Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tha Artivist Presents…Words, Beats, and Pix!!! premiere @ Zora's Lounge is a certifiable platinum hit!!!

Tha Artivist Presents…Words, Beats, and Pix!!! premiere @ Zora's Lounge is a certifiable platinum hit!!!
Tha Artivist Reports

October 12, 2006 Thursday night from 8pm to 10pm was a truly historic and festive night for it was the premiere of Tha Artivist Presents…Words, Beats and Pix!!! @ Zora's Lounge at the Hattiloo Theatre, the soon to be world famous Hattiloo Black Rep. Theatre of Memphis,Tn…This premiere event was very special and sentimental for me because the Hattiloo Black Rep. Theatre is located on the same street and block as the fabled Sun Records Studio…Sun Records is not only the place where Elvis Presley was discovered, but where B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Ike Turner, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison were discovered and made some of their earliest if not first music recordings on their way to music superstardom…Sun Records is regarded by many to be the place where the first rock and roll song "Rocket 88" as sung by Jackie Brenston was recorded that started the Rock and Roll cultural revolution…Let me tell you for the record that I feel that Mr. Ekundayo Bandele the creator of the Hattiloo Theatre is every bit the equal of Mr. Sam Phillips...Like Phillips, Bandele is a visionary who is able to get the most out of his artists through limited means and aids essentially in helping his artists find an audience receptive to their unique gifts

Ekundayo Bandele a.k.a. The Visionary
I honestly feel that in regards to Sun Records' glorious history and vicinity that the torch has now been passed to the Hattiloo Theatre in general and Zora's Lounge in particular to carry on in discovering great exceptional talent that will transcend time…What made this event even more historic was the fact that it was the first presentation or show at Zora's Lounge (named in honor of the famed writer Zora Neale Hurston) since the Hattiloo Theatre officially opened its doors on Sept. 22...There was a very powerful vibe that filled that entire small and yet intimate (not claustrophobic) space...You could definitely feel the love and positive energy that collectively emanated from the beautiful people of all shapes and hues, audience and performers alike…And speaking of performances oh my were they exceptional as well as tastefully diverse!!!

Darlene Painting the Scene
The featured guest visual artist Ms. Darlene Thomas blessed the audience with her brilliant and heartfelt painting skills…Her art style and skill is impeccable and reminds one of a cross between Ernie Barnes, El Greco and William H. Johnson…Darlene truly enjoyed the atmosphere's effect on her creative juices and had this to say:
"Thanks, (Artivist)! I had fun and met some cool people."

To check out more works by this amazing and exceptional rising art star please visit her official websites @ and Myspace @

Mr. Hood a.k.a. Mr. Clarinet taking the audience on a swinging musical journey
Mr. Clarinet a.k.a. Brandon Hood was the leadoff man…I haven't seen Mr. Hood since our high school days (8 years ago) but thanks to the wonders of the internet and myspace in particular we were able to connect …The talented Mr. Hood's specialty is Western Classical Music…Mr. Hood is also the band director for Havenview Middle School in Memphis where his musical talents and sometimes patience is put to the test by students either eager to learn or anxious to act a fool…Mr. Hood set the engagement off right with a stirring rendition of a Debussy classic work followed by the works of the great Puccini…Mr. Hood as one might expect from a committed high school teacher, is very modest about his exceptional musical talent and prowess...He claimed he hadn't played the clarinet for awhile, but he sounded like he never stopped playing since he came out of the womb and even sounded like he's been playing with leading horn man Gabriel before that, for his sound was so heavenly to the ears…Mr. Hood was like the Pied Piper of Hamelin hypnotizing the audience with his sweet tone and chordal runs...He stated that he wanted to be the World's Greatest Clarinet Player…Well folks if he truly decides to commit to this goal then no reed player, dead or alive, will be safe!!! This is what Mr. Clarinet himself had to say about the event:
"Much congrats on a phenomenal evening last night. I woke up this morning feeling more refreshed than I have in years. How many places can I say that one would hear Puccini and rap? Or a poetry reading and hip-hop? Not many. I truly appreciate the warm reception my playing was given. I believe the theater is on its way towards having a successful future. I hate that I had to miss the time of fellowship, however I would come back and perform at any time. I would love to rekindle our friendship. I believe that we both have the same idea- art triumphs all boundaries."
Check out Mr. Clarinet's Official myspace page @

Yung Blac rhyming truth to power...
Mr. Hood's cool yet hot clarinet was followed by the smooth and socially conscious lyrics of Yung Blac of Bump Entertainment…Yung Blac is an up and coming Hip Hop artist…He is Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron meet Tupac and Trick Daddy…His steady and smooth delivery combined with his charismatic persona skillfully aided as a smokescreen for his highly flammable and combustible lyrics and biting yet insightful social commentary...He advised the audience to be aware of media jedi mind tricks and a corrupt justice or "just us" system…On his last song he was aided by up and coming hook songstress Miss Cellaneous…The sincerity and urgency of his message definitley moved the sober audience to chants of right on and tell it like it is to Amen shouts all around…With Yung Blac there was definitely a feeling that Da Church was in session… The majority of the audience were definitely in approval of the Gospel according to Yung Blac…I expect nothing but the best from this talented and gifted MC…According to Yung Blac he had a great time as well:
Please visit Yung Blac's MYSPACE page @:

Love Sonnets by Ms. Sims
The first two acts (who by the way are all alma maters of my high school, Overton High School for the Performing Arts) was followed by the beautiful Ms. Bernice Sims…Not only is Ms. Sims a veteran of the Modern American Civil Rights Movement (she worked with Medgar Evers and was a close acquaintance of the three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner, whose tragic murders were the basis for the 1988 feature film Mississippi Burning), but she is also a prolific veteran of the silver screen as well with a 100 plus films to her credit!!! She worked in movies directed by Woody Allen and Spike Lee and even had a chance to talk to stars on an one to one basis such as the gorgeous Sanaa Lathan and leading man Ben Affleck…She was also the only lady standing in a line with plenty of women that the legendary and incredibly shy Robert DeNiro (who has a sweet spot and love for beautiful Black women) spoke to while on the set of Saturday Night Live…What a life!!! So you can see for most of her life that Ms. Sims has never been afraid or a stranger to the stage or spotlight for most of her life…Ms. Sims, a true jackie of all trades, read and perform for the audience three love poems conceived by her mind and written by her hand…She had many in the audience hanging on every syllable…Even for those who couldn't follow she held them speechless and mesmerized with the elegance of her presence…Her reddish hair seeming like a fire, an eternal flame burning with truth, ageless beauty and undying passion…Ms. Sims is also a talented visual artist as well…Check out her art at the following website:
I told you the lady was beautifully talented!!!

Foley moving the crowd...

The next artist is a name that will become synonymous with radio friendly and chart topping…Memphis Native and talented rapper Foley who has been featured on movie soundtracks and venues coast to coast from NY to LA, is an artist who is definitely going to have a nice following in the near future…By the way did I say he was nice on the mic as well??? Foley has undeniable stage presence and the crowd was definitely feeling him with his contagiously toe tapping, hand clapping and catchy beats and witty rhymes…Foley is definitely a star in every sense of the word…He reminds one of Nelly mixed with Ludacris both being one name Hip Hop wonders and superstars with a diverse and large fan base, something that Foley is surely destined to be and have…Currently Foley is in the process of working on a music project with the Queen of Talk Radio Ms. Wendy Williams…Stay tuned to your radio, t.v. and movie screen cause here comes Foley...Remember you heard it here first!!!
Check out Foley's myspace pages @

John Anthony Delivering the goods r & b style...
Next local R and B sensation Mr. John Anthony wowed the audience in particular the females with his suave yet sensitive rendition of his original classic "Simple Man"…John Anthony is a very talented musician with exceptional communicative abilities…Reminds me of R. Kelly before the legal troubles…John Anthony is the consummate artist performer…He has been featured on movie soundtracks including "What's the Worst that could Happen" featuring Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito as well as performed in venues throughout Las Vegas and beyond…John Anthony had charm just oozing off the stage into the audience and into every nook and crevice of the small yet big hearted and intimate Zora's Lounge…His sexual magnetism was very evident from the start, but became more pronounced when he sang Baby Face's classic "Whip Appeal"…By this point he literally had the world on a string and could basically do no wrong…A master showman , John Anthony basically worked the audience from all angles and left the them , especially the women, wanting more…Visit John Anthony's Myspace page @

Valentine's Day came early...
Next up was R & B songbird Vicky Valentine and her musically talented friends …Vicky who is greatly talented as she is beautiful put on a show that was very much enjoyed by all in particular by the fellas (the ladies did after all enjoyed John Anthony)…She sung one of her original songs "I'm a Ridah" to the beat of the hip hop artist's Young Jeezy's anthem "Soul Survivor"…Her musical comrades also added hip hop flavor and street savvy lyrics to the mix that balanced her sweet but sexy persona…Vicky Valentine definitely had the audience feeling like it was Valentine's Day!!! Visit her official myspace page @

Make sure to catch Vicky and her friends in Hattiloo's third play of the season "They Sing Christmas Up In Harlem" coming this holiday season (Nov. 24-Dec. 24)!!!

The sweet sounds of Ms. Sexual Chocolate herself Ms. Crystin Gilmore....
Finally, last and certainly not least Ms. Crystin Gilmore held the audience spellbound with her rendition of Screaming Jay Hawkins frightful classic "I Put A Spell On You" a ca paella style no less!!! The spell was surely casted for she held the audience mesmerized by her commanding stage presence and richly sweet and sensual singing voice all wrapped in a dark chocolate dipped curvaceous package…Ms. Gilmore is the very definition of sexual chocolate for she is very sweet and very addictive!!! She then followed up with an interpretation of "Summertime" which would have made George Gershwin smile and asked for an encore!!! Ms. Gilmore is also a talented thespian whose talents knows no boundaries …She was the lead for "Home", the first play of the historic inaugural season of the Hattiloo Black Rep. Theatre in Memphis…I had the privilege of acting with her on the stage in my second acting turn in "Home" and it was truly an honor…

On Tuesday October 17, Ms. Gilmore had the honor of escorting Mr. Stevie Wonder or shall I say Mr. Wonder had the honor of being escorted by Ms. Gilmore to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis…A true star always hangs around true stars…Ms. Gilmore next destination is New York City and The Great White Way (Broadway) sometime later this year…She's the next Audra McDonald…I see plenty of Emmys, Grammies, Tonys and Oscars in her future...Visit Ms. Sexual Chocolate I mean Ms. Gilmore's myspace page @

In closing I would like to say that this version of Tha Artivist Presents…Words, Beats and Pix!!! was very well received and has been the closest to mirroring the concept I have had for the potential of this wonderful series…I thank everybody who supported this movement by either participating as an audience member or performer or both…Please stay tuned for the next installment of Tha Artivist Presents…Words, Beats and Pix!!! coming soon in November and please spread the word!!!

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