Category Archives: Reviews

CBS’s sitcom Bad Teacher – Is it worth watching? [Yank It!]

I’m sure for as long as I’ve had this blog I have never written anything that addresses irresponsible television programing, but after getting a Survey from Sony to provide feedback, I watch this atrocious show. First let me say this, if you are into vulgarity and the exploitation of young children then, perhaps, this show is for you. I don’t quite understand who thinks this show was funny enough to be on prime-time television, but I can tell you one thing it is in bad taste and beyond my comprehension.

I’m certain that there will be comments that will come back an attack this review, but so be it. I am not a robot that can be programmed, I have a mind and fully can recognize when I see something disturbing. Who would put a grown, scantily-clothed women, in a grade school with kids, being totally disrespectful to the very pillar of what an educational institution is all about?

How many times was the word “bitch” used in reference to another person? Really? Is this what we have come to as a society? And her search for a rich husband? Hello, perhaps you need to get a real job and take care of your self — and to solicit children to do your bidding on career day?

Is it just me?

Yank it!

~GD

The Grammys 2011

There was a time when I used to watch the calender and do my own private countdown until Grammy night, however, it is a routine I abandoned a few years back.  I don’t know, perhaps it might be because I lost interest in award shows all together.  One thing for sure is that I am still a lover of music, so my disinterest in award shows has nothing to do with me disliking music.

I suppose award shows, their  luster and shine,  looked a whole lot glossier and exciting when I looked at them through teenage and young adult eyes, but now that I have aged a couple of decades I find that I cannot sit through two or three hours of a popularity event show.

Back in the day it  seemed to be more about the art as opposed to the number of units an artist can sell, or who knows who in the entertainment world, or who is in heavier rotation on the radio and music television shows.  I will say this though, the 2011 Grammy Awards did have some pretty decent moments.

The opening dedication to The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, did catch my attention because the female singers who took turns singing a number of her classics did extremely well — especially the thicker-looking Christina Aguilera who nailed “Ain’t No Way”.

Equally as classic is the teleconference thank you speech from The Queen of Soul who looked noticeably thinner, but well.  It was a moment befitting a lady who has decades of timeless musical contributions that will live longer than any of us.

Another entertaining moment for me was when Justin Bieber and Will & Jada Smith’s talented off-spring, Jayden,  did their rap/dance performance.  It amazes me how talented those Smith children are.  I guess I liked the idea that they weren’t overtly suggestive when they performed — they were just two youngsters having a great time on stage doing their thing.  There was no mean mugging going on during their routine which is a breath of fresh air.

When the song “Hey Soul Sister”  by the group Train won an award it didn’t surprise me at all since you hear it playing every damn where you go.  It does have a catchy hook to it and it isn’t all that annoying to me, and it was an original composition (at least I think it was — you never can tell these days).

Because I recorded the event on DVR I was able to skip through much of the event, so I will reserve my comments to just the performances I was interested in watching.   I know that might sound bad, but I’m just being honest.   Like I said earlier, award shows really have lost much of their appeal for me.

Now, an award show wouldn’t be complete without a “Superstar” making an appearance and this one didn’t pull any stops.  A fuller figured Barbara Streisand stepped out onto the stage in a long, brown (at least I believe it was brown), dowdy ensemble and sang one of her classics, “Evergreen” for the packed auditorium.  Streisand’s voice was in perfect pitch, as usual, and I’m pretty sure you could hear a pin drop during that performance.  The standing “O” that followed was pretty much the norm for a “Diva” who has been in the business for decades.

Yawn –

Ooops….   I didn’t mean to do that.

Okay, I apologize if I am coming off a bit cynical, I suppose years of being bombarded with award show B. S. has gotten to me a bit.  I mean, I remember the night that Michale Jackson’s “Thriller” took away all of those awards, but he pretty much took the entertainment world by storm with his innovative videos, his unbelievable dance moves, and his unstoppable, undeniable, mass appeal.  That is how you know you’ve hit a nerve with the public — mayhem and damn near idol worship.

I say all of this to say this — I have seen certain artist stroll away with an arm full of trophies who haven’t been in the industry but for a hot minute.  What happened to paying your dues?  What happened to working the “chittlin'” circuit?  What happened to being able to perform live without the assistance of all of the pyrotechnics, auto-tune enhanced vocals, flashing lights, elaborate props (Human and non-human)?

Again, I believe it’s just a matter of taste and how does one criticize art?  As an artist myself I say you really can’t, because the wonderful thing about art is that as long as someone gets it that is really all that matters.  Many of these younger artist are out here doing their thing, and for having the courage to stand up in front of thousands of people as well as live life in the spotlight, my hats off to them and I wish them nothing but continued success.

My final thoughts on the 2011 Grammy Awards — yeah, it had its moments.

RIP, Teena Marie

GD.

 

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 February

Anthony Anderson’s explosive web series, “Anacostia”

I just got through viewing the last three episodes from season 2 of Anthony Anderson’s riveting web series, “Anacostia“, and I have to tell you that I am amazed by his creative gift of bringing dramatic cinema to life.  The cast is an array of talented women and men who literary become the characters they portray, and it makes their performances believable.

In this series you have couples dealing with some very intense issues from alcoholism, betrayal, prostitution, black mail, infidelity, domestic violence, mental instabilities, rape, and deceit.  As you can imagine, all of these issues yield a bevy of dangerous and emotionally disturbing circumstances that are intertwined into plots that leave you wanting more.

Another appealing aspect of “Anacostia” is the beautiful location where it is filmed, so addition to a great story line you really get a birds eye view of this lovely city located in Washington, D. C.  When I first started watching this series I had no idea that “Anacostia” was an actual city, and now I have a burning desire to visit the east coast as a tourist and see it for myself.

The other thing I loved about this series is that it wasn’t afraid to explore the lives of an African American, same gender loving couple which  is really a breath of fresh air.  Because “Anacostia” is filled with drama and intrigue, this couple’s life has it’s own share of upheaval as well but, as I mentioned, I love the fact that Anthony chose to include them into the series.

Anacostia” just concluded season 2, and Anthony Anderson confirmed on the Vimeo website that there will be a season 3, and that is music to my ears.

If you are looking to fill that dramatic void within you, I highly recommend you drop by Vimeo and check out this exciting web series.  Make sure you register and leave comments because we writers are inspired by them.

I know Anthony Anderson will soon be a heavy weight in cinematic expression.

Author/Blog Talk Radio Producer, G. D. Grace

VIMEO Website for “Anacostia” the web series:

http://www.vimeo.com/

(Type in Anacostia and it will take you to the link for the web series)


Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 February

Teena Marie (March 5th,1956 – December 26th, 2010)

“Since Day One” a warmth was generated inside of my heart from the “Irons In The Fire” that were yielded from your beautifully written lyrics, so poetic were they and “365” days a year I carried your messages of love and spiritually within my soul, inspired by the gift of voice and melody you so eloquently presented to loyal listeners and lovers of romance.   Your “Square Biz” paid homage to many great writers of the past from “…Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, and Nikki Giovanni just to name a few…”.  You were wild yet peaceful and “I Need Your Lovin” echos in the corridors of my memories decades after I first heard the thumping bass on that intro, and then there was “Young Love” so haunting and deep and “Yes Indeed” I loved the storyline that told of a love that grew old.

“How Could You Resist It” billows from recollection now as I write this tribute to you lovely Lady Tee, and do I love you? “Yes Indeed”, for there is a collection of vinyl, cassettes, and now CD’s that I possess, small yet massive pieces of your musical legacy I am blessed to own and can listen to whenever that mood hits me…

“It Must Be Magic” takes me back to a time in life when I innocently believed in the possibilities of white horses and magic carpet rides, but then I was abruptly awakened when I discovered that “Revolution” is often necessary to bring awareness to wrongs in need of righting politically and economically — that’s what you told your “…bestest friend named Mickey…” that we are really living in a “sickie world”…

“We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This” was superb and sultry and two voices blended together and pulled me into that place where forbidden love was expressed with a heart-wrenching soulfulness until I gasped at the climax when you sang in unison to “…seal it with a kiss…”.

Then there was the “Alibi” that offered a glimpse inside of hurt and betrayal when you cried in anguish about the “…White lines on the table and he even drank your wine”, bu then there were the lush ballads and their ode to matters of the heart such as  “Can it Be Love”, “Now That I have You”, “Aladdin’s Lamp”, “Portuguese Love”, “Casanova Brown”, and “If I Were A Bell” — and you rang them all for us, Tee.

“Sunny Skies” were they when I opened up both the doors to my tiny two-bedroom cottage and allowed the gentle cross-breeze to flow through and add to the element of the mood created as I listened to “You Make Love Like Springtime” and “Tune in Tomorrow”.

In the summer of 2010 when I fell in love for the first time I recall “Slow Grind” and “Main Squeeze” — the way you and Lenny sang it together was genuine seductive simplicity at it’s best, and it inspired a whole lot of pillow talk for me during that brief moment in time when “Passion Play” ignited and burned brightly.

“I’m On Fire”, reflective as I reminisce about how you wailed that “Cupid Is A Real Straight Shooter”, and chanted “…coffee, tea, or me, baby, touche ole, my opening night might be a bit passe…” during “Lovergirl” and then there was the timeless classic you sang with Mr Street Songs himself, “Fire & Desire”…

all of these memorable songs and melodies and so many more are captured in time for the tomorrows not promised to all but meant for some.

You called it “Deja Vu”, deeming it as being here before — you were the white gazelle on horseback riding free, searching in the darkness for a peace to be…  and you are finally at peace sweet Lady Tee, and I will never forget you, for you truly “Hit Me Where I Live”.

GD

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 February

Basia at Bimbo’s in San Francisco California: An Author G. D. Grace Concert Review

Anyone who has seen the YouTube links I  post on Facebook knows that my musical taste is vast; from Gospel to R&B, from Jazz to Light Pop, and Rap to Light Rock, if I find a connection with the lyrics, the melody or the message in a song my ears can be stroked and seduced very easily by the recording.  It has been that way for me for as long as I can remember.  Even when I was a young lad, I remember liking  Elton John and KiKi Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking my Heart”  just as much as any R&B song in circulation on KDIA (a now defunct San Francisco Bay Area Radio Station).

For me, even if the song is being sung in a different language, an emotional performance can still strike a chord in my heart, so when the phenomenal international Latin crooner Luis Miguel sings “Solamente Una Ves”  (Just one time I loved in my Life), the only thing I feel is the sincerity in the tone of his voice and the strong feelings he is presenting.  There are no barriers for me when it comes to a stellar delivery, that’s just how much I love and connect with music.

There have been associates of mine who have poked fun at me, who have asked me if I was tone deaf or crazy, who have even suggested that I do not have any taste in music.  Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and though my musical roots are based in Soul and Rhythm and Blues, I can embrace Hall & Oats, George Michael, Kenny Loggins and Madonna just as tightly as I can Mary J. Blige, Tupac, Aretha Franklin, or Luther Vandross’ rich soulful performances.

Tonight I was memorized by a female singer from Poland named Basia, whose dynamic vocal abilities stand in a class all by themselves.  I was introduced to her by a friend of mine who worked for KBLX on an internship back in the late 80’s, and her soulful hit “Time and Tide” was in heavy circulation on VH1’s video line up.  When my friend loaned me her copy of the CD that carried the same title as the name of that song, my cotton socks were knocked off and it took me a minute to locate them, but once I did, I slipped them back on and that CD was in constant rotation in my player.

Well, needless to say, when it was announced that she would be appearing at Berkley’s Greek Theater back then, I made sure that my friend purchased me a ticket to that concert as well.  Now, mind you, I had only gone to R&B concerts such as Confunkshun, Shalamar, Teddy Pendergrass, Natalie Cole etc…   prior, so I had no idea what to expect once my behind was seated on the cement stadium seats of the outdoor amphitheater.

All I can say is that she had me after that first song, and now, some 20 years later I am still a huge fan of her music.  In that she is a naturally gifted performer, the only thing on that stage are the essentials — a horn player, a drummer, a keyboard player, a guitarist, two exceptional background singers and, of course, Basia. Even though she’s a little older, like many of us, there is still no denying those tight, lush, harmonies that filled Bimbo’s night club.  From the spectacular solo spots taken by the musicians and backup vocalist on that stage, to the subtle and sexy hip swivels by her and those lovely, twin, backup singers, everything flowed as smoothly as liquid gold.

The instrumentation was pure artistry in motion, and everyone present in the audience sang and swayed along with every song that was sung; from “Third Time Lucky”, “Crusing for Brusing” and “Yearning”, to “Waters of March” and “Promises”, to “Astrud” , “Miles Away”  and “A New Day for You”, we could not get enough.  For two hours the songs kept coming and when it seemed as though things were  over, she graced us with an encore and the infectious, pulsating chants of  “Half A Minute” which is always a showstopper.

Only a select few million people really know the beauty of Basia, and I am one of them.  Even though mainstream radio seems to snub artist like her, it doesn’t matter, with YouTube and the option to buy the music we want to hear, her relevancy in the entertainment world is just as solid as it was when she first stepped out on her own from Matt Bianco’s sensational band.

If I had one wish right now, it would be to rewind November 19th, 2010, to 9:00pm, so that I can watch this incredible performer all over again at the quaint venue called Bimbo’s located in the China Beach area of San Francisco.

Author, G. D. Grace

 

Basia’s “Time & Tide”

 

 

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 November

 

ABC’s “UGLY BETTY” – author, G. D. Grace reflects

I’ve always been drawn to shows with comedic and dramatic overtones, and I believe it has a lot to do with an absolute need for escapism.  Literary expression and the cinematic experience are artistic vehicles that can transport me to places and situations  outside the realm of normalcy and actuality, and while there I am allowed to let my imagination latch onto the vision of someone’s creative parodies that run parallel to those of real life.

Much of what I find entertaining has a core rich with ulterior motives and sometimes heartwarming messages that often times mock situations surrounding human interaction, and I suppose the over the top sappiness does this tugging thing when it lightly strokes the thin layer of my heart.  I am reminded that somewhere out there are hopeless romantics who see life and love as I do, a vision where candle lit dinners and long walks on the beach, followed by intense and steamy love making sessions are common.

I’m pretty sure you are wondering what the hell this has to do with Ugly Betty; well, the whole idea of a kind, young, awkward looking, fashion challenged, ambitious Hispanic woman entering into the superficial and glamorous, cut-throat world of high fashion is intriguing and inspiring. Betty Suarez, Ugly Betty, was played by the cute and lovable, America Ferrera.

I didn’t become a fan of this colorfully humorous hour-long sitcom until sometime around the middle of it’s second season, but once I did I was hooked on the story line about how this likable underdog locks horns with a variety of snobby characters who pretty much looked their noses down at her, all because of her homely attire, sheep-dog bangs, horn-rimmed glasses, and teeth strapped with silver wire.

Regardless of her questionable fashion sense,  her brilliance and intuitiveness about fashion history, as well as, her keen knowledge of Mode Magazine, the company she manged to land a job at as executive assistance to the co-editor, who is, ironically, the  son of the owner,  made her an unsuspecting force of nature to be reckoned with episode after episode.

This is what captured me instantly; based on ambition and inner confidence, an unquestionable innocence, and honest loyalty, she won the heart and friendship of her playboy boss, Daniel Meade, played by Eric Mabius; as well as, the respect of the bitchy Wilhelmina Slater, played by the lovely and talented Vanessa L. Williams.  Remember her?  She was the first African-American crowned Miss America — which is another underdog story in itself.

The entire concept of the show reminds me of  Forrest Gump, which was the extraordinary story about a simple man with a heart of gold, who may have been seen as mentally slow in the eyes of others, who may have not had the chiseled features of a GQ model, who may have started out life with braces on his limbs so that he could walk, but that inner unstoppable glow yielded a life filled with insurmountable wealth and accomplishments.  That riveting scene where he runs out of those braces, zipping beyond the reach of the bullies who had taunted him since childhood, was extremely spiritual and solid fool for the soul.

Thankfully, I was able to see season one of Ugly Betty and, again, for some it might be a bit fairytale like, how all of this success could happen to someone who doesn’t seem to fit in, but then, that’s exactly what I loved most of all about this series; it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter if the arena you are trying to step into is filled with beautiful ripped & ready bodies and you have a little meat around your waistline, the only thing that matters is that if you believe in yourself, and stay true to yourself, and live ethically and honesty, you can not only achieve what you set out to do, you can also be whomever it is you want to be.

During the final episodes you see this Ugly Betty blossom from an awkwardly dressed fashion disaster into this lovely, vibrant successful editor, poised to embark on a fabulous journey abroad, minus the railroad tracks on her teeth, with a savvy flair for fashion.   I know, it reads just like something unbelievable, but that’s what made me love it so — because of the possibilities.

If you want to be inspired, laugh a little and, perhaps even, cry a little, catch a couple of episodes — they are now in syndication on AT&T U-verse Channel 44 KBCW.

You can also catch episodes at HULU

HULU linkhttp://www.hulu.com/ugly-betty

Author G. D. Grace

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 November


“For Colored Girls” – an Author, G. D. Grace Pre-Review

Even though I have yet to see this movie, I have heard a lot of backlash regarding the storyline of it.  I just jumped off of a blog talk radio show where the host and chat room participants were pretty much slamming the entire movie.  I believe that people are entitled to their own opinions, so I’ll add mine.  

Tyler Perry has accomplished what so many writers and filmmakers only dream of accomplishing in a lifetime.   The beginning of his life was littered with emotionally challenging occurrences that would destroy even the strongest person, yet by the Grace of God he managed to pull himself up from homelessness to amass a media empire that is employing a multitude of black actors and actresses.  I’m pretty sure on that same ticket are black caterers, costume designers, make up artists, hair stylists, stunt people, etc… all whom are reaping the benefits of having a studio owned by a black man.

Listening to people tearing him down at the height of his success is sickening to me.  I remember looking at this documentary about Amos & Andy, and how black people back then boycotted and raised so much hell about the show, similar to the way people are raising hell about Tyler’s latest movies, until the show got canned.  Well, as a result, many black people were instantly unemployed, and that is such a travesty.

Artistic expression is a form of freedom of speech, and that is what I love the most about being a writer, I have the ability to create story lines that I want to tell, and hopefully one that some will identify with and gather strength from.  I remember a line from Tyler’s “The Family That Preys” that said something to the effect of, you never know a person’s story unless you have walked in their shoes.  Well, in my opinion, movies like Precious and For Colored Girls are made to pull the cloak off of unspoken events that are chilling, blood curling, and uncomfortable, as a way of getting people to talk about them

There are so many individuals walking around here, bottled up with so much guilt and shame about what they’ve been through, and I believe that cinema courageous enough to address these issues are just as important as the ones that want to paint the perfect picture of love, family, and life.  As a hopeless romantic myself, I would love to sit and watch a string of movies where the characters skip off into the sunset and live happily ever after, but that is unrealistic.  There is a whole lot of drama that begins after the honeymoon period when two people first meet, and I’d rather see a realistic story that details the struggles that accompany being in a relationship.

My thoughts are currently pre-movie, and I will be making my way down to the theater to see this Tyler Perry produced movie.  You know, I remember watching “The Secret Life of Bees” with a friend of mine, and after the movie was done all she had to say was, the book was way better than the movie.  I was like, yeah, it probably had more detail, but damn, how come you only got that out of seeing it?

Perhaps I am biased since I am a writer, and I know that when you put your art out there for the world to see, criticism is an unfortunate part of the whole creative process.  Not everyone is going to like everything that is presented for the big screen, so I suppose you just chalk it up as food for thought and move on, not letting anyone discourage you from doing what it is you love to do.  I remember the title “For Colored Girls Only..Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf” back when I was younger, and since I have never read the book before, I’ll be seeing the story for the first time when I go see the movie.  I may or may not read the book, but if I do, I’ll not compare the two to one another, because I know it is virtually impossible to have everything as it was when it was written in the novel format.

Before I finish, there was a statement made on this blog talk radio show that I was listening to that ticked me off; the person asked the rhetorical question:  Who believes this movie is great, someone addicted to mental dysfunction?  I thought it was an irresponsible statement made by someone who probably has never experienced heartbreaking or spirit battering situations, and I can only say that, perhaps, should that day come, God-forbid, that they’ll remember their statement and have a little bit more compassion for people who have lived through challenging experiences.

In closing, I’d just like to say that this whole Tyler Perry backlash doesn’t surprise me in the least; it’s that crabs in a barrel mentality that we as a people continue to struggle with.  I may not agree with everything someone else does, but if they are trying to inspire someone going through a bad spot in their lives, then who in the hell am I to discredit what they’re doing?

Tyler, my hats off to you my friend, and perhaps one day we will meet, and on that day, I will shake your hand and say, job well done.

Author, G. D. Grace

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 November