31: Jae Staxx: TV Music Supervisor
Better than Baskin Robbins' 31, we got all the flavas.
OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
FLAVORS OF THE SEASON...Following the lead of ABC's "The Bachelor," one of the women from Flavor Flav's search-for-love reality show, "Flavor of Love," will get her VH-1 own spinoff--"Flavorette." While producers--Mindless Entertainment Prods.--are currently casting the male candidates--ages 21-35 (younger than the 46-year-old Flav)--they have not said just which Flavorette from the first season of the "Flavor Of Love" it will be. But the buzz is that it's the bachelorette nicknamed Hottie. She'll get to choose a match from 20 guys. And according to the casting call, the men selected to compete on the show will be paid $100 per day. Hmm. Guess it pays to be a Flavorette.
FLAV KNOWS WHAT TIME IT IS...Speaking of "Flavor of Love," according to the just released Nielsen Media Research ratings for the second season of the show, it topped the list of the 25 most popular cable programs in black households for the first week of August. The program was the only show to attract at least a million black households that week--and the only winner for VH-1 with black cable audiences.
HIGH STEPPING...Teen R&B sensation Chris Brown is quickly making the jump to the big screen--he will debut early next year in Steppin' , a 2007 Sony Screen Gems film about a dancer recruited by two black fraternities to compete in step shows. Brown won't be alone in making the film leap--singer Ne-Yo will also appear in the flick, which Sylvain White will direct.
ONE MAN'S TRASH IS ANOTHER'S SATIRE...File this under the taking it too far category. In an episode of MTV2's new animated celebrity lampoon series "Where My Dogs At?," a character named Snoopathon Esquire III is shown walking two bikini-wearing black women on leashes--one even scratches herself like a canine. In another, scene, Snoopathon picks up poop made by one the women. Needless to say there are protests--coming from a range of groups. The half-hour episode, titled "Woofie Loves Snoop," debuted on MTV2 last month and was available on MTV.com--until it was removed last weekend. MTV president Christina Norman issued a statement defending the episode as social satire--and that it was a parody of an actual incident where rapper Snoop Dogg made a TV appearance at the Video Music Awards last year (photo, above) with two women with in dog collars and leashes. But according to our English class definition of satire, isn't it supposed to mean something?
AFRICA & BEYOND...Want to see great films from the African diaspora? If so, you might want to make your way to the First Annual African Diaspora Film series, happening August 4-27 at NYC's Riverside Theatre. And don't expect staid cinema. According to organizers, the roundup includes "an eclectic slate of award-winning, thought-provoking, and entertaining films from Africa and the African Diaspora." Admission is $10. For more info, call (212) 870-6784.
GRIOTS FILMWORKS' REDRUM MARKS FILM DEBUT OF GIRLFRIENDS'
L.A.-based Griot Filmworks has announced the release of a romantic offbeat comedy called Redrum, marking the directorial and co-writing debut by Kenny Young. Redrum explores the dynamics of a timid couple who, after all conventional attempts at "cutting loose" stumbles upon the rush of murder after a fatal, accidental incident. Lured by the thrill, the husband and wife enter into a madcap killing spree. "We wanted to do something a little different, and to portray Africans Americans in a light we have not seen before on film," explains Phil James, executive producer, Griot Filmworks. Jill Marie Jones, of the UPN hit (now CW) "Girlfriends," makes her film debut as the main character in ground-breaking film. Terri J. Vaughn, Jenifer Lewis, Danny Woodburn, Joe Torry, Chris Spencer, Rodney Perry, and Snoop Doggy Dogg sidekick, Bishop Magic Don Juan also appear in the film.
Redrum is the latest offering from up-and-coming Griot Filmworks. Its first project, One Week won Best Film as well as the Lincoln Filmmaker Trophy Award at the Acapulco Black Film Festival (2000). At the Urban World Film Festival One Week took home Best Film and later went on to win an Audience Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. One Week, now on DVD/Video and showing on BET and TVone, went on to obtain the highest per screen average its opening weekend (2001). Griot Filmworks also just recently sold the script Step In the Name of Love to MGM. Multi-platinum recording artist Usher is attached to the project, which was co-written by Kenny Young and Carl Seaton, and will be produced by Griots Filmworks' Phil James. Griot Filmworks is currently developing a comedy entitled Alpha to Omega with State Street Pictures (Soul Food, Men of Honor, Barbershop I and II, Beauty Shop, and Roll Bounce), and plans another film, entitled Scandalous, for early 2007.
AIR AMERICA JUMPS FROM WLIB TO WWRL
Longtime liberal talk radio network Air America is relocating its flagship operation from one New York City, black-owned radio station--WLIB--to another--WWRL. Starting September 1, WWRL-AM, owned by Access.1 Communications, will be the new home for the two-year-old network. Air America airs on more than 80-plus stations in Shreveport, LA.; Tyler-Longview-Marshall, Texas; and Atlantic City, NJ as well as an NBC TV affiliate (WMGM-TV 40) in Atlantic City. Plus, the company owns and operates SupeRadio; a syndication company that distributes 40-plus programs broadcasting to about 100 million, and is one of the two founding partners of American Urban Radio Networks.
CANADIAN FILM FEST SAYS NO TO AMERICAN ENTRIES
The Montreal World Film Festival announced that there will be no U.S. titles in the European-heavy competition lineup, though American entries are booked for out-of-competition screenings. No reason was given as to the lack of U.S. film entries for competition, but among the U.S. film screening are Todd Robinson's Lonely Hearts with John Travolta, documentaries Saint of 9/11 from Glenn Holsten and Everest E.R., a film by Sean McLain and Brad McLain. The Montreal Film Festival will take place August 24-September 4.
CUSTOMIZED AOL EMAIL FOR FREE
AOL has announced that, starting in September, it will make personalized email domains available for free to all Web users, making it the first company to offer this service, which will be called AOL(R) My eAddress. With AOL My eAddress, users can set up and register a completely customized email address using .COM or .NET domains, and add up to 100 additional identities onto their personal domain, at no charge. Users could choose a domain that family, friends, teams, social organizations and others could use, such as "email@example.com," and other members within that group could have their own email identity using that domain. "AOL is about to make online communications more personal than ever before," said Roy Ben-Yoseph, Director of Communication Products, AOL. "The most popular Internet activity is email, yet many people don't have an online identity that's truly personal and meaningful to them."
NEW MEF MOBILE PRODUCT ANNOUNCED
MEF Mobile Entertainment Factory, one of the leading providers of mobile entertainment content, has announced the launch of its Flash content for mobile phones--Flash Professional 8. LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and SonyEricsson will pre-install the Flash lite Player in their new handset devices. The launch of the Flash portfolio consists of two new content types: Flash wallpapers and Flash applications. With this market launch mobile watches, time-based wallpapers and language-based wallpapers are available. The first in-house developed Flash application dates back to November 2005. At this time MEF has ported its most successful Java application--Spin The Bottle--to Flash lite. Since then this application has been re-launched and is the first fully functional Flash application in the MEF portfolio. In addition to that, MEF will launch all Java applications also in Flash. And according to MEF Mobile Entertainment Factory, there are "great" opportunities for Flash mobile contents with ad games because application development and porting for fitting game concepts should be possible with considerable lower costs compared to Java development.
TV'S JAE STAXX:
MUSIC SUPERVISOR TO WATCH
Most everyone remembers the themes for such classic television shows like "The Jeffersons," "Good Times," "Sanford & Son." But music doesn't ' just play a part in themes; when used right within a show it becomes almost another character. Music is even more paramount when launching a series framed around a recording artist. Jae Staxx kept this in mind when he was tapped to come onboard for the former UPN comedy "Eve."
For the longtime record producer/musician , the transition was smooth--though all encompassing. "We worked on each episode in the series, and I supervised and oversaw all staff writers, producers, composers and musicians," says Staxx. But like everything else on TV, the pace was fast. "All of this takes place in less than two days, which means the stress level is high, the pressure is on, and we have the daunting task of being 'creative on demand,'" reveals Staxx, who has since launched his own music production company, Mewzic Monsterz, Inc. (http://www.mewzicmonsterz.com/), to take further advantage of opportunities in TV land.
"We consider Mewzic Monsterz to be 'one-stop shopping' for music licensing, record production, music supervision, etc.," explains Staxx of his L.A.-based company. "We are an independent label which finds, grooms and develops artists and songwriters. We have produced records for major label artists such as Eve, Will Smith, and many others. We have served as music supervisors for the TV programs 'Eve,' 'Cut,' and 'All of Us.' Our music has been heard in other programs, for example 'Entourage.'" According to Staxx, music in television can open doors for new talent. "Situation comedies and episodic dramas are now a great vehicle for unsigned artists and baby bands to get noticed, as opposed to several years ago, where only major label, established artists ever had their music displayed on TV," he says.
Because music works so subtly with the images we see on the small screen, there's a definite art to it. Well, it's art and a lot of technology. "We import the television show into a Pro Tools computer session, then we locate all of the points where music is needed," explains Staxx. "We then either compose or choose music that is suitable or appropriate for those scenes. The music is then synchronized to the pictures, and then the final product is delivered to the show's producers for approval and airing."
Even though Staxx who cut his TV teeth on hip-hop diva Eve's now-canceled show, he feels a void in hip hop television. "It's a joke, because no one on television has been able to capture the true [cultural] essence of hip hop," he says. But thankfully, he feels music is still very vital to the visual medium. "Music is critical in TV, as it evokes emotions in the viewers that visual images alone cannot," he notes. And while hip-hop laced shows are fewer and fewer, Staxx is glad that music in general is become more a part of an upfront part of the viewing experience. "Music has become much more important in recent seasons, evidenced by some programs like 'American Idol,' 'Making the Band,' 'Rock Star,' etc., which are wholly driven by music," he points out.
While television continues to evolve, there will remain one steady factor--music. And Jae Staxx is has been hitting all the right notes.
LIVE PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
JAZZ AT THE BOWL:
HANCOCK, REDMAN, MCBRIDE
There's noth ing like music but music outdoors during the summer in the open air is another thing. Through in the sexy setting of the Hollywood Hills, dusk, jazz, picnic baskets, and champagne buckets; and you've got the makings of a nice break from the dealmaking of the week! The night, which hosted the Joshua Redman Trio, Christian McBride band, and Herbie Hancock (pictured, left), was a hot one--literally and figuratively. As concertgoers made the pilgrimage into what is really almost an exclusive little modern shopping and gastronomic "gated community," the sunset created the intial lightning for the rustic but perfect venue.
While never easy to control sound in an open air theatre, the Bowl does so pretty well, depending on the seating.They have nicely mastered the art of the performance closeup on the projection scree--so close not a bead of sweat on the performers was missing. And perspiration there was as these gifted individuals graced the stage one after the other with both renditions and self-compositions in that cool style so appropriate to jazz.
Joshua Redman prefers the gentlemen's style with a suit, no tie-approach as he really plays such improvisational magic that it's amazing to think that it's really just coming from a mere mortal. McBride's band offered the more funky, short-sleeved approach, which is really no less entertaining and talented, albeit a little more "fusion" jazz station friendly (oh, did I mention this was sponsored by KKJZ-Kjazz 88.1 fm). Crowds were taken up and down with both mellow and uptempo cuts by both of these opening acts who are nothing if not gracious.
But certainly after intermission, the fans were ready for Hancock who warmly greeted the audience in a white polka-dot on black shirt. It was an interesting mix with his band featuring a talented guitarist from Benin, Africa; a drummer; and bassist. Where things may have seemed just a bit off though was the inclusion of a violinist who, though talented, was not really a jazz violinist and a bit "folky" as a soloist at times, but so be it. Hancock was in fine form although admitting the night before was the first in his own bed in two months after a European tour! The only down note was that the performance lasted less than an hour!
If you have the chance to catch any one of these acts again, do.
Kudos to the Bowl parking staff who made exiting a dream from the parking lot just across from the Bowl. Thanks to Sabrina in the press office for the last-minute hookup.
PLAYING AT THE SUBARU & DC SHOWS'
X GAMES AFTERPARTY
If you are keeping your pulse on a key part of the youth market, then you definitely are aware of statistics and events surrounding the big X Games, which just too place here in Los Angeles. One of the hottest parties though was thrown by the slick Vapors Magazine and intricate C16 Autostyle Magazine as they presented the Subaru & DC Shows X Games afterparty.
Red carpet humming, lightbulbs flashing, crowds pulsating; that was the hub that night at Avalon Club Hollywood. From beginning to end, this was really a seamless blend of just the right sponsors complimenting each other at what turned out to be a nice little party of 20 and 30 something movers and shakers in Hollywood. A balmy night brought out a nice multicultural mix of folks partied in the various rooms of this mega club and sipped from the open bar sponsored by Margaritavile Tequila.
What added to the night were the slide presentations of Subaru race footage, DC sneaker displays, and more subtly but not overbearingly getting into your subconscious.
Highlights of course were performances. While we did not catch them all, Rhymefest definitely held it down (surprisingly well for an artist kinda new to the scene at least signing-wise). DJ AM did a special collabo with homeboy Travis Barker of Blink 182. Seemingly kinda crazy at first, this was a "duet" of sorts that featured AM scratchin' and mixin' to Barker banging the hell of out of a live drum set, shirtless and ripped. Nicely creative and definite energy, though we are thinkin' the impact would have been even more powerful if the set lasted just a bit less leaving the crowd still hungry and wanting more.
As it was a "school night," we didn't stay too long and made our exit while it was still fun.
Of course, shout out to Amy at in2it media, for always lookin' out and makin' the mission smooth and simple!
Vivica A Fox celebratin'--and workin'--her birthday in Toronto at last weekend's mega Caribbean fest--Caribana. She hosted a party at hot T.O. spot Purgatory. Among the glitterati was also an Air Canada flight attendant.whom Fox befriended during the flight--proving that Fox always keeps it real.
The red carpet and paparazzi were in full-effect on Saturday, August 5, for multi-platinum/Grammy Award-winning/actress-in
.......... Mariah Carey & Busta Rhymes
SHOUT OUTS TO BIRTHDAY BOY GIL ROBERTSON AND LEANNE LINDSAY, WHO'S PREPARING TO GIVE YOU THE SCOOP LIVE FROM THE TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL.