weight my options ten times before I make a decision. Then once I make a decision, I rethink it again to be sure of myself.

I think the biggest decision that an artist makes is to put their work in front of an audience.  I recently had three rough weeks of typhoid aka the flu of 2013 followed by a cold which left my chords covered in phlegm. Yes, this happened exactly when I had a huge show looming. The hottest club for cabaret in New York City asked me to do a “One Night Only” show. FINALLY!!! T. Oliver Reid will be playing 54 Below.

Now, there are lots of things that factor into singing while sick…

Will the mucous stay off my chords? No, it won’t

Is it possible to cough your voice away? Yes, it is…you will within days

What are the chances that phlegm will take up residency in the most delicate part of your voice? 97% probability

If I can’t sing at my best, can I cancel? Absolutely not, if you are building relationships with clubs and booking managers. You can only cancel and/or wear bedroom slippers onstage if you are Patti Lupone. You can flail around onstage because your voice is not working, if you are Bernadette Peters. You can only lip-sync a live event in you are a huge recording artist, yes…Beyoncé. The rest of us have to outwit our voices and mix craftsmanship with artistry as best we can.

My show was a great success in my eyes and in the eyes of almost everyone who has seen it, so when I was reviewed and the critic  said things that were obvious to all, that I had a cold and was battling it and then said that the songs were vocally challenging for me… well, I take offense.

I am an extremely smart singer, I wouldn’t get on a stage and sing something that I had not worked through within an inch of its life. I know every song in my show inside out. I don’t make excuses which is why I never mentioned that I was going through it and wasn’t sure I’d even be able to sing a note. I knew if worse came, I’d give a helluva “sprechgesang” performance.

Sometimes the artist has to forego perfection in order to make a performance for the public…we can’t always perform at 100% but we will always perform at 100% of what we have. Restructuring songs and rethinking vocal choices  on the stop so that the audience gets a great show. That kind of work is as much craftsman as artist. You have to know yourself and your material in order to work like that…I am that man…that artist.

I take every opinion with a grain of salt but don’t think that I don’t weigh everything that is said because I do. I want my work to be amazing in every way, so when it is questioned, I will always take the comments and weigh them. These comments had no merit.

But thanks for your opinion…and remember what I’ve accomplished in less than two years… Yes, I’m extremely fortunate and totally blessed for what is happening but I’m also more talented than I would normally say, given my southern upbringing. I direct, help arrange music, write the script, choose the musicians and sing…. SING!!! I don’t leave any stone unturned in my work. I self-edit and know what I want to bring to the stage and I make sure that product makes it.

Think of me as a modern day Noel Coward with a great singing voice…your opinions are inconsequential to me…unless they align with my own!


Did I hear the people sing? No…not really.

Nothing usually makes me happier than the sound of beautiful voices and the swell of a full orchestra. So, after a week harboring the flu within my body, when Jeremiah offered up “Les Misérables” as a Sunday afternoon option, I said yes.

Yesterday at 3:30pm, we make our way to the Ziegfeld Theater on west 54th Street, for two reasons…one, Jeremiah has never seen a movie there and two, it was the only place with a 4pm showing. Now, the Ziegfeld is a huge, old school movie palace with carpeted flooring under the seats, reminding you that it’s off the beatin’ path for teens and people with children who spill…this is a NYC theater with a bit of swagger. And it knows it. You walk into the theater and you can almost hear the sounds of the soundtrack of “Annie”, the movie version with Ann Reinking, Albert Finney and Geoffrey Holder, when they walk into Radio City Music Hall, “Lets go to the movies”…I wish they had played that because it would’ve been the best music I would’ve heard in that theater yesterday.

As you know, I’m rarely reticent about stating my opinions but SO many people had spouted their own opinions that I thought gilding the same mediocre lily would be well…overkill. Well, you couldn’t kill this lily anymore than it killed my enjoyment of the movie musical.

I come from a world where Turner Movie Classics showed, every Saturday morning, the likes of “My Fair Lady”, “Camelot”, “Guys & Dolls”, “Calamity Jane”, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, and “South Pacific” just to name a small number of the gems that were released in the golden age of the Hollywood musical. I also loved…LOVED the modern look at the Hollywood musical with “Chicago”, this generations only real look at a musical on the big screen. I leave out “Hedwig…”, because although it was a musical lifted to the silver screen, it was by no means a “big” musical. Clunkers like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Nine” I leave to discuss among yourselves….I ain’t got the time.

The strep throated harlot, we all know as “Les Misérables”, left me, well…sore. If Victor Hugo’s historic book seemed a great idea for a stage musical, yay for Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer! But when Tom Hopper said he wanted to make a movie with three spoken words and no quality singers in any lead roles, with a few notable musical theater artists swirled into the mix, about a man whole stole bread, went to jail, got out and tried to change his life while a warden looked for him….for a generation, I probably would’ve passed. Dutifully so.

Now I am a huge fan of the period drama and revolutionary France?! Oui oui! Nothing better in my book. (Non-sequitur…you should all see the Norma Shearer/Tyrone Powers version of Marie Antoinette…Sophia Coppola should’ve been whipped across the forehead for her version)

Back to the epic mess known as “Les Mis…” It all started to go wrong when Hugh Jackman started singing. There! I said it. He’s got a fine voice for some singing…Boy from Oz, for example but not for this piece. Les Misérables is for white musical theater singers what Porgy and Bess is for Black performers…no I will not go there, either. However, I’d not go to the opera to hear Beyoncè sing La Traviata nor would I go to hear Mariah Carey sing Die Zauberflöte, so why should I hear less than stellar “stars” sing some of the most beautiful tunes of this generation of Musical Theater? Huh…tell me.

For blockbusterhood? Most likely, cuz every theater aficionado would’ve gone to see it with great lesser known voices, with the same director and sets and costumes…sans the pseudo meaningful performances.

Now, the cast.

Colm Wilkinson…no words, the ease of this man’s performance and singing was unmistakably seasoned. Yes, he knows the show but that’s what I want when it’s 60ft tall and blazingly loud. Bravo.

Hugh Jackman…people are pushing this performance like they push Tom Cruise’s heterosexuality…too hard and too often. His voice was nasal and unfocused. Yes his acting was exceptional but it was a musical not the actual Victor Hugo novel put to film.

Ann Hathaway…so thin…so so thin. She really does have a lovely voice and I appreciated her using every inch of her training to serve herself and the role. Her acting was heart-wrenching and her singing was more than adequate, for me. I must say, some of her choices during “I dreamed a dream” seemed, well…not right…poor and forced. By she’s winning awards so bully for her! Sometimes the cream never even gets the audition so the curds have no choice but to be scooped from the middle.

Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron-Cohen…she was as she always is and he was the same…pushing potty humor to the point of no return.

Amanda Seyfried…lovely in an alien kind of way…her eyes are a little far set to be the conventionally “pretty” girl and her voice…her voice sounded like a faerie was punching her in the larynx, every time she attempted to sing.

Eddie Redmayne…whom I LOVE. Those freckles and that upper lip, I mean really?!?! However, his upper register was abysmal. He sounded like a smurf yodeling inside a steel drum. If your jaw is moving that much while you are singing, fire your teacher and go get a TMJ test…you got tension!

Aaron Tveit…broadway guy with a body to die for…should’ve shown more body. His face looked drawn and his singing is decidedly “pop”. Not bad…not bad at all just lacking the fullness I wanted to hear ala Patrick Wilson when he was singing like a stallion…yes, there’s an inference there but that’s another article too :) brace yourself, Effie!

Russell Crowe…wasn’t nearly as horrific as I was expecting. Everyone had vilified him so that I expected to hear the worst voice ever put to screen. Like a modern day, Rex Harrison. Yes, his voice is hooty. Yes, he had four good notes and he used them in takes that were left out of the movie. However, of the six final consonants that I heard in the entire 168 minutes of that movie, he used five of them. For that alone, he doesn’t get guillotined.

It must’ve crossed someone’s mind that when the myriad of filler characters sounded better with their four word phrases than the leads that something was amiss. No one noticed that? An entire creative team and producers…a musical director and sound mixers… No one?! Really?

One more non-sequitur. Please…PLEASE, don’t try to remake “Porgy and Bess” with Beyoncè riffing thorough the score and fifty cent as crown, rapping his way through catfish row. I’d have to protest. Seriously. And though we are all used to auto-tuning and lip syncing, please alert the masses of either occurrence before we find out. That’s all we need to know. Prior knowledge of events would’ve served Milli Vanilli. They were handsome…girls still would’ve bought their bubble gum music. Everyone still loved Audrey Hepburn after we learned that Marni Nixon had been the voice behind her beauty…TWICE!

The only two fully realized characters in that movie were the two child actors, Gavroche and baby Cosette. They were joyful in their dirt covered faces and their roles were well acted and they sang like little angels.

Towards the end…the third false ending, I will say…when Javert fell from the bridge and cracked his ribs on that concrete man made waterfall, my diaphragm breathed a sigh of relief…for itself and all of its brethren.

I didn’t leave early because I think there’s always something to be learned from art, good or bad. But my ears will never be the same…I grimaced my way through two hours of that movie and for that I say, Merde!

I, also, don’t follow the fold with my opinions…I stray. My French drummer was on the right bank, while this thumpin’ mess was destroying my eardrums and hopes for a truly great musical of our times.