Plaza Noir Network presents

Improvisation In Conversations
A New Performing Arts Web Series

Improvisation In Conversations is a new-media, on-location talk show webcasted via the Plaza Noir Network (PNN), which takes an up-close and personal look at the lives and work of a (more…)

“CHURCH” with Mark de Clive-Lowe

CHURCH LA Summer Sessions vol.2 – JULY 21

Join us for the second installment of our CHURCH LA Summer Sessions – after last month’s party with Stro + 14KT, Swarvy, DJ Day and SeanO – plus our inaugural Boiler Room session – we’re ready for (more…)

International Jazz Day 2016



LA Women’s Theatre Festival Gala 2016

Adilah Barnes, co-founder and board president at LAWTF

Adilah Barnes, co-founder and board president at LAWTF

Entertainment journalist, DeBorah B. Pryor covers the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival annual gala for PNN. LAWTF kickoffs  4 days of offerings by some of the top female talent from across the artistic spectrum. DeBorah chats with featured guest performer and recording artist, Elosie Laws, the events’ co-hosts and  renown actors of stage, screen and television, Starletta DuPois and Barry Shabaka Henly.

Barry Shabaka Henley, co-host with Starletta Dubois at LAWTF Opening Night Champagne Gala

Barry Shabaka Henley, co-host with Starletta Dubois at LAWTF Opening Night Champagne Gala

This episode closes with an excerpt of a live performance by the  incredible vocal styling of Ms Laws, singing from her newly released album, latest single, entitled “Can’t Let Myself”.

Recorded at the Electric Lodge, Venice California,
March 24, 2016
Episode Producer, Paul Sabu Rogers for BMV Productions All rights reserved˙© 2016




Sandra Evers-Manly left. Awarded "Integrity" Award

Sandra Evers-Manly left. Awarded “Integrity” Award

Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock Pen an Open Letter to the Next Generation of Artists

herbie hancock wayne shorter

Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock have been friends for over forty years. In the pursuit of their art, they’ve shattered boundaries previously believed unbreakable, they’ve revolutionized the concept of innovation, and have chosen to make the endeavor of living compassionately and courageously the center of their lives.
From their early days composing and playing together with Miles Davis in Davis’ Second Great Quintet, to branching out and flourishing in their individual endeavors, Wayne and Herbie’s contributions to the world of music have been nothing short of extraordinary. Together, they’ve won a combined total of twenty-five Grammys. Despite their countless accolades, they’ll both insist that their greatest achievements lie in their roles as husbands, fathers, and humans of this earth.
After the recent rash of tragedies around the globe in the past year from Paris to San Bernardino, we had the opportunity to ask Wayne and Herbie how the next generation of artists can respond. Below is an open letter with their thoughts.
To the Next Generation of Artists,

We find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.
From the horror at the Bataclan, to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace.
While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don’t have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.
We’d like to be clear that while this letter is written with an artistic audience in mind, these thoughts transcend professional boundaries and apply to all people, regardless of profession.


We are not alone. We do not exist alone and we cannot create alone. What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion. You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be. Focus on developing empathy and compassion. Through the process you’ll tap into a wealth of inspiration rooted in the complexity and curiosity of what it means to simply exist on this planet. Music is but a drop in the ocean of life.

The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you to be the pioneers. Whether through the exploration of new sounds, rhythms, and harmonies or unexpected collaborations, processes and experiences, we encourage you to dispel repetition in all of its negative forms and consequences. Strive to create new actions both musically and with the pathway of your life. Never conform.
The unknown necessitates a moment-to-moment improvisation or creative process that is unparalleled in potential and fulfillment. There is no dress rehearsal for life because life, itself, is the real rehearsal. Every relationship, obstacle, interaction, etc. is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted. This type of thinking requires courage. Be courageous and do not lose your sense of exhilaration and reverence for this wonderful world around you.
We have this idea of failure, but it’s not real; it’s an illusion. There is no such thing as failure. What you perceive as failure is really a new opportunity, a new hand of cards, or a new canvas to create upon. In life there are unlimited opportunities. The words, “success” and “failure”, themselves, are nothing more than labels. Every moment is an opportunity. You, as a human being, have no limits; therefore infinite possibilities exist in any circumstance.
The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We can work to create an open and continuous plane where all types of people can exchange ideas, resources, thoughtfulness and kindness. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
Art in any form is a medium for dialogue, which is a powerful tool. It is time for the music world to produce sound stories that ignite dialogue about the mystery of us. When we say the mystery of us, we’re talking about reflecting and challenging the fears, which prevent us from discovering our unlimited access to the courage inherent in us all. Yes, you are enough. Yes, you matter. Yes, you should keep going.
Arrogance can develop within artists, either from artists who believe that their status makes them more important, or those whose association with a creative field entitles them to some sort of superiority. Beware of ego; creativity cannot flow when only the ego is served.
The medical field has an organization called Doctors Without Borders. This lofty effort can serve as a model for transcending the limitations and strategies of old business formulas which are designed to perpetuate old systems in the guise of new ones. We’re speaking directly to a system that’s in place, a system that conditions consumers to purchase only the products that are dictated to be deemed marketable, a system where money is only the means to an end. The music business is a fraction of the business of life. Living with creative integrity can bring forth benefits never imagined.
Your elders can help you. They are a source of wealth in the form of wisdom. They have weathered storms and endured the same heartbreaks; let their struggles be the light that shines the way in the darkness. Don’t waste time repeating their mistakes. Instead, take what they’ve done and catapult you towards building a progressively better world for the progeny to come.
As we accumulate years, parts of our imagination tend to dull. Whether from sadness, prolonged struggle, or social conditioning, somewhere along the way people forget how to tap into the inherent magic that exists within our minds. Don’t let that part of your imagination fade away. Look up at the stars and imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a pilot. Imagine exploring the pyramids or Machu Picchu. Imagine flying like a bird or crashing through a wall like Superman. Imagine running with dinosaurs or swimming like mer-creatures. All that exists is a product of someone’s imagination; treasure and nurture yours and you’ll always find yourself on the precipice of discovery.
How does any of this lend to the creation of a peaceful society you ask? It begins with a cause. Your causes create the effects that shape your future and the future of all those around you. Be the leaders in the movie of your life. You are the director, producer, and actor. Be bold and tirelessly compassionate as you dance through the voyage that is this lifetime.

Rasha Goel talks to the Oscar winners of the 2016 blockbuster The Revenant

Rasha Tom HardyLeonardo DiCaprio won his first Best Actor Oscar for the 20th Century Fox blockbuster. Alejandro González Iñárritu won his second consecutive Best Director statue, becoming the first back-to-back Best Director winner since Joseph L Mankiewicz won for A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve in 1951 and 1952. And Emmanuel Lubezki won for Best Cinematography, which makes sense since even people who didn’t care much for the movie agreed that it was a gorgeous looking motion picture.

Entertainment reporter Rasha Goel talks to stars of The Revenant for global media.

Other events Rasha Goel cover for PNN

Black Angels Over Tuskegee

PROMOPic_TUSKEGEE_PICVibrantly energetic and emotionally captivating, Black Angels Over Tuskegee continues to enlighten and educate Off-Broadway audiences after an extended opening. (more…)

Harry Belafonte


Civil Rights Activist, Actor (1927–)


A multi-talented performer, Harry Belafonte was born on March 1, 1927, in New York City. As a youth, he struggled with poverty and a turbulent family life. Belafonte’s career took off with the film Carmen Jones (1954). Soon after, he had several hits—”The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” and “Jamaica Farewell.” In addition to his acting and singing career, Belafonte worked as a champion for many social and political causes.

Early Years

The oldest son of Caribbean immigrants, Harry Belafonte spent his early years in New York City. His mother worked as a dressmaker and a house cleaner, and his father served as a cook in the British Royal Navy. As a young child, Belafonte’s parents divorced. The boy was sent to Jamaica, his mother’s native country, to live with relatives. There, he saw firsthand the oppression of blacks by the English authorities, which left a lasting impression on him.

Belafonte returned to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in 1939 to live with his mother. They struggled in poverty, and Belafonte was often cared for by others while his mother worked. “The most difficult time in my life was when I was a kid,” he later told People magazine. “My mother gave me affection, but, because I was left on my own, also a lot of anguish.”

Career Beginnings

Dropping out of high school, Belafonte enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1944. He served in the Pacific during the end of World War II. After being discharged from the service, Belafonte returned to New York City. He seemed directionless for a time, working a series of odd jobs. But Belafonte soon found his career inspiration after attending a performance of the American Negro Theater.So moved by the performance, Belafonte decided that he wanted to become an actor. He studied drama at the Dramatic Workshop run by Erwin Piscator. His classmates included Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau and Rod Steiger. Belafonte appeared in numerous American Negro Theater productions, but he caught his first big break, singing for a class project. He impressed Monte Kay, who offered Belafonte the opportunity to perform at a jazz club called the Royal Roost. Backed by such talented musicians as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, Belafonte became a popular act at the club. In 1949, he landed his first recording deal.

First Successes

By 1950, Belafonte had switched his musical style, dropping popular music from his repertoire in favor of folk. He became an avid student of traditional folk songs from around the world, and started appearing in such New York City folk clubs as the Village Vanguard.

Debuting on Broadway in 1953, Belafonte won a Tony Award for his performance in John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, in which he performed several of his own songs. He also appeared in another well-received musical revue, 3 for Tonight, in 1955.

Around this time, Belafonte launched his film career. He played a school principal opposite Dorothy Dandridge in his first movie, Bright Road (1953). The pair reunited the following year for Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical. Oscar Hammerstein II had written the musical as a contemporary, African-American version of the opera Carmen, by Georges Bizet. Belafonte received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Joe, a soldier who falls for the title character, played by Dandridge.

The success of Carmen Jones made Belafonte a star, and soon he became a music sensation. After signing with RCA Victor Records, he released Calypso (1956), an album featuring his take on traditional Caribbean folk music. “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” proved to be a huge hit. More than just a popular tune, it also had a special meaning for Belafonte. “That song is a way of life,” Belafonte later told The New York Times. “It’s a song about my father, my mother, my uncles, the men and women who toil in the banana fields, the cane fields of Jamaica.”

Calypso introduced America to a new genre of music, and became the first album to sell more than one million copies. Belafonte also worked with other folk artists, including Bob Dylan and the legendary Odetta. The pair sang their version of the traditional children’s song “There’s a Hole in My Bucket.” In 1961, Belafonte had another big hit with “Jump in the Line.”

Belafonte proved to be a ground-breaker in another realm as well: He became the first African-American television producer, working on numerous musical shows. In the early 1970s, Belafonte teamed up with singer Lena Horne for a one-hour special.


The Gospel at Colonus

Colonus-Stage-2It’s fairly unusual for a 30-plus-year-old experimental theater piece to remain trenchant, affecting and exhilarating at the same time, but that’s the incisive case with “The Gospel at Colonus” at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.
“Colonus” still transpires within the milieu of an African American Pentecostal service, as a visiting preacher (the ever-remarkable Roger Robinson) sermonizes Sophocles’ cursed hero, and a blind gospel singer (the extraordinary Ellis Hall) represents his exiled trek to redemption in death.
Adjunct participants are an evangelist Antigone (eloquent Kim Staunton), pastor Theseus (resonant William Allen Young), deacon Creon (erudite J.A. Preston), and so forth, fusing the traditions of the sanctuary and the amphitheater

Richmond Barthé

220px-RichmondBartheBorn in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in 1901, Richmond Barthé moved to New Orleans, Louisiana at an early age. Little is known about his early youth, except that he grew up in a devoutly Roman Catholic household, he enjoyed drawing and painting, and his formal schooling did not go beyond grade school. From the age of sixteen until his early twenties, Barthé supported himself with a number of service and unskilled jobs, including house servant, porter, and cannery worker. His artistic talent was noticed by his parish priest when Barthé contributed two of his paintings to a fundraising event for his church. The priest was so impressed with his art that he encouraged Barthé to apply to the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois and raised enough money to pay for his travel and tuition.

From 1924 to 1928, Barthé studied painting at the Art Institute, while continuing to engage in unskilled and service employment to support himself.Even though he mainly studied painting, Barthé’s talent as a sculptor was recognized by his fellow students and local critics in Chicago. In 1928, he put on a one-man show that was sponsored by the Chicago Women’s Club. He eveR Barthentually moved to New York City, New York, locating his studio in Greenwich Village and creating art – and socializing – with central figures of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langston Hughes, Alain Locke, Augusta Savage, and Carl Van Vechten. While he rejected the circumscription of his art within racial boundaries, his most well-regarded work had a strong racial content. Feral Benga and African Dancer, the latter of which was purchased by the Whitney Museum of American Art, celebrated the black body and African culture, while The Mother contemplated the horrors of lynching. Of particular inspiration to Barthé’s art was the black male body, a reflection of his comfort with his homosexuality, according to one of the foremost scholars of Barthé.Barthé continued to create sculpture well into the 1960s, some of which was commissioned as public art. He sculpted an American eagle for the Social Security Building in Washington, D.C. and a bas-relief for the Harlem River Housing Project. In 1949, the Haitian government commissioned him to create monuments to the revolutionary leaders Toussaint L’Overture and Jean Jacques Dessalines in Port-au-Prince. In addition to spending time in Haiti, Barthé lived in Jamaica before returning to the United States and settling in southern California. He died in 1989.

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“It’s A Jazz Day” for Grammy Consideration

Grammy posterStephanie ’ s cd “ It ’ s a jazz Day ” features her originals and soulful Jazz classics with a Latin spin. Also, Brenda Russell wrote the song “ It ’ s a Jazz Day ” & sang on the recording with Stephanie. Also, Patrice Rushen who plays keys on a few selections along with Stephanie ’ s band Peewee & Michiko Hill, Nolan Shaheed, Michael O ’ Neill, Stacey Lamont Sydnor and Zane Musa.

Recently Stephanie Spruill received the prestigious Living Legends of Jazz Award from the City of Los Angeles. She also appeared on the 87 th Academy Awards singing with John Legend and Common on the Oscar winning song “ Glory ” to rave reviews. Very few can righteously claim to have sung on hundreds of gold and platinum records as Stephanie Spruill. She toured and/or recorded with Julio Iglesias, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, Harvey Mason , Jeff Lorber, David T. Walker, Nancy Wilson, Placido Domingo, Rickey Martin, Elton John, Enrique Iglesias, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, to being the sole woman wailing on the climactic Tom Petty ’ s “ Don ’ t Come Around Here No More ” and leading the chorus on Billy Idol ’ s rousing “ Mony Mony ” …to have sung, directed and contracted the 42 person choir for Michael Jackson & The Jacksons’ “ Can You Feel It ” and arranged and sung on the sultry, sexy backgrounds for Gino Vanelli ’ s “ I Just Wanna Stop ” …to have sung the stratospheric otherworldly scales of jazz trumpet legend Donald Byrd ’ s “ Stepping Into Tomorrow ” then played all that funky-funky tambourine on his Quiet Storm classic “ Think Twice ” . Steven Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd (The Rides) featured Stephanie ’ s vocals on 6 songs on their latest cd.

Click here for more on Stephanie Spruill

Kanye West & Steve McQueen Premier Short Film at LACMA

West and McQueen‘Faron Manuel
Rapper Kanye West, and Director Steve McQueen are both known for employing a range of mediums to express their individual creativity, but this past weekend the two creatives (a term coined by West) premiered their nine minute short film All Day/I Feel Like That at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). In this four day pop up show, art enthusiast, as well as music heads, and film goers have a chance to explore all three mediums in the show.

Still, Oscar winning 12 Years a Slave Director McQueen, is no stranger to the world of fine art, as he is also the winner of the prestigious art award, the Turner Prize which he earned in 1999, for an exhibit featuring a series of short video clips exploring the relationships between motion, sound, aesthetics, and perception. Stating in an interview at the Walker Art Center, how he and many of his early contemporaries with aspirations of becoming film makers in Britain would produce film art to compensate for their inability to create full length films, due to lack of resources.

But McQueen is not the only member in this collaboration with a foothold in the visual arts, as West, who recently obtained an honorary doctoral degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. West previously attended an arts college before he became the famous college dropout that we are now acquainted with.

With all things considered, this collaboration between West and McQueen is a natural occurrence, as both artists have continued to blur the lines that separate the various mediums in which they operate. Then too, West has previously collaborated with artist, George Condo to produce the visuals for his Dark Twisted Fantacy album (2010), which was accompanied by a short film directed by West, entitled Runaway. What is more, LACMA has previously acquired works by McQueen for their contemporary holdings. In All Day/I Feel Like That the dialectical relationship between the subject, and object and the continuous shifting of this dynamic in video production is grappled with. More precisely, the artist statement leading in to the exhibit states, “As in the meeting between the bull and the matador, it remains unclear who chases whom in the arena. The roles of the pursuer and pursued are at times inverted.” The exhibition of the film which was shot outside London will be open through Tuesday, July 28 at LACMA in Los Angeles.

Kim Kardashian West, Kanye West, Steve McQueen, and LACMA’s Michael Govan Photo:

Faron Manuel is currently a student at Clark Atlanta University in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. He will graduate in Spring 2015 with a degree in history, and is currently serving as the Undergraduate President of the Student Government Association. Prior to becoming an SGA officer he worked as a Docent and Student Assistant in the Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries, where he earned both UNCF, and Andrew Mellon Fellowships for the Arts. He is the winner of the 2014 Center for Community Change Be the Change essay contest, for The Nation Magazine. As well as a student ambassador for BET News’s “What’s At Stake”.

Looking For Love

‘The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets, the prettiest eyes have cried the most tears and the kindest hearts have felt the most pain.’

Synopsis…Despite modern advances in communication technology, many people face (more…)

#BlackHistory365 coming to CCBFF

BLACK_HISTORY8X11AUSTIN, TEXAS – July 28, 2015 – Amaz1n Entertainment Productions/Collin Hardeman announced today that its documentary/short film #BlackHistory365 has been invited to the third annual Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF), an Austin, Texas-based organization dedicated to films written or directed and produced by Black filmmakers, films with Black actors in principle roles or that are about Black characters, subject matter or issues related to the Black community.

Enter PW: BH365 to view video

The signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was a monumental turning point in the Civil Rights Movement! It signified the end of segregation and prejudice against African Americans. 50 years later, the killings of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many others at the hands of law enforcement officers have rocked the Nation causing many to question whether the progression has slowed, stopped altogether, and possibly reversing?

Although the events happened in specific regions of the Country, many cities activated and held public demonstrations that grew in huge numbers daily. It brought all ethnicities together in solidarity to carry the message that injustice will not be tolerated! That message went well beyond our borders as other Countries held their own public displays in support!

Here is compilation of all the public demonstrations and events we captured in Austin, Texas including the Civil Rights Summit and MLK March. The recent events will forever be etched in our history that will not be talked about for a month, but for centuries!

#BlackHistory365 was inspired by the film Selma and features a compilation of clips gathered from public demonstrations, protests, and rallies in Austin, Texas in light of the recent killings of African American men by police officers.

#BlackHistory365 is among 60 films that will be shown throughout the three-day festival that includes networking, panel discussions, workshops, dynamic film screenings and parties.

Headshot (Collin Hardeman)“I’m very excited about the opportunity to showcase this film during such a controversial time in the United States. I hope the positive message reflected in this film will have a resonating affect on those that view it, not only here in the city of Austin, but the entire World,” says Hardeman – Director/Producer of Amaz1n Entertainment Productions.

AEGraphic-2The Festival will begin this year with Harlem Lightsl, which includes a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the show starting at 7:30 p.m., August 13, 2015 at the Palmer Events Center in Austin, TX.  Harlem Lights! highlights the history of Austin Area African Americans in film, will feature live music, rare photographs, film clips, local actors and will be hosted by film, television and theater veteran Julius Tennon. This historical presentation honors Austin’s own Harlem Theater and lifetime achievement awards will be given to Austin’s own Tennon, actress, comedian, music performer “Damita Jo” LeBlanc, and jazz musician Gil Askey, one of the architects of the famous Motown sound.

“This year’s films represent the rich talent we have in this country and Winston G. Williamsaround the world both in front of and behind to camera,” said Winston G. Williams, Executive Director of CCBFF.

SANTA MONICA, CA - JANUARY 08:  Actors Julius Tennon and Viola Davis arrive on the red carpet at VH1's 14th Annual Critics' Choice Awards held at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on January 8, 2009 in Santa Monica, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for VH1)Tennon, Co-President and Producer of JuVee Productions, and his wife, award-winning actress Viola Davis, have been supporters of CCBFF since its inception because they felt having a Black film presence
in Austin was long overdue.

“Black films are important because they give African-American artists a place to showcase their work to our community, and to the wider communities across the country,” said Tennon. “They serve to shine a light on our stories and struggles, but more importantly, our success. They show that we are a force, and what we have to say stands for something.”

Front Porch Poetry & Platitudes

Producer – Director – Writer – Actor Charles Woods Gray for many years has written poetry and at long last has  decided to share some of his original pieces on the Plaza Noir Network. Enjoy

TLR the Midnight Poet introduces Release the Peace

Tommye Lee Ray cordially invites you to a book signing on July 26th, 2015 for his newly published work “Release the Peace”. (more…)

Tommy Franklin presents Memphis Jones

Memphis Jones

Memphis Jones “On The Couch” with Brooklyn Moore. (more…)

Morgan Freeman to Produce HBO Miniseries on Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves

morgan-freeman-and-bass-reeves-e1432097097145*After more than two decades, the ball is now rolling for a film on Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.

Deadline reports that HBO put an untitled event miniseries project in development that will come from Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary’s Revelations Entertainment and Grey’s Anatomy co-star James Pickens, Jr.

Freeman and McCreary will serve as executive producers on the miniseries through Revelations Entertainment, while Pickens, Jr. will executive produce though Bay Spring Productions.

Based on Art T. Burton’s biography “Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal TurkBass Reeves,” Black Gun silver starthe untitled event miniseries will chronicle the life of Reeves, one of the least known heroes of the Old West who became one of the first black US Deputy Marshals in the Oklahoma territory deputized by the legendary “hanging judge” Isaac C. Parker.

Noted for being a master of disguise, a great shot and one of the most effective lawmen in Indian territory, Reeves brought in more than 3,000 outlaws, in addition to killing some 14 outlaws. According to Deadline, although Reeves was rumored to be the inspiration for the lead character in the ”The Lone Ranger” TV series, a black man couldn’t be cast in that role from that time period. As a result, the character was made into a white man with a black mask.

News of Reeve’s life being made into an event miniseries caps off more than two decades of Freeman and McCreary trying to get the lawman’s story to the screen. The editor of Freeman’s directorial debut “Bopha!,” Neil Travis, introduced the duo to Reeves in 1993. For Freeman, a self-described “Western fanatic,” the project is a dream come true, considering he grew up watching Westerns and noticed the lack of anyone from that time period that looked like him.

“Wait a minute, who was there — there were bunch of white people and a few Mexicans,” Freeman told Deadline regarding his impressions of Westerns during his childhood as he touched on the Bass Reeves project. “I always wanted to do my own Western that was going to be it,” he said of the Bass Reeves project. “This is a black man in America’s legendary Western history who has been totally overlooked. Any chance I get to revisit historical moments of our country is important to me.”

Upon reading Burton’s book, “Bass Reeves, Black, Red and Deadly: Black and Indian Gunfighters of the Indian Territory,” Morgan and Travis found themselves doing research at Forth Smith, AZ, where a statue of Reeves, the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi River, is located.

Despite it going through various incarnations a script never pleasing the producers, Revelations continued to keep the Bass Reeves film project active with Freeman and McCreary revisiting the idea occasionally.

The idea to turn the project into a miniseries came as the pair were caught up with what was going on in television and the “the extraordinary characters it was introducing,” McCreary admitted to Deadline.

Pickens came aboard the project as McCreary and Freeman got word of Pickens’ efforts to tell Reeves’ story. Oscar-nominated writer John Sayles later joined the trio to write the project, which was ultimately pitched to HBO.

In addition to Reeves’ time as a hero frontier Marshall, the project will also highlight Reeves’ toughest capture, that of his own son, who had been charged with the murder of his wife in a crime of passion. Despite being shaken, Reeves insisted on being the one to bring his son in, which came about two weeks later. Reeves’ son was tried and later sent to prison, Deadline reports, adding that he was later
pardoned for good behavior and lived the rest of his life as a model citizen.

Although there aren’t any plans for Freeman to play Reeves, the site mentions that he may play another role in the miniseries.

Rahmlee Michael Davis featured on debut CD Chronology

Rahmlee on trumpet & Steve Robbins on piano plays tribute to Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance” from the debut CD ‘Chronology’Now & Thencrp

New Jazz Explorers’ ‘Chronology’ features a combination of traditional jazz pieces (each rendered with an original twist) and traditionally-inspired original jazz compositions.

Journey through the “Golden Age” of jazz, beginning with the simple infectious swing of the mainstream Bebop of the Charlie Parker era and then proceeding through the cool school (Miles Davis era) to the more sophisticated later stylings of the modal and post Bop periods (Herbie Hancock, Coltrane, etc.)

Click here for more information

Emory Douglas: The Art of the Black Panthers

Emory douglas

Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers from Dress Code on Vimeo.

One of the unique aspects of the Black Panthers as a political project was their emphasis on the cultural component of revolutionary work. In addition to community-based education and social programs for both children and adults, the Panthers had a house band (The Lumpen—check them out), and a Emory douglasobamaMinister of Culture, the groundbreaking Emory Douglas, whose art for The Black Panther newspaper created a visual context for black liberation. Douglas’ political art came honest. His own impoverished childhood in the Bay Area was interrupted by a spell in a juvenile detention center, where he found a niche in the prison print shop. He later studied commercial art at San Francisco City College, which is where he joined the Black Students Union before being appointed Minister of Culture.

Douglas’ work is incredibly distinctive, often produced with very little budget or time. He favored bold, organic lines, thoughtful collage-work and saturated colors, creating imagery of both dignified black people and cartoonish political antagonists (often soldiers, cops or politicians depicted as rats or pigs). You’ll notice a lot of weapons—remember, the original name was “The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense,” and much of the original intent was protecting black communities from police harassment—but Douglas was also invested in producing joyful or righteous images of hope. Douglas struck a perfect balance between optimism and realism, a negotiation that produced an enormous and varied body of work that still bore his unmistakable style.

Though Douglas continued producing art well after the Panther’s dissolution (most notably for the black-oriented newspaper, The San Francisco Sun Reporter) the work below is all from his tenure as Minister of Culture (between 1967 and the 1980s, though the dates for individual works are often unavailable or contested.). It’s only been since the 2000’s that Emory Douglas’ work has been curated into larger retrospective exhibits, and only since 2014 that his work has been collected into a (fantastic) book, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas

Master performances by Bennie Maupin at ARC Pasadena

The music of composer Bennie Maupin has been seen before on Plaza Noir in collaboration with dances of choreographer Seonagh Odhiambo Horne and Asava Dance. This time Maupin will again perform live with dance. (more…)


The Veterans Suicide Prevention Channel is launching a nationwide show NEW VSPC LOGOsearch for empowering and entertaining television shows to air on its broadcast channel.
Austin, Texas – The Veterans Suicide Prevention Channel (VSPChannel), a non-profit channel created for the prevention of veteran suicides throughout America, (more…)

Now En Espanol starring Marabina Jaimes

Pulling back the curtain of one of Hollywood’s lesser-known communities, NOW_KeyArt_600x889Now En Español follows the lives and careers of the Marabina_6136Latina voice over actresses who dub “Desperate Housewives” into Spanish.

Now En Español, directed by Andrea Meller, narrated by and starring Emmy Award Winner Marabina Jaimes, Marabina_64832also starring Marcela Bordes, Ivette Gonzalez, Gabriela Del Carmen Lopetegui, and Natasha Perez has been an official selection of several festivals, including:

– The Santa Barbara International Film Fest,
– The Big Sky Documentary Festival in Montana
– Arizona Film Festival
– XVII Xican Indie Festival in Denver
– 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival

and will have its television Premiere on PBS’ Award Winning ‘VOCES’ Documentary Series on APRIL 24, 2015 at 10pm.

Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson: Coming Forth by Day: A Tribute to Billie Holiday
Friday, March 27, 2015, 8:00 PM

Grammy winner Cassandra Wilson showcases her blues, country, and folk-tinged delivery, singing selections from her newest recording (release date scheduled for April 2015) highlighting the artistry of Billie Holiday. Eisenhower Theater  90 minutes $45.00 – $69.00

Shele Sondhiem: Coming soon to Plaza Lounge.

“Shele Sondheim is a guitarist, pop songwriter, music producer, lyricist, vocal arranger, studio session specialist, electronic dance remixer, industry networking expert and international music business entrepreneur. Shele3He serves as Chief Creative Officer for his global music production and publishing company CSM Words and Music.”

Stephanie Spruill releases It’s A Jazzy Day

Album Notes Internationally Acclaimed Vocalist Extraordinaire Stephanie Spruill
Releases Breathtaking First-Ever Jazz CD. It's A Jazzy Day
Across the course of a peerless career, Stephanie Spruill represents excellence in music recording, performance, composition and education in a profound plethora of ways…in every genre…and on all of Earth’s 7 continents.
No one else can righteously claim to have sung before the Emperor of Japan and the Queen of England…to have been one of Country superstar Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowgirls on stage as well as one of Disco diva Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls” on record…to have toured the world for over five years as a featured singer with Spanish superstar Julio Iglesias to singing at The Metropolitan Opera House with the incomparable Placido Domingo…be the sole African American woman wailing on the climactic close of southern rocker Tom Petty’s “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and leading the chorus on punk rocker Billy Idol’s rousing “Mony Mony”…to have sung among and contracted the chorus for Michael Jackson &The Jacksons’ concert opening anthem “Can You Feel It” and arranged the sultry, sexy backgrounds for Canadian soul-pop heartthrob Gino Vannelli’s “I Just Wanna Stop”…to have sung the stratospheric otherworldly scales of jazz trumpet legend Donald Byrd’s “Stepping Into Tomorrow” then played all that funky-funky tambourine on his Quiet Storm classic “Think Twice”…from singing onscreen with Brenda Russell as one of “The Delights” in the Rock and Roll movie “American Hot Wax,” to singing the original demo leads and backgrounds (which remained on the track) for The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men.” These are but a fraction of cherry-picked highlights from Spruill’s sprawling memoirs.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Stephanie's promoPurchase on CDbaby NOW!




Bennie Maupin

The Bennie Maupin Quartet European Winter Tour 2014

Bennie Maupin (bs clar, ten sax), Vidal Montgomery (bs), Carl Orr (gtr), Rod Youngs (drs).Bennie Maupin is best-known for his association with Herbie Hancock and his atmospheric bass clarinet playing on Miles Davis’ classic Bitches Brew album.  (more…)

Aneesa Strings drops Letter of Recommendation

Riding the success of her debut album A Shift in Paradigm, Aneesa Strings drops off very retro visuals for her 3rd single, “Letter Of Recommendation”. Anessa Strings - Letter of RecommendationThe video was directed by Psycho Films. (more…)

Mobile in Black and White

The 5th Annual Awareness Festival presents this excellent film on Saturday, September 20, 2014, 7-9 pm (more…)

John Coltrane – Offering: Live at Temple University

Release Date: September 23, 2014

Recorded November 11, 1966
Mitten Hall, Temple University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Rogers and Maupin Receives Honors At Capital City Black Film Festival

Sabu@CCBFFJazz In The Rainforest, a documentary film produced and directed by Paul Sabu Rogers in collaboration with jazz icon & composer, Bennie Maupin recently won second place honors in the 2014 Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) held in Austin, Texas.

Rogers began his career in television & film production in 1984 after studying at Pasadena City College and UCLA. He worked in the Hollywood media community as cameraman, editor, director and producer along with Emmy and Oscar award winners such as Daryl Hannah, Ed Begley, Jr., and Debbie Allen and others.  Bennie Maupin, whose work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and many other notables World-class musician and legendary bass clarinetist.has secured a firm place for him in jazz history.
The film, Jazz In The Rainforest documented The Bennie Maupin Ensemble’s journey to Manaus, Brasil for their concert performance in the historic Teatros Amazonas Opera House at the 2013 Amazonas Jazz Festival as well as their exploration of the rainforest and cultural exchanges with the people and musicians of Brasil.
The recently completed film was selected to participate in the CCBFF among a roster of 50 other superbly produced films where it received second place honors in the documentary feature category.  Rogers & Maupin seek to raise funds to secure distribution of the film for exposure to national and international audiences as well as the development of future film projects for educational and cultural outreach  programs especially aimed at youth.  Jazz In The Rainforest reflects the filmmaker’s vision to develop work that brings family focused edutainment and multicultural content to global audiences.

Jazz In The Rainforest

What: A Special Screening of Jazz In The Rainforest
When: July 27,1014, 2PM
Where: Pasadena Central Library / Donald R. Wright Auditorium
285 East Walnut Street,Pasadena, CA
View Map »

This video launches the promotion of the documentary film Jazz In The Rainforest which features the Bennie Maupin Ensemble JITR image5live performance at the 8th Annual Amazonas Jazz Festival in Manaus, Brazil. 2013.Directed by Paul Sabu Rogers for BMV Film Productions and Benpin Music Music Compositions by Bennie Maupin (more…)

Paul Sabu Rogers

Producer/Director/Editor/Videographer, currently screening a new documentary entitled JazzInTheRainforest at film festivals worldwide.

Paul Sabu Rogers’, career in television and film production and post started in 1984, after a brief but productive career as a jazz and R&B musician.   (more…)

Herbie Hancock Ethics of Jazz Lecture Series at Harvard

Buddhism and Creativity lecture by Professor Herbie Hancock

Set.2″Breaking the Rules ”


Maurice Kitchen’s “The Testimony of a Negro”

Maurice Kitchen’s solo performance in “Testimony of a Negro” was fantastic to say the least! I was taught, I laughed, I cried, I amen’s, I gasped and I sighed. I think I experienced every emotion in the book! (more…)

Moments in Black History

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields (1832-1914), the first African American mail carrier (male or female) in the United States

Mary Fields began her life as a slave in Tennessee in 1832, the exact date is unknown. Mary’s mother Susanna was the personal servant to the plantation owner’s wife, Mrs. Dunnes. The plantation wife also had a daughter who was born within two weeks of Mary, and named Dolly. Mrs. Dunne allowed the children to play together. Over the years Mary was taught to read and write and the two girls became best friends. At sixteen, Dolly was sent to boarding school in Ohio and Mary was left all alone.

Mary’s father worked in the fields on the Dunnes’ farm. He was sold after Mary was born. Mary’s mother wanted her daughter to have a last name, so since her father Buck worked in the fields, her mother decided her last name should be Fields. So thus Mary Fields came to be. After Mary’s mother passed away, Mary became the head of the household at the young age of fourteen.

After Dolly went away to boarding school, The Civil War began. The slaves were left to fend for themselves. It was during this time that she learned many life survival skills. She learned how to garden, raise chickens and practice medicine with natural herbs.

Around the age of 30 Mary heard from her dear friend Dolly. Dolly was now a nun and was renamed Sister Amadaus. The Sister asked Mary to join her at a convent in Ohio. Mary immediately began her twenty-day trip from Tennessee to Ohio. Mary remained with the Ursuline Sisters for many years – even when Dolly relocated to the St. Peter’s Mission in Montana. Mary never married and she had no children. The nuns were her family. She protected the nuns.

Mary wanted to follow her friend to Montana, but was told it was too remote and rustic. However, that all changed when Mother Amadaus became ill with pneumonia and wrote to Mary asking for her support and healing. Mary wasted no time and departed for Montana by stagecoach in 1885. At 53 years old Mary started her new life in Montana. Mary helped nurse Mother Amadaus back to health. The sisters were all in amazement of this tough black woman. Mary was no stranger to rolling a cigar, shooting guns and drinking whiskey. She grew fresh vegetables that were enjoyed by the Sisters and the surrounding community. Mary was forced to leave her beloved mission and the Sisters after a shooting incident. Mary shot in self-defense, and was found innocent, but had to find a new home.

Wells Fargo had the mail contract during that time and was looking for someone for the Great Falls to Fort Benton route to deliver the U.S. Mail. It was a rough and rugged route and would require a person of strong will and great survival skills to maneuver the snowy roads and high winds. Mary immediately applied at the ripe age of 60 years old. It was rumored that she could hitch a team of horses faster than the boys half her age and due to her toughness, she was hired! Mary became the first African American mail carrier in the United States and the second woman. Mary was proud of the fact that her stage was never held up. Mary and her mule Moses, never missed a day and it was during this time that she earned the nickname of “Stagecoach,” for her unfailing reliability.

The townspeople adopted Mary as one of their own. They celebrated her birthday twice a year since she didn’t know the exact date of her real birthday. Mary Fields was known as Black Mary and Stagecoach Mary. She was considered an eccentric even in these modern times. She was six feet tall and over 200 pounds. By the time she was well known in Central Montana, she had a pet eagle, a penchant for whiskey, baseball (which was a new sport at the time) and a heart as big as the gun she was famous for carrying. Mary wore a buffalo skin dress that she made herself – you might say she drew attention wherever she went – even in a small western pioneer town. Mary was a local celebrity and her legend and tales of her adventures were known by surrounding communities and neighboring states.

Gary Cooper (the actor) had his mail delivered by Mary as a young boy in Cascade County. As an adult, he wrote about her for Ebony Magazine in 1955. Her wrote of her kindness and his admiration for her. The famous western artists Charlie Russell drew a sketch of her. It was a pen and ink sketch of a mule kicking over a basket of eggs with Mary looking none to happy.

Mary retired her post in 1901 and passed away in 1914. She is buried at Highland Cemetery at St. Peter’s Mission. Her grave is marked with a simple cross.


In August 1955, Chicago teen Emmett Till traveled to Mississippi to visit family. Less than a week later, he was dead. Why? The 14-year-old reportedly whistled at a white shop owner’s wife. In retaliation, the man and his brother kidnapped Till on Aug. 28. They then beat and shot him, finally dumping him in a river, where they weighed him down by attaching an industrial fan to his neck with barbed wire. When Till’s decomposed body turned up days later, he was grotesquely disfigured. So the public could see the violence done to her son, Till’s mother, Mamie, had an open casket at his funeral. Pictures of mutilated Till sparked global outrage and kicked off the U.S. civil rights movement.

In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that blacks and whites could have separate but equal facilities, leading 21 states to allow segregation in public schools. But separate didn’t really mean equal. Black students often attended schools with no electricity, indoor bathrooms, libraries or cafeterias. Children studied out of secondhand books in crowded classrooms. Given this, the Supreme Court decided in 1954’s Brown v. Board case that “the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place” in education. Afterward lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who represented black families in the case, said, “I was so happy I was numb.” The Amsterdam News called Brown the “greatest victory for the Negro people since the emancipation proclamation.”

After a long career as an actress and singer, Pearl Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Georgetown University in 1985.


Ron Muldrow Jazz Guitarist remembered

Ronald Muldrow (born February 2, 1949 in Chicago and died January 31, 2007 in Los Angeles) was a soul jazz and hard bop
href=””>jazz guitarist.[1]

As an emerging jazz guitarist in the early 1970s, Muldrow connected with soul-jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris and contributed to many of his Atlantic albums from 1971 to 1976 and reunited with the saxophonist on Listen Here (1982).[2]

A teenage Muldrow heard jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery play “Canadian Sunset” on the radio and was captivated. His first big-time gig was with the Staple Singers, a gospel group.[3] He also taught at various colleges and had published guitar-instruction books.[4]

Muldrow began forming bands in high school and earned a bachelor’s in jazz studies from Roosevelt University in Illinois and a master’s in studio and jazz guitar from the USC Thornton School of Music.s


As leader

As sideman

With Eddie Harris

With Luther Thomas

Nolan Shaheed Productions Presents “Rejoicing!”

Music by Nolan and Sharon Shaheed
From the musical “REJOICE”
by Ron Stacker Thompson & Pamela Goodlow-Green


A tribute to Nelson Mandela:

Continuous live coverage of events following the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela.. (more…)

CM Productions wins for best doc at Santa Monica Indie Film Festival

Cameron M. Tucker, producer/director and most noted for his exquisite videography and photography on Hugh Howser’s PBS award winning program, “California Gold” puts out a new documentary entitled Do-Si-Do.

Abshalom Ben Shlomo Ethnic Experience: 10,000 Recollections

Starting his musical career in Chicago, Abshalom Ben Shlomo has played with Sun Ra in New York, Michael Greenblatt’s From the Other Side Band, and the Soul Messengers Band in Israel. He has performed throughout the Holy Land with top Israeli Jazz artists and became an annual headline performer at the Eilat Jazz Festival in southern Israel. His musical influences are Coltrane, Sun Ra’s John Gilmore, and Miles Davis. The Abshalom Ben Shlomo Ethnic Experience: 10,000 Recollections is an African Hebrew Israelite Jazz album featuring songstress and creative writer Ahdaiyah Baht Israel.

Lou Beatty Jr.

Lou Beatty is marvelous at the National Black Theatre Festival he plays Old Robert in the presentation of “Lady Patriot”, written and directed by Ted Lange. (more…)

BMV on the Road Summer of 2013

The crew continue their journey down the Amazon to view the Meeting of the Waters,  the confluence between the Rio Negro, a river with dark (almost black colored) water, and the sandy-colored Amazon River or Rio Solimões, as it is known the upper section of the Amazon in Brazil. For 6 km (3.7 mi) the river’s waters run side by side without mixing. It is one of the main tourist attractions of Manaus, Brazil.


Lucson and Daniela converse about the culture and the people of Manaus, Brazil as they sail the Black River.

Meet Daniela Pinheiro our lovely young guide and translator while in Brazil. We enjoyed a 2 hour cruise on the Black River.

After nearly 48 hours of traveling we finally land in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. It was midnight and the temps were reaching 90 degrees, but we were glad to be finally there. Let the adventure begin!

Day 2
After missing our flight to Manaus in Miami we are back on the road to Brazil again. Lot’s more to come… (more…)

Sabrina presents a fresh new artist, Sabrina with the release of a new single, “You’re The One”


Heidi “HIDE” Martin

A passionate and raw songstress, Vocalist/Composer Heidi Martin makes each song her own. Her socially conscious compositions challenge the listener to hear with an introspective ear. A Washington D.C. Native who studied music at the University of the District of Columbia with Professor Calvin Jones and continued privately with drummer/vocalist Grady Tate, Martin credits the legend with helping her find her “voice” as an artist.

A sought after collaborator, Martin has performed and/or recorded with Nicholas Payton, Reuben Brown, Steve Williams, Russell Gunn, Orrin Evans, Eric Revis, Gregoire Maret and the late Keter Betts, since making her 1999 debut on the New York jazz scene at Birdland. Martin honed her craft in New York City at the legendary Blue Note, the Knitting Factory, The Zinc Bar (w/Ron Affif), Cachaca, Metronome and continues to perform nationwide at Zanzibar Blue, Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns and Twins Lounge. Internationally she has performed at the Pori Jazz Festival, Finland and at Chelsea’s splendid Cadogan Hall in London, England. Martin is a featured vocalist on trumpeter Russell Gunn’s 2008 release, Love Stories and most recently, she performed the Cole Porter Songbook to a sold-out crowd at the 2011 DC Jazz Festival.
Each independently released project; Alone Together (1998) and HIDE (2005), have been met with critical acclaim and have lead Martin to domestic and international touring since her professional career began in New York City in 1999. Four of her compositions (Memphis, Rice, I Wanna Comfort You, Why Do I?) were chosen as a soundtrack to REVOLUTION ’67 – a documentary about the 1967 Newark rebellion by Emmy-nominated filmmakers Jerome and Marylou Bongiorno. The film was screened at the 27th Annual IFP Market in New York and debuted on PBS July 10th, 2007. In 2006 Martin was hand-picked to compete in the London International Jazz Vocal Competition (LIJC), where she placed as a top finalist among some 107 competitors from over 25 nations. Martin is a sensitive vocalist that delivers lyrics in an intimate mood on ballads and can be at once; open and intense yet deliberate on medium swing. In the words of Vanessa Rubin, “soaring soulful riffs, bending notes, and high notes that are so focused so right, they ring! It’s a wonderful experience for the listener!”
Hide (2005)
See hear, Love (1/2011)


General Info

Band Members:
George Burton p Kris Funn b Romeir Mendez Kush Abadey dr
Artist Name:
Heidi “HIDE” Martin
Home Page:
Jazz / Vocal / otha

Contact Info

Takoma Park, MD
u know who
DC Jazz loft’s Music All Night BLOWOUT is THIS Saturday
Night!!!June 15th Heidi Martin & Moon in Scorpio shares the stage with Jamire Williams’ “Erimaj”
Karriem Riggins &  Michael Bowie’s “Sine’ Que Non”
Heidi Martin’s Moon in Scorpio performs at 9pm & features:
George Burton on Piano/Violin,Romeir Mendez on Bass
and Jeremy “Bean” Clemons on Drums.
All original tunes $15 cover for all this music and more!
906 H Street NE DC Capital Bop’s DC Jazz Loft event is apart of the DC Jazz fest!

Angelo Metz Brazilian Singer/Composer

Coming soon to Plaza Noir, Angelo Metz, showcase his talents in 2011 performing at Music for Peace concert. We’re happy to welcome him in the coming weeks with more of his Brazilian Jazz guitar styling.

Maestro Gerald Wilson receives ICAP Founders Award

In appreciation of his seventy year music career and his contributions to promote peace, culture and education. The International Committee of… (more…)

BMV road trip to NAB

Post-Production at NAB Pt.1

This is a continuation of BMV Productions report on the National Broadcasters Associations’s convention in Las Vegas in April of 2013. Lucson Barthelemy interviews reps from Pro Cyc and Unreel leaders in Post-Production and Virtual sets, and compositing imagery technologies.

Video Production takes flight at NAB

This year’s NAB broadcasters and broader casters alike were anxious to get there hands on some new innovation, that has taken production to higher heights literally. Lucson Barthelemy interviews a broadercaster from DJI-Innovations about their lastest radio – controlled aerial image system “The Phantom”.


The BMV Productions team takes a road trip to film the 2013 National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas, NV. Lucson Barthelemy stands in as the host for a series of video reports of this long standings industry  event.  Enjoy some of the highlights of their amazing trip.

Ron Finley, “Gangster Gardener” Delivers TED Lecture On Neighborhood Gardens And Health


Ron Finley is a successful clothing designer and artist from Los Angeles whose life got a little dirtier when he realized something strange about his neighborhood.

He found that South Central, Los Angeles was overwhelmingly filled with “Liquor stores. Fast food. Vacant lots,”but had no great place to get fresh, affordable produce. “People are losing their homes, they’re hungry, they’re unemployed, and this area is so underserved with nutritional food.” Finley was quoted in an article that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Since he’d just taken a course on gardening at the Natural History Museum, he decided to put his newfound knowledge to good use and planted a garden in a small strip of grass by his house with the help of his teacher, Florence Nishida and some friends.

Even though Finley used a small plot of land — about 10 feet wide, 150 feet long according to the Los Angeles Times — the city still gave him a citation, which eventually turned into a warrant. His garden, filled with tomatoes, peppers and chard, celery, kale and herbs, had been deemed illegal.

Luckily with the help of LA Green Grounds, a charity he co-founded to help spread gardens throughout Los Angeles, Finley managed to overcome the citation, with the additional encouragement of his councilman, Herb Wesson. LA Green Grounds continues to help communities acquire gardening skills and grow their own produce, “And it always amazes me how planting a bunch of seeds or plants really can change someone’s life as they watch it grow, and then harvest it. I’ve seen people light up and literally change before my eyes.” Finley explains.

“Growing your own food is like printing your own money,” Finley said in his TED talk. He has educated his community in the importance of gardening as a sustainable, cost-effective and healthy activity in the hopes the can help turn these “food deserts” into “food forests.”

Finley perfectly sums up the significance of his gardening movement with this very promising observation: “If kids grow kale, kids eat kale!”

Louis Van Taylor Quartet Live


At the H.O.M.E. in Beverly Hills, California


Louis Van Taylor Plays with Kool and the Gang in Chile


To Louis Van Taylor profile

NickiiJean Models on the Red Carpet

Nicole “Nickiijean” Alexander

Nicole “Nickiijean” Alexander is an up and coming model and entrepreneur making her way to the top of the fashion world.  Models_InkThread.png

Born in Pasadena, California, Nickii was told many times as a child that she should model, but she did not have the resources or her mother’s approval due to strict religious beliefs.  Years later, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and before losing her ability to talk, she encouraged Nickii to pursue modeling and expressed how deeply she believed in her daughter.  Since her mother’s passing, Nickii has pursued her modeling career with fervor, determination, and that very special blessing.

Since 2008, Nickii has walked the runway for Ed Hardy, David Kahn, Bongo Republic, BLOW, Rich Scampi, Jay Stone, Lucy Bea, Skimwear, Raw Appeal, Lilly Blue and Malachi, amongst many others.  One of Nickii’s brightest moments was in 2011 when she lit up the runway during LA Fashion Week for Forever 21.

Nickii has been published in Elm Magazine, graced the cover of Live in Happiness Magazine, and worked campaigns for Disphunktional Clothing.  She has also appeared in Look Books for Michael Kluch, Sophistifunk Clothing, Eschenee Swimwear, and Fuxwitme Apparel.  She has been featured in a M.U.D. cosmetic tutorial video and made appearances in music videos for Cali Swag District, Bobbie Debarge Jr., Major James, Kendrick Lemar, and Jay Rock.  Nickii is also the new spokes model for Fat X 101 Fitness.  She can be seen in Fat X 101 fitness videos and modeling their new clothing line in the near future.

With a portfolio that is quickly expanding, Nickii is emerging as one of the most talented models of her generation and one of the freshest faces of today.  However, this model is not just beauty; she is also actively involved in her community and a motivational speaker.  Annually, Nickii participates in the Cancer Walk for the City of Pasadena in honor of her mother, and she is the Founder and Creator of the “Model in the Making” Mentoring Program for local youth.

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” – Nicole “Nickiijean” Alexander

Follow Nickiijean at:

Video: “Reflections on a King” A Tribute to MLK

Trevor Anderies “Shades of Truth” Album Release Party

Drummer and composer Trevor Anderies will be releasing his first full-length album “Shades of Truth” featuring many of the best musicians in Los Angeles. Trevor has been a frequent collaborator in the creative jazz scenes of both Los Angeles and Denver. His musical associations include Slumgum, Brian Walsh, Hugh Ragin, Vinny Golia, Dwight Trible, Ron Miles, and Bennie Maupin.

Click here to have a sneek peek of a track from the new CD, “Vermillion

Trevor will be performing with his group at the Blue Whale Jazz Club in celebration of the release of his new record. Joining him will be:
Dwight Trible, Jonathan Armstrong, Brian Walsh, Gavin Templeton, Daniel Rosenboom, Rory Cowal, and David Tranchina.
Here are some of the things people are saying about Trevor:
“Trevor Anderies’ drumming has hints of drum ‘n’ bass, though it also
has the melodicism of Max Roach or Roy Haynes.”—Dave Wayne,

“Anderies’ whispery cymbals growing to a succession of waves as the sax and bass rise tectonically against it – a call for help in a storm, maybe?”

Trevor will be appearing at the Blue Whale Jazz Club:

Friday February 15th  at 9pm
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite 301
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: 213-620-0908
$10 Cover

Remembering Carl Anderson

Carl Anderson was an American singer, film and theatre actor best known for his portrayal of Judas Iscariot in the Broadway and film versions of the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.


Louis Van Taylor chats with Julia Waters

World renown saxophonist Louis VanTaylor chats with the talented vocalist Julia Waters of the Waters Singers family, known for their vocal contributions through the decades on some of the hottest and important records in recent times.

The occasion is the 125th anniversary party for the town of Altadena, California, in which they are both residents.

Produced by P. Sabu Rogers for

Louis Van Taylor at The Levitt Pavillion, Pasadena, California

Presents a track entitled ” The Law of Cause and Effects” on its Chop Shop Radio Channel. Check it out here. is an MP3 label, pioneering digital music that interacts with social media. Our platform makes it easy for music listeners to listen to great music while interacting with our artist from a digital media device. (more…)

Life Is A Saxophone 28th Anniversary DVD

In Life Is A Saxophone, esteemed poet Kamau Daáood looks at survival as an oral poet in an electronic age.  Filmed in 1984, the documentary includes a live concert at the popular Watts Towers Arts Center in Los Angeles, (more…)

Watch KRS-One Disaster Kit (Official Video)

“This is an opportunity to show the world what Hip Hop is capable of. Obviously this project isn’t about raising money or making money. This is purely about knowledge and survival; I truly hope the world benefits from these words. By memorizing the lyrics of this song, you at least prepare yourself with a mental checklist against natural and man-made disasters.” KRS-ONE….

KRS-One’s Disaster Kit Directed By MAD LION off of KRS-Ones MIx Tape Just Passin Through Dropping Thanksgiving 2012
KEEP ON THE LOOK OUT for KRS One’s 20th Studio Album Entitled JUST LIKE THAT Produced By MAD LION Dropping 1st Quarter of 2013 ,on Killahpride Records
Special Effects by Paradox Films.
Support REAL HIPHOP !!
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The Way of Openness

This film documents excerpts from a dialogue between various religious leaders discussing  their difference as it relates to Prop 8, a California initiative that was approved in 2010  to repeal the State’s same sex marriage law. The conversation address the feelings, tensions and animosities, that was created buy this issue between the different faith communities. The goal of the dialogue was to find a common-ground in which this highly charged issue could be discussed in a civil and respectful manner.
Sponsored by City of Los Angeles- Human Relations Commission & Charles R. and Jann W. Paul.

Louis Van Taylor plays anthem for Altadena’s 125th birthday

Louis Van Taylor:  saxophonist, flutist and other woodwinds specialist…credits include Ray Charles Orchestra, Kool and the Gang, Cameo, (more…)

Stephanie Spruill sings “Dejame”




Stephanie Spruill “17 Points to Longevity…”

Stephanie Spruill is the Founder and CEO of Spruill House Music, Inc. School of Voice and Artist Development. (more…)

“Vote Obama Time”

A music video promoting the re-election of President Barack Obama
an “Artists for the Re-election of President Barack Obama” Presentation

Vote Obama Time from Paul Sabu Rogers on Vimeo.

Song, produced, written and performed by Glenn R. Towery

Marabina Jaimes

Marabina Jaimes & Friends performs the Ray Barretto composition, “Adelante Siempre Voy” for a large audience at Music for Peace Concert in Santa Monica, California.

Her latest project, “TE EXTRANO”, now available on iTunes was written, arranged, and produced by  Cubano Trumpeteer,  Luis Eric Gonzalez.


Lou Beatty, Jr. Stars in Nobody Walks Like My Daddy

Actor - Director - Writer - Producer

“18” – A Tribute in Song for Trayvon by Darryl Duncan


Written, arranged, produced & recorded by Darryl Duncan, “18” is dedicated to the memory of Trayvon Martin and ALL the young lives cut short by violence.

This song is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon mp3, Spotify and other music sites. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the “Stop The Violence” campaign. Show your support for this very important cause by purchasing this song. Thank you.

For more information, email:
Copyrighted Material 2012 – Corkroom Music Publishing – ASCAP

CM Productions produces a sweet video on honey

Cameron M. Tucker, producer/director and most noted for his exquisite videography and photography has just completed an video expose for Cameron Mitchell Productions,cam_studio.jpg entitled “Bennett’s Honey Farm.”

Bennett’s Honey Farm from Cameron Tucker on Vimeo.

Bennett’s Honey Farm from Cameron Tucker on Vimeo.

Get acquainted with more of Cameron Tucker’s work.

The Three Hammers of Houston

A new documentary by filmmaker, Glenn R. Towery

HAMMER: “A tool that can be used to tear down and/or build up!” (more…)

The Bennie Maupin Ensemble “Early Reflections Tour”

For all his fans, Bennie Maupin is currently touring Europe. His ensemble is world class and they will be performing tunes from the Bennie Maupin Ensemble latest CD,  “Early Reflections” and others.

Check out his inteninary:___tn___Neophilia2.png

DATE 17 February
performance at
AMR Jazz Club 10 –  Genève (Switzerland)

DATE 18 February
performance at Torrione Jazz Club – Ferrara (Italy)

DATE 20 February
performance at La Sosta Jazz Club – Ferrara (Italy)

DATE 21 February
performance at MA Jazz Club – Catania (RC)

DATE 23 February
performance at Blue Note Jazz Club – Milan (Italy)

DATE 24 & 25 February
performance at Duc Des lombards – Paris (France)

More to come…

Bill Nunn

William G. “Bill” Nunn III (born October 20, 1953) is an American actor. Nunn was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of William G. Nunn, Jr., a well-known journalist and editor at the Pittsburgh Courier, as well as an NFL scout. Nunn’s paternal grandfather was the first (more…)

“Tech Diva and the Luxury Lifestyle Show”

on the LA Talk Live! Network Fridays noon-2pm pst

I’m @TouchableTechZ on Twitter


Ian Foxx Directs Sunset Red The Movie

Ian Foxx…a native of Detroit with over 40 years in the entertainment industry began his career in New York City in Theater. (more…)

Ellen Dubin is anything but common in Elder Scroll V: Skyrim…

Actress Ellen Dubin recently played “Common Woman” in one of the most anticipated video game releases this year, Elder Scroll V: Skyrim. (more…)

Symphony of Science

The Symphony of Science is a musical project of John D Boswell,

John Boswell Musician/Producer

designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form. The project owes its existence in large measure to the classic PBS Series Cosmos, by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steve Soter, as well as all the other featured figures and visuals.

BENNIE MAUPIN: A Living Legend

As subtle as the melodic and rhythmic sounds of his bass clarinet, this musician still influences the music scene after decades of accomplishments that places him as one of the few living legends in the world of contemporary jazz. Bennie Maupin is international known for his contributions towards the recognition of the bass clarinet in the world of improvisational music. Bennie is equally noted as a leading multi-woodwind soloist and composer.
After emerging on the New York scene during the mid 60’s in the company of notable contemporaries such as, Roy Haynes, Marion Brown, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Lee Morgan and Woody Shaw, to name only a few, Bennie began a self imposed hiatus in Southern California, where he studied, taught and prepared for his next public emergence into the world of creative music.
Fast forwarding to the present, the legendary Bennie Maupin will be honored by Howard University on Thursday, November 17, 2011 as the recipient of the prestigious Benny Golson Jazz Master Award. This award is bestowed upon prominent jazzmen that have made extraordinary contributions to jazz music. Its truly an honor well deserved by this year’s recipient.


The Howard University Jazz Ensemble created The Benny Golson Jazz Master Award in 1996 to honor the legacy of Howard University alumnus, Benny Golson. Dr. Golson, jazz composer and saxophonist, is the composer of the following jazz standards: Killer Joe, Along Came Betty, Blues March, I Remember Clifford, Stablemates, and many others.

In recent years, Maupin continues to make his mark both compositionally and through his active touring and recordings with The Bennie Maupin Ensemble. In addition to being a featured artist in various groups of jazz luminaries.

The Bennie Maupin Ensemble

Bennie will be performing during the awards ceremony as guest soloist with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of music professor Fred Irby,III. He will also be appearing in Washington D.C. at the historic Bohemian Caverns jazz club on Nov. 18th & 19th with the Bennie Maupin Ensemble. This unit of some very accomplished musicians has been performing  and recording with Bennie over the past ten (10) years. The Ensemble consist of Michael Stephans, on drums and spoken word, Munyungo Jackson, percussion and Darek Oles on the acoustic bass.

– P.S. Rogers-2011

Kurt Dana Maxey


Kurt Dana Maxey was born in Kansas and raised in Los Angeles. He received a BA in History from USC and a Master’s Degree in Communication Arts from Loyola University.  Literature, photography, music, and film are his passions.  Kurt has written plays, screenplays, and short stories. He has participated in workshops and readings at the Mark Taper Forum (Blacksmyths); East/West Players; and South Coast Repertory.  It is at the Robey Theatre Company where he really feels at home and takes this brief moment to thank Ben Guillory and his staff for their faith, intuitiveness and support.

“Pity the Proud Ones” is Kurt Maxey’s first full fledged production


It is 1915 and America is about to lose its innocence.  Martin O’Grady has lost his, and his mulatto son shows no intention of letting it be forgotten.  That is, as long as he hasn’t been paid for services rendered to his father.  The two men clash when the father is forced to pay his son by the only woman he ever loved, who is now part owner of the most profitable bordello in St. Augustine, Florida. Promises are made; contracts to be honored; while a hurricane makes it deadly approach.

LA Stage Times

We absolutely loved your play! We were raving about it on our walk home & when we got home, talked about it for a while. Thank you so much

Lovell Estell III, LA Weekly

Actor Dorian Christian Baucum playing James, who nails the style and body language in a way that allows us to truly believe where we are and that this is another time, another place one gets the sense that this cast is just warming up.

The Ikeda Kings Orchestra

Music for Peace Concert, Santa Monica, California, April 2013 & February 2011 featuring Conductor & Musical Director- Bennie Maupin

“Butterfly” featuring Bennie Maupin on soprano saxophone, written by Herbie Hancock and Bennie Maupin and arranged by Joe Wright. (more…)

Vesta Williams, an unsung R&B Diva

Plaza Noir tributes a great vocal artist, performer and friend, Vesta Williams, R.I.P. (more…)

Sir Gant releases video tribute to Quincy Jones

This tribute to the master is entitled, “Hangin’ with Q”  featuring Gerald Albright on Sax, Sir Gant on keyboards , Paulinho Da Costa on percussion, Omar Hakim on drums, Rahmlee 0n trumpet & Charles Owens on flute. Mixed and co-produced by Neal H. Pogue. The song is available on Sir Gant & the InVisible Force new CD project entitled, The Journey. Check it out it’s hot!!

Write Act Rep presents D3LINQUENTZ

Write Act Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director John Lant, Associate Artistic Director Ken Cosby and Citizen LA are proud to present D3linquentz: a unique one-woman comedic experience written & performed by Stefany Northcutt.

THE STORY: The D3linquentz dramedy centers on “four juvenile delinquents sent to a Group Home to straighten up.” Stefany, Irma, Laprell and Trinity –at risk youth destined to cross paths– have been given one last chance to get it right.  Guided by House Parents, counselors, probation officers and their family, these wounded souls will spend six months driving each other crazy while facing inner demons within an intense regimented correctional program.  Each must choose a path: a choice to continue down a self-destructive path destined for abuse, imprisonment and possibly death or a choice leading to personal reform and spiritual redemption.

THE MESSAGE: The choices that face the four adolescent main characters in D3linquentz are real world decisions that ultimately affect us all.  Regardless of our social status, our location on earth or our daily inter-personal interactions, at risk youth are an unfortunate part of our world consciousness.  The compelling narrative is derived from Stefany’s personal experience with the subject matter which is honest and raw while remaining transformative and uplifting. D3linquentz delves into the often intense subject matter by offering levity and rich comedic overtones to deliver a universal message of hope.

Produced by Stefany Northcutt & George C. Stiehl; Direction by George C. Stiehl; Lighting Design by Sergio Escobar.

Stefany Northcutt has performed in various leading roles at Write Act Rep including Christie Perfetti’s Our Beds Are Crowded & the upcoming No Fault.  Other roles include All My Children, Off-Broadway’s Theater for The New City, Viola in Twelfth Night, Jelena in Necessary Targets and Mindy in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. Stefany has acted alongside Chuck Norris’ son, Mike Norris, in the film A Greater Yes. She has appeared in various indie films and TV commercials such as Little Caesar’s and Pier One Imports.  Stefany has also performed frequently at Comic Strip Live in New York City. She is a graduate of New York’s American Musical & Dramatic Academy and has been privately coached under Tony Greco and Mark Scarola.

George C. Stiehl serves as Co-Founder & Executive Producer for Citizen LA: a unique lifestyle media company based in Downtown LA supporting creative talent, innovative thinkers and industry partners. Mr. Stiehl has developed content for The Walt Disney Company, Universal, Fox, TBS, Scion, Mattel, UMG, Puma and Virgin; including brands such as Tarzan, Toy Story, Dinosaurs, Spiderman, the Hulk, Mummy Returns, Shrek, Coachella, Fashion Week, and the Electric Daisy Carnival. Mr. Stiehl consults on media development for the Write Act Rep Theater where he nurtures an affinity for theatrical productions.  Mr. Stiehl attended the School of Fine Arts & Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

D3linquentz is presented at the beautifully rebuilt Write Act Repertory Theatre on the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church campus. The theatre features an outdoor patio reception area, FREE parking and is air-conditioned. Seating is limited. Refreshments are available.

*Press Preview Night – Friday, September 9th, 2011
Opening Night – Saturday, September 10th, 2011
Performs Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 7:30PM.  Sunday Matinees September 18th & October 2 @ 4:00 pm
Performances through Sunday October 2th.

Write Act Repertory Theatre – 6128 Yucca St., Hollywood, CA. 90028
FREE parking in the lot on the south side of St. Stephen’s Church at 6125 Carlos Ave.

VIP Package: $45 (Includes reserved seating, champagne reception & gift bag.)
General Admission:  $18 at the door / Discounted Rate: $12 (Seniors, Students, Groups 4+)
Online Credit Card, Paypal and Discount Tix – or

Call:   (310) 461-5125 / Reservations Suggested / General Admission Seating / ADA Compliant
Visit: or

A Tribute To Leon Thomas

Babatunde Lea Quintet plays “Prince of Peace” featuring Dwight Trible on vocals

Babatunde Lea – Drums,

Gary Brown – Bass

Patrice Rushen – Piano

Ernie Watts – Tenor Sax

34th Annual Watts Tower
“Jazz Festival”

Day two of this festival of music and entertainment is all about “Jazz”. Watts Jazz festival has become iconic in the world of jazz, by featuring for almost three and a half decades some of the top name talent in this genre of music. The 34th Annual festival was no different and Cityview 35 captured the whole thing.

This presentation, is co-sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Department, Watts Tower Arts Center, under the direction of Rosie Lee Hooks and produced by Cityview 35’s veteran producer/director, Paul S. Rogers.

Jo’SEI Ikeda featured in Life at the Resort

Jo'SEI Ikeda

Go to Jo’SEI’s Profile

Gwynyth Walsh in CUPS

CUPS traces the milestones in a woman’s life through the bras she’s worn. The one-woman show, written by Joni Sheram, captures a lifetime of remarkable events in this hilarious, often poignant memory play. (more…)

“Day of the Drum Festival”

29th Annual Watts Tower “Day of the Drum Festival” This festival is part one of two days of a celebration of music, culture and art. It features some of the most gifted and talented drummers, percussionists and dancers our diverse community of Los Angeles has to offer. (more…)

Kathleen Gati starts her role on ALPHAS

July 25th on the SyFy Channel playing Rachel’s mother, Zahra.


Peter Bonilla shoots & directs new spot

Director/Cameraman Peter Bonilla recently completed a humorous web commercial for PawnZone, a chain of pawn shops in Southern California. (more…)

Dark Girls a new documentary coming from Duke Media

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

Award winning director Bill Duke and Co-producer Bradinn French has enter the forbidden realms of color, race and gender in their upcoming documentary, “Dark Girls”. Bravo for their courage and sensitivity from the clip here i know it will touch the lives of many.

Cameron Tucker previews “Save the Queen”

at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in Hollywood ,CA.


Watts Towers Jazz Festival 2010

Watts Towers Jazz festival has become iconic in the world of jazz, by featuring for almost three and a half decades some of the top name talent in this genre of music. (more…)

Stoneman Wins Songwriters Award Again

Breaking News:

Well it was just about this time last year that it was announced that the artist known as “Stoneman”,  song “In The Hood” had won an “Outstanding Achievement In Songwriting Award in the 11th Annual Great American Songwriting Contest (R&B/Hip-Hop).  Well, he has done it once again by winning  an “Outstanding Achievement In Songwriting Award” by the 12th Annual Great American Songwriting Contest (R&B/Hip-Hop Category)

The Song is:  “You Need Therapy”

Click to listen and for free download

This means that for the second year in a row one of Stoneman’s songs has been judged to be in the top 5 entries from thousands of worldwide entries.He is the first to achieve that distinction which makes this award extra special!  This makes the 29th international songwriting competition in which he has been recognized as one of the best in the world.

The Great American Songwriting Contest is judged by some of the most influential and accomplished artists, producers and top tier entities in the music industry who are responsible for the success of such artists as:
Dwight Yoakam, k.d. Lang, Sheryl Crow, Sara Evans, Lucinda Williams, Michelle Shocked, Roy Orbison, Buck Owens, Reba McEntire, Brian Adams, Whitney Houston, Selena, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, David Ball, Heart, Indigo Girls, Cheap Trick, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Queen, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and many others.

PNN is very proud of success of it’s clients and associates and want to wish Stonman continues success.

Coming Soon:  A new CD from Stoneman: “Therapy, This Time It’s Personal”

This CD hasn’t even been released and it already has 4 award winning songs on it.  Featuring the songs “In The Hood”, “You Need Therapy”, “Therapy” and “Hope Is Still Alive”.
Release Date: Summer 2011


Kathleen just won the Best Actress Award for her starring role in feature “RETRACE” which premiered last month as the opening night film of the Los Angeles Hungarian Film Festival. (more…)