Sunday, August 23, 2015

LOOKING OVER THE WALL: I can't go back there!

Several years ago when I first started participating in Internet discussions, I was lost. I had a distorted image of happiness. Well, maybe not lost, but certainly adrift. I am reminded of those guys in the movies, you know, the starving castaway on a makeshift raft, peering over the tops of waves, looking for land, and just living on hope. Yet, somewhere deep inside, I couldn’t give up.

Today I have a motto “What About A Time Called Now”. It’s here and now, in the moments of creating and expressing my thoughts, where I feel the most at ease and confident. In many ways  it’s always felt just right, and it always brought me a rush of emotions, most of them the best I’ve ever known.

Now the downside of it is, there’s always some jerk who stands in judgment of what you do. The harshest criticism always seems to come from those that truly have no idea what you’re doing and truly has no gift of their own. And,  are just plain pissed off that you’re happy and happily plying your craft. That is of course, if you’re making the world a little more ugly, then that type of personality will gladly hold your hand and dance through the stankin' muck filled sewer, proclaiming that you, just like they, see only how awful it all is, and take pleasure in the celebration of it. But somewhere along my journey, I came to understand that any D- minus person can see how terrible things are. That didn’t take any skills.

If a person wishes to be a full time cynic, that’s their very unfortunate choice. They are sometimes right, and romantics are generally wrong, but a romantic needs to be right only one time in their life, and that’s when they find something or someone they truly love.

I guess love is what this post is really all about. I know it’s not common for a dude to write about love, and maybe it would be best served if that’s all I said, but then you wouldn’t get the full flavor of my thoughts and me. That would be unfair to both of us.

Through my blog I try to produce something that makes people feel. Feelings are the enemy of the lazy, blind followers and the so called elite. You can’t be smarter than them or do things different than them, or have more courage to express your true thoughts, than them.  They might crucify you. The common man, on the other hand, has a conscience. He has little time for BS. The common man can spot BS ten miles away, and that’s why, in some circles, there’s a small place for him.

However, having said that, I’ve come to believe that a journey shared with whomever, is more deeply moving an experience than a journey taken alone. Human beings need validation, that’s how we learn. I might say or feel something that’s not clear to me, others will say something similar, and then it’s heads straight ahead. Art, in all it’s forms, that is shared, is part of the feeling process. When there’s no feelings, there’s no statement. Where there’s no statement, there’s no sharing. When there’s no sharing, there’s no beauty. When there’s no beauty, there’s no art, and consequently, there is no love.

When I see beauty everywhere and in everything, my soul is set free. No one can take that from me. Then I am free to love and express my feelings and emotions in a way that might seem strange or different to others...  and that's okay.

In short, I’ve been places that I never wish to return to. Not just a place on the map, but in my heart and in my mind.  There are certain things that I can no longer afford to embrace.  My motto.... What About A time Called Now!

Thanks for reading my reflections of today. Thoughts?  Opinions? Feel free to share them.

Santa Claus vs The Christian: Robbing Our Children?

Over at The Old Black Church, Santa Claus was under review. So lets pull the Bunny Rabbit out of the hat and tell the Tooth Fairy that love don't live here anymore, right?

Well, here's a viewpoint supported by The Old Black Church which happens to be my favorite Christain blog

" Mark Driscoll who's one of America's most prominent young
Christian voices says Christians have three options when it comes to
dealing with cultural issues like Santa....We can either reject it, receive it,
or redeem it....I tend to agree with Driscoll that the third option is
best....As Christian parents we should tell our kids Christmas is about the
birth of the Savior, not Santa Claus....every since I can remember most
little children have unintentional worship Santa Claus as the reason
for the season"

MsBrock: "I believe it's possible for a child to learn to distrust a parent when they realizes that Santa Claus is a lie"

On this issue, I think Ms Brock and I are somewhat divided because I do not view Santa Claus as a lie. So, since I had this post sitting in my ready set go file, here it goes.

I Don’t Like Grinches That Try To Steal Christmas
Well, Christmas is but a few months away. In that far too brief a time, when we pray and play and talk and laugh together, I wish I could somehow box those moments of bliss, only to revisit them at my pleasure. Unfortunately, unless I have my own personal time machine, one that could whisk me back in time, that journey is an impossible task. Consequently, I am forced to sing satisfied, but I can dream, can’t I?

I can dream about the days my brothers and I gleefully took center stage on our linoleum tiled floor, Spiegel’s catalog in hand, pointing, pondering, and wishing for the captivating toys on the glossy pages. We knew our parents couldn’t afford most of them, however, since Santa Claus had Rudolph and several helpers, he might stop by our house, leaving everything our heart’s desired. That hope, that desire, that magical possibility, plays to a child’s heart; that no one has the right to abuse , deflate, belittle or to inject their adult sensibilities. That world of awesome wonderment, imagination and innocence, is a child’s right of passage.Having said that, last week, my grandson, who is six years old, informed the family that his teacher said Santa Claus did not exist. What?! No Santa Claus? Those words of “advice” may not seem like a major indiscretion to some parents, however, feeling the disillusionment my grandson must have felt, I was crushed. I mean, is the tooth fairy real? Should we take the Easter Bunny off the table?

“No need to worry. No need to fear. Just being alive, makes it all so very clear. That's with a child's heart, nothing can ever get you down. With a child's heart, you've got no reason to frown. Love is welcome as a sunny day. No grownup thoughts, to lead our hearts astray” ~ Stevie Wonder

I remember those days when my anticipation of Santa Clause’s arrival was enough
to find my eyes closed long before my normal bedtime, in the hope that a new day would appear at the blink of an eye. On Prancer, On Vixen, On Carey... straight to bed.... on to Christmas morning.

Yet, on one occasion, I wanted Santa to slow his roll. See, my brothers and I were a mischievous bunch, sometimes in the neighborhood and school and city parks, sometimes at our house, sometimes gracelessly throwing caution to the wind, we sometimes - well- were naughty and not very nice. Consequently, since we knew Santa didn’t suffer misbehaving kids lightly, we needed a few days to make amends.

And everyone knows, if a child does not go to sleep on Christmas Eve, prior to Santa’s arrival,, and then, happen to see him, he might vanish, taking his toys with him. So woe was me and my brothers. On that memorable day, we went to sleep when the street lights came on, only to be awaken with the urge to use the restroom. However, before we opened the door of our bedroom, we heard a rustlings sound coming from the other side. Oh no, Santa was leaving gifts, we couldn’t go out there! Nevertheless, it was decision time. My oldest brother, who may have been on the fence about this jolly old man that brought gifts, decided to crack the door to sneak a peek. He quickly closed it! In a shaky voice, he said, “Santa Clause is out there”.

With startled looks, we grabbed our little wee-wee’s and paced the floor in an attempt to stop the flood gates. After about an hour of dancing under the stars, my oldest brother decided to take another look. Santa was still there. Our next move didn’t require a vote and none was taken. We all started crying, loud, uninhibitant voices of pain leaped from our mouths.

The door sprang open, mom and dad rescued us from our claustrophobic terror, created by not only the fact that Santa was in our living room but by the knowledge that we would receive a whooping if we wetted our PJ’s. Lost toys were not the culminating factor to our tears, lost “rear end” parts were more of an issue.

Anyway, low and behold, our sentry, who we thought was Santa, was merely one of those 4ft rubber punching bags, with a red and white Christmas stocking atop it’s head.

Childhood memories; what would I do without them? The relevance here is that I, nor my parents, ever spoke of Santa Claus as a figment of someone’s imagination. And personally, I can’t understand why a person would rob a child of that joy. I thought those opinions was reserved for Grouchous Grinches that try to steal Christmas.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Think I am Back?

OMG!!! I haven't been able to write a new post in years. In fact, I don't know how or why, today, I was able to gain access? Is anyone still there? Please let me know if you received this post?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tim Moore, aka "KINGFISH" TRIBUTE!

These clips are a small part of a tribute to Tim Moore. Many entertainers are standing on his shoulders. He played the part of "Kingfish" in the CBS series Amos & Andy...  the first all black cast on a national television network. He was in show business for over 50 years (he paid his dues). He worked with Oscar Devereaux Micheaux who made over 40 films, and many of the noted entertainers of that time period. He received his most noted and famous role at the age of 65! We titled this tribute "giving something back, never forget those that have gone before us and uncovering a lost treasure".

The nights (several nights) were filled with "talking" (and laughter)and speeches and clips from his movies and television series. Along with all the proceedings (dinner and such) these youtube offerings (the first clip) came from a play that was part of the evening's affair.  This was my attempt at humor and film-making.
Btw, I did not run the cameras ( I am playing Kingfish), nor was this event meant to be filmed. So keep that in mind and be forewarned :-)

Enjoy... comments are welcomed.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Spike has a fantastic new book. Take a look at a few pages. That's the cover.

Now, the rest of the story.

I’ve come to believe that a journey shared with another, is more deeply moving an experience than a journey taken alone. Consequently, although I, like everyone who has been caught in the pounce of life’s struggles; that which makes us question our existence, I have managed to maintain my love of watching movies as a form of escape.

Not only do I escape, movie watching affords me the opportunity to visit emotions, sights and sounds - much like reading books - that I may not have otherwise experienced.

See, I am just a black hick from the flat lands of Iowa (yes, there are black folks in Iowa) that loves to stretch-out and view the world from different perspectives. And, as I said, I love watching movies.
That’s me - in the above picture - standing in Harlem waiting for the Apollo Theater to open. I don’t remember who I saw that day; possibly the famed amateur night, but on that same trip, I do remember catching Debbie Allen in a Broadway play.

My wife and I are in the next picture. We’re at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. Wonderful times, wonderful days, a wonderful experience.

See if you recognize anyone in the following picture?

Okay, that’s sort of a gimme. That’s me on the left and Harvey Keitel on the far right. But I bet you don’t know the guy in the middle? Well have you heard of the actor Gérard Depardieu , a French actor and film-maker. He has won a number of honours including a nomination for an Academy Award for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac and the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in Green Card. In addition to a number of American awards, Depardieu is a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite and has twice won the César Award for Best Actor. Well, the above actor is his son. He was an experience and a story all in itself. He later went on to gain popularity - in not a very respectable way. Well, Guillaume Depardieu never fully recovered from a life of drug addiction, a road crash and a hospital infection which forced the amputation of his right leg. He also had been a male prostitute and gigolo as part of a teenage revolt against his father's famous name. He also served two jail sentences for theft and drugs offences.

Shortly after that picture was taken, he boarded a plane and later was arrested in Paris - for Heroin possession. In 1992, he received the Cesar award for the most promising actor. At the age of 37, he died of pneumonia.

Wow! But now, on a more upbeat note, Spike Lee is my guy. I’ve never met him, but the following story is my detailed account of how I’ve been trying to rectify that problem and why I believe our visit is right around the corner.

I’ve been riding with Spike Lee since his 1986 breakout movie She’s Gotta Have It. Back then, aside from a few movies starring Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and Richard Pryor, I can’t remember if a movie featured a black cast or if the directors were black. Well, there were movies like Super Fly, Shaft, Cotton Comes To Harlem, and those black exploitation movie, but Spike‘s narrative and direction was a new day.

Before Spike Lee’s arrival, many black faces in cinema were reduced to caricatures that displayed people of color in a negative light. We took it all with a kind of astringent good humor, refusing at times, even to consider defending those false images, because, for the most part, we didn’t have enough avenues to do that.

But now, as the world turns, we now have a black president, and I, a black man, was given the opportunity; in this racist society, to express my opinions in a local newspaper, that in which I intend to share parts of this post.

Much has been written about race and racism; I personally feel that it will demand a far less guilty and constricted people than the present-day American to be able to assess it all; it’s importance to the survival of our society, however, I can safely assume that others, albeit begrudgingly, need to hear the narratives/voices from people of colors.

Anyway, before I get too far off the core of this post, in short, I believe Spike Lee was a fresh new voice of black consciousness. And, I’ve been following him every since he hit the block.

So, a few weeks ago I was tickle pink (dark brown) when an acquaintance (Sergio Mims, a writer for Ebony magazine) informed the blogsphere that Spike Lee was going to be in Chicago, promoting his new book Do The Right Thing. The book is celebrating just more than 20 years since the seminal debut of the movie by the same name. Okay, now it was my time to met Spike and get an autographed book to boot. However, two days before the scheduled day of the event, Dec 22nd 2010, I had reservation on a flight to Atlanta. I caught my flight but all goodbyes were not gone. I have a cousin that lives in Chicago on South Lake Shore Drive that let me convince her to stand - tall and proud - in my place. I got my autograph “to Carey, my greatest fan in Iowa”, (Photos above) but I didn’t get a chance to meet Spike.

But wait, remember my friend Sergio Mims, he again informed the blogsphere, through one of my favorite blogspots, Shadow and Act, that spike had booked a return engagement in Naperville, a suburb outside Chicago. Spike is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King celebration, Jan 18th, 2011. Oh boy, here we go again.

I have another cousin - a niece - that lives right in Naperville. So, upon hearing that great news, I scurried to the phone to apply for my hookup tickets. I also contacted Sergio, who lives in Chicago, to see if he’d like to join me. At first he said it was too far for him to drive waaaaay out to Naperville, but if I came to pick him up, he’d be glad to ride along. Now I’m thinking, I would have to drive 200 miles to attend this event and he lives a stones throw away, but I said okay. You know, "a journey shared with another, is more deeply moving an experience than a journey taken alone"
Now... the tickets.

Well, you know how it is when a friend or family member says they have you covered, and then, they don’t. Yep, my niece carries all the genes of a young black woman, and so, things got a little shaky. I had faith that she could acquire ticket because she copped six tickets when Cornel West spoke at the same function - just last year.

After I informed Sergio of our quandary, he went to work. He told me that he might be able to get a couple of press passes. I forgot Sergio was the man, who probably was on the A-list of writers in Chicago, so I was thrilled when I heard that great news.

Now we’re set to go, but wait, Sergio hit me with another e-mail... “Well [Carey]I've got good news and bad news. I just got a call from them. They gave me a ticket for the Lee event. That's it's ONE ticket. I couldn't get another one”But like a true trooper “the show must go on” he hit me with another message saying, “O.K. but we're still going together right?”. I started to call him back and tell him, hell no, there’s no way I was going to let him in my car, wearing a tuxedo, smiling, as he waved his front row pass - in my face. But again, I wavered and said, yes, we’re still going together. So it's on, the two of us are off to see Spike Lee. I finally managed to get a ticket in the nose bleed section.

But see, Sergio doesn’t know this (unless he reads this post) but I am planning on getting a big ass camera and pretend I am his camera man or personal assistant. Yes sir, it’s my plan to buy a fake, but great looking press pass, and strut to the front, like I am somebody. And then, when the evening progresses to the Q&A portion of the program, I’m going to drop that camera, jump to my feet, frantically waving my hands in the air and say “Right over here Mr. Spike Lee, I have a question for you” . Hopefully he will say “Yes, Mr. CareyCarey, what can I do for you?”. Then I’ll say, “Nothing, I just wanted to tell everyone who will listen, that I met you”

Friday, August 7, 2015


Grandfather & Grandson

There are many things I should be doing today, but I am consumed by the current events. There was an article on Yahoo asking the question "Why Did Obama Win"? I'll get back to that.

I am sure we all have stories of struggle. It's been said that if a man controls your mind, he controls you. I am not the type that blames others for my faults. However, if a person's dreams and hopes are deferred by limited exposure -- who's to blame? Maybe no one, because in doing so, we look back and not forward. When I think about the dreams of my grandfather, seven generation past, I know he looked forward to a day in which he would no longer be a slave, that day came. In 1861 he was released from slavery and joined the 108th Colored Infantry, made up of former slaves from Kentucky. While a slave he was responsible for the care of the farm animals. He was in essence an animal doctor. Skills in hand, he headed North. He was stationed at Fort Armstrong, later renamed Arsenal Island, a picturesque 3-mile strip of land in the Mississippi River. After his stint in the Civil War, he settled into a white community on the banks of Mississippi River in northern Illinois.

Generations later, my Great-Grandmother's dream was to simply go to school. She never had that opportunity. She raised 10 children while working beside my grandfather as share-croppers. One of my mother's dreams was to go to high school and graduate, she did that.

I was talking to my daughter this morning and we conversed about my grandson. Her voice made me stop and think of a dream my wife shared with me. See, my daughter was not planned. My wife became pregnant while we were in high school. There was talk of abortion and adoption. We married and struggled as young parents, yet, we shared dreams and passed them along to our children.

My daughter went back to Kentucky, not as a slave, nor to find her roots but as a student at the University Of Kentucky. My wife passed away 6 months before the birth of our grandchild. While talking to my daughter she told me that my grandson, who is 6 yrs old, said that he and Obama were just alike. My daughter said, yes, you are both black. He declared, NO MOMMY! We are both presidents. His school held class elections to familiarize students with the voting process; he was voted president of his 1st grade class. Ignoring the comparison that most adults would make, my grandson focused on something greater than race. He was proud of the fact that he won the presidency. He knew the job of president was important, yet too young to understand the significance of skin color in the past election. It wasn't important to him that they shared a color. He was proud of the fact that he was good enough to be president. Maybe one day a person's skin color will cease being a big deal. My grandfather didn't look back, he didn't have a desire to go back there. I have a grandson - his name is Carey -- he's the President.

Why did Obama win? Because he was the best man for the job!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Check this out. Last week I went to see Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin In The Sun. Most of us know about Ms. Hansberry's play but here's the deal. The play was at an old established barn theater. Yep, white folks. This playcrafters barn has been around for 81 years and they've never put on a production like this. Well, some previous plays were the Mouse Trap by Agatha Christie, See How They Run by Phillip King, and Papa's Angels by Collin Wilcox Paxton. You get the picture, plays with a white cast, written by white authors. Well, I saw "Raisin" on two separate nights and I noticed a distinct difference between the crowd's reactions.

"A Raisin In The Sun" is a black play. Some may remember the role of Walter being played by Sydney Poitier. Others may remember Danny Glover playing the same part. There's another clown that thought he was doing the damn thang - but he wasn't, so I am not even going to mention his name. Okay, it was P. Diddy pretending to be an actor.

While watching the play, I glanced at the old white people. Their faces said it all, my suspicions were true. It quickly became apparent that many of them had never seen the play and didn't know anything about it. As I said, I went on two different nights. The first night was a benefit performance for Healing Waters Empowerment Project: Breaking The Cycle of Domestic Violence - a black thing. The crowd was evenly mixed - whites and blacks. I accompanied a group of 50 upward bound students - mostly black. The last night was filled with season ticket holders - old white folk.

Well, I have to admit that I am an arm chair critic that doesn't really enjoy amateur productions, but these actors killed this play. I had seen the lead performer do her thang in a production of "Doubt". I knew she could act but she was riveting in the role of Momma.

Now, the characters, Walter and Momma have very dynamic scenes. Race issues are a big part of the play, and some of the lines hit white folks right in the gut.

In one scene, Walter's sister is reminiscing about white people and says ..." that's how the cracker crumbles". Listen, you should have seen the looks on those white folks face. That line is followed by...."that's a joke". It may have been a joke but them white folks didn't think that mess was funny - not one bit. In another scene, the family is seen discussing the fears of white people when they think a black family may be moving into their neighborhood. One character said they were afraid of losing property value and another family member said, "no, dey afraid we might marry one of them". The black audience fell out laughing. The white audience looked as if they had just heard the O. J Simpson verdict.

I realized that most whites have not been around us in all our flavor. I got the feeling they thought every closed eye was sleep. They didn't know we have a doctorate degree in white zoo-ology. They didn't like hearing lines that showed them in all their glory, at least not coming from the mouth of a black person standing 10 feet away. They seemed surprised to hear that we sometimes "play them" when they think they are "playing us".

Listen, Walter has a scene in which he says he is going to act just the way they expect him to, in order to get that money. Walter was pressed for money and the family was offered a handsome sum not to move into the neighborhood. Walter said he was going to do the best Uncle Tom they've ever seen. He also said the word Nigger several times and did a great Chicken George, which made the white crowd very uncomfortable.

The character Momma was the anchor of the play and always stood for right and moral decency. The crowd loved Momma - even the white folks. She was frequently heard saying how black folks should just be grateful and forget about money and moving too fast. She also said her family has always been simple folks. But towards the end of the play, Momma showed the side of a black mother if they're bruised. Well, the white "welcoming committee" had sent a buy-out check to the family. Toward the end of the tense and dramatic scene, Walter turned down the money. Momma had put the decision in his hands. The pitchman for the committee made one last plea to Momma. Now, mind you, Momma has been running this family. Her daughter even labeled her a tyrant. But in this scene she turned her head away from the white man as if he stunk, and said, "you know I can't do nothing with those kids" . The man looked back at Walter who was now standing by his son. The son had a look of pride as Walter opened the door as if telling the man it's time for him to leave. Remember, many of the white people had never seen the play. Lawd have mercy, I looked at them white folks and you would have thought momma called that white man a nigger. Some of the blacks started clapping. I heard one sista say, "I know that's right".

After the play, the actors formed a greeting line. They hurried out a back door to meet the audience by the exits. Let me tell you, some of the white folks were really cool, they loved the play. Yet others couldn't stare at the ceiling long enough as they tried to sneak past the actors. Maybe somebody should have told them who was coming to dinner, and that it wasn't Sydney Poitier and Spencer Tracy.

It was a great night. I saw a great play and learned a little something about the ways of white folks, and they might have learned something about us. Langston Hughes wrote a book about that. Yep, The Ways of White Folks. It's a great read and it's sitting on my shelf. It's a good refresher course. And you know what, that barn theater has not opened it's barn doors to a black play since that run of Raisin In The Sun. I've heard rumbles that "fences" might be in the works, but we'll see.