Friday, July 28, 2006

29:Hot News&More

We're 29 and getting better by the moment. Issue 29...

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MEDICAL EMERGENCY?...According to our sources, rumor has it that Isaiah Washington may be opting out of the next season of the hit ABC series "Grey's Anatomy." You know we'll keep you posted on this as we get more word.

CBS LOVES LL...Although his latest flick, Edison Force (Millenium Films), has gone straight to video despite all the hype about it being Justin Timberlake's big film debut, LL Cool J (Todd Smith) has just inked a seven-figure deal with CBS, according to Variety. He and Alchemy Entertainment (with whom he signed a multi-year deal w/ Lionsgate) will develop and LL with star in a television series, most likely a drama. Word is LL has full reign on the choice of producers and actors. Alchemy is headed by ex-William Morris agent (and LL's manager) Jason Barrett. CBS is banking on LL still having the ratings magic of "In the House." We'll be tuned in.

GLOVER CASTING...We promised you more info on Danny Glover's Toussaint project. Well, according to our pal Bill Vaughn of Tasty Clips, the cast in the bioflick about historic figure Toussaint L'ouverture will include Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, and Mos Def. With star power like this, just maybe Glover will get people actually to the theatres to see a movie about a black history maker.

HAIRY SITUATION...Blogs are all abuzz about Brandy's guest appearance on "The View" when Barbara Walters reached out and touched the singer/actress's hair and asked "Is this your hair?" You'd think BW would know better by now!

UNFRIENDLY SKIES?...On her way to tape a session of "The View," actress Mo'Nique ( was escorted off a United Airlines New York-bound plane at Chicago O'Hare after arguing with a flight attendant. Then a supervisor called the police to deal with the Phat Girlz star. But it doesn't stop there. Mo'Nique, the exec producer of "Mo'Nique's Fat Chance," informed the New York Daily News that she felt it was a racist incident. She told the newspaper, "I felt like I was being treated like an animal. This happens to black people all the time, and they don't have a voice. It was humiliating...I won't fly United again and I hope no other black person will fly them either." Mo'Nique said she may sue. Guess the attendant was as people friendly as Mo'Nique in Soul Plane (right).

DRIVE, HE SAID...According to the San Jose Mercury News, Cedric The Entertainer is venturing into a business outside of show biz--he's a financial partner in CTE Racing-HVM, one of the teams racing in the San Jose Grand Prix. Cedric The Entertainer, who is currently filming the biopic Talk To Me in DC about radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene, is expected to be in the stands when his team races Sunday. He's one of a handful of black celebs and companies getting into racing--you may recall Bill Cosby sponsoring black NASCAR driver Willy T. Ribbs years ago; FUBU clothing company sponsoring another African-American driver, Bobby Norfleet, last year; and former NFL player Julius Curry becoming the first black owner of an entire NASCAR team (Curry Racing) earlier this year. Hmm. Do we see a trend here?

THE CW WRITERS STRIKE A POSE...America's Next Top Model's 12 writer/producers have gone on strike they say due to the new CW Network's failure to comply with their demand for a Writer's Guild of America contract. According to a statement by the writers, "While we are all very committed to this show and proud of the work we do, we are taking a stand to get basic benefits and protections." Despite the strike, the CW Network says Tyra Banks' ANTM remains on track for the September 20 launch--and Ms. J's already sharpen his claws for the next batch of model wannabes.

CRASH WHIPLASH....Although Crash cashed in--financially (with $180 million at the box office for the $7.5-million film) and critically (winning Best Picture)--the principal players have yet to see any real cash, according to The New York Times. Director Paul Haggis was paid less than $300,000, says the paper. And the actors worked well below their normal fees. Now, all the financial matters are being battled out in court. Though, says The Times, Lionsgate, did try unsuccessfully to cut a deal where actor Don Cheadle (who also produced the flick) and Haggis would get an advance payment. Allegedly, producer/financier Bob Yari blocked the move. While this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened in Hollywood, we're still curious to see who drives off with the cash.


The world's largest cellphone maker, Nokia, is testing a technology that lets users roam seamlessly between phone networks and local wireless hotspots such as Wi-Fi. The tests are taking place in Finland and, according to Reuters, mobile subscribers with handsets enabled for so-called unlicensed mobile access, or UMA, can make calls over the Internet when they are in range of an unlicensed wireless network such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. When they are out of range, the connection will automatically connects to a GSM, GPRS or UMTS mobile phone network.

A partnership has just been announced between Warner Home Video (WHV) and Film Life Inc., sponsors of the American Black Film Festival. Under the arrangement, WHV will brand and distribute high-quality urban films on DVD under the American Black Film Festival label. Eva Davis, Vice President of Targeted Acquisitions and Marketing at WHV, will head the groundbreaking initiative. There are also plans for partnerships with other Time Warner companies to co-promote and co-market various projects.

Is Amazon following Starbucks, who recently sealed a deal with Lionsgate, and entering into the film arena? Seems so. The Internet retailer has optioned to develop a film from Keith Donohue's novel The Stolen Child. While reports say that Amazon will not finance the film, it will be a partner in the film's making and promotion. "With our brand and our retail experience and customers around the world we believe we can be an extremely valuable partner in the development, marketing and distribution of this film," Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener told Variety.


SLICK RICK...LIVE AT THE VIPER ROOM...Okay - here we go! La, Di, Da, Di, who wants to party with...the legendary Slick Rick?

As many know, old school hip hop fave Rick has been in L.A. hitting a couple of different venues. And The A-List, thanks to PR diva Alexandra Greenberg, had the chance to catch him at the legendary Viper Room, owned by Johnny Depp. Now, before we get into it, we'd just like to say, this is how a venue should be run--Courteous, on-point, friendly, guest-list working properly. Yes!

Before the main attraction, however there were a few too many opening acts but the emcee kept it live and in fact there was a cool little room to party in downstairs to escape to with a DJ when the over-zealousness on the mics upstairs got to be too much!

Finally, admist a sweaty crowd, and after a nice little old skool mix by his own DJ, the king himself appeared. He donned a sherbet-colored ensemble and looked mad updated for the new millenium. Gone was the black cotton eye-patch and replaced with, dare we speculate, a Swarovski crystal number. And never without the long necklace accessories, Rick broke out in bedazzled items big enough to choke a dinosaur. But let's get into the meat and potatoes of the night, shall we: Looking and sounding almost just like in his prime, Rick rocked all the favorites and got mad cheers from the crowd. This was mutual admiration though. On the technolcal side: the lighting wasn't bad, the sound was fairly on point, and Rick's lyrical skills still not missing a beat. Now, if we can finally get a new album from Rick, we'll be more than happy. Rating: A

THREE SISTAHS IN ATLANTA...Old family secrets and sibling rivalries are at the center of this oft told tale currently playing at the Horizon Theatre ( in the Little Five Points Section of Atlanta. Set in modern America's "age of change" (the late 1960s), the production does a fine job of mixing excellent musical performances with fine acting as we watch three sisters reconcile the demons, regrets, and decisions of their lives as they gather to close up the family homestead after the death of their father. All three women deliver solid performances, but there's no question that the show's standout artist is actress Bernardine Mitchel, whose talents are so superlative that I was at a loss for words each time she opened her mouth to sing. The beat of this play is swift and engaging under the watchful direction of Thomas W. Jones II, which prevents the storyline from becoming monotonous. After the success of The Color Purple opening here, Atlanta is clearly on the rise for notable theatre and Three Sistahs is a production that you certainly would want to take in during its run. You can catch this show through August 27 at the Horizon or if someone is smart, it will be on Broadway come next season. RATING: A. --GLRIV


Nick Cannon, Serena Williams Jeremy Piven, Adrien Brody, Noah Wyle, Jesse Metcalf, Milla Jovovich, Coolio, and Luke Perry were among the A-list celebrities enjoyin' a terrific display of automotive luxury and design during the 3rd Annual GM ALL-CAR Showdown held on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles. As an added bonus, guests were treated to a special performance by Common. Special thanks to Diedra Wylie and the team at GM for hooking things up for The A-List!

Zomba Music Gospel President Max Siegel havin' breakfast with Kirk Franklin at the Four Seasons Hotel in Atlanta during Mega-Fest.

Atlanta Mayor Special Assistant Imara Canady, WXIA TV exec Evelyn Mims, and Sarah Simpson checkin' out the opening of Three Sistahs at the Horizon Theatre in Atlanta.