Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Djimon Hounsou: Just Because

He is nominated for an Academy Award, after all.

Voices Rising: Other Countries Anthology

Voices Rising: Celebrating 20 Years of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Writing
(Other Countries III)

edited by
G. Winston James
& Other Countries

Voices Rising: Celebrating 20 Years of Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Writing marks the twentieth anniversary of Other Countries—a small organization endeavoring to create a powerful, far-reaching, deliberate legacy of black queer expression. Voices Rising gathers more than sixty writers whose work forms an important bridge among members of black LGBT communities, charting two decades of evolution, accomplishment and struggle. The poems, short stories, essays, interviews and dramatic excerpts gathered here exemplify the personal, political and cultural complexities of identity, desire, family and community. In these pages established authors appear alongside emerging talents and heretofore unknown artists to compelling, historic effect. No other anthology so effectively represents the depth, breadth and brilliance of the current generation of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writers.

Contributors include: Samiya Bashir, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Sharon Bridgforth, Cheryl Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, Alexis De Veaux, R. Erica Doyle, Thomas Glave, Jewelle Gomez, D. Rubin Green, Duriel E. Harris, Imani Henry, CRAIG HICKMAN, Cary Alan Johnson, John Keene, Renita Martin, Bruce Morrow, Jcherry Muhanji, Letta Neely, Robert Penn, Colin Robinson, Shaw Stewart Ruff, Reginald Shepherd, Pamela Sneed, Storme Webber, Tim'm T. West, Marvin K. White, Malik M.L. Williams, Bil Wright, and more.

ISBN-10: 0-9786251-3-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-9786251-3-9
Specs: Softcover, 583 pp.
Price: $25.00
Pub. Date: January 2007
Cover photo © 1997 by G. Winston James
Cover design: D’Mon McNeil

[ Buy online ]

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Jennifer, Eddie, Helen, & Forest Do It Again



Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Helen Mirren / THE QUEEN

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Eddie Murphy / DREAMGIRLS

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Hudson / DREAMGIRLS

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture


Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Chandra Wilson / GREY’S ANATOMY

SAG Awards Recap: Part I
SAG Awards Recap: Part II

Roger I: 10-Time Grand Slam Champion

Roger Federer d. Fernando Gonzalez 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4

A Perfect 10
WITH HIS straight-set victory over Fernando Gonzalez in the final of the Australian Open, Roger Federer became the first male player since Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros in 1980 to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set.

Feña almost ruined the Last King of Switzerland’s perfection. Serving for the first set at 40-15, the Chilean, who entered the match with 177 more winners than unforced errors, missed a forehand into the top of the tape, a forehand he had made time and time again throughout the fortnight. But pressure can be a bitch. He pulled up on the shot, allowing Federer to stay in the game, which he took on his first break point of the set. After a lengthy twelfth game that went to deuce more times than I remember, Feña saved two set points, but meekly lost the set in the tiebreak 7 points to 2.

Swirling wind wreaked havoc on the match. Neither player wowed with the consistently scintillating tennis they brought to bear in the semifinals. The women’s champion Serena Williams, who studied tapes of Feña’s matches throughout the fortnight, so impressed was she by his level of play, stayed around to watch the final live from the stands. (So much for her lack of commitment to the sport!) She commented to Pam Shriver that Feña wasn’t playing the kind of tennis that brought him to his first Slam final and was hanging around too much on the Melbourne letters about 10 feet behind the baseline. Still, he managed to compete as best he could and only dropped his serve once in each of the remaining two sets, ensuring Federer his march toward breaking all the records in the history books.

For his great effort throughout the fortnight, Gonzalez will move to a career-high No. 5 when the new rankings are released on Monday.

Making History
With 10 slam titles, Roger ties Bill Tilden for fifth place on the all-time Grand Slam titles list. This is also the second time in his career that he’s won three Slams in a row.

With the Australian Open under his belt, he will focus on winning his first Roland Garros title, which would secure him a Grand Slam and put him on course for a true calendar-year Grand Slam as well.

With Queen Serena back in rare form and already focused on clay and King Roger’s continued dominance, perhaps 2007 will be the first year in tennis history that both a male and female player bag the calendar-year Grand Slam.

Stay tuned.

Related Articles
What we learned
Fernando’s tennis lesson
A comfortable genius
No stopping Fed express
Poll Results

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Men’s Final Preview: Let’s Have Some Fun!

by Savannah

IT CAN’T be all serious all the time. Let’s take a different look at the two men who will clash tonight in the final of the Australian Open.

There are a lot of similarities between Fernando “Fena” Gonzalez and and Roger Federer. Numerologically the numbers “1” and “10” are the same regarding their seeding. Both men are Leos. Fena was born 7-29-80 making him a Leo “2”. Roger was born 8-8-81 making Roger a Leo “8” person. Sunday, January 28, 2007 is a “1” day.

Fena’s birthday, the 29th, is a two. The number “2” is ruled by the Moon. The number “8” symbolizes Saturn, called the taskmaster by some and “an old devil” by others. By the way “1” is the number of the Sun, the ruler of Leo.

As a side note Serena, born 9-26-1981, is an “8” person. Maria Sharapova, born 4-19-1987, is a “1” person.

For more on numerology visit here.

We can have even more fun.

Roger - 1981 was the Chinese Year of the Metal Rooster.

Metal Roosters can come off as arrogant and stuck up at times. They need a cushion for that overextended ego and someone to make sure it stays inflated. They are reasonable people who seem to analyze every decision they make and every situation they find themselves in. They are standoffish at times and can let their aggression get in the way of a blossoming friendship or romance. These Roosters should take a breather from their egos long enough to really enjoy what they have to offer.

Fernando - 1980 was the Chinese Year of the Metal Monkey

Persuasive and passionate, this Monkey is a warm person. He is successful due to his innate determination and ambitious nature. He works hard to climb the ladder of success and prefers to work alone. They are loyal employees, always prepared and tactful with answers and upper management. In love these Monkeys are just as loyal as well as loving and affectionate.

For more information visit this site.

Yes it’s a bridal site. But it’s one of the best sites for Chinese Astrology I’ve visited. And I visit a lot of them. Let’s note Serena was born in 1981 like Roger. If Sharapova’s birth year information is correct she was born in 1987 the year of the Fire Rabbit.

The Chinese New Year is late this year, 2-18-2007. The year is that of the Fire Boar. The Boar is ruled by water. The year is ruled by Fire. Water and Fire don’t mix do they?

What does all this mean?

Western Astrology
The moon will be in Gemini for the match. Gemini is an air sign. The sun is in Aquarius, also an air sign. With these two fire signs going at it the match should be exciting. Think of it this way. Fire needs air to burn. There will be plenty of excitement in this match.

By the way this could also explain why Serena, a Libra (Libra is an Air Sign) dominated the way she did over the Taurus woman Maria Sharapova who truly looked earthbound and plodding during their match.

Chinese Astrology

Monkeys can run circles around other people with ease. They are curious and clever people who catch on quickly to most anything. Monkey people generally can accomplish any given task. They appreciate difficult or challenging work as it stimulates them and makes them think.

A Monkey’s good memory and his ability to adapt are two of his most prized possessions. He is intelligent and stoic, able to pick new trades up quickly and easily. Monkeys are also able to do all the work in half the time it takes someone else, but will charge you double what someone else would charge. As such, Monkeys generally take occupations in the world of finance, such as banking, stock exchange or accounting

The Rooster is a flamboyant personality, feisty and obstinate. He is quite the extrovert who loves to strut his stuff and is proud of who he is. Outwardly confident, the Rooster is also a trustworthy, hardworking individual. He’ll tell it like it is with no qualms or reservations.

Roosters are more motivated than most other Animal Signs, making their careers a priority in their lives. They are hard working, flexible individuals able to stick to the given tasks. They are generally successful individuals who reach the top of their chosen professions.

The Element of Metal

Those born under the influence of the Chinese Astrology element of Metal are determined, self-reliant and forceful. You enjoy the good life and all it has to offer -- luxury, comfort and freedom, especially. You're like a reclusive film star: You want the acclaim, but you also want to be left alone. You create your own success, building your desired destiny with single-minded focus. Others look up to you in awe of your commanding, confident presence.

While Metal individuals are strong and virtuous, you can be a bit set in your ways. No arm-wrestling with the metallic ones, either; they might break that appendage in two! They can be stern taskmasters as well, demanding the most from yourself and those you love.

Saturn is the co-ruler of Aquarius. Roger, an 8, has the celestial lights for him in this regard.

I see these two men very evenly matched coming into this final. With all things equal I give the edge to Federer only because he’s been here before. Gonzalez wilted last year in pressure situations. But if he stays focused and plays the way he has been he can give Federer a run for his money. The paying fans as well as the sleep-deprived ones are hoping for a good match. We just may have one.

For a more “traditional” preview, click here.

Serena the Great: 8-Time Grand Slam Champion

Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2

Smackdown Down Under
IN JUST over an hour, #81 swept aside new world No. 1 in the championship match of the Australian Open in Melbourne Park 6-1, 6-2 to win her third Australian Open title, her first title since she won here in 2005.

Playing flawless, aggressive tennis, the focused Dreamgirl simply didn't allow Little Miss Sunshine an opportunity to play the match. Sharapova, who was extraordinarily gracious in defeat, even as her father Yuri stormed out of the stadium, suffered her worst smackdown in a Gland Slam match since the 2004 Roland Garros quarterfinals when she fell to Argentina's Paola Suarez 1-6, 3-6.

Saving both of the two break points she faced, #81 hit line-clipping serves up to 122 mph. She cracked 28 winners to only 11 unforced errors, a superb ratio for a player who admitted her errors are usually in the 50s. It seems that studying the videotapes of Fernando Gonzalez, the finalist who has played the best and cleanest tennis overall in this tournament, paid dividends. The champion remains a quick study.

No. 81 become only the second unseeded woman in the Open Era to win the Australian Open, and the first since 1978 when Aussie Chris O'Neil took the crown.

No. 81 also posted the second most dominant performance by a champion in Melbourne since Steffi Graf defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-0, 6-2 in 1994.

Teary-eyed, Serena dedicated her third Australian Open crown to her slain sister Yetunde Price.

Serena the Great, who will catapult to No. 14 (with a bullet as the announcers proclaimed) in the rankings on Monday, is back. Back to muzzle every single one of her naysayers. Back to remind the world what championship tennis is supposed to look like.

All hail to the Queen.

Related articles:
Best of Serena's overall Grand Slam victories
Serena sizzles to title
Serena wows even herself
She's Back
Serena's To-Do List
Who Will Win? - Poll Results
Henin out of Melbourne: Who Benefits? - Poll Results
Ode to Serena

Friday, January 26, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine vs. Dreamgirl

Australian Open Women’s Final Preview


by Mad Professah

The dream Women’s Australian Open Final. A revenge match between World No. 1 and No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova (RUS) and former No. 1 but currently unseeded (ranked No. 81 in the world at the beginning of the tournament but in the top 20 after it) Serena Williams (USA). Head-to-head the two are tied 2-2, although they have not played each other since Serena eked out a 2-6, 7-5, 8-6 win almost exactly two years ago in the 2005 Australian Open semifinals, saving three match points in the process, even though Sharapova served for the match in both the second and third sets. This was one of the best WTA Tour matches of 2005 and tonight’s rematch is expected to surpass that epic battle for drama, suspense and import.

The 2007 Australian Open has been a revelation for Serena Williams watchers. Despite only having played in four tournaments last year due to a nagging and serious knee injury, Serena was able to “shake off the rust” by improving her play round by round in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. After cruising through the first two rounds, Serena faced Nadia Petrova, a top 5 player, and came through with a victory despite being one game away from a straight sets elimination. That was her closest test, because not enough rust had come off her game to allow her to play her best tennis, but somehow, magically she was able to come up with brilliance at precisely the right moments to pull her through to the end, like a champion.

In her next round, Jelena Jankovic didn’t play the tennis which had made her the hottest player on tour coming into the tournament, and a resurgent Serena took her out in straight sets. Shahar Peer did an excellent job of pushing Serena by playing tenacious defense and remaining mentally tough enough to earn a match point. Serena calmly played high percentage tennis and won the last 3 games of the match. Against the powerful ball-striker Nicole Vaidisova her level of play had developed to the point where after surviving a close first set, the result of the match was never really in doubt.

Sharapova’s run to the final was nearly ended in the first round where she blew a 5-0 lead in the third set against the wily Camille Pin (FRA) and lost six consecutive games in the over-100 degree Melbourne heat and sun. Sharapova was two points away from a stunning first round loss against an unseeded and unheralded opponent who cooperated by collapsing mentally to allow the No. 1 seed to escape with a 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 win. Sharapova needed intravenous hydration afterwards. By surviving this crucible, Sharapova added to her growing reputation for mental (and physical) toughness. Although her subsequent play has been enough to defeat a trio of Russian players (Rodionova, Zvonareva [22] and Chakvetadze [12]), as well as end the last attempt of Kim Clijsters (BEL)[4] to win her first Australian title with a whimper instead of a bang. However, since that first round, Sharapova has not been pushed, and that will definitely happen against Serena.

In fact, the problem for Maria is that Serena’s play in the final is most likely to be even better than it was in the semifinal and Serena is well-accustomed to facing very hard hitting combined with excellent defence every day (i.e. practicing with Venus) and has played tougher matches than Maria in Melbourne. I believe this will lead Serena to her 3rd Australian title and 8th Grand Slam championship.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

‘Dreamgirls’ Leads Oscar Nominations with 8

INEXPLICABLY, however, it was snubbed for Best Picture and Best Director. This is the first time in Academy Awards history that the film which leads the field in nominations did not receive a Best Picture nod.

I’m in shock. (I don’t shock easily.)

I’m in mourning. (Allow me my melodrama.)

Even Jennifer Hudson’s and Eddie’s Murphy's well-deserved nominations can’t console me right now.

I’m taking a few days off from blogging on this site to protest.

Modern Fabulousity opines on the backlash that may have caused the snub.

The Complete List of Nominees

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ode to Serena

I’VE BEEN missing in action over here, because I’ve been blogging up a storm about tennis on my tennis blog. The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, is underway Down Under in Melbourne, Australia, and that commands almost all of the my attention. Add that to the 16- hour time difference, my altered sleeping patterns, and well, you get the picture.

But my girl, Serena Williams, is silencing critics with her incredible run to the quarterfinals, the final 8 of the 128-player Slam. So here’s a poem I shared with my tennis readership after Serena’s third-round win over her much higher ranked opponent who had said before the match that Serena “probably isn’t that motivated” to get back into the top echelon of the tennis rankings.

Serena Williams d. (5) Nadia Petrova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3

(Photos: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Serena Williams is not committed to tennis.
I said: Serena Williams is not committed to tennis.
She’s an overweight, out-of-date, also-ran-has-been
whose on-court career approaches a quick end.

Didn’t you hear me?
I don’t think you did.
So I’m gon’ have to say it again—
she’s an overweight, out-of-date, also-ran-has-been,
whose on-court career approaches a quick end.

And did I forget to mention,
now that I got your full attention,
that Serena’s intentions
exist in a whole other dimension?

Hell naw. Uh-uh.

She ain’t trying to play tennis.
She’d much rather end this
get on with her design business
and let the choking wimps on the WTA win this.

But you knew that already
if you been listenin’ ’round.
That’s been the talk of all talk
around this whole damn town.

Believe it if you must.
Buy it, if you will.
But count Serena out
At your very own peril.

Article: Serena Shakes Off Rust for a Fourth-Round Visit

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Book of Songs: BOOK I

Song 3
A song of adolescence.

HONOR thy father and thy mother;
that it may be well with thee,
and thou mayest live long
upon the earth.

My father’s nurture has always
been sifted through a sieve
of self-hatred, overly salted with
quick fists, generously powdered with
emotional neglect, funneling into
me as unenriched flour falling
heavily upon the meager mounds
of self-esteem in the bowl of my soul.

My mother’s intentions are as pure
as a baby’s first breath, but her words
are forever piercing, sharp needles
that slide under my skin drawing out
pints of patience from veins clotting
with sweet bitterness.

Honor they father and they mother;
that it may be well with thee,
and thou mayest live long
upon the earth.

Daddy, you say,
I love you.
Please forgive me.
I want you to be happy.
But, Daddy, all you do
is say all of this, and give
nothing whatsoever at all.

You treat me like a prodigal son
who can’t find his way.
I’m kneading the dough
of my own life, but
it’s too salty for you,
it’s too dry for you,
and it just won’t rise high enough
for you.

Mama, you say,
I love you.
I miss you.
I want to know you.

But, Mama, you also say,
If you ever get sick and
I have to take care of you,
I’ll cut all that hair off your head.

You, meanwhile, cut off the
circulation of our union,
condescending adult to child,
instead of sharing woman to man.

Respect thy sons and thy daughters;
that it may be well with thee,
and thou mayest be honored long
upon the earth.

Monday, January 15, 2007

‘Dreamgirls’, ‘Babel’ Take Top Honors at Globes

Best Picture – Musical or Comedy

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy
Meryl Streep
, The Devil Wears Prada

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat

Best Picture – Drama

Best Actress – Drama
Hellen Mirren
, The Queen

Best Actor – Drama
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Best Supporting Actor
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls

Best Director
Martin Scorcese, The Departed

Best Foreign Language Film
Letters From Iwo Jima

Best Animated Film

Best Screenplay
Peter Morgan, The Queen

Best Original Score
The Painted Veil, Composed by Alexandre Desplat

Best Song
“The Song of the Heart” – Happy Feet, Prince Rogers Nelson

Complete List

AND WHAT a list it is. I’m so happy for Jennifer Hudson(!), Forest Whitaker, and Eddie Murphy (yes, I’ve forgiven him for his homophobic comedy routines).

If you count Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, who won for Best Television Series - Drama, then a total of five Black artists, along with a Black film musical which itself pays tribute to the great man, were honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Martin Luther King Day.

Historic. Fabulous.

I Have a Dream - Martin Luther King Day

I always celebrate Bayard Rustin this day as well, the openly gay Black man who organized the historic March on Washington where the great Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered this speech.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

12th Annual Broadcast Film Critics Choice Awards

JENNIFER HUDSON and Eddie Murphy took the awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor. Dreamgirls also won Best Soundtrack and Best Song for “Listen.”

Complete List

Jennifer Hudson on The View


Friday, January 12, 2007

When I First Saw You, I Said, “Oh, my…”

Image Hosted by

How long has this been going on?

It’s been a quite a journey
since you stepped back into my life
on January 12, 1997.

Since then, my life has been full.

Full of love, joy, mystery, and challenge.

You ushered me to the threshold of my

birth mother’s door.

You showed courage when you stood up to

your family to defend our marriage.

You sat by my side when I was so close to death

I could see the other side; but you pulled me back
to be with you once more.

You made my dream to get my first full-

length book into the world come true.

You put up with me, no easy task.

Thank you for 10 years of love,

joy, mystery, and challenge.

And here’s to many more.

Happy Anniversary

With all my love,

Your husband,


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Spiritual Housecleaning for 2007

I’M NOT a big fan of chain mail and I usually delete it before I read it. But today, a high-school classmate sent me one and so I opened it. While in the middle of reflecting on 2006 in an attempt to write my personal Year in Review, I found the message of the email right on time.

Last week I threw out Worrying,
It was getting old and in the way.
It kept ME from being ME;
I couldn’t do things God’s way.

I threw out a book on My Past
(Didn’t have time to read it anyway).
Replaced it with NEW GOALS,
started reading it today.

I threw out hate and bad memories,
(Remember how I treasured them so)?
Got me a NEW PHILOSOPHY too,
Threw out the one from long ago.

Brought in some new books too,
Threw out I might, I think, and I ought.
Wow, You should’ve seen the dust.

I ran across an OLD FRIEND,
I hadn’t talked to in a while.
Her name is Goddess the Mother,
And I really like Her style.

She helped me to do some cleaning and
added some things Herself.
Yes, I placed them right on the shelf.

I picked up this special thing and placed
it at the front door.
I FOUND IT - it’s called PEACE.
Nothing gets me down anymore!!

Yes, I’ve got my house looking nice.
Looks good around the place.
For things like Worry and Trouble
there just isn’t any space.

It’s good to do a little housecleaning,
Get rid of the things on the shelf.
It sure makes things brighter;
maybe you should try it yourself.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Shameless Promotion

If you enjoy reading this blog, please consider taking a few minutes out of your time and giving me a shout out in the appropriate categories for the 2007 bloggies. Best lgbt blog, best writing, best kept secret... you know, whatever you see fit. I'm not picky. And nominate your other favorites as well. In fact, if you are promoting your own blogs, tell us about it in the comments section. Or tell us about other blogs we should take a look at, no matter their topic(s). Nominations close soon, so get right on it.

This is the infinite Internet. I have no delusions of grandeur about my chances for this blog or my other one (I said I was shameless), but hey, I can ask for a little word of mouth, can't I?

Thank you in advance for nominating me. Thank you always for reading me.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Bill Condon Honored by Directors Guild

Directors Guild of America President Michael Apted today announced the five nominees for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2006.

“Each of these five nominees has demonstrated a remarkable ability to blend craft and vision in the pursuit of masterful storytelling,” Apted said. “What makes it truly meaningful to directors is that this award is decided solely by their peers - the men and women who know first hand the passion, sweat and fear that goes into creating feature films. My congratulations to each of the nominees.”

The winner will be announced at the 59th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, February 3, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

The nominees are (in alphabetical order):


Paramount Pictures

Mr. Condon’s Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Patricia Whitcher
First Assistant Director: Richard Graves
Second Assistant Director: Eric Sherman
Second Second Assistant Director: Renee Hill-Sweet

This is Mr. Condon’s first nomination.


Fox Searchlight Pictures

Mr. Dayton and Ms. Faris’ Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg
First Assistant Director: Thomas Patrick Smith
Second Assistant Director: Gregory Smith
Second Second Assistant Director: Kate Greenberg

This is Mr. Dayton and Ms. Faris’ first nomination.


Miramax Films

Mr. Frears’ Directorial Team:

Production Manager: Sue Claverly
First Assistant Director: Stuart Renfrew
Second Assistant Director: Rickay Graysmark
Third Assistant Director: Lucy Egerton

This is Mr. Frears’ first feature film nomination. He was nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies For Television for FAIL SAFE (2000) along with co-director Marty Pasetta


Paramount Vantage

Mr. Iñárritu's Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Ann Ruark
First Assistant Director: Sebastián Silva

This is Mr. Iñárritu’s first nomination.


Warner Bros. Pictures

Mr. Scorsese's Directorial Team:

Unit Production Manager: Carol Cuddy
First Assistant Director: Joseph Reidy
Second Assistant Director: Amy Lauritsen
Second Second Assistant Director: John Silvestri

This is Mr. Scorsese’s seventh nomination. He was previously nominated for THE AVIATOR (2004), GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002), THE AGE OF INNOCENCE (1993), GOODFELLAS (1990), RAGING BULL (1980) and TAXI DRIVER (1976). In 1999 Scorsese was presented with the Filmmaker Award at the inaugural DGA Honors Gala and he won the DGA’s highest artistic honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award (for distinguished achievement in film direction), in 2003.

The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film has traditionally been one of the industry’s most accurate barometers for who will win the Best Director Academy Award.

Fifty-two out of fifty-eight times since the DGA Award’s inception in 1949, the DGA Award winner has won the corresponding Best Director Academy Award. The six exceptions are as follows:

1968: Anthony Harvey won the DGA Award for The Lion in Winter while Carol Reed took home the Oscar® for Oliver!

1972: Francis Ford Coppola received the DGA's nod for The Godfather while the Academy selected Bob Fosse for Cabaret.

1985: Steven Spielberg received his first DGA Award for The Color Purple while the Oscar® went to Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa.

1995: Ron Howard was chosen by the DGA for his direction of Apollo 13 while Academy voters selected Mel Gibson for Braveheart.

2000: Ang Lee won the DGA Award for his direction of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon while Steven Soderbergh won the Academy Award for Traffic.

2003: Rob Marshall won the DGA Award for Chicago at the 55th Annual DGA Awards while Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist.

For more information about the DGA Awards, including past winners, upcoming deadlines and the press credential application, visit

The Book of Songs: BOOK I

Song 2
The Virtuoso
A song of healing.

MY FATHER was a percussionist
a virtuoso, if you will
blessed with
rhythm and soul
and blues and jazz
and oh, could he
play play
play play
that drum

when happy or sad
lonely or mad

he beat and beat and beat that drum

intoxicated with shot glasses
of despair and pain
disillusioned before mirrors cracked
by the cruelty and deceit
of the Black man’s world

he struck the cymbals
and pounded the tom-tom
with sticks or belts
his fist and palms
whatever he chose

he beat and beat and beat that drum
sending timbres piercing
and screeching in
pitches so high
they say only dogs
could hear

or low deep droning
moans and groans
some thought came
from the bowels
of the earth.

beating and pounding and striking
beating and pounding and striking

boom tissssh!

boom tissssh!!

boom tissssh!!!

sometimes I wish
Daddy hadn’t played me

so well.

Monday, January 08, 2007

My Obsession With J-Hud: Psychic Connections

  • Jennifer Hudson’s first film character’s name was Effie White, a big-boned, full-figured woman.
  • My birth mother’s maiden name was Jennifer White, a big-boned, full-figured woman.
  • My birth name was Joseph White.
  • Jennifer’s current last name begins with an h and ends with an n.
  • My current last name begins with an h and ends with an n.
  • The first sound of her first film name is “ef”.
  • The last sound of my first first name is “ef”.
  • Effie White was kicked out of her music family.
  • Joseph White was kicked out of his birth family.
  • Jennifer, the baby of her birth family, was born on 9/12.
  • Tanzania, the baby of my birth family, was born on 12/9.
  • Jennifer hails from a port city on Lake Michigan.
  • I hail from a port city on Lake Michigan.

For Your Consideration

Now that’s an ad. (Click to see larger image)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Jennifer Hudson: Very Best Supporting Actress

Today is StinkyLulu’s Supporting Actress Blogathon. My winner is:

JENNIFER HUDSON’s performance in Dreamgirls is stunning. I had high expectations going in; she surpassed all of them. As Effie Melody White, the Dream who is unceremoniously booted from the group because of her big voice, big body, and bigger mouth, Hudson breathes life into her archetypal character as if she was born to play the part. We all know that the American Idol also-ran has a set of pipes that can raise the roof off a church, blow right through the walls. And oh, but no. It’s not just her singing, which is nothing less than superb (think young Aretha crossed with established Whitney, add of touch of Lisa Fischer and mix it all with God’s favor), but also her acting that indicates with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, this young actress is here to stay.

No superlative will do her justice. The look of raw and open vulnerability on her face at the beginning of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” was like nothing I’ve ever seen before on celluloid. It elicited spontaneous sobs throughout the audience, and the rest of that scene left me unable to breathe. I was reminded of Barbra Streisand’s closeup rendition of “My Man” at the end of Funny Girl, but still, Hudson moved me even more. Every time she sang, I was in awe.

It was hard at the time to imagine that anyone could be in more awe than I. But I seem to have been mistaken. S.T. VanAirsdale from over at The Reeler had this to say:

Then there’s Jennifer Hudson. The American Idol alumna was one of 780 women Condon saw for the pivotal role of Effie, the voluptuous Dream who endures one (literal) setback after another before Foxx’s Curtis—also her lover—sends her packing. Effie’s reaction song, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” became a Broadway standard not long after the stage musical found its stride (Jennifer Holliday’s historic version at the 1982 Tonys is now even a YouTube standard); onscreen, it retains its dramatic imperative while surging with tear-jerking catharsis. Hudson is exceptional throughout the film, and her handle on these five minutes is virtually beyond description. It’s willful, vulnerable, dynamic, more than star-making, really -- it’s the stuff of instant legend. I hate sweeping extremes like what I’m about to say almost as much as I hate musicals, but I have thought about it and I mean it when I say Hudson’s performance signals the greatest debut by an American actress in my lifetime. The accolades? Deserved. The applause in movie theaters? Legit. It’s truly, truly phenomenal. The woman may not have been able to win a TV talent show, but she’s pretty much a lock to win an Academy Award.

Hudson is a natural. Her screen presence electric. The rest of her remarkable debut was nuanced, intense, comedic, broad, quiet, electric, and superior to anything in the movie.

And the movie is sensational.

And a brief note on the murmurs of category fraud percolating about the blogosphere. In Dreamgirls the music and the music industry are the main characters, the protagonists. That’s what the archetype is about. All the human characters support them. So even though Jennifer Hudson steals the movie (and how could she not with that gift-from-God voice who sings most of the great anthems), she is a legitimate supporting player.

If Miss Jennifer Hudson doesn’t win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on Sunday, February 25, 2007, they should simply stop giving them out altogether.

The Curse of Effie?